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Elliott Serrano Presents:

Man, sometimes you can just do without the hype; seems that lately comics and movies end up stumbling because while they may be pretty good on their own, they were unable to live up to the hype that preceded them. For instance:

Secret Invasion: built up as the event for the Marvel U this summer, Secret Invasion has been plodding along like a senior citizen waiting in line at the DMV. Brian Michael Bendis has even taken decompression to a whole new level, by incorporating LOST-style flashbacks in Mighty and New Avengers to fill in a whole shitload of backstory that folks haven’t been getting in the main mini. What happened to the pronouncement that you didn’t need to read a whole bunch of Marvel comics to enjoy SI? If so, why are all those trades collecting Bendis’ stories leading up to the Skrull-epic being released? Un-friggin’-believable.

Now I don’t have anything against multi-leveled storytelling, but I’ve already read a whole fistful of Avengers books and the first 2 issues of SI (first of 8 mind you) and outside of Nick Fury sidekick Dum Dum Duggan and the Avengers’ butler Jarvis being outed as Skrulls, a whole lotta nothin’ has happened.

‘But Elliott, the SHIELD helicarrier crashed! The New Avengers fought their doppelgangers in the Savage Land! Mockingbird’s been brought back from the dead! Doesn’t that count for anything?’

Uh…no. The freakin’ helicarrier crashes so often these days it amazes me that SHIELD isn’t working out of a store front. And while bringing back Mockingbird may be sorta cool, do we need an 8-issue miniseries to do it? This smacks of a whole lotta wheel spinning that doesn’t ADVANCE THE FREAKIN’ STORY!

Shit better start happening in Secret Invasion, and soon…

Final Crisis: hailed as the ‘final chapter of the Crisis trilogy’ that was started back in the eighties with Crisis on Infinite Earths. It’s the culmination of years of set-up, starting with Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers, onto 52 and then Countdown. Oh yeah, then you have DC Universe #0 released right before Final Crisis #1, so you would think that the mini would hit the ground running, right? Nope. Even after almost 150 different comics were produced to lead into and hype the series, issue #1 comes along and gives us even more elaborate set-up and pretty much disregards much of what went on before. So why even bother? To hype it, of course.

I won’t hold Final Crisis liable for the hype that preceded it, but just like I said about Secret Invasion, some serious shit better happen soon…

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: one of the most anticipated sequels in motion picture history, almost equaling that of the prequels from that other trilogy by George Lucas. And with this newest entry in the Indiana Jones canon, it looked like they were going to make up for all those years Indy fans went without merchandise featuring their favorite archeologist. And damn, did they ever! Action figures, board games, fast food premiums, Cereal boxes, etc. If you were ever jonesing (pun intended) for something with Harrison Ford’s mug on it (yeah, they have mugs too) it’s out there at your local Target or Wal-Mart.

But does it make for a better movie? Uh, no. All it does is raise the expectations that are already unrealistically high. And it lowers the tolerance level of die-hard Indyfans – call ‘em Raiders – who are expecting a revelation along the lines of the opening of the Ark of the Covenant.

But, c’mon folks, let’s be real. The Indy movies are, and always will be, action serials with contemporary sensibilities. Sure, Indy 4 had its cringe-inducing moments (I call the Mutt-does-Tarzan sequence the ‘Jar-Jar Binks moment’ of KOTCS) but there’s really no call for going all Phantom Menace on the flick. When it comes to fourth installments in movie franchises, we’ve endured films that have crapped all over the memories created by their predecessors (i.e., Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard ; Alien Resurrection and – shiver - Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.) Indy 4 was, for all intents and purposes, an Indy film.

And let face it. Shit happened. LOTSA SHIT. AND THEN SOME! It didn’t make me wait through an elaborate set-up (like Star Wars: A New Hope did) and bore me with a bunch of jibber-jabber (like Episode One did). Nope, it didn’t make me wait at all.

Which, I guess that is what hype is all about, creating anticipation for the event, to make that wait all the more excruciating. Well, I can do without it. For as Danny Glover would always say in the Lethal Weapon movies: ‘I’m getting’ too old for this shit.’

Just tell me a good story and let the rest take care of itself.

E. Ruben Serrano is a Writer/Columnist/Graphic Artist who rationalizes the Mutt-and- his- army-of-monkeys scene from Indy 4 as redemption for monkeys in the Indy universe. Ever since that Nazi monkey ratted out Marion in ‘Raiders’, monkeys everywhere have been crying out for a chance to prove that they’re not all that bad. Monkeys not bad! Monkeys good!

Good monkeys!

Visit the Comic Culture Warrior You Tube Channel for more rants and read Elliott’s column ‘Geek To Me’ in the Chicago Red Eye.

E.R. Serrano

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