Thursday, July 15, 2010

Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! (2010)

Before TV, print media and radio were the people’s forums, so you could find just about any kind of comic you might be interested in reading with a little effort. Other communication mediums took precedence, so now comics are mostly a ghetto for super-hero geeks. Back in the day, a Harvey Kurtzman type might poke a bit of fun at super-heroes, then move on to his next target. Today, there’s a whole genre of comics devoted to bitter, frustrated satirists who can only make a living in this industry by telling the most mean-spirited, hateful stories about costumed characters they can muster. Matt Sturges is one of those writers, and one of those books is Final Crisis Aftermath: Run!

Following on the set-up from a previous mini-series, a dumpy Silver Age villain who had appeared once half a century ago became among the most hated figures in the DC Universe. Through his connection to a hero’s murder and the betrayal of a host of villains, the Human Flame was left on the run from everybody and their mother. Joining a group of villains even less noteworthy than himself, the Human Flame takes a transformative journey toward realizing his ideal being. This is achieved through thinly veiled cursing, a supporting cast filled with junkies and other assorted reprobates, and the former bank robber becoming a full scale sociopath.

Run is one of those books, and it’s a good enough example of what it is, so Garth Ennis/Mark Millar fans may wish to take note. The Who’s Who reject super-villains throughout the book may be a little too silly for the hardcore, and the book lacks sexual situations or other prurient material its natural base may miss. The art of Freddie Williams II is broad and cartoonish, while mixing a Bart Sears type exaggerated anatomy, contorted posturing and meaty violence. Someday, Run will be pointed to as an example of the excesses of the aughts, but if you know what to expect, it can be a decent diversion.

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