Crisis on Infinite Earths (Written by Marv Wolfman, Illustrated by George Perez)

For a marketing stunt, you can do worse than Crisis on Infinite Earths. At least it tries to includes themes of life fighting back in the face of oblivion, and George Perez absolutely kills it with his art. Unfortunately, the whole thing revolves around a villain who just isn't that interesting. Powerful, yes, dangerous, very much, but still totally fucking boring. The Anti-Monitor's entire personality is "fuck the Multiverse" and his motivation for destroying the Multiverse is "because fuck the Multiverse." And I've reread the climax, and I cannot figure out how they learned the source of the Anti-Monitor's power and how to defeat him except they read the script after accomplishing the series' primary goal of resetting the DC universe's continuity, so can we please just kick this bastard's ass and wrap this up now?


Doom Patrol (Written by Grant Morrison, Illustrated by Richard Case et. al.)

Remember back at the beginning of the year, when I announced my intention to finally read Lord of the Rings? Yeah, Grant Morrison totally kicked that in the head.

During Morrison and Buddy's chat at the end of Animal Man, Grant talks about how he (Grant Morrison is fine with all pronouns, shut up) is great at coming up with ideas but has trouble figuring out where to go with them. Doom Patrol exemplifies that. Doom Patrol is full of imaginative storylines building up these wacky characters and absurd scenarios until the Doom Patrol is confronted with the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse or the god of telephones or the very Demaker of Creation, and then rocks fall and the good guys win. Granted, this was before writing for the trade was a thing, so of course the book is going to move faster and not drag out its conflicts.

Okay, for those who don't know what "writing for the trade" means, a trade is just a book that collects multiple previously-released issues of a comic into one volume. Trades weren't as common as they are now and books took a month to come out, so older comics would try to cram in as much story as they could into each issue. "Writing for the trade," also known as "decompressed writing," is when a book is written with the idea that readers will skip the individual floppies and pick up the trade instead so less stuff happens in each issue, often by illustrating pages with fewer but larger panels. This is why towards the end of its run, The Immortal Hulk felt like it was taking three issues to cover the amount of story an old Hulk book would cover in one.

Doom Patrol's abrupt endings get smoother as the book goes on, I mean, after the shrugs that were the Orqwith and Red Jack storylines I probably would have dropped the book if I hadn't been reading it for a site project. Things finally clicked with Mr. Nobody and yeah, the solution to the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse is stupid, but it's so gloriously, self-awarely stupid I couldn't help but adore it. And honestly, the Nurnheim arc feels like Morrison wanting a do-over on the Orqwith arc after he'd figured out what to do with the comic.