Monday, February 12, 2007

A Quandary Of Sorts

Conversation Between 2 Guys Buying Comics:

RANDY: You know, your man Hawkman's back.

ME: That's so awesome! Finally! Now we can get back to some good old face-kicking, skull-bashing, forbidden-love-unrequiting, somewhat-disturbing-wing-harness-wearing action!

RANDY: He's in Justice Society of America.

ME: Oh. Huh. Well, shoot. Never mind, then.

You see, dear friends, I loves the Hawkpeople to no end, and the characters of Carter "THWACK!" Hall and Kendra "KRAKK!" Saunders in particular. So what's the problem?

The problem is that I don't want to read Justice Society of America.

Keep in mind I have read exactly six issues of Geoff Johns' JSA in my entire life. So, with a relaunch, and coming in with a blank slate and little to no prior knowledge of the series, you might think that there's no reason for me to not give it a shot, right?

Wrong. And my reasons are listed below. But I'm asking for you, comicsblogoweb, to help me out here.

1) Geoff Johns. He's writing it. I just cancelled Green Lantern (more about that later this week), and at this point I think I need a little less Geoff Johns writing in my life. As I've said before, it's not that I think he's a bad writer, it's just... well, it's that he doesn't bring anything to the table for me personally as a draw to picking up a new series.

It's kind of the opposite of the way Kurt Busiek's name was enough to tip me over the edge into buying Aquaman, and the way Walt Simonson kept me buying Hawkgirl for three Godforsaken issues, and the way Gail Simone could solicit a 12-issue series called "Iron Man Sucks Hippo Ass", and I'd pay for the whole series up front.

At this point, if I see Johns' name on the front, I think "Probably won't be terrible," and "Probably won't be terrible" is not exactly a ringing endorsement for me.

2) The cast. Take the cover to #1, for example. Aside from Hawkman, Mr. Terrific (who's really impressed me in Checkmate), and the occasional Alan Scott (who's also been really cool in Checkmate), I just don't have any interest in any of the characters.

Jay Garrick just reminds me of how DC ruined the Flash with Infinite Crisis; the very mention of Power Girl makes me instinctively turn away because of DC's insistence on stuffing her down our throats for the last year and a half; and Dr. Mid-Nite is little more than an amusing middle finger in the face of conventional spelling and punctuation rules as far as I'm concerned.

(I know, I know. The comicsblogoweb seem to think Wildcat is all that and a sack of sunshine, but... eh.)

So in a team book this loaded with characters (the majority of which I don't know or don't particuarly like), the chances of it being Hawkman-centric aren't big enough to spend my 3 bucks on. And I've been burned by New Avengers in the same manner re: Iron Man.

(Damn you, Bendis. Damn your cold, black heart.)

3) My brain is getting full. Everywhere I look, I see the same thing written about JSA -- it's a book about legacies and connecting the Golden Age with the present, and the myriad of plots and continuity nods and whatnot. And that's great, there should be books like that.

Maybe it's because I'm lazy, or maybe it's because it seems like for some reason this "relaunch" was targeted at people who were already reading JSA, but I'm just not sure I want to delve into a dense pocket of DC continuity; and the promotional copy and everything else I read gives me the impression that I'm going to have to sit down and read through the DC Encyclopedia seven times before I understand what's going on.

(Side Note: This is where Geoff Johns writing the book starts to seem like a deterrent to me, as Johns is all about the continuity porn, and I'm afraid that's all I'm going to get here.)

(Additional Side Note: I realize full well the irony of this, as Hawkman is pretty much the poster boy for the phrase "dense pocket of DC continuity". )

(Son of Additional Side Note: Lest you think I'm anti-DC continuity, this is also the reason I ignored Marvel's Thunderbolts and the thirty-seven X-Men series they've produced in the last 15 years.)

4) In my warped and twisted world, every copy of Justice Society of America I don't buy means I bought an imaginary copy of Hawkman's own non-existent solo book. I have no explanation for this other than the massive cranial injury I sustained when attempting to read Civil War #6.

(I know, everyone wants their favorite characters to have a solo book. I realize full well that I am symptomatic of a lowest common denominator.)

