Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Day late and a dollar short.

Okay so I’m two weeks in on this blog and I already insult my readers. Swift move Cormier! I promise that if you ever see me in the street I won’t kick you in the privates. Man, I started this thing during a bit of a down-time at work then KABLOOIE! Work explosion. With parliament getting ready to sit again on the 19th of September and some internal voting and housecleaning (literal and metaphorical) going on I’ve been zonked lately. The first thing to suffer is this site and time I spend relaxing.

Anywho… I said that I’d start posting little contests on Mondays and as you can see it is Tuesday and no contest. I guess since we read comics we should get used to delayed shipping schedules but I’ll be honest. I feel like an ass for not delivering, especially since it was my idea and my schedule. Enough with the beating myself up. On with the exposition.

The idea I’m working on here is like a round-table discussion or just a conversation over beers (or coffee if you don’t drink alcohol, or distilled water if you don’t drink alcohol, caffeine or hot drinks). I want a space to make recommendations and bring in things others may have overlooked. Let’s face it, everyone has limited time and resources so we have to make choices on what we purchase. Plus some of us tend to have brand or genre loyalty. What I’m hoping is that someone will recommend or praise something that I wouldn’t normally think about picking up and convince me to look into it. What I want is someone to have a total love-on for something I wouldn’t normally consider and convince me to buy it. I’m going to use this as a resource to break out of my rut in buying only certain titles. I hope the same works out for the rest of you. And please, steal my ideas if you like them.

I guess there should be a few ground rules. I don’t want any sort of “flame war” going on. The moment I see it, I shut off the comments feature. God, I sound like a primary school teacher “Now be nice and respect each other.” I don’t mind disagreement or criticism but it can’t get personal. What’s the point? Out of respect, I’d like any criticisms to contain an alternative. So if you post “How can you like artist Y on SuperAmazing X-book?” you’ll need to explain why artist Z on IndyWoman is a better option.

So, a day late with a long and whiney explanation, here’s a question for everyone out there. Since these are becoming something of a rarity these days:

What was the best standalone issue of an ongoing comic series that you’ve picked up this year? (2005 only).

For me it was Gotham Central #32. I don’t buy the series but I’ve heard mostly good things plus was told this was a standalone. I like Batman and the Gotham mythos so seeing it from the point of view of the classic crooked cops (say that five time fast) was refreshing. Also, Poison Ivy. It was an engaging story that motored along with a solid pace and had a good little twist at the end. I was a bit suspect of the art at first but I warmed to it when I noticed it never took me out of the story. All in all, a good issue for anyone who is looking for a “cop on the street” story or a closer look at the corruption part of Gotham that spurred Batman and Com. Gordon for so long.

What did I get out of the story? Well, it shows what a fine line the Batman character walks along in his crusade. The two cops that this story focuses on are also trying to fight the good fight. Where they differ is that they compromise their integrity to do it. They too justify what they do, just like Batman, only their driving motive becomes self-preservation instead of self-sacrifice. And that simple difference creates a completely different moral experience. Self-preservation isn’t always a bad thing, but when you’ve dedicated yourself to serving and protecting others there will definitely be conflicts.

In the end justice is served and a balance restored in one of the most poetic ways. The protagonists are defeated by someone better at self-preservation than they are. And while the “villain” wins it is simply because she, like Batman, has a sense of community and social responsibility unlike the cops who are totally focused upon themselves. The cops aren’t betrayed or sold out they are simply beaten by what they have rejected and what they just don’t understand or consider as an option. This is ironic seeing as they are meant to be employed in the service of a community and putting themselves in danger in the place of the community they serve.

I rate this story: Enjoyable.


Jim Roeg said...

Great topic, Jon! I'm going to have to think about it a bit before answering...

On the topic of missing one's personal deadlines: everyone's been too polite to say anything, but I've been trashing them since the beginning at my own site, while blithely maintaining the pretense that "Spoilers Abound" is a "weekly" digest, as it claims in the subtitle. Missing deadlines is one of the great pleasures of existence--why deny yourself, especially on your own blog??

Btw: I just discovered Gotham Central myself (though I don't own that issue)--great pick!

And finally: the mystery-comic arrived in the mail yesterday. Thanks!! Watch for my "review" of it the new S.A. tonight or tomorrow.

joncormier said...

Jim, I'm going to hold off on giving you another freebie so I don't innundate you with dollarbin comics.

I'm hoping someone new will post a recommendation here someday.

Anyone? Please? C'mon, free comics!

Jim Roeg said...

About the moratorium on sending Jim Roeg free comics--agreed! It's all about sharing the wealth. Since I don't need to feel sheepish about posting (not that that stopped me before!), here's my recommendation: Young Avengers #6. This is probably my favorite issue of this delightful series to date. Mark Fossen just posted a nice review of it on his site and I second everything he says there. It may be an awkward issue to begin with because it's the conclusion of the opening arc, but it really has everything: beautiful art by Jim Cheung, wonderful teen-angsty drama, smart, witty dialogue, great characters--it's a really fun read. If I was only allowed to keep one Marvel title on my pull-list, this would be it. Marvel publishes its trades so quickly now that I expect the full collected story will probably be out soon (and cheaper than individual issues) so you may want to wait for the trade if this sounds like the kind of thing you might enjoy.