Sunday, January 13, 2008

Record: Jeph Loeb

I’ve thought about the works of Loeb for some time now. As far as I know, he may have first worked as an assistant to Steven Spielberg years ago in his former Amblin production company before he began to write comic books beginning in the early to mid-1990s. More recently, he’s been a producer for Heroes on TV, and has even written for Smallville and Lost. But, studying his works of the past decade, I’ve had to come to the conclusion that he’s an awfully overrated writer with very questionable elements featured in his writing, and I’ll try here to list some of them.
  • When Loeb first helmed the Superman/Batman team-up series, where the new take on Kara Zor-El first made her modern-day debut, he had her climb out of the spacecraft her father sent her in to escape Krypton’s destruction…naked. She then walked around Gotham, in whose vicinity she’d landed, that way, before getting a drape to over herself in. This had the fairly unpleasant effect of over-sexualizing the Maiden of Might, which ended up becoming a notable problem when her ongoing series began a year afterwards. And while the midriff costume she wears now is fine, the way that they took to oversexualizing her ruined everything, and I certainly did not like the overly sexualized costume she wore when she was captured and brainwashed briefly by Darkseid’s minions.
  • In the third chapter of the Supergirl reintro story, a young girl called Harbinger was killed by Darkseid’s minions on Themyscira with very little serious emotion involved. Just when Kara had the chance of finding a friend who could appear in a recurring role.
  • In a following story published in Superman/Batman #15, the Man of Steel and the Masked Manhunter enter an alternate universe where Superman breaks the neck of an alternate world version of Wonder Woman with her own lasso. Perfectly awful.
  • When Loeb launched the new Supergirl series, he began very sloppily with stories like where Kara ended up fighting Power Girl rather a supervillain, and even an evil duplicate of herself. The start of the series was dreadful, and because of likely editorial edictions that followed even after Loeb left, it lost a lot of audience. Suffice it to say that Supergirl was never given an actual secret ID to date, another big problem with Kara's reintroduction.
  • In the third issue of the third volume of the Ultimates, Loeb did what Mark Millar may have only hinted at – he openly revealed the Ultimate versions of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as having an incestuous relationship, and even wrote Ultimate Tony Stark having a sex-tape scandal. Oh, did I mention the drug abuse and even some of the gore injected into that third issue? Guess I needn’t continue then.
There may be some more questionable steps that Jeph Loeb took in his writing at other times too, but that’s what I can find for now. And I think that people should really consider that a writer who sinks into that kind of shock tactic writing is really not someone – or something – to crow over. Loeb has succeeded in making me feel more and more disgusted at his writing as the years have gone by, and that until now, he may have succeeded in raking in tons of sales is disturbing. With lurid stuff like the above examples to his record, I don’t see why anyone with common sense should have to waste their time on him. He’s just one of various writers who’ve shown why the comics medium is losing audience and respect these days.

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