Once again, it’s last week’s haul this week. And once again, it’s a small one:
- Countdown #47 of 52 (backwards), by Paul Dini, Sean McKeever, & Tom Derenick (DC)
- Jack of Fables #11, by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges & Steve Leialoha (DC/Vertigo)
- Welcome to Tranquility #7 by Gail Simone, Neil Googe & Stephen Molnar (DC/Wildstorm)
- Ms. Marvel #16, by Brian Reed, Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan (Marvel)
The blogosphere has been abuzz about Countdown, and the trend doesn’t seem to be good. The Invincible Super-Blog hates it (my preciousssss…), while Living Between Wednesdays thinks it’s okay. Meanwhile, Comics Should Be Good quotes Jerry Ordway on the darkening of Mary Marvel; Ordway was the architect of SHAZAM!’s most recent successful revival, and he isn’t wild about what they’re doing (and I can certainly see his point). Lastly, Comix Experience observes that orders at their store for Countdown are plummeting quickly.
I’m pretty much with Rachelle at LBW: It’s entertaining, it’s not as good as 52. But then, we’re only 5 weeks in, and I don’t reall the first 5 weeks of 52 being any great shakes, either. (BTW, I’ve heard rumors that Countdown will lead into something called Final Crisis, which is alluded to in the current JLA/JSA team-up. But if you think I believe the word “Final” will actually play true, then I’ve got an abandoned satellite headquarters to sell you…)
This issue of Jack of Fables is my last. It hasn’t found the balance of characters and storylines that Fables did, and this issue shows just how thoroughly unlikeable Jack is as a character, and why he therefore can’t really carry the series. Which is unfortunate, since it’s his series. I gave it a good try, but it doesn’t work for me.
It’s slowly sinking in that Welcome to Tranquility reminds me of nothing so much as Alan Moore’s enjoyable run on Supreme from a decade or so back: The old super-heroes in the present day, the new generation, the occasional old-style flashbacks to previous adventures, and the hint of kitsch in the characters’ catch-phrases. A deliberate homage? Hard to say, since Moore’s approach to superheroes and their legacies is pervasive in modern comics, between Watchmen, Supreme and Tom Strong. Tranquility is a little weird since its characters are so mostly pretty far afield of the archetypes we’re used to (well, that I’m used to), so there’s no real sense of nostalgia but there’s a strong sense that there should be.
I’m not really sure what to make of the total package: There are things I like, and things I don’t, and the whole is strange and off-beat, but doesn’t feel fresh or entirely satisfying. Is Simone just nutty in a different way from your typical comics writer (and since your typical comics writer is a man, the answer is probably “yes, and that’s a good thing”), or is Tranquility just an experiment that doesn’t quite gel? Maybe both.