Friday, August 10, 2007


Now I wanted to post this part on Wednesday but other things had come up. On Wednesday I had to go to Ludwigsburg but the woman from the unemployment office gave me bad directions so I spent over one hour and a half walking through Ludwigsburg having no idea where I had to go. In the end I must have walked three or four hours nonstop when I finally came home. So the next day I spent almost entirely in bed.

Additionally I had to burn a lot of my pictures for the blog and CGS mp3s and whatnots on CDs because my harddrive was becoming to convoluted. I found a site with lots of celebrities wallpapers that are safe to post because the pics belong to the public domain so prepare for more hot chick pimpin on this blog in the next months. But now I have 4,89 GB free space and the computer is superdefragmented. So here´s my little add on to this BEST LEAGUE EVER theme. If this was DAVE´S LONGBOX I would just call it BEST LEAGUE EVER WEEK but Dave posts more often than me - so the idea of a theme week does not make much sense for me.

The story I want to write about is PAIN OF THE GODS by Chuck Austen and Ron Garney.

Now Chuck Austen has gotten a lot of flack for his issues on Uncanny X - Men and most of it deservingly. I have read some issues in the german translation and they made me shout out : What the f&(§§$ ? Those were some horrible issues. And although I really loved Ron Garney´s work on Captain America he´s not on the same level in this six issues.

When I read in PREVIEWS that JLA 100 would be the last issue of Joe Kelly and Dough Mahnke I thought about kicking the title from my pull list. There were two reasons I kept it on my pull list :

1. since it was announced that after Chuck Austen´s story Kurt Busiek would take over the title for a story that had the Crime Syndicate guest - starring and would pick up the events of AVENGERS / JLA.

2. the premise of the story sounded interesting and I do like Ron Garney´s art.

And I´m glad that I gave the book another chance because PAIN OF THE GODS is one of my favorite stories.

When Grant Morrison restarted the Justice League as the JLA his general approach was to put the seven big guns on the team and build them up as some kind of gods. The league was played like the greek pantheon and the heroes were picked to represent the different deities. In the course of the series the heroes of the Justice League became this big übergods who were almost unbeatable - especially Batman.

Now every writer has his own approach to the league and I really loved Grant Morrison´s run but what suffered a little was the fact that even if the heroes have superpowers to match the gods they ARE human on some level. And that is what PAIN OF THE GODS was all about.

Chuck Austen picked five of the league big guns : Superman, Flash, Green Lantern ( John Stewart ), Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman and he showed them on one of their worst days. The kind of day that´s not showed very often in superhero comics when the hero fails and often gives up his whole career because it´s more than he can bear.

He didn´t include Batman because to tell the truth Batman only has bad days. He goes through days that would break other heroes and just carries on. So for him it would be just business as usual.

So the story has like the single issues in which every hero has to face his personal crisis but you also have a subplot going through all the issue that starts in the Superman issues.

What I liked especially about the story is that it not only presents the heroes crisis´but also how they try to work through it. And that in turn shows you why superheroes band together in teams. Because there are some things that you can only talk about with another cape. Somebody once wrote that the only reason that heroes band together in teams is so they can tell themselves that the people are laughing about the other costumed guy. Whoever wrote this story should pick up PAIN OF THE GODS to get a clue.

In every gathering of people certain cliques begin to build. The cool people gang up, the rich people start their own thing and the freaks get left out. That´s how it is in school, it´s this way in any company you will be in and it´s also like this in a superhero team like the league.

Chuck Austen shows this really clever when the heroes have to deal with their worst day by who they seek to get some counsel. Especially the Wonder Woman issue. I guess there are only a few people on the team who know what´s it like to be in her position but since Jonn Jonnz is a little distant and analytical the only " human " person on the team she can really talk to is Superman - as strange as this sound.

Like I said I really like this story but it seems I´m the only person in Germany who does. Every other comic reader I talked to thinks this is one of the worst JLA stories ever. And I think this is in part because you can never trust readers or more to the point comic buyers and what they say they want in stories. It´s one of the lessons POWER FREAKS taught me that while readers MAY be bitching and moaning that they are fed up with the usual superhero comics with costumes that are totally out of date and they want comics that are made for the next millenium..... the end of the day they prefer their Batman, Spider - Man or Hulk instead of taking a chance on some new book. And while the german readers are always on some rant that they want heroes that are more human, stories that show the human side of the heroes and they want something that is NOT your typical superhero story.....

....well, it seems that they prefer that stuff in Vertigo titles or at least on books like the Authority. Apparently it´s not accectable on the JLA. Because while they complain that the stories are just big superhero versus villain slugfests ( which they aren´t ) they don´t want it any other way. Because it hurts when they have to think. And they suddenly realize that they really hate the stuff they always demand to appear more literate and educated. They suddenly realize that the big slobberknocker punchfest is all they really want and the other stuff just is boring to them.

Okay, maybe I´m totally wrong about the german comic readers ( if I am please drop me a line ) but from the reviews I read in spanish comic magazines like DOLMEN or on the web I know that the story was recieved totally different and much more favorable by the spanish comic readers. Maybe it has something to do with the way of thinking but it seems there are some things that I have in common with the readers in Spain. Could be a cultural thing.

Now if you want to read a really good JLA story with art by Ron Garney that really delivers give PAIN OF THE GODS a chance. It´s been collected in a trade ( like that´s a big surprise ) and a comic book well worth your money. Who knows you may even get to like it and consider it the BEST LEAGUE EVER.

Last time I posted a jazz clip but today I just couldn´t remember the artist´s name I had in mind so I here are some clips from one of my favorite albums of all times : has beem by William Shatner. Now I may have mentioned it on this blog before and you may have thought : What the %&$?§§$ has SUBZERO been smoking ? Shatner ? Can he even sing ?

So if you don´t believe me that this album has the best music I ever heard here is the proof. Enjoy.

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    SUBZERO said...

    Huh ? Okay, I´m leaving the last comment - I hope it´s not something dirty.

    For all others - you want to promote a website write me an e - mail. I don´t know if it´s flattering that people think it worth the effort to spam my little blog.....:-(