Some Endings, More Beginnings

Every so often, you'll find your weekly stack of comics has a series of endings and beginnings, a few transitions that definitely seem to mark the passing of one part of your calendar (or, if you want to be dramatic, life) into the new. I've been out of it a bit, I admit–I haven't been able to make it to the shop and have found a few issues from weeks past lingering on my nightstand.  I've worked kinda hard to get caught up, and given that I am stuck at the airport waiting for a plane after a very long day, it seems fitting to ruminate, if briefly, on a few endings…and a few beginnings.

(Please forgive me if I repeat anything in the iFanboy podcasts–you see, it's possible for a staff member to fall behind, too!  I tend to wait until I read the books before I listen to the show, which may be a bit irresponsible, I admit.)

So, the end of Kick-Ass has arrived…or at least the end of Book One of Kick-Ass has arrived. I must admit, when I picked it up at the shop, I scoffed loudly–why was the issue so thin?  Surely, the last issue of this story warrants a double size helping of blood, guts and gore!  But, as is often the case, more pages does not always mean better story, and I found myself very pleased with how this crazy–crazy–title ended up. As those of you who follow me on Twitter might have read, I spent part of my Sunday gathering the eight issue together to lend to my friend, and it was actually kind of cool to sift through those books and realize, "Hey–I actually thought this book was kind of awesome!"  Happy are those who get to read it in the trade, sure — it's going to be a great experience — but I am glad I lived with this title for the past year or so.  I found myself giving into what can only be expressed as completely irresponsible, crass enjoyment of this ridiculously over-the-top story, yet found myself oddly touched by how it ended. I am mildy embarrassed to admit to a certain snobbery about, at least in this case, reading the book before seeing the movie, too. I just feel like I deserve it more, for some reason, after living through this book, that sometimes felt more like an experimental drubbing of my expectations (good and bad) than a coherent story.  Still, I liked the characters and I respect Millar for not taking the easy way out, for slapping the reader in the face with a story that is definitely not happy-ever-after, things-work-out-in-the-end-if-you-are-just-honest-wtih-your-feelings kind of way.  I hope the movie horrifies people…is that bad?

I know I am possibly in the minority in this, but all I can say about the ending of Superman: World of New Krypton is: finally.  I completely and utterly lost interest in this muddled, sloppy, irritating mystery that seemed to have zero stakes and did not resonate with me at all. The best parts of the book for me were the covers and the appearance of Adam Strange. Other than that…like, who cares? I will do the responsible thing and reread the whole thing to see if the story made sense at all, but I am certainly not inspired to do so.  I admit — it's weird to dislike something that so many people whose reputation I admire and respect seem to like, but I just couldn't get into the art, which seemed to be done by that thin kind of marker one might have used in grammar school, to tell what should have been a story worthy of completely redefining Superman's relationship with his past, present and future.  World of Lost Opportunity, more like.  We'll see what happens next. Maybe I'll start reading Superman again. That would be nice.

The return of Demo surprised me big time. I had no idea it was coming back and I was thrilled to see the Demo logo peek out at me from the middle of my stack. Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan are back with stories of young people experiencing something…else and I couldn't be happier. I was a fan of the original series, mostly, I guess, out of a default admiration for Brian Wood, whose trade of Channel Zero marked my return into comics, but what a great opportunity to get some Cloonan in my zone.  I haven't read her regularly in her other books (though her pencils show up from time to time, to be sure) but, wow–she's gotten seriously good since my last issue of Demo, that's for sure.  (By the way, does Demo remind anyone else of Marvel's four issue run of Muties?)

