Don’t reveal the shocking ending of “Death of Spider-Man” to your friends.

§ June 24th, 2011 § Filed under swamp thing, this week's comics § 9 Comments

So anyway, that Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1 that came out this week…

…Well, I can certainly say that, as I was reading it, I was getting the vaguest shadow of an impression that the writer was perhaps trying to convince me that John Constantine may have something resembling a British accent. …It just felt laid on a bit thick, is what I’m saying.

And by the way, the Zatanna on the cover that was replaced by Hawkman on the cover is now back to Zatanna again.

None of that tells you if the comic is any good, and…well, remember when I mentioned that Tim O’Neil had asked me if I’d rather have no Swamp Thing comic than a bad Swamp Thing comic? I think I have my answer, since I’m apparently glad to have this comic.

Well, okay, it’s not as terrible as all that. It’s not all that good, really…I mean, God bless ’em, they try hard, and given the editorially mandated goal of squeezing John Constantine and his big swampy buddy back into the superheroic DC Universe…well, that’s certainly John Constantine interacting with superheroes, here. It’s kinda sloppy and rough-hewn, but I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy seeing Constantine reuniting with Zatanna and getting into Batman’s face a bit. (And there’s even a reference to the last time John ‘n’ Bats met.)

As I said when I originally addressed Tim’s question: when it comes to Swamp Thing, the filters tend to go down. There’s “appreciating the efforts of a writer and artist in telling their story,” and then there’s “oh boy, I wonder what’s going to happen to my favorite character next?” Swamp Thing is probably one of the very few characters that still trigger that latter fanboy response in me, where what is happening with the character is more important to me than how what is happening to the character is presented. I can recognize that perhaps this isn’t the best comic book in the world, but I didn’t loathe it like some reviewers I saw out there, and I still enjoyed it more for furthering the continuing adventures of Swamp Thing than for its artistic or literary merit. So, you know, I guess it was a success, at least for me.

“Too long/didn’t read” version: Your pal Mike loses his critical faculties when it comes to Swamp Thing, so don’t count on him for an unbiased review of this Search for Swamp Thing mini-series.

However, when I tell you that the Return of Swamp Thing movie is a piece of cinematic genius, that’s not just crazy old man Mike talkin’…that’s indisputable fact.

A couple of other funnybooks from this week:

  • The regular edition of Ultimate Spider-Man #160 (the final, I guess, chapter of the Death of Spider-Man storyline) comes in the Death of Superman-esque black bag:

    The variant cover, available in 1 in 25 or 40 or whatever, comes in a red bag:

    The “blank sketch” cover, which you can presumably take to a comic artist at a convention or something and have ’em draw their own Dead Spideys, comes with no bag:

    …And seriously, they should have put this in a clear cellophane wrapper. Not to protect the contents of the story from lookie-loos or anything, but, you know…blank cover, “blank” bag? As opposed to the black or red bags? No? Well, I was amused by the idea.

    We may be pretty much at the end of the run for media-driven non-comic readers coming into stores to get the latest Big Death Issue. When the Human Torch allegedly “died,” I noted at the time that even the media coverage gave a slightly cynical spin on the matter, and that I didn’t see that much of a bump in sales to many people beyond regular customers.

    This time around…well, we ordered equal numbers of The Search for Swamp Thing #1 and Ultimate Spider-Man #160. By the end of Wednesday, the first day of sale for both, we were nearly out of the Swamp Thing comic, and we’d barely moved any copies of Ultimate Spider-Man. …I know what you’re thinking, and I promise, I had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t until late Thursday afternoon, when I started having a string of people I’d never seen before show up asking about “that Spider-Man comic,” so I’m guessing it turned up in the local paper or on the news or something.

    Of course, most of the coverage I have seen (primarily online) has emphasized that it’s not the real (ahem) Spider-Man, but from the alternate Ultimate line, which may have dampened the media-driven investor interest somewhat.

    I will say that sales have come up slightly on Ultimate Spider-Man as this storyline has progressed, given the moribund state the Ultimate line has been in for quite a while. That’s what was so surprising about this new issue just kind of sitting there on the shelf, untouched and unloved, for New Comics Day.

  • And then there’s Superman #712, which was supposed to be a story guest-starring a Muslim superhero, but was pulled at the last second and replaced by a long-shelved Krypto issue that ties into Infinite Crisis, of all things. As you might suspect, there’s a big Internet hoohar over this, but I’ll just let pal Dave summarize the silliness with his comprehensive Metafilter post.

    As for the Krypto story itself…when it was first announced, years ago, that a Krypto solo issue was prepared but pulled from publication, with no explanation forthcoming, for some reason I kept picturing, like, really over-the-top dramatic reasons for DC shelving the story. “THE DEATH OF KRYPTO!” or “KRYPTO COMES OUT!” or “KRYPTO MEETS JESUS!” or some other kind of earth-shatttering story where things will never again be the same.

    Of course, it’s nothing like that…just a quiet follow-up to Infinite Crisis that kind of loses its impact this far along from the event (and not helped by art that, unfortunately, really did nothing for me). But I’m all for Krypto stories, and I suspect we’d better enjoy this one while we can, since there may be no room for flyin’ superdogs in the new post-September DC publishing regime. Except maybe in Tiny Titans, of course.

    Then again, Grant Morrison will be writing Superman….

9 Responses to “Don’t reveal the shocking ending of “Death of Spider-Man” to your friends.”

  • Rich Handley says:

    The Constantine in that issue was just awful. His accent was all over the place, making him come off as a bad-mouthing Dick Van Dyke. And that, for me, completely killed the issue.

  • Rich Handley says:

    I’ve always felt that John Constantine should be written by Brits, and this is why.

  • CW says:

    The Spider-Man “blank sketch” issue would be great for squishing real spiders. Make your own variant cover!

  • "O" the Humanatee! says:

    The preview of Search for Swamp Thing completely failed for me, convincing me not to buy a comic that I might otherwise have checked out. There were two reasons:

    – John Constantine’s “British” accent was, as you all have said, just awful.

    – The art was so inappropriate, un-atmospheric, and “non-Vertigo-esque,” with few shadows and very “dry” inking.

    But I sure expect to give Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette’s Swampy a shot when it comes out.

  • Sarah says:

    Your love is very pure, Mike.

  • Anonymous says:

    Remember the old days when a Swamp Thing comic actually had Swampy in it, instead of some mediocre spin-off British character wasting space?

    I miss those days.

    FYI: Suppose Snyder’s ST gets axed after Didio’s promised minimum of 6 issues, at least we’ll have 250 issues of ST within 40 years.

    24 + 171 + 20 + 29 + 6 = 250

  • Anonymous says:

    Why does Superman fail to appear in every single comic he’s supposed to be in nowadays?

    Supes should have had a cameo in Search For ST, at the very least.

  • Josh says:

    Are we talkin’ worse than Mark Waid’s rendition of Mirror Master’s Scottish accent?

  • Rich Handley says:

    Anonymous: We’ve actually already had 250 Swamp Thing issues…

    24 + 171 + 20 + 29 + 1 (Swamp Thing: Roots) + 7 (Swamp Thing Annuals) +1 (Swamp Thing Secret Files) = 253