Thursday, July 15, 2010

Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 07/14/10

Time was not on my side tonight, so I had to switch to the older Quick-Shot Review format for most of the reviews.  I even left out the Thanos Imperative review as I'm hoping to make time to do a full review of it tomorrow.  In the meantime, enjoy this edition of the Weekly Crisis Comic Book Reviews.

Written by Joe Kelly, Stan Lee & JM DeMatteis
Art by Michael Lark, Marcos Martin & Max Fiumara

Grim Hunt concludes with this issue and while I feel the story rushed the ending and could have used another issue or two, it was still a satisfying read and I'm mostly pleased with how this story turned out.  

The last issue focused on Kraven and his state of mind being resurrected.  It was an interesting take as he was not overly impressed with the whole revival.  That issue ended with Kraven revealing that the resurrection wasn't perfect and he's now cursed with an undying existence due to the use of Kaine in the sacrifice instead of Spider-Man.  Peter was shown crawling out of a grave and we were given some flashbacks to how Kaine saved him and took his place.  

This issue continues to show the effects of Kraven's resurrection and his mental state.  He's settled down a bit from the previous issue and is preparing to hunt Spider-Man.  However, it becomes clear he does not care for his family anymore and is more concerned with meeting up with Spider-Man in hopes that Peter will kill him.  He says as much later in the issue during their climactic battle in which he pleads with Spidey to kill him as he believes that he is the only one that can end his now cursed existence.  I enjoyed the exploration of Kraven's mental state here, as I did last issue, and it's a shame we only got about an issue and a bit worth of it in this storyline.

On the other side of the Spyder/Hunter coin, Spider-Man took Kaine's death a little harder than expected.  He was smashing heirlooms, tearing paintings up and generally raging out over it to start the issue.  He immediately dons the black costume they left for him (same one Kraven was buried in maybe?  Custom made?  Where did they get that anyways?) and begins his hunt of the Kravens.  

This where I have some issues with the rushed nature of this conclusion.  Spidey systematically takes everyone down, despite their knowing and expecting his arrival and how much trouble he had fighting just Ana and Alyosha in previous issues.  Yet because he's mad, he can stop them all in seconds here.  Even the werewolf-like Vladimir gets taken out in the span of two pages.  These are the same people that hounded and beat Kaine, Peter's physical superior, to within an inch of his life and nearly killed Spidey and Julia Carpenter a few issues ago. Seeing the credible threats up until this point taken down with such precision and in so few pages without the slightest bit of fight put up by any of them really hurts the weight of the story.  

The only fight that really worked for me in this manner was the 'battle' with Sasha.  Peter takes a page out of Kaine's book and uses his ability to stick to surfaces on her face, imitating Kaine's 'Mark of Kaine'.  Yes, Peter tears the skin from her face and was actually planning to kill her before Arana stepped in to stop him at Madame Web's behest. 

This brings me to the other part of the story - Peter's state of mind.  Mirroring the focus on Kraven, the narration paints a dark picture for Spidey's mental state.  He seems to be more upset over Kaine's death and the way the Kraven's have assaulted his life than he was with Aunt May's.  He's got the black suit on and everything, yet he stopped short of killing Kingpin. He actually states he's going to kill Sasha and she only lived because Arana stopped him.  He later battles Kraven and he had to be talked down from killing him as well.   It felt a bit forced to have him lose it so completely in this manner.  What exactly happened here that pushed him over the edge compared to past events on actual loved ones?  He has no real connection or love for Kaine outside of Kaine being his clone.  Some more time spent building Peter up to this state of mind would have helped sell this aspect of the story to me.  As it was, it didn't do it for me.

Despite my misgivings so far, I did enjoy the issue.  The art was spectacular.  Michael Lark really nailed the fight scenes and his Kraven was stunning.  I loved the splashpage as Spider-Man finally met up with him after 'marking' Sasha.  Their fight was brutal and powerful and worked on every level.  And the glimpses of the future showing what would have happened if Peter had killed Kraven were excellent.  He really nailed the mood of this arc and I think this was his strongest issue.  

Another thing I enjoyed was the mysticism parts.  I know, it's crazy. I'm not a huge fan of JMS's run on the book for the totem nonsense he introduced, but Kelly managed to take The Tyger poem DeMatteis co-opted for Kraven's Last Hunt and adapted parts of JMS's mystic origins in a blend that really worked at selling the Hunters/Spyders.  I felt the narration managed to add another layer to the story with this framing device and it never felt like they were shoving a new origin or discrediting past history with it like JMS's use of the totems did.  

The ending to this issue kind of bugs me though.  It concludes with the Kraven family escaping to the Savage Land.  There, Kraven begins culling his 'tribe' by first killing his wife for her insolence and then putting the werewolf Vladimir down.  Alyosha abandons his father, leaving him to his insanity, but Ana is eager to please and, when prompted, goes off to kill Alyosha, as Kraven says he'll only teach whomever returns between the two siblings.  They'd built up an interesting group dynamic and even resurrected people and then killed most of them off unceremoniously.  What was the point of that?  

