Monday, May 26, 2008

Review: The Twelve #5 (Marvel Comics)

I didn't read this one until the Memorial Day weekend, and just as I've suspected (and reported with each passing issues review) this issue of The Twelve is mainly just more of the same. The characters, the writing, the artwork are all the same as before, with a tiny bit more story development than last issue. I hesitate to use the word plot, because thus far I'm not sure that there actually is a plot to this one. A cover blurb of "Twelve Mystery Men from the 1940's Return" plastered across the cover of each issue would pretty much sum up everything that has occurred since the first issue. And we are almost halfway through the twelve issues of The Twelve.


I am really getting more of a kick out of reading the other available reviews of this series each month than I ever expected. The IGN reviewer says that, "I love reading the book and not really caring what direction JMS takes it, since the book's plot flows in such a way that we are able to move in and out of 6 or 7 different plot lines and at this point in the book, feel comfortable that everything is going to get dealt with in due time." He then adds, "Granted, it is still not clear what the "larger story" in all this is," before going on to overly praise the book as a new classic. Probably out of all the reviews that I've read, Cash Gorman is the only one that mirrors my own thoughts. See his comments at Hero Goggles, in my links section!

Straczynski produced one of my favorite television series of all time in Babylon 5, but I am seriously beginning to wonder if the guy didn't cut his writing teeth on endless years worth of soap operas. He takes the serialized nature of comics far too literally, because he drags stuff out to the point of excess. At the same time, JMS makes guys like Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, Marv Wolfman, Stan Lee and other real Marvel Comics writers look like Faulkner or Hemingway. Any of these former/older Marvel guys, could have done what Straczynski has done in 120+ pages in a tenth of that and still treated us to some slam-bang super heroics - plus at least pointed us in the direction that we are supposed to be going. At this point, there is no reason to expect anything different from Straczynski's remaining 130+ pages.

That brings up another point, within this series it's been reiterated more than once, that these heroes are supposed to represent a better ideal of heroism [in the wake of the recent Marvel Universe Civil War ramifications] but as presented by JMS, these revived heroes from the golden age have more hang-ups, prejudices, sexual fetishes and phobias than virtually any other spandex hero in the Marvel Universe proper.
And what's up with that?

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