WHY ALAN MOORE IS A GOD
OK, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but TOM STRONG is a great example of why this man is one of comic’s most clever and influential writers. It’s not just that the story is interesting or that the art is captivating (from perennial favorite Chris Sprouse), but that the two blend together so well. Moore creates a villain in this issue whose form of battle is intensely visual and dangerous. It satisfies both that group of people who like comics because they look cool and those who like to see new and interesting ideas. The Modular Man is a great villain.
Too often we get caught up in the debate over which is more important:
art or writing. At the very least, we tend to stress one over the other or
prefer one to another. But the fact is that comics are that rarest of
bastard mediums which needs both to be done well. TOM STRONG,
early on, is one of those comics that combine both aspects pretty well.
HOW NOT TO START A SERIES
STARS and S.T.R.I.P.E looks to be a relatively cute comic featuring a
spunky female super-hero with her father as a sidekick. It’s a nice little
twist on the idea of keeping heroic tendencies in the family. Here the
father tags along on all his daughters’ adventures as a way to keep an
eye on her.
But the DC publicity machine seems to have over-ruled any common sense the book’s creative team may be capable of. (At least, I hope it
was the “suits'” decision and not the editor’s.) First of all, why do we need
to start a new series out with a #0 issues? That’s the first absurdity. They
can’t say it’s to keep in line with the way STARMAN started out, because
that happened during Zero Month. They might say it is to keep in line with
MARTIAN MANHUNTER, but that was an even stranger marketing decision, to issue something like 2 or 3 books ahead of the first issue of
the new series.
Even worse than starting out with a #0 issue, this #0 issue starts with a
line of text pointing out that the issue begins some 7 or 8 issues into the
future of the book. Confused yet? They could have done the whole
story without that one line of text and nobody would have known. It’s a
nice story, told well. I enjoyed it. But why start a series with a story set
7 issues in the future. It can’t be for dramatic effect. It wasn’t a little time
travel tale to show the readers what might be happening to the main
characters to keep the readers guessing as to how it might happen. It’s
set in the future because — ?!? No good reason is ever given. Maybe
the first issue will explain why. I hope so. On the other hand, how
ludicrous would it be for the first issue to set up the book’s origin better
than the #0 issue?
Wow, I feel a headache coming on.
IMPULSE #50 debuts the new creative team for the title. Todd DeZago writes and the much-maligned “Cyberforg” creator Ethan Van
Sciver pencils. The story itself is great. Van Sciver’s art is wonderful, too, with plenty of panels and even some backgrounds. I think I’ll stick
around for a couple of issues.
I have, however, three reservations:
The ironic thing is that IMPULSE is so damned static. Not much has changed. Every now and then an issue like this will come along and lead
us to believe that Bart may start thinking for himself more often, but it never sticks. With the next issue, he’s back to his impulsive self, a point
DeZago hammered home in his script too much. Granted, without this nature, the book is nothing. It’s the main trait of the protagonist. But it’s
like a bad sit-com. There are issues which are funny or touching or interesting, but the next issue is just as
much a toss-up. The up side to this is that any reader can make any issue of IMPULSE their first and not be too confused.
The other funny thing I see about this is that nobody really knows how to draw Impulse in his or her own style. Everyone busies himself or
herself drawing the Ramos version of Impulse, despite the fact that Mike Wieringo first drew young Bart Allen. Those huge feet, the big
face, and the long hair. It’s all Ramos’ style and nobody seems to know how to adapt it to his or her own. So while Impulse may end up looking
consistent from month to month, he also tends to look really weird.
The third difficult thing to get by is Janice Chiang’s lettering. I don’t like
it. It might be technically strong, but it distracts me from the art. It’s
trying to be too calligraphic. It looks like she’s not lifting the pen up
from the board fast enough and leaving a heavy blot at the end of each
ART IMITATES ART
I saw THE PREDATOR on DVD the other night for the first time. (Yes, that’s right. I’ve never seen this one before.) Something struck
me. A lot of the camera choices from the director looked like they came straight from comics. A lot of the set-ups in the frame with the use
of extreme foreground and background look like they came straight from a comic book. There are talking heads inhabiting only one side of
the frame, almost as if to leave the other half open for the lettering. Maybe this all accounts for why the movie made such an easy transition
J. Torres was nice enough to e-mail in with the good news that
MONSTER FIGHTERS INC. will be out the first week in June. “It’s at
the printers,” as they say.