Sunday, March 15, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XI

** As always, mind the spoilers, fanboy. **

- OPENING REMARKS -

Superman: World of New Krypton #1
by James Robinson, Gregg Rucks, & Pete Woods
DC Comics


Photobucket

It must be a total bitch to write a Superman book. How the crap does one create a believable conflict for a near-invincible man without being campy or cliche? Fuck me, I wouldn't want that job. Not for a bazillion dollars. No amount of money would be able to console me after I crapped out a gigantic stinker of a story and embarrassed myself in front of the entire damn planet.

I consider this impending New Krypton story a sequential miracle. I haven't seen a situation where Earth's ultimate super-boyscout has had the odds so hopelessly against him since ... well, since Grant Morrison, but goddammit that was out of continuity. For crap's sake, right now he's on a planet populated by folks of the exact same genetic caliber. He's in direct allegiance with one of his fiercest enemies. What's going to happen when Supes pisses someone off and there's a throw down? How's he going to deal with an entire planet of pissed-off, stuck-up Kryptonians? How are all the brewing conflicts with New Krypton and Earth going to resolve? I can't even fathom possible answers. Everyone involved with this storyline is a goddamn creative juggernaut, who all deserve the attention of the industry at large.

It's been a long time since the Superman books in regular continuity have been this engrossing. If you're not taking advantage of the situation, it's your loss, jive-ass. Don't come cryin' to me when the boat's sailed and your left on the docks with nothin' but your dick in your hand.

Daredevil #116
by Ed Brubaker & David Aja
Marvel Comics


Photobucket

I don't know a lot about the Kingpin or his history. Mostly this stems from an adolescence where I found it hard to suspend disbelief about a big fat-ass bald guy being able to keep up with Spider-Man. I knew fat kids back then, and none of them could kick the crap out of anyone, not even a blind lawyer. Bendis' run on the book didn't help my perceptions on this matter either (damn Bendis).

Ed Brubaker's kinda shut my mouth about fat guys (in comics, at least). I can see that this primary installment of Return of the King relies perhaps little too heavily on the tired "just when I thought I was out they pull me back in" device. That aside, it's hard not to respect a Kingpin going through the motions of being a regular guy, maybe even letting himself get sucked into the role, but all the while knowing it's gonna get fucked in the end. I absolutely love the panel depicting his resignation from civilian life as everything he worked to build is laying in a bloody pulps at his feet.

I hoping in the end Brubaker creates in me the feeling of awed respect for this character everyone else seems to possess. Thus far he's off to a damn good start.

Simon Dark #18
by Steve Niles & Scott Hampton
DC Comics


Photobucket

I wish I could say I was torn up about this series' cancellation. Simon Dark was an interesting enough character (albeit a Frankenstein knock-off), but the series rarely did anything but tread water. Niles' plots seemed to suffer from a healthy dose of tedium, despite the gratuitous violence and occasional decapitation. The supporting characters lacked depth and complexity, soiling any interesting developments in the identity of the protagonist. Just for the record, this title had a lot of potential, and I think it would have done much better in a mature readers format. A lot of problems with the plot may have been cleared up if Niles were given free reign from DCU guidelines. I especially fail to see how having Gotham City as the setting for the book was an asset rather than a hindrance. Any ghetto community would have done, especially if it meant the difference between a all-ages and mature imprint. These are of course just an opinion. Whether such a changes would have made a difference is anyone's guess at this point.

As far as the art goes, stylistically Scott Hampton has a very unique approach, particularly when it comes to coloring. He incorporates a lot of texture in his work, which gives the overall flow of the story a very unique flavor. Unfortunately this very same technique apparently makes it difficult to incorporate a lot of detail into his renditions of the human form. I found myself struggling to distinguish characters more than once throughout this series because of this. Every single middle-aged white person generally looked the freakin' same. Even after a year plus of reading, I'm still a little confused.

