So, that Erasure album? It’s very nice, but I wish Vince would get some new synth sounds and that Andy would write lyrics on stuff besides mushy, mushy, mushy love. A lot of the songs sound very similar because they are very similar. However, “Breathe” is a real charmer, and “All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love” has enough cleverness after the initial verse to keep me interested. Not the epic that their eponymous release was but not as widely varying in quality as Cowboy. A solid 7, good for people who like their pop a bit more synthetic. This won’t win the band any new fans, but doesn’t embarrass the current lot for their devotion.
As promised, here’s some commentary on Wanted, the started-off-with-a-glimmer-of-promise-but-pulled-an-Identity Crisis miniseries by Mark “Rape!” Millar and JG Jones. The first issue of this series stars off well enough with a distinct Fight Club vibe1 and the revelation that our loser, cuckolded protagonist
Eminem Wesley is actually the super-deadly son of the super-deadly supervillain who went by the stunningly original moniker of The Killer2 before his untimely demise. After Halle Berry Catwoman The Cat abducts him and introduces him to the world of the super-villain syndicate3 that killed all the heroes in 1986, she gives him an offer – he can either become one of the bad guys who live the life fantastic4 or one of the cattle they rule.
This is when the story starts to slide – why should you care about a person who’s going to become a murderous son of a bitch who has every shred of decency beat out of him in a montage of “horrifying” and “shocking” images? Millar can’t really bother with a reason for that, but as I was locked in with a subscription at the shop, I read each issue as it came out, wondering why I was bothering after each time. Characters that are pastiches of DC Comics villains keep showing up, including a Clayface analog made of feces5, and some stuff about warring factions of these bastards serves as some nominal story, but any concern about events fails to materialize and when Wesley slaughters a bunch of very bad people, it manages to exude nothing resembling real excitement for the reader.
The following is a spoiler for the final issue. Do not read it if you want to be surprised by this book when you buy the trade paperback on a half priced rack in the near future.
This all continues until the big reveal in issue 5, wherein The Killer shows up to say “Wesley, son, I am your father and I have been behind all of this and now you must kill me because I am an old man and losing my mad skills and I’d rather be killed by you than some other shithead,” or something similar. Whoever didn’t see the return of the man assumed dead in issue #1, raise their hands now. OK, just go to Millarworld and declare Mark Millar a genius.
After Wesley offs his old man, our author then swipes from The Matrix with a whole monologue about how you (the readers) are all living lives that aren’t worth having, you’re consumers, the comic you’re holding is entertainment for the cattle that is the general populace, etc, etc, etc. Then there’s a shot of
Eminem Wesley, nude, screaming “THIS IS MY FACE WHEN I FUCK YOU IN THE ASS.”6 The end.
Anal buggery is a recurring theme with this man’s work and it’s frightening that you can take the final world balloon and apply it to other panels from comics he’s written with very little effort. While I may like The Ultimates and enjoyed his Authority quite a large amount, I think it’s obvious at this point that Mark Millar only has shock and more shock in his retinue of storytelling devices on creator-owned properties.
Is there anything to recommend this book? Well, JG Jones depicts each turn of events with better-than-it-deserves precision until the last issue, when there’s a perceptable dive in quality. That’s something. Some of the character designs are pretty fun – The Cat has a neat enough costume, for instance – but for what Top Cow is going to expect for you to pay for the trade paperback when it comes out, don’t bother just for some pretty pictures. Grant Morrison used Jones to much better effect on the mindblowing Marvel Boy, which you may or may not be able to have your LCS order from Marvel, based on the whims of their reprint department.
In completely unrelated news, Doug does us all the favor of letting me know about a brand new film from Hong Kong Comedic Genius Happy Monkey Ha Ha Talent Stephen Chow that looks to match the high levels of the unjustly-brutalized-by-Miramax Shaolin Soccer.
1As evidence for my complete lack of critical ability, I should point out that the similarity to one of my favorite movies wasn’t obvious to me until someone said “Well, that was a bit like a certain blockbuster with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.”
2Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons called. They want the Comedian back, and don’t even think about action figures.
3Handled much better by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips over on Sleeper.
4Where raping whoever you want, killing whoever you dislike, rape, getting great parking spaces, rape, and otherwise being a complete shit is the order of the day. Did I mention rape?
5When you’re stealing bits from Kevin Smith’s most bloated movie, you know you’re scraping the bottom of the visual-entertainment barrel.