The Activity #1
Jurassic Strike Force 5 #0
The Strain #1
The Activity #1 (Image, 2011, $3.50)
Have you ever had somebody walk toward you, and on sight, inexplicably, you had the immediate gut reaction that you would not like this person? Then said person got within talking distance, and from the first lines out of their mouth, your first impression was assured? That's how I felt about this comic. It's about spy shit, which is at its best when it's fantastic bullshit involving lasers on the moon and hot exotic chicks who throw themselves at middle-aged British guys. Then there's the more "realistic" spy shit, involving comparatively mundane stuff like stealing prototype lasers and average chicks throwing themselves at short closeted gay Americans, usually as part of a team effort. This is like the latter, and not the feature film latter with Matt Damon, but the television version starring Gil Bellows and special guest star Andre Braugher as the Chief.
The story starts in Mexico City, which is to say it spends five pages offering dialogue in Spanish. I'm not one of those "speak English in America, comprende" types, and the action falls heavily enough on the cliché side that I could guess at the dialogue. It's just the galling hubris of alienating monolinguistic readers for $0.70 of the book's length while depicting the first couple of minutes of a basic cable espionage show that, crunching numbers, would cost fractions of a cent. There's a lot of wasteful crap like that, including a splash page of the team from the waist down walking across tile, silent/sparsely dialogued pages, a page devoted to carrying a coffin, another to the take-off and landing of an airplane. The "characters" have whatever codenames were left between Hasbro's G.I. Joe line and the collected works of Rob Liefeld: Bookstore, Speakeasy, Switchfoot, etc. Yeah, that last one sang "Dare You to Move." The "characters" are easy to differentiate, because there's a black one, a brunette girl veteran, a blond girl rookie, and strawberry blond Caucasian male and a brunette Caucasian male. Assigning the code names to the flesh tones/hair colors is too much for me to remember, though.
There are a few pages of dense dialogue, which is at times intentionally obtuse, like Howard Chaykin's might have been in freshman English class. It's not swanky or hip or anything, though. Just spy shit. Nathan Edmondson of Who Is Jake Ellis? wrote it, so go ahead and tell me who Jake is, because I'm not going to go find out for myself. Mitch Gerads handles all the art, including the coloring. It reminds me a little of Tony Harris, which means it's solid enough, and certainly too good for The Activity, which sounds less like a euphemism for spy shit than the wankery that is this effort.
Jurassic Strike Force 5 #0 (Silver Dragon, 2011, $0.99)
One of the few things I give less of a fuck about than comics geared specifically for the children of mediocre adults are dinosaurs, and this is both those things in one. In eight pages of preview, we learn that dinosaurs ate other dinosaurs, that a big space rock killed even the eatingest dinosaurs, and that aliens saved a few for later use. There's also a silhouette of an evil alien overlord with lots of pointy stuff on his armor sitting on a throne with a goddamned scepter, just in case you were concerned that Power Rangers fans might be left out in the cold. The next eleven pages are biographical body shots of the cast of anthropomorphic dinosaurs with body armor and lightsabers that will presumably show up at some point after the eight worthless pages previewed here. The girl dinosaur has nice big ol' titties, so your kids can have the same warped sexual issues you do, ya fucking creep. Finally, there's eight edutainmental pages from Discovery Channel's Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Predators, which is also about dinosaurs eating other dinosaurs, but more so.
The Strain #1 (Dark Horse, 2011, $1.00)
As much as I'd like to make a constipation joke, especially with the prolapsed tissue falling out of these vampires' mouths, this novel adaptation is pretty solid. I'm sure credit goes to David Lapham, who just keeps impressing me, but the art by Mike Huddleston is also pretty great. The plot is from a book by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, which in this installment reads like Dracula by way of Fulci's Zombi, not to mention a bunch of other stuff I can't mention because it's not as readily apparent and I don't care all that much to give it the necessary thought to recall. This book is good enough to have earned my dollar, but I'm not prepared to commit to three years and approximately $126 more for what looks like leftover mythology from Blade II versus The Crazies. Maybe a $9.95 trade would help?
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
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