Rave : 2008 : I Love and I Hate...
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As Eddi Reader sings, "There's two little words that come between us... I Love and I Hate..." I've been away overseas for a bit, so I'm still catching up, but here's what I'm loving and hating from what I've read in the past few days.
I Hate One More Day: I mean, how stupid can things get. I don't even want to talk about OMD. Half the staff are talking about abandoning Spidey and the other half are talking about carrying on so they can write acidic reviews. I haven't heard a single soul willing to say one good word about this stomach-churning abomination.
I Hate Exiles: I've heard people say kind things about the earlier issues. I've been reading since about Exiles #78, so maybe I missed the good stuff. But I never felt the love for this title. I never developed any sympathy for the characters, and I never felt involved in the stories. Fundamentally, I think the story hurtled around bouncing between ideas and characters so fast, that the basic aspects of story-telling just got left behind.
Exiles #100 was the final insult. In one issue, five characters were hurtled into various different realities, and in the space of two pages each, were treated to what was clearly supposed to be touching finales. Now, a master story teller can create a world within two pages. But Claremont is no such master. Instead, all my complaints about the preceding twenty issues were amplified ten-fold. Not since Spider-Woman (Vol. 3) have I felt such a "rearranging deckchairs on the titanic" moment for a series. And then... the second half of this bumper double-sized final issue is... a reprint of Exiles #1, and a promo for the TPB! Unbelievable!
I was only reading Exiles because Spidey 2099 was in it. But really, he wasn't. He did almost nothing in any of the issues. He had zero personality. He gave "two-dimensional" a bad name. In one of the very last issues, he fell desperately in love with an alterverse Gwen Stacy. But why, and why should we care? In the dozen or so panels which encompassed their love affair, and then the tragic agonizing decision he had to make (to decide whether to help her defend her leader, Doctor Doom)... well, it all came across about as convincing as a home-made TV advertisement for used cars.
I Love Ultimate Spider-Man: It may be treason to say it, but when Bagley left, I really didn't notice. Stuart Immonen has done such a sterling job of continuing in tune with Bagley's style that it's basically transparent as far as I'm concerned. Bendis' writing totally refuses to get stale. The interaction between Peter and Aunt May, and between Peter, MJ and Shadowcat... it all just rings so true. It's a marvel how this series ever managed to break the jinx of all the preceding attempts to re-write Spidey's origin. That it has continued to sustain that success is a double marvel.
I Love Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane: But I'm glad that it's finished, since I think it really was getting silly at the end. The last couple of issues were just too over the top - she loves him but is dating him but he was dating her but also her but... you get the picture. The final issue was one massive who is/isn't in love with/dating who, it was just getting plain silly - like a complex Square Dance based on the plot of the Da Vinci Code. But it was fun while it lasted.
I Love She-Hulk (Vol. 4): This is such a gem of a series. Dan Slott finished up with She-Hulk (Vol. 4) #21. It kind of looks like he finished on short notice, but he wrapped things up with such style. He managed to tidy up all his running plot points, PLUS he managed to throw in a bunch of references to plot points he had obviously intended for future issues. It was tidy and complete, and a perfect way to hand over the reins to Peter David who took over from him. What a class act.
I Guess I Like Amazing Spider-Girl: I'm gonna finish on an ambivalent note. Sorry guys, but while it's bearable, I can't say I'm enamored of Mayday. I know she has a squillion fans, and I expect to receive hate mail. But this is another series that asks me to feel too many emotions, but offers not enough reasons for me to commit emotionally. Sure it's consistent, but not particularly satisfying. The recent Fantastic Five MC2 spin-off was bearable I guess.
OK, enough Raving. I'll go read some more comics now. Only a hundred more to go and I'll be up to date!