Contrarian Fanboy: Grant Morrison Sucks and Here’s Why

Here we are again for another round of unpopular opinions. But hey, that’s what the internet is for, right? That and porn. But since no one wants to see me in porn, including myself, I’m stuck with trying to convince people that what they know is wrong. Today’s installment takes aim at one of the most prolific and critically-acclaimed writers in comic books’ current paradigm: Grant F**king Morrison. Yes, in my world, that is his middle name. Hear me out:


“New X-Men”

In his sales-boosting revamp of the X-Men series after the success of the title’s film debut, Morrison begins what I believe is his mission to devalue beloved comic book characters for his own enjoyment. I commend him for drawing attention back to arguably the best superhero team ever, which has suffered in sales in recent years. But at what cost? The essence of already richly-defined characters who, if he was the brilliant writer so many claim him to be, he would have been able to continue defining based on their established personas and histories. Magneto became a drug-addict. Marvel apparently agrees with my sentiments, as they retconned this narrative choice later on by saying that it was not the real Magneto. But that’s really a small gripe. My main complaint about his “vision” of mutants was his introduction of characters such as “Beak”, who possessed no worthwhile powers, and instead whose only mutation was that he looked like a nutsack with a bird face.

Even Beast, and several other mutants, like the Morlocks, who were aesthetically displeasing, were also granted with some type of offensive/defensive ability. The whole point of genetic mutation as defined by the comics is that it is the next step in evolution. Organisms evolve in order to adapt and survive. Characters like Beak and the myriad of other useless mutants fly in the face of what mutants have always been about. And these characters never served any real purpose, and are largely forgotten today. They seem to have been written simply as a cheap plot device to give Morrison an excuse to do something “radical” and “edgy”. Maybe good for sales, but I don’t see any of the afore-mentioned narrative elements making any impact on the X-Universe at large. And that’s because they have no value other than shock and sales.


“Final Crisis”

I’m not a huge DC fanboy, but I keep up with the major events and who’s writing what at any given time. When Final Crisis came out, I thought I’d give it a shot, since it was said to re-organize the DCU. Again. And since I’d been waiting for DC to cut some of the fatty excess and silly, boring, seemingly never-ending retconning, I was game. I figured, well Marvel is able to produce big event books that are still capable of initiating new readers. DC has a chance to do the same thing. Tell a clear, concise story with real implications on the world(s), and they’d have at least one new fan. What I got was the biggest jumbled mess of ideas and random character actions/interactions I’d ever seen. My brother is a fan of DC, and he admits the damn thing made no sense. And don’t give me any crap about his writing being so advanced that I can’t follow it. That’s B.S. I have never had any issue following cohesive narratives about time-travel, parallel realities, alternate dimensions, etc. If you’re a good writer, you can draw the reader into the most complex theoretical scientific ideas. What Morrison did here was half-assed ideas and no exposition or insight, no sense of realism that a reader can latch onto to keep the story in perspective. And it culminates with Superman defeating Darkseid by singing.

That’s right, the most powerful man in the world defeats the most powerful dark god in the universe by singing a damn music note. This is now the official definition of “anti-climactic”.  If the DCU’s recent complete overhaul of their entire line of titles just a couple of years later doesn’t prove that this was a huge misfire, I must digress and rest my case.

….except I haven’t gotten around to Batman yet.


Namely, the “death” of Batman. Now it’s one thing for me to verbally assault Morrison on what essentially are matter of my opinion, but this example should clearly point to the fact that when he isn’t sucking by raping the essence of well-established characters, he’s busy sucking by ripping off other writers. Blatantly.

1a:Batman: Killed at the climax of DC’s major event, Final Crisis.

1b: Captain America: Killed at the climax of Civil War, Marvel’s big event, nearly 3 years prior.

2a: Batman: Not actually dead, travels throughout history in his quest to return home.

2b: Captain America: Travels through history in his quest to return home.

3a: Batman: Returns home to find that his protege, Dick Grayson, has become the new Batman.

3b:Captain America: Returns home to find his protege, Bucky Barnes, has become the new Captain America.

That should be enough to prove my point. But there’s the devil in the details:

Both Bucky-Cap and Robin-Bat are hesitant to take the place of their mentor. They both must deal with a few other potential replacements in order to carry on his name with honor. They both redesign the suits and they both are more “edgy” and with different, looser morals than their predecessor. They both, ultimately, hand over the reigns back to their respective former partners.

Please note that ALL events took place in Marvel’s universe first. Then, conveniently, DC followed suit. This is too much to be coincidence. I’m sure after the giant sales lift that Marvel experienced with The Death of Captain America, DC wanted to jump on the bandwagon. Granted, DC is the pioneer of “killing” a major hero then bringing him back later. But in this case, Cap’s story was done with much more grace, impact, and relevance, not to mention originality than Morrison could ever conjure with a pen.

