It's not you, it's... No, you're right, it's you: Graeme's letter writing to the book of 1/24.

Dear Marvel, I believe that the acronym that the kids today would use today to describe my feelings about your much-hyped one-shot addition to the whole Civil War "event", CIVIL WAR: THE RETURN, would be - if you will - "WTF?". I have read your comic in question multiple times by this point, admittedly because the first time I read it, I was kind of stunned by it. I read it, and my mind kind of locked up. And not in a good way, Marvel. Not in a good way.

Here's my thing, Marvel: I don't understand what you're doing. I don't get why you're bringing this particular character back, or why you're bringing this particular character back in this particular way. If this were not really a letter that I'm writing to you, but instead a post for an online review blog, I would feel compelled to tell anyone who really cared that it's time for a Spoiler Warning right now, so that we could talk openly, Marvel. I feel that we should talk openly, don't you? Good. So, Marvel, here it is. I don't care about Captain Marvel. And I don't really think that anyone else really does, either.

I mean, seriously. When was the last time that anyone was screaming for the revival of Captain Marvel? Or, for that matter, that anyone really talked about Captain Marvel outside of the context of the fact that he died? That's been the entire value of the character, for the last twenty-odd years - That he was dead, that he was staying dead, and that he died in mundane circumstances that brought a gravity and realism to the Marvel Universe in a way that exemplified the whole "world outside your window" Marvel thing in a way that had never really been done before with one of the main characters before - much in the same way that Barry Allen has been much more worthwhile as a sacrificial Crisis lamb over at DC. So, you know, bringing him back for no immediately apparent reason and in such a dumb, pointless manner (Never mind a manner that was done last week in 52, and in a much more fitting manner, which has really got to hurt, especially considering Steve Wacker, editor of this book, was also editor on 52 when that storyline started... Hey... wait... Does that mean that this could possibly be a more deliberate reference to the Booster thing...? And, now that I've mentioned Barry Allen, dude! This is exactly the way they always have Barry guest-star to be the Silver Age icon in Flash or Green Lantern or whatever! And it's cheesy even then, even when it's very clearly temporary!)... I don't get it. What's the point?

It hasn't been a good couple of years for death in the Marvel Universe, let's face it. Bucky is back, Colossus is back, hell, even (an) Uncle Ben is back, so perhaps this is some kind of weird post-modern self-commentary thing. Are you trying to make some kind of point about the revolving door, worthless nature of "death" in ongoing superhero narratives, Marvel? Is the fact that Captain Marvel returns to us not as the character that he was before, but instead as a buff depressed Emo kid who wants to listen to Evanescence who just happens, is that meant to represent the insecure overly emotional loner that each comic reader is, and... Oh, no, wait, never mind. I forgot, Emo is in at Marvel again. Especially in Paul Jenkins books, where he's overloading on the "To be a hero, I must feel pain" thing (Sentry: "To be a hero, I must be schizophrenic and deal with the fact that I could accidentally destroy the world!" Penance: "To be a hero, I must pierce myself with spikes!" Captain Marvel: "To be a hero, I must use my super-bracelets that give me special mutated cancer!"). Never mind. Maybe I should just go and get some eyeliner or something so that you'll be my friend again.

Don't get me wrong, though, Marvel. The Captain Marvel story, as shitty as it is - and boy, am I glad to know that he's going to be seen in an all-new Captain Marvel #1 real soon! - still wasn't the worst thing about the book. I love that you keep giving work to Paul Jenkins, because who else could make the second story in a oneshot, a story that's been advertised by the editor of changing the entire status quo of the character and making the new Mighty Avengers series possible in the first place, such a non-event. Any hack could've made that half of the book dull, but only Paul could've made it center around a decision that most readers of Civil War thought that he'd made months ago. I mean, how is there any dramatic tension in wondering if the Sentry is going to register with the Superhuman McGuffin Generic Political Act of 2006 - 2007 when we've all already seen him team up with Iron Man and fight people who don't want to register for the last couple of months? There's something to that kind of thing, Marvel - Call it balls, call it gusto, hell, call it laziness that betrays a disdain for the fans who have shelled out money for this bullshit - that's just impossible to ignore.

So, yeah. I don't know what to tell you, Marvel. I was kind of impressed that you'd managed to get some kind of fan expectation about this obviously-last-minute-addition-to-the-schedule oneshot, especially considering the general apathy that's settled into "fandom" about Civil War in general, and to see the book itself be something so breathtakingly worthless and naval-gazingly, cringeworthingly Ass... It kind of brings a lump to my throat.

Oh, no, wait. That's bile. Sorry. Very easy to get the two confused.

Best to the kids. See you this summer!

Love, Graeme


Dear Internet,

I'm sorry that I don't have time to write anymore reviews this week - especially considering that Wolverine #50 proved once and for all that, as nice a stylist as Simone Bianchi is, a Wolverine comic that has art that looks like Heavy Metal and a script that reads like it's been produced by a computer fed with Mark Millar and Chris Claremont comics for years on end is still pretty Crap - but it's been an endless fucker of a week - The one highlight of which was the "She's Such A Geek" reading last night at City Lights, headed up by Charlie Anders and Annalee Newitz (who were both very nice to meet, even if I was sick and potentially just talking shit endlessly because I was nervous. If so, I'm sorry, the two of you. And also sorry to Devin Grayson, who was one of the authors doing the reading, and whom I probably bored to tears even though she hid it very well). For those of you who are free next Thursday night and in San Francisco, they're doing another reading at Modern Times on Valencia, and if it's anything as good as last night's, is highly highly recommended - and the Savage Critic illness curse has struck again, so I'm on reduced Criticing for a week. If you want non-reviews, though: PICK OF THE WEEK is probably Criminal #4, PICK OF THE WEAK is easily Civil War: The Return, and TRADE OF THE WEEK is Bryan Lee O'Malley's Lost At Sea, which I finally read this week after months of meaning to do so.

Okay, now I'm going to finish preparing the house for the arrival of my mother-in-law, and also to make a Theraflu and feel sorry for myself.

What did the rest of you read this week?