Review: Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #2


As you may have noticed, beyond reading the first issue of Run! and Escape – neither of which impressed me overmuch – the reviews for those two have stopped coming.  Dance, on the other hand, had an impressive first issue.  For all its flaws, it illustrated both creativity and coherence… and, when all’s said and done, it was just plain fun.  Dance #2, despite lacking the crisp, energetic art of Chriscross, manages to improve on the first one in a few ways.

Dance #2 follows the Super Young Team’s continuing marketing blitz at the hands of Hanover, their not-quite-on-the-level manager, as they’re purposely kept away from Japan, where something sinister is going on.  The team wants to prove themselves to the world and illustrate that their help against Mandrakk wasn’t a fluke, but they are, at the end of the day, just kids – they try and do good, but aren’t entirely sure how best to do it.  

The replacement artists, Andre Coelho and Eduardo Pansica, do a fine job on the issue, representing a relatively minor stylistic shift from Chriscross, and if they don’t have quite the same amount of energy he did, chances are you’ll find that it hardly matters.  That might change in the trade, where you’ll likely be reading the complete series in a sitting, but thus far it seems as though DC has chosen the replacements well.

Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance is a fun, flashy series that flesh out some of the DCU’s most interesting new characters.  Reminiscent of a super-powered Buffy the Vampire Slayer in it’s bizarre, monster-of-the-week style storytelling that can be seen as a way of looking at the challenges teens face, the book is definitely worth checking out.

Grade: B+

– Cal Cleary


11 thoughts on “Review: Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #2

  1. Well, you didn’t respond to my Captain Britain comment, but I’ll still try. 🙂

    What was the big moment that DiDio promised in this issue?

    Has every FCA book had one of those moments?

    Glad Dance is still going strong.

  2. Actually, I spent about an hour writing up a reply to your Captain Britain comment, but after it was posted for about 30 minutes, I realized that it was actually pretty offensive to… well, anyone who enjoyed any of the things I was bashing. It came off as a little too pretentious, so I deleted it. I could probably just post the first 2/3 of the rant as a comment (wouldn’t do it as a main post without doing actual research) and be fine, but I’m not entirely sure it’s worth it.

    As for the Big Moment… there really wasn’t one. There wasn’t one in the first issue, either, really, which I’m perfectly fine with – I’d rather have a coherence of storytelling than the occasional, random Super Huge Thing.

    If I had to pick one, I’d say it’d be the two monster reveals – the poster child for date rape thing, from the #1, and the Brain Drain here. They were goofy, metaphorical fun, more than bizarre enough to be memorable.

  3. Mad at all the terrible titles still around, eh?

    If you were ever to post an article about the topic, you’d need to do it objectively. I know that can be hard, but it’s the only insult-free way to go.

    I’m still trying to peg the comic reader’s taste. It’s like there’s an intelligence hot-zone. Something as carefree and Stan Lee-esque as Hulk gets condemned, but Bendis’ New Avengers, which has just as many, if not more, illogical moments is loved by all. And then of course a lot of Moore and Morrison comics are “too weird” and are “hard to understand.”

    So, at the end of the day, it seems most comic fans want relatively intelligent fluff, which is pretty much the kind of movies America loves as well.

  4. Not mad at all the terrible titles – just no way to write it without referencing them, which is making an objective statement that what someone likes is bad. While I do that sometimes on here when I give things bad reviews, it tends to be less harsh in the interest of semi-professionalism. A rant has none of that.

    I will focus plenty of vitriol on a storyline for a rant, but on the fans? As little love as I have for some fans, they hardly deserve my ire for buying what they like.

    And I’m not sure I’d call the movies (or generally the comics) that fans love ‘intelligent fluff’. One thing you have to do is separate Internet Consensus for actual data. The Internet may hate Hulk, but it still consistently Top 10s. Therefore, people like it.

    And I’d hesitate before calling Bendis’ comics intelligent. In fact, especially of late, they display a strange lack with regards to storytelling basics. Look at, for instance, House of M – there is no thematic arc, or even storytelling coherence. Wanda suddenly gains new powers; Wolverine suddenly resists them; then there aren’t any more mutants? Except there are. Just not many.

    Secret Invasion could be seen the same way. Skrulls spend decades infiltrating; suddenly they reveal themselves and fistfight everyone; Norman Osborn rules the world.

    Point A does not naturally flow into point B, despite the linearity of the narrative.

    Please note, I’m not saying that Bendis is a bad writer by any means. This trend is strangely recent in his work – the man has more talent than I ever will when it comes to plotting and scripting and all that stuff.

    No, he doesn’t write ‘intelligent’ comics. That’s not a slam – ‘intelligent’ does not equal ‘good’. Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” is intelligent fiction, but it borders on unreadable to 99.9% of the populace, and even if you can read it, I would argue that it still isn’t ‘good’.

    Bendis, though, I’d say that he writes ‘cool’ comics. It often seems like he’s been influenced a lot by Tarantino in the way he often focuses on a cool image, or a cool line, or an awesome scene and how to get to it, rather than on telling a story or being true to a character or setting.

    At the same time, I wouldn’t call it fluff. I’d call Hulk fluff, but not most of Bendis’ output. Rather than discuss why I think he’s succeeded, and Loeb, etc… I’ll post this, the first half of the original rant, before I start really insulting personal tastes.

    The day they figure out what exactly sells a comic and what doesn’t is the day the industry officially dies, at least for fans of the Big 2.

    That said, there are trends.

    People will buy almost any schlock with a few certain characters in it. Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, X-Men, JLA, Superman, Batman. In these cases, quality barely matters at all.

    Titles with a female lead will almost never hit the Top 50 in sales, and unless they have ‘Super’, ‘Wonder’, ‘Bat’ or EVENT TIE-IN in the Title name, probably won’t Top 100, either.

    If something has a big following (rather than a cult following), it’s easier to maintain and improve it. Once something is labeled a cult success, it will probably never be anything more.

    99% of the time, the most successful book is the one that appeals to the lowest common denominator. It’s the reason why every romance in the last twenty years looks almost identical, and every superhero movie has an established formula.

    The thing that worries them, of course, is that 1% of the time, because those are the MEGA HITS. ‘Titanic’ should not have been successful – a romance starring two relative up-and-comers that you knew was doomed before it began? ‘The Dark Knight’ was the same way. And for TV? ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ went 7 seasons, spawned a spin-off that went 5 seasons, and has had multiple novelizations, guide-books, role-playing games, video games, and comic books despite a campy premise and so-so acting.

  5. No offense, of course, but I think you missed some of my post.

    Read it again, and I think you’ll find that we’re on the same page.

    I called what the populace likes “relatively intelligent fluff” because it seems that average people, with an average intelligence, want a mildly smart, entertaining story.

    How do you think Michael Bay makes money? His movies are dumb as hell, but there are always some scientists to give the illusion that everything is logical.

    I don’t know. It just seems like mostly everything you and I, and every other person whose opinion I respect, love the unpopular things the most.

    And yes, as I mentioned in my Captain Britain comment, characters are an unbelievably high factor. Why else has New Avengers made so much damn money? Why else do people continue to read books like JLA?

    I don’t understand that. If the art and writing is shitty, I don’t care if it has all of my favorite characters, the comic won’t be good.

  6. I’m surprised you haven’t freaked out about the lady with the huge, nude ass yet!

    Uh, on my Captain America review?

  7. Part of the reason I’m cutting back on my rants and writing a little more professionally (and, if you’d noticed, signing my real name) is because I’m applying for jobs right now. A lot of jobs in academia really like to see that you have published, and can reliably put out work, so until I start to hear back on some jobs, I’m going to be playing things as straight as possible.

    Believe me, though. If I have a really solid rant under my belt, I’ll share. I want work, but if they can’t handle me blowing off steam, they probably won’t want me there anyway.

  8. Pingback: Review: Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink #2 « read/RANT!

  9. Pingback: Review: Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #3 « read/RANT!

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