Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Dubious Return of The Twelve

So, last week it was announced that Marvel were planning to finish The Twelve the J. Michael Straczynski grim and gritty Golden Age revival book which he abandoned in mid story so that he could go to DC and revitalize Superman and Wonder Woman (which he also abandoned.)

For those of you new to this blog, I have a love/hate relationship with Straczynski's writing. He seems determined to match every good idea he has with a worn out *shocking* idea from the 80's. If you have ever seen the final episode of M.A.S.H., that's pretty much how every JMS comic runs - hoary TV tropes served up with a dash of 60's pop psychology, but without the charm or humor of M.A.S.H.

A friend gave me the first Twelve graphic novel, which again, had some good ideas about it, but the scene with Rockman was one of those camel/straw moments, so I won't be picking up the new issues.

And thinking about it, I wonder about the wisdom of continuing this series anyway. Check out these numbers on from when the series was coming out regularly and JMS still had the glow of Spider-man and Thor about him...

12/07  Twelve #0 of 12 - 20,218
01/08  Twelve #1 of 12 - 40,199  (+98.8%)
02/08  Twelve #2 of 12 - 32,403  (-19.4%)
03/08  Twelve #3 of 12 - 32,729  ( +1.0%)
04/08  Twelve #4 of 12 - 29,729  ( -9.2%)
05/08  Twelve #5 of 12 - 29,876  ( +0.5%)
06/08  Twelve #6 of 12 - 29,303  ( -1.9%)
07/08  ---
08/08  Twelve #7 of 12 - 27,585  ( -5.9%)

Here is the sales numbers on The Twelve Spearhead

12 Spearhead 13540

Spearhead was a single issue spin off that came out May 2010. It was written by Twelve artist Chris Weston, whose artwork on the series has been great the entire time and proved to be an excellent writer on this one shot.

If you average out the last issue of The Twelve and Spearhead, you get 20K - which some people are calling Marvel's new cancellation point. Are retailers going to do that math? Or will they go check back on their old orders of the series to see how many they sold 4 years ago? Probably not. It's just a very different marketplace now. Today, The Twelve has to deal with readers that are a little bit disenchanted with JMS and a lotta bit more interested in the DC 52. Still, for some reason, Marvel felt like revisiting the Twelve was a better bet than continuing Alpha Flight. Go figure.

Anway, with all that said, today I'm revisiting another team up tale from the Golden Age: Prize Comics 24 which features the Prize heroes (Yank and Doodle, Green Lama, Doctor Frost and the Black Owl) vs Frankenstein.

[ Prize Comics 24 ]

- Enjoy!


Trey said...

I can't completely agree on your assessment of JMS. While I think you're right about the use of TV cliches (not TV tropes--which is a cliche of its own) given the state of writing in superhero comics in general it strikes me as pretty arbitrary to take JMS alone to task for over-reliance on stock elements.

cash_gorman said...

I knew The Twelve would be a love-hate relationship with the first issue, when he has the Phantom Reporter talking about his various comrades as the group walked down staircases and through empty rooms over the course of a couple of pages.

JMS is talented with words and tells character driven stories. But, he forces the characters to fit his characterizations and preconceived stories rather than let them flow from the characters themselves. And, it's often to saddle characters with more angst, to show their feet of clay. Instead of showing "here's what I think is really cool about this character" it's "here's why this character isn't really as cool as he seems".

Weston's one-shot was more of what I would have hoped to have seen from the series than what JMS has delivered.

nude0007 said...

Let's see, 12 characters no one cared about, most without real powers, are suspended in time and revived. None seem to have a problem with the brave new world they awoke in, even though to a man they had problems with the world they were in. Then the government subsidizes them for no apparent reason and then wants to use them as a task force? People bought this?

Okay, it sounded more interesting than that, but some of them should have went bat$#!+ starkers, if you ask me. Especially, since their sanity was already in question.
It does have possibilities, but if they weren't getting more readers than that, maybe not.

Caine said...

JMS has dirt on someone, or someone at Marvel (or Disney) is still in love with B5


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