Friday, July 29, 2011

NEW TO ME: Grant Morrison's JLA

I am a huge Grant Morrison fan. The Invisibles is one of the best things I've ever read. His work on All-Star Superman, New X-Men, Animal Man, and others have all been entertaining and thought-provoking. He's one of those writers whose work I will check out regardless of the subject or the character. He's that good.

But I haven't read everything, something I hope to rectify through the UMaine library, where I now work. To that end, I requested volume 1 of Morrison's well-regarded JLA run - New World Order.

With this book, I understand more clearly than with any other comic, the need for the story and the art to complement one another. Opening it up the other night, I only made it to page 4 before I dropped back on the pile and chose something else to read.

The art in this book is horrendous. What was DC thinking when they paired Morrison - one of the premiere writers of the medium - with Howard Porter? Hackneyed, cluttered, preposterous anatomy (reminiscent of the Liefeld clones), and a total lack of storytelling. It's dreck and it colors my feelings of the story, which feels pretty mundane and uninspired thus far.

I've only managed to get through the first two issues, and I don't know how much more I can take. I appreciate some of the things Morrison is trying to do in this story, but so far I'm not impressed. And it doesn't help that the surprise - that the villains, who are posing as superhero analogues of the JLA, are actually white martians - was included as part of the back cover copy. Who the hell thought that was a good idea? It's like the corporate idiots who included Gandalf in the trailer for The Two Towers. People who hadn't read The Lord of the Rings (95% of the movie-going audience, maybe??) thought he was dead. In the book, you're led to believe the wizard in white in Fangorn forest is Saruman. And when it's revealed to be Gandalf, that is one of the best reveals in literary history (in my opinion).

But I digress.

I'll finish this first book and try out the second. But if Morrison doesn't really elevate the writing and the ideas, I will probably bail, because the art is just that bad.


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