User Reviews Don’t Take No Holiday

It’s a holiday, and you Americans have recreating and appreciation of labor (?) to get on with. So let’s have it.

CharlesDaCriticCzar has a complaint about The Amazing Spider-Man #569, and I would agree that it’s not without some merit. But a 3 for Romita Jr’s art? Well….

Story: 1 / Art: 3

My problem with certain storylines and the whole thing is that it’s just the millionth time I’ve seen things. In this issue the THUNDERBOLTS show up, and I didn’t really care. I know NORMAN is a douche and I know sooner or later he’s going to go down, it’s boring… and it’s been done a million times, better I may add.

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WadeWilson is not all about Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1. Not at all. Morrison’s really not doing his best to quiet his detractors is he? Then again, his loyal followers are more with him than ever. Wade makes his position abundantly clear in the Grant War.

Story: 1 / Art: 3

This was just nonsensical writing disguised as “arty” or as a “literary drug trip”, but in my eyes it was just random big words jumbled together in no particular order. They say there is a fine line between genius & insanity, & if this isn’t deliberate nonsense, or written while on drugs & actually makes sense in Morrison’s mind, then the dude is mentally unstable.

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Flapjaxx, on the other hand, tries to make some sense of Morrison in his review of Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1. Granted, he didn’t necessarily love it, but the lack of seething hate is something, right? He says you’ve got to appreciate the effort, and I say I have to appreciate the effort of just the review. 

Story: 3 / Art: 4

In Superman Beyond, Morrison is trying to tell us something primal, something fundamental about the nature of Superman and, by extension, the nature of (super)hero stories in general. That in itself, I think, is a more laudable aim than any other comic out this week. Why screw around with derivative little comic heroes going through the motions of derivative little superhero comic plots when you can shoot for the moon (or the sun or the void) and just show the audience what THE ANSWER is to this whole genre?

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patio lets Robert Kirkman know where he can stick it.  Okay, that’s not exactly right, but here’s a Marvel book, suitable for all ages, that doesn’t talk down to anyone with Wolverine: First Class #6

Story: 4 / Art: 3

You definitely don’t need to be a kid to enjoy this comic. In fact, I can’t help but feel like this was made specifically for me. Because I get the jokes that are playing off 1980’s X-Men tropes. But I’m laughing and also knowing that my kids are going to love this when they get it (but not ’til I’m done).

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So there!  When you’re done reading these, and all the other reviews, go start your barbecuing!  Thanks all for your hard work on this here Labor Day.




  1. Do people really hate Superman Beyond for the story? Or is it because it has a gimmick of 3D that made people angry?

    I’ve seen the posts in the comic section for this…I dont see really where all the hate is going towards. It’s like the people who hate Final Crisis and Batman right now are all agreeing Morrison is a bad writer or something. If it sounds as deep like flapjaxx stated in his review, then it sounds good to me.

  2. I hated Superman Beyond for BOTH the awful story and the gimmicky 3-D glasses.

  3. I hated it b/c DC will publish anything Morrison writes whether it makes sense or not.

  4. I thought SUPERMAN BEYOND was pretty straight forward.  It may not have been presented in the most compelling way, but it wasn’t confusing.

  5. I hated spending that much money on a comic… not the story.  I thought it was pretty good.  I just didn’t think the 3D was needed and because of it the damn book cost 5.50 and thats not cool.

  6. @Champ – I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it was the story. It was like the ravings of a mad man, & I understand that’s the "style", I just like styles that I can understand.

    After I have read on other message boards the "meaning" of the story, it seems that you need a Mensa level IQ to make sense of this while reading it (this must say something about Conor). Most people who read it (well, the ones who posted aboout it) were guessing what happened or reading the issue multiple times to try to decipher it.

    Even if it’s pure genius to the 10% of people who read it & understood it, isn’t writing about communicating? And, if the majority of readers don’t get this, I don’t see how it can be considered good writing.