Additionally, they then go back on Kaine's death.  He was buried as Kaine Parker and mourned by Peter.  The issue ends with him crawling out of the grave with multiple spider-like eyes and the narration stating he is now 'the Tarantula'.  Yeahbutwha-?

One thing I think should be mentioned is the whole Spider-Girl thing.  Madame Web died in this issue, but somehow passes her powers onto Julia Carpenter.  Since she's now blind because of that, she gives her costume to Arana, who did step up as a factor in this issue, but she never becomes Spider-Girl.  Like in Young Allies, she mocks the name and says she's keeping Arana.  I enjoyed her inclusion in the story, but I'm sure some were wondering about the 'new Spider-Girl', so felt it needed to be addressed.  Maybe Marvel is waiting for the actual Spider-Girl's series to officially end before passing the title off to a new person?

For the back-up, I'd say it was the strongest part yet for the JM DeMatteis penned Kaine vs Kraven story.  It was mostly just a fight between the two that saw Kaine come out on top.  He's upset with Kraven for not being able to kill him like his visions foretold, so opts to bury him alive in the grave originally intended for Kaine.  The ending seems to imply that being buried alive like this and the striking similarities to Spider-Man are what drove Kraven insane in the first place and set him on the path for Kraven's Last Hunt.  All in all, I wasn't blown away by this back-up, but it finished strong and my displeasure was mostly due to them ignoring the Clone Saga era portrayal of Kaine. 

Verdict - Check It.  A bit hasty and rushed, but otherwise, I enjoyed this issue.  While I think there's some wasted potential with the various killings and resurrections, the story was good when it needed to be and delivered the action in spades.  Not the best arc, but still recommended reading if you enjoy Spider-Man.

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Tony Daniel

I went ahead and picked up Batman #701 after seeing it looked to be a solid read while flipping through it at the shop.  I had some reservations as to whether this would be 'required reading' or if it would end up using the obtuse writing style from Batman RIP instead of my preferred Morrison style on the current Batman and Robin series.  

After sitting down and reading this, I'm happy to say that it is indeed a worthwhile read and definitely fleshes out the time between Batman RIP and Final Crisis.  We get inside the mind of Bruce Wayne and see how he reacted to the fallout of RIP and Dr Hurt's various machinations.  It's a relatively quiet story with little action and is more like an epilogue to RIP than anything.

My favourite part of the issue was probably Batman walking back to Wayne Manor and running into Alfred.  The dialogue between the two as Bruce lets Alfred know he's fine and everything's okay now with a simple joke about Alfred's "extreme butlering", a joke about Alfred's injuries and battles in RIP, put a smile on my face and really nailed the relationship between these two.

The most impressive part of this issue, though, had to be Tony Daniel's art.  I've seen pages from his current run where he is pulling double duty with writing and art and those pages pale in comparison to his work here.  There's an almost Frank Quitely-like layer to the art here.  Daniels' art typically looks like something out of 90's Image.  I like his art and that's not an insult, but he's doing something different here and I loved it.  The scene mentioned above about him walking back to Wayne Manor and speaking with Alfred shows off this perfectly with the amount of texture on the costume and it's not just some painted on suit like much of his previous work depicts it. 

Another thing I enjoyed a great deal was the follow-up on Dr Hurt's "death".  Bruce actually waits for him to hopefully rise out of the water and, after that failed to bear results, even comes back later with a sub to check out the helicopter wreckage and sees that Dr Hurt's body is no where to be found.  It's just something you would expect Batman to do and fit the character perfectly.

However, while I liked this issue and recommend it, it was not a perfect read.  One problem I had with it was the dated nature of it.  Nothing really new happens here.  We didn't need to know any of this.  Batman survived the crash and went home is the summation of the events told.  He then goes back and looks for Hurt's body.  The issue even ends with Final Crisis starting, which means we're officially caught up, yet there's more parts to this story.  Unless some huge payoff comes out of missing information that should have been included in Final Crisis or the Batman tie-ins to that, I'm not sure what the point of these issues were from a storytelling standpoint.  You want to tell readers something or give them clues.  This just goes from point A to point B and reiterates simple facts we knew implicitly.  

Verdict - Check It.  It's a good issue, but there's not much substance here.  There's not even the usual Grant Morrison nuances in the writing or structure.  It's like they dusted off some culled epilogue issue and pushed it out for a filler issue.  It has its moments, but falls short of the standards set by most of Morrison's Batman and Robin issues.

