Friday, August 24, 2012

Wednesday Is Before & Aftermath For All I Care #158

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1
Revival #1
Wolverine #310




Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1 (DC, 2012, $3.99)
There were four different covers for this comic. Nothing says fidelity to artistic integrity when you're molesting the legacy of a loudly protesting talent like chase variants. Never mind handing the reins of a revered master to the more modestly remembered Len Wein, although I do like the poetic symmetry of his being the co-creator of Swamp Thing.

Anyway, Ozymandias is lipstick on a pig. Jae Lee does a solid job of concealing his disdain for drawing backgrounds with the help of clipart, silhouettes and colorist June Chung. The surface appears delicate and sensitive, but a closer inspection reveals endless shortcuts and the same disaffected expression on 75% of the characters. Jae Lee is the Rob Liefeld of melancholy, I shit you not. Wein's plot is the same semi-sympathetic villain origin story we've suffered through since the late Bronze Age. If this kid is supposed to be such a genius, how come it takes him months to learn enough martial arts skill to repel one uneducated school bully? Did he never read any Issac Asimov? "Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent." He couldn't work out an alternative in all that time, and he was incapable of exacting retribution without taking matters to a crippling extreme? Isn't this every third super-hero origin simply shifted down from high to grade school?

In 2012, we're meant to be impressed when an antihero tries a bit of hash (which causes hallucinations?) and a smidgeon of snail before moving on to oyster? Hey, remember that issue of Daredevil shortly before "Born Again" when Matt investigates the murder of an ex-girlfriend, only to be implicated in her suicide? That was great when they did it thirty years ago. Oh hey, it's shark week, as Wein and John Higgins close out with another two page installment of "The Curse of the Crimson Corsair." Man, I say again, Alan Moore is overrated and I'm not a major fan, so when I say this shit is shit, I mean it is objectively shit. No fanboy sour grapes. It's just mercenary dreck and niche marketing.




Revival #1 (Image, 2012, $2.99)
I was originally looking at following this in trade paperback, as I do The Walking Dead, but I miss looking forward to receiving a monthly comic now that Marvel and DC can both suck my prick. I came to really enjoy Tim Seeley's single serving storytelling in the Hack/Slash specials, but wanted to see how he fared with serial storytelling entirely under his control. So far, so good, as Revival sets up a strong premise for an ongoing mystery that recalls the 2004 French film They Came Back without being similarly meandering and pointless. Dead people aren't staying that way, and while they're not feasting on brains, they are acting a mite peculiar. I like that the occurrence is isolated to one area, adding pressure to a stressful situation endured by town residents. It feels smaller and more intimate than zombie epics, and while there is some gore, it is contrasted by the gentle art of Mike Norton and a high probability of existential angst to come. If I had to oversimplify for a pull quote, Revival is kind of like if The Walking Dead had landed at Lifetime instead of AMC. That might sound like a diss, but Lifetime can get deliciously tawdry, and that second season of Dead was more like people imagine Lifetime to be than what it actually is. I'll have more, please.




Wolverine #310 (Marvel, 2012, $3.99)
Letting Jeph Loeb write comics is like dropping your kids off with Jerry Sandusky. I can't even wrap my brain around the thought process behind that sort of decision. Sure he's a sweet old coot, I guess, but children shouldn't have to wrestle with anal warts before long division. Loeb can write special human-interesty projects set in the Silver Age, so pair him with Tim Sale for Silver Surfer Silver and leave the canonical Wolverine stuff to-- I don't know-- pretty much anybody else. Copy fanfic off a message board, email it to Simone Bianchi, and you're already ahead of Loeb's game. That said, this comic wasn't nearly as horrible as it could have been, despite it involving Cloak, Dagger, distorted cut & pasted panels run through cheesy filters, Axl Rose being quoted boldly in a two page spread, Wolverine villains, and tanks filled with clones. Just like ass-raping Jerry Sandusky in prison is probably better than dry humping your hand, but why not stay in the free world where there's ready access to lubricants and the internet?

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