I was so super-pissed at DC comics when I got up on Thursday because the very first tweet I read (which means, the very first thing I did besides open my eyes because UGGGH twitter, right?) was about how DC editorial wouldn’t let Batwoman marry Rizzoli (or Isles, sorry not sure which yet) and J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman were quitting the book in protest. Needless to say, I marched into my local comic shop intending to shun all of D.C.’s offerings in order to boycott their morally bankrupt position on allowing two completely made up people to get gay married.*
Then my Comic Book Guy handed me my stack of pulled comics for the week, topped with a holo-motion-foil cover edition of Green Arrow #23.1, the Villain’s Month “Count Vertigo” special issue. The most shameless cash-in bullshit comic I have personally laid eyes on since the speculator-fueled heyday of die-cut foil covers in the mid-90s, the absolute epitome of DC’s abhorent, fan-hating publication strategy, not only because of the gimmick cover, but also because of the stupidity of Villain’s Month, which sees the company pumping out literally dozens of crappy one-shot titles just to capitalize, however briefly, on the cache that the company’s villains have, without having to work them into a coherent story arc or anything, all capped off with that stupid, cheery “The New 52!” logo in the corner, reminding me once again that this is a comics company run by some combination of children and assholes**.
The thing about that holographic cover, though? With a three-dimensional Count Vertigo posing over the collapsed body of Oliver Queen, who is utterly immobilized by the undulating psychedelic waves of Vertigo’s mental powers?
That cover looks excellent. Sofuckingcool. Like a ferret or other simple rodent, I immediately fell victim to the allure of a thing’s shininess, abandoning all other concerns in its pursuit.
Then I confidently walked over to the DC comics wall and grabbed the other holo-covers I saw, and a copy of Forever Evil #1 too, because fuck it, I’m going to hate myself for this later anyway, right?
Lazarus #1-3 by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark with Santi Arcas. Image, 2013.
Greg Rucka keeps writing big epic movies and then mistakenly sending them to comics artists to illustrate. I’m pretty glad Michael Lark is one of those guys, I just hope he doesn’t one day decide to do the right thing and pass off some of these scripts to a major movie studio because if they had any clue what they were looking at they would snap Mr. Rucka up and comics would be robbed of another talent by the Hollywood machine.
Of course, Lazarus: The Movie would be sick and I’d probably go see it like fifty times and buy the special edition Blu-Ray. The premise is simple: in the dark future (that part should be obvious, btw), every rich family has one Highlander that they use to fight the other family’s Highlanders for power and influence, using swords for some reason just like in Highlander even though guns have clearly been invented, again, just like in Highlander. Only in this universe, the Highlanders are called Lazaruses (Lazuri? Lapis Lazuli?), and the main Lazarus we care about is Forever Carlyle, who is like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider only all dark and conflicted, and also, a Highlander.
I want you to listen (read?) carefully to these words, because you may think I’m mocking or being arch but I’m deadly serious when I deliver what is, in my world at least, very high praise: this book is better than Highlander.
Trillium #2 by Jeff Lemire with Jose Villarubia. DC/Vertigo, 2013.
In the central sequence of this book, a time traveler and an old-timey traveler struggle to understand each other’s language to no avail, then take psychedelic drugs together, which works much better. Could this be the best title at Vertigo right now? Lemire’s last Vertigo series, Sweet Tooth, certainly was for awhile (like, right after Scalped finished until it, in turn, finished), so I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if this took over that mantle as well.
Batman #23.1/Joker #1 by Andy Kubert and Andy Clarke with Blond. DC, 2013.
My first problem with this book is just what to call it. Is it Batman 23.1 or Joker #1? If it’s Joker #1, would that be Joker (vol. 2) #1, since there was already a Joker series back in the 1970s?
See, the problems just multiply.
My second, and bigger problem with this is that, inexplicably, Andy Kubert (who handles the writing duties on this gem) seems never to have read a Joker comic before. I find this especially odd because Andy Kubert has, in fact, been paid by DC Comics to illustrate comics featuring the Joker several times. One would think that he at least had to read the scripts of those issues that he actually drew?
Apparently not, because whoever this guy dressed like the Joker in this comic is, it sure as hell ain’t the Joker. The Joker does not pause in the middle of a murderous crime to reminisce about his childhood, and then try to ‘play it cool’ with his henchmen when they think he’s being weird. He does not, so far as I know, count a cyborg, a midget gangster, and a cosplayer named Flame Dupree amongst his gang of henchmen, but the Joker Gang has a lot of turnover so whatever I’ll give that one a pass. The Joker also does not take pity on and adopt cute baby animals and then raise them as his own son***, even going so far as to take action to SAVE THE GOTHAM CITY ZOO FROM BUDGET CUTS in order to protect his simian life-partner.
No sir, he most certainly does not. Sorry Kubert, holo-cover couldn’t save this one. I hearby institute a star-rating system for this blog just so I can give this ZERO out of FIVE STARS.
*For the record, I strongly suspect that DC editorial doesn’t want Batwoman to get married because they’d much rather have a swinging, single, leather-clad lesbian crime-fighter than Kate Cain, who’s married to a good cop and drives a Volvo packed with a multicultural rainbow of adopted children. Which is the more offensive stereotype? Hard to say.
**Also happens to be a pretty accurate representation of the demographic of people that read DC comics. Which category do you think I fall under?
***UPDATE 9/9: This character, Jackanapes, is not in fact the sole creation of Andy Kubert, having originally appeared in the Kubert-drawn, Morrison written Batman #666. Maybe since Morrison recently killed off a certain other character who first appeared in that infamous issue, DC & Kubert decided they would try their hand at bringing Jackanapes to the forefront. I just hope the “Death of Jackanapes” special issue that will inevitably come out 18 months from now shows the character the same respect as Damian Wayne received in his many tributes. *Sniffle*