Quick-Shot Reviews

Written by Andy Diggle & Antony Johnston
Art by Roberto De La Torre

+ Unlike Shadowland #1, this issue focuses more on Daredevil and his state of mind.  It's a much more personal issue all around with his supporting cast and friends and allies making appearances.  
+ Combined with Shadowland #1, which was a good event book (light on continuity, lots of action, big reveals, etc) to hook new readers while satisfying longtime followers, this makes for a complete package read.  I'm not sure if this is 'required' to understand or follow Shadowland, but it is an excellent companion piece that I don't think you should miss out on.
+ The art was excellent.  Tan's art on Shadowland #1 lacked that visual appeal and grittiness that seems to be associated with Daredevil since Bendis had his landmark run on the title.  It was too clean for my liking.  De La Torre knocked this one out of the park with his moody pencils and I almost wish he was handling the event title, too.
+ The plot thickens!  White Tiger, under the influence of Snakeroot, the shadow council of the Hand organization, starts pushing Matt and feeling out his current state of mind.  Elektra and Master Izo are in this, Foggy Nelson and Dakota North try to meet with Matt, etc.  It's great seeing so many pieces moving at once and all being interesting at the same time.
- Not much fallout from the Bullseye killing.  Only reaction was from Foggy and Dakota and that was more disbelief and shock than anything.  We don't get the Avengers or police or general populace reacting to it.  It's almost like it didn't happen outside of that one page reaction from Foggy.  
- This issue painted Shadowland and Hell's Kitchen like it's own country with boundaries and barracades set up.  I know Matt announced they would police the Kitchen from now on, but this is a little far fetched to see an entire section of New York taken over by ninja assassins and cops just letting it happen.  How can the Avengers or even the army not step in at this point when someone has claimed dominion over part of America?  I was hoping it would be shown more like a Kingpin-esque 'ruling Hell's Kitchen' instead of making it a ninja controlled police state.

Verdict - Buy It.  Few minor nitpicks, but otherwise thoroughly enjoyed this.  Fleshes out and 'completes' Shadowland #1 in my eyes. 

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Eddy Barrows

+ It was better than Rise of Arsenal, arguably the worst comic ever published.  But not by much.
- Superman is a complete asshole throughout this issue.  I didn't think it was possible to hate Superman.  Maybe not like the comic or that story, but never to hate the character.  
- Some examples of Super Dickery:  

1) An old man is having a heart attack (Superman sees he is having abnormal heart beats).  He tells the man to go to his doctor.  Fast.  He then proceeds to keep walking.

2) A reporter questions Superman on whether he has powers or not as his reason for walking.  Superman proceeds to fly him at super sonic speeds into the stratosphere and then back to the ground in the span of a few seconds.  This leaves the man, who was only doing his job and asked a question, in shock and in need of changing his pants.  All because he asked him a quesiton.

3) A girl is going to jump off a building.  Superman flies up and chats with her.  He tells her it's unfair that criminals get to live while arguably good people died.  Superman is upset bad people aren't dead.  This doesn't even compute to me.  

4) Same suicidal girl scene.  Superman was going to let the girl kill herself and would not save her if she did not take his hand.  I repeat, Superman was going to let someone with a mental illness (most likely clinical depression based on what I saw) die when some therapy and/or anti-depressants would have helped treat her illness. 

5) A man asks Superman why, when the world is gone to hell, he isn't off saving the entire planet.  Superman starts preaching at him like some teenager that discovered his first philosophy book.  He asks this ordinary civilian out walking his dog why he doesn't go save the world like he expects Superman to do.  Because, obviously, this man was going to stop Darkseid or a planet full of Kryptonians from wiping out all life as we know it.  

6) Lois Lane flies to Philly to check on her husband, who obviously didn't tell her he was walking across America.  He basically brushes her comments off and then tells her to tell everyone that Clark Kent will be following Superman across the country and that's why he won't be at work anymore.  

Verdict - Avoid It.  The amount of things wrong with this issue are too many to enumerate.  It is the worst Superman story I have ever personally read.  It is one of the worst comics I have ever personally read.  I don't know how a writer can write Superman so far off the mark as he was in this issue. 

Written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost
Art by Gabriele Dell’Otto

+ The art.
+ Did I mention the art?  Gabriele Dell'Otto killed on this issue. Literally.  It lives up to it's title of Sex & Violence and it was like poetry in motion.  Er, still frame?  Poetry in panels?  You get the idea.
+ Kyle & Yost were smart enough to go with a pretty simple story and let Dell'Otto's art handle the heavy lifting. That's not to say it's bad writing, far from it, but it's like an action film's premise + Domino got caught up in some trouble, we see the aftermath and then pieces of the puzzle are filled in as we go along.  Blood and lots of broken bodies follow and it worked for me.
+ Domino was a great choice for this story.  She's got an air of mystery about her and her character lends itself to this type of story perfectly.  I also enjoy the chemistry between her and Wolverine.
- If I had to give this issue a negative, it's that the art is the major saving grace in an otherwise average story.  The title fits this story to a tee, but if you were expecting high drama coming in, you probably set yourself up for disappointment in the first place.

Verdict - Buy It. While it is just a straightforward action story, the painted art is worth the price of admission alone.  But even looking past the art, I enjoyed the story a great deal as well. Like a great action flick in comic book format. 

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Ryan K Lindsay said...

Ooh, you liked X-Force and hated JMS.....queue the rage! ha.

I skipped the DD review, I'll be back tomorrow to read it once I have read the issue too. But I saw you said it was worth buying, giddy up.

Anonymous said...