With that said, I’d like to confess that when Grant isn’t defiling my favorite comic book characters, he does very well with original content. We3 is a very good self-contained story. But when it comes to popular icons, he has an uncanny ability to create momentarily-shocking, but otherwise logically-flawed and value-bunk stories, in my highly (self)-regarded opinion. And to top it all off, his stories just aren’t very fun, which is a key element to creating a comic book narrative.

Don’t get me started in his most common co-collaborator, artist Frank Quitely, who draws people’s faces to resemble  a pig’s arse.

What say you? You think Grant Morrison sucks?  Or are you a fan? If so, why? And can I please direct you to the nearest omega beam?

S#!T Talking Central

  • Steve Lemlek

    Dude, I can agree a lot with this. A lot of the ‘greatest’ artists are the ones who completely destroy and remake a characters mythos and create something else enirelyy. I’m not really sure if that makes them great…or if it’s just a dumb ploy that actually works in engaging the readers.

  • Cameron

    Well done. Grant Morrison is so incredibly overrated and the “Return of Bruce Wayne” was abysmal

  • alphamonkey

    I don’t disagree with you: Grant Morrison drives me absolutely insane at times, which is even more maddening because he’s written some incredible comics. He should have *never* been given the reins to a major Marvel franchise (something he wholeheartedly admits in his book, Supergods) because he abhors the “superhumans with human problems” ethos that drives the Marvel Universe. He dragged their flagship franchise out of major continuity (so much so that it’s just now working its way back in) and while that gave Bendis a chance to turn the Avengers into a team worth caring about again, the damage to the X-franchise was nigh irreprable.

    One bit though: Dick Grayson’s Batman wasn’t edgier nor looser of moral code, but he was more *fun* than Bruce Wayne has been in ages, and I for one consider the reversion back to the new “status quo” one of DC’s many disasters (along with cancelling every single book that had even an iota of spirit and joy in it).

    • Steve Lemlek

      Thanks for chiming in!!! I have to agree with your points.

      The thing I hate the most…. the fervor that comic ‘news’ sites generate about Morrison and the rest of the upper echelon of writers. I feel like they honestly benefit a lot more from the freedom their respective publishers give them in terms of destroying/rebuilding characters, and for that reason a lot of their success is generated from shock value

  • Mat

    I think this article demonstrates a pretty limited understanding of the X-Men mythos. The whole concept of mutantkind was developed 1) as an easy and convenient way of creating a whole lot of super-heroes without convoluted origin stories and 2) as an allegory that can fit pretty much any minority group in America. Yes, the X-Men fight to save a world that “hates and fears them,” but if all mutants came pre-equipped with overtly aggressive powers, there’s not much of a story in defending the group, is there? They wouldn’t need the protection and influence of the X-Men if being a mutant meant you were a preshrunk asskicking machine.

    That’s the whole point of Charles Xavier, and it drives the occasional moral ambiguity of his mission, and its relation to Magneto’s. He, like Magneto, recruits young mutants, takes them under his tutelage, and trains them to weaponize their mutant powers for his own agenda. His agenda is inherently benevolent and peaceful, which separates him from Magneto, but his methods are very similar. Until Planet X that is, which is a vastly UNDERRATED X-Men story. It accomplished two important things. First, it clearly and fundamentally delineated Xavier’s morality from Magneto’s megalomania. At the end of the day, Magneto is the primary antagonist to the X-Men, and Morrison brought his violent agenda to its logical conclusion. Planet X was always Magneto’s end-game, the extermination or subservience of mankind to its mutant successors. It just took getting mixed up with mind-altering drugs and personality-altering bacterial consciousness to drive the morally ambiguous Magneto to this decidedly evil mission. And why is there any problem with Magneto using power-enhancing drugs? He didn’t know what Kick was – no one did. His mutant utopia was butchered, he was paralyzed, and the fate of mutantkind looked more dangerous than ever. It was time for both Magneto and Professor X to rethink and reapply their worldviews in extreme ways; Professor X went public and launched the X-Corporation as a multinational peacekeeping force, and Magneto planned his most devastating and deadly terrorist attack to date. And he did so by the means available to him, which meant augmenting his powers and infiltrating the X-Men, his most frustrating opponents. How is taking Kick any different than using Fabian Cortez’s powers to enhance his powers while destroying his body, as he did under Chris Claremont in the 90s? Same principle.

    Second, it established a new dynamic which broke the binary opposition between Xavier and Magneto. Their dueling visions of mutantkind’s future dominated the X-Men mythos since its inception; Morrison showed the inherent flaws in Magneto’s violent resistance, as well as Charles Xavier’s passive idealism. There’s room for additional, morally ambiguous, subjective interpretations of mutantkind that transcend good versus evil or domination versus subservience. Morrison opened the floodgates for new stories and ideas, which were promptly closed by less creative and progressive writers and editors who decided to undo all the significant changes Morrison had brought to the X-Men.

