Good-bye Countdown…Posted: July 16, 2007
This past week was the first time in over a year and some change that I haven’t read a weekly comic series from DC. It also was the first week in over two years that I haven’t worked in a comic book store.
Yeah, on July 7th I left Beyond Comics, the second comic book-store I’ve had a pleasure to work at (the first was the excellent Phoenix Comics & Toys). The whole Beyond ‘crew’ are an amazing group of people and it was difficult to choice to leave there.
Of course, now that I no longer work at a comic book store, I no longer feel obligated (nor could I afford) to read most every week’s new releases. Which is a good thing.
Never has there been a period of time in my memory where I have cared less about the week to week events in the two great fictional superhero universes of Marvel and DC. Two years ago my feelings were reversed. Then I was enthusiastic about each new announcement on Newsarama, as each little puzzle piece of the “great big plan for the Marvel/DC universe” clicked into place. Today, I am burnt out on all that shit.
It is difficult to explain exactly why that is. It is a combination of neither House of M, Infinite Crisis, or Civil War pay off in any of the ways I expected them to, along with evolving tastes and cultural awareness (re: the causal misogyny of modern superhero storytelling), and the 100 calls I fielded from speculators about Captain America #25.
This, in a roundabout sort of way brings, me back to Countdown. Countdown represents, to me, everything that is wrong with superhero comics today. First and foremost the series is a cash in, designed to play to the 52 audience without actually having any of the (limited) creative depth of 52. Countdown feels rudderless and forced, as if the writers are just editing together a series of unrelated scenes in a vain attempt to get at something that is just outside of their reach.
But my biggest problem with Countdown is Mary Marvel, or rather the treatment of her character. Neither this book nor Trials of Shazam has provided a truly satisfactory release why Billy/Captain Marvel did not restore Mary’s powers like he did Freddie’s. What makes Freddie so special that he gets to earn his powers back but Billy just leaves his own sister in a hospital and then treats her like shit when they finally met again? Is the Marvel family an all boys club these days?
I also fear that Holly, an excellent (and complicated) supporting character if there ever was one, may suffer from the dread “superhero-lesbian syndrome” where her sexuality is treated as another excuse to make certain fanboys’ tongues wag (see: Batwoman).
I could go on… but enough is enough. Good-bye Countdown…. from this point on I’m only going buy books to read and enjoy.
(Ok, well, I might buy Spider-Man: One More Day because I can not just go cold-turkey…)
So, yeah, the only book I bought last week was Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.