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TestosteRohne

Re-Reading Morrison's JLA

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There was just too much of Morrison's homage to Claremont stories.

There was nothing new in it, as far as Grant Morrison stories go, although it was certainly something new for X-Men, which had been stuck in self-referential mode since Claremont first left the title.

 

The "Weapon Plus" story-line I did enjoy greatly, though. The prologue piece with Wolvy and Cyclops in the bar was one of the best things to ever come from an X-title.

I marked out for the return of Magneto, but then Magneto did nothing but ramble on for four issues after accomplishing his plan.

There were some other good issues mixed in there (the one-shot stories, like the origin of Xorn and the homage to Magneto's death).

But all the stuff about the students at the school and Cassandra Nova coming back and Phoenix coming back and the Shi'ar was just tedious and annoying to me.

And that final story, a new Days of Future Past, was one of the most shoddily written pieces I've ever read in a mainstream monthly comic not written by Chuck Austen or Howard Mackie, I'm sad to say. It was like Morrison wrote it during commerical breaks while watching his favourite TV show, and Marvel just decided to skip even trying to edit it. The seeds for an interesting plot were certainly there, but what Morrison actually wrote was a mess!

"E For Extinction" was an amazing story, but Morrison didn't keep up that pace.

Of course, marks need to be given for actually making Cyclops and Emma Frost into interesting characters. No one has ever been able to do that until Morrison.

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I totally agree with your comments about Cyke, Emma, the bar scene, and the life Morrison breathed back into the title (even if it was one huge homage to Claremont).

 

However, I disagree with everything else. Personally, I loved Here Comes Tomorrow. Again, I'm a sucker for that kind of shit, even when it's, well, shit. The fact that it was so disjointed and seemingly unedited just made it better for me. I dug everything with Cassandra Nova and the students, didn't mind the Phoenix stuff (in HCT anyway) and really enjoyed the Shi'ar getting their alien asses whooped. I didn't like the Weapon Plus stories, and it took Frank Tieri to make some sense of Sublime and Fantomex (for me anyway).

 

The Magneto/Xorn thing was completely mishandled, but some (if not all) of the blame lies with Chuck Austen on that front. I liked Xorn as a character. He should have stayed independent of Mags. They could've brought Magneto back as a villain, but they shouldn't have made him Xorn. That was a fuck-up.

 

One thing that Morrison did that no other writer has done: Make Cyclops interesting. He's been the most underdeveloped, over-cliched, cardboard cutout character until Morrison came along and built on the fallout of The 12/Eve of Destruction. For that I'll always be grateful, even if I now hate the X-Men. :-?

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Re-reading the Morrison JLA trades, and I find that my opinions on the run have changed ever so slightly.

I absolutely hated the first 2 trades (New World Order and American Dreams, issues #1-9) but I ended up enjoying the subsquent ones much more than I originally had (writing a good Darkseid story is always a plus). Still, I'm fairly underwhelmed/disappointed with the run in general, mostly due to a few factors:

1) The art sucks. Howard Porter is a very run-of-the-mill mainstream superhero penciller. The colors are way too bright and mismatched, even for a mainstream superhero book that's probably targeted at teens.

2) Too many stories emphasize the plot over the characters (unlike Waid's stuff, as pointed out by Testy).

3) I am not in the target audience.

4) I don't have a working knowledge of the DCU, particularly what was going on in it during the mid-Nineties. (Superman is electric? Wonder Woman died?)

5) The structure of the book is based on the above 2 points, and the stories therefore are somewhat disposable--- they feel more like stories that flesh out the (at the time) current DCU rather than stories that stand on their own.

6) Too much text. Most panels are at least 1/3 text.

7) The text is often superflous or forced. Morrison is at his best when he doesn't give you all the info.

8) A little too much of the greatest powers meet even greater powers which succumb to far greater powers.... ad nauseum.

 

One interesting thing is seeing all the connections between Morrison's JLA run and his SSoV metaseries.

 

And certainly, I can appreciate what he was trying to do. You can clearly see how his attempts to reconcile all the major characters and plotlines of the mid-90's DCU has led to him doing the same with the current post-Crisis DCU.

 

Unfortunately, in the end I have to lump Morrison's JLA in with his Batman which is sad.

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Agreed on all points (Although I probably am the target audience!).

I do love me Soopaheros!

 

Afetr lending the run to another mate, I was going to give it another go again.

This time reading Aztek alongside it and most of DC One Million too.

 

The series defintely peaks with Rock of the Ages.

And all those Golden Batman moments are forever burnt into my mind.

 

I still think that his JLA is far more consistant than his X-Men run in both it's writing and art.

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I loved Morrison's JLA, I'm very ambivalent about his X-Men run.

Morrison's JLA was exactly what I was looking for in a mainstream DCU superhero book.

 

His X-Men run holds up better with age than when I was originally reading it, although it still has many moments that annoy me.

But, overall, I think that's sad, because I've come to enjoy Morrison's X-Men all the more based on just how much crap the X-books have churned out since Morrison left (excluding Milligan's run, which I have a soft spot for).

Way to go Marvel, if you were attempting to make your older books, that weren't great to start with, look better!

Not sure it's such a great business decision, but it's certainly commendable!

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Milligan's run on X-Men seems to be loathed more than Morrison's. At least at the moment anyway.

