Posts Tagged ‘Wildstorm’
So, a couple days ago over on DC’s The Source blog, they put up a weird cover for a “Red Lantern/Red Arrow” cover tribute to Neal Adams’ Green Arrow Vol. 2 #76. I saw it, kinda went “Well, that’s odd,” and left it at that. Being a gigantic nerd about the show Fringe (to the point where I’m nerdily excited for Wildstorm’s upcoming Tales From the Fringe book), I was psyched for last night’s season finale. And then I saw that cover, along with four others on a wall behind Peter. The Source is going to reveal them in detail later today, but I kiiiinda got some sweet screencaps and figured, screw it, let’s look at them a little early.
From what I can tell, there’s alternate universe tributes to the covers of George Pérez’s Crisis on Infinite Earths #3, Dan Jurgen’s Superman Vol. 2 #75, Neal Adams’ Green Lantern Vol. 2 #76, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns #1, and Kevin Maguire’s Justice League #1. Awesome!
Check out The Source later today to see the covers in full detail.
This week marked the end of another legendary comic book opus, Planetary, so it really seems like now would be the time to spotlight one of my all time favorite comic writers, Warren Ellis. While most writers embrace the theme of futurist technology, Ellis seems to take it, add many elements of transhumanism (essentially, using technology to enhance the limits of normal humans’ abilities), and rub it in your face. I’m pretty sure he spends all the time he could be spending at comic conventions staring at his toaster going, “Why the fuck can’t I do that?”
First, let’s start with his work on a hero everybody knows. Before Ellis got his hands on Tony Stark in Iron Man Vol. 4’s “Extremis” storyline, the Iron Man suit was cumbersome and took a good while to put on (or, in the case of Ellis’ own Ultimate Galactus Trilogy, took a team of dozens). And then Mr. Ellis decided, “That’s dumb! Gimme!” He had Tony Stark inject himself with a weird techno-virus that pretty much grafted the suit’s undershealth to his own bones and made it all thought controlled. Ever since then, instead of having to go over to the garage and put it on piece by piece (like a stupid human), Tony just has to think about putting it on and the Extremis Suit parts just fly onto him in, as Matt Fraction put it, “the blink of an eye.”
Another example of Ellis’ love of transhumanism is found in Wildstorm’s Desolation Jones. First off, this book is gorgeously illustrated by J.H. Williams III, on indefinite hiatus since the end of it’s first story arc, and grossly underrated. It tells the tale of Michael “Desolation” Jones, an alcoholic ex-MI6 agent who was proven a bit, well, unstable. The British government did a series of experiments on him (including not allowing him to sleep for a full year) and released him into Los Angeles. Although few details are given in the book about the experiments, he is branded a possible biological hazard and gains the superhuman ability to focus on things we normal folk couldn’t (such as watching a bullet whizzing past or hearing the displacement of air around a swinging crowbar). I seriously hope that once Williams is done with “Detective Comics,” he and Ellis could expand on this idea.
Honestly, there isn’t enough I could ever say about my love for Vertigo’s Transmetropolitan (or its antihero protagonist, Spider Jerusalem, but that is beside the point). The City is a world where technology has progressed so much that it it has more or less perverted everyday life, allowing corruption to run rampant. Residents can take pills that immunize them from any and all cancers, alter their human DNA with alien genes to become “transients,” or just go all out and download their personality into “foglet” nano-machine clouds. Basically, the world of Transmetropolitan is a transhumanist’s paradise and, although critical of it at times, Warren Ellis’ scientific wet dream.
There is a ton of Ellis’ work I’ve yet to read (so, so many limited series) but there are definitely a lot of titles on my to-read list. One of these days I’m going to pick up Ignition City, Red, the Authority, and Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., all of which are on my well-worn Comics Most Wanted list. While I round those titles up, I eagerly await the next futuristic Warren Ellis project.
At first, Red Herring #1 seemed to have woken up on the idiot side of the bed. We open by staring smack into the boobs of some chick named Maggie (Har-RUMPH!), who is apparently a vapid slut; I mean, not two pages in she cops to sleeping with her best friend’s boyfriend. Lovely. Twenty-two year old Maggie MacGuffin goes on and on about shoes and clothes while gabbing with her mother – which we all do sometimes, but geez, not in my comics please! Somehow, this girl works as a congressional aide to a representative from Florida. Who she’s fucking- oh THAT explains it! Lovely.
To be honest, I was ready to put this book down by fourth page of issue #1. They used the word “ass” more times than they used the word “the.” Maggie (NOT ME!) literally spends a full page discussing her best friend’s ass. You start to wonder if the guy writing this has ever met a real live woman before.