Superman 701 - That cover alone is so cliched. Like something pulled out of the 1970's quarter bin.

Why is it that so many comic artists can only draw frowny faces? And in a cosmos populated by super beings, why isn't there an egalitarian cardiac corps who race around the globe dispensing children's aspirin?

Simon McDonald said...

... I like the Superman cover ...

Eric Rupe said...

"Yes, Peter tears the skin from her face..."

Kelly actually had Spider-Man do the same thing to Norman Osborn in his American Son arc as well. And in the black costume too.

MisterSmith said...

Honestly, the part that bothered me the most about Superman #701 is that I never hear the term 'cheese steak sandwich' applied to either cheese steaks or sandwiches.

Steven said...

The problem with Superman is JMS is writing a story he wants to right. He just isn't writing a story about Superman, he's just pasting the name onto his own character.

Unless this ends up tying somehow into the altered reality he is writing in Wonder Woman, or Superman is somehow being controlled or influenced, then this was a monumentally bad idea.....

Actually, it is either way.

Nick said...

I am an avid reader of your site, and come here daily. I usually find your reviews interesting, but after reading your review of Superman 701, I felt the need to post here for the first time.

Whether you liked Superman 701 or not is one thing, but presenting situations as examples of Super Dickery by leaving out select facts in order to justify your dislike is another.

1) The old man was not having a heart attack. His heart was beating erratically, and he was just going to sit there, thinking it was heartburn. Superman walked by and gave him advice to see his doctor.

2) The reporter questions Superman about his powers, then proceeds to call him a liar. Superman politely asks if the reporter would care to repeat that at 10,000 feet, and the reporters says yes. Cue being flown into the air.

3) Superman was simply making a point that life isn't fair or unfair, as opposed to being upset that bad people aren't dead.

4) This is actually valid, if we could be 100% sure that Superman would really have let her fall. To ensure that she would be willing to talk and listen, he made a promise to let her fall, and had he kept that promise, I agree that would be horrible. However, as a result of making that promise, he was able to talk her out of jumping, and ending up saving her life.

5) Saving the world isn't just stopping Darkseid or whatever. I do agree that Superman was a bit preachy here though.

6) Superman was the one who called Lois, presumably letting her know what he was doing. She came down to Philly to see for herself, in her own words.

Frankly, if you didn't like the issue, because you don't agree with Superman talking a walk or whatever, just say that. I can respect that you don't agree with the direction it's going, but blatantly leaving out facts in order to skew events is unlike you. Had I read your review before reading the issue, I would have be (wrongly) disgusted at issue 701. Instead, I find myself disappointed at your biased reviewing.

Ivan said...

Black suit Spidey is always a plus!

And Kaine is alive(ish)? Cool!

Huh, not sure what to think of the Superman review. I was bummed after reading it, but Nick's comments reasured me a little.

Philipe said...

I know most of you are going to sneer at it, but I just read the X-Men Origins: Deadpool one-shot, and it was very good in my opinion, better than it should be. I picked it up because I don't know a lot about Deadpool pre-Cable and X-Force. Being just a one-shot, it doesn't delve that deep into Wade's origin but it does shows him in a more serious light. I recommend it to those who aren't fed up with all the Deadpool books.

@Kirk - I do think you are nitpicking at the Spider-Man story. It's a comic, after all. This whole "let's-push-Peter-to-the-edge-and-see-him-become-a-badass" thing will always be used by writers. The only bad thing for me was Kaine. His death was pretty emotional, and bringing him back (one issue later) was a huge disappointment.

Daredevil #508 was muuuuuch better than Shadowland #1. And for those who enjoy it, Justice League: Generation Lost #5 was the best issue so far for me.

Jean Claude said...

Even rushed I liked the Grim Hunt ending, though as you mentioned the fights could have been stretched a little more.

Regarding Peter's state of mind, I guess the point was for the Gauntlet to have taken its toll on Spidey (even subconsciously).

iwasherefirst said...

With regards to Spidey almost going off the deep end, this story has been the culmination of the entire Gauntlet event that he's been through. The Kraven's have helped put Spidey through an incredibly destructive ordeal, putting him under immense physical and emotional strain and then set about hunting him and anyone connected to the Spider-Man mythos. Then Kaine finally does something noble and worthy of Peter's respect, and they murder him in order to revive Kraven. I don't think it's entirely unjustified for Peter to consider killing as a fitting punishment in these circumstances.

skoce said...

Way to deliberately misread that Superman issue. I usually find your reviews interesting even if I do not agree with them, but that was atrocious.

The Dangster said...

dammit, J. Michael Straczynski was doing a good job on Brave and the Bold. This is seriously messed up. I swear his wonder woman costume and superman premise all scream 90's.

Agreed with Philipe. Justice League Generation Lost has been a little sluggish, but it proves to be the best bi-weekly, due to it's substance and control of it's cast. Also, Booster Gold, near every page is hilariously worthy of a moment of the week.

Kirk Warren said...

