Greetings! It has been sunny in England for more than three consecutive days. This means that the entire nation is required by Law to sit outside until their skins glow like pink suns and crack like dry riverbeds in Texan heat. So I have been doing that. This means I didn't read many comics and when I wrote about them the fact that my brain had been lightly boiled in its own juices didn't seem to have a beneficial effect on my thought processes or judgement. But, hey, I made my deadline! I made it, Ma! I'm a hack!
FURYMAX #2 Art by Goran Parlov Written by Garth Ennis Coloured by Lee Loughridge Lettered by Rob Steen Marvel, $3.99 (2012) Nick Fury created by Jack Kirby AND Stan Lee
Imagine my delight upon opening the latest issue of this fine comic to find an act of recreational physical pleasure being performed by Nick Fury and Ms. DeFabio. No, not because I have always wanted to see Kirby/Lee characters nut deep in the fun patch, no. (Well, Lockjaw maybe but that’s a personal thing.) No, it’s the fact that the act is presented so matter of factly. Almost as though it is just a part of life; one of those things adults do from time to time, these days mostly when they lose their broadband service and the TV is simultaneously on the fritz. In fact I can assure you I am not idly boasting when I say that even I , the misanthrope's misanthrope, have in fact personally heard of people in real life who have encountered a real life lady in such close quarters; which is to say even closer quarters than Nick & Co. encounter the ‘Cong in this comic. For one moment I thought mainstream genre comics had, in actual fact as opposed to the popular fiction entertained by most fans, grown up. A bit. Then I remembered it was a MAX comic and so that was okay as the regular line of comics would continue to be as ridiculous in their depiction of recreational procreation as ever.
Seriously, how bizarre must the depiction of something in regular life be if its depiction in a Garth Ennis war comic is actually a healthier alternative. Focusing on that aspect, as for some inexplicable reason I have, does Ennis' work on this comic a disservice as it is so well realised by all the involved personnel that its level of focus brings to mind a close up of a sniper's eye as the unseen finger exerts the required pressure to do the necessary. It's one well honed machine is what I'm saying. This week, because this book appears to be weekly for some arbitrary reason, Goran Parlov knocks my socks off on the several occasions when he draws the Nazi bastard’s head as just a collection of lines held together by Lee Loughridge’s ever-excellent colours. Giving us a glimpse into a horrific world where Pig Pen grew up and joined The Hitler Youth. To speak plainly then, I thought FURYMAX#2 was VERY GOOD!
THE SHADOW #2 Art by Aaron Campbell Written by Garth Ennis Coloured by Carlos Lopez Lettered by Rob Steen Dynamite, $3.99 (2012) The Shadow created by Walter B. Gibson
As is customary, and contrary to my therapist’s advice, I shall now devote more time to the cover by Howard Victor Chaykin than the book it adorns. It’s a pretty swell cover, yes it is. The elegant simplicity of its design elements is foremost amongst its pleasures but only because the cheekiness of anchoring it all on The Shadow’s torso (which is little more than an oblong) is, let’s face it, the kind of thing only people who should really stop harassing aged Jewish comics creators when they go for a jog on the beach are going to give a gefilte fish about. I’d plump for Arbutov on colours rather than Delgado because it’s less an attack on visual sense and more of an attempt to attractively enhance the base image. But, this being Dynamite the colour of your cover is not a fixed thing! You can have a “Bloody Red” Retailer Incentive Cover (red and white!) or the Dynamic Forces Exclusive Howard Chaykin cover (black and white!). I hope these are all in the TPB because I would actually have an interest in seeing the image without colour, but that’s because I am a Chaykinmaniac. Otherwise I am just totally flummoxed by the need for all these covers. There are another 7 of them! The Ryan Sook one looks lovely by the way.
Eventually, sated, I looked at the actual comic. Ennis’ script this time out is pretty great. It’s basically an extended action sequence inventively choreographed within the confines of a Pan Am clipper intercut with exposition largely designed to demonstrate the evil of the opposition (kiddy fiddler ahoy!). I can’t fault the writer's execution of the script or the savagery of the violence (injury to eye is just the hors d’ouvres, darling!) but it impresses only despite some serious fumbling of the ball on Campbell’s part. I’ll not dwell on it too much as, after all, the art turns up and does the job; albeit with all the fiery invention of a Council employee during the week before his pension finally kicks in. Also, Megalophobics are hereby duly warned to stay away from the hilariously outsize hat which dominates the last panel. Still, Ennis’ script is so solid the comic remains GOOD!
MIND MGMT #1 By Matt Kindt Dark Horse, $3.99 (2012)
In this comic's after-piece Matt Kindt runs the old I Want This Periodical To Work As A Periodical schtick. Y’know the one; the one about extras unique to the pamphlet (or FLOPPY!(cue Brian Hibbs rearing back like Christopher Lee before Pter Cushing's crossed candlesticks. Hsssss!)) which will enhance and entertain, yes, that one. I think he’s actually serious about it, too. That's on the evidence of the first issue of what future generations will call “that book Matt Kindt did no one bought” (but we will call MIND MGMT). I mean, only time will tell but I doubt this is going to take the form of backmatter telling us how his movie deals are progressing (Matt Kindt hasn't got any. Yet.), how hard life is for the talented and beautiful (my heart; it bleeds), a telephone book size list of all the awful comics he has in print (because Matt Kindt doesn't do awful comics. Ever. Fact.). Not that anyone else does that, but I severely doubt Matt Kindt will. The clue is in the comic itself.
Every page of this comic is the comic. The inside front and back covers are a short prologue to the book itself, the back cover is an advertisement that is in fact not an advertisement, text crawls up the side and across the page margins (a la ADVENTURE TIME) adding colour and background to the concept in a dryly humourous faux-bureaucratic way, there’s a short backup piece not intended for the TPB which ends with a six panel sequence so awesome that you know right then and there that MIND MGMT is the one. MIND MGMT is the one. MIND MGMT is the one where Matt Kindt arrives. This is Matt Kindt’s AMERICAN FLAGG! moment. This is where Matt Kindt turns up says, hey, this is what I do and this is the way I do it and you, well, you just deal with it! Matt Kindt just slapped his big talented balls on the table and now you either walk away or you just deal with it. MIND MGMT is odd but EXCELLENT! Deal with it!
And then I saw sense and decided my time, and yours would be better utilised if I wandered off to flick lima beans at next door's koi carp.
Hope you had a good weekend with some COMICS!!!
NEXT TIME: Something else!