Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Annihilate this week...of comics

Urgh... such a disappointing week of comics. A lot of stories where everyone is going through the motions and not really delivering. Warning: snark might follow. You have been warned.

War Heroes #2: As much as I enjoy Tony Harris as an artist and even though I can enjoy Mark Millar, this whole issue felt like it was hitting required beats without really making an impact. Even the cliffhanger, which should have shocked me, made no impact. I don't really care anything for the characters, so I'm not hurt by their betrayal. No one's actions have actually had consequences yet (the few possible places where the exercise of powers could have gone too far, they were treated comically). And I haven't even seen enough of this future America to decide whether or not this threat would be good or bad. This isn't like any number of dystopias, where the awfulness of the nation is established as permeating everything, nor does it feel close enough to our world to feel much at this America's fall. Please, Millar, stop being so "badass" and start actually feeling things, okay?

Solomon Kane #1: I might as well admit I bought it for the Joe Kubert cover. I did hope that I'd get something as good as Conan the Cimmerian, which is not deep but which is well told. But the story is too decompressed (the cliffhanger is Solomon Kane praying!), the storytelling is poor (tell me what went on in the opening action sequence without charts and graphs, please) and very little is done with the concept.  Let me put it this way: Solomon Kane, the Puritan punisher, stays in a castle built on a ruined abbey, that is ruled by a possibly evil Catholic Baron and his Muslim wife. And the only tension I brought to this situation was created by my own knowledge of history and religion instead of anything in the actually comic. Next issue, Solomon Kane naps and reads the Gideon Bible in his room!

Ambush Bug Year None #3: I really enjoyed the first issue of this series. I loved the way it took the misogyny and gratuitous adult-ness of Identity Crisis and ran it into the ground. And then, it contrasted it with the absurdity and stupidity of 60s DC. But with 2, it started getting unfocused. It was back to making fun of the continuity cast-offs and broad parodies of Countdown to Infinite Crisis (and the tie-ins). Fleming and co. were pushing too much into one issue with few returns.

And now we hit #3, which is partially about Infinite Crisis but not only tries to fit in too much, but is more miss than hit. Ambush Bug has always been about non sequiturs and "inside baseball" jokes, but they came so fast and furious that there wasn't enough time for the fizzles to drag it down. On top of this, there was usually some sort of straight man to work off or vice versa. This issue is like a burnt-out comedian making cliched jokes and lazy impressions. The few sequences that made me grin were those that positioned AB as the straight man (the buddy-buddy Darkseid and the multi-cultural OMACs, for example). I think I might have to find a new superhero parody.

Godland #25: Not much to say and a comic from last week at that, but this is the one comic which got more than an "eh" out of me. The origin of the Earth as a giant cosmic battle with time travel as an integral part of it! I can already see three exclamation points coming after every line of dialogue.  This is the kind of insanity that superhero comics should be full of.  And that is all that needs to be said about this comic.


Leigh Walton said...

Please, Millar, stop being so "badass" and start actually feeling things, okay?

Not bloody likely.

Mr. K said...

I know that this is unlikely, but if you read some of his old "Superman Adventures" comics, you can see a writer who can empathize with people.

Anyway, Warren Ellis was able to (sometimes) grow beyond his tics. Why can't Millar?

(and I know the short answer is that Millar is making a lot of good money this way, whereas the other way... he might just be Dan Slott.)