    Characters like Beak, without clearly developed offensive powers, are representative of this new dynamic. Yes, under the training of Charles Xavier, he was beginning to hone his unfortunate mutation and master the power of flight. (We saw in Here Comes Tomorrow that continued evolution and training created Beak the super-hero). But by his own admission, he refused to be “anyone’s soldier.” You have to accept a place in the stories for characters like
    Beak who are simply uninterested in the seemingly endless power struggle between Xavier and Magneto, and who aspire to a different, simpler dream. Likewise, you have to allow for the possibility of revolutionaries like Quentin Quire, whose views clash with Xavier’s and are even more extreme than Magneto’s.

    Morrison contributed a lot of terrific stories to the X-Men mythos, ones that embraced every aspect of its legacy, from the crazy space-operas to the evolutionary struggle. In the process, he opened to door to a lot of potential new stories, an opportunity that, in my opinion, has not been taken advantage of.

  • Dane Ingham

    Mat, you make some excellent, valid points. I am a life-long X-Men fan so to say that I don’t have a good grasp on the mythos isn’t really accurate. I think I was just jarred from the beginning by the overhaul of the series, and I still say Morrison, though he did indeed hit some good story notes here and there, was not the best writer for X-Men. And since I am absolutely repulsed by Quitely’s art, as well as the other guy that often filled in when Frank couldn’t draw his ugly contorted faces in time, maybe I just didn’t even give it enough of a chance. I think the few things that he did well are still around, and the rest has been rightfully dismissed. It was a phase in X-Men history, and thankfully it’s over and we have moved on. Maybe my opinion of his X-Men run isn’t in line with yours, but are you willing to deny the other things I listed are crap?

  • Mat

    I haven’t read Final Crisis and the parallels between the stories in Morrison’s Batman and Brubaker’s Captain America are obnoxiously similar, I’ll admit – but I’ll also note that similar criticisms were leveled against Brubaker during his run.

    I will admit that Morrison’s mainstream work for the big two is completely outshined by the titles he’s had greater creative freedom over. He seems to work better when he’s not weighed down by existing continuity; Batman: Arkham Asylum and Marvel Boy come to mind as really unique, thought-provoking short series that wouldn’t have really worked otherwise.

    I’ll also admit that I’m a huge Morrison fan. His magnum opus, The Invisibles, is my favorite work of fiction, and it really serves to illuminate and explain a lot of prevailing themes and ideas in his other works. New X-Men can even be viewed as a thematic extension of the Invisibles, which makes it a more satisfying read for me, and I can understand how someone who hasn’t read it might not enjoy New X-Men nearly as much.

    I think Grant Morrison is one of the most interesting, creative, and engaging writers operating in comics today. Having said that, he does have a style all his own, and I can see how it might not translate perfectly into the recent DC series he’s worked on. But he’s afforded himself a lot of critical leeway in my book for the other works he’s done, including New X-Men, but also Kid Eternity, We3, Seaguy, Arkham Asylum, The Filth, and The Invisibles. (I’ll always hold that it’s one of the best, if not the best, comic series to date).

    And I suppose this is more of a judgment call than an argument, but I love Frank Quitely’s work. Once you get past his occassionally unfortunate choices he makes with human faces, his grasp of anatomy and layout and design lead to some awesome-looking pages.

    • GreekPornStar

      You know, I wasn’t a huge fan of Final Crisis. It seemed like such a convoluted mess of a story that all of it’s attempts at ‘high-mindedness’ felt trite.And then they kill off Batman to add even more gravitas…what the fuck?

      New X- Men was alright, but it wasn’t something I was really excited about. Ultime X-Men was at its peak at the same time, and even though that book was a bit of a spctacle, i still preferred it

      • Chris

        In Morrison’s defense, though, he didn’t even try to pretend that Bruce Wayne would be gone permanently. If you recall, the last panel of “Final Crisis” shows Bruce meeting Anthro in pre-historic times, then painting the Batman symbol on the side of a cave. For perspective, this was just one issue after he was seemingly killed off by Darkseid–I don’t think he ever had any illusions about Bruce staying dead, and neither did the fans.

        I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of his Batman run, and his whole “Batman tripping through time” thing just confused the hell out of me…but I don’t think he was just trying to kill him off for shock value.

        I thought Marvel’s handling of Captain America’s death was a lot more dramatically effective. But let’s face it: at the end of the day, they were just trying to kill off an iconic superhero for the buzz that they knew it would cause. Morrison, at least, had higher aspirations than that.

  • Saidi

    Dude this is a treat of an article !

    Beak whose only mutation was that he looked like a nutsack with a bird face.

