August 8, 2010

Grounded In More Ways Than One

Rather than write a long-winded post about why JMS' work on Wonder Woman and (especially) Superman leave me cold, let me do something a little more practical:

Here are the preview pages for Superman # 702 from DC's own blog. See if you can count the number of cliches, generalities, and simply plain-old lapses in logic in these pages.

I hate being this harsh on a comic, especially since some people really like this comic...but I have to admit, I hold JMS to a higher standard (especially since I read his Complete Book of Scriptwriting multiple times when I was younger).

I have no problem with a Superman reconnecting with humanity...I just think it could be done better. And stronger. And with more thought behind it.

After all, I probably shouldn't be too surprised - after all, in one of the scripts in Babylon 5's first season, this is his "grand mission" for humanity's presence in space:

Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes…[and] all of this…all of this…was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars.

Star Trek's mission - to explore a grand frontier, and learn about ourselves - is noble and empowering. Doctor Who's "mission" - that there's cool stuff out there and ordinary people can make a difference - also noble and empowering. JMS' take seems simplistic and self-centered: we go out in space because we want to say "we're here!".

And that's why I continue to be amazed and disappointed with JMS' work- there's obviously an ambition to tell well-crafted, meaningful stories. There actually seems to be some thinking behind why JMS is taking his approach.

What's crushingly disappointing is that his execution falls flat, and he - and his readers/viewers - deserve better.

No comments: