6.04.2008

6.04.08 Reviews

Kick-Ass #3 (Marvel/Icon): When I read Kick-Ass, I hear Andy Warhol’s quote about everyone having their “15 minutes of fame” in the future. One of the most compelling bits of Millar’s storytelling here is his grasp of true viral marketing, social networking sites, and the way media attention has a snowball effect. He understands that youth’s social paradigm is evolving around things like text messaging, IM, and MySpace, rather than more traditional modes of communication with friends. The balance here is that while those relatively “new” things are being discussed, we get a really old school Marvel style approach to the superheroics of a disenfranchised loner. Ratchet the ridiculous level of violence (even involving children) up to an 11 on the 1-to-10 scale and you have a nice push to the edge of the envelope. I think that Millar must be a fan of the Tony Scott directed, Tarantino written film True Romance because one of the scenes plays just like Clarence’s interaction at Drexel’s pad (“You Drexel? Naw man, I’m Marty. Who the fuck are you?”). That aside, I’m liking many things here, including the unapologetic look at the connection between sex and violence. This is disturbing, but necessary commentary on where segments of our society are unfortunately going. Grade A.

Invincible Iron Man #2 (Marvel): Larroca’s art appears more photo-referenced than usual. The result is that the characters come off looking more like Greg Land work and you’ll find yourself guessing which celebrity each is supposed to be, but the overly rendered bits work just fine depicting the high tech gadgetry required of this title. As usual, Fraction’s script is written well, but I did have to question a bit or two and suspend some disbelief. For example, is this really the first time Iron Man has encountered heat seeking missiles and had to question the heat signature of his rocket boots? Doesn’t Pepper’s champagne reaction feel a little forced and out of character? Those aside, this is dense but goes down smooth and is quite engaging. Perhaps Fraction’s smartest commentary is showing Stane as an example of terrorism in the 21st century. The truly terrifying aspect of the way the organizations work is that they are representative of no single country, pay no attention to borders, pay allegiance to no government, have no base of operations, and are merely whispers of mobile ghosts who work anonymously with shifting loyalties determined by the highest bidder. They are unpredictable and there’s nothing to definitively attack physically other than a loose ideology and set of “isms.” Make no mistake, this is not simply strong superheroics, but important post 9-11 geopolitical discussion as well. Grade A-.

House of Mystery #2 (DC/Vertigo): This book is good. This book is interesting. This book is just not terribly exciting. I’m glad to see consistency with the story-within-a-story structure, but this particular story isn’t as chilling or interesting as the first. On the flip side, I did really enjoy the advancement of Fig’s character arc and her acclamation to this realm and connection to the house. I’ll give it another issue to really pop and then make a decision. PS – As a fan of Cairo, I had major issues with the sneak preview of AIR and will not be picking that up. Grade B+.

Secret Invasion #3 (Marvel): This issue is a bit all over the place and there’s a lot of scene jumping that plays really rough. I really enjoyed Maria Hill depicted in incident command mode as the Helicarrier floats lifelessly in the water. Jarvis is chilling, the Young Avengers battle is disturbing, is Yellowjacket duplicitous? Are Spider-Woman and Tony Stark really Skrulls? Fury! Bendis and Yu ask a lot of questions, provide many “oohs” and “ahs” and as long as you don’t think about it too hard, this is as enjoyable as the typical summer popcorn movie. Grade B.

I also picked up;

Conan: Volume 0: Born on the Battlefield (Dark Horse): Kurt Busiek and Greg Ruth’s “origin” story for the young Cimmerian is finally collected.

Proof: Book 1: Goatsucker (Image): Based squarely on the glowing recommendation of Tom over at .newseedcomics. Check out his fantastic interview with the creators!

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