    You forgot that he also copulated with a Fly Woman to give hybrids… No actually it’s better you forget about this.
    Morrison is NOT the god of all comics or whatever, he’s just a writer with hits or misses… Mostly misses with me now
    let’s take a look
    – JLA & One Million: the peak in Morrison’s career at DC, with JLA’s Rock of Ages being Final Crisis done right, and One Million being a great cosmic-level story
    -Animal Man: This is where Grant really proved that, if you know what you’re doing and don’t give a flying fuck about it, you can take a D-List character and turn him into at the very least a B-Plus List character. He damn near turned Buddy Baker into an A-Lister
    -All Star Superman: Silly yeah, but an enjoyable kind of silly that worked on its own silveragish little world, read it , liked it but not the definitive take on Supes for me (that’d be the Bruce Timm version…)

    MISSES or let’s say FUCK UPS because these REALLY PISSED ME OFF!

    -Fantastic Four: 1234 Had he been allowed to go with what he’d originally planned – revealing Sue had incestuous thoughts towards Johnny, his career would have been torpedoed right then and there, along with whoever at Marvel allowed it to happen. Oh & Doom lets Sue scold him like a kid …without reacting? FUCK THAT! DOOM shall smack the harlot!
    Batman ; let me keep this short , Damian Wayne. Yep, I still hate the little dipshit & still wish the Joker would give him the crowbar treatment, honestly does it make any sense that Batman would accept somebody in his home with open arms after this person has beaten half-to-death his (adopted) son and assaulted his long time friend? Even more ludicrous is that he accepts Talia Al Ghul’s word that the boy is theirs without doing a DNA test once they are in the Batcave. Did I forget to mention that the boy brings back a head he decapitated back to the cave? Does Batman approve of murder all of a sudden? His treatment of the Joker was pretty lame & as a fan of the Clown Prince of Crime I basically said fuck it!Thats not the Joker in Morrisons run, its a compilation of the most overused serial killer cliches coupled with Sweeney Todd and all rolled up into a turd that is supposed to be justified by Morrisons “super sanity” retard logic. And none of of the subsequent stories ever pleased me… Don’t bother !

    – New X-men: it took just Decimation to give justification for dropping the book & writing MY own Continuity or fanarts. Decimation was the
    HEADSHOT, but the rest of the haybale had been immolated & raped byMorrison long beforehand while he could , with a better editor or a
    competent co-writer ,have done wonders.He was only doing the X-Men for the money and didn’t care about the characters or the fans. Ok it sucks but he was honest .
    The biggest problem I had wasn’t the continuity issues, or the failing plotlines. Its the failed inane human beings he replaced them with.
    Some of my favorite characters were Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Bobby Drake, Henry McCoy,Gambit, Rogue Bishop, Logan,Sabretooth, Emma Frost, Magneto, most assuredly Mister Sinister, the Juggernaut , Apocalypse , Stryfe , Cable, Deadpool, the X-force & Generation X kids & the X-factor crew.
    Where are they all now?
    They are almost wholesale pathetic remains of the characters from the 80’s and 90’s. Those with potential are killed instead of being used well…
    Scott Summers, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost are without need for me to explain how TERRIBLY these characters have been handled not only in terms of the direction they’ve taken but in terms of their personal integrity, these 3 now are particularly bad off, and two of them bring me a deep sense of disgust & I gotta thank both Morrison & the Big Fat Q for fucking them up beyond any repair ( it’s OMD level of FUBAR , guys . No recovery in the “mainstream”!)

    -Final Crisis: Superman saves the day by singing a SONG. I…kid…you…not…. as a fan of Darkseid, I find it really sad how horribly villains of great magnitude get shat on over & over while the cartoon gets the villains RIGHT & RESPECTFULLY entertains you. Seriously , the 2 last episodes of JLU is what it should have been.

    I always thought Quitley’s faces look like a hybrid between a potato & a 2 weeks fetus… the Pigs arse insult is new .

  • David LeVack

    All writers have strengths. Grant Morrison is a better short story writer than he is an arc writer. He loses himself. His SEVEN SOLDIERS mini series were solid and enjoyable, as well as his WE3. Everything else loses cohesion and spins into entropy.

  • David LeVack

    and it cracks me up, he isn’t even qualified to lick Alan Moore’s boot heel from an objective and critical point of view.

  • Chris

    My take on New X-Men has always fallen somewhere between Mat’s and Dane’s. On one hand, I really do respect Morrison for being bold enough to try to change the status quo as much as he did. Grant contributed some great X-Men stories during his run, and they’re all tied into the idea of embracing a changing future–something that the X-Men mythos have always been about. But his run is by no means perfect.

    As much as I loved new characters like Cassandra Nova, Quentin Quire, and Sublime, his portrayal of some of the established characters felt problematic. Emma Frost, one of the most glaring examples, was reduced to a petty, manipulative seductress after she’d spent the 70s as a ruthless villain, and the 90s as an atoning mentor figure in “Generation X”. It was like he took every possible step to make her as unlikeable as possible, and then had her sabotage Scott’s marriage with Jean for no other reason than that “Happily married characters aren’t interesting enough”.

