Let’s talk straight here: I own a LOT of really awful comic books.  But, in my defense, I’ve also seen a lot of terrible television, read a lot of terrible books, and I’ve seen the Prequel Trilogy of Star Wars at least once.  I know from bad stories is what I’m saying here, but even in the darkest of clouds there is sometimes a Silver Lining.  Witness the wonderful conversation in the other wise execrable ‘The Nude Bomb’ as Don Adams tries to brainstorm a bra made of cantaloupes and linguine (you kind of had to be there), or even the lovely pod-racing sequences in ‘The Phantom Menace,’ a fave-rave of Young Zach.  I have to admit that, while my youthful exuberance may have overestimated the long-term cultural impact of ‘The Black Hole’ by just a tiny smidgen, there are some wonderful effects shots throughout the film, and a fun scene-chewing performance from Maximilian Schell, which leads us to today’s subjective query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) would also point out that there are enough strong sequences in ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ comic book to offset the fact that it’s a bleak, self-contradictory and overly violent mess in many ways, asking: What are your favorite great moments trapped in otherwise terrible stories?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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8 Comments

  1. foolsmask
    July 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    In the Zero Tolerance arc from Marvel Comics focusing mostly on the X-Men I believe holds the moment I feel epitimizes this topic. The story was about a time-traveling robot front he future called ‘Nimrod’ who went through some complicated changes to become a cyborg named ‘Bastion’ who convinces the American government to create a new cyborg Sentinel race to hunt mutants. Bastion and his new cyborg army capture EVERY mutant currently appearing in a Marvel book and lock them in jail, all of them but Iceman and one other character I can’t remember at this moment.

    Bastion has a few moments of villain gloating as he stalks Iceman. He tells Iceman he’s not a threat, they’ve removed all the moisture from the air and his powers useless. Now Iceman has always had a fluctuating threshold of power. One writer has him throw snowballs, the next he’s as powerful as the princess in that Frozen flick. (Which I liked.) At this point in time though he is rather weak. But he’s resourceful… Iceman is in human form. He cuts himself (or is injured already) and bleeds quite a bit and then freezes the blood into a club and beats Bastion senseless, ending the attack on the X-Mansion right as the president comes to his senses and ends this Zero Toleranse business and has SHEILD or somebody come in and cart all the robots off to an undisclosed location.

    This particular issue has some great writing and discussion about superpowers and their usefulness. And the difference between being physically weak and a coward.

  2. July 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm — Reply

    The Pod Races and Yoda’s battle are definitely among the highlights of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. In fact, I still hold firm the belief that with a little creative editing and a few narrative voiceovers (using someone like C-3PO or the narrator from Star Wars: The Clone Wars), you could make one decent movie out of the three.

  3. Hannah Jones
    July 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm — Reply

    Somewhere out there exists a terrible movie called Deathstalker. It’s painfully bad, however there’s one gleaming moment of unintentional hillarity, for that moment, I deign to remember this thing exists/

    • July 7, 2014 at 2:24 am — Reply

      Its the part where the pig headed guy just casually rips one dudes arm off and starts to beat him with it in random tavern brawl, isnt it? I still cant believe they made four of those movies, or that I’ve seen them all.

  4. Luis Dantas
    July 7, 2014 at 4:51 am — Reply

    Thanks, Matthew, for pointing out how rotten The Dark Knight Returns was.

    Even if ultimately I am not as generous towards it as you are, it is still good to see that I am not the only one realizing how bleak it is.

    • July 7, 2014 at 6:00 am — Reply

      TDKR is very much a product of its time and its writer at the point it was written. I will maintain my opinion that it was needed back then, but has turned quite problematic in retrospect, especially when a long time every other comic book story seemed to be trying to emulate it.
      Thats a huge problem in movies, since they are the medium that determines how these characters and stories are viewed by general public. I remember thinking several times during Nolan’s Batman films that “This is just trying to be modern TDKR” but ashamed to be even that, so its veiled in this normal, modern day city setting.
      That is also why Im very skeptical about upcoming Batman vs Superman too, they try just too damn hard to be gritty, realistic, visceral and whatever buzzwords marketing department can think of without ever understanding what these characters are about and what they represent. Marvel made 3 movies with Captain America where he was more Captain America and at the same time managed to be better Superman than Superman ever was in Man of Steel.

      I really think it is time to let TDKR remain where it is, in the late 80’s and let it go. Lets think of something new, right?

    • gary
      July 7, 2014 at 8:00 am — Reply

      I’m not going to argue here nor there for TDKR. But, I will add this: yes, it’s bleak, but sometimes we need to hear the bleak stories. Perhaps whatever cultural zeitgeist that first spawned the fervor for TDKR in the 80s is still kicking around for some reason. There’s a reason it’s popular, and while we may disagree with it, we cannot ignore its appeal. The bigger question, perhaps, is if it is so bad, why is it so popular? What about it resonates with so many?

    • July 7, 2014 at 7:17 pm — Reply

      It’s a series that I admit is historically important, but it has NOT aged well…

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