Comics Ate My Brain

March 28, 2006

Whither The Long-Form Recaps?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom Bondurant @ 10:12 pm
So here’s the thing: I like doing the hideously long, unavoidably verbose recaps of New Teen Titans (and its descendants) and Geoff Johns’ Flash. At some point I will add the A.J. Lieberman/Al Barrionuevo Batman: Gotham Knights to that list. The common denominator, besides their publisher, is that at some point I really wondered what I was getting out of each of them. I even dropped New Titans for a few years after issue #100, but broke down and sought out the back issues just to be complete.

Thus, a bit of rationalizing goes into the recaps. You don’t see it right now with the Titans posts, because for the most part those stories hold up well on their own terms. That may change sooner rather than later. Honestly, my memories of “The Judas Contract” aren’t as fond as for some of the earlier material from Year Three, because it seemed to me that Wolfman especially had let the title’s success go to his head by that point. Not so much in the larger plot, but in the execution. Anyway, I really can’t wait until the big 1985-86 mega-arc, and to a lesser extent “Titans Hunt” from 1990-91, because those stories, flaws and all, are real tours de force. I do plan to finish up Titans posts with the end of the 1999-2002 series, because as much as Geoff Johns went back to the Wolfman/Pérez well with the current Teen Titans, it is really an extension of Young Justice; and Nightwing and Arsenal aside, Outsiders to me is its own animal.

Johns’ Flash intrigues me through the character of Zoom. He’s created basically to test Wally, and thereby make Wally a better hero. If that’s not metacommentary (even unwitting) on the recent grim ‘n’ gritty resurgence at DC, I don’t know what is. Johns’ slow buildup to “Rogue War” also frustrated me, with its villain-spotlight issues seeming to derail whatever momentum the larger plot had going, and I am wondering whether the stories will read better in fewer sittings.

That’s also pretty much the main reason for revisiting the last couple of years of Gotham Knights. With its focus on Hush, the Poochie of Batman villains, it was either a near-complete train wreck or a masterwork of subtlety whose nuances can only be appreciated in slow, careful re-reading. I am trying not to be sarcastic here.

Fair warning, by the way: another candidate for the long-form treatment is (Fury of) Firestorm, but I don’t have the first Conway/Milgrom series. I would also like to revisit Steve Englehart’s Justice League of America issues, including the guest-written JLA/JSA/Legion team-up.

Still, though, I probably won’t get to any of this until after we get the taxes filed. Talk about long forms….

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