Monday, June 9, 2008
JLA: Welcome To The Working Week
"A 64-page prestige format JLA story that served as a brain-dump for all my ideas about superheroes and humans. Indulgent, but with great art by Patrick Gleason. As you'll see, I really lucked out with artists."
I recognize comedian Patton Oswalt's greatest claim to fame is voice acting for Pixar's "Ratatouille," putting him squarely in the Miguel Ferrer/Amber Benson non-celebrity comic book writer crossover camp. Still, it seems a shame, because he compares quite favorably to the starfucker favorites DC and Marvel have pushed in recent years*. Maybe this is because he's clearly a real comic geek, as evidenced by his co-writing and co-starring a rejected pilot (with Brian Posehn and Smokin' Semetic Sarah Silverman) centered around comic book retail. It takes a true dork to delude themselves into thinking that's a palatable backdrop for series television.
Anyhow, the guy wrote this special, and he's doing his damndest to channel Grant Morrison. That premise pretty much never pans out, sometimes even when Grant's doing it, except curiously in this little-read one-shot. The premise is that a young reporter of a super-hero tabloid/fanzine manages to hide himself in the Watchtower for a week, spying on the League. Before your fanboy claxon sounds, rest assured, this is all explained in a satisfactory manner. Anyhow, the story manages to bounce from introspective personal anecdotes from the reporter to observations on the heroes to broad comedy to mindbending cosmic hoo-hah. Again all of which read like several different types of Morrison books smooshed together in a manner never accomplished by Grant himself, or anyone else. Curiously for professional comedian, the worst bits are the pedestrian attempts at humor, and the best are the speculative mindfucks. In the minus column, the dialogue is sometimes choppy and overly vague, and some of the more challenging concepts toward the end of the book are presented clumsily. Expect to read portions multiple times, as either the letter threw a rod or the captions were poorly expressed to begin with.
Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy were a fantastic choice for the art, both in art quality and in the ability to run the same gamut as Oswalt. It is at turns sexy and grotesque, soft-focus and widescreen cinescope. All in all, an beautiful package worthy of wider distribution. Also, there's a multi-page party sequence featuring a wealth of cameos for DC fans, particularly those who've missed some of Keith Giffen's more hilarious creations.
*Which reminds me: I still haven't finished reading Allen Heinberg's Wonder Woman run. I need to get it over with, eh?
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