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:
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.
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?