After the break I’ll be not knowing what the Hell I’m doing with some comics you probably didn’t read. Remember, kids, if you want me to stop before someone gets hurt contact Mr. Hibbs.
First though, a vain attempt at professionalism (always worth a chuckle):
Key to abbreviations:
(c) Colours (NOT colors, coloUrs)
Now let’s me and you do The Do!
CASANOVA II: GULA #4 by Matt Fraction(w), Fabio Moon(a), Gabriel Ba(a), Criss Peter(c) and Dustin K Harbin(l) (Icon/Marvel/Disney, $3.99)
The guy who writes this usually gets all the tickertape and thrown knickers but, for me, it’s the art that makes this one essential. And by “art” I’m referring to the combination of pictures, colours and letters that coalesce to create a unified whole most pleasing to mine eye in that way that, surely, only comics can do so sleekly and satisfyingly. The writing’s good, don’t get me wrong. Heck, I’m all for Kirby/Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D, Morrison etc. being mashed up and garnished with a fat old heap of Daddy Issues (Killing Daddy makes that gumbo sp-sp-spicy!) but it’s the art that sets this one apart. Also in this issue you get both the riper linework of Ba and the complementary gaunt contours of Moon;bargain!
I was excessively pleased when the backmatter was dropped as that stuff brought to mind some guy trying to get a girl’s attention by posting her parts of himself (It was a bad time for me, okay?). But I liked the one where he interviewed Mr. Howard Victor Chaykin. So, yeah, shocker! I guess you can ignore all my whining though as according to the sub(!ha!) text of the last story he isn’t writing it for “me”! (Maaaaaaaan!). All perceived authorial preciousness aside this was EXCELLENT!
FIRST WAVE SPECIAL #1 by Jason Starr(w), Phil Winslade,(a), Lovern Kindzierski(c) and Rob Leigh (l) (DC Comics, $3.99)
Starring my personal favourite character in the recent chart-topping record-setting FIRST WAVE fiesta of success: The Avenger! His wife’s dead and so is his face! He is totally old-school pulp madness. The kind of guy who if he existed I’d want gassing like a badger but when confined to fiction really lights up my life. Look, he just wants to help criminals, really. Help them to…(shouts:)DIE! Wow! That bit was just like a film wasn’t it!?!
Oh, the story? It’s basically a graphical dramatisation of that old “To kill, or not to kill. That is the (dodged) question!” routine. The Avenger wants to kill the Big Boss. The Bat Man and Doc Savage realise that there are “complications” and “grey areas”, y’know, all that moral relativism cockcobblers that’s served us all so well recently. The Avenger hears them out but things don’t go too well and hi-jinks ensue. “The guy’s completely demented.” The Bat Man says this of The Avenger. The Bat-Man! That’s how crackers for maracas The Avenger is. Mr. Jason Starr does a great job delivering the neurosis-ago-go and Mr. Phil Winslade’s brittle jitteriness gives good pulp; the stand out panel being the one of The Avenger lurching off into the city of night undeterred in his dementia despite the failure of his (admittedly really quite poor) plan. Despite a last page that seemed unsure what it was trying to do this was VERY GOOD!
PUNISHERMAX#14 by Jason Aaron(w), Steve Dillon(a), Matt Hollingswoth(c) and VC’s Cory Petit(l) (Marvel/Disney, $3.99)
While (“They Call Him…”) Mr. Hibb’s rightly ballyhooed the great work Mr. Jason Aaron is doing on this title I’d like to shine my love light on the work of Mr. Steve Dillon. It’s not often an artist pays such lavish attention to world building but we certainly have an instance here. See, the MAX universe isn’t like the Marvel Universe; a harsher harder place is this. In the MAX Universe death, maiming or harsh language could put a crimp in your day without warning. Men, women and children are all as likely to be minced by the frightful despair fuelled grinder that is the MAX Universe. In the MAX Universe the only “mercy” comes from the mouths of polite French people. Little wonder then that the residents of said place neglect interior decoration almost totally. In the MAX Universe the only difference between your home and an abattoir is that the abattoir has more cracks in the wall. Steve Dillon knows this. Steve Dillon shows you this. And despite this it is still VERY GOOD!
(Pause for a cuppa tea.)
Due to Austerity Measures I have been rooting around in my Archive (i.e. the garage) where I found these (i.e. they fell on my head when I was moving the dead guinea pig’s cage) issues which together form a story not yet collected between two covers:
WARLOCK#1-4 (2004/5) by Greg Pak(w), Charlie Adlard(a), Sotocolor’s P. Serrano(c) and VC’s Cory Petit(l) (Marvel,$2.99ea)
It’s about realising that if God is Dead (He is. I sent flowers.) then that effectively makes you God and how you might want to think about what kind of God you want to be if you don’t want to end up with a ball of dirt studded with piles of smoking offal instead of a world. Metaphorically speaking. It’s about growing up and working out how to live in a clearly insane world without going insane. Not so metaphorically speaking. Hey, I’m not claiming it’s Teilhard De Chardin (because I don’t know who he is, mostly) or anything but it does raise interesting questions and if the answers it gives are a little pat it’s important to remember it is a comic churned out by Marvel; the very fact it even raises questions (beyond the usual, “Why are these characters talking like morons?”) is pretty applause worthy in itself.
Mr. Pak does a fine job giving the story youthful protagonists which are neither cloying nor hateful (not an easy thing), an eventful plot and some good Warlocking all round. Alas, Mr. Adlard fares less well as his natural inclination artistically seems to be towards the mundane but Serrano’s colours link their fingers together and boost him up so his art does at least graze the necessary level of awesome Warlock demands! Okay, WARLOCK (2004) isn’t even close to Roy and Gil Kane’s (sexy sweaty space Jesus) or Jim Starlin’s (Evil = Purple Afro!) but it’s still VERY GOOD!
Ha! I can see your thoughts! But, no, unless my mother has led a far more eventful life than I have been led to believe, I am not related to Gil Kane.
Next time: More flailing in the abyss!