Saturday, July 21, 2007

In Defense of Judd Winick

At least here in South Carolina, I haven't sensed much love for Judd Winick as a comic writer. In fact, most of what I can recall hearing is how awful he is, and how he's ruining Captain Marvel. I'm going to go on the record here...

I don't see it.

About a year ago, maybe a bit more, I set up a database to help keep track of my comics. As I entered, one of the things I started to do was to pay a little more attention to who wrote things that I liked. One of the names that came up? Judd Winick. So I'm here to say that on the whole, I think he's a pretty fair writer. He's no Alan Moore, but I've really enjoyed most of what I've written that has his name on it.
So here are a few things I like about Judd Winick:
1) Exiles - The first 25 issues of Exiles are still some extremely enjoyable comics. Crossing the X-Men with Quantum Leap, the book introduces myriad versions of the Marvel Universe that have gone astray, and the characters are tasked with correcting each one in it's turn before moving on to the next.

I can't say for certain that I know he came up with the concept... but the series was very strongly written. Covering scenarios that included The Trial of the Phoenix gone wrong, an Earth that has been under the yolk of Skrull domination for over a century, Iron Man conquering the world, and a world where the Avengers were all vampires, there was a sense that this book could go in any direction at any time. The book had infinite possibilities. Chuck Austen, and later Tony Bedard's runs on the book eroded my love of it though, and ultimately the "Worlds Tour" storyline, which seemed largely to be just an excuse to refresh copyrights on the New Universe and Counter-Earth finally killed my desire to read it. Judd Winick made this book great.

2) The return of Jason Todd - There are a lot of folks, I know, who don't approve of this former Robin being back from the dead, but I actually like Jason where he's at now. He's a character who can get under Batman's skin even more than the Joker, because Batman's responsible for him.

I enjoyed Jeph Loeb's 'Hush' story, but I felt that it chickened out in the last couple of issues. Near the end of the story, they revealed that the mystery villain Hush was actually Jason Todd returned from the dead. They chickened out and made it Clayface, but apparently Judd Winick thought that having Jason back would mess with Batman in some pretty cool ways, and ran with the idea.

I would like to state that I think 'Superboy Prime punching the walls of reality' was a pretty lame way to bring him back. But moving past that, I think the character's got some interesting potential, and is one of the few people who can really get under Batman's skin.
Alright, those might only be two reasons, but to me they're two pretty compelling ones. Honestly, Exiles enough was enough for me. While Winick was writing it, Exiles was always #1 on my 'to read' list. Outsiders has meandered a bit, but I'm willing to give it a look post-CheckOut. I don't think he's the second coming, but I'll stand up and say that I've enjoyed some of what he's written, and enjoyed it fairly consistently.

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