Urrrrrhhhh! Let's take the Sunday Blues away with some piffle about our four colour floppy friends! COMICS!!!
SUPREME #64 Art by Erik Larsen & Cory Hamscher Written by Erik Larsen Coloured by Steve Oliff Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos Image Comics, $2.99 (2012) Supreme created by Rob Liefeld
Hu-ooFF! Well, that was horrible. As a comic, I mean. Look, I don't have a problem with a change in direction and it's a little soon to tell if I have a problem with this particular change in direction, but I have a problem with a bad comic which this was. Just page after page of people dying, things falling over, plenty of, as my son would say, "'splodin'!!!". I hate to break thi sto everyone but that's not actually a story as such. Sigh. I don't have much familiarity with Erik Larsen's work (the '90s? Not really my best time for comics) so I'm not counting him out yet. Yeah, maybe Erik Larsen can swing this one around. I'll give him a couple more issues to do so. Turns out I'm that close to generous but this issue was pretty EH!
Reckon them's fightin' words and wanna show me just how wrong I am? Well, you can buy this exact comic from HERE!
FURY MAX #1 Art by Goran Parlov Written by Garth Ennis Coloured by Lee Loughridge Lettering by Rob Steen Marvel,$3.99 (2012) Nick Fury created by Jack Kirby with Stan Lee
I don't know what they are feeding Garth Ennis on these days but the comics he's producing would be Type 3 or 4 on The Bristol Stool Scale; this being as we all know optimal. In a worrying state of affairs Ennis has now produced two comics (see last week's THE SHADOW) which are set in convincing historical settings, peopled by satisfyingly sketched characters and which succeed in being both informative and entertaining. Which is why I had to bring my own shit joke to the party lest his regular, heh, audience feel at at a loss. Taking the first chapter's title from TheThe softened my hardened heart but going on to deliver an intelligent, amusing and diverting comic is what really sealed the deal here.
Ennis is helped no end by the astonishing art of Goran Parlov. Goran Parlov is the kind of artistic wonder who can limit himself, largely, to the most banal of page layouts without inspiring new lows of tedium in my mind. He can do this because everything he puts in those panels is just right. It doesn't hurt that his present day Fury looks so gnarled and battered he resembles 19th Century armoire smoking a cigar while clad in plaid slippers and a fluffy robe. Yeah, this was VERY GOOD!
(Yes, I am aware Nick Fury was created by Jack Kirby with Stan Lee and that I said I wasn't going to purchase any more Marvel products which failed to acknowledge the contributions of The King. Either my LCS forgot or decided that my professed liking for Garth Ennis' non puerile work and Goran Parlov's anything superceded this. Okay? Either way I got a good comic and I still think it could have had the words "created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee" on it without upsetting the balance of Life itself.)
TRIO#1 Written and Drawn by John Byrne Coloured by Ronda Pattison Lettered by Robbie Robbins IDW, $3.99 (2012) Trio created by John Byrne
Mark the time. The super-hero funnybook is dead. I'm surprised to find John Byrne's DNA on the corpse but then it's always the ones that love hardest that end up hating enough to kill. I'm a bit sore because I lost my shirt on this one; my money was on one of the TV Breed. One of those guys who just keep parping it out until the comics cognoscenti just give in and allow quantity to supercede quality. Yeah, I figured the smoking gun would be in the clammy hands of one of those guys with all the imagination of an empty cardboard box, one of the dialogue guys, one of the post-it notes and flow-chart guys, y'know, the sophisticated guys. But like the most surprising game of Comics Cluedo ever, in the end it was John Byrne in the LCS with The Fantastic Faux. A super team of characters called "One", "Two" and "Three" could only mean one thing; the death of imagination.
But look, in his defence, no one loved the super-hero funny book as much as John Byrne. He loved it so much he hid it away and protected it from reality. Up there in the big house with the pool. Pretending nothing had changed and if it had, well, it wouldn't last. See, John Byrne knows super hero comics are still big it's just the audience that got small. You just have to give 'em comics like back when they loved them. Back in the '80s. The magical hey-day of ALPHA FLIGHT! This isn't a comeback it's a return, it's the return of cape comics, the return of the way they should be done, the return of the way they were done when they were done right. It's the return of an '80s issue of ALPHA FLIGHT. Sure, it's the best issue of '80s ALPHA FLIGHT ever published but it's still just an '80s issue of ALPHA FLIGHT. It's now 2012. Here's the corpse of super-hero comics now, caked in make-up, going on eighty trying to pass for eighteen. Nothing sadder. Sure, it may be EH! but they'll love it in Pomona.
You can prove the audience for this comic didn't leave twenty years ago by buying it from HERE!!!
FATALE #5 Art by Sean Phillips Written by Ed Brubaker Coloured by Dave Stewart Image Comics, $3.50 (2012) Fatale created by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Well, I gave it 5 issues and I was hoping this one would turn it around. It didn't. A spooky rinser, people in hats swearing and a demon who can come back from the dead but can't bring back his eyes. I guess you could say it was a bit like James Ellroy meets H.P. Lovecraft, y'know, if they'd both had flu at the time, or you'd only seen the covers of their books, or you had in fact never actually read them just read about them. In the end FATALE pretty much ended up being the John Byrne's TRIO of independent creator-owned comics. Familiar stuff delivered familiarly; that's not going to make me run about like my underpants are on fire no matter who is involved. Sure, I'm all for Team Independent but not if they are as bland as the alternative. Being creator owned is a magical thing but for a reader comics still have to be better than EH!
Possibly not the most popular opinion regarding this comic book! Why not make up your own mind by purchasing if from HERE!
MUDMAN #3 Written and Drawn by Paul Grist Coloured by Bill Crabtree Image Comics, $3.50 (2012) Mudman created by Paul Grist
Wait! I'm getting a pulse! turns out the cape comic isn't dead after all, it just has to keep up with the times is all. This one's about a normal kid in a timelessly sleepy English seaside town who is, through events and stuff ,suddenly not normal in a way that involves mud and being a man made thereof. It's got a breezy lightness of tone that might work against it; sometimes it seems not a lot has happened but really quite a lot has. As Owen Craig (Mud Man when he's not Mud Man) finds his powers have opened up new possibilities for him physically the environment around him seems to change in concert. Using the fixed point of Owen's discoveries as the present Grist fills in the Past and hints at the Future while parts of each encroach on Owen's life and, as is generally the way of things, threaten it.
Grist is really good at keeping the tone light while at the same time giving the threats real weight. He also excels at teasing about future developments; so much so that the next issue just can't get here quick enough. But what Grist is best at is storytelling; in the words and pictures sense, natch, this being a comical periodical and all. He may be a bit too good at it because reading the comic is so effortless, practically intuitive, that it's quite likely the reader might forget to credit the incredible talents and the deft wielding of same that made it so. From soup to nuts, from top to tail, from mud to man MUD MAN is VERY GOOD!
Or is it? Find out by buying it from HERE!!!
And we're done. If you're going to hang about don't forget to lock up and put the key back through the letterbox.
Have a good weekend and always remember COMICS!!!