@Nick - He was having heart complications and erratic heart beats. Most elderly people describe heart attacks with characteristics similar to heart burn. An erratic heart beat is not a good thing. So Superman decides its better to startle the old man by appearing so suddenly in front of him and then telling him to see a doctor about his heart problems and as fast as he possibly can. I don't think that's how Superman would react in that situation. That would scare the hell out of most people to be told in such a manner and you can't say an erratic heart beat for an old man is not something serious. It's bad for anyone and he just walks away after telling them. Kevin Church has similar thoughts on the matter and I know most of the ComicsAlliance and other major bloggers interpretted the scene in a similar manner.

Regarding letting the woman fall, that could have been left up to debate, but JMS goes to painstaking lengths to make sure we know about his promises and then, even when it was still iffy on if he would have, he has the scene with the police officer asking him if he would let her fall to which the only interpretation left to us by Superman's failure to respond is that he was willing to let her die. Hell, he even had his own suicide speech about how someone died because of how much pain they were in and how he disagreed with it, but understood why they did it. He was going to let her fall in JMS's story.

And for the unfairness of life, that was a poorly written scene. He may not have meant it that way, but here's the scene in question for those wondering. He states that it's not fair that bad people didn't die. He even compares Gandhi to Manson as an example when it doesnt even make sense due to the vast differences in birthdates between the two and how it would make sense for Gandhi to be dead before Manson. He says its not fair that Manson "keeps hanging in there".

Due to the shortness of the review, I simply put the various problems out there. They are oversimplified for the purpose of the review, but I don't think they are wrong either. You're welcome to disagree though.

Anonymous said...


Maybe I am the only one here and after you read this you will all throw your hate to me but, I liked Superman #701.

Yes I liked it and here are the reasons why:
-At some point in our lives I know we all have asked at least once what are we doing here, what is our real mision in the world, why we do things, why we don't and the best way to set all of those things (at least for me and some folks) is by talking a walk... so why a superheroe would not do that? (plus the fact that as he states it if a crisis happen he will go to solve it and then comeback to the point where he left) so he has not stopped being a hero nor is being an asshole for not being what everybody else thinks he should do.

That's my appreciation anyways.

Michael David said...

I like the Quick-Shot review format. I end up reading more reviews since it's quicker, and the plus/minus signs grab my attention.

Kirk Warren said...

@skoce - I dont think I've misread it at all. As Steven (comment 6) points out, this isn't a Superman comic. JMS has completely missed what makes Superman work as a character and that is what makes this a terrible comic in my eyes - it gets Superman wrong on a fundamental level.

Anonymous said...

I think the superman review needed a full one or some images to show the points. just listin dickery doesnt show how bad this comic was. you didnt even mention the drug dealers. superman cant arrest them or enter there homes to get teh drugs and make them move out, so he commits arson and burns the drugs up. based ont eh art, those houses are going to burn down unless pillows can put out giant flames. and after being so awesome and proud of his arson he then preaches at an 8 year old kid about how people should stop drug dealers on their own whenever they move into their neighborhoods. news flash, normal people dont have guns and cops wont/cant stop them. the whole issue was like that with the sanctimonius preaching.

Anonymous said...

The whole point of the new Superman run is to show that one man cannot do everything. We all need to contribute to society. If Superman hadn't made the walk, he wouldn't have met any of these people. Your line of thinking suggests Superman would be in the wrong if these people had died and he wasn't there, you know, catching helicopters? The whole point is everyone must contribute.

Philipe said...

Did JMS really compared Charles Manson to Fidel Castro?? Castro may be a dictator, but that's going way too far. I don't like my superheroes mixed with the writer's own least not like that. It made me cringe. I agree with Kirk, that's NOT Superman. Horrible, horrible stuff.

Kirk Warren said...

@Anon 20 - Yes, it's clear what he ist rying to say, but that doesnt mean it's right. This isn't the real world. This isn't how Superman acts. JMS is soapboxing and doing so at the expense of Superman. And if everyone is supposed to contribute, it's a mixed message as he still solves all of their problems in this issue. He didn't inspire anyone - he just lived their lives for them.

andrewsaltz said...

@Iwasherefirst nails it with Spidey's mood. Remember that they totally screwed up his personal life. They also tried to kill Old-Rhino, sacrificed Matty, tortured Madame Web, abducted Arana and Spider-girl for the sole purpose of getting Peter.

It's been established that Spiderman gets really upset when others are hurt through his actions, and we've seen his power increase exponentially when he is really pissed off (I can only think of the what-if with Iron Man right now, but I'm sure there are others).

I agree that it was rushed...but I really enjoyed it. Cool site.

Kirk Warren said...

@andrewsaltz, Phillipe & Jean Claude Re: Grim Hunt - I agree with the assessment that more than what was hown in Grim Hunt contributed to his state of mind, but he was fairly happy go lucky (well, to an extent) to start this arc off, making jokes with Julia and later Arana, despite the fact he'd been through hell the last few months. He's also kind of put through hell all of the time.