Milligan sure laid some eggs with that title:

Goglgotha, Daap, Leper Queen, Gambit and Rogue being whiney again......

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I don't know about 'loathed', but I'd certainly say that what I read of Milligan's X-Men run was weaker than Morrison's by a substantial order of magnitude.

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I meant loathed by the average joe x-fan.

Currently, the most hated writers are:

1) Chuck Austen

2) Peter Milligan

3) Grant Morrison

 

Personally, I didn't loathe Milligan's run (or Dixon's for that matter) but I didn't find much to enjoy past Larocca's art.

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The fact that such a substantial proportion of X-Men fans hate Morrison's New X-Men so strongly (and you're right, they really do - I've seen some truly vicious reactions to his run from diehard X-fans) says many terrible things about the blinkered idiocy which excessive devotion to a franchise can bring out in a person. My own dissatisfaction with several elements of his run notwithstanding, there's no doubt at all that Morrison was the best thing to happen to the X-Men, creatively-speaking, in at least two decades.

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The fact that such a substantial proportion of X-Men fans hate Morrison's New X-Men so strongly (and you're right, they really do - I've seen some truly vicious reactions to his run from diehard X-fans) says many terrible things about the blinkered idiocy which excessive devotion to a franchise can do to a person.

:laugh:

Too true.

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Chuck Dixon never worked on X-Men.

You mean Chuck Austen? Everyone hates Austen. And rightly so.

I think it's really telling that Chris Claremont's third return to Uncanny X-Men, which was really very average, boring, bland, or nonsensical is considered to be far better than Grant Morrison's run on X-Men, by the typical X-fan.

X-fans don't want change, even though I would go so far as to say that Morrison's run was closer to Claremont's original run than the last Claremont run, which was completely lacking in characterization for one. Just the name Claremont, because it is connected with X-Men history is welcomed, whereas Morrison is not. X-Men seems to have become an insular club.

I'm sure Mike Carey's run will end up loathed, whereas Brubaker's run will be beloved. I do enjoy Brubaker's run more than Carey's, and from a story-telling perspective Brubaker's run is better, but Brubaker is also sticking very closely to what Claremont was doing with X-Men in the early-1980s.

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Chuck Austens run was filled with plot wholes so big you'd think they were black holes. Seriously the Drako arc made no sense at all! and his other runs were just filled with more out of characters moments. Really the only thing good he did was turn Juggernaut into a hero. Other than that it was just a shit storm. His run on Action comics also sucked badly from what I hear and his other stuff was just trash. But mainly people hated him because he was way to sure of himself. "If you don't like my work, you're just one of those 12 angry trolls living in his parents basement!!" Smooth move, treat the people who keep you in work like shit.

 

 

I heard that Clairemonts previous run on Uncanny was just mind fuck after mind fuck.

 

 

Brubakers run is great, Tho the X-men in space thing is just kind of old. I was hoping we would get to see how Brubaker writes other X-men villains. Like Mr. Sinister or something.

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Really the only thing good he did was turn Juggernaut into a hero.

 

Not having read any post-'80s X-Men aside from Morrison, a few issues of Milligan, and a bit of Whedon, I wouldn't know about that - he may have made a good story out of it. On paper, though, it doesn't sound so great to me - I liked Juggernaut as a villain, and can't imagine he'd be nearly as fun or effective as a good guy.

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God I really love Mark Waid's and Bryan Hitch's JLA:Heaven's Ladder oversized OGN.

I love my Morrison, but this in his hands would be dripping with pretention.

Although a typical Ellis style would have been far worse I suppose.

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It was ok. Nothing to write home about. This was also years after Juggernaut was depowered and wasn't "Unstoppable".

 

Morrison is a writer who has really off the wall ideas, but only so many of them work (Doom Patrol. Animal Man. JLA.) and some of them are just too crazy.

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I don't think "get all of DC's biggest, most popular characters together in one title, and give them challenges epic enough to justify the uber-powerful team", which was basically Morrison's grand plan for JLA, counts as particularly "off the wall", or "crazy". I'd file it under "Why on Earth were DC not smart enough to have figured it out years ago?" instead.

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I don't think "get all of DC's biggest, most popular characters together in one title, and give them challenges epic enough to justify the uber-powerful team", which was basically Morrison's grand plan for JLA, counts as particularly "off the wall", or "crazy". I'd file it under "Why on Earth were DC not smart enough to have figured it out years ago?" instead.

Point.

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How were the JLA written beforehand then? Informal drinking club? 8-)

 

Must get back into the habit of reading Morrison's JLA soon, Rock of Ages was great stuff, the first three trades are all great. Keep forgetting the right order of the trades though when I'm in TPB-buying mode.

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Well, the line-up immediately pre-Morrison revolved around the likes of Black Canary, Doctor Light (the non-seedy one), Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle, Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Fire, Ice, and Rocket Red. So, not exactly the big guns.

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Oh I had that the totally wrong way around, I had images of the JLA beating low-level thugs to within an inch of their lives for decades before Morrison came along :D

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The JLA concept was dead by the time of Crisis. DeMatteis and Giffen came along and totally changed the concept and made Justice League one of the best books on the market, but the idea of a superhero sitcom quickly got old after DeMatteis and Giffen left the book, and the book was in dire need of a revamp when Morrison came along.

Surprisingly, concepts like JLA and Avengers, which seem like they'd be fandoms' wet-dream, have a horrible record of keeping the fans' interests.

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