As excited as I was about the return of Demo, I must admit that the art blew me away more than the story. I mean, look–I'm not that smart but pretty much anyone could have called what was gonna happen at the end of this issue.  However…it really doesn't matter, right? Like, the one-and-done issue is less about the ending and more about the journey, I think. After not being able to sleep for many, mahy days, our main character is driven into action by forces she cannot explain, she is torn away from her home, her city, her job, her friends, to London, to St. Paul's Cathedral.  It's this stark realization of having to do something at the expense of everything (and everyone) else that was compelling for me, perhaps because I spend much of my time in a cube typing in front of a computer, I dunno.  Still, what's great about issue 1?  The promise of Issue 2. I'm glad to have Brian and Becky back in my life–they are a formidable pair of storytellers.

Finally, we come to Batman and Robin #7, with Cameron Stewart joining Grant Morrison, with a story that begins in London and ends in pretty astute confusion.  It was great to see the Britsh superheroes Knight and Squire, whom Morrison introduced me to way back in Detective Comics long ago, but I have to say, as much as I enjoy the concept of in medeas res ("in the midst of things"), I felt like I had missed an issue.  I kept finding myself wondering who was who, and, well, what was going on?  Like, Robin was being pulled apart in some kind of bacta chamber and Dick was suddenly trying to resurrect Bruce from a random Lazarus pit with Batwoman screaming at him? Like…what?  I know these stories don't take place in continuity, or at least do seem to, but still…it was frustrating for me.  I mean, maybe I did miss an issue. Like, that's how confused I am. Let's check. Argh. Wireless not working and my plane is almost here. I'll try to get back to you. (10 minutes later.) Nope, #6 was the end of the last run. #7 is all kinds of confusing.

The art by Cameron Stewart was interesting…it remined me of Matt Wagner, or the Steve Ralston art from  Queen and Country. Blocky, more staid…but much more compelling that Philip Tan, whose work never really caught on with my eyeballs.  I gotta wonder, though–like, if you are drawing a Grant Morrison book wouldn't you be kind of annoyed that Frank Quitely kept getting the covers?  That would bug me, especially since Quitely's covers haven't been all that inspiring as of late (and I love the guy, believe me). But it's just the first issue of a few, at least–we'll see where this new team takes us.

The stack is a fickle thing. It's made up of beginnings and endings of all kinds, some more inspiring and fulfilling than others, which is why getting comics week to week is so exhilarating, right?  I am sad to see Kick-Ass go, hoping to see Superman make his way back to Earth, have high expecations of what Demo will bring and trusting that Batman and Robin will make sense. 

Pretty good, all in all!

See ya next week!




Mike Romo is an actor in LA who is actually acting more in his day job as a non actor than he does as an actor, which confuses him. Email him at iFanboy, and follow him on twitter if you like.


  1. I totally agree that WONK was dissapointing, specially since all the people working on it were very respected writers. I didn’t mind the art as much, it just wasn’t as good as Gary Frank (the perfect Superman artist).

    That’s an awesome Bacta Tank toy!

  2. Completely agreed that B&R#7 felt a bit disconnected.  #8 has some moments like that too,w hich are pushing me to drop the title once Cameron Stewart is gone.  My decision to stay on or not may be driven by art.

  3. Hey Mike — nice summaries. i agree with just about every single point, and I’d swear you’re reading my mind as I read from my own stack. 😉 Although, I may have liked Demo just a tad more than you (although I think your criticism is spot on). I figured out the plot pretty quickly, but that gave me enough time to adjust my expectations to your "it’s about the journey" idea, and thus I ended up reading it as a very "tonal" short film. And in that sesne, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

  4. I’m confused at your confusion.  If it helps, the new storyline directly spins out of the last one.  The issue prior, Flamingo managed to cripple Damien and was air-lifted out by the League of Assassins to be operated on, which we saw next issue.  Then, while Jason Todd was getting arrested, he was screaming at Dick that he knows where Bruce’s body is and could ressurrect him via a Lazarus Pit but is too selfish and afraid to do so.  Dick then makes it a private locale and opens this hi-level vault containing what is obtensively Bruce’s corpse from Final Crisis, implying he’ll do what Jason suggested.  Next issue, he heads to England because the villain King Coal supposed has the "Cauldron of Rebirth" in one of his secret mines which Dick believes is a Lazarus Pit which turns out to be correct.  Batwoman’s there because Coal is connected to the Religion of Crime and was going to attempt a sacrifice with her as the object since they prophesy that the "Knight of the Beast will rise" thinking it’s probably some doomsday monster when it’s really the Batman corpse Dick brought.

