I hate Grant Morrison

I hate Grant Morrison.

Grant Morrison’s story lines are weird, convulated and difficult to understand.

Before all the Grant Morrison fans out there get their panties in a bunch and accuse me of being narrow minded and not seeing the genius of His Excellency’s method in breathing new life into a genre exhausted by cliches and cheesiness, let me clarify something…

I do enjoy Morrison’s independent works. He shows people why the medium is unique in bringing to life abstract ideas and images not possible by any other. He also shows us what amazing story telling potential the medium has.

Unfortunately, my gripe with him involves all his dabbling into established franchises. To be fair, the Big 2 has been actively seeking out “sexy” (read:popular) independent creators and putting them onto projects which might or might not suit the creator’s personal style.

To be fair, some of these “imported” creators have been bloody brilliant. Examples that spring to mind includes Garth Ennis’ bloodiness and gore in Punisher and Ed Brubaker’s penchant for writing noir and fleshing out the irredeemable hero in Daredevil.

Morrison’s weirdness just does not sit well with franchised work. His decision to make the X Men wear black leather, while sexy and in line with the movie at that time, has been quickly flipped flopped once he was off the line. Batman R.I.P. while quaint, just did not appeal to me. I think my tolerance stopped at Ninja Man Bat Assassins.

Morrison’s big shakeup for the DC universe was “TECHNICALLY” killing Batman during Final Crisis.

But we all know that Bruce Wayne was too big to kill. Everyone knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne and Bruce Wayne is Batman. Nobody expects DC to try to establish Dick Grayson as Batman. It was simply a matter of time before Bruce Wayne returns as Batman.  Batman came back for a cameo as a zombie in Blackest Night but he couldn’t stay to play. So the question on everyone’s mind is “Where the hell is Bruce Wayne?”

If you pause to think about it, Bruce Wayne had not featured prominently in the DC Universe in some time. He “disappeared” along with the other Big 2 for a year during 52. And quickly after, he was “killed” in Final Crisis.

Personally I am starting to warm to the concept of Dick Grayson as Batman. Bruce Wayne’s Batman, while not Superman was invulnerable, in his own way. He was dark and scary and totally BadAss. He could take on serious big guns like Darksied and even Superman through tactical (and Toys… i mean equipment) superiority.

Back to Grant Morrison. The latest issue of Batman and Robin marks the start of the “Return of Bruce Wayne”. So far in the series, we’ve already seen the Batman of Britain, the Squire (Robin of Britain), Doppelganger Batman, Lazarus Pit-rified Batman, Failed Clones of Batman, dead Batwoman, revived Batwoman. Morrison seemed to be writing wierd for wierdness’ sake again.

That is until issue #10. All the Batman storylines of the past 2 years seemed to be finally coming together. True. The issue is still weird as hell, but it seems to suggest that minor plotlines and unresolved issues from Morrison’s run on the whole Gotham franchise ties down to one big bomb that is going to drop on us in The Return of Bruce Wayne.

I know a whole lot of weirdness is going to come down from that. But maybe, just maybe, I might enjoy this Morrison run.

The Bat is Dead, Long Live the Bat

Death of Batman, Final Crisis, Superman, Batman, Superman carrying Batman

I’ve spoken about this before but nothing prepared me for Omega Beam Fried Batman.

This post is a bit late, coming to the party. The cynical among you would diss this as just another publicity attempt and that Bats would “return from the dead” soon enough.

To that, I say… “Bah”

We already know that Bats (version: Bruce Wayne) is not dead from the final pages of Final Crisis. But this doesn’t stop DC from dishing out a plethora of “Life after Batman” stories.

Unlike the publicity stunt that was Death of Superman, the follow up stories to the death of the Bat were surprisingly good. The ongoing “Battle of the Cowl” series brilliantly highlighted many of the bits characters of the Bat-verse fighting it out to see who would be the next Batman.

Of course, special mention goes to “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader” by, who else, Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman Batman, Whatever happened to the caped crusader, alfred, batman, cape

I got the comics a few weeks ago.  I had to visit 3 comics shop before being able to acquire Part 2 and Part 1 of the tale… at a cut throat price. I had to do it all with a ranting Girlfriend in tow.

