Today I'm going to do something a little different and instead of talking about comics that I'm looking forward to buying, I'm gonna do a column about comics that I'm looking forward to not buying... comics that give off such a rank odor that the act of seeing them on the shelves and purposefully, deliberately, adamantly NOT buying them will give me a cheap thrill, the likes of which have not been seen since that one time that I'm not going to tell you about because it's a very naughty story.
First up: Legion of Super-Heroes #46. I was very excited when Jim Shooter returned to this title. He was one of the original writers of Legion of Super-Heroes back in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the idea of him returning to that series some 40 years later seemed potentially very cool.
Alas, it was not cool.
Through the magic of not being able to cancel my pre-orders, I ended up reading three of these things, and they were pretty awful. More than anything, it felt like a mish-mash of boring, "been there, done that" kinds of sub-plots without any core. For example, Lightning Lad is the new leader and so we keep seeing him walking around with six or seven floating telephones (it's set in the far future, so telephones hover around your face as you talk) and dealing with bureaucratic nonsense.
Supposed to be funny, but not funny.
And extra-especially not funny because the obvious question that comes to mind is, "Why doesn't the leader of the galaxy's most famous super-hero team hire a receptionist to deal with that stuff?"
Pretty much all of the sub-plots were like that. Princess Projectra is no longer a princess and so there were repeated scenes of people not using her title and saying, "After all, you're no longer a princess" and her getting really angry and punching them in the face.
Not funny. Not interesting.
Anyway, I particularly enjoyed the solicitation for the September issue of Legion of Super-Heroes because the text is as follows:
THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #46
Written by Jim Shooter
Art and cover by Francis Manapul & Livesay
Chameleon’s hand is amputated! The menacing Intruder Planet is revealed as the source of the Alien Life-Eradicators! A longtime Legionnaire takes the first step down the path of darkness! Plus, the heartbreaking end of the oldest relationship in the history of the Legion! On sale September 24 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Okay, so first problem... "the menacing Intruder Planet is revealed as the source of the Alien Life-Eradicators."
Well, yes. It has been revealed. Right there in the solicitation text.
Next problem: The menacing Intruder Planet!!!
Next problem: The Alien Life-Eradicators!!!
Clearly, Jim Shooter is an idea-generating machine, the likes of which have not been seen since Alan Moore and Grant Morrison.
What's really amazing is that no one ever thought to use those awesome names before... The menacing Intruder Planet!!! The Alien Life-Eradicators!!!
Jim Shooter... stop! It's too much excitement...
Next Problem: The fact that Chameleon's hand gets amputated--and that that's considered a selling point of the issue--is bizarre and inappropriate, but then this is a DC comic and if there's one thing you can count on in a DC comic in the Dan Didio era, it's the maiming of characters.
Anyway, Chameleon is a shape-shifter, so does it actually matter if his hand gets amputated? Can't he just assume the shape of a thing that isn't missing a hand?
But my favorite stupid thing about this solicitation is that we're told that all this stuff is going to happen... we've got amputated hands and Alien Life-Eradicators and heartbreaking ends of old relationships... and then this is the cover they came up with to convey all this action and drama...
Ultra Boy is reading something while he drinks some coffee. Three poorly drawn characters, presumably evil, approach him.
And there's a muffin.
Speaking of the DC love of maiming characters, check out the solicitation for Green Lantern Corp #28...
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #28
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Luke Ross & Fabio Laguna
Cover by Rodolfo Migliari
As Kyle and Guy deal with personal issues on Oa, several Lanterns search for whoever’s been gruesomely removing the eyes of their relatives. Meanwhile, the Guardian known as Scar summons Lantern Saarek for a mission that will lead directly into The Blackest Night.On sale September 10 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Excuse me... could you say that again? I didn't quite hear you...
"...on Oa, several Lanterns search for whoever’s been gruesomely removing the eyes of their relatives."
Well, that sounds like a very... interesting idea for a story.
Nicely done, DC.
And, back to the subject of new characters with appallingly stupid names, we have this...
DC SPECIAL: CYBORG #5
Written by Mark Sable
Art by Carlos Magno & Jonathan Glapion
Cover by Mike McKone
Meet The Phantom Limbs, an elite team of wounded soldiers saved by Cyborg's technology. The catch? The only way they can keep their new limbs is by killing for the mercenary Mr. Orr. Will Vic be able to save them from this Faustian bargain – or will they kill him first?On sale September 17 • 5 of 6, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Ooh... the Phantom Limbs! And this is their very first appearance!!!
See what I'm saying here? DC comics. Amputated hands. The gruesome removal of eyeballs. A team of wounded soldiers who must kill in order to keep their new, artificial limbs.
It's almost like... a pattern, of some sort.
A hard to define... just barely on the periphery of my awareness kind of pattern...
So, there's that.
Oh, one more thing I thought looked kind of funny...
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #17
Written by Marv Wolfman
Art and cover by Phil Winslade
Supergirl and Raven team up to save San Francisco from a new super villain with deep roots in the DC Universe!On sale September 17 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Now, I'd be hard-pressed to think up a less intriguing team-up than Raven and Supergirl, and Marv Wolfman hasn't written a decent story since the mid to late 1980s, but my favorite thing about this is the cover... for sheer goofiness, it's hard to beat this...
I don't know why, exactly, but that floating head absolutely cracks me up. That and the fact that Supergirl is making the international symbol for "La-la-la-la-la-la!!! I can't hear you!!! I'm not listening!!! La-la-la-la-la-la!!!"
Marvel's solicitations for September aren't nearly as comical, with one glaring exception...
IMMORTAL IRON FIST: ORSON RANDALL AND THE DEATH QUEEN OFCALIFORNIA
Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
Cover by KAARE ANDREWS
The minute he saw the dame, Orson Randall knew he was in for a heap of hurt -- all in. But he wouldn’t be the hard-boiled hero he was if he didn’t go sniffing after trouble. Hero? Randall stopped the laugh in his throat. Drowned it in a slug of bourbon. Randall’s no hero. 1920s Los Angeles just ain’t the time or the place for a guy like that. Ain’t the time or place for the Immortal Iron Fist. Orson Randall’s just trying to figure the angle. And if he has to unload his .45s to do it, so much the better. Orson Randall’s just in it for the skirt. 48 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99
At first, I thought it was supposed to be funny. Y'know, sort of a satirical take on the old "film noir" kind of "pulp fiction"-y kind of thing.
But I don't think it's supposed to be funny.
I think maybe... just maybe... it's supposed to sound cool.
Hero? Randall stopped the laugh in his throat. Drowned it in a slug of bourbon. Randall’s no hero.
Ain’t the time or place for the Immortal Iron Fist. Orson Randall’s just trying to figure the angle. And if he has to unload his .45s to do it, so much the better.
Orson Randall’s just in it for the skirt.
And, my personal favorite...
The minute he saw the dame, Orson Randall knew he was in for a heap of hurt -- all in.
What does that even mean??? "All in." Is that some new thing that the kids say?
Anyway, enough of my wise-guy shenanigans... I need to get back to work on my dissertation... all in.
Until next time, here's hoping that the menacing Intruder Planet doesn't intrude on you and your footloose and fancy free ways...
Paul, all in