Thursday, November 20, 2008
As it turns out, this film was written by J Michael Straczynski, whose tenure as writer of Amazing Spider-Man presented us with:
- the revelation that Spider-Man's powers are actually the product of a magical spider cult
- Gwen Stacy as the mother of Norman Osborn's bastard children
- Peter Parker revealing his secret identity on national television
- a grand finale where Peter Parker must negotiate with Satan to re-write history and save his octogenarian aunt from machine gun wounds.
In retrospect, it's hard not to wonder if Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada signed off on Straczynski's maniac ideas as a way to purposefully fuck up Spider-Man so bad that he would be left with no choice but to hit the reset button, and thereby fulfill his long-time dream of dumping Mary Jane from the book.
Anyway, I'd like to say this justifies my decision to not see this movie, but really I'm just happy to learn that there's so much upward mobility from writing He-Man adventures.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Alright Jeph Loeb, are you ready to save the motherfuckin' Ultimate universe?! HELL YEAH BRO LET'S DO THIS THING.
First we are treated to an intimate moment with each character, where they are placed in a setting that allows them to explain, out loud, whatever Loeb feels is their defining character trait (helpful for the reader who is maybe not familiar with, say, Spider-Man). Tony Stark is given room to celebrate his alcoholism, Johnny Storm screams petulantly that is father will "never get" him, the Thing lifts something heavy, and so on. Suddenly it gets a bit dreary out, and New York is destroyed by a tidal wave that kills roughly half of the superheroes. I know it's a tidal wave only because Mark told me so -- the art does nothing to convey this, and the book leaves us with the impression that Earth's Mightiest Heroes have been done in by a rainy day.
The book is structured in such a way that when Magneto is revealed as the culprit on the last page, it's meant to be a surprise -- and it certainly would be surprising, considering Magneto is not known for his ability to create fucking tidal waves -- were it not for the fact that his face is plastered over all of the advertising for this stupid comic. In his address over the Emergency Psychic Broadcast System, Professor Xavier informs the remaining heroes that Magneto had long spoken of his "doomsday plan" to kill everyone on Earth(!), but apparently Charles never believed he'd go through with it. Really now, Professor, you are a doctor of psychology. How could you disregard such a blatant cry for help? Shame on you.
Jeph Loeb had, at one point, been a perfectly competent hack, producing some pretty decent sequels to Batman: Year One, but this... this is not good. The plot is the absolute dregs of hackneyed superhero crossover fare , the dialogue is beyond preposterous, and the art is both ugly and confusing. It almost seems an excess of charity to call this "shit", but I'm at a loss for something more repellent to compare it to. If you can think of something worse than shit, please let me know.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Any fears I may have had that this book had regained its senses are thankfully put to rest here. Under psychic torture, Bishop gives up the details of his plan: he's been running around in the future detonating nuclear weapons all over the world, killing millions and making large chunks of the planet uninhabitable, so that Cable has less room to hide. To his mind this doesn't constitute genocide, because killing the kid will invalidate the timeline and everything will just start over. Well, sure, of course. Beast strongly objects to the advanced interrogation techniques used here, and I can totally see where he's coming from -- I believe the Geneva Conventions should be adhered to and Guantanamo closed -- but come on Hank, the guy tried to shoot a baby with a goddamn bazooka.
Now that Bishop has successfully reduced much of the future Earth to a smoldering cinder, Cable finds himself under attack by a band of marauders who survived the nuclear holocaust by, quite ingeniously, splicing their DNA and turning themselves into human cockroaches. Having literally buried his guns in the ground (a very nice symbolic gesture, if perhaps a touch naive) Cable is forced to hack these roach men apart with a chainsaw, which is certainly not a scene I ever expected to see here, but this comic is nothing if not full of surprises.