Well, I've been a really bad comics blogger lately. I haven't felt much like writing about comics, nor do I know exactly what to write about comics. I sit here and scratch my head and try to think of something to write about but nothing's coming to mind. I'm going to consider this recent lassitude to be all Geoff Johns's fault and call it Post-Blackest Night Ennui.
The end of Blackest Night was, in my opinion, a huge letdown, and killed a lot of my comics enthusiasm. Add reading Watchmen into the mix, which showed me that yes, comics can be written in a literary way, and I'm finding the current offerings lacking something. What that something is, I don't know what.
I had very high hopes for Blackest Night. Thinking back a year ago when it first launched, I was all over it. I wanted to know how it ended, and I had an idea in my mind of how it was going to end. Considering all those meta-textual comments the creators kept throwing out ("We're looking at the revolving door of death in comics," etc.), I thought this was going to be a world-changing reboot of the entire DC Universe. Well, I was wrong, and that's why I'm annoyed.
Much like the ending of Lost (don't get me started), the ending of Blackest Night sucked all the joy-inducing helium out of my Comics Make Me Happy balloon. Let me tell you something about how I read books, and watch TV shows and movies: I believe certain stories should end a certain way, and if they don't, I consider it breaking a law of storytelling, and I get really pissed. Mysteries end with answers. Action movies end with the bad guys getting defeated. Tragedies end with, well, tragedy. This is why Lost pissed me off royally, because it didn't answer anything, and when you promote a show as a mystery and promote its final season as the season when "all questions will be answered," then, dammit, you better deliver. Likewise, if you set out to write a comics crossover which will metatextually examine the revolving door of death in the comics world, then, dammit, you better do just that. Or I will get angry, and you won't like me when I'm angry.
Blackest Night, I'm discovering, wasn't a metatextual examination of death in comics, nor was it the shiny let's-go-back-to-the-good-ol'-days-everyone's-back-to-being-alive reboot I was hoping for. I would've been happy with one or the other, but instead I got neither. Now, I didn't care too much about plot holes or the (some would say) silly rainbow emotion corps like some people do. That didn't bother me. It was the promise that wasn't delivered that bothered me. I expected everyone to come back to life and the DC Universe to be rebooted with some new rules on how death is handled in comics, and I expected a brighter, DC Universe filled with fun, engaging stories. Instead I got two year-long maxiseries which feature mis-characterization of fan favorites and random soccer moms bashing in their children's heads with Rockband toy guitars. I have no problem with dark plots or disturbing elements, but just don't put those kinds of things in a comic named Brighest Day! Find somewhere else for them to go (like the Batman titles where they belong), or, better yet, learn how to tell a mainstream superhero story without shock value mindscrews. And let's not even mention the fallout on Green Arrow and Arsenal and all that. Brightest Day? Yeah, right. It only taught me that in comics, like in life, promises are rarely delivered on. I don't know about you, but I read comics to get away from real life.
And even if the premise of Blackest Night couldn't be delivered on, couldn't we at least get a break from year-long crossovers and have some shorter story arcs for a change? A year is an awful long time to wait for find out how something ends (I devoted six years to Lost so that disappointment was off the charts.) I'm feeling a bit fatigued looking ahead at the coming year of comics, and that's not how I want to feel when reading a comic book. I'd rather be happy.
I'm going to go read a Johnny DC title now and pretend that unicorns are real.