I liked the issue and didn't think it was nitpicking to point out a few things on the negative side. They didn't affect my enjoyment and I doubt others will either. I'm not even saying Spidey isn't that strong - just that theyd been shown much more capable than this previously and just got taken down in a page or two each. Give this arc one more issue to show him take down everyone before they finish strong with the show down with Kraven in the final issue and it would have worked a lot better in my eyes. Could have shown Spidey getting progressively darker and built it up a little more than it was. Otherwise, I'm quite happy with how the story turned out.

Philipe said...

@Kirk - I understand your point, but that whole Kingpin comparison from Back In Black...I don't think writers tend to look back and say "Oh I can't write Spider like this because of that story from that guy". What I mean is, I don't think Joe Kelly would write his story differently because of past arcs lik BIB. Maybe he should, maybe they should all do this and respect what happened before, but most of them just ignore a lot of stuff when it comes to continuity. And I think a lot of people were rooting for Peter to behave exactly like he did there, all angry and relentless.

And as much as Kaine and Peter didn't get along, I think he considered him his "brother" in some way. So they did kill someone from his family, and his anger makes complete sense.

But his resurrection was just...just mind-boggling. He didn't even stay dead for 5 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Just look at the comments in this blog:

not all of the people have hated the jms first complete issue of superman.
Some of them have good points on it

Brad said...

"He was having heart complications and erratic heart beats. Most elderly people describe heart attacks with characteristics similar to heart burn. An erratic heart beat is not a good thing. So Superman decides its better to startle the old man by appearing so suddenly in front of him and then telling him to see a doctor about his heart problems and as fast as he possibly can. I don't think that's how Superman would react in that situation. That would scare the hell out of most people to be told in such a manner and you can't say an erratic heart beat for an old man is not something serious."

It seemed to me that he just walked up the man, not "appeared suddenly in front of him" and startled him.

Anonymous said...

I just read it and it was a little cheesy but also it has great moments, I would definetively recommend Superman #701. JMS really showed us another interesting face of the man of steel

JP said...

Since I started reading your reviews some time ago, I have respected your opinions even if I don't agree with them. This is the case with Superman #701.

First off on the issue of the old man with the heart problem: the old man was in danger of having a heart attack, and if Superman thought that he was going to have one then and there, he would have flown the old man to the hospital (I also believe that if suicide girl really jumped, Supeman would not have let her die).

Now, on the issue of the sucidial girl: I agree that the use of "good" people and "bad" people in the disscussion about fairness was a bit heavy-handed, much like "the slap" in the last issue, and I believe the switching these moments with references to New Krypton would have been better off.

I understand your point of view about this issue being JMS standing on a soapbox, and I think the ending sequence was again a bit heavy-handed, that Superman just saying that the guy could go out and save the world would have worked.

However, I while I believe JMS might be getting a little heavy-handed, I also believe that the message JMS is trying to tell in this stoy is that Superman is not GOD, that he can't make the world a better place on his own, he can help, but in the end only his fellow man can.

To support this view of JMS' story, (and to refute your snide comment,: "He asks this ordinary civilian out walking his dog why he doesn't go save the world like he expects Superman to do. Because, obviously, this man was going to stop Darkseid or a planet full of Kryptonians from wiping out all life as we know it.") I would like to refer you to the 90s show, "Superman: The Animated Series", the episode "Apokolips...Now!" part two. In the episode, Darkseid has beaten Superman and strapped him to his tank, and proceeds to tell Earth to bow before him. Dan Turpin not only challenges Darkseid, but frees Superman and rallies the people of Metropolis against Darkseid. When Darkseid is later forced to retreat, he kills Dan Turpin to spite Superman.

At Turpin's funeral, not only is his tombstone engraved with "Earth's Greatest Hero," but Superman himself eulogizes Turpin, stating "In the end, the world didn't really need a super man... just a brave one".

natureboyHH said...

I've never had the urge to answer an "avoid it" review until after reading, and re-reading, Superman 701.

Nick was right. Kirk's statements were very misleading and obstinate. This, when taken together with the foreboding "Reader Question" a few days ago and the "JMS - Visionary or Prima Donna" posted last December, indicates that scathing adjectives were already in mind before Kirk turned the first page.

Superman is taking a long walk across America to rediscover the people he swore to protect, and this time its not just about Lois Lane - superstar reporter, or any member of Superman's regular supporting cast. Its about that random old man who thought nothing of an impending heart ailment, or a depressed and suicidal woman already on a ledge. Compared to Darkseid, Braniac or 100,000 invading Kryptonians, these problems seem pedestrian, something that Superman shouldn't even bother with. The deaths of that old man or that depressed woman would not have mattered to the larger DCU, but by grounding himself, Superman is able to help those who were previously beneath his notice.

There are some who want Superman going on grand adventures, fighting an opponent or thwarting a threat that could challenge his formidable abilities. Then there are some who want to see him doing what JMS had in mind - on earth, helping every day people deal with their most serious every day problems. We had a year of "New Krypton" and "War of Supermen", and we got nothing but mediocrity. Lets give this story a chance.

Kirk, I respect what you started here at TWC, and your desire to keep the discussions in the comments section intelligent is something other sites should emulate. But should you suffer an itch to pickup Superman 702 for review, please don't. I think you were prejudiced coming into this.

Matt Duarte said...

@natureboyHH: I'm sure Kirk doesn't need me to defend his opinions, but if you look back in the archive, I'm sure that you'll notice that he constantly praised JMS' run on Thor, even comparing it to All-Star Superman. That kind of cramps your theory.

Anonymous said...

Superman#701 was a great story, It can be cheesy but I appreciate that JMS had the balls to put superman walking and trying to be more human (involving virtues and failures) something he has laked for some years now.


Dennis N said...

Hey Kirk,

Can you take a poll about Superman: Grounded as your next post?

Anonymous said...

The art was spectacular. Michael Lark really nailed the fight scenes and his Kraven was stunning. I loved the splashpage as Spider-Man finally met up with him after 'marking' Sasha. Their fight was brutal and powerful and worked on every level. And the glimpses of the future showing what would have happened if Peter had killed Kraven were excellent. He really nailed the mood of this arc and I think this was his strongest issue.

All these scenes are Marco Checchetto's art not Lark. :)

Chris said...

Basically from what I've gathered from various internet sites is that people who are long standing fans of Superman hated this issue while those who aren't that into Superman seemed to have liked it.....either way, I don't think the "bias" attacks and what not against Kirk are fair because I've read A LOT of very similar reviews on quite a few sites, way more than the possitive reviews (from what I've read). Just from glancing at the issue in the shop I'm pretty sure I would have hated it too.

Anonymous said...

I for one can not wait until superman 702, the scene of the woman wanting to commit suicide was so touching.. It really was well done.

Kudos to Eddy Barrows for his great designs layouts and emmotions in his drawings.


twobitspecialist said...

I don't know what you people expect Kirk to do. You want him to change his mind? You want him to re-write his review? The dude reviewed it and posted his opinion. He hated it. Clearly it wasn't a determining factor for y'all because a lot of you bought it or at the least byrned it and liked it. Once again, it's not a matter of objectivity. You guys just want validation for having bought what Kirk clearly thinks is a piece of trash. What do y'all care?

Kirk Warren said...

@twobitspecialist - I dont think its trash. It has some technically sound writing and good art. It's the fact it gets the character of Superman so fundamentally wrong in my eyes that makes it a terrible comic. It's like if someone had Spider-Man photoshop/doctor images and sell them to a newspaper or have him make a deal with the devil (shit, thats a JMS comic too, technically, though Joe Q was a major factor in it, guess that invalidates my reasoning by bias).

That's just plain terrible writing that does not get the character of Peter Parker and even if the story can be followed from start to finish and you can see what message they are tryign to tell with the writing, that does not make it right to turn a character into your soapbox and preach and act completely against the principles that define said character.

So, things liek Superman talking down to people or out of touch with humanity to the point he doesnt know how to order food properly or having him use his super powers to solve every little problem for people while simultaneously telling them that they should be heroes too and claiming that his powers dont define a hero just is not right to me.

But I agree with everything else you were saying about how my opinion should not invalidate their own enjoyment of the comic. To be honest, I wish I had done a full review instead to make points clearer. It is rather brunt when just put in single points like that and does not fully explain my reasoning behind each.

natureboyHH said...

@matt - "Was the conclusion of his Thor run the final straw for you as it was for me?" Kirk - December 2009. Thanks anyway.

@twobitspecialist - No validation needed. You asked, "what do y'all care?" People often forget that public statements are open to scrutiny, and when Kirk gave his opinion it would be asinine to expect no one to give a contradicting reply, most especially on a topic which, apparently, is a bit polarizing. You and I have as much right to provide insight as Kirk, otherwise TWC would have removed the comments section altogether.

@kirk - it would have been better if you addressed us directly, but I think you were able to say your piece. One question though - I keep reading how Superman is behaving out of character, but how exactly is he supposed to behave? Who is Superman supposed to be? And please don't say "truth, justice and the American way". Mine is a sincere question, and I will approach any sensible answer with an open mind. Perhaps if we "people" (as twobitspecialist called us) were informed of Superman's true nature, then we might consider Grounded under the same discerning light as you do.

Don't consider this as a personal attack on you or the rest of TWC. I've been following TWC since it first went online, and I still think its one of the better sites, as the staff and the followers somehow police themselves from trolling. But I believe I raised a fair question that deserves discourse.

To your credit, you seem like the only guy here who hated Superman 701 after ACTUALLY reading it.

twobitspecialist said...

Huh. I keep forgetting "people" sometimes sounds like an insult. Dang.

Matt Duarte said...

@natureboyHH: I think you should go back and read that article. The point of the article was not whether JMS is a good writer or not (I'm personally a fan of his run on Spider-Man, and like I said earlier, Kirk reviewed almost all of his Thor issues favorably), but rather the fact that he would always run into controversy in one way or another and not finish his assignment, or complain all the way to the finish line in a lame duck way. The "last straw" bit was about the frustration because of these problems that have plagued a lot of his projects, not because of the quality of his writing.

natureboyHH said...

