Don’t read these, please: Final Crisis: Secret Files, Batman: Cacophony

I am a DC Comics sort of guy, which means a couple of things; I am classier than your average, Marvel-slobbin’ geek, with a refined taste for the true essence of super hero mythology, and I tend to get a firm tuckus-reaming for it by none other than DC Editorial, a group of what I can only presume are the psychotic-est of sadomasochists, the sort of people that I guess get their rocks off pleasing their devoted fanbase only to follow up by defiling all vestiges of quality with their putrid bloodshit machine.

Last week, we were treated to two such resultants of this vile mechanism. First:

Final Crisis: Secret Files. The fucking Hell is this shit? Grant Morrison presents readers with an innovative, frightening, modern take on Jack Kirby’s legendary New Gods concept in Final Crisis, and someone along the way decides to shovel up this soggy, self-gratifying dreck as a suitable background for the previously menacing new villain Libra, once a primary point of interest in the epic crossover series, now reduced to being the shittiest piece of shit this side of the shattering of the Paradise Dimension in Infinite Crisis. (Lord Christ almighty has DC ever come up with a good idea without sullying it with a slew of really, really bad ones?) Mostly written by Len Wein but branded with the names of Grant Morrison and JG Jones, assuredly to promote sales in the most underhanded way possible, Final Crisis: Secret Files is an origin story for Libra done in catastrophically awkward style that attempts to emulate early 70s Fourth World stuff, a dismal failure executed with such wonkiness that it simultaneously makes us pine for the good ol’ days while reminding us why we left them behind to begin with. The whole thing looks like it was made in that cheesy Mac OSX comic book program. To add insult to injury, there’s some shoddy back-up content (done by favorite creators like Morrison, Jones, and Greg Rucka to salt the wound a bit) that basically nuts on the Final Crisis project without providing anything even remotely worthwhile. Grant Morrison’s write-up about the Anti-Life Equation at the end is enough to lacquer even the most devoted fanboy’s face red with embarassment. (For the record, the problem with the explanation is threefold; 1) the violence and devestation in Final Crisis work damn well because they defy explanation, 2) it’s obvious that the whole thing came about because some editor was all, “Yo, Grant, write something so we can slap your name on this rag!” and 3) some things are just better left to the imagination, Christ.) It’s pretty clear that DC’s trying to bleed this one dry. Still, given the primo quality of Final Crisis and its tie-ins so far, one fudged attempt is almost forgiveable, except now we know that Libra is pretty much a worthless throwaway character, so fuck that noise.

Batman: Cacophony. Surely the ripest of turd enchiladas. Kevin Smith, an occasionally brilliant writer (Clerks, Clerks II, Dogma, Green Arrow), but far from a guaranteed talent (Jersey Girl, Zack and Miri Make a Porno), squirts out this puerile Batman story, now in its second of three parts. Absolutely the most amateurish portrayal of the character and his universe in recent memory, Smith attempts to sell us with violence, nasty jokes, and cliche, completely off-kilter characterization. Batman’s never been more boring (or offensive; after being sprung from Arkham Asylum in the first issue, the Joker disrobes and offers his behind for his benefactor to plunder if he so pleases), and I’ve never been more disappointed in a comic series. Kevin Smith redefined the Green Arrow in his seriously bitchin’ run nine years ago; now he’s selectively falling back on Batman history (a reference to Azrael in the most recent issue shows a nod to continuity, while everything else shows that Smith has no idea what the character’s been up to for the past 15 years) while excreting a decrepit plot that will surely do no favors to the continuing mythology of the DCU. If I was an editor, I would have rejected this script that reads more like an awful fan fiction than a $4, heavily publicized landmark of a comic book. Instead, DC’s tossin’ this shit around, probably selling many, many copies because, hey, Kevin Smith and Batman, and readers ain’t gettin’ squat out of it but pink eye. Who’s in charge of quality control over there? I don’t see how DC plans to close the market share gap between itself and Marvel with crappy products like this. Alas.

 

Jeez, don’t even get me started on how they’re handling the core Batman series these days. It’s a mess, I tells ya. (Nerd rage nerd rage lol? I think posts like these are why bloggers get all the pussy. All the pussy.)

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