Sunday, July 26, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XXVII

Comic reviews by a fan, for the fans.

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

- OPENING REMARKS -

Special Notice - I had dog hair in my left eye, and the fleshy connective tissue holding my eyeball in place was swelling out of its socket. So I had to take a Benedryl. Now I'm stoned on that shit. Have reading my drug-addled analyzations, don't give me shit about typos, and marvel at my dedication to write this column on time. 'Cause I'm high. On drugs.

100 Bullets: Wilt
by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso
Vertigo (DC) Comics


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Brian Azzarello doesn't conclude his stories. He just stops them. Some people like this particular technique. I'm not one of them.

Wilt, the final collection of Azzarello and Risso's breathtaking noir drama, finds the remaining members of the Houses of Trust compromising with the manipulative Agent Graves, much to the disliking of many of his now rogue Minutemen. For the most part this is a nail biter of a story, overflowing with torrents of frenzied intrigue and betrayal, to the point where the only thing the reader's confident in is that any character could put a bullet in any other character at any given time. For the most part this collection is rapid, brutally crisp, and addicting. The only problem is ... the story doesn't conclude. It fucking stops. I guess if you wanna console yourself and say it's an "open ending," where the reader is left to draw his or her own conclusions, go ahead. But speaking as a reader, this series has been, if nothing else, unpredictable. How the crap am I supposed to draw my own conclusion when I just spent 12 issues trying not to lose my ass in this rapidly evolving maze of a storyline? That's like driving a blindfolded suburbanite into the middle of the fucking woods, dropping him off, and expecting him to find his own way home. It's just asking too damn much. On rare occasions the open ending device, if written very carefully, will work. This is not one of those occasions. I have to say, I feel cheated and pretty damn disappointed.

That's not to say this series is a waste of time for any readers interested in, say, starting it up from the beginning. You'd be hard pressed to find a better comic in the newly invigorated sequential crime genre. In particular I'd become introduced, and subsequently hopelessly infatuated with Eduardo Risso solely from is work on this book. Nowhere in this business will you find an artist who can make so few lines tell so many things (not to mention one more capable of drawing some smoking hot women). The man's a living legend, and this series proves it.

Wilt started out with a triple gainer and ended with a belly flop. Was the trek to the end worthy of such an otherwise groundbreaking comic? Much like Mr. Azzarello, I'll leave that conclusion to you.


Invincible #64
by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley
Image Comics


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Thank Christ Conquest is over. I can't handle suspense like this on a regular basis. I'm not a young man anymore. Story's with so much at stake are libel to give me an aneurysm, angina, or any other number of fucked up heart or bowel things.

If you hadn't guessed it from the cover, this is one of the most violent comics of the year. Yowza. So much sticky, sticky blood. And it's worth every drop. I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

I can't stress this enough: if you're a fan of the super-hero genre and NOT reading this book you're a fucking idiot. It doesn't get any better than this, from any publisher, at any time, with any character. Just doesn't get better.

Empowered Vol. 5
by Adam Warren
Dark Horse Comics


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Am I the only person who's absolutely horrified by Willy Pete? The big, burly fire elemental who enjoys skull fucking people to death? I don't know if it's the actions, or the undisplayed potential, or the contrast with an otherwise lighthearted supporting cast, or just the way Warren draws the character, but every time I finish a Willy Pete story I have to chase it with Beanworld or something. That's one creepy villain. He icks me the fuck out.

Empowered Volume 5 is another winner from Warren. If you like stylized dialogue, cutting humor, awkward love triangles, and more bondage and near female nudity than a battalion of perverted old men can carry, you need look no further. Don't forget: it also contains one creepy-ass villain too.

- PICK OF THE WEEK -
Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter
by Darwyn Cooke
IDW Publishing


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I am not a fan of sequential adaptations. I'm absolutely blown away by Darwyn Cooke's sequential adaptation here. Therefore I'm a hypocrite, apparently. Somehow I manage to carry on.

The Hunter is the hard-boiled tale of a stubborn, cold, chauvinistic man who doesn't want anything but his fucking money. Not women, friendship, compromise, respect, or recognition; just what's owed to him. When it's not given freely, he takes it. And then some.

I don't know anything about Richard Stark or his character, Parker. What I do know is Cooke spent a lot of time and put a lot of love into every single, solitary panel of this book. With the gritty toning, horrific layouts, and nasty dialogue, Cooke ensured his rendition did the original justice. He couldn't be more successful here. In particular, I love the contrast the plot has in juxtaposition with Cooke's cartoony, pop-artish illustration style. It's like an old Dick Tracy strip, but with titties and strangulation. My only complaint is we have to wait almost a year before the next one's set for solicitation.

The Hunter is quite simply a must-have for anyone serious about this medium. Cooke is destined to be a modern master, and this is another step towards his inevitable ascension.

- PAN OF THE WEEK -
Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5
by Geoff Johns & George Perez
DC Comics


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Better late than never, right? Wrong.

Bluh. Talk about completely frivolous. Nothing against Perez, whose artwork is once again superb, or Johns, who's currently writing what promises to be the event of the decade, but this book blew ass across the time stream AND the Multiverse. As if being horrifyingly late wasn't enough, it's completely invalidated Superboy Prime as a believable villain, leaving him in the closing pages hunched over his keyboard, a raving, idiotic fanboy. Plus, I assume this series' purpose was to reintroduce Superboy and Kid Flash. Unfortunately, due once again to some amazingly retarded lateness, those bombs were dropped in other books, making this title even more irrelevant. Plus, I (and most fans who aren't teenage girls) liked these resurrected characters better when they were dead.

One thing that really cheesed me off about this series is the overwhelming odds against the antagonist from the very beginning. How am I supposed to be impressed when one solitary man (Kryptonian though he may be) is defeated by an army of three combined super-teams. Don't care how powerful one supposedly is, it's hard to believe a character's capable of defeating such overwhelming odds unless said character's the protagonist. Conflict's only fun when the bad guy's sold as superior in all forms over his dogooder counterpart. To make things less impressive, those three armies didn't even defeat the bad guy. He defeated himself, in one huge gay parable. What a bunch of crappy super-heroes. Can't even beat up some teenager. Weak, man. Weak.

Not to give the fuckers too much credit, but if this were a Marvel book they'd have gotten it out in a timely manner, delayed any major continuity changes until it was finished, or just flat canceled it. All choices would have enabled us to move on with some semblance of cosmic order in our lives. Credit where credit's due to DC for sticking to their guns, but this series should have been put out to pasture a year ago, instead of lingering and stinking up the place like an elderly family member with a wicked case of inflamed bowel syndrome.

You've been warned.

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