All-New Miracleman Annual
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you one of the most disappointing comics ever made. The intention here was all well and good—not only did Marvel want to give us all new Miracleman material, but they tapped Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Joe Quesada and Mike Allred for the job. On those grounds alone I was very happy to pay the $4.99 price tag. As soon as I finished the first story, I immediately wanted my money back. Grant Morrison’s fabled “lost Miracleman story” turned out to be nothing more than an inconsequential confrontation. It was garbage (though ably drawn by Quesada). Milligan and Allred’s tale was just as inconsequential and only slightly more enjoyable. Every ingredient here was good, but boy were the results lousy.
Justice League: Cry For Justice
When it was announced that James Robinson would be returning to DC to helm a new Justice League title, I was more than a little excited. Then they told us he’d work the blue Starman and Congorilla into the mix. I was ready to set up a tent in front of my local comic shop to get my hands on that book! But things didn’t work out exactly as planned. Before Robinson’s scheduled takeover of the League, we got this: Cry For Justice. I bought the first three issues and wept. It wasn’t just bad—it was heartbreak printed on paper. Every character was portrayed poorly, the plot was abysmal and the art was an oversaturated, ugly mess. I usually wait these things out for completion’s sake, but this is one of the few miniseries I stopped buying before it was finished. I just couldn’t. It hurt to read. And now I have three glaring atrocities rubbing up against the rest of my comic book collection. I feel ill just thinking about it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret buying this book because I thought it was bad! I love everything Brandon Graham has touched and this book is no exception! I bought this because I loved Graham’s King City with a fiery passion and wanted to introduce my cat-obsessed fiancé to his work. I bought this book without doing my research—it’s more “adult” than I could have ever bargained for. Embarrassingly so. I’m not proud to have this one on my bookshelf, even if it is another example of Brandon Graham’s mad genius. Somebody warn me next time!
Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction’s Uncanny X-Men
You ever buy a comic book that you only sort of like? You ever continue to buy it, in hopes that it will get better? Yeah, it’s a tough call sometimes, but you need to rip off that band-aid before it becomes the monster at the bottom of the pool. I figured, “I like Brubaker, he’ll rock the X-Men!” He did not. Then, “oh good, Matt Fraction is the best! Surely this series will get really interesting now!” It did not. I bought issues 487-534 of the Uncanny X-Men and I can’t say I particularly enjoyed any of it (especially the parts drawn by Greg Land, yuck!). I should note, the Messiah Complex and Second Coming events were pretty exciting, but they were a joint effort with other X-writers. Brubes and Fraction totally flunked their X-terms and I don’t know if I’ll ever read those comics again. What a waste…
Remember how awesome DC’s weekly series 52 was? It was awesome. If you are unaware of this, go read it. It was the series that got me back into reading comics on a regular basis and brought me to the comic shop each and every week with the drool of anticipation running down my chin. DC followed up their success with another weekly—something called Countdown, which I naturally bought into. Which was awful. Which I stopped buying 5 issues into the 52-issue planned run. Nothing about this series clicked. The characters were poorly written, the plot was uninteresting, the art uninspired and the whole thing reeked of misfire. Turns out it was supposed to play out as a prologue to Final Crisis, but boy did that not work out. Worst of all, DC sort of just said “ignore those continuity errors…just ignore them”. I’m glad I stopped when I did, otherwise this could have been a much pricier regret.
Mister Miracle by Kevin Dooley
Mister Miracle is one of my favourite characters, for some reason. I can’t quite pin down why, I’ve never read a particular Mister Miracle story that blew me away, but I love it whenever he shows up. The costume, his supporting cast, the whole Jack Kirby’s Fourth World thing—I dig it all. That’s why I picked up this 1996 series from usual-editor-now-writer Kevin Dooley. It could be the most poorly written comic book in my collection. Let’s just pretend this never happened, okay? Oh, how I regret buying this junk!
Transmetropolitan volume 1
Now I don’t regret buying Transmetropolitan volume 1 because I didn’t enjoy it (though, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t). No, I regret buying this book because it’s a super-slim 3 issue collection—one that is completely redundant now that DC has reprinted the series in a new way. This first trade is now packaged with the second trade, meaning my purchase was completely pointless. If I want to continue reading the series, I need to buy a volume that contains these first three issues anyways. I regret buying this because, had I waited, I could have collected this series properly. With this purchasing misstep I’m hesitant to give the series another shot—one I’m often told it deserves.
Nemesis: The Impostors
I actually loved this series, and therein lies the problem. Beginning with Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape, author Ivan Brandon took a character I barely knew and made him into an intriguing figure I couldn’t get enough of. This follow-up series is ridiculously complex and sometimes downright confusing, but I ate it up with vigorous joy. In Brandon’s hands, Nemesis is a character with vast potential. I regret buying this series not because it disappointed, but because I now want more. More. More!!!… But alas, I fear that shall never be. I don’t see another Ivan Brandon Nemesis mini happening anytime soon, if ever. Am I the only one foaming at the mouth for continuation? Give this mini a shot and you may be too.
Origin of the Defiant Universe
It was only a matter of time before I decided to give Defiant comics a try. They were crowding the local 25cent bin and I figured with Jim Shooter and David Lapham on board, these were probably some unfortunately underappreciated little gems. And to be fair, I quite like most of what I picked up. Warriors of Plasm and The Good Guys were both neat series, but this one shot? What the heck is this thing? I picked it up for a quarter but could barely read any of it. It’s essentially a cryptically written origin story for the Defiant Universe, but it doesn’t make much sense, isn’t very interesting, contains almost exclusively text, is only a few pages thick and is practically unreadable. I’ve never seen such poor lettering and simply incorrect colour choices. Really, you can barely read this pamphlet of a book! I want my quarter back.
The Sentry: Fallen Sun
You know what? I really liked the Sentry. I thought his original series by Paul Jenkins was quite neat. The follow-up? Not so great, but the potential was still there. Then Brian Michael Bendis got his hands on the character and it all went south even faster. The Sentry was now a joke. He whined, he was easily controlled and the only time he was even remotely enjoyable was when we got a golden-age version in the pages of Jeff Parker’s The Age of the Sentry. Now that was a great book! When Marvel finally mercy killed the character from mainstream continuity, they gave him this special one-shot written again by his creator, Paul Jenkins. Might as well just spit on his grave, guys. This book was so bad it retroactively extinguished anything positive that might have been previously enjoyable about the character. It was self-indulgent, bitter and completely perplexing. You know the Sentry was the only lover that could ever touch Rogue’s skin unharmed? Yeah, sure, whatever…