Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Movement #12

I hope this ends like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! Except Vengeance Moth has a little trouble getting the wheelchair rolling, so when she hears the gunfire cut down the rest of the team, she simply says "Fuck that!" and scoots out the back door.

The main problem with comic books is that they're not a form of entertainment where the best written material rises to the top (the best art will generally sell better than the best writing simply because we're a shallow people, us humans. But I don't want to write about the art! I just felt it had to be mentioned since comic books rely on both art and writing for a well told story). In comic books, sales are all about the characters. Marvel has a lot more iconic characters and teams with large fan bases, so a lot of their titles sell well across the board: Spider-Man, Punisher, Captain America, Wolverine, The Avengers, The Hulk, The X-Men. The list of names that will sell a title is long over at Marvel. DC basically has Batman. Sure, Superman and Green Lantern can round out that list but I wanted to put the burden on Batman's shoulders. I don't think Wonder Woman and The Flash have the same kind of dollar drawing power as any of the Marvel list. Possibly the thing that has given DC the biggest boost in building a fan base for characters has been their cartoons. So now Teen Titans and Young Justice and Harley Quinn have a rabid following because they were all written so well in the cartoons. But it takes a long period of adjustment for fans to recognize that their favorite characters are not always going to be treated so well on the writing side of things. So we have a series like Teen Titans that ran for thirty issues without one good issue in the batch and, by February numbers, it's outselling The Movement which has had eleven good issues in the batch (I can't judge #12 yet) by 20,000 issues. Now that's either 20,000 people that are simply buying a book because characters they love appear in it or that's 20,000 people that can't tell the difference between crap and a cupcake.

Another problem with comic books is distribution. Local comic book stores aren't going to over order every issue of every comic book so that people wandering in for the first time have a chance of picking one up. They're going to decrease their orders based on how many of the first issue sold. And they'll continue to decrease orders, month after month, to keep their costs down. Sales will continue to spiral down faster and faster since they'll only reflect people dropping the book (or, more accurately, casual readers unable to find the new issues (this is why if you shop at a local comic book store, it's important to have a pull list! Plus they usually give discounts!)). Never mind that new readers sometimes feel intimidated picking up a new book if it's already mid-story; good luck having new readers even find a low selling book on the shelves!

I don't have any answers to fix sales on well written books. I suppose you could stick Batman in all of them although that's really just the same as having Batman in none of them. I tried my best to get fans of Teen Titans to drop that book and read this book but I probably always said it at the end of my commentaries where people never saw it because they were all "TL;DR" and moved on to an animated gif of a Snow White with a fake caption of her calling someone a cunt.

Anyway, The Movement is over this issue and it's all your fault somehow. Nice job, comic book fans!

This issue begins with Virtue and Captain Meers having a clandestine meeting in a dirty alley. Unless clandestine implies sex! Then it was totally the opposite of clandestine! Maybe I should only use words I know and/or begin usurping a dictionarium.

Darn! I thought Virtue was a living corpse. I live by my life believing the opposite of Occam's Razor.

Virtue explains that she had a dream. The dream was of The Movement battling alongside DC's Holy Trinity. Also Captain Cold made her dream somehow which is weird even if he is the best DC Villain in the history of DC villains. Okay, maybe his name isn't that great. But he wears a parka and Devo glasses, so that's good enough for me.

Virtue's actual dream was that DC was a place where heroes were actually compassionate and heroic as opposed to grim and selfish. I can see now why she expects Captain Meers to laugh. I think that ship sailed on DC a long time ago. I believe DC's corporate policy right now is to do exactly the opposite of whatever the loudest voices on Tumblr think they should do. After seeing The Movement's numbers in February, I can't say it's bad corporate policy if your goal is to make money! The way I see The Movement praised on Tumblr, you'd think it was the biggest fucking hit DC ever had! And, in actuality, it should be. But the love definitely didn't support the numbers.