  7. @WadeWilson – Although your point that "writing [is] about communicating" is well taken, the notion that the quality of a piece of writing is related to the portion of readers for whom it is understandable is a problematic one, if for no other reason than that history has repeatedly shown that some artists are legitimately ahead of their time. Their work may be broadly misunderstood or unappreciated at the time of its publishing or during its authors’ lifetimes, only to become seen as canonical once its readership has had years upon years to digest it style, its subtleties and its implications.

    Now, I’m not going so far as to categorically state that Grant Morrison will be, in retrospect one of those writers whose works gained stature with the passage of time, only that comprehensibility to the average reader and quality (in the general sense) ought not be thus construed.

  8. Word.

  9. I feel like i enjoy some Morrison stories peripherally. Like with regular comics, sometimes I will get so wrapped up in the story that I plow through and only experience the art through brief glimpses in between page turning. But with (some) Morrison stories I feel like I’m getting the story that way. At the end I have an impression and a feeling of what happened, but not necessarily the understanding of how we got from point A to point Z.

    It’s not a criticism, per se, but I do wonder if he can break out of this style of story-telling, or if this is it from now on. His old JLA stories, while wild, were pretty grounded, I’d say (it’s been awhile, so I’m kinda guessing). Could he do a straightforward book, or will all his storytelling have a touch of mania, a sense of leaping poetry to them now?

    Ulysses is apparently a great piece of literature, but I’ve never quite gotten through it. Given the choice, I’d rather read Dubliners or Portrait of and Artist a 2nd time (I’m not even touching Finnegan’s Wake). And I don’t think I would keep picking up Ulysses, The Comic Book from week to week (though, I don’t know, that’s a fascinating idea). But I do appreciate that Morrison is pushing the boundries of what a comic book can be, of how legitimately literate and complicated it can get. But if it gets to the point of Proust, where you have to be a graduate student to appreciate it as the best writing in the history of Western civilization, then I think it’s a lost cause.

  10. It just seems like the cool thing now a days to hate on Grant Morrison’s stories. I mean the majority of the people seem to hate Final Crisis and Batman only because of the way he presents and tells his stories. Again, he knows your going to get confused! He probably plans his stories waaay out in advance (definitely for those two titles in general) and hopes you pick up the next issue so you can try and understand it more.

    If it still confuses you that’s fine, but like saying comics can be fun….they can also bring in a style of writing that most people in prose books whole say it was a masterpeice. I think Morrison is the best example of how comics can be treated more as a ‘nerdy pastime’ or just a niche for certain people. (no offense to anyone, I’m flagging myself here too lol) I would love to see what he can do with a normal, prose story…it would totally make no sense, but if you read it carefully you could get a sense of brillance if you understand it.

    That being said, if everyone loves Alan Moore’s stories cause their so different from the norm…Why are we complaining about Morrison for the same ideas as Moore’s?

  11. @patio

    Did you know Ulysses was, in fact, published, successfully so if you get around censorship debacles, serially to begin with. . .just like a comic book? 😉  I don’t mean to say you said so (I’m not tryin to put words in your mouth by any means), but its a generally criticism I see: that Morrison’s technique that he’s been utlizing for the past couple years isn’t suited for serial fiction.Which simply isn’t true. 

    I genuinely love Ulysses, and thats not a statement in order to appear highbrow of anything. 😉 And I have to disagree that you have to be a grad-student to appreciate that kind of literature like so (i.e. I’m not a grad student). One does have to have the kind of attitude towards literature that a grad student would posses, but thats not that same as needing to be a grad student or having the same level of learning. 

  12. @Aerodynamics – I guess you’re right about the number of people comprehending a story having nothing to do with it’s quality.

    But, just look at the reaction to the book on this website — the majority of people who commented, didn’t understand it. Can you ever remember that type of reaction from ANY book?

    This is a comic book, it’s not a meta fictional philosophy lesson. Am I crazy to think the writer should reign it in a bit & write the same story, but in a way that will be a little bit more understandable to the average reader?

