Marvel Zombies 4 #1 (of 4)
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Kev Walker
Coloured by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Marvel Comics, 2009
As much as I liked the original Marvel Zombies series, I haven’t bothered to follow it since then. I feel like it was pretty complete on its own and offered me exactly what I wanted: zombie versions of all my favourite Marvel characters.
Now, two complete series later, it’s offering me a story about Morbius, Werewolf by Night (odd how I read two things about him back-to-back and nothing before that), Jennifer Kale of Witches, and Hellstorm. Who the fuck are these people? I know Morbius through the 90s Spider-man cartoon and a couple random issues where X-Man and Spider-man crossed over in the 90s, but that’s it. You’re also tempting me with a zombie version of The Hood? Dude’s only been in, like, 30 issues of the regular Marvel universe.
That said, this issue actually wasn’t that bad. It delivers carnage, zombie fish-people, and a bodiless version of Deadpool (“the merc with only a mouth!”).
Van Lente is a funny writer. I mean ha-ha funny. While the characters in this book aren’t that funny, there is a humour to the writing. There’s a great scene where Morbius describes his new bullets that blow up zombies as “cinematic.” It’s a moment that makes you laugh silently and go “nice,” as the caption and the exploding zombie collide.
And Walker draws a satisfying exploding corpse to match. If you can get $3.99 of value from those things, then you’re a good candidate to buy this book.
Ignition City #1
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Gianluca Pagliarani
Inked by Chris Drier
Avatar Press, 2009
Warren Ellis is a crazy, crazy man. Between rumours of him requesting vodka and Redbull in his hotel room at conventions and him writing some of the most messed-up stuff on the racks, there’s no doubt that I’d be intimidated to meet him. Especially because I’m not a huge fan of his work. That is not to say that I don’t think his work is good, it certainly is, I just find that it doesn’t usually click with me personally. There are exceptions, of course, I loved his short Thunderbolts run and Fell is fan-bloody-tastic, and of course, there’s Planetary. But more times than not, I feel like Ellis cares more about developing his brilliant (and they are usually brilliant) ideas than developing his characters.
Which brings us to Ignition City, his newest book (at least until another one comes out next week, I’m sure, how does he have time to write all these books?) for his Avatar imprint. And you know what? I don’t know what to make of it. I found the first few pages of mind-numbingly-boring exposition grueling to get through. Sure, he had a character filling the reader in, but it was so bland he might as well have made it a Star Wars-esque paragraph of text. After that, though, things start moving and we get to learn about our (probable) main character’s strained relationship with her mother. This I like, this is interesting. Her bizarre, midriff-revealing take on an Amelia Earhart costume aside, she becomes a character I connected with and her quest to learn more about her father is one I can get into. But then the book is sidelined by a multi-page tangent about some characters’ bowel movements. This would have been right at home in Transmetropolitan, but here…huh?
So, I guess after reading the first issue I don’t know if I can recommend this comic, because I don’t really know what the comic is. It seems to want to give us an alternate take on society adapting to space travel, but the style of the book shifts so dramatically several times throughout the first issue that I don’t even know if I liked it. Maybe you will?
Gen 13 Vol. 4 #29
Written by Scott Beatty
Art by Mike Huddleston
WildStorm Productions, 2009
This was an awesome comic! I may just start picking up this series I liked it so much.
First off, the cover is okay, it’s a pretty drawing and I’m sure it’s referencing some famous painting that I’m unaware of, but since I didn’t know the characters are supposed to have short arms (the two characters on the cover are adults trapped in toddler bodies) it looked like the cover artist was way off on his proportions.
The first sentence of the book? “My name is Percival Edward Chang and I am picoseconds away from becoming a hot lunch for a park full of post-apocalyptic cannibal skatepunks.” The whole of the book is in the same style, a kind of Tank Girl-Madman-Mike Allred (yes I know Mike Allred is the guy who does Madman, I still don’t think it’s redundant to say his name) fusion.
The toddler girl (from the cover) refers to Gen 13 as “those meddling teenagers”.
This is part nine of the story “Teenage Wasteland” (“No Country For Old Gens;” it just wouldn’t be a Gen 13 comic without a reference that dates it) so no, I don’t necessarily know what is going on, not with the Gen 13 guys, not with WildStorm in general. It looks like a post-apocalyptic future. At least, that’s how Grunge (Percival Edward Chang) described it in that first line, but was time travel involved? Are they just in a nasty part of a desert? New Jersey? (I apologize, that’s such a cheap old joke, and I’ve probably only been to Jersey once). Or did the artist just skimp out on appropriate backgrounds? It doesn’t really matter, because this issue isn’t specifically about that, it’s about humour and action! Granted it’s the kind of humour that takes a second glance to get because it’s all jammed in there. Here’s an example:
This girl Holly Denton from Gen 14 leaps into Meltdown’s arms instead of standing in the boiling spillage of the human soup. Meltdown, a sort of Human Torch, is ALSO hot, so Holly yells “HOT HOT HOT!”
Meltdown responds “Don’t you think I’m the lesser of two evils here?”
This exchange, all on one panel without showing Holly physically jump into Meltdown’s arms, takes a second to understand by the context of the dialogue. Holly could have just been saying that the soup was hot, and with that perspective, Meltdown’s line is just odd. But because we CAN figure out what is going on with just a second’s consideration, it’s a great style. It’s very much like Tank Girl with its high image to joke ratio, but interestingly enough, the quick shifts between the different bits of action which require dialogue to fully understand how we got from one panel to another is very reminiscent of old school comics, particularly Stan Lee’s work with the “Marvel Method”.
It’s almost like comics progressed from Stan Lee down to Grant Morrison in one continuity, and in an alternate, split timeline it progressed to the frenetic craziness shown here. Which I guess is kind of what happened, but without the alternate worlds to separate them. Which obviously makes it less fun to talk about.
Though I don’t think you need a recap for this kind of thing — it’s fun to piece together the past story on your own from what happens — for a team book you do NEED to have all the names of the characters listed somewhere. I’m happy to say they do have just such a list here, which includes powers and code names/real names, but it’s at the very back of the comic, which was kind of weird for me. At least it was there.
This comic was a lot of fun, check it out.