September 18th, 2005

Waid and Morrison

I like Mark Waid's work. I don't particularly care for Grant Morrison's work. I've finally come to understand why.

Both Waid and Morrison have frequently dealt with reconstructing older comic book concepts. Waid most recently has worked with the Fantastic Four and the Legion of Super Heroes; Morrison with the Seven Soldiers of Victory and the New X-Men. And here's what I see:

Waid seems to love the old stories and treats them with respect. If he wants to show us a new take on a concept, it's a take that's entirely consistent with what's come before. In his first issue of the FF, Waid gives us a motivation for Reed that makes the character deeper and increases our appreciation for him, but which doesn't contradict anything that we know. His Legion may not be exactly like the previous incarnations of the group, but it feels right in all the important ways.

Morrison seems -- to me, at least -- to be the exact opposite of Waid. Old comic book stories were stupid, characters who appeared to be good may not have been good at all, and the whole adventure was slightly smarmy and dirty. If the X-Men running from Lee to Thomas to Claremont constructed the love story of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, well, that just has to go. In Seven Soldiers, the Newsboy Legion mutates into the Newsboy Army and is mocked and the joy sucked out of it. Go back to his second notable comics work (the first being Animal Man) with the Doom Patrol and look at how the history of the Chief is eviscerated.

Now, compare that to what Waid does with Reed Richards. And then tell me that I'm wrong.