Friday, March 26, 2010

Wednesday Is Grimm For Aesop & I Don't Care #60

Human Target #1 (2010)
Legends: The Enchanted #0
Neverland #0
The Perhapanauts - Molly's Story

Human Target #1 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
Besides the Milligan stuff for Vertigo, I think the last DC mini-series to star Christopher Chase was a tie-in to the last time an attempt was made to turn this property into a TV series (starring soap opera actor/one-hit wonder Rick Springfield.) I've never seen the show, but I can spot the obviously referenced likenesses of its actors in the art, so I'm treating this like a licensing cash-in more than a "real" comic, which is to say "totally lowering my expectations." Curiously, it's split between a serialized lead feature and one-shot back-up by different creative teams, which works out for the best.

The main story is genetic enough to be from a crappy '80s TV show. As written by Len Wein, it reads like a Bronze Age dude trying to ape Garth Ennis, and its main characteristics are a total lack of credibility or forethought. For instance, Chase is a super-duper mercenary hired by the government to get an informant out of a compound so impregnable its snipers target ants crossing their perimeter. So Chase pulls the old "fake a heart attack and escape in an ambulance" routine, and the wagon gets away without an escort or anything. I guess these were the feds investigating WMDs in Iraq. Then there's a scene where the hardcore underground contact is about to torture a gangbanger with a blow torch, until something else comes up, so the thug just gets let go without a scratch. Oh, and don't get me started on Chase's "oh my god, that was so overused I thought Hollywood banned it" fighting technique. The art is typical licensed property blandery.

The back-up is a fun little diddy by Peter Johnson and Chris Sprouse. It's got humor and attitude, making uses of subtle references in place of exposition to help you figure out the mise-en-scène set-up as the story gallops toward a conclusion. I wouldn't say six good pages is worth the price of admission, but it takes the sting out of forking over money for the rest.

Legends: The Enchanted #0 (Radical, 2010, $1.00)
You want to write some retarded post-apocalyptic bullshit story like you read in Heavy Metal magazine while resting between jerk-off sessions involving you and Milo Manara (or a Royo cover in a pinch?) Shit won't sell. Find a way to work in fairy tale bullshit you should have left behind in grade school? Proceed to kiss Bill Willingham's jock and collect a check.

Once again, I'm reminded of Wally Wood's 1967 piece "Disneyland Memorial Orgy". That was a critique of a wholesome American entertainer who just happened to be a scumbag Nazi sympathizer. That meant something. Taking characters from mythology/fairy tales/etc. and turning them into immortal cyborgs with remote controlled scythes? What's the point? The original inspiration is buried under a ton of revisionist nonsense to the point of being nearly unrecognizable, so call Red Riding Hood "Burgundy Wolfsbane" or someshit, and instead of calling you a mongoloid I can just say you write tough guy sarcasm at a junior high level. I know this for a fact, as I wrote similar dialogue back then, and have the lined-paper "comics" to prove my insufficient maturity for professional work.

When you take very loose representations of characters from antiquity and just have them do a bunch of gory fighting in near black or "fiery" backgrounds used to mask artistic deficits/laziness, the only actual selling point is perversion, and I prefer my porno from Milo Manara over Simon Bisley.

Neverland #0 (Zenescope, 2010, $1.99)
I bet you're expecting me to shit on this, right? I mean, it's from fucking Zenescope, a line defined by all the crap I was just talking about. Well, see, while I disagree with the premise of mixing Peter Pan in with child serial killers in the urban jungle, the execution by writer Joe Brusha is surprisingly decent. A lot of exposition is handled well, and the requisite cryptic teases are intriguing. I don't care for this company's preview format, and the art by Jean-Paul Deshing is amateurish, but this is the best thing I've seen from them since 1001 Arabian Nights: The Adventures of Sinbad #0

The Perhapanauts - Molly's Story (Image, 2010, $3.50)
I've tried The Perhapanauts a couple times, but it didn't quite cut it. This is an origin special for a team member, written and drawn by fans instead of the regular creative team. I can't tell if the story needed more or less space, but either way, decent promise falls flat for lack of pay-off, and the "narrators" feel like nothing more than devices by story's end. It's okay, but not for $3.50

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