Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chronic Review: Sci Fi & Fantasy # 2!

Sci-Fi & Fantasy # 2
Zenescope Entertainment

Script: Tim Cox
Pencils: Anthony Spay
45 pages for $4.99

Sci-Fi & Fantasy is an anthology series, like a comics version of Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. It doesn't hang its hat on the continuing adventures of any specific character, you just get a different story every month that incorporates science fiction and or fantasy, assuming truth in advertising.

For issue # 2, the year is 2027 and television has evolved to the point where it can project feelings and sensations. Reality television is still all the rage, and what people want to vicariously experience more than anything is the murder of hot brunette women. Which sounds about right, given what I know of American culture. It's probably a step up the evolutionary ladder from Jersey Shore, so it's got that going for it.

In the beginning of the story we meet Sara, who is a stripper. I don't want to hear any nonsense about exotic dancing. She's a goddamn stripper. Right after she spies a newspaper article documenting the murder of a girl who looks an awful lot like her, a ridiculously creepy dude buys a little time with her in the old VIP room. Next thing you know there's a Poke-Ball in the air, Bobs your uncle, and Sara's murder is broadcast for the pleasure of the Poke-Channel viewers.

Cut to a scene of another girl who looks exactly like Sara watching Sara get butchered. This one's named Anne. Not five seconds after she gets done watching herself get stabbed to death, (did she NOT know what she was watching, and just decided to get horrified at the end?) Anne gets a cryptic note explaining that she's next. So she calls the police.

Well, a few shower scenes and gun fights later, we find out that this broadcasting company is farming out clones for the purpose of producing murder fodder. Once the dirty secret is discovered, these so-called "red banned" programs are outlawed. Yay for society!

And of course the whole thing is just absolute bollocks from top to bottom. Nobody recognizes that these are clones? How do these women not know that they're clones? Did the TV station have this planned 25 years in advance to grow them naturally, or did they think they could just spontaneously plant hundreds of hot brunettes across the country and nobody would notice? Did nobody think anything was suspicious when they kept killing the same girl over and over and over and over again? And why should they legislate against the programming because of cloning? Would it have been better to just hack up a bunch of different natural girls? It would seem to me the problem was just murder in general, but I've been wrong before.

It is difficult to describe the size and magnitude of the plot holes involved here, and it isn't really science fiction or fantasy. Yeah, I guess a TV show that makes you feel things vaguely qualifies as sciency, but there's no focus at all on how that was achieved. The focus is squarely on that clone woman's mammories. Which I guess qualifies as fantasy. Of a sort. But c'mon. Seriously?
This isn't a science fiction tale, it's low brow horror.

I suppose I'm not religiously opposed to low brow horror. I certainly did enjoy parts of the old CFD comic "Cry For Dawn". Sci-Fi & Fantasy is really just a pale imitation of that old guilty pleasure. The difference I suppose is that Cry For Dawn was just better.

Joe Monks will never be remembered as an industry legend, but his stories did tend to make some logical sense. And Joe Linsner was an absolute bad ass. The art in this book is serviceable, but also uneven in places. There are panels where Anthony Spay was either in a big rush or just not engaged in his work, because the detail is certainly not there.

This sort of pandering seems to be the pattern for Zenescope, who have taken it upon themselves to really put the tit back in titillation and just let the rest of it slide. I often wonder why the publisher doesn't just find a couple of hot chicks in his apartment building and snap a few photos of them eating jelly-filled doughnuts. They'd be naked, of course. Invariably some of the jelly would squish from the pastry and plop onto a breast, and then the other would be a good helper and lick it off.

Because that's the level of storytelling we're dealing with here. If what you're selling is soft core porn, why not just eliminate the middle man and get right down to it? I'm sure the brass at Zenescope know more than a few reasonably attractive women who are willing to take a 17% hit on their already faltering dignities and pose for them. The porn effect would increase, and we wouldn't have to be subjected to this charlatan of a narrative. Better for everyone all around, I would think.

I suppose the target audience are those people interested in soft core porn who can't bear to take it up to the counter. This comic offers that demographic the ability to tell themselves and their mothers that they are simply interested in science fiction. If that's what it takes to get you through the day, I say have at it. Listen, I'm perfectly fine with both self deception and self abuse.

However, if you actually want science fiction, might I recommend the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. Do you some good to read an actual book book once in awhile, you goddamn degenerates!

- Ryan

No comments: