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Comic reviews March 2009.

Posted by Adrian on March 23, 2009

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This is good. Gritty. I mean Mark Millar enjoys breaking down character bases, especially iconic Marvel characters and their interactions. He destroys the continuity of good over evil in comics, in the case of Wolverine: Old Man Logan it’s evil that overpowered good.

Millar’s Wolverine is an old and wasted man. A terrible incident causes him to be a shell of the man he used to be. Old Man Logan is set in a mixed up future where the bad guys have won and carved up the US into zones. Millar’s scenario is based on a writer thinking about why there are so many more bad guys than good guys in the Marvel Universe.  So what would happen if they were to form a cohesive force? Well in this story the villains did form a united force and won. The good guys (what is left) are just scattered across a broken landscape. Depressing? It seems that popular culture in comics is looking at a bleaker landscape (a sign?). But the essence of a story is endurance and who survives, everyone likes a survival story right? The thing with Old Man Logan is how the hell is this going to end? To me Millar has embarked on a epic journey to turn all this around, so the good guys can come through it all and win. But will they?

Suffice to say it is compelling read and the art is great by Steve Mcniven

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More grit. Garth Ennis is gone, Duane Swiercynski takes over and he is kicking out a good solid story with his own style. Keep the horrors of a shitty, exploitative reality of modern day society and mix in some vengeance and the Punisher will always ensure justice is served – with blood. Swiercynski is carrying the torch and he is running with it. Corrupt politicians, corrupt business people, corrupt police, spoilt idiots trying to make a quick buck (by fucking over each other). The Punisher has six hours to kill the lot of them (has a slow release toxin in his blood).

It’s bloody, depressive but rewarding. Art is good by Michel Lacomb, still Goran Palov (Ennis’s last artist) just captured that commercialized cess pool of life so well. Hope he comes back to the Punisher one day.

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THE AUTHORITY #1 (Wildstorm) WORLD’S END #1

Posted by Adrian on August 11, 2008

THE AUTHORITY #1

There is a term in economics called flight to quality, usually fits in times of recession or bear markets (stocks, bonds, property etc). It’s a switch to more solid products, or safer ones – say protective stocks, certain commodities and so on. But in basic consumerism flight to quality can also be applied to consumption. After huge excesses in consumerism, when a recession hits the rubbish, or excessiveness disappears (people tighten their purchases). What is left is the quality products, as the consumer desires a better product if he or she has to fork out money for that product. Demand falls off and quality increases to appeal for a tighter market.

This applies to every consumer product you can think of including books and comics, maybe more so with comics. The excess of publications in the last five years was astounding. There was so much and a lot of it was not particularly good. But in happy spend up times, people tend to buy the not so good stuff.

Wildstorm comics is kinda hit and miss, some good products and some not so good. A lot of TV franchise duplication, i.e TV to comic adaption like Buffy, X-Files, Supernatural etc. I suspect those publications are aimed at teenagers but at the expense of creativity. However some books come through that shine, The Authority is one of them. The World’s End series on Wildstorm is one of those ‘turn of event’ type arcs, that comic companies flirt with now and again. Marvel have tried it and not been very successful (as they keep trying to top the last one i.e didn’t leave an impression with their readers), from the Civil War to World War Hulk and to Secret Invasion; then you have DC’s Final Crisis, which was such a layed and confusing (and expensive for the reader) mess – it was hard to follow and you needed to buy a lot of the comics to get the gist of what the hell was going on. But Wildstorm being a smaller subsidiary of DC, with a different reality and universe is able to pack in a ‘turn of event’ arc into a couple of comics, which is good – saves cash for the consumer. So when Wildstorm comes up with a World’s End, it is the real deal. Unlike DC and Marvel that tippy toe into universal ‘events’ in comic books. Wildstorm showed ultimate decimation, the Earth is wrecked, smog, radiation, diseases, plagues (the Warhol virus, that turns an average Joe, or Jane into a out of control beast for 15 mins – then you explode spreading the virus), ‘soul storms’ (with the ghosts of the dead floating around), EMP’s (electro magnetic pulses) that has rendered the Authority Carrier useless and the Authority’s sexy star the Engineer without her silver metal body (she is now in human form), Apollo who can’t stay on the earth for more than a few minutes (because of the smog, he gets his energy from the sun) otherwise he ends up a shriveled sick looking human being. Jack Hawksmoor in a wheel chair looking quite busted up. So Wildstorm allowed the writers to give the earth, it’s super heroes and the human race a major arse kicking (within a handful of comics – now that is value for money!). The Authority was such a good creation by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, and they have had writers really try keep up the standard for a group of characters that essentially force the writer/s to make the book work. In other words, a writer of The Authority tries harder. It’s just the way the characters and interaction works within the context of the stories. It’s like a force of hand for good quality writing. It would be hard to cheapen The Authority legacy.

But World’s End has an intense start to the comic, very well crafted by the writers (in this case three writers!) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Christos Gage. A decimated England and world, a battered Authority, with their massive ship (crashed on top of London). Handful of survivors are helped by the Authority to get refuge (inside the carrier). Good detailed and gloomy art by Simon Coleby and Trevor Hairsine.

It’s worth checking out.

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