Friday, July 23, 2010

Comic Book CA-CA-CAAARNAAGE! #001

Welcome to the first edition of a new semi-regular feature where Mike (from It's a Bit of a Shame) and I talk about some comics we bought. This week, we're looking at Legion of Super-Heroes #3, Neonomicon #1 and Meta 4 #2. There may be spoilers.

Let the ca-ca-carnage begin...

Yan: Good morning.

Mike: We're all professional, getting up before 1:00.

Yan: Yeah.

Mike: I guess we can get right down to business. Oh, and don't worry if we get off topic.

Yan: No, I'm not worried. If it gets really bad, we can edit later. Or just throw it all in. It's not like anyone's gonna read this. Except maybe Gail Simone. So how are we going to do this?

Mike: I guess we name a comic and then start talking about it until we get bored and then move onto the next.

Yan: That sounds like a pretty good plan.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #3
Written by Paul Levitz; art by Yildiray Cinar, Francis Portela and Wayne Faucher.

Let's start with Legion of Super-Heroes #3 then. This one should be interesting, because you're an experienced Legion reader, whereas I'm a total noob.

Mike: Yeah, and after reading this most recent issue, I was left wondering if any casual reader could enjoy this.

Yan: It's a bit overwhelming.

Mike: It's like this explosion of characters that never really get fleshed out. I mean, how many friggin' characters have shown up in this issue?

Yan: A lot. I think it was Johanna at Comics Worth Reading who said something about how if you want to be a fan of the Legion, you have to do a lot of work. But I kind of like that it's a challenge, even just in terms of the ridiculous number of characters.

Mike: Yeah, but I don't know if it's much of a reward. Like, this book continues the tradition of having the Legion books get saddled with the most average artwork possible. Also, the two artists on this book do not resemble each other in the least.



Yan: I guess the art is sort of average. But it hasn't bothered me too much so far. Maybe because I'm too busy trying to figure out what's going on and who these characters are. But I do like is that there is so much happening, and while Levitz keeps a fairly quick pace in terms of the action, I also get the sense that he's very carefully putting a lot of story elements in place that are going to pay off later. I mean, there's a lot of different plot threads going simultaneously.

Mike: Thoughts on that last page?

Yan: Some jerkoff blogger spoiled it for me. I took him of my RSS reading list. But I'm excited. I just wish I had read Great Darkness Saga already, but I'm waiting for that Deluxe Edition to come out. Is it next month?

Mike: I have no clue as I possess the actual issues and therefore have no need for a luxury priced hard cover. Yes, that sounded as catty as I had hoped for.

Yan: Oh, yeah, I forgot we were supposed to make this catty.

Mike: You can always play the role of the guy who gets befuddled by my sassy remarks and mumbles "Oh, jeez" to himself.

Yan: I don't like that role. I'll come up with a better one. Anyway, what's your take on the last page?

Mike: It's cool. Definitely had me excited about the next issue, but at the same time I was rolling my eyes because Levitz is already going back to that story.

Yan: Yeah, I guess it's a bit obvious.

Mike: Any final thoughts before we move onto our next book?

Yan: Maybe just a few comments on how the Green Lantern power ring ties into all this. That was an odd choice, I thought, and I'm wondering how it's all going to come together. It seems like the Green Lantern mythos ties into this story in a big way. Even the thing that triggers the destruction of Titan at the beginning is tied into Oan mythos and their ban on witnessing the beginning of the universe.



Mike: I didn't even think of that!

Yan: I can't remember the character's name... Who was it again?

Mike: The one who received the ring?

Yan: No, the guy who wanted to study the birth of the universe and 'caused all that shit to happen the first time around.

Mike: Krona.

Yan: Yes.

Mike: Ugh, how do I know this?

Yan: 'Cause it's important.

NEONOMICON #1
Written by Alan Moore; art by Jacen Burrows.

All right. Let's move on to Neonomicon #1.

Mike: It makes me think of a friend I had who looked just like HP Lovecraft. He used to carry around a cigarette case which he used to store his coke straws.

Yan: LOL. Was HP Lovecraft a cokehead?

Mike: No. I doubt there were any coke dealers in Providence.

Yan: That's a shame.

Mike: I see him being all about absinthe, probably thought that would make him look like a rebel in front of the ladies.

Yan: Yeah, that seems more his style.

Mike: I liked this comic. It was scary, which is such a rarity in comics.

Yan: True.



Mike: But I was not down with the artwork. I felt like Jacen Burrows wasn't getting Alan Moore's script, like certain character actions weren't emphasized correctly and there were scene transitions that didn't work.

