Department of Redundancy Dept

Three DC books out this week can sum up where the comic book industry started, where it went and where it is going. To whit: Justice League of America #58, Brightest Day Aftermath #1 of 3, and Flashpoint: Kid Flash #1 of 3.

Superhero comics became the driving genre because they were amazingly ungrounded power plays starring glorious yet identifiable gods and goddesses.  Justice League of America #58 has a bunch of highly attractive lads and lasses in skin-tight costumes fighting celestial powers to save the entire universe. Dang! That sure beats reading about Prince Valiant or Mary Worth, now doesn’t it?

Every party has a pooper, and the Silver/Golden age of comics had a big one: repetition. It’s hard to evoke suspense about saving the Universe when you know the comic is solicited for monthly books from now till kingdom come. I think Superman is going to save the day…without a Universe what will they put in the next issue?

Enter Alan Moore, the genius behind Watchmen who figured out that the enemy within is always more compelling than the enemy without, and that truth is ALWAYS stranger than fiction.

Brightest Day Aftermath #1 of 3 has Superman, Batman, and Zatana running afoul of John Constantine, the chain-smoking English street mage, on a search of the Swamp Thing. In another light, this book is “Let’s introduce the two DC characters most identified with Alan Moore to a new generation of Cape-and-Cowl kids who might not know them from Adam West.”

These characters, and those they’ve inspired, have been off in DC Vertigo, DC’s imprint for darker and more surreal titles. Recently DC has invited Constantine and Swamp Thing back into the mainstream line, just as the avant-garde of yesterday always becomes the tepid breakfast tea of tomorrow.

And I’m not complaining! I like Batman using super powered exhibitionists like The Atom and Donna Troy as if they were chess pieces, ala Justice League. I like more character driven tales like the adventures of good ole’ John “Don’t call me Keanu” Constantine.

It’s win/win…though if you win/win some you have to lose/lose some.

THE FUTURE?

If it ain’t a crossover, it ain’t a comic book. Flashpoint: Kid Flash #1 of 3 continues the adventures of Bart Allen a.k.a. Impulse to those who remember the 90’s and “Just another Flash in a galaxy of Flashes” to those who don’t.

Kid Flash is indicative of the Big two’s current philosophy: go big event or go home! Sure, a die-hard Flash fan would love a new monthly Impulse book, but the curious completist might only pick up a Bart Allen comic IF it was a tie-in to the big summer event Flashpoint. I’m sure it’s a good book, but can’t you promote a good title on its own merits, not on its tie-in status?

I hope you like summer events, because, unlike the Game of Thrones world, summer is here and it ain’t leaving anytime soon.

UNKIEDEV’S PICK OF THE WEEK

Scary Godmother Comic Book Stories TP by Jill Thompson is funny, cute, perfect and accessible to all. EVERYBODY should get this book and see how comics can be done right! Dark Horse continues to blaze a trail for innovative comics by collecting every Scary Godmother comic in one central location…a masterful tome of fun and whimsy.

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