Last Week’s Pulls, Week of 3-1-23
I’d actually enjoyed Superman issue one so much that I thought I’d pop over and see what’s going on in Action Comics. Oh wait, there’s that super team that I wasn’t interested in…
It’s a difficult place to start too. I don’t know where a lot of these characters came from and it just seems like they’re all there, jumbled together. The book isn’t terribly accessible to new readers. Oh well, I wasn’t that interested in it anyway.
I also saw a new Spider Gwen series. I was hoping it would be a good jumping on point, but really, it’s just more of the same. I am so tired of the endless parade of derivatives that we’re getting out of the spiderverse. It almost seems like because Spider Gwen was a knock off herself, that the only people that she can hang out with are clones and other knock offs. Spider Gwen Octopus… Spider Gwen Sandman… it’s all really tiresome. Gwen herself was an interesting creation, but it seems like Marvel just doesn’t have any idea what to do with her right now, so it’s just variant after variant. I really would rather us just get back to good storytelling.
Can you tell it’s been an unsatisfying week? Even the Rogue and Gambit first issue was a little confusing. I’m always glad to see these two, and I do like the whole look that they’re giving Gambit now. It’s a little bit more simplified, but still evokes the classic costume. And Rogue flat out is in her nineties outfit… probably the best version of her costume we’ve ever seen. We’re definitely starting on a caper here, with The character Destiny sending them off on an adventure to go collect Manifold and rescue Lady Deathstrike… I think. Look, this one I’m still gonna ride out just because of a lifetime love of these characters, and we’ll just hope that things get clearer from here. I may go through and read this one again to try and get a better idea. The X books have been largely their on little fifedom for the last 10 years or so, but if this can shine on its own, I’m all for it.
I also decided to dip my toe in the glorious mess that is Barbarella. Look, I’ve seen the movie, I figured I knew what I was getting into… and, not so much. We arrive at the planet Barbarella’s traveling companion… a fluffy bunny sort of alien, where they’re having issues and hes trying to rescue them and…. it’s just weird. It starts off as generic sci-fi, then shifts into funny animal comedy, then morphs into a furry fantasy. The book is all over the place, but then again, this IS Barbarella. That’s probably par for the course. I’m not sure that I’m gonna keep on with this duck at that but it seems interesting enough for me the to want to drop in on it once in a while.
And then there’s The Human Target.
Remember when this series started? Remember how excited I was for it? Remember how much I loved that 1st issue? How on Earth did Tom King mess this up so badly?
I even forgot this thing was being published. I’ve said that a couple times now, and it continues to be true. I managed to grab the last issue, after having missed the past 4… and you know what? I don’t feel like I missed anything. Chance is dead, we’re wrapping up loose ends, and Ice is trying to prove that she’s a lot more hardcore and not so sweet anymore.
Here’s the thing. This particular series was way too long. I mean, there is not nearly enough story to stretch 12 issues plus an intermission… no wonder I lost interest. This thing should have gone 6 issues and out. But moreover, it’s missing everything that makes the Human Target attractive. That 1st issue had it. Christopher Chance in disguise, being the stuntman/bodyguard for The imperiled. We’ve got a good mystery starting off within the edges of the DC universe, “who tried to kill Lex Luthor”, and we’ve got some stakes. Chance has to find out in time to find the antidote to the poison and save his own life. This is good stuff. It’s a great setup. But we never actually get back to it. We get a few months of him romancing Ice, feeling sorry for himself, and drinking himself stupid. We don’t get any more costumes, we don’t really get a whole lot of actual investigation… it’s mostly just an excuse to deconstruct not only Christopher Chance, but the Justice League International is well. Who thought this was a good idea?
Look, I get that the JLI is not everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I like the campy and jokey take… but I was never happy that it was the main, prime Justice League title. It always worked better when it was a backup idea… A mini series like “I can’t believe it’s not Justice league“, I’d rather see them as the super buddies than the JLA. But whatever else you want to say about them, it gave purpose to a lot of forgotten characters. It gave us a real revitalization for Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, both titles said it kind of fall in flat on their faces. It elevated fire and ice from backbencher’s, to recognizable b-listers. It gave Guy Gardner something to do then just be a reserve Green Lantern. It worked… and it worked because it didn’t take itself seriously. Because they wanted to grim superhero action. In fact, when they tried to play at straight in extreme Justice, it demonstrated just how much it didn’t work. And this is the team that you want to deconstruct?
Peter Milligan already did the deconstruction thing with Christopher Chance. He did it while telling mysteries and stories with a Vertigo flare, and he did it better. And you know what? I didn’t like it then either. You know what I DID like? The Human Target TV show. Both of them… not just the cheesy Rick Springfield one, but the serious bodyguard based 1 that we got in the early 2 thousands And that’s why I keep saying, This could have worked. I liked the whole hard boiled pulp detective take. I liked the fifties aquamarine noir take. If you’d given me a mystery and some distinctly human target action this way,… it really could have worked.
It’s astonishing how sour I got on this book over the year that they were publishing it.
Sorry, hopefully this week will get some better entertainment.