Koalas. The Reason Is Koalas

weird-love-2

It’s a light week for comics, and nothing is likely to get reviewed. Instead, I’m devoting this space to stray thoughts on what I bought, as well as a few things I (unfortunately) missed out on due to either copies being sold out by the time I hit the shop or the owner not receiving them for one reason or another.

The Maxx: Maxximized #9
Art by Sam Kieth and Ronda Pattison
Writing by Kieth and William Messner-Loebs
Published by IDW

Still not a huge fan of Pattison’s coloring for this reprint. Too shiny and graded. It defeats the psychedelic effect of Kieth’s landscapes and panel transitions. Sarah Horrocks has this excellent essay on coloring in Rob Liefeld X-Force comics, and the way high contrast colors paired next to each other can make images seem more alive. The Maxx needs something like that, something phantasmagorical to lend scenes a sense of hyper-reality, that it’s too vivid to be real.

Caliban #4
Art by Facundo Percio and Hernan Cabrera
Writing by Garth Ennis
Published by Avatar

One of the (many) big setpieces in Transformers 4 was Marky Mark and gang breaking into Lockdown’s ship to rescue Optimus Prime and Marky Mark’s daughter. Inside, the group encounters various caged horrors. Vacuum bots with human eyeballs, long-tongued aliens, scorpion-tailed cyborgs, and more than a few slick, goo-spattered obscenities. I almost suspect Michael Bay watched Prometheus and took it as a challenge (perhaps thinking Ridley Scott wasn’t trying hard enough). I get the same feeling from Caliban, especially in how the series is quickly unfolding to be a sustained freakshow–a “what if the Nostromo crew got stuck aboard the derelict” scenario. Unfortunately, this one’s been all script so far: Ennis can wring all sorts of character beats out of the most terse of blue collar shittalk, but Percio and Cabrera choose mundane designs and a color scheme ranging from brown to grayish-brown. Everything in this comic looks out of focus rather than dark and unknowable.

Satellite Sam #9
Art by Howard Chaykin
Writing by Matt Fraction
Published by Image

Not sure if Satellite Sam is attempting a Twin Peaks here (that is, beginning with a murder mystery but not being really interested in solving it because, hey, look there’s all these other implications to look at). If it is, it’s only been semi-successful in that Chaykin and Fraction are following their own muses: the former indulging his inner pornographer, the latter his gimmicky layouts and playing around with time and the perception of. Building those around characters and situations which merit more than a second’s thought? Tying together a thematic statement or critique about the setting (the golden age of television in 50s New York)? Well…maybe.

Original Sin #5
Art by Mike Deodato and Frank Martin
Writing by Jason Aaron
Published by Marvel

While I’ve been unkind to Marvel’s latest crossover (I’m sure they’re sad about it), I keep admiring how this has stayed within the realm of an actual plot. There’s a consistent cast of characters being followed, ideas are followed up on, and there’s only a couple instances of characters popping up unexplained because you have to pick up the tie-ins. This isn’t enough to keep me buying, of course, that should be the bare minimum of a little thing called “storytelling,” which collectively waved bye-bye to these sorts of comics long ago. No, what keeps me going is a morbid curiosity: to find out whether or not it will crash and burn into yet another unsightly brawl which resolves nothing. Masochism, that’s Marvel’s strategy for keeping readers.

Weird Love #2
Art and Writing by Various
Published by IDW/Yoe

Old romance comics warning young people, especially young women, away from foolish notions like socialism, becoming high-class call girls, independent thinking, aspiring to be more than brood mother for the state, you get the idea. Lots of tawdry titles masking stories of punishment for going outside the norm (i.e. the suit and tie captain of the football team) and hyperbolic warnings that this could happen to YOU. Comics from when America was the unchallenged ruler of the free world. Puts tears in my eyes thinking about it.

What I Missed:

Snowpiercer, vol. 1
Cinder and Ashe
Sherwood, TX #1
Legend of Bold Riley #2
Cosplayers #2
Ditko Kirby Wood

Probably some other stuff.

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