I think it's fairly safe to say we've seen the last of Simon Dark for a while (if not forever), and that might not necessarily be a bad thing. I suppose everything could have turned out a lot worse, and it didn't hurt to see a new face in the DCU, but overall I'm finding myself more excited to have an extra three dollars every month than saddened by the loss of a title from my hold slot.

Unlovable
by Esther Pearl Watson
Fantagraphics Books


Photobucket

Let's just get this out of the way: the art in the book is horrible beyond defense. I know it. You know it. Claim that it adds weight to the narrative voice of a teenage girl. Claim that it takes a back seat to the plot. Claim whatever. It's just downright atrocious. There. I said it. Let's move on.

When this book arrived in my hold slot, my first thought was, "Whoops. I done fucked up here." I've never really been into sequential voyeurism, or teenagers, so why I ordered a book adapting the found diary of a teenage girl from 1988 was beyond me. I was probably intoxicated when I did it. I took the hit to the ol' wallet and resigned myself to trudging through another crappy, pretentious read. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the book and was able to put it down only upon finishing it. Never while sober could I imagine the secret musings of a frumpy, overweight teenage girl to be so completely addictive. I'm fairly certain it's impossible to open this book up and not be swept away by the hopeless naivety of oblivious teenage optimism. From dealing with unwanted facial hair, to juvenile peep shows with would-be lovers, to a steady stream of ill-timed bodily functions, there's not a single person in this country (being the USA) who couldn't relate to this character, unless they were completely devoid of a heart or a sense of humor.

I'm not entirely sure of the legality involved around adapting someone else's diary and not cutting them in on the profits. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the author didn't make up the subplot altogether. Either way, this book is unexpectedly priceless, and I hope there's more to come.

- PICK OF THE WEEK -
Sub-Mariner: The Depths
by Peter Milligan & Esad Ribic
Marvel Comics


Photobucket

No doubt a vast number of people who read this title were pissed off about it, as for the most part the Sub-Mariner is nowhere to be found. If you are in fact one of those people, you have my sympathies, because in the heat of your hissy fit you've missed out on quite a powerful read. I'd also remind you that in a quest the meat of the story always revolves around the journey. So freakin' take it easy.

This series was incredible. Milligan's plot put a unique spin on a tired device (i.e. the quest for Atlantis), replacing the awe of exploration with the claustrophobic terror of descending into the hostile, murky unknown. This book wouldn't have been possible without Esad Ribic, whose ultra-realistic depictions created the most eerie setting possible. Overall, The Depths shined new light into the unrelenting search for truth, exposing in a fresh way that we may not like what we find without or within. This book is highly recommended for the mainstream comic fans on the lookout for a book with some damn density, or for those who miss having a plot with a health dose of horror devices.

- PAN OF THE WEEK -
The Amazon
by Steven T. Seagle & Tim Sale
Dark Horse Comics


Photobucket

My gut told me I shouldn't pick up this book, but I did anyway because I like the creators. I like Steven T. Seagle, particularly when he's afforded the opportunity to inject a fair amount of humanism into a plot. I like Tim Sale too, but who doesn't? The man's a bad-ass. But Seagle hasn't always been an exceptional writer, and Sale hasn't always been a bad-ass ,and I've got the proof of it right here.

To be fair, Sale's art isn't bad here, but it's obvious that when he drew this he had few more years to go before he started knocking people on their asses. And as for Seagle's work here ... goddammit this book is gonna be fucking dripping with a bunch of tree hugging hippie crap, and fuck that shit. I understand how writing about social causes creates awareness, but you've gotta consider the fucking audience here. The majority of the people picking up this reprint are fanboys with copies of The Long Halloween in the sweaty mitts (myself included), and none of them give a flying fuck about the rainforest or they'd stop eating cheap, imported, slightly dangerous foods imported from the freshly scoured plains of South America. So don't freakin' preach at me, tough guy. If you wanna save the planet a good place to start would be to stop reprinting books. Save the trees, dammit.

Shoulda known better. I shoulda known better.

YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

No comments: