9.15.2010

9.15.10 Reviews (Part 1)

DV8: Gods & Monsters #6 (DC/Wildstorm): The first thing that caught my eye in this issue was the dueling cobras, which are a fairly superfluous, though terrific, little artistic flourish that symbolizes the primal nature of man. As Threshold is unleashed, we see emotion rise from the locals, who begin to resent the team for descending from the heavens and releasing this conflict upon them. It certainly looks like (from the windows aboard The Carrier and an early shot in the first issue) they have destroyed a world here. I’m certainly intrigued by the handlers aboard The Carrier. What is their ultimate agenda and level of control? Is this a simulation? A mission? A training exercise? An experiment with very real consequences? It’s great to see the trust Brian Wood has in Rebekah Isaacs here, relaying many pages without any dialogue whatsoever, since war doesn’t really need any exposition, but is universally intuitive. They’re all smart choices, and I wonder how much is in the script and how much is Isaacs’ own doing? For example, the first time we see Gem, the camera angle is below her eye level, so that we’re looking up at her, like the type of god she is to this primitive society. When Gem says “So what was the point of all this? Can you tell me?” you can sense the quiet desperation in her voice. She questions her identity, who has she become? She wants someone to help her understand how all the power has warped not only her perspective of reality, but of herself. At the end of it all, I can’t help but think that Wood is deconstructing the paradigm a little. That he’s subtly showing how superheroes are one of the silliest and most implausible concepts in modern fiction. He’s sublimating the genre; as Gem says, this was about “…cult of personality. Ego. And insecurity.” Those are the true powers. Grade A+.

Northlanders #32 (DC/Vertigo): Black Karl sashays onto the scene as a type of forensic investigator, there to “sort out the Christians’ messes.” He’s gruff and direct with a pragmatism that is endlessly likable. He’s there to find out who torched the village and it puts him on a collision course with our runaway duo, including “Agnes” the albino shaman. They speak of their confessions and longings, mindsets never quite meshing completely. Brian Wood highlights a lot of the social tension existing between the influx of Christianity and the comparative values of Paganism. As we seen in a lot of his work, transitionary periods hold so much inherent drama, as paradigms clash their way from the old to the new. Riccardo Burchielli and colorist Dave McCaig do an impressive job, particularly with the visceral power they’re able to draw out of the crimson toned sequences. The charcoal fire of a blacksmith is used as an interesting running analogy to Erik’s handling of his life. At the end, we close with a bold and ironic paganistic crucifixion, along with the message it’s going to send. Hmm. “Holy War,” indeed. Grade A.

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