    Then at the conclusion of that whole arc, his idea of “shaking up the status quo” was to kill Jean off AGAIN, acting like it was an original idea. And an issue later, he had Emma making snarky comments like “How many times have you buried her?” and “This must be getting rather tedious” just seconds before making out with Scott over her grave. I won’t go into shipping arguments (even though I did always love Jean), but couldn’t there have been a more graceful way to handle it? Scott loses his devoted wife who he’s loved since he was a teenager and immediately falls into the arms of an adulterous, manipulative harlot like she never even existed. Is that Grant’s idea of a happy ending?

    And I know a few people have complained about Beak before. In all honesty, I actually liked the concept of the character when he was introduced: an sympathetic underdog who gives us an everyman’s perspective while there are huge power struggles going on around him? That sounds like just what the story needed. My problem with Beak, though, isn’t the fact that he does’t have cool powers–my problem is that after two big story arcs, he just devolved into some kind of comically ineffectual loser who seemed to exist purely for humor’s sake. I mean, the kid ends up knocking up sassy, over-the-top “Ghetto girl” Angel Salvadore after they have an affair that started with Angel kissing Beak on a bet? And a comically oblivious Beak insists on believing that she’s in love with him? Or having Beak spout ridiculous lines like “Even a dog or a carrot can feel pain! Er…maybe a carrot’s the wrong fruit to use…” and “I’m straight edge! My body is a temple!”

    And as much as I love the big twist about Xorn being Magneto, I’ve never really seen how the twist actually made sense. Seriously, I’ve read through the entire run multiple times (I have all three collected volumes) and I’ve never been able to pick up the slightest bit of foreshadowing about Xorn’s identity. If Xorn didn’t have healing powers, how did he cure the X-Men when the nano-sentinels were infecting them? How did he set a trap for them at Asteroid M if he had no way of knowing they would be in space? How did Jean pick up a completely different set of memories when she scanned Xorn’s mind? Why did the guards at Feng Tu prison try to sell him to the Sublime Corporation if they were working with him to help bring down the X-Men?

    I love jaw-dropping plot twists as much as the next guy, but you shouldn’t sacrifice logical plot flow for big shocking moments.

    All complaints aside, I will say that “Planet X” is one of my personal favorite X-Men stories, and I agree that it’s become kind of underrated in wake of the whole “Xorn-neto” retcon. As angry as I am about Grant killing off Jean (and make no mistake, I AM angry about that) I think the arc works very well as a tragic finale to Magneto’s story. I’ve heard a lot of debates about whether or not Morrison’s portrayal of Magneto is true to his character, and I can understand why some people have mixed feelings about it–to me, though, that makes the story all the more tragic. Magneto is an anti-villain with a tragic past and many admirable qualities, but in “Planet X” he’s driven past the point of no return by pure desperation, and essentially commits suicide as he realizes that his lifelong crusade has lost its meaning. To me, that’s a hell of a lot more chilling than the straightforward beatdown that a lot of writers would have given us.

    To sum it up, there’s a lot to like in Grant’s X-Men run, but like almost everything he’s written, it’s hit or miss. At his best, I think Grant’s one of the best writers in comics today (“Arkham Asylum” and “All-Star Superman” are two of my all-time favorites). But at his worst, his work is derivative, nonsensical, and built almost purely on shock (Try as I might, I’ve never been able to embrace “Final Crisis”).

    • Saidi

      Chris , my problem with his Magneto is not that he was belligerent & violent… It is just that he was awfully R-E-T-A-R-D-E-D . And that’s not something I say lightely But even then I consider Mags to be very tired as a villain (he’s been hogging the spotlight way too long…)

      Here’s the big plan of this Magneto guy:
      1) Impersonate some chinese prisonner for a long time (in comics time is bendable sooo…) & wait for the X-men to conviniently free me (thank god they were passing by!)
      2) Fool them as Xorn & sending 2 of them on my asteroid on which i spent time & money god knows where it came from (Well they were conviniently retarded enough for this entire run so I guess it wasn’t a stretch here.
      3) I build a fearsome group with a fly woman , a chicken, a piece of cum dumpster jailbait, an old woman who’ll rebel by saying genocide isn’t IN anymore (I got nothing, I’m supposed to like this thing again…),a brain in a jar & Toad whose tongue is great (Hasn”t Morty left Magnus’s side like a fucking decade ago, yey fo character development!) . I mean who needs Frenzy, Exodus, Fourarm, Scanner, Amelia, Unuscione, Chrome or Byron when I have that army!
      4) New York rampage ! Crematorium Huuuzzzaaaaah ! (& the avengers or other x-men could not get here becaaauuuuse …)
      5) I kill Jean in phoenix mode (did we really need it back? wasn’t Jean doing well without space chicken?) because the plot said so & then Logan can behead me (& I didn’t defeat the adamantium skeleton guy of all people because…)
      See kids, no need to talk about Austen or the editors BS comeback from this thing, the first story already fits the goddamn bill when it comes to nonsense.

      as for Cassandra Nova ( even the name hurts me as I type it …) I am sure that if an unknown writer had pitched that idea to the editors down at Marvel they would have shown him the door rather quickly. But Morrison’s peyotls hallucinations are genius!
      To this day people defend this ganja high of a concept by saying she was efficient & scary! The scariest thing is that we had to see naked Xavier for an entire arc & even more (yep this is the scariest villain ever, Xavier’s junk !… fortunately censored.)

