Sunday Roundtable: What run or comic series do you think is overrated?

JLA Roundtable comics overratedSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

Last week we discussed what series we thought were underrated. This week is the opposite. What run or comic series do you think is overrated?

Alex: I think you’ll open up a can of worm here, mate.

Brett: I expect it.

Alex: But for myself? Any of the big events from the Big Two since the mid 2000’s. They’re churned out so frequently now (especially at Marvel) that I just roll my eyes when they come around – and then wait to see if they’re worth reading because I’m curious if this one was the exception to my general feeling that they’re a waste of time and money.

Elana: agreed. strongly.

Brett: Yeah, most events start strong then quickly get derailed.

Alex: I think the best event I’ve read in years was Book Of Death. I’m genuinely excited for 4001 AD this summer, which surprises me greatly.

Elana: more like there is little to no true artistic vision behind them. The pinnacle of event comics was 52 (not New 52, but 52). It’s been downhill since .

Alex: I’ve never read 52

Alex: Just too big/long a commitment at a time when I could barely afford to eat.

Madison: Honestly, The Dark Knight Returns. It’s really inaccessible, especially to new comic readers. I wasn’t sure what I expected when I read it for the first time but I thought that there were too many lines of plot going on and the structure made it difficult to get through and stick with. I guess I get why it’s iconic, but it’s definitely not my favorite Batman story.

I’m also more than a little bitter that this is the version of Batman that filmmakers seem to be drawing inspiration from most now, because I don’t think it’s the best or most interesting version of the character. It’s interesting as an interpretation of Batman but I’m not sure it’s the truest version of the character.

Ryan: Chris Claremont‘s entire X-Men run. Honestly, there’s no way to sugar-coat this, it’s garbage from start to finish. Angst-ridden, melodramatic twenty-somethings who talk — and think God, how many panels are drowned out out by thought bubbles! — like emotionally retarded 16-year-olds, all starring in a years-long “Alien” remake. None of it is any good.

Elana: Rather then pushing back (because I hear you actually, I don’t agree but I hear you)– I want to ask what you think of Peter David‘s 90s X-Factor (if you read it).

xfactorJavier: Damn you for posting. I think it’s the third time I’ve seen you post on David’s run on X-Factor. I couldn’t sleep any way, so I hit the archives to see what I had. I vaguely remember his run on X-Factor. I found I still have issues 60 – 75 (and for some reason I have two copies of both 70 and 71). I always thought he came on at 71, but I see him credited on 70. Fabian Nicieza gets credited on 69 (with help). Also, check out the tag line on top: All-New All-Different. Where have we seen that lately? Gonna reread 71 – 75 since that looks like a complete arc. If it puts me to sleep then no comment …

Not bad. Still Holds. I don’t think he could get away with some of the humor from back then today (Guido Strong Man, Gee Cees, the political commentary on Bush and Ted Kennedy). This arc was a funny entertaining metaphysical whodunnit with Multiple Man. Guidos opening in 71, “Ya got some grey poupon?”, made me laugh.

Ryan: I read it for maybe a year, so I’m not qualified to comment on the entire run.

Elana: Javier the whole thing w GeeCees is pretty elementary political commentary but it works on the simple level it sets out to achieve. I absolutely think the run holds up as fun comics. The art is dated. But I didn’t like the art even then. I also appreciate a comic that knows who Ted Kennedy even is. Though I bet it was a painful Chapaquidick joke, wasn’t it. sighhhh

Javier: Batman: A Death in the Family. I can’t figure out how this arc keeps making it onto lists of greatest Batman stories ever told. I’ll admit, when it originally came out, I was swept by the hoopla, and dialed the 1-900 number (for a nominal 50 cent fee to take part in Batman and Robin ‘history’). I was young and naive once too. Re-read it not too long ago (I have the originals and a cheap tpb), and it just doesn’t hold up. Joker ends up the ambassador to Iran, and Superman tries to step in to prevent Bats from killing the Joker. The last straw: surprise, Jason Todd is miraculously back amongst the living with us today! I want my 50 cents back for false advertising.

Elana: I was disappointed by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean‘s Arkham Asylum. It’s not bad. But with that talent it should be better than it is. Maybe I should re-read…

Identity Crisis is awful. But I think a lot of folks agree with me on that.

Logan: Dan Slott‘s Spider-Man stuff. I thought Superior Spider-Man was a clever idea, but it was way too drawn out. It seems like he either wants to write Batman (Amazing Spider-Man currently) or Doctor Who (Silver Surfer), but thankfully no one will let him.

Madison: I’ve really enjoy him taking on people who are jerks about Superman on Twitter, though.

Logan: While being a jerk to my friends though Thank goodness for the block button though.

Brett: I liked his Superior Spider-Man. It went too long though and we all knew the eventual outcome. I will give Slott some credit in that he’s taken concepts which shouldn’t work and made something of them.

Alex: I really enjoyed Superior over all. Maybe four or five issues too long, but it was a fun year.

Brett: Yeah, it felt about an arc/arc and a half too long.

For me, it’s a lot of Grant Morrison stuff. His DC work I think is just generally not new reader friendly and the concepts are more interesting than the execution.

