Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Buy Pile Report: Obama vs. Batman

You may have noticed I omitted Amazing Spider-man #583 from the list of this week's comic book expectations. It was NOT a mistake.

Aside from my overall disgust for that title in general (see any post on "One More Day" or my post on how inconsequential the Spider-man stories are because of it), I, for one, am entirely against this sort of desperate and blatant grab for media attention Marvel is becoming famous for.

Don't believe Marvel EIC Joe Quesada, folks, he didn't feature President-elect Barack Obama in this week's Spider-man due to his love of the character, he featured the soon-to-be commander-in-chief because he knew he would be able to be on CNN THREE TIMES because of it, and get the story on the Associated Press wire, which is where I first saw it.

It was a horrible, horrible grab for the wrong type of mainstream attention and mainstream dollars.

It also, with DC's help, painted the undeniable picture of how Marvel is able to kick DC's rear end in sales every month, despite inferior products. Because while the mainstream media was gushing over our "Nerd" in the White House, DC quietly ---- SPOILERS COMING ---- "Killed" Bruce Wayne!

You remember Bruce Wayne, right? One of the characters that ever-so-desirable mainstream audience drooled over all summer while watching "The Dark Knight?" You couldn't do a better job promoting that one, DC?

Of course, as a fan, I am thrilled the mainstream media (I use that phrase despite my Gannett salary) didn't ruin the moment for me like they did with Steve Rogers' death, but as a realistic analyst who is dying for DC to climb out of the second-place sales-cellar, I am left wondering how DC let this moment pass without fanfare?

Oh well. Joey Q, your publicity stunts have bested DC's quality once again.

I guess I should get to the actual comics for the week, huh? That moment happened in Grant Morrison's Final Crisis #6. Read his thoughts on the issue at THIS LINK. And while Bruce Wayne's "Death" was just the best big moment in a collection of big moments here, unfortunately, that's really all this issue -- and this series -- has amounted to. This issue includes plenty of great moments, from Batman's exit to Superman's entrance to Black Canary's leadership to Metron's speech. But, it only comes together as well as the previous issues have.

In order to get the whole story in "Final Crisis," you really have to read all the tie-ins for color and very small bits and pieces. For instance, if you didn't read Batman #683, you would have never seen how Bruce breaks free of his torture chair. And I have a feeling if you are not reading the soon-to-be finished two-parter "Superman Beyond" then you are missing out on a big chunk of this "Dark Monitor's" storyline. The problem is, even all that isn't enough to tell you the full story without you using your own imagination to fill in the blanks. Morrison only gives you small tastes of moments, opting to spend the most of his pages on the big moments, leaving us to picture the action around the world for ourselves. And consequently, I feel like the scope of this amazingly catastrophic reality-warping "crisis" is left feeling much smaller than it should seem.

But, I do have a couple of very distinct thoughts on this issue, which, while disjointed, may have been the best of the six issues yet:

1) Wonder Woman is faking. If she was under Anti-Life control, would she be able to say "Look! Up in the Sky..."

2) Bruce Wayne is NOT DEAD. As Morrison states in that interview, he still has a story to tell. And remember what happened to Shilo Norman when he was hit with the "Omega Sanction," he wasn't dead either, just trapped in a string of oppressive lives. My prediction? Bruce showed in "Batman #682-683" he can overcome that oppression, so he will instead become:

3) The new New Gods will be certain heroes we know, including Bruce Wayne. After a life of struggling to be the human in a world of superhumans, Bruce will become a God himself.

Speaking of which, I am really not a fan of Grant Morrison, but this scene with Bruce, this swansong, was the most perfect death in comic book history. Humanity's best found a way to rise to the occasion and slay the God of evil, at a time when evil had supposedly stripped mankind of its will. And while that evil preached the perfection of Anti-Life, Bruce made the ultimate statement of life's free will -- the ability to willingly give that life up for the greater good of all humanity.

This is a man who, while always ready for the occasion, has always had an underlying insecurity around his peers. For Bruce to end his life taking down a God when none of his superpowered peers could... For as shitty as the execution of this whole event has been, this one moment of dichotomy is a CLASSIC comic book moment.

OK, as far as I'm concerned, the rest of the Buy Pile can wait. "Final Crisis" is all we should be thinking about right now. In fact, I'm going to go re-read it before bed. Night!

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