Monday, 28 July 2008

Method Man review

Flipping heck, the folk at Hachette Books actually sent me a review copy of Method Man's new comic! This despite my admission HERE that very few people read my blog. The fact that Hachette don't seem bothered by that means that they're either very kind or very desperate; either way I'm in a frenzy of free comic based excitement. So thanks Hachette books, here's what I thought of Method Man...

Let's get this straight, I know next to NOTHING about rap music. I occasionally hear it being played through tiny mobile phones by irritating schoolchildren on my bus to work, but ask me about blunts, bitches or Hennessy and I'm lost.

I was aware of the Wu-Tang Clan, but aside from hearing vague rumours that they ain't nuthin ta fuck wit, I couldn't really tell you very much about their music. Apparently at least one of the Wus is a fan of comics though, and much like Guy Ritchie, Dave Stewart and Jenna Jameson at Virgin, Method Man has put his name to a book. And you know what? It's actually quite a lot of fun.

Honestly, I was sceptical, but the rap star's comic has a sparky energy about it that makes it well worth a read. The concept is gloriously ridiculous. You've got this P.I (the fabulously named Peerless Poe) who also happens to be a renegade member of the Order of the Sacred Method. Now get this, The Order of the Sacred Method are (and I quote) "The direct descendants of Cain, a near-fanatical religious elite order of disciplined murder-priests who use their abilities to attack unholy threats on a global scale."

I may not be up on my rap, but any comic about murder-priests who can trace their family tree all the way back to the world's first killer is alright by me. As for those unholy threats? Well, we're introduced to them early - seven pages in as it happens, when Peerless Poe gets into a ruck with a man-eating sewer dragon...

Rap stars chasing monsters around sewers while calling them bitches. Truly this is comics excellence.

Anyway, we soon find out Peerless has been kicked out of the order, but that his old Sensei needs him to track down some Monster Queen or other called Lilith. They climb in a spaceship and head for Stonehenge (naturally) and all sorts of demon killing ensues.

Writer David Athcison keeps the whole thing zipping along at a frenetic pace while Sanford Greene's pleasing hybrid of comic book action and graffiti style art lends the book a suitably street feel. The fact that the art is in black and white might put some people off, but it works, giving the whole project a rawness that suits it well.

The fight scenes (and there are a lot of those) crackle with energy, using jagged panels and dark slashes to create a speedy blur of movement...

...while the dialogue is punchy and often very funny. Perhaps the supporting cast could have been fleshed out a bit more, but in truth it doesn't matter that we don't really get to know them. Method Man isn't trying to be deep after all, it's a gods-honest beat 'em up book where axe-gun wielding rap ninjas take on flying demons in a fight to the death. If you're up for that kind of thing then I'm sure you'll enjoy Method Man

Wu indeed.

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