      The only reason i’m not burning Beak is because Tony Bedard used him well in Exiles . But I could name a lot more better characters than him here Take a pick !

      Emma DID NOT appear in that run. Nope. That was no Emma Frost . I like her as a villain, I loved her as an anti-heroin but the bitch in that wretched run ? Not her at all. That was Paris Diamond Hilton.

      As for BOLD new ideas, the 2 good CONCEPTS (not even stories but story IDEAS ! ,) were the mutant culture & Weapon +. The only likeable dude in the whole run was the cyborg Fantomex (I only appreciated Tieri’s version of Sublime ). The rest I spit at, just like he spat at everything that could have been JLA level of great .

      • Chris

        Ok, as much as I liked seeing Magneto’s NYC takeover and the dramatic final confrontation with the X-Men…yeah, I agree with you on that. “Planet X” is fun to read, but half of the plot doesn’t make sense when you stop to think about it.


        -Apparently, Pheonix!Jean can survive being hurled into the sun and burned to a crisp, but CAN’T survive getting hit by a magnetic pulse? For emphasis, there have been issues where people have been able to beat GALACTUS when they’re possessed by the Phoenix…but a guy with magnetic powers beats them easily?

        -Even if Magneto is, theoretically, powerful enough to kill the Phoenix, he killed Jean just a few seconds after Cyclops shot him point-blank in the face with his eye beams, and the X-Men kicked his ass in a subsequent fight. How was he even strong enough to stand up after a beating like that? Hell, how the hell was his head even attached to his shoulders at that point?

        As for your other complaints:
        -At one point, they do handwave the thing about no other superheroes being around with some throwaway line about Magneto planting a fake nuclear bomb threat that sent all the superheroes on a wild goose chase away from New York. A lame cop-out, I know…but at least he was aware of it.

        -I always got the sense that Magneto was completely suicidal by the time Wolvie got around to killing him. He just wanted to kill Jean as a final insult to his old enemies, and then decided to lie back and let them kill him because he didn’t think he had anything left to live for. Or something.

  • Shram

    Forgive me if I’m late to the argument, but I was just linked here from Reddit and I feel the need to chime in.

    Your arguments boil down to
    “Grant Morrison
    A) “He changed characters in ways I didn’t like”
    B) “I didn’t get it”
    C) “He ripped off Brubaker’s Cap”

    You don’t seem to be very informed on the subject. Allow me to debate:

    A) This is a valid opinion, I suppose. You didn’t like the direction he took the X Men in. That’s fine. But this doesn’t make Grant Morrison a “bad writer.” It merely makes him a writer that you didn’t like. And there’s a distinct difference.
    Likewise, you conveniently mention nothing of the truly interesting things he did during his tenure as an X-writer, (Fantomex and The World, Quentin Quire and the Riot at the X Mansion, Emma Frost’s modern characterization.) Even now, his influence is seen in books like Astonishing X Men, Wolverine and the X Men, and Uncanny X Force.

    B) Final Crisis probably didn’t make much sense to you because you didn’t put forth the effort. This sounds a bit pretentious on my part, but, to be fair, you do admit your unfamiliarity with the book. It’s a story that demands multiple read throughs and a deep familiarity with DC history to truly appreciate. I know this because I had similar reaction to the story the first time I read it. I have since read it quite a few times, along with the texts it’s linked with, (Animal Man, 52, Seven Soldiers, Kirby’s Fourth World, JLA, among others.) Since then, I have gained a strong appreciation for the text.

    It’s a powerful story with a complex structure, and is intrinsically intertextual. It chronicles the struggle between LIFE and ANTI LIFE, with EVERYTHING at stake. And not just in pop-comic terms, but in ways that are very much applicable to real life: “Sit around, mope, and submit to those who would wish to use you…or get off your ass, embrace life, and become a goddamn supergod”, it argues. It’s the same basic message as Charlie Chaplain’s famous Great Dictator speech, or even Giovanni Pico Della Mirandolla’s Oration on the Dignity of Man.

    I’m not arguing that the work is perfect. To the contrary, it’s certainly flawed. By no means would I ever describe Final Crisis as “elegant” or “succinct.” But do yourself a favor and entrench yourself with the old DCU before giving Final Crisis a hard re-read.

    (Additionally, Superman doesn’t defeat Darkseid with a song. That’s just the final nail in his coffin. Darkseid was already dead when the story began. Killed by Orion in final battle sometime in the far future on the Fourth World. He was then systematically destroyed by Batman, the Flashes, the Black Rider, Wonder Woman, the efforts of Shilo Norman and the Super Young Team, and lastly Superman.)

    C) This is just factually incorrect. Here:
    -Death of Cap: April 2007 (Captain America 25)
    -Bucky Barnes becomes the new Captain America: January 2008 (Captain America 34)
    -Death of Batman November 2008 (Final Crisis 6)
    -Batman revealed to be lost in time: January 2009 (Final Crisis 7)
    -Cap revealed to be lost in time: July 2009 (Captain America 600)
    -Dick Grayson becomes the new Batman: August 2009 (B+R 1)

    This isn’t the sort of situation where an unimaginative Scottish fop maliciously rips off another authors work. This is a case of weird synchronicities. To say nothing of the fact that, (aside from those basic plot beats), the two stories are entirely un-alike. Likewise, never would I describe Dick Grayson’s Batman costume as “edgy”, (it’s closer to Adam West’s outfit than it is Frank Miller’s), and never were Grayon’s morals “looser” than Bruce’s.

    From what I can tell, you aren’t terribly familiar with his body of work. What you are familiar with, you haven’t much liked because of how different or strange it was. I can empathize. When Batman RIP and Final Crisis first came out, I thought they were terrible. But then again, I wasn’t really reading them, so much as cribbing plot points from message boards and reviews. Familiarize yourself with an author’s works before writing rambling diatribes about how much you dislike them. The praise Morrison often receives isn’t misguided. Comics like The Invisibles, All Star Superman, and Flex Mentallo are generally considered to be some of the best ever written. If those are too dense, try some of his more immediately appealing work like his Doom Patrol run.

    That is all.

    (And don’t even get me started on Quitely. The fact that you’re caustically dismissing one of the finest designers, story tellers, and illustrators working in the medium today because he draws “pig-arse” faces speaks volumes about your relative ignorance of the matter at hand.)

    • Saidi

      Hello Shram , I’m the other guy that does not hold Morrison in high regards or does not see him as a genius . However, my pet peeve is that some of his fans pull the ” You stupid ! He’s a God …” way too much . I actually get the stuff I read from him, but it does not mean I like it. It goes to the point of outright LOATHING IT . But I never insult anyone who liked his stories (even though some of them do bash me…)

      ” Likewise, you conveniently mention nothing of the truly interesting things he did during his tenure as an X-writer, (Fantomex and The World, Quentin Quire and the Riot at the X Mansion, Emma Frost’s modern characterization.)”

      Nope, his stories in x-men were horrible Why ? Because he KNEW JACK ABOUT X-MEN to begin with ! I mean CatBeast really ? And 2 good concepts (Weapon +, Mutant culture) do not make a good story .. In fact he managed to make me want Apocalypse to be the new hero of the book after cremating the poor excuse for human beings he cobbled up to pass for x-men .He could , with a better editor or a competent co-writer ,have done wonders (like in JLA) but he was only doing the X-Men for the money and didn’t care about the characters or the fans. Ok it sucks but he was honest . The one good character to come out of it was Fantomex (that ironically he intended as a joke… but ended up as the one guy I felt for in the entire run. That’s usually a good sign …). As for Emma Frost, He completely wrecked her Even in interview s he showed that he knew nothing about & just foisted a shitty Paris Hilton look alike (don’t me started on the outfit , it was putrid !). And bear in mind that there’s a difference between the confident, dominant, manipulative and subtle woman who knows how to play her cards right (Emma Frost from 80-90 ) and an overgrown bitchy 16 year old, who is just mean and snarky for the sake of it, or to hide her insecurities (current iteration he manufactured) . The latter “version” is a bitch and she’s happy with that, but that hardly means I’m wrong for disliking that . A bitch is a bitch, male or female.
      Before writing X-Men he wrote a Fantastic Four mini-series. Sue Richards kissed Namor in one scene. His justification was she was repressing a subconscious wish for f*****g her brother… jeesh, that’s genius all right

      “Final Crisis probably didn’t make much sense to you because you didn’t put forth the effort. ”

      Or because we didn’t take the right drugs , who knows ? And while your explanation is interesting, that whole plot is not worth killing Darkseid for ( Not to mention, Kirby , Simonson , Evanier & Ostrander’s takes were VASTLY superior to his .)

      it argues. It’s the same basic message as Charlie Chaplain’s famous Great Dictator speech,

      It’s CHAPLIN ! Not Chaplain , CHAPLIN ! And do not compare both, because Chaplin’s work does have a lot of humanity, heart , emotion & is accessible to anyone, instead of denigrating others by saying “you no samrt enough!” .

      (Additionally, Superman doesn’t defeat Darkseid with a song.

      He did, He rick-rolled him. It was pitiful… & Kalibak came as a tiger… I know Grant likes cats , I do too ; but here this is becoming a creepy obsession …

      Familiarize yourself with an author’s works before writing rambling diatribes about how much you dislike them.

      In my case honey, I only bash what I loathed & experienced in the first place . SO trust me on that, the “diatribes” as you call them are honest to God feelings & opinions.

      caustically dismissing one of the finest designers, story tellers, and illustrators working in the medium today because he draws “pig-arse” faces speaks volumes about your relative ignorance of the matter at hand

      Sorry Shram but here you are being mean-spirited for the sake of it . It’s his taste if he hates Quietly ‘s art & I am sorry but I’ll agree with him, his humans DO look like potato-faced fetuses, & designer of what ? The x-jerkk leather gear ? CatBeast ? Pfeh…

  • Theodore Marc Gutierrez

    100% Agree. I’m done reading GM. Good thing we have Scott Snyder for Bats.

  • Al Li

    Too bad Scott’s leaving. I was reading the GM run of Batman and Robin last week. Really pissing me off, I had no $#&@ing idea what gibberish the characters were ranting about. Also completely agree with your view on Final Crisis. I think these two lines are gold from your review: “What I got was the biggest jumbled mess of ideas and random character actions/interactions I’d ever seen.” and “he has an uncanny ability to create momentarily-shocking, but otherwise logically-flawed and value-bunk stories”. He shouldn’t be allowed to handle big time heroes anymore.

  • Sean

    I think he sucks. The only thing he did that was decent (emphasis on DECENT) was All-Star Superman.
    I can forgive him for the cheesy shit he did to Batman and DC but what he did to the X-Men, Cyclops in particular, was beyond reprehensible. The thing that always made the X-Men work was the writing made sense and the writers understood how the team dynamics should work. They were smart enough to understood that Cyclops is a guy who plays by the rules and they got that he was a boyscout/goody-two-shoes type whereas Wolverine should be a surly/angry loner who comes in and saves the day from time to time but is not a leader or even a very heroic type (more like an anti-hero). In order for Wolverine to be the cool bad-ass badboy, you need a whiny/clean-cut straight man to be his rival. It’s the same with Raphael in Ninja Turtles or Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, you need the goody-two-shoes characters like Leonardo or Will Turner in order to make the badboy look cool or rebellious.
    Morrison didn’t get it or pretended he didn’t get it so he tried to “shake things up” by making Cyclops go through a transformation from uptight boyscout to straight-up asshole and that was, in my opinion, the beginning of the character derailment/assassination that Cyclops went through where he is now more or less a villain and an outcast while Wolverine is a full-fledged hero and leader (who has stupidly and uncharacteristically abandoned his more violent ways and loner tendencies).
    Most of the aforementioned character assassination took place after Morrison’s run, sure, but that doesn’t mean his whole storyline where Cyclops had a “psychic affair” with Emma Frost and chose Emma over Jean (which seems impossible when you consider it was previously confirmed Scott and Jean’s love was unconditional and that was made their unbreakable psychic bond so powerful) wasn’t the start of the downfall of the character.

  • Mike Gomez

    Love what you said about the fun factor, which Morrison very definitely lacks. Loved his run on JLA and about 2/3rds of his X-men run, but most of his stuff feels like he’s intellectually masturbating himself with his crazy mad ideas so we can all praise him for how brilliant he is, but I’m just not on board. Final Crisis was absolutely dreadful. It was while reading Final Crisis that I realized a key element that Morrison seems to forget. While flexing his crazy-story muscles, he forgets to simply make the story engaging. He just wants to impress us with the weird and doesn’t prioritize making us feel and care about the characters. Crazy verge sci-fi ideas definitely have their place, but if we don’t connect with the characters in the midst of those stories, then what’s the point? I have a theory about Morrison, and many artists, writers, musicians and actors like him that are called “brilliant” by their fans on a regular basis. I believe they get so used to that type of praise, that they start to firmly believe it, and they decide that every idea they have must be born from that brilliance that people are constantly assuring them they possess. One good thing about not being hailed as a genius is that you’ll censure yourself a bit and be more willing to admit that not every idea you have is a good one.

    Anyway, Grant Morrison….WAY overrated.

  • David Fathom

    I don’t know. He made Scott Summers a person in ways he hadn’t been in a while. I would like to point out that breaking Scott and Jean up was editorially mandated and he handled it to the best of his abilities. He also, in the New X-Men run, set up Emma Frost as the character that I know and love.

  • L. Sammondson

    Grant Morrissons Batman Incorporated was by turns, weak, vague, disjunctive, pretentious, empty, hard-to-follow and then, I guess, there’s some character dynamics and possibilities that he completely ignored. I think a fourteen year old could spontaneously write a better concept in a quick email that Grant Morrisson. (Did I mention his story was by turns weak, vague, disjunctive, pretentious, empty, hard to follow and also that there are some character dynamics and possibilities the he completely ignored?). Seriously, a fourteen year old could do better. He’s just awful.