Monday, December 17, 2007

My Big, Fat, Dumb, Annoying, Expensive, Ironically Actually Greek in a Way, Wedding

from volume 1, issue 2, early November 2007

(Deep breath…) Black Canary Wedding Planner #1, JLA Wedding Special #1, Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special #1, and Green Arrow/Black Canary #1 (Phew!). That’s right; four number ones. Sigh.

Written by J. Torres, Dwayne McDuffie, Judd Winick
Drawn by Lee Ferguson, Mike McKone, Amanda Conner

Let me go ahead and “ruin” it for you, if such a dumb story could be said to be ruined: Oliver Queen is not dead again. He is being held captive by the Amazons. I’d say this is a result of something from the miniseries Amazons Attack, but I wouldn’t know, because the Wonder Woman title right now is such a beyond-Hawkworld radioactive mess that I wouldn’t touch that retarded six-issue special with five ten-foot poles tied together. Seriously. Since Infinite Crisis, two good writers have screwed fans over already with horrendously late issues and inconsistent stories, without so much as fixing us breakfast the morning after. Gods help Gail Simone, who knocked two out of the park with the Villains United and Secret Six minis, to not screw Diana up more. Anyway. Yeah. Amazons. Basically the story is this. Ollie (Green Arrow) and Dinah (Black Canary) decide to get married. They invite all their hero friends. Some villains find out that this is going on. They plan an assault with Lex Luthor’s new Injustice League. There are some laughs with strippers and drunk heroes and whatnot (why would Red Arrow be drinking? He’s a recovering heroin addict, isn’t that a little… not good for him?), and then a big fight when the villains attack. Then, on the wedding night, Ollie gets this blank look on his face and tries to attack Dinah. She stabs him through the neck with an arrow, killing him. Fast-forward a month. Dinah and Batman figure out that “Ollie” was actually a shapeshifter who must have replaced the real Ollie during the fight in the middle of the wedding. Oh, and apparently Black Canary’s long-lost daughter Sin who was introduced in the Black Canary four-parter that preceded all this madness, has something to do with this. Also, yeah, Amazons.
If you grew up reading comics in the ‘90s, there’s a slight chance you’ll remember X-Men #30. Scott Lobdell, Andy Kubert. The wedding of Cyclops and Jean Grey. And you know what happened? Nothing at all. No one attacked. No one died. There was a ceremony, a reception and a dance, and then they left for the honeymoon. Twenty-eight pages of nothing but good-hearted fun and character development, and the vindication of a decades-old love story. Now just what the hell was wrong with that? Also, you’ll notice that Scott and Jean’s wedding didn’t take five issues. There was a reference to the bachelor party and then they went ahead to the main event. Bam. Done.
DC, by contrast, hired the new writer for Justice League (McDuffie), the most hit-or-miss writer on Earth (Winick [perhaps a bit of an overstatement but c’mon]), and some guy I’ve never heard of (Torres? whatever), to write one-hundred and twenty-four pages, one hundred of which seem to be telling three stories all taking place at the same time, and cramming in a big subplot about Luthor’s newest Evil Team that takes up a third of the page count. And apparently, Luthor’s not even responsible for Ollie getting captured and replaced! So what the heck was the point of all that fighting? Just ‘cause? (That was not intended as a pun based on the wedding vows thing—you know, “if any man or woman has just cause why these two should not be married…” yeah. Just realized that after I wrote it.)
It’s a big mess is what it is, ultimately, which is ultimately symptomatic of DC itself these days. Everything’s up in the air right now about who belongs in which of the 52 universes and who’s supposed to be dead and what everyone’s origin actually is—the individual stories are fun, but when you step back and look at the whole thing, you’re liable to get vertigo (again, no pun intended) and throw up. Back to the story though. Some of it’s pretty amusing—the banter between Arrow and Canary especially (“Maybe we should go rustle up one of your old dance partners?! Hawkman? Ra’s al Ghul? The U.S. Navy?!”), and the bachelor/ette parties are somewhat funny, if mostly unnecessary. Speaking of unnecessary… the Wedding Planner issue is just that. I’m begging you not to buy this comic. It is nothing but arguing over bridesmaids’ dresses and china patterns. I’m not joking. Chances are you’ll get duped into marrying someone at some point, so you can suffer through that then. Don’t waste your time reading about fictional people doing that. Winick, if nothing else, is good for quite a few laughs in the actual wedding special and even the first issue of the new series (If you really want to like Judd Winick, and a lot of people do, read The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius and Pedro and Me for some excellent non-hero work. His hero work is hit-or-miss. Exiles was great, Green Lantern was so-so, Batman wasn’t worth his time and Trials of Shazam is just deplorable.). Amanda Conner’s art is as sexy as ever, so there’s that. McDuffie and McKone in the JLA special are at about their usual levels of talent: decent but utterly forgettable. And speaking of forgettable, as I said, there’s the wedding planner. If you’re a die-hard GA/BC fan from back in The Day, you might enjoy these comics at least somewhat, and you should probably stick around for the new series. If you just picked these issues up at random, I feel as sorry for you as I do for myself.

Rating: One Shot of Bacardi.