  5. @Tork: Yeah, I thought it was very straight forward as well.

  6. @ Tork … Effin NICE recap!!!!-reminded me also of ALL I forgot!! damn alzheimers!!


  7. My confusion concerning that issue of Batman and Robin stems more from Dick’s behavior than from the actual chronology/content of the issue.  Despite some very helpful responses in the thread for the issue, I still don’t fully understand why/believe Dick would put Bruce’s body in that pit.  I would rather my father be dead than risk bringing him back "damaged".  I understand that any problems COULD be temporary, but it is too great a risk (in my opinion).

    I like that they turned the issue on its head in the current issue (which was very enjoyable).

  8. @stuclach: I know that you don’t think that Dick would try to revive Bruce in a Lazarus Pit, but the Lazarus Pit has a long history as a regenerative device in the DCU.

    People who have been healed or brought back to life via the Lazarus Pit:

    Ra’s al Ghul
    Jason Todd
    Black Canary
    The Riddler
    Batgirl (Cassandra Cain)
    Lady Shiva
    King Snake

    and… *drumroll*

    Batman (not this time, previously in the past he used the Lazarus Pit when he was mortally wounded)

    In the DCU it’s almost like going to the doctor.

  9. I would always keep a Lazarus pit handy. If I was Dick I would have used it the day after.

    Dick – "What Bruce’s dead? Yeah no problem Supes, take him here, throw him in, restrain him and then bring him home. Should take like an hour, I’ll have Hot Chocolate waiting."

  10. @Conor – But most of the people on that list are either insane/dead or close (Black Canary being an exception).  I clearly didn’t know about most of those  [and I have no idea who King Snake is], but it still seems risky.  Though you are swaying me.

    Given that the Lazarus Pit is so effective, why haven’t we seen anyone toss a Black Lantern into one?  I’d like to see the results.

  11. @stuclach-No arguments as to the categorization of those who have been revived, but how many of them were ‘damaged’ prior to their dip? 

    Most of those listed were villians in the first place.  As such, they have always been written as ‘a little off.’

  12. @MisterJ – I am not as well read as many of you (though I would like to be), so I can’t comment on the histories of many of these characters.  I don’t even know when most of them were "dipped".  My opinion was formed based on my own (admittedly limited) knowledge and experience with the characters.  It sounds like the risk of negative consequences are relatively low. I wanted to believe Mr. Morrison’s characterization of Dick was accurate and you guys are starting to convince me it was. 

  13. Uh, wait…b&r is not in continuity? What the hell? Haven’t read the issues since tan started, but thought it was regular dcu batman, because bruce died and all. Sure, the whole blackest night thing doesn’t really fit, with robbing bruce’s skull and all, but i had no idea. So, is this sort of an elseworlds title?
    And besides, wasn’t quitely supposed to return?

  14. @Kenzaburo: It absolutely is in continuity. And actually with this issue everything that has happened in BLACKEST NIGHT relating to "Bruce"’s skeleton makes perfect sense.

  15. I’d also say that Dick probably feels any negative effects of the Lazarus Pit would be conquered by Bruce’s sheer strength of mind, given how he defeated Mokkari’s mind assaults in Last Rites. 

  16. @tork and @conor — I wil lreread… I guess I totally, completely and utterly forgot what happened in the previous issue of Batman and Robin. Again, one thing Marvel does great is those recap pages. I think what DC should do is have a link on the front page of their comics that points to a specific anchor on webpage of recaps. They should make buying lots of comics easier…

  17. @conor: thanks for the heads up.