Thursday, May 14, 2009

Comics round-up (well, at least the ones I read)

Kirkman may have been spinning his wheels a bit with THE WALKING DEAD, but he busts out all flavors of brilliant with this five-issue mini. Unlike WALKING DEAD, which I recommend purchasing in as trade paperbacks, DESTROYER delivers every issue, every page. It's a great buy in floppy format, especially considering the brevity of its run.

The most remarkable thing about DESTROYER, though, might be the art--or, rather, the juxtaposition of an art style that's clean, soft, simple, and lacks highly contrived composition (in these ways, nearly kiddie-cartoon-like) with such graphic, adult-aimed content. Millar's KICK-ASS comes to mind as a comparable title. That one's drawn by Romita Jr, whose right-angle/chest-level layouts, massive heads and bubble eyes struck me as very kid-friendly during his Spider-Man work. Of course this was paired with G-rated storytelling, only cinching my conception of him as an All-Audiences artist.

His work on the exceedingly violent KICK-ASS, then, is something of an exercise in contradiction. He can't render action and gore as realistically as, say, Steve McNiven (siiigh... dreamy), so the art falls short in that regard, but seeing cute kids in a tame art style pulling off a sudden and very bloody series of dismemberments, well... it's like they invented their own brand of Shudder. It's pretty shocking, I think.

DESTROYER has a similar effect.

Which answers a question that I suppose has been hanging for me. We've gone past the age of fairly innocent art with conventionally-moraled stories (early comics through the seventies) and through the really hardcore, subversive art with hardcore, subversive stories (from the eighties on up). Where do we go from there? Make both aspects even more hardcorerer? That's one route, I suppose.

But this unexpected hybrid of NC-17 storytelling with G-style art is growing on me. It's actually quite charming.

This title is all about *patience*. Wait years in between issues only to be tantalized by a story that keeps cutting around The Main Event and never actually shows it. However, this is a really great, creative story that plays with chronology like it's an air-hockey puck. Plus, Logan's dream-mentor-guy is a Panda. Fuck yeah.

(Did you know that the real-life wolverine is a repulsive little scavenging weasel-cousin that's also known by the names "stinkbear" and "nastycat"? Good luck washing that factoid from your gray stuff next time you see Logan cavorting in a wood with some badass "totemic" timberwolves!)

Also, Francis Yu's art is quite stunning. I'd give my right ovary for his talent. (Frankly, though, I'd likely give both my ovaries for a Arby's $5 gift card [OBO!] and be able to live out the rest of my life in contented security and financial freedom.)

Can't recommend this one. Unless I'm oddly mistaken, it builds on the WOLVERINE: ORIGIN mythology. While I really enjoyed ORIGIN as a standalone "here's a neat idea" piece, I don't consider it canon and I don't appreciate this attempt to capitalize on its (limited) cache by extending the pseudo-myth, especially when they NOIR in itself is not a great read. At least, this issue was not a great read--maybe the next one will be better. For my money, though, your #1 should have enough hook on its own without having to squander goodwill from previous creators' labors. Maybe, like Tutti-Frutti or Thousand-Year Egg, it's just not my flavor.

New THE WALKING DEAD is waiting for me at the shop! ...And there was much rejoicing.

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