(And if you think I made that last reason up just to get a cheap shot in at Civil War... then you know me too well.)

Look, I understand the insanity of intentionally ignoring what is by all accounts a well-written, engaging team book. But I've become guarded and a bit more discriminatory with the pull list, and I just don't have it in me to add a book that I just can't get excited about, even if one of my favoritest characters is in it regularly.

That said, if DC announced tomorrow that Hawkman was relaunching with a new #1 written by Mark Millar with pencils by Rob Liefeld, I would still pick up the first three issues, no questions asked. I am such a comic fan hypocrite.

(Of course, it would take ten months for those three issues to actually hit the stands, so maybe that's a bad example.)

How about it? Am I insane, lazy, or some Ellis-ian combination of the two? What comics do you feel the same way about?

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Blogger CalvinPitt said...

I don't think it's insane. Or lazy. You're being discerning. I do that all the time. For example:

I like Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Woman and Dr. Strange, but there's no way in hell I'm going back to New Avengers.

I'm a fan of Ray Terrill (the 2nd Ray), but I really don't care enough about this new batch of Freedom Fighters he's working with enough to buy that. Plus, I looked through the last issue and they brought Major Force back...again. Let him die!!!!

I like the Punisher, but having grown accustomed to Garth Ennis' model, have no interest in Punisher War Journal.

On the flip side of all this, Nova is getting his own series, and you damn well better believe I'm throwing down change for that.

1:56 PM  
Blogger redlib said...

Welcome Back, boys, by the way. My first instinct to your headline was - Hey, I like JSA and Eaglesham's art. You make some good points, particulary about the cast, and Johns complete and creepy obsession re: PG. Maxine Hunkel, the new redh

It's like TV these days- everyone tells me I haaaave to watch The Office, or Ugly Betty, or Medium..I'm just over taxed with the 10 shows I do watch, and Tivo's suggestions.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

I refuse to read the new Nova series based on that new helmet. Hate to tell you Marvel. Its a bucket, hence the term buckethead. Its not some medieval wanna be something or other centurion helmet that you want us to think it is. Bring back the bucket and you got yourself another reader.

Am I alone here?

PS: Hawkman? Psssh! Everyone knows that Condor rules the school when it comes to birdlike heroes/villians!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Glad I am not the only one that thinks JSA ia a tad overrated. I like a lot of Johns stuff but, the first issue was "meh". About the only reason I am even still reading it is because Wildcat makes the occasional appearance but, even that excuse is starting to wear out.

"Jay Garrick just reminds me of how DC ruined the Flash with Infinite Crisis;"

I honestly believe The Flash is gradually becoming the bastard child of the DC. The characterization of Bart lately by Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson has been downright awful. Who wants to read a book that has Bart whining and moaning, on how his life is so rough now, pft, yeah super-speed is such a pain, next he'll have to fend off hot is so rough. Speaking of The Flash, where in the heck is freaking Wally West.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Fortress Keeper said...

I love the JSA, but am not buying the book.

Geoff Johns' continuity porn is the primary reason, plus the fact that the guy's work is so freakin' joyless.

Johns heroes usually mope about, except for the one annoying character he puts in every book that's supposed to be light-hearted but comes off like a twit.

Oh, and somebody's family is sure to be murdered ...

In fact, I'm of the opinon that the former Earth-2 denizens aren't the same characters I read in Golden Age reprints. Those guys lived on some other world and retired with dignity.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I for one will be trying out the new Nova, even though it is a Marvel book, but at least its cosmic and HOPEFULLY Civil War won't touch Marvel Cosmic.
Who am I kidding, its the Joe Q world, I'll lose.
Better yet, maybe the Cosmic Heroes can all register with the Kree, or the Shi'ar?
Then we can have a big ass fight over who can register with who.
Maybe I'll just register at my local pawn shop.

9:59 PM  
Blogger SallyP said...

I'll have to be the party pooper here, and say that I'm actually enjoying JSA. On the other hand, I'm fairly new to it, so it is all interesting for me.

And I find Hawkman to be...rather rude.

9:29 AM  

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