Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Reader's Diary #1781- Tom Taylor (writer), Stephen Byrne (artist): Justice League / Power Rangers

One of these days I'll read a crossover comic where I am better familiar with both halves of the mix. Alas, I was much better acquainted with the DC Comics heroes than Power Rangers. All I knew of the latter group was that my nephew was into them when he was much younger and the production value of their tv show really cheap and cheesy to me.

To better assess a crossover, of course, prior knowledge would be an asset. Unless you know the characters, it's impossible to say if the writers are keeping in the proper spirit. I knew, for instance, that Batman is often a jerk and so I felt Taylor's depiction of the character was fair. (I'm also not a Batman fan, for what it's worth.) But is Billy the Power Ranger always supposed to be the reserved supergenius-type? I'll guess, sure, but I really don't know. I'll also acknowledge that even my DC Comics expertise is lacking to some extent (I'm more of a Marvel guy) and I'll admit that the main villain represented by their side here, Braniac, was not one that I knew either.

It was another generic alternate reality crossover story; I wish there was another way that writers could think of to have superheroes from different publishing houses meet up as this seems to be the predicable standby, but to be honest, I can't think of another way either. I'm also starting to think that maybe if you've read one crossover, you've read them all. Besides for the familiar "cause" of their meet-ups, they all tend to hit the same marks: initially the heroes don't trust each other and fight, then their villains team-up, the heroes quickly learn they're on the same side, and they defeat the bad guys.

The idea of having characters from different worlds meeting up sounds more fun in theory than it winds up in practice. I think it hearkens back to our childhood when we had toys from various franchises in imagined meet-ups all the time. But whereas the Lego movie capitalized on that quite successfully, the crossover comics I've come across have done less so.

Which brings me back to Tom Taylor and Stephen Byrne's work here. It's no worse than other crossover comics, but I suppose my view of it is unfortunately soured by crossover fatigue. Had I read this one a few months ago, I'd probably view it more favourably. The art is good and bright, and the positive characterizations reminded me somewhat of Grant Morrison's great All-Star Superman where he didn't feel the need to be all-gritty all the time (as many DC writers and directors especially do), offering humour in doses more familiar to Marvel yet without sacrificing character personalities or plots for a cheap punchline.

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