Sunday, June 21, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XXII

Comic reviews by a fan, for the fans.

**AS ALWAYS, MIND THE SPOILERS, FANBOY.**

- OPENING REMARKS -

Invincible #63
by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley
Image Comics


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If ever a comic book could kill small children or the elderly ...

It's no secret how Robert Kirkman concocts events that garner huge emotional responses. Here's the formula: create a supporting character, build them up over a the course of a few years, and then murder them in the most horrendous way possible. Easy peasy, right? We all know he does it. And yet it still gets us every single time.

The first thing I did this morning was read this issue. First thing. I hadn't even put pants on yet. The events I witnessed haunted me all day long. It takes a lot of patience, a lot of foresight, and a whole lotta balls to successfully pull of the nasty, vivid things that happen within the pages of this brutal book, and it takes a master storyteller to use the same tricks he's used multiple times before and still catch his audience 100% off-guard. I didn't see this shit coming. Not in a million years. And if you said you could you're a fat fucking liar liar liar.

My hat's off to you, Mr. Kirkman. Well done.

The Eternal Smile
by Gene Luen Yang & Derek Kirk Kim
First Second


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You're a stronger person than me if you read American Born Chinese and aren't helpless to purchase everything Gene Luen Yang is even remotely involved in from that point forward. What are you, made of stone? The man's a goddamn sequential toure de force.

The Eternal Smile is a collaborative effort between the aforementioned wonderful author and Derek Kirk Kim, who I must confess I'm completely unfamiliar with aside from this book. It consists of three respective tales, one of a young Knight's conquest of a world very much his own making, one of a money hungry frog's quest for "spiritually" fulfillment, and one of a lonely girl's discovery of purpose and love in a bleak, uncaring modern world. All these tales are very superficially different, yet thematically extremely similar. Each respective protagonist strives for a release of their environment through the acquisition of truth. Whether that acquisition is for the overall benefit of the character is anyone's guess, as each piece openly concludes with a vague notion of what the future holds, but the tang of escape in each story is bittersweet and heartwarming.

These three stories have a lot to offer a reader. Thanks to the use of some very crafty panel construction and the application of extremely vibrant colors, the stories fly off the page. Urgent Request in particular utilizes some amazing techniques to convey the protagonist's perspective. It's a goddamn clinic of how to visually tell a story effectively. I will confess that I did enjoy the very Disneyesque Gran'pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile story the most, for its comical elements, its unexpected plot twist, and its slightly Marxist conclusion. That's just my opinion though. They're all wonderful.

I would have liked to see a bit more variation in these stories thematically. I assume one of the main purposes of this anthology was to address the same basic story with completely different perspectives each time, which is fine. If the authors decide to do another similar project in the future, I just hope the choose to not put any constraints on what their stories can accomplish.

This is a wonderful book from two authors who have set out to wow the industry. They're flexing their artistic muscles here, and ... y'know ... not to sound gay or anything, but it's quite a sight to behold. The Eternal Smile is one of the most successful titles I've read this year, and these writers deserve every bit of attention and praise they receive.

Red Mass for Mars #3
by Jonathan Hickman & Ryan Bodenheim
Image Comics


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Fucking late late late, and still fucking great great great.

What is this book, like, a year late? That shit's fucking LATE. It's scary when there's a gap between two issues of a comic that's longer than the time it takes a fetus to gestate. And yet ... in my mind it's like issue #2 came out last month. I remembered everything that happened in the previous issues. So these guys are doing something right.

I'm not entirely sure who's responsible for its tardy arrival to the stands. I assume, due to his recent increased writing assignments at a certain large cocksucking comic company, that it's not Hickman. If it's the artist, Ryan Bodenheim, then who gives a crap? The art in this book is spectacular. This issue features one of the most disturbing, double-take causing childbirths I've ever seen, and one hell of an incredible space action sequence. Genius. If the man needs a little more time (or a lot more for that matter), let him, so long as he keeps cranking out the quality.

Thumbs up to this book. I definitely recommend picking up the trade when it comes out. I can't see into the fourth fucking dimension, so I can't tell you when the trade will actually be available. Just make a game out of it in your mind. See if you can get the TP before Iran gets the nukes.

- PICK OF THE WEEK -
Wonton Soup Vol 2
by James Stokoe
Oni Press


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Two words: Sex Bear. If you aren't now interested in this book, even in a morbidly curious sense, then you suck dude.

James Stokoe is out of his mind. I don't know what happened to him between Volume 1 and 2 of this series, but he's completely thrown all semblance of convention and decency out the fucking window, and it's never been more freakin' awesome.

Wonton Soup follows the adventures of Johnny Boyo, and intergalactic traveler and universally bad-ass chef. This particular volume ... holy fuck I can't even describe what happens in this volume. Let me just give you a few memorable quotes from within: "From their supple multi-tets springs glorious sex-milk ...", "Fill our great leader with all your crunch bounty! The state demands it!", "I only have fucking tentacles for eyes, an' one of them is missing at that!", "I am going to rend this little space nymph's spirit into paste and then bake it in a cake!" Who the fuck can think up this shit? Who? James Stokoe! A man who, according to his bio, may or may not even be allowed into the U.S.A anymore. Fucking crap!

Okay ... I admit the dialogues a rough at the start of the book, with A lot of plastic sounding exchanges between two dudes ready to smoke space pot. All I'm saying is it's a minor flaw, and only people who are capable of thinking up something like space pot have room to criticize.

This is some high-octane, out-of-this world crazy shit deserving everyone's attention. Stokoe's art is unique and refreshing, frantically blending an insanely meticulous amount of detail with a fused urban/cartoony stylization. His plots ... are just so fucking out there that I don't even know where to begin. I read this volume cover to cover today without pause and laughed my ass off the entire time. Out loud. You all know I don't laugh shit either.

Go. Buy. This. Book.

- PAN OF THE WEEK -
Captain America #600
by all sorts of people who should be ashamed of themselves
Marvel Comics


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Now that it's all over and Marvel's tripped on its floppy dick in front of the entire world, I wanted to come out here and gloat. So very badly I wanted to point and laugh and kick the fuckers in the junk while they're down and wounded, while they blathered like toddlers with scrapped shins and tried to slink off to the shadows to regroup and rouse up a clean pair of shorts. But I just can't do it. We're the one's who got fucked on this one. We the fans, who paid five bucks for an unreadable jerk-off session promising interesting things to come in a comic set for release next month. We the retailers, who uped the orders and forked over extra dollars for shipping two days ahead of schedule, with sweet promises of a big seller in our ears, who are now sitting on a mountain range of unbought comics no one cares about or wants. We the industry, who after years of bitter struggle for validity in the eyes of society, years of scorn and contempt by intellectuals and undereducated alike who perceive comics as the stuff of children and perverts, once again lose ground over a publicity stunt gone wrong, and once again look like a subculture of pimply-faced nerds poly bagging books with pictures and burying them in time capsules in the basements of our parent's house.

I'm sick of getting the short end from every angle from this publisher. Marvel got their money. Every single one of us got fucked.

These stunts are damaging to the industry more then we want to admit. Is that the goal here? To destroy the thing this very company helped build up? Because things look bleaker and bleaker with each passing month. This press-grabbing shit is going to far. It's bad for for the industry in every way, and it's going to have some very serious long-lasting effects if the industry (and this company in particular) doesn't get a fucking grip. You wanna see another industry collapse, Marvel? Then keep it the fuck up, you assholes. Keep it up. Because it's already well on its way, and every fuck-up like this is just another nail in the goddamn coffin.

You've been warned.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Red Mass For Mars, looks like this trade is finally coming out!!!