Javier: I think he is becoming another one of those writers that sells his name to give other works more credibility. If he writes it himself, it’s usually pretty good. First thing I can remember reading of his, was his run on Doom Patrol. A lot of the art references were above my head at the time, but I recall enjoying his writing, and then following his work til this day. But now I’m seeing his name thrown onto projects, that at best after reading, prove his involvement was tangential. Latest case, he is credited on Graphic India’s 18 Days. Major disappointment.

Ryan: Morrison confounds and confuses me. His work that I like — Doom Patrol, The Invisibles, Animal Man, Annihilator — I love. His stuff that falls flat — Seven Soldiers, Aztek, Batman R.I.P., Final Crisis — really falls flat. I appreciate his ambition, frequently, more than his execution. “Multiversity” was the best example of this in microcosm one could hope to see — two issues of it were among the very best things he’s ever done; the rest were far less than spectacular. If you want the brutal truth, much as he seems to love writing about super-heroes, the best super-hero work he did was the first — the first three books of his series Zenith ( the fourth was a mess, so forget it if you’re tracking them down). That series introduced all the major themes he’s been tackling — minus the fourth-wall-busting — within the genre ever since, and does so with a fresh, bold inquisitiveness that his work soon lost. I would say The Invisibles is his one true masterpiece, but for strictly super-hero stuff, it’s all been a “diminishing returns” version of the first comics story he ever wrote.

Elana: Final Crisis was a serious disappointment for me. And I’m not just saying that because he killed my beloved New Gods. Morrison’s best however is among the best comics of the modern age. I LOVE Seven Soldiers. I think its very overlooked. I guess that comment would go in last week’s thread.

Brett: His Final Crisis I thought was almost unreadable if you didn’t know a decent amount of DC history.

Elana: Brett I know a lot of DC history and even with that its just not a story that cares about its characters. And I am actually ok with some art that doesn’t care about its characters if the structure or language or visuals are brilliant enough to offset it. But that wasn’t the case here.

Ryan: Here’s what bugs me most about Morrison, and maybe I shouldn’t even let a statement like this affect my opinion of him, but dammit, since his “magickal” theorizing is so central to his overall body of work, I think it applies — if you read Super Gods, you’ll see that he states that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster didn’t actually create Superman. He says that it was this powerful idea that was just sort of floating through the ether that certain “attuned” minds could tap into, and Nietzche and others did so before them. Basicaly he’s saying they weren’t creators, but conduits for an ages-old idea. So for all his pseudo-“mystical” posturing, Morrison is perhaps, at his core, a “company man,” since this goofy notion actually buttresses DC’s claims of ownership to the character in perpetuity — after all, if Siegel and Shuster didn’t CREATE Superman, what claim could their families have to actually OWNING the character? On the one hand I “get” what he’s saying on a “higher dimensional” (or whatever), level, but on the other, it’s a giant slap in the face to Superman’s creators and a pretty forced rationalization for why it was okay for DC to fuck them over.

Elana: Ryan duuuuude!!!

Brett: And with that mic drop, it’s a good point to wrap up this discussion. What about you readers? Sound off in the comments below!

3 comments

  • That was a fantastic read! Thanks guys!
    For me, it’s anything by Rick Remender. The only thing I ever liked was Winter Soldier: Bitter March, but I’m a sucker for Bucky Barnes. I’ve tried with Remender on several titles, and he just doesn’t work for me.

  • I agree completly, with mot fo what you said, but particularly with Alex. As a general statement, Marvel hasn’t done anything new or interesting in years, and DC is starting to go down that route too. Same old, same old, That’s why these days I am much more of an Image/Dark Horse/BD kinda person.

  • Some of the most overrated series of all time:
    1. Final Crisis. This entire series was an embarrassment to DC. Incidentally the reason that no other DC character comic crossed over with FC was because other writers could not understand it either! Is it any wonder that DC eliminated the original Crisis from continuity (with Convergence)? By doing so they also eliminated Thenarrative abortion called FC.

    2. Brian Azzarellos Wonder Woman. Three year train wreck that only told one story. My pet peeve are story “arcs” that don’t have endings but merely lead into more subplots with no endings. Three years that bastardized the amazons and everything WW stands for. Bah.

    3. Any story with Swamp Thing in it. No exceptions.

    4. Maus. Art Speigelman’s Pulitzer Prize winning story of a family’s generational struggle with the Holocaust is hands down one the most pointless and depressing graphic novels I have ever wasted my time to read. I have never actually met a person in real life who has read it and liked it. They apparently exist though but only on the Internet in order to make certain reviewers sound learned. It’s one of those stories that doesn’t really end, it simply runs out of pages leaving the reader wondering what the theme of the book was trying to convey. Very disappointing and it is equally troubling to realize that this was the first comic to win a Pulitzer. It does not do the comic profession any favors.

    5. The ending to Y The Last Man. Great series until the final issue. Brian Vaughn does not know how to write very good endings and I hope that his Saga never ends because I love the ongoing issues…. But I guarantee you that if he ever does end SAga, it will be the worst issue of the series. I says this knowing that many vehemently disagree with me . To each their own.

    Peace