Everything wrong with comics can be found within these pages.
All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #10
Written by Frank Miller
Art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
DC Comics, 2008
Every now and then, society is right. I don’t think I’m that much of a crank, but there’s a lot of things that people like or dislike where I’ll feel the exact opposite about it. I hate the writing of Alan Moore, I think The Matrix is garbage, and that Spider-man 3 wasn’t so bad as everyone says.
But everyone is right to hate this comic book. It’s more vile than a public execution on a pile of raw sewage.
This is a hateful book. It’s a hateful piece of junk that the publisher should not have committed to print. I’m actually thinking about taking DC Comics off the “Random Comics of the Week” rotation — this book offended me that much.
Basically, it boils down to this being one of the most misogynist things I have ever read, on par with Alan Moore (that would be why I hate his writing). Women fit into the roles that Miller is comfortable with: sex objects, things to be protected, fatales. The women in this book include a drunk, suicidal wife; Catwoman beaten to a bloody pulp, looking for Batman to save her; Black Canary as an under-dressed thief; and a pubescent heroine who is constantly swearing and doesn’t seem all that smart. Even Gotham City is “feminine” object to “Batman” and is something he needs to save. Seriously? The city is a woman too? Fuck you, Frank Miller.
And Jim Lee, you’re not helping here either. Did the female doctor need to be wearing that mini-skirt? Most doctors I’ve had don’t dress like they are about to go clubbing — they’re at work saving lives and dress accordingly. Also, that Batgirl you’re drawing is supposed to be 15, you perv.
Seriously, DC Comics employees, why the hell are you working for a company that produces this? It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it.
MONDO wants Brian Wood's bald babies.
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Dean Ormston
Vertigo Comics, 2008
Though it says this is part two of the story, the whole issue is beautifully self-contained. I think I’d almost be disappointed if I had read the first part, as it would probably explain too much, just plainly showing us why certain things happen in this comic.
As it stands, we open on 793 A.D. Northern England, in the town of Lindisfarne, a peaceful enough setting — until you notice the dead trees, circling birds of prey, and the sickly wave of dread the yellowed atmosphere inspires. Then you turn the page where the true, bloody chaos is revealed as the Saxons are slaughtered by the Northmen.
I’m not necessarily a history buff, so I’m not sure if this would be part of the Norman invasion of England, or if it’s about Vikings pillaging the land. Maybe those are one and the same. I don’t know. That’s why simply calling them Northmen (or “Northlanders” as in the title of today’s comic) is so appropriate. You don’t need to know any grand history to appreciate that these are strangers come to attack and take what the Saxons have.
The narrative is told to us from the perspective of a young Saxon boy who witnesses the carnage towards his people, yet roots for the Northmen. He feels estranged from his family, land, and religion, and held firmly to a vision of a warrior way of life. When a blond and bearded Northman with blood on his face winks at the boy, it’s as though Thor has cast his approval towards him.
The Saxons eventually make an incredibly stoic attack on the Northmen, with faith that whatever happens is what must happen. A young man, Cerdic, stands against the wall, unsure of himself. Cerdic is called to by the watching boy, who is his brother, and in that moment of distraction Cerdic is killed. This sends their father into a berserker attack, he shrugs off a dagger in the back in his rage, but ultimately he stops to reflect on his son. He allows one of the Northmen, bearing what may as well be Mjöllnir as his weapon, to silence him, so that he can be with his son.
Two days after the battle, the boy comes out hiding. This lone boy challenges the Northmen when they reappear, but not to fight them — for the right to go with them. He’s given his father’s sword to attack with, but when the Northman he fights swings at him it’s as though the boy rejects his family, dropping the sword and snatching the dagger from the towering man’s belt to stab him in the back.
The story shifts to years later, when this boy has grown to an adult in the company of the Northmen, still holding the silver cross he’d been tossed by the Thor-like warrior at the start. Is this a form of sentimentality towards his old people? Or a constant reminder of everything he doesn’t want any part of?
X-Men and angst are better than peanut butter and jam
Angel: Revelations #5 (of 5)
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by Adam Pollina and Matt Hollingsworth
Marvel Comics, 2008
Avengers: The Initiative #17
Written by Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage
Art by Harvey Tolibao and Jay David Ramos
Marvel Comics, 2008
So, I was given a choice between two books to cover this week, since the first one I drew, Angel, was a bit pricey. But, instead of choosing one over another, I’ve decided to do both, in an attempt to make up for missing last week. So, let’s get to it.
In case there’s any confusion, Angel: Revelations is a mini-series about Warren Worthington the Third’s origin, not a spin-off of IDW’s Angel series. I took a look at it when the first issue came out, but decided against it. I’m a fan of the character, but the series just looked a little too teenage-goth for my tastes — a little too angsty. This issue has surprisingly little of that vibe, though. And you know what? It’s an X-Men origin book, I think I’d be disappointed if it was completely angst-free.
The art is actually the gothiest part of the book, but, I have to say, I enjoyed it. It’s moody and impressionistic, and Hollingsworth nails the colours. Each page looks less like a comic and more like an illustration from a children’s book, which is a novel stylistic choice.
My only real complaint about the book is continuity-wise, I’m not sure it makes sense. If the characters are graduating from high school at the end of the book, wouldn’t that mean Warren joined the X-Men much later than was previously accepted? Also, if his powers only stared appearing seven months ago, as we’re told here, wouldn’t he have hit puberty fairly late? Maybe they’re actually graduating from middle school. That would solve pretty much everything.
As for Avengers, this is what I’ve been wanting from Secret Invasion. It seems like the main book can’t shove everything in, so it gives us the basics, while the tie-ins cover all the awesome specifics. Here, we get to see how the skrulls are dealing with Camp Hammond, the Initiative’s training camp, and we get to see how the neophyte heroes deal with them.
One thing I loved about this book — the amoral version of Ant-Man is the protagonist. I love that instead of just forgetting about him after the Robert Kirkman penned Irredeemable Ant-Man series, Slott and company are trying to make him a real hero. Plus, one of Slott’s main strengths has always been humor, and Ant-Man gives him a good, in-character outlet for it.
There’s a lot happening on every page of this book, and Tolibao shows just how crazy things have gotten at Camp Hammond by packing every single panel with as many characters and as much action as he can. It gives the book a good, frantic energy that serves it well, considering the chaotic subject mater. Tolibao also seems to have an almost caricature like style, which fits. Aliens have invaded a superhero training camp. That’s not supposed to be realistic. It’s supposed to be big and awesome and crazy, and it is.
This book just proves that the best part about “Secret Invasion” is not Secret Invasion. It’s even almost got me reconsidering my stance on registration.