So, the question to ask is… Was it worth it?

To be honest I bought the books based solely on the brand name of Neil Gaiman.

I am a Blind Fan.

And to be even more honest, I kinda hated the books on the first reading. It felt like Neil Gaiman was trying to outweird Grant Morrison, who, of course was the guy responsible for the death of Batman in the first place. (Check out: Batman: R.I.P. and Final Crisis for more information)

Grant Morrison is weird. Grant Morrison has a HUGE fan base from him being weird. Reading a Grant Morrison story is like trying to ride a roller coaster through the House of Mirrors while ingesting copious amounts of Magic Mushrooms.

I don’t like Grant Morrison.

Neil Gaiman, on the other hand, Neil Gaiman wrote the Sandman, for goodness sake. I simply cannot believe that he weird write just for weird writing’s sake. I had to assume he was doing a “Game of You” again. “Game of You”, for the uninitiated is one of the Sandman collection featuring Barbie (yup, actual name and not the doll) and her adventures into her dreamland. The story features a talking cockatoo, a man with a chestful of blackbirds (chest as in breast and not the wooden variety) and  witches traveling by way of menses.

Hated the story the first time. Loved it on re-reading.

So I dug out “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader” again today to give it a second reading.

whatever happened to the cape crusader gaiman batman

Ok. Even on the second reading, I wouldn’t say it is a story that would live on through the ages.

But it’s starting to read good.

You start to appreciate how the various eras of Batman is represented in the stories.

You’ll appreciate the “Dream” leimotiff (fancy french word for snails) that Gaiman has since the start of his career.

You’ll see how Gaiman used the various short stories scattered in the series to showcase different aspects of the Batman myth. It’s almost like Neil Gaiman’s love letter to Batman.

There is even a central message through the whole story. A message of “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you die. People will always remember you for something. And that something depends on how you lived your life. On your part, you just die at the end of the day.”

I kinda like that.

By the Power Cosmic

I had the scare of my life.

Just finished Annihilation (Marvel’s space event of 2007) and thought that I’ve finally *gasp* grown out of superhero comics. I bought book 1 and 2 of the trades based on reviews of how it totally redefined story telling of space adventure stories.

I’ve not been much of a fan of space adventures/sci fi stories in the first place but thought that this’ll be  as good a chance as any to try it out.

Annihilation, novaAnnihilation, silver surferAnnihilation, super skrullAnnihilation, ronan

First off, the art (or at least cover art) of the entire series is to die for. Seriously, they’re gorgeous! And the story telling and pacing ain’t bad either. I’m not that familiar with Marvel’s pantheon of space characters (I think they’re pretty lame. I mean, seriously… Ronan the Accuser??) but it was still pretty cool to see a newer, streamlined Drax the Destroyer (see!) tear (literally) Thanos a new one. Of course no one expect THAT to last for long (reference: Super Skrull) (actually, reference: any comic character that’s been dead. I’m looking at you, Uncle Ben!)

Thanos, Drax, Annhilation

So what sucked so badly about the Annihilation series then? The interior art? Not really. They’re not exactly Mignola or Ross standard (ah… The pleasure of geeky name dropping. Being a nerd rules!) but they’re alright. The epic fight scenes are believeable (well…as believeable as any intergalactic fights between super powered beings can be) and not too messy. You can still make out who was on the receiving end of who’s power blasts.

My main gripe was that at the end of book 2, I was told that it was only book 2 of 3! That’s right. To follow the whole series, I’ll need to buy 3 not too cheap trades (setting me back almost 100 bucks) which is a reflection on the industries over bloated and kinda exploitative marketing mechanism. The last calculation for anyone who wanna follow the full story of DC’s “Final Crisis” or Marvel’s “Secret Invasion” was AT LEAST US$115 and US$317 respectively. Shocking!

Annihilation book 3

At that point, I was all but ready to swear off super hero comics.

Then I watched “Hulk” in the cinemas and was reminded why spandex (in this case, stretchy purple pants) rocks. (also, as of now, “Secret Invasion” is living up to all the hype)

Did I mention my wallet’s gonna be dry?