Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day but it tends to be more for the US than the UK – the amount paid for shipping the free books over here tends to negate the point of the day. I mention this, apart from bigging up the annual celebration of comic books, because the shipping of comics to the UK affected this week’s purchases: Ignition City #2 failed to ship here yet again. Diamond seem to have it in for us – they won’t let us enjoy the dark and twisted humour of Warren Ellis, mainly because they can’t be bothered (at least, according to the chaps at Gosh!, the best comic shop in the world). This means that I only bought one comic book this week, hence the slightly longer than normal introductory paragraph than normal.
The Literals #1
I can’t think of a crossover where a mini-series was created to be the third corner of the triangle of books in the crossover, nor where a new issue one was the third part in the crossover. You’ve got to give Willingham and Sturges credit for doing something different. This issue deals with the actual reason for the crossover: Kevin Thorn, a Literal with the power to rewrite the universe with his magic quill. When we see him, he seems to be accompanied by a drooling man in a straitjacket: is it Kevin in reality? They both wear glasses. Is he the flip side to the writer as an entity? A dribbling idiot with no point to their life? Kevin wanders around, writing in his notebook, trying to rewrite the universe – except he’s got writer’s block. He invites the ‘family’ over – the Genres (who, even though they’re supposed to represent the written word, are all represented by cinematic ideals: Western is John Wayne, Blockbuster is Arnold Schwarzenegger, Comedy is Groucho Marx, Noir is Humphrey Bogart. Contradictory, no?) However, they can’t help, so he brings along his most inspired creations (are we supposed to recognise them?) to inspire him.
Elsewhere, Bigby, Snow, Gary and Mr Revise are trying to track down Thorn (which also entails the only woman being a bad driver, which I thought was something we were beyond now), nearly getting blown up at Thorn’s home in Manhattan before Thorn discovers their quest and rewrites Bigby … There are also two pages of Jack Frost, Jack’s son, who meets a man with a sword through his chest (are we supposed to know him as well?) The book finishes with a six-panel page of somebody ordering lots of food at the diner from the previous issue – is it supposed to be funny? Isn’t it a bit of a waste? The book itself seems odd – why does it exist? Couldn’t they tell the story in the two ongoing series? If Buckingham can draw this book, which he does well as usual, why the need for another book? It even seems to ignore the advice of the title of the chapter: ‘Start as deep in the story as you can’. It seems to meander and take its time to get to a point – Thorn is powerful and a bit mad: what happens next? I hope things pick up in the next instalment.