Yan: I'm not a fan of the art either. I'm not even sure I understand what's going on with the location. Are they in some kind of domed city? Is the city underwater?

Mike: Yeah, that was pretty weird. I guess we're just supposed to roll with it.

Yan: The page where you see the dome for the first time is confusing as hell. I think it's meant to be the equivalent of a crane shot, with the camera pulling back until you eventually move out of the dome. But when I saw it, I thought the dome was a completely different location and it took me a while to put it together. Aside from the art, though, I was really surprised by how much of a Law and Order feel this book has. I didn't really expect that from a Lovecraftian story. But it's an interesting start.

Mike: So that Cthulhu punk band singing in that...uh, squid language. Were you also more amused than scared by that?

Yan: Yeah, that part was hilarious. I don't know if it was meant to be scary. I mean, "I want my thing on your doorstep." I'm totally stealing these lyrics for my punk band.



Mike: I really don't see R'lyeh bands ever getting popular though. They'd probably all come off as extremely nerdy, kind of like Nile and their Egypt thing.

Yan: To get back to the police procedural feel... I'm not sure how well it's working for me. I like the mystery that Alan Moore has set up, and the creepy scene with the Michael Jackson lookalike in the mural painting was my favourite part. But the police work seemed kind of amateurish. I didn't find it very believable the way they botched the club raid at all. Why would they spot the guy, immediately call in back up, and let him run out of the building? If they were after him specifically, the first thing they would have done would've been to arrest him before blowing their cover. I don't know how much of that is the art and how much is the script, though.

Mike: Naw, that's probably 100% Alan Moore. I'm sure he thinks Americans do things exactly like they do in 24 and Law and Order.

Yan: But look at the panel where the guy escapes. Every cop in the club has his back turned on him. You'd think they would since he was their #1 target they would pay some attention to him instead of letting slip out the back door. And then Gordon's like, "Don't worry about it. We've got cops in the back. They'll take care of it." It's like they don't even give a shit.

Mike: They live in a domed city that's either at the bottom of the ocean or on the moon. Things don't work the same in there!

Yan: My guess is that this is still on earth. They mention Washington DC and Brooklyn. Maybe the air has become unbreatheable, or the ocean levels rose and covered the continent. Underwater would make sense, since that's where Cthulhu sleeps. What did you think of the "money shot," the naked old woman with her throat sliced and her genitalia exposed. Gratuitous?

Mike: For an Avatar book I thought it was pretty tame. Did you catch the spent strap-on dildos in the corner of that panel?

Yan: OMG, no, I totally missed that.

Mike: Oh man, and they only had one bed in that house!!

Yan: Yeah, that part I did catch. Anyway, I'm going to keep reading and see where this goes. How many issues are planned for this?

Mike: No clue.

META 4 #2
By Ted McKeever.

Now for Meta 4 #2! I picked this up because you were fond of the first issue, so why don't you start us off?

Yan: Okay. Did you read the first issue?

Mike: I did. I rather liked clip art speaking Santa woman.



Yan: Yeah. I have to confess I have no idea what this comic book is about. It's pretty hard to say anything about it without having read the full 5-issue run, I think.

Mike: Totally. Will you feel cheated if those police transcripts add up to nothing?

Yan: Um, I don't know. I don't necessarily expect them to be directly tied to the main narrative. I'd like to think they're not just totally random, but I don't know how they relate yet. The cover calls this an "allegorical series" which seems like a big clue as to how one should read it. The police transcripts in this issue hint that they are from some kind of school shooting, which adds a new dimension to it all. I haven't had a chance to go back and re-read the first issue with that in mind.

Mike: Yeah, I got a Columbine feel with this issue's transcripts as well.

Yan: Oh, actually, a quick Google search led to this. This matches the address given in the transcript. So I guess it's not a school shooting. [EDIT: For more on the Binghamton shootings, see here.]

Mike: I guess those transcripts really don't have anything to do with the story. So have you read much else by Ted McKeever?

Yan: No, nothing.

Mike: All of his comics are like this. Really ugly looking people doing weird stuff.

Yan: I'll probably try to write about it once it's done, but it seems kind of silly at this point to say anything more than, "Huh?"

Mike: Very true.

Yan: Well, this was fun. Next time we'll try to keep it down to an hour. Maybe if we're more focussed or something.

Mike: Yeah, we'll get better at this.

Yan: Might even prepare for it with some specific things to bring up for discussion.

Mike: Bluh. I'm going to go fall asleep now.

1 comments:

Mogo August 2, 2010 at 11:02 PM  

I liked your post Yan!

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