The final issue of Alan Moore's Promethea really distills the essence of the book down to its purest form...
Unadulterated pretension to the point of unreadability.
I mean, I liked Promethea overall, but over time, Moore took a strong concept and used it as an excuse to be pretentiously self-indulgent. The finale is all that and more. I'm sure it's wonderful stuff, but I'm not going to squint at brightly-colored text on equally-brightly-colored backgrounds and try and figure out from the shape of the word balloons just who's saying what and why. Not when I have to turn the book upside-down to read half of it.
In Tom Strong, another of Moore's "ABC" titles, "New Wave" '60s fantasy legend Michael Moorcock is writing a multi-parter. It's, um, kind of dull, so far. It reads like an uninspired Moorcock fanfic, chock full of stuff that used to be Moorcock Trademarks but are now overused cliches -- airships, dimensional travel, pirates. Tom's always kind of a stiff, but seems even stiffer under the same pen that gave us the lassid, decadent Elric.
Meanwhile, in mainstream superhero comics, Big Gimmicky Overblown "Events"... are somehow failing to suck.
I avoided the miniseries itself, and will probably continue to do so, but the fallout from Identity Crisis is touching on at least two other books that I read (Outsiders and Teen Titans), and the results are, unexpectedly, impressive.
Even more unexpectedly... I picked up Issue 4 of Green Lantern: Rebirth. I missed issues 2 and 3. To my surprise, dismay, and delight, they're managing to Bring Back Hal in a manner that not only explains away all the Parallax nonsense, but does it in such a way that it reads like a Long Epic Trial that was intended from the start, rather than a piece of last-minute hackwork followed by ill-thought revisions. We see the other GLs -- including our boy Kyle -- shine. We see Ollie finally discover that ringslinging isn't just having power handed to you.
We see Hal Jordan rise from the grave, and damnation, it didn't piss me off. It worked.
Like the new Battlestar Galactica, I wanted to hate this, but I just couldn't.
I confess that this is one of the things I love about Shared Universes -- when one good writer comes along and tells a story that takes years of ill-concieved contradictions and integrates it into something terrific. Alan Moore did that with Swamp Thing. Peter David did it with The Hulk. J.M. DeMatteis did it with J'onn J'onnz. It looks like Geoff Johns is going to pull off the same thing with Happy Hal.
(...Maybe it's a green thing?)
So... Alan Moore's "mainstream indie" titles are plodding along unimpressively, while superhero storylines that I vowed to avoid are catching my interest.
Either the world has turned topsy-turvy, or my suck meter is WAY out of whack.
I mean, HAL EFFING JORDAN.