Thursday, December 10, 2009

Breef Thots

ITEM! One of the primary reasons for Wonder Woman's consistent unpopularity is the dogged insistence on keeping all of her adventures tied so intimately to her origins in Greek mythology. I don't know why, but DC's interpretation of Greek & Roman mythology is just the most boring thing ever. I know it's crucial to her origin and all, but George Perez's revamped Greek pantheon is just so po-faced that it's dramatically inert, and every attempt to sell me otherwise over the past twenty-odd years has failed miserably. This would be like if every single Captain America story had to be about World War II in some substantial way. The last Wonder Woman stories I can remember actively enjoying were the first year or so of Byrne's run, and in hindsight I realize that was because he made a conscious decision to separate the character from all the accrued mythos and tell some fun action stories. But everyone since has gone back to the mythology well, and it's just about run dry: every single story is about Wonder Woman's hyper-developed sense of responsibility and absolute stoicism in the face of adversity. If I had to pick one word to define her character in 2009, it would be "obligation." Everything she does is defined by obligation. How is that supposed to be fun? Hell, how is that supposed to be any kind of role model for young girls - look at your fictional role model, she's defined by a punishing, rigorously ascetic sense of obligation to powerful authority figures and religious upbringing. Score!!! Order me two of those, plz.

ITEM! Superman's current "New World of Krpyton" storyline is going to eventually be remembered as Superman's Clone Saga. Think about it: sure, it has some vocal defenders, but so did the Clone Saga, up until the very end. It might not be as aggressively bad, but it makes up for that in sheer, stultifying boredom. Just like the Clone Saga it takes the protagonist's unique attributes and spreads them out over a large cast of secondary characters no one cares about, which has the double effect of stripping the main character's unique status and also diluting the reader's patience across a dozen stand-ins. You can make an argument that the profusion of new Kryptonians and Metropolis stand-ins filling "New World of Krypton" are supposed to highlight just how special and unique Superman actually is, just like all the nightmarish clones and freakshow variations were supposed to make Peter Parker stand out - but no, it doesn't work that way. Having a hero fight a bazillion versions of himself is about the worst possible premise for an adventure story possible, and is pretty much an admission that you've run out of stories to tell that don't involve some kind of metatextual admission of just how confused and thematically muddled the franchise has actually become. (Pay attention, Fall of the Hulks!)

ITEM! How the heck did the Supreme Intelligence appear in that Dark Avengers annual? Didn't the Supremor's soul get sucked into Wraith during Annihilation: Conquest? Plus: Marvel Boy is an extra-dimensional Kree, so how did the 616 Supremor know who Noh-Varr was? Is the answer to all the above just "because Bendis"?

ITEM! You know you've taken some wrong turns in life when you regard the return of Top Dog as a totally sincere bit of awesome.

Seriously, Marvel: you want some Top Dog? I'm your man.

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