SHOCK! HORROR! CLANDESTINE CRITIC READS AND REVIEWS COMICS!
Another brilliant issue of Fell, the greatest comic not actually a TV series. The classic interview dialogue between suspect and the NLP-knowledgeable Fell is just a joy, seeing him play the smart man to the disturbed perp, with lovely little pieces of ‘stuff’ along the way, like crazy people smelling different. (This is a nice article about NLP and Paul McKenna from The Guardian.) Templesmith keeps the visual interest up with the sketchy way he draws the characters, letting the dialogue tell the story but knowing when to open up and mostly keeping it tight on the two characters. Great stuff. The notes at the end make me want to go out and study Eisner, which is a bonus.
Oogliooglioogli. Indeed. This is the comedy yang to the serious yin of Ellis; taking the piss while enjoying himself. Seeing a Celestial doing the ‘loser’ sign to Aaron was hilarious; ‘widdle cuddly bears … of death?’; ‘fear my robot head’; the assault Pterosuit flock; ‘Schrodinger’s death!’; ‘go back to Avengers Mansion, and make my dinner’ – all comedy gold. Ellis uses the flashback/cutaway as effectively as Spaced or Scrubs, making this the most fun coming out of the House of Idea apart from She-Hulk. He is matched, as always, by Immonen on cracking form, bringing the wonderfully stupid ideas to life, mixing action and comedy deftly. Here’s hoping they stay on for longer than the planned year.
This issue sees the conclusion to the latest arc, where Deena has gotten darker with powers and Christian has become what is basically the Green Lantern of the Powers universe, opening up interesting areas for Bendis to take the characters. This storyline always started each issue with a not-funny rant from someone standing at a mic on stage at Club Cinderella; it has been the weakest part of any Powers narrative I can remember (even the ‘monkey sex’ issue), and it seems that it was only used as a pointless device so that we could have the reveal in this issue of the woman telling the story being the same woman who saw the murder that started the investigation, and is now starting a relationship with Walker. This seems a very silly coincidence for the end of an arc, but I’ll give Bendis the benefit of the doubt, as I did for the monkey sex story, because he always does a little bit better on this book. Oeming on art duties keeps up his level of quality, right from the cover, with its matching of the Blade Runner DVD cover, even down to the same lettering for the writing, the rays of light, Kara replacing a flying car, even the faces at the bottom. The double spread of head shots, making someone talking look interesting, a hero with his brains blown out, the montage of Deena’s thoughts – he does it all and keeps on coming.
Squadron Supreme #3
I was worried that JMS was going clichéd on us, with the team fighting itself because of some sort of psychic enemy but, apart from a bit of in-fighting (and an interesting aside into the connection between Hyperion and Dr Spectrum), the issue is mostly an excuse to attack the US foreign policy, which is something I wasn’t expecting. There’s a little bit of ham-fisted take on being black in a white world, but at least the intent is in the right place. Burbank, the ‘smartest person here’, is becoming incredibly annoying, while the other characters have yet to develop anything resembling a personality (and, as Greg wrote, rape is not a character trait). I’m still enjoying the series, especially with Frank’s tight art helping it go down so smoothly, but I’m wondering if this would read better in the trade, which is a sad reflection on the current state of the comic book industry.
Also in this selection of what I categorise as similarly themed comics was 100 Bullets #72, which defies reviewing on a single issue basis – you know the score: hard-boiled dialogue from Azzarello, moody art from Risso – even though each issue has an episodic, televisual feel that is more satisfying than Squadron Supreme on a monthly basis. And Queen & Country #30, which I’m holding off reading until I at least read the first Q&C paperback.
The next set of reviews will be on a lighter theme, with a more-pronounced superhero content.