Saturday, 14 May 2016

Comic Review - Transformers: All Hail Megatron Coda

Having already blundered with the format and possibly the content of All Hail Megatron in the first place IDW decided the best way to deal with the troubled Maxi-series was to extend it by four issues and throw out a series of semi-related short stories while re gearing for the upcoming ongoing series. Mostly this involved catering to whiny Simon Furman fans who were used to having every single dot painstakingly joined for them and undoing as much of Shane McCarthy's work as possible. In short the treatment of McCarthy and AHM underlines that the company would have been fine with whatever if they'd had a blockbuster on their hands but now that the disappointing figures were in they were suddenly all about respecting loyal readers. 

The problem is that most of these stories really didn't need to be told. The Denton Tipton story showing Perceptor's transformation is nicely done and probably one of the more worthy subjects but at the same time is indicative of IDW's habit of capitulating to the pedestrian intelligence of their readers. Within the context of AHM it's entirely plausible and obvious that Perceptor needed to tool up to survive in the current situation and did so, something Sean McCarthy showed amply in two frames. Here we have ten pages for the angry idiots who need everything drip fed. It looks nice and it reads nice but it's like a rogue Mosaic. 

Same with Nick Roche's return to Kup; despite continuing the excellent work on Prowl and formally introducing future cult leader and shipping devotee James Roberts it's just spinning out a story from the evident fact that Kup got better.

It's basically a grab bag of unnecessary epilogues and worrying previews. There's an unnerving start for incoming writer Mike Costa as he resets Megatron and Starscream  to exactly where they've always been and undoes one of the few positive progressive elements of AHM; the first try out for Don Figueroa's appalling live-action influenced art style, a pointless return for Simon Furman...

Basically this is four issues of marking time in the most banal fashion imaginable. And part of  that is an indictment of IDW's ever-slapdash handling of the franchise on an editorial level. But it's also a tacit condemnation of a readership and fandom incapable of filling in the blanks and pathologically afraid of change.


Friday, 13 May 2016

Comic Review - Wanted

After From Hell,  V for Vendetta and, well, any other Alan Moore adaptation, you get used to non-big two comic book movies sharing a title and not much else with the source material to the extent that some outright contradict the basic ethos (I'm looking at you, Comedian murder scene). I've not seen the Angelina Jolie vehicle Mark Millar's Top Cow mini Wanted inspired but in this case I'd be surprised if such fast and loose translation actually made it any worse.

The basic concept is fine and would layer be revisited in a more satisfactory fashion a few years later by Millar himself for the Wolverine storyline "Old Man Logan". The villains have put aside their differences, ganged up on the heroes and won. They now control the world through a semi secret alliance. So far so intriguing.

The problem is our protagonist, a put-upon lose who is unknowingly the son of a villain seemingly killed off in the opening pages. He's recruited and trained so he can take his place in the order and this means... lots of talking about how much crazy fun killing and raping with impunity is. It's basically how cool life is written by a 14-year old boy who spends too much time reading 4chan and masturbating to Max Hardcore pornography. Having a lecture on not being one of the sheeple on the nine to five by a middle-aged Scotsman who wrote for Sonic the Hedgehog is an amusing experience. 

That aside the plot is a mess; there's a coup within the society of villains that's nonsensically easy, and then our hero Wesley and his mentor Fox stage a counter-coup that's just as perfunctory. And then there's just about enough time for a return from the dead and one last sneer. All dressed in aggressive postmodernism blended with brattish coarseness.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Comic Review - Airboy

How to adapt a dated public domain character from a largely obsolete genre? Well, if you're James Robinson and Greg Hinkle you make a comic about how difficult it is to adapt Airboy. Airboy - as the gloriously catty dialogue covers - was a Golden Age pilot title produced by Hillman. Thirty years after they folded and the copyright lapsed serial cheapskates Eclipse picked him up and gave him to Chuck Dixon for a series that developed a solid following before the usual Eclipse nonsense of over saturation killed it.
The Image revival takes the odd for of co-starring semi-fictionalised versions of Robinson and Hinkle looking for inspiration through a drug fuelled bender. Robinson basically has a midlife crisis on the page, some stark self evaluation being laid out with Hinkle as a vaguely disapproving foil. Both get caught up in an orgy of debauchery before a shared drug hallucination sees Airboy pulled into their world,  much to his disgust.

The result is an unusual postmodern comic that's as much about its burnt out writer as about it's nominal star but strangely not in an obnoxious look-at-me way. It's not for all tastes and at times you do feel like you'd rather be reading something more straightforward but it is undeniably a  true original.