Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Is About Slow Coming Reviews For All I Care #160

Mars Attacks #1 (2012)
The Massive #1
Sunset. First Look.

Mars Attacks #1 (IDW, 2012, $3.99)
I didn't exactly have high expectations over the second attempted comic book adaptation of a trading card series from 1962 that was turned into an ungood 1996 Tim Burton movie (unnecessary distinction?) However, the pleasures of the property are simple enough to recreate: ridiculous looking aliens committing grisly acts of violence against the human establishment. Writer John Layman gets this, even if his rednecks and carnies backdrop would have probably been less than contemporary even in the immediate post-McCarthy era. Besides the gory spectacle, Layman also comes up with a decent origin story for a "hero" alien. While John McCrea is too alt-sleazy to capture the contrast of the profane trespass against the mundane that defined the cards, he's awesome at having ridiculous spacemen and nasty humans do each other in bad ways. In a modern context, I can't imagine a better artist for the material, especially with Layman at the wheel. Inspired creative team on a fun property.

The Massive #1 (Dark Horse, 2012, $3.50)
I'd like to make a rude joke about this being a massive something or other, but it doesn't inspire that much emotion. This review is so late because my original plan was to do a sci-fi block that would also have included an Aspen book, about the worst thing in the world not involving actual heinous transgressions being perpetrated against the innocent in real life. I still haven't read that Soulfire thing, but I finally forced myself to get through this opening chapter of a long form environmentalist science fiction epic taking place on a big boat staffed with earnest volunteers. God damn, I could barely get my fingers to type that description, it's so boring.

My pattern with Brian Wood is to read an issue or a trade paperback and be really sorry I did, because they're as exciting as Tandy Computer Whiz Kids and as ravingly dogmatic as Chick Tracts to the liberally inclined (and not the Clinton sexy, or even the Gore sexy kind, and by Clinton I mean Hillary.) It kind of seems like Mad Max on a Boat, which wouldn't be a complete waste, except there's plenty of evidence that most of the world is still intact beyond the parts that are underwater, even though 25% of the book is declarations that [Insert Major Coastal City] is *dun! dun! dun!* underwater!. Imagine Chuck Heston kneeling before the Statue of Liberty in every third scene of Planet of the Apes, except there are no apes and the space capsule could float and his crew remained intact because the suspended animation didn't fail and there were plenty of rations and no devolved mute remnants of humanity and actually Chuck Heston's part was recast with James Franciscus. In other words, fucking boring. Besides, the lead character is named Callum Israel, an ex-mercenary turned pacifist conversationalist, which is simply unforgivable. That's the kind of hubristic malpractice that should get Wood's writer license revoked. Also, the art by Kristian Donaldson? Indy bland. The coloring by Dave Stewart? The muted, often monochromatic palette of the chronically depressed too unmotivated to contemplate suicide. Yes sir, there are text pieces featuring excerpts from a journal and redacted Homeland Security documents, just like in that book Alan Moore did back when you were young and thought life would be better than this slog you slog through sloggingly. Even the cover is like the box for a VHS of an obscure 1970s message film in the genre section of the video store that you never ever picked up because what you really wanted was to masturbate to one of the ubiquitous rape scenes in some low rent horror flick with amateurish but tawdry box art.

Sunset. First Look. (Image, 2012, $1.00)
An old hard man in hiding gets drawn out by the mob killing his loved ones. Is it 1974? Because if it's not 1974, they did this already 500 times, and 15% of them starred Charles Bronson. Also, they used actual film, instead of processing stock photos from off Google through some bullshit digital filter. Also, also, Micky Rourke would have still been handsome back then, instead of a plastic surgery casualty whose picture got badly cropped and pasted onto some other guy's body in Photoshop, along with Robert Downey Junior and-- hmm-- Fred Ward? Everyone remember the name Jorge Lucas for their personal blacklist, and don't fuck it up like you did with Greg Horn's anti-backlash. Oh, and Christos Gage wrote this on purpose. Remember when Christos Gage was supposed to be a thing? Me neither.

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