Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Worst. Comic. Book. Ever.
In case you can't tell from the craptacular cover, I'm referring to Countdown #26. Oh, wait, sorry, Countdown to Final Crisis #26.
OK, maybe not the worst ever. But as hard as it might be to believe, as bad as Countdown has been, this issue not only lowers the bar, it plunges it beneath the Earth to new depths of awfulness. Seriously, this book damned near made me kill myself to prevent me from writing this, so that many fewer people would be exposed to it.
Where to start, where to start?? How about this: given the re-titling, you would think that this would be the perfect place to try and drag new readers into it, and to refocus the stories. And the story sort of tries, but fails so miserably on every level that it makes Civil War look like a work of art.
What are it's failings?
A) 17 of the 22 pages--yes, 17--are Monitors standing around talking to each other (or rather, mostly one Monitor lecturing the 50 others). And given that only 2 Monitors have been given any personality whatsoever ("Bob" and "Asshole"), and Bob's not even there, you can imagine how riveting any of their debates are. B-O-R-I-N-G. Worse then boring--didactic and tedious.
Even worse, this debate/lecture is meant to try and unify the diverse storylines Countdown has been presenting for the past half year. And in the greatest example of "tell, rather than show" since Brad Meltzer's JLA run, we see screens in the background portraying the action while Monitor "Asshole" narrates and explicates their importance. It's an exposition dump!! 26 issues worth of exposition dump!! Huzzah, that really makes me want to follow this more!
B) Despite purporting to unify the storylines we've been seen, and asserting that they're all "being orchestrated by a single will," they completely ignore several of the storylines. No mention whatsoever is made of the Piper/Trickster arc or the Holly/Amazons arc. None. Not a syllable. So are we to supposed to assume that those arcs AREN'T part of our mysterious adversary's master plan? Have we been wasting our time following these stories (not that Trickster's constant homophobic jokes while the pair ping-pong from stupid slapstick encounter with powerful person to stupid slapstick encounter with powerful person needs justification)? Or, did we just run out of room to talk about them? Maybe you shouldn't have made 3 of those 17 pages splashes, huh?
Plus, the Mary Marvel/Eclipso arc gets exactly 1 sentence. Maybe the writers are as bored with it already as we are.
C) Sometimes, it seems like Dini et al have these wonderful story conferences where they work everything out, but they kind of forget that we weren't there, so they never actually explain it to us. Such as, twice in this issue, Asshole refers to our beloved Challengers of the Unknown as "space-time anomalies." Now, I've questioned this before--there's no conceivable way you can say Kyle Rayner is somehow a space-time anomaly, and the case is pretty week for Jason Todd and Donna Troy. Yet, Dini keeps running this out there again and again and again, without even an attempt to explain it.
Such as, Asshole describes Monarch's plan as, "He deliberately seeks to upset the balance, to destabilize the multiverse by staging a war across the 52 realities...resulting in a crisis that will, as has happened in the past, reducing the multiverse to one unified reality. A reality he intends to rule as absolute Monarch." See, this is great storytelling. Why bother to actually show us ANY of this, ANYWHERE, when you can just tell us? A major hero in the DC universe has gone evil and has an insane master plan? Why bother to show our readers, or give any characterization to justify this, when we can just have an exposition dump??
I could go on...but this issue made me feel like this:
One Countdown I do approve of is the countdown to my 100th post--coming Thursday night(ish), I promise it won't involve Pied Piper or the Trickster at all. Really. No promises about Karate Kid, though.