The Bulletproof Coffin #4 (Image): I never read the first run of this book. Nor have I kept up with this run. I’m not familiar with Shaky Kane’s art. I know I’ve read some David Hine written books before (Daredevil maybe?), though I don’t recall what they were now, which surely can’t be a good sign. I don’t know why I bought this book. I guess I wanted to try some new stuff? The gimmick of the issue seemed fun, being able to disassemble the issue, rearrange the sequential order of the 84 panels, and form your own narrative. Of course, this is not a wholly original idea, but it seemed fun enough to warrant a “test” issue. I’ll just point out the obvious 800-pound gorilla in the room though, and point out that since the panels are printed on both sides of the page, you can’t actually use them all at once. If you did chop them all up, you’d only get 42 panels to play with, plus half the full pages at the end. It’s a fun idea for an interactive exercise, and there are some obvious panels with recurring characters that seem to suggest nice transitions. There are swipes at Marvel and DC, a Kubrickian 2001 monolith style ape man, which might be Alan Moore, and some post-apocalyptic NYC shots ala Planet of the Apes. I’m trying to glean some larger meaning from this chaos, and I think it all points to a sort of thematic downfall of Western Civilization within our lifetime. Here’s something: the Soviet cosmonaut on the moon made me think of my own story. What if there was an accident after this guy touched down on the moon? What if he was the only one who survived? What if he was stuck on the moon with no way to get off? What would he do in an attempt to survive? How long could he survive? Would it even be plausible to mount a rescue mission? That idea was more interesting to me than what I read. The end text pieces are knee-deep in admiring the height of their own pretentious importance. Yet, even this deliberately non-linear presentation of material creates an interesting fractured narrative diaspora taken at face value. This book ultimately fouled out, but I honestly love the way it absolutely swung for the fences and tried to knock it out of the park. “If we’re gonna’ walk into walls, I want us running into ‘em full speed.” -Leo McGarry. That spirit, and the panel with the shot hero sinking into the Hudson, apparently went a long way for me toward the final assessment. Grade B.
Supreme #64 (Image): While I do appreciate the Silver Age multiversal glee and energetic art found here, the plot itself is really cray-cray. The villain, whose name I forgot (Dax something?), is mounting an all out assault on every iteration of Supreme to acquire all their treasures, doomsday devices, and Supremium varieties (which I guess is like Kryptonite?). Ultimately, I just kept asking myself “and?” I can’t really make heads or tails of it, it’s just there. There are also typos in Larsen’s end piece. The attempts to be meta feel kinda’ like that old issue of Spawn where Gaiman or Moore or Sim or whoever came in and played around. That was 20 years ago. I don’t know why I bought this. I guess I wanted to try some new stuff. They can’t all be winners. Grade C+.