Monday, November 06, 2006

Worldstorm . . . Drizzling On

Worldstorm sputters on. In its wake, a spate of fanboy grumble over delayed solicitations and underwhelming first issues that beggar the questions - - - do we really want to make these 90s comics over? Are we better off revamping Quesada's Ash instead? Or Rozum's Xombi? Or altogether quitting? And do fanboys who grumble over delayed solicitations and underwhelming first issues need to get a life , get laid or both? Azarello on Deathblow had explosive on paper - - even if the original Deathblow was shat from the asses of grown men playing with Nerf guns. And this week’s stash does have Warren Ellis’s gay Batman, Midnighter, in Garth Ennis's hands. Not altogether hopeless, then. And at least it's not Darkminds Mk.II we're soiling ouselves with. Care to frolic in the rain?

Written by Brian Azzarello
Drawn by Carlos d'Anda

Amp the grit. Worldstorm’s bringing macho back to the Wildstorm universe. Sin City art cribs aside, Michael Cray a.k.a. Deathblow always struck me as this mildly amusing, slightly annoying conundrum. Significantly less dorky and more grown-up than - - - though, buff acre for acre as painfully derivative as - - - the rest of the hack clonage cluttering up the Wildstorm stable ,yet somehow italicizing the profound depths of the first-gen Image overlords' retardation and imagination deficit . Whose panties get wet over superpowered mercenaries anymore except overgrown fanboys with no girlfriends and the mental age of twelve year olds? Superpowered mercenaries are an easy sell in the revamp circuit, though. The haggard cliché’s ripe for the grim-and-gritty that’s always been mainstream comics’ placebo for growing up. Just pepper with conspiracy theories, nuance with shadowy realpolitik, underbubble with black comic satire, season with designer carnage and you’re off. Azarello and d'Anda, then - - - as tag team, spot-on. And they . . .um . . . pepper Deathblow with conspiracy theories, nuance with shadowy realpolitik, underbubble with black comic satire , season with designer carnage and . . .um, yeah. Their take on Deathblow is everything you expected their take on Deathblow to be . . . adept writing, gorgeous art and something you can see coming a hundred miles away. No wrinkles. No rise. No palpitations. Alan Moore took his Deathblow to another planet and made him dickless. Deathblow By Blows was dreadful, of course. But transgressive, at least. This isn't. Bad transgressive over OK predictable any day. The envelope’s at your disposal, Mr.Azarello. Keep on pushin’, man, trick this baby up. Else I stick to Losers for my fix. * *

Midnighter #1
Written by Garth Ennis
Drawn by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story

Must admit. Ennis lost me after Preacher. Even The Boys, fun factor notwithstanding, leaves an aftertaste of rehash that spoils my getting that into it. More macho, albeit spiked with irony, his Midnighter hooked me not on the usual Garth on offer - - - ultraviolence on 11, banter with snap, malevolent caricatures - - - but when he and the ever-bristling Sprouse stage the most precise reverse-jingoistic assault on the whole heinous War On Terror silliness I've ever laid eyes on. And on that last cliffhanging page. Given Garth’s parallel career as comicdom’s resident war correspondent , that last panel ,at first blush, set off a whiff of yeah-I-figured, sort of like Frank Miller doing another hardboiled comic or Neil Gaiman doing another comic with fairies - - - except that Midnighter has more character gristle to chew on, and if Garth must meld his superhero dabble with his more palpable strengths and genre affiliations, that twist's a caketaker layered with many manly pleasure possibilities. And the crowd in my skull roared - - - more! * * *

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