Sunday, April 19, 2009

YOU'VE BEEN WARNED VOL II Issue XIII

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

- OPENING REMARKS -

The Flash: Rebirth #1
by Geoff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver
DC Comics


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I'd be lying if I denied initially being pissed off that Barry Allen's alive and taking up the mantel of the Flash again. I grew up with Wally West. Under the scribing of such writers as Mark Waid and Grant Morrison, I watched the character mature and push the mantel of the Scarlet Speedster further than ever before. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Fucking right.

That being said, I've gotta give it up to Geoff Johns for piquing my interest. I've always assumed that any storyline involving Barry Allen, with his tucked-in shirts and buzz cuts and old ass wife, would be bland as a graham cracker sandwich on a Sunday morning. This opening issue is proving on the contrary. Immediately I'm sucked into the plot thanks to an intriguing back story regarding Barry's parents and the engrossing sense of community and history in Central City. I like the direction a newly resurrected Bart Allen is taking, as well as a busy, fatherly Wally West, and I am most definitely enjoying the healthy amount of carnage appearing throughout. I like where this story is taking us.

A part of me is always going to fucking hate Barry Allen, but if this series keeps its pace, it's going to be a very small part.

Wolverine: Weapon X #1
by Jason Aaron & Ron Garney
Marvel Comics


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If you don't respect and fear everything Jason Aaron writes at this point, ya'll be straight trippin', yo. Why, disrespectin' shit like that's like smackin' Darkseid in the junk. Aaron is the rawest sumbitch in the biz right now, and after meeting him in Emerald City I can admit if I were sitting at a bar and he came up and claimed I was sitting in his seat, I'd fuckin' move, no questions.

Thus how I wound up buying one of Marvel's fucking $3.99 books (you assholes). It's hard to pass up a book teaming Aaron with established bad-ass Ron Garney. But what did I learn after this first issue? I learned I inherently don't like Wolverine as a character. I don't. I'm sorry. He's fucking boring. He's a cranky midget with claws, and I've seen more top-notch writers trip on their dicks while writing him than any other character. My gut says, in this case, Mr. Aaron's headin' for a trip.

This title is for people who enjoy the more noir-ish side of Wolverine (as one may have guessed from the name of the damn book). No spandex or super-villains or titties (not yet, anyway). Just a bunch of black ops, gore-drenched action wrapped in a short, hairy package. Apparently I'm not down with that. Just don't tell Jason Aaron I said that. I don't want him to hunt me down and fuck my shit up. 'Cause he'll do it, dude. He'll do it.

Irredeemable #1
by Mark Waid & Peter Krause
Boom Studios


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Call me unobservant, but I've always viewed Mark Waid's comics as slightly passive. I mean, I know there's fighting and whatnot, but I've always seen the violence in his books around the same level as what one would expect from a grade school fist fight. His conflicts have always revolved around a more cerebral level, is all I'm saying. I certainly don't recall the last time Waid had his protagonist (term used loosely) incinerate a child or lobotomize a sidekick. That shit's brutal. I don't know what possessed Waid to kick it up a notch in the gore department, but he did it and ... I kinda like it. Oh god I'm so embarrassed by my blood lust. Keep it comin', Waid!

Exiles #1
by Jeff Parker & Salva Espin
Marvel Comics


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I experienced a great deal of internal conflict in purchasing this book. On one hand it's another goddamn Marvel book (an "X" book, no less), it's fucking $3.99 (you assholes). It revolves around a bunch of second-string character from "alternate realities." I fucking hate characters from alternate realities, especially when they're not in the DC Universe. But on the other hand it's penned by red hot Jeff Parker, who hasn't written a bad book since I've been reading his stuff. Somehow, the one 'pro' outweighed the many 'cons.' Don't ask me to explain further. Even I don't understand how I ended up with this title in my bin after so many 'cons.' I was probably drunk when I ordered it.

Much like my path towards purchasing this title, I'm torn as to whether or not I like it. I'm very annoyed about the flimsy premise of multi-universal harmony used to unite this team of misfits. I'm confused about how Blink and Morph fit into a collection of heroes snapped from the jaws of death. Conversely, I'm very drawn to the possibilities of alternate realities in the Marvel Universe, in particular the one the group finds itself in at the end of this first issue, which involves a decapitated Wolverine (who deserves it for sucking).

So will I continue getting this series? Ah fuck it, why not? The price'll drop a buck with the second issue, and Parker's sucked me into the story enough that I'm genuinely interested to see what happens next. But already this series is walking a thin fucking line between awesome and bullshit. If I'm asked to suspend disbelief anymore I'm gone like the wind, yo. Until then, I reserve making an ultimate judgement.

Ignition City #1
by Warren Ellis & Gianluca Pagliarani
Avatar Press


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If you're up on any of the many venues Warren Ellis uses to plug his books online, you know he's been pimping the holy shit out of this title like he had bill collectors out for his kneecaps and/or testicles. After reading the first issue I can see why. Without putting too many words into the man's mouth, it's obvious that he's put a lot of thought and effort into this storyline, and he wants it to succeed. And it deserves to do just that.

This is one of the more energetic Ellis stories I've read in recent history. His characters display a charmingly fragile human dignity in a world of despair and wonder. An overall longing for the unexplored in a world of tedium sets the story's tone in a very relatable way, especially in this dull day and age. In particular I love the very realistic fusion of nostalgia and science fiction taking place in the setting, as well as an unexpected use of gutter humor.

If I had to make a prediction, I'd say that this is going to be Ellis' funniest book since Nextwave, and his most impassioned since Transmetropolitan. If you can only read one of his many titles in the market, it should probably be this one.


- PICK OF THE WEEK -
Seaguy: Slave of Mickey Eye #1
by Grant Morrison & Cameron Stewart
Vertigo (DC) Comics


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This book makes me feel sick. Not because of anything excessively vivid or gratuitous taking place on the surface. It's something deeper. Something within these pages is speaking to a very primitive part of the human brain, the part whose primary concerns are food and fucking. Grant Morrison is poking at the grey, soggy lizard parts of his audience in this book, much like the forces of Mickey Eye are picking apart the brains of the world. I don't completely understand what's this book is doing to my brain. I do know, however, that I like it. At least I do when the nausea subsides.


- PAN OF THE WEEK -
Soul Kiss #3
by Steven T. Seagle & Marco Cinello
Image Comics


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It's a shame that Steven T. Seagle's follow-up to his much underestimated American Virgin turned out to be this adolescent masturbatory aid. Not that there's anything wrong with adolescent masturbatory aides. Problems only present themselves in this format when things start getting preachy or pretentious, which is a line this book done crossed.

Soul Kiss is the tale of an extremely unlikable woman trying to save her boyfriend from hell by exchanging ten souls for his. She does this by ... kissing people, which unleashes demon power and kills them. Jesus, it's like a bad girl comic abortion. A concept like this can only succeed with an absolutely flawless execution. This issue is a prime example of how the execution in this case in anything but competent, as our protagonist goes about damning men who may or may not deserve eternal suffering (depending on your stances on purse snatching and homelessness), all the while egged on by one of the most boring renditions of Satan I've ever had the misfortune of experiencing.

This book isn't quite misogynistic, although it's protagonist depicts women in one of the most superficial and unflattering ways possible. It doesn't completely commit to hating men either, although it's clearly set up to be some quasi-feminist role reversal crap. It doesn't take a stance one way or another. It's not comedic, informative, or entertaining regarding any sort of gender related topics. It's almost completely passive and apologetic, which is why it fails so spectacularly.

YOU'VE BEEN WARNED

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