Luckily, Red Herring doesn’t revolve completely around Maggie’s sexpottery. We’ve got the geeky, unfortunately named Meyer Weiner and the “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you,” conpiracy theorist and titular hero/anti-hero/whatever he is, Red Herring – both of whom are much more interesting at the outset than Maggie “OMG MAH ASS” MacGuffin. Weiner is working for Red Herring in some capacity, but in issue #2 we’re still not entirely sure what it is. Honestly, it’s Red and Meyer and the awkward position they seem to be in that kept me reading at all in issue #1.
It seems to have paid off. By issue #2, it’s clear that spoiled Princess Maggie is ditzy not because she is, but because (thank you, daddy issues!) she thinks she’s supposed to be. Seriously, if Red Herring ever gets the Hollywood treatment, Reese Witherspoon is ALL over this. Maggie’s in-your-face whoring was, well, a red herring. This story isn’t about a nuevo-Monica Lewinsky and a couple of freaked-out suits meeting up at the Lincoln Memorial. There is a vast conspiracy afoot – involving the Roswell aliens, corporate gluttony, government corruption, and, for whatever reason, Red Herring and Maggie MacGuffin. Somehow, all of these characters are connected in the machinery of this conspiracy; and the groundwork for the whole tangled web is laid almost immediately.
Red Herring‘s strength is in its pacing. This ain’t no set-em-up and wait ten issues to knock-em-down book. By issue #2, we’ve had extramarital affairs, an ambush, a quasi-kidnapping, aliens, corrupt government officials and more than one near escape. This is The West Wing meets The X-Files and to be honest I’ve got no idea which plot line I’m supposed to be following. Which could either be really awesome or just godawful as the series progresses.
Seeing Philip Bond do more Kill Your Boyfriend style work while not under the influence of whatever Grant Morrison forces his artists to take (hurr!), is awesome. Bond’s art complements the absurdity (and occasional frat-boy humor) of David Tischman’s story, making some of the more bizarre or silly moments feel more organic than they might have in the hands of another artist.
Verdict? Red Herring’s only a six issue series and I’ve already bought #1 and #2. I like it enough to keep going, though anyone not already involved may want to wait-for-trade on this one.
I’ve been reading Red Herring with Newcastle (cos ohmigod did you know those mini Heineken kegs come with Newcastle now?), but something blended and pineapple based might work a little better.
[At least once a month, we’re going to review a comic and tell you what to drink with it. Like wine & cheese snobs, except with comics. – M]
North 40 is a redneck horror story, the story of the Hellmouth opening in the middle of Bumfuck, Egypt without a slayer in sight. My family’s from the South, so when my mom (who recently read up through volume 11 of Fables, god love her) came over the other day, she starting looking curiously at the comics pile, like she does, and plucked up North 40.
“You know what’s wrong with this, right?!”
“Yeah, I know Mom.”
“I-40 runs east-west! Not north-south!”
“Yeah, well demons or something are posessing the entire town, there’s a guy with three eyeballs, and some other dude literally bit someone’s head off, so I’m thinking directional misrepresentation is the least of their worries…”
My mother also once used one of my comics to fan herself –
“Mom! Not with the comic! Not with Batwoman!”
My mom rules. But I digress. I picked up North 40 #1 on our weekly comics run last month, mainly because… well, I-40 runs east-west, I was curious. North 40 follows the trapped-behind-the-county-lines denizens of Conover County after a foolish D&D nerd and his goth girl buddy read some runes out of an ancient book. By morning, half the town is posessed, undead, growing extra eyeballs, or disintegrating into millions of bugs. But North 40 is more than just gross-out horror; author Aaron Williams has given us a regular gang of scoobies as well.
First there’s the sheriff, whose sense of duty is bigger than his paycheck. Then there’s Luanne, a waitress in the local diner who has somehow been gifted with premonitions. Wyatt, the trailer trash son of a drunk, risin’ above his raisin’ in a crisis. And finally there’s Amanda. Remember how I said there’s no Buffy? Well, there is a Willow and she carries a giant bloody scythe. I’ve read reviews complaining that North 40 moves too fast, but I think this complaint is at least somewhat born of the constantly shifting point of view. The shuffling actually makes the pace feel a bit more frantic, a bit more terrifying – I liked it.
Most of the violence in the book is implied rather than explicit. We often come upon the scene after the worst has happened, when one of the Scoobies walks in, which almost makes the book scarier. Fiona Staples’ art is story-board esque, in a good way – like a courtroom artist documenting the horror as it happens before getting the hell out of dodge.
North 40 is on DC’s Wildstorm imprint, but it feels like a Vertigo book. Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Dukes of Hazzard. Go on and spend the $2.99, fix yourself a Jack & Coke (or pop open a Bud Light, if liquor ain’t your thing) and enjoy.