To give DC some praise here, the numbers for The Movement #9 in February were just over 6000 comics sold. And they still allowed Simone and Williams three more issues to wrap up. Six thousand and they still let them go for three more issues! That tells me that DC actually understands when it's publishing something worth reading and is sad to see a series like this not hit big, saleswise. The series definitely has big fans.

But forget about the saving the world and helping people in need bullshit; Mouse still needs to get laid!

Apparently the biggest problem in Coral City is that Mouse's dick is too dry.

A smaller problem crops up as Mouse gets to know his new, greatest love Cheddar Cheese Margaret. Apparently Mancannon has learned the location of The Sweatshop and he's come to shut them down. Or make a deal with them. Or, I don't know, offend their delicate sensibilities. Or, possibly, a job?

Oh yeah! I forgot about the Cornhole Killer!

Can you imagine if he was the Cornhole Killer? He'd have a display case showing off all the stinky rings and chocolate starfish he's collected! Gross! Or sexy. No, no! Definitely gross!

I guess all this Mancannon stuff happened earlier because Virtue is telling the story of how they helped him to Captain Meers. Virtue also explains how she came to be pretend dead. It's the usual little kid almost accidentally kills her father so the mother sends the child away and tells her husband the kid is dead story. We've heard it thousands of times before.

Mancannon lures his son to the grave of Ava Mancannon, the Cornea Killer's mother. The Movement is waiting to take him down. I don't know if it's a trap to catch the Cornea Killer or a trap to catch The Movement! Who's playing whom here?!

But before the trap is set, the comic book is interrupted by a huge double spread advertisement about how Scott Lobdell is now off of Superman starting in issue #32! Although they spin it like a "superstar creative team" is taking over. Heck, I would have been happy with a mediocre creative team or just some never heard of before creative team taking over. Fuck me, a monkey with a shit covered spade could take over and it would be better!

But after that ad, the fight breaks out and it's a clusterfuck. My first guess before reading was that Mouse would die and then I remembered Mouse is everyone's favorite so Gail Simone can't kill him. But she can make it look like he's about to die so he can be funny, cute, and adorable as he thinks he's saying his last words.

If I remember correctly, Mouse has a healing factor that kicks in when he gets sexually excited. Quick! Somebody call a fluffer!

"Nurse! This Mouse needs 10ccs of oral medication! No, no! He has to give it to you! If you know what I mean! Nudge, nudge! Wink, wink! Oral."

It turns out the trap is for The Movement as Mancannon has a sniper waiting behind a tree about twenty feet away. I guess he's not a very good sniper, so he needs to be close to hit anything.

No, wait. Even being close doesn't help. He's a terribly shitty sniper who only wings Katharsis. That was a pun!

The reason he's so bad at sniping is that he's not actually a trained sniper. He's just that big jerk that had his teeth knocked out by Katharsis. I think. Anyway, he fucks up his job and shoots the Cornea Killer in the head on accident. Does Toothless Joe suck at every job he's ever taken?

And so it ends with Virtue gaining a surrogate dad in Captain Meers and Captain Meers gaining an appreciation of The Movement. It's all sickly sweet and probably emotional for people that actually feel things. In my daily life, I might have to pretend that I have emotions so that people don't search my basement, but in my commentary blogs, I can be true to myself, true to my real persona, The Cornhole Killer! Oh, plus this issue ends, possibly, perfectly.

If there's a better statement about how Gail Simone and the current crop of more inclusive writers are approaching writing in the modern comic book genre, I can't think of it.

The Movement #12 Rating: +3 Ranking. The Movement was well written with a cast of enjoyable new characters and with an art style that fit the story well. And so it was cancelled. Good riddance, you lousy comic book! That'll teach you to be enjoyable and worth spending $2.99 a month on! Next time, Good Comic Book, maybe you'll think twice before hitting the shelves without a character that already has a large fan base! Next time maybe try to have a title character that was in a cartoon on WB or something! Lesson learned!

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