  13. You’re a little bit crazy to think that all comics should be tailored to everyone.  You’re essentially saying it should be dumbed down.  It shouldn’t.  Nothing should be dumbed down.  If the publisher wants to publish it, they have that choice.  If the reader wants to buy it, you have that choice.  You can’t like everything you buy, and you can’t know ahead of time that you’ll like something, so it’s the risk you take. 

    Now you’re more informed.  You don’t like Grant Morrison’s weird stuff.  You know that know, and next time he comes out with a book, you’ll think twice before buying it.

    But should an artist or writer ever dumb down his stuff so more people can understand it?  Not if he doesn’t want to, no.

  14. And there have been this kind of reactions to others books.  I bet Elektra Assassin garnered that kind of response.  The Filth did as well, but not as many people read it.  Automatic Kafka is another example. 

  15. Not for nuthin’ but… if you actually read most of the posts about Morrison in the comics discussion thread, it’s clearly NOT about hating Morrison just to do so. Most of us who disliked Superman Beyond are huge Morrison fans.

    I didn’t like Superman Beyond because I didn’t like the way Morrison delivered the story. Actually, I don’t think there was much story there at all. Some cool ideas, but not much more. I hold Morrison to a high standard because I know what he’s capable of. This didn’t meet that high standard. And Neither have every other issue of Batman RIP and Final Crisis. I don’t think anyone’s blindly hating on Morrison. Everyone has their reasons. His output feels very uneven to me these days.

  16. to clarify that last bit: I’ve liked chunks of RIP and hated other chunks. Same with Final Crisis. I judge each issue as it comes out. On an issue by issue basis, some are great, some are OK, some I’ve felt are just bad.

  17. @ maudy – I didn’t know that Ulysses was first published in serialised form, but It’s not too surprising. It was a pretty popular way to publish, going back to the first novel, Tristam Shandy. And maybe in serialized form, I would have enjoyed Ulysses. Maybe in serialised form I would have even liked Tristam Shandy.

    In no way, though, am I saying Morrison’s work isn’t fit for serialization, or comics. I think it’s been great. Though it can be a bit of work at times. I am asking, is this his only style now? Take Moore on Watchmen (someone else brought it up, so i have an excuse). Some of my favorite bits in that ar the prose pieces that have a completely different, and convincing, and enjoyable, voice to them. 

    I think Morrison’s work is brilliant, and I’m excited about where both RIP and FC are going.  But there is a certain degree of similarity to the tone of each (dark, brooding, somewhat nuerotic). And it just makes me wonder if this is his only voice.

  18. @Josh – I didn’t say "all comics should be tailored for everyone" & if I’m too "dumb" to understand this type of stuff, I won’t lose any sleep over it. All I meant was, the vast majority of posts & reviews about this book were people saying they didn’t understand it (I wasn’t alone, there were 5 reviews — all negative). Call me crazy if you like, but I don’t think that’s a good thing. Whether you blame the writer or the publisher, I don’t know.

  19. Again with oblique implications… oi!

  20. I never called you dumb, and I wouldn’t call anyone who comes to my site that.  You did say call me crazy, to which I called you crazy.  You crazy. 

  21. I think Wade might’ve taken umbrage to this quote: " You’re essentially saying it should be dumbed down."
    Which could be construed as saying "to make this story into something you understand it needs to be dumbed down". And there are the Morison fans who tend to think that way. Not that you are one of those fans. I wouldn’t know.

    Ah the internet. So easy for misunderstandings to occur.

  22. I don’t know if it’s about dumbing it down, or writing things in a more strait forward way. I’m sure there are people a hell of a lot smarter than me who couldn’t make sense of the book.

    I don’t think "all comics should be written for everyone", of course not, but I do think that the majority of people who pick up a Superman comic, should be able to understand the narrative. This is just my opinion.

  23. An opinion with which I disagree.  The market will decide whether an artists ideas will fly or not.  Apparently, someone thought it was good enough to publish.  Let the artists do what artists do.  It doesn’t always work, and it sounds like this didn’t work.