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John Byrne's Next Men
What a big pile of crap!!!
Talk about a great premise that turns to utter bullshit. Damn.
I read the first couple of issues when they were published and thought it was pretty cool but stopped reading the series. I just finished the trades for the whole series and what a disappointment.
I'm so disheartened that I can't even motivate myself to go to the hardware store and buy the lighter fluid I would need to set those books on fire which is the fate they deserve.
Ok, rant over.
Why the fuck did you think *anything* by John Byrne was going to be good? *dodges fanboys* I have yet to see anything good by him. His art is completely uninspiring. The Claremont/Byrne X-Men run was alright, but way way overrated. Everything Byrne wrote on his own was blegh: Fantastic Four, Superman? There's a wonderful takedown out there of how completely awful his Trial of Galactus story was, and his "Superman KILLS!" story was no less of a shock tactic story than the death of Superman was. And those are his WELL-thought of comics.
I really want to read some 60s Doom Patrol myself, it sounds great. But I wonder if it's going to hit that same thing that most other 60s stuff does, where you have to read it thinking "this must have been awesome...in the 60s. I wonder how it's held up.
I don't see how anyone could top- or even compete with- Morrison's DP run. It's like this madcap mix of Silver Age superheroics, Maya Deren, The Avengers (the show, not the comic), Jodorowsky, and maybe Kirby on mushrooms. One of the main characters is an omniplegic trapped in a robot body that really doesn't do much other than lament his condition and make wry comments about the insane bullshit they encounter. And he's awesome. They're all damaged, unfortunate cases that really are handicapped or broken in some way. Yet they're still a superhero team...they just handle the really bizarre cases. Cases where Superman just kind of scratches his head, ineffectively.
He (Matt Fraction, writer of Casanova, Iron Man, Iron Fist, & lots more) has the following to say about 60s Doom Patrol:
Arnold Drake, along with co-writer Bob Haney and artist Bruno Premiani, created DOOM PATROL, a silver-age favorite of mine. I came to Mr. Drake's work through Grant Morrison's early nineties DOOM PATROL revival which, for all of its modernity, flash, drug use and crossdressing, is a surprisingly close tribute. Flipping through these great books again, I'm startled by how close a tribute it is, which speaks, I think, to the genius of Drake and what he was doing with the book.
I mentioned René Magritte yesterday in connection with one of these panels, and today's batch has only served to reinforce my feeling that, surely, if Magritte liked FANTOMAS (which he did) he would have loved DOOM PATROL and its gentle, loping surrealism, leaps of dream logic, and the pride in which the book took in its own disquiet and unrest.
Drake's DOOM PATROL is a kind of anti-Kirby, or an inwards-Kirby; as pyrotechnically imaginative and bombastically hyper, but in an introverted, introspective sort of way. The epitome of post-war psychosis manifesting itself in Silver Age, DOOM PATROL is a disturbingly-colored question mark to match Kirby's primary-colored exclamation point.
Arnold Drake also disapproved of all other Doom Patrol incarnations other than Morrison's:
I first met Arnold Drake a couple of weeks ago at the New York Comic Con. ... We discussed his Doom Patrol and he told me that he believed only Grant Morrison ever saw in the team what he was trying to do.
Byrne having Reed Richards defend Galactus:
There is an order of things in our universe. And it does not require any belief in a supreme being to realize that Galactus must somehow be part of that order - and, I suspect, an important part. For if he is truly to be considered neutral then the apparent evil of his actions must, in the end result, not be evil. And so, they must be part of some greater good. I cannot believe he would be allowed to exist, if this were not the case.
This goes beyond "nonsense" and into "vile". Don't worry about genocide, dude, it's all part of the greater good.
As for Byrne, I remain convinced that he and Claremont had a certain synergy for a few years there, doing great work on X-Men, and decent work on Iron Fist and Marvel Team-Up. After their split, Claremont's writing grew wordy and self-indulgent, while Byrne became obsessed with taking concepts back to the beginning. There were plenty of reasonably good stories in his FF run, and some okay stories with Superman and Action Comics at DC. Everything went downhill after that and I didn't give Next Men another chance after reading one issue.
engineer Al wrote: The first year of Alpha Flight was a huge amount of fun. Most of the other Byrne Bashing here is well deserved. But man, NOBODY draws cooler looking technological whozzits and whatzits.
Oh yeah, good call. I will even go so far as to say the first 2 years of Alpha Flight were good.
Speaking of Doom Patrol, Claremont & Byrne... that Doom Patrol reboot a few years back was utterly shameful. They had a neat gimmick... JLA #94 was the start of a six-issue arc reuniting Claremont and Byrne. Get it? A tribute to the first regular issue of the all-new, all-different X-Men, which was #94. Only, that wasn't Claremont & Byrne, that was Claremont & Cockrum. Anyway, the storyline was called Tenth Circle (get it? like an x inside a circle, or the X-men insignia) and had something to do with super-vampires and the formation of this wacky new group which was basically the silver age Doom Patrol plus a couple of forgettable new characters. This meant that DC retconned all previous Doom Patrol stories, including both Drake and Morrison stories, and let Byrne and Claremont do the new origin. It was terrible, but I still tried an issue of the new Doom Patrol book written by just Byrne, and that was unbearable.
Btw, here is my evidence for why Claremont was no great writer on his own. He was great with Cockrum on X-Men #94-105, and great with Byrne after that until #143. But Cockrum comes back to work with Byrne for a while starting with #145, and yet the writing is nowhere near as good as the first Claremont/Cockrum run. And it isn't Cockrum's fault, because he recaptures that early new X-Men magic with his brief Futurians book, right down to obvious imitations of various team members including dialogue and personalities. No, it's Claremont that was the problem, because he got arrogant and stopped collaborating on the writing, even when working with artists that could write decently.