Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Eternals # 4; Cable/Deadpool 32; Civil War: Frontline #5, 6

Eternals #4 of 6
by Neil Gaiman, John Romita Jr.
I'd love to summarize this book for you. I really would. Give you a feel of just what it's about. But honestly, my brain hurts just trying to think my way through all the crazy jargon. The book is based on Jack Kirby's work by the same name, which I haven't read, but would now like to. At its core the story is basically about some super-powered godheads that had forgotten who they were, now starting to remember bit by bit. Four issues in, and not a whole mess of a lot has happened. The coolest thing that has taken place could have gone down, hell has gone down, in a Flash book.

On the whole, this whole "I forgot who I am" "oh yeah I'm one of the most powerful beings in the universe" trend is kind of annoying. Whatever happened to Spider bites and radioactive waste? Forgetting your powers is lame. Powers aren’t like keys.

The characters in and of themselves are interesting, but we're moving at a snails pace here. There's two issues left, and there's still not a clearly defined conflict here. There's this Russian-like government takeover happening in one of the side stories, I guess, but blegh, even the font they use for the dialogue is boring.

I am being patient though. It's not like Neil Gaiman doesn't know how to tell a story. But frankly, if Gaiman's name weren't on the cover I would have given up at issue two.

The real star of the book is John Romita Jr. I just love to look at this book. Where Neil's story and dialogue are kind of boring and stuck in the mud, JRJR is handling his business. I'd almost recommend getting it just for his sake.

Honestly this is a book for the trade paperback collection. It really doesn't do much as a monthly, there are better things you could be doing, and the story will probably be more enjoyable to read as a big chunk then in a lot of little pieces. So I say...wait for it.

Cable/Deadpool # 32
This is a book that you don't wait for trade to pick up. Hell even if it came out, buying the trade just seems silly. Cable/Deadpool for me is something of a guilty pleasure. It's really not good enough to rave about, but it scratches a nice itch. Deadpool makes me giggle, and he looks cool. I like Cable's god complex, so long as Deadpool is there to challenge him.

It's really not a book you need constant updates on because issue 31 is a lot like issue 32. It's the same sort of situations. Same sort of jokes. But it's the kind of same I like. Like once when I was little my mom used to make these triple decker sandwiches for my lunch, and though it was the same thing day in and day out, I was happy to eat it for a good two years in 3rd and 4th grade. Cable/Deadpool is like that.

I'd probably get tired of it in a trade paperback, but spread out over a month, it's just a nice non-serious book, even if it is Civil War related. In fact the attempts at being serious in issue 32, don't reaaaally work. But I like them, because they are cute.

Civil War Frontline #5, #6
Have to admit up front, don't keep up with Frontline that well. I think I read #2 before this or something. It's a very uneven book. The sleeper cell section I hate. Embedded is sometimes interesting. And the other story, I don't like Speedball, so that's kind of out the window. But I guess at the end of the day what we end up with here, is a book that is greater than the sum of it's parts. If it devoted the entire book to any of these sections, it would get tedious. But since it breaks it up, it's kind of manageable.

I don't think much in this book has to be known to enjoy the regular Civil War book.

And every book ends with some sort of re-contextualization of Civil War into a historical event of the month. All with a nice poem or something over the top. Spiffy. Issues Five and Six used the Civil War, and World War II. And I believe one of the issues I read used the holocaust. And okay...the main thing to note is that these sections suck. There's no way around it. They are a bore to read. They are pretentious as all get-out. And frankly, they are even more than a little offensive—both to the events themselves, and comic books by reflection. It seems like you are either making light of the historical atrocity by comparing it to some men in tights, or you are making fun of the heroes we all love by putting them next to some real world atrocities. Either point is bothersome, and the fact that I think of both while I'm reading the book makes it especially painful.

The strange thing is, the stories I've read about heroes like Wolverine or Captain America in an actual historical setting, dealing with these same events, when they are more couched into the period they are being depicted--doesn't bother me, and in fact it works marvelously (no pun intended). I think the reason why this fails so badly is because there are three elements to all of them: whatever jackrabbit poem is put over the top of the section, the historical event, and the superhero event. And it seems that never shall the three meet. Also it is all very heavy handed. Perhaps if it were done a little more subtly, it might work. But then again, subtlety has never been Paul Jenkins strong point. If ever there were a hit and miss writer it would be him. It seems he only knows one style, and it fails except for those few times when everything happens to match up and it's beautiful. Well right now it's failing. Badly. I'd rather those three pages be used to advertise sea monkeys or something.

So yeah. Civil War Frontline: meh.

No comments: