Going back to Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, I strongly disagree. Swamp Thing #21 is a perfect example of exactly what I mean--and I read that book as a single issue at the original time of first publication all the way back in 1984. I did not read it as a trade paperback. You do your own arguments a big disservice when you jump to conclusions and make assumptions about what I read and how I read.
"The Anatomy Lesson" had plenty of shocks and also plenty of subtle elements as well. But what was most shocking was how powerful the story was immediately and the huge impact of Moore's outstanding craft as a storyteller with just one issue. Now, I'm not implying Mieville isn't a talented storyteller in his own right. What I am saying is that his first issue of Dial H has failed to win similar universal acclaim and hit readers with an equally powerful impact as that book. Nor did it pack even the same undeniable punch as Gaiman's very first issue of Sandman.
Mieville is an accomplished author with obvious skill. But in terms of comic book storytelling, my own experience with his first comic book is that it hasn't been the grand slam hit that either Swamp Thing #21 or Sandman #1 were. Reviews have been generally positive, but they haven't been out-and-out raves like the reviews were for "The Anatomy Lesson" nor has there been the kind of buzz on the book like there was with Gaiman's Sandman. Reaction from fans has been decidedly mixed as we can clearly see by the wide spectrum of reactions here in this very thread.
Lastly, whether an element of plot or characterization is "obvious" is indeed a matter of opinion. However, the definition of what is considered obvious to the majority of readers is a little easier to narrow down. Again, "The Anatomy Lesson" is a perfect example of this. Lemire's Animal Man #1 was also quite obvious in its successful connection with readers based on rave reviews, immediate sellouts and skyrocketing back issue prices. Dial H hasn't had anywhere near that kind of obvious success by any measure--sales, reviews or online reaction.
Here we start to get into that messy gray area where comic book stories end and personal political views or views on economics begin. Stories on Greece today weren't quite as apocalyptic as they were a couple of days ago. JP Morgan Chase was colossally stupid and irresponsible, but their individual loss is nowhere near on the scale of the September 2008 economic meltdown. It's not even anywhere in the same vicinity as AIG's catastrophic failures under former AIG derivatives mastermind Joe Cassano. We've also had over 2 years of continual growth in both jobs and the GDP. Additionally, April 2012 was the first month in almost a decade that the U.S. government actually had a small yet undeniable budget surplus.LOL, we are in the middle of a depression. Greece is looking to drop the Euro and is on horrible austerity terms, the economies of europe are in shambles, JP Morgan - the most conservative, responsible, successful investment bank of the depression thus far - just revealed that, thanks to mismanagement, they are down 2 billion in trading. Things are still quite bad, even if they are getting better.
Having said all that, I'm not looking to try and win an argument about economic policy and/or whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this.
This last observation is patently false and also a bit condescending. My criticism of Mieville's story has indeed been specific. I have noted the characterizations of both Nelson and his best friend and what exact personal qualities about them and their behavior that I find unappealing (bad health habits, destructive lifestyles, involvement in criminal activity, etc). I noted the 2 superhero identities in the book by name and described why their unspoken connections to Nelson's depression and use of tobacco don't justify the clunky, off-kilter codenames and outre designs which struck both me and other posters as weirdness for weirdness's sake.And while I'm seeing a lot of comparisons to Moore and Gaiman - who had a lot more experience in serialized, visual fiction so I fully admit that they do a number of things better than Mieville likely will - I'm not seeing a lot of specific critique.
Unless you're expecting me to list exact page numbers and the order & composition of panels, I have been quite specific in precisely what visual ideas, story elements and characterization choices I did not care for and why I didn't enjoy them.
Then Mieville's script worked beautifully for you. You got your money's worth. But I would never presume that every reader shares my perceptions or my methods of interpreting a story or that my experience is universal to all people. Hence my emphasizing that my critique was all very much in my humble opinion. I did not claim to be speaking for anyone other than me. At most, I do point out that my own impression of the book and what I didn't like about it is a view that other posters here seemed to share.If it's not for you, I think that's totally fair. But you don't need hours and hours to analyze the comic book. I read the issue once and figured it out, then read it again and again because I enjoyed it, and it had me thinking about potentialities.
As for how much time I choose to spend reading and re-reading anything--a news article, a novel, a comic book, even a poem--that's totally my call. The fact someone can read faster or slower than me is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.
First off, please don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say the script was completely impenetrable. I never said there's no way anyone could enjoy it. I certainly never insisted anyone needed 3 hours or more to analyze it. And the snarky Carl Jung aside is really over the top.Lets not go around telling others that the book is so impenetrable that there is no way to enjoy it unless you have three hours and one of Carl Jung's by your bedside, you know? That's not fair.
As for what I go around telling anyone about my own opinion? That is my business and my right to share my opinion the same as anyone else here. I would appreciate if you did not attempt to make it sound like I don't have the right to go around telling other comics fans that I do or don't like a certain book. I will tell my opinions about Dial H when and where I choose to, thanks.