Friday, 6 June 2008

Tales from the nerd sack

I don't care what anyone says, Mark Millar is a fucking genius.

Yes, he's a hype mongering tart. Yes, his comics are cynically manipulative and yes, he shamelessly plays up to his 30 something audience by pandering to their shared sense of nostalgia. BUT honestly, who the fuck cares? Not me chums. Not me! I say bring it on. And bring it on he has with Kick-Ass #3, a comic which may just be the best superhero book on the stands this week.


A Samurai sword wielding nine year old girl chopping a bad guy's head in half!!
That's Why!

Now I know Kick Ass is an Icon book, and that Millar couldn't get away with this sort of thing in a regular Marvel book, but this is the kind of high octane, over the top violence that screams MARVEL at me. It's the stand out panel in a book that is pacey, punchy and packed with action. It's drawn by Marvel legend John Romita Junior who crams every brutal panel with energy and movement. And, most importantly, it's a smart, wisecracker of a story, which is just the way Marvel comics should be.

To be fair, there are writers working in the mainstream Marvel Universe who understand that Marvel's books should be the comic equivalent of amphetamine. Matt Fraction for one. The first two issues of his Invincible Iron Man book have been top quality. There's no fucking around here, Iron Man gets on his suit and blows things up.

Open up issue two and you get Iron Man tackling M.O.D.O.G.* and his goons on the first two pages. No nonsense, no preamble, just bang, bang, bang. Like Kick-Ass, this is mighty Marvel action that barely lets up from start to finish. In short, it's a brilliant Marvel comic with which I have just two gripes...

GRIPE 1: the moment Fraction introduces this lot... know they're all going to die. I'm not spoiling anything by saying that, it's just a fact. Anyone reading this issue will look at that panel and know instantly that this team are being set up as cannon fodder. There's an argument for saying that this is deliberate, but I don't think it is. Either way it's hardly a shock when they get wasted.

Oh God, please no! Not the dreaded rainy comic book funeral scene...


Listen though, forget those gripes, they don't really matter. This is a great comic.

So that's my two favourite books of the week out of the way, what about the rest? Well I enjoyed Vertigo's House of Mystery #2 a lot. Regular readers (hi mum!) will know that I loved this title when I was a kid, so buying the relaunch is a no brainer for me.

Sentimentality aside though, I have to say that I like this new version a lot. The central story has a bit of the same vibe as LOST about it, while the short stories that you'd associate with the original House of Mystery remain true to T.H.O.M. spirit. It all makes for a respectful take on a classic DC title, and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Elsewhere, props go out to Amazing Spider-Man artist Marcos Martin who is drawing the bejesus out of Spidey in the latest arc. I think this is the first time I've seen his work, but it really is special. I'd call it a cross between John Romita Junior and Darwyn Cooke with a dash of Ditko for good measure. The man is clearly going to be big star (Best cover since the relaunch by the way).

*Mental Organism Designed Only for Genocide


No comments: