Monday, June 14, 2010

Chronic Reviews: A Scattering of Nonsense!

Before I jump in my Delorean and start shouting to Marty about the numerous problems with his kids, I thought I'd talk about some comics and such...

Nemesis # 2

Once upon a time M. Night Shyamalan made a series of pretty good films with wicked clever twists. He got some fame and some notoriety for that, it became his schtick, and his body of work increasingly suffered for it.

Whereas the Big Twist used to serve his stories, they end up owning the stories by the time you get to the Lady in the Water. It was sort of sad watching a talented filmmaker become a parody of himself. I think that's what is happening to Mark Millar.

I defended Nemesis after issue # 1, and I guess I stand by that. We knew we were in for some ridiculous shit, and by golly we're getting it. Do I find some infantile pleasure in watching this dude rip off the Dark Knight while he shouts "Up your game, assholes!" Yeah, I kinda do.

But we're getting to the point where the point is no longer the story. Was there a time when Mark Millar was doing what he was doing because it was his "truth"? I bet there was. It feels a bit now as if Millar is more engaged in trying top himself than in getting to the bottom of things, though.

Nemesis # 2 feels less like a story and more like a frenetic elevator pitch, which is what Millar is really good at. That's nothing to be ashamed of, by the way. Ideas are Life, and he has them in spades. We're getting to the parody stage now, and that's not a good thing.

What's strange is that I think the more insane his work becomes, the more I think he needs to be promoted. That addled Scottish brain cannot handle gearing itself down to plot out a coherent, developed arc. But it sure as shit can create a springboard for one or identify one in a heartbeat. He really shouldn't be writing comics any more, he should be somebody's editor in chief. At this stage I don't think he should be strapped into any one concept, he needs to be guiding and putting energy into a hundred different ideas that lesser mortals with patience and craft can spin into gold.


OK, so I was holding out judgement on the series until we could put some meat on those admittedly sexy bones. So we waited two months for the next installment to come out....and we're still waiting for the meat.

Now, listen. Hold your horses. I'm not suggesting we hit the panic button by any means. I'm not suggesting the book sucks, or even middling, or even less than great. Great is still on the table. What is clear to me after reading the second issue is that this needs to be read in trade form. That's all.

Tim Callahan went on CBR and just declared it the best book of the year. Whoahwhoahwhoa there, Silver. This issue, like the debut, is loaded with outstanding ideas and golden promises, and a unique style that is so far pleasing to me. That Hickmany text page about 2/3 of the way through? Love it!

But we're still in the same boat we were last time. There is no meat here. I believe it's coming. We've been told through exposition that great and wonderful things are happening. We can believe that great and wonderful things are happening from the glimpses of meaty stuff that is snatched from our sight at the barest hint. But we don't have anything yet.

Calling SHIELD the best book of the year is like saying you just had the best meal of your life, except all you did was see a few commercials on TV and one of your friends went to that restaurant and said it was awesome. Maybe it's awesome, maybe it isn't. I'll let you know when the trade comes out, because a few whispers of awesometude every 60 days just isn't cutting it for me.

Secret Six # 22

You want meat, you go to Secret Six. It's starting to not make sense how good this series is. At this point, I keep going in every month with more and more unrealistic expectations, and every month it keeps telling me my expectations are too meager.

You thought the Catman origin was brutal last month? (It was) It just got worse, WAY worse. Completely unexpected. And by the way, the details are left partially to your imagination. Did Thomas cave to his father's wishes or was it an accident? Did Thomas sense that he needed to do that in order to gain the inner steel to seal the deal with his father? I don't know. Up to you, really.

Black Alice's Etrigan poems? So strong, and so Chronic Insomnia approved. That's how that character should be written. As per usual, Alice is dark, and powerful, and vulnerable, and sympathetic all in the same issue, and it all makes sense intellectually and emotionally. And then Deadshot caps off that emotionally charged cancer story with an offer for a cigarette. Are you kidding me??? This is beyond comics. This is genius.

Ragdoll gets his shots in, as always:

And no, that's not an exaggeration. Ragdoll's best friend is a stuffed torso of Parademon that he keeps in his room and speaks to regularly. There is more characterization in one issue of Secret Six than a whole year of whatever else you're reading. There is never a wasted moment in this book, and anything can happen at any time.

It's not the same thing, but in terms of quality Secret Six holds up quite nicely next to Sandman, Watchmen, ACME Novelty Library, or anything else you've got in your library. And we can't find even 30,000 people to read this book? Does. Not. Compute.

The Spirit Movie

I've been running my mouth about how The Spirit might be the worst film in cinema history. I rented it and gave it another shot, just to torture myself.

It isn't the worst the film in history, but it might as well be. Not all of it is Frank's fault. All of that "eggs" nonsense from the Octopus? I'm sure that's Eisner's bit, and it just doesn't work. But all of that ridiculous and grating voice over stuff about the city? Yeah, that's Frank.

The stupid scene with the hopping foot that was supposed to have us on the floor? That was Frank. There's a scene in there where Ellen Dolan is spouting off about how she has to take care of Denny Colt because only she knows his body. What??? He's regenerative, the orderly could just sit there and watch him stitch himself up, you moron!!! It doesn't make any sense inside your own narrative rules! Even if that were in the source material, you'd have to take that out. But I'm betting that's Frank.

The good news is, the women are still hot. I was surprised to recognize officer Morganstern, the ultra-peppy sidekick Colt gets saddled with specifically to make Dr. Dolan jealous and up the male power fantasy quotient. Everybody in the film keeps saying to Morganstern; "You'll make detective in no time!"

And she did. Because that was Stana Katic, Detective Kate Beckett on Castle! Hillarious stuff, and definitely shows her range. The Spirit is still really, really, really bad. But there is some fun stuff in it, most noticeably Scarlet Johansson's performance. Don't go watch it again unless you're a masochist, though.

- Ryan


Aleksandre said...

I loved Shield #2 I dont think its a read in trade book but it definatly should have been a monthly title 2 months is just to much time for a title like this and yeah secret six fucking awesome best book on the stands period

Anonymous said...

I continue to love Secret Six...thanks for the tip Ry!