@twobitspecialist - Wow, okay. Moving on.

@matt - I've read the article before, thanks. In case you didn't notice, my point was that Kirk's view was skewed even before he went into reading Superman 701, as indicated by his apparently misleading review, in corroboration with his more recent opinions on JMS not only in "Visionary or Prima Donna" but also in "Reader Question".

These two previous articles established Kirk's growing dislike of JMS and of his disapproval of Grounded, and I wouldn't have cared for his "Avoid It" ranking if not for the apparently misleading statements in his review, which I wasn't even the first to notice and point out.

Finally, Kirk also admitted that he could have handled the review better by posting, "It is rather brunt when just put in single points like that and does not fully explain my reasoning behind each."

I'm sure everyone who ACTUALLY read Superman 701 and took serious note of Kirk's vapid review appreciated this statement of his. Thats why I said "it would have been better if you addressed us directly, but I think you were able to say your piece" and asked him his view on what he thinks Superman should be doing, since Kirk has been consistent in saying that JMS' Superman is out of character. If Kirk, or anyone else in this forum, would give a sensible answer, I'm sure those who didn't approve of Kirk's review would give it some thought. I'm not being a troll here, I really want to know how others view Superman.

I hope to get some resolution on this, as the topic is evidently getting old. Still, thanks for your time, Matt.

twobitspecialist said...

OK, I see. I DO think JMS is writing Supes out of character. I WON'T give a sensible answer. I AM being a troll.

Yeah, natureboy, you just lost all credibility when you started accusing Kirk of not reading the book.

Ramon Villalobos said...

So then... people liked Superman 701, then, huh? I read it and thought he sounded like a dickhead as well. Superman saving a girl from suicide by talking to to death is not how Superman saves girls from suicide, we saw in All Star Superman how he does that.

Also, let's not forget that Pa Kent DIED OF A HEART ATTACK. That doesn't trigger some emotional response to him beyond him going, "Hey bro, you should get these irregular heart beats checked out." It just seemed so weird for such an emotionless Superman. I think JMS is approaching this from the vantage point of Superman being an alien, but he's forgetting that he grew up in a small town in the middle of Kansas. Even if he was rediscovering America, he shouldn't do it in such a detached manner. It's just flat out wrong.

But enough about that, Batman is more important. I agree for the most part. Morrison seemed to do this almost begrudgingly for the people that complained that the timeline between RIP and Final Crisis didn't make sense. Even after he wrote a quick scene into the Final Crisis/RIP tie in, people didn't quite get that Batman survived and then went on being Batman because the story was called RIP. So he just filled in the blanks and what we got was... well Batman 701. Not that it was bad, we got a glimpse of Bruce being vulnerable and insecure for pretty much the first time in Morrison's run. Instead of the ultra confident badass, he was kind of just a normal guy that had just been through some heavy shit. His interaction with the teenage girl made me laugh because he remembered that girl's name. I guess he would because he remembers everything, but that interaction seemed lighthearted for a Bruce Wayne Batman.

The one thing I disagree with you on is Tony Daniel's art. I thought it was serviceable for RIP because it was so dark and gritty and it was filled to the brim with darkly lit psychotic imagery but this story didn't have that tone. It was a more down to earth story and it maginfied Daniel's flaws to me. One thing that particularly caught my attention was that Tony Daniel is drawing wrists with a Liefeldian thickness. It's straight forearm to fist. His poses are all a bit stiff because he can't rely on his badass action poses that he got to draw leading up to and during RIP. That said, I see the Quietly influence in a few pages, particularly around the area when he's in the cave and then the submarine. It's a shame that's not consistent through the book because it's a good look.

quietomega said...

I don't think I've read anything as divisive as Superman 701; it seems to have more detractors and supporters than Final Crisis or Batman RIP.

I liked the issue, but I get the problems with it; if the arc is going to be like this all throughout I'll end up dropping the book. The suicidal woman sequence was over-done; it's hard not to negatively compare it to what Morrison did in All Star Superman, which was more heartfelt and succinct.

But I thought it was a pretty solid start. I like the basic premise of the arc, and it's an interesting take on the character.

I guess I liked Batman 701 more than anyone else here. It's the first in a while that Morrison wrote about the mindset of Bruce rather than placing him in a big plot. As much as I've enjoyed Morrison's Batman run so far, it's felt emotionally cold to me until this point

natureboyHH said...

@twobitspecialist - you're just all over the place. i was hoping you'd let it be but okay, let me point your apparently short attention span to my last sentence in my second post.

run along now, sport. the grown-ups are talking.

@ramon villalobos and quietomega - all this Superman stuff held me from reading Batman 701. There is a distinct change in Daniel's style, and perhaps it would be better to tone down the muscles but i welcome this development in him, as I wasn't a big fan of his work in RIP and RoBW. Its not the strongest Morrison work I've read but he got to show us a different Bruce, who was visibly shook up and a bit vulnerable.

twobitspecialist said...

@natureboy - You are BAD MAN, and I am not talking to you anymore! Hmph!

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