Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #101

Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #1
The All New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4
Charismagic #0 (2011)
The Intrepids #1 (1986)
The Mission #1 (2011)

Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #1 (Dark Horse, 2011, $3.50)
I was going to call bullshit on this comic actually being written by a 6-year-old, because it reads like a 30-year-old trying to fake it. Then I read that the older brother just plays with the younger brother for hours, and writes scripts "based on the true story" of their mutual fantastic conceptions. I could tease him more, but really, what could you ask of him? That's as legitimate as this kind of game gets. Regardless, the result is a silly steam-of-consciousness action adventure without the censorship of self-consciousness. I don't get off on dinosaurs with Gatling gun arms, so I'm not the target audience. This is for people who love random shit thrown against the wall based on the premise that alone is enough to be a satisfying experience.

The All New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4 (DC, 2011, $2.99)
First off, can I just say that I love this glossy paper stock? It really holds the colors nicely. Next, can I ask more regular readers how often Sholly Fisch scripts revolve around the novelty of a precipitating event leading to massive groupings of obscure villains in place of a plot? A Greek god decides to have Batman and Wonder Woman fall in love, they plan a wedding, and a jealous Talia sends their mutual foes to crash the party. Mouse Man gets a swell spotlight, Giganta gets one line, and its downhill from there. Nobody seemed to want to research Wonder Woman villains, so aside from the usual "What The Fuckers" that populate the internet (Egg Fu, Amoeba Man, the Crimson Centipede, Paper Man, Blue Snowman) and the mainstays (Angle Man, Cheetah, Dr. Psycho, Dr. Cyber,) Batman rogues and general DCU oddities are forced to supplement. Further, there are guest stars aplenty, and they dominate the fights. The sum was the feeling of an actual company crossover, where droves of characters all get together for vague, underdeveloped reasons until coming to a vague, underdeveloped conclusion.

Charismagic #0 (Aspen, 2011, $1.99)
I believe it is time to declare a détente with Aspen studios. I'll stop talking shit about their crappy $2 trial books, and they'll stop wasting my time and money. Nothing is being accomplished by my continuing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt, which doesn't exist anymore anyway, because I have little doubt that I'm just paying for the raw material to write a negative review every time I buy an Aspen preview.

For instance, this is half of a standard issue comic that will be released in a month for just a dollar more. The story arbitrarily stops because it was never meant to run twelve pages, and in fact runs about three pages longer than it should have to come to any kind of polite resolution. Even had I gotten to read the whole thing, it would have been the same tired fantasy trappings in a modern urban milieu as every other Aspen book. Both the story by Vince Hernandez and the art by Khary Randolph are actually less appealing than Aspen's average, which is only middling to begin with. Randolph's strength is in drawing a hot ethnic looking lead heroine, but she only barely appears on all of three pages. The rest of the story is flashbacks to grizzled sorcerers in a plot you may remember from every fifth comic book villain's origin, or every other magic-based comic book villain's origin. Actually, aren't they all the same origin, with the only variation being whether the warlock was banished to another dimension from which they're trying to return, or originate there before invading our realm? Lord Voldemort with a nose, right?

There's editorial material and sketches in the back that try to sell us on these terrifying magical creatures in a tense struggle that will engage readers. Of course, all the monsters look like something out of Don Bluth's Dragon's Lair, and the writing might as well have been woven from pure unadulterated cliché, so good luck with that. I'm more excited that I managed to squeeze two accent marks into this review than the actual comic.

The Intrepids #1 (Image, 2011, $1.50)
In an editorial space, the writer of the comic formerly to be known as "Rat Bastards" discussed how the disintegration of his marriage played into a story about teenage cyborg spies who attempt to thwart mad scientists. The connection was through the supportive surrogate family the writer had created in his mind. The artist shared the editorial space, but used it to mock the writer. The first issue's story is called "Mad Scientists Are A Girl's Worst Enemy." I could have done with more pages mocking the writer for that alone.

Clearly, The Intrepids is supposed to be like an Adult Swim cartoon (specifically The Venture Brothers) in its '60s aesthetic mixed with self-aware sardonic pastiche. I like the art by Scott Kowalchuk, where all the characters are kind of meaty and retro. It's the script by Kurtis J. Wiebe that just lies there. The characters have generic team book personalities, and I'll be really surprised if they don't find out their scientist benefactor is really a bad guy. There isn't enough imagination to sell this as a "mad idea" book of the Morrison or Fraction vein, with most of the "weirdness" coming down to altered animals. I think there's supposed to be some humor here, but I'm not confident of that assumption, because nothing was actually funny.

The Mission #1 (Imsge, 2011, $2.99)
I was watching a show with my girlfriend when she got a call. I didn't know how long she would take, so I grabbed the last new comic from my stack and read it. I did this at a casual, unhurried pace. It was an okay comic. The premise was kind of like 100 Bullets, but replacing personal revenge with divine proclamation. The art suited the subject matter, and I found no offense in the overall production. I finished the twenty-four page book around the time my girlfriend finished her call. I asked if she happened to note the call length before hanging up, and she said it had been six minutes. I maybe spent five on reading the comic. This comic cost me sixty cents per minute of modest distraction. Afterward, I watched an entertaining multimillion-dollar motion picture streamed from Netflix over ninety minutes time which, even accounting for electricity and internet access, probably cost me less that one minute spent on this comic.

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