July 25, 2010

The Best J Michael Straczynski Comic Story Published This Month....

...had neither Superman nor Wonder Woman in it.

In all fairness, both Superman 701 and Wonder Woman 700 left me ice cold - there are other online denizens that can go into the same amount of detail as I could why neither of these stories worked. For me, in summary, both felt a little too overwrought and over done, as if Straczynski was trying way too hard to "leave his mark" without really telling a compelling story.

Then, there's Brave and Bold #35, which concluded a slightly clever time travel story.

Granted, part of it is that it involved the Inferior 5 (and given some of the dialogue, I wonder if JMS has been trolling my blog for ideas), and automatically went for humor...but most of this is a tale that, well, has some degree of cleverness about it.

Much of JMS' work on Brave and Bold has been hit or miss - throwing a bunch of seemingly disparate heroes in interesting situations and having a go - think of it as high-end fan fiction. Part of what I liked about this story was that it took the Legion (a classic Silver Age concept, and I mean both Super and Substitute) and combined them with Silver Age (relative) obscurities (although I won't argue if you want to claim that the Doom Patrol really aren't all that obscure) and leavened with liberal amounts of humor reminiscent of the DeMatteis/Giffen run of Justice League.

Now, let's get one thing straight - the "reminiscent" part should be taken in context. Comparing these to that run of Justice League is like saying that Richard Hurndall made a great, almost perfect duplicate of William Hartnell in Doctor Who: The Five Doctors. However, given the usual tone of JMS' work (and all you have to do to see him at his worst - and best - is randomly select some Babylon 5 episodes), these are a nice, pleasant diversion.

All in all, these aren't comics that are going to change the world, nor are they Straczynski taking characters in new directions...but they are nice, pleasant reads from a guy who isn't taking himself so seriously in these issues.

At least, I hope he wasn't taking himself too seriously when he was writing these issues....

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