Someone stole the remote.
Here we are again folks. I think maybe this is the third time I’ve tried to do a review segment for comic books, and I seem to repeatedly run into the same problem. I just lose interest in comic books after a while. Usually I binge read 12 series and then just get sick of them and move onto some other media, be it anime or music or movies or whatever.
And so I’ve given up. No regular segment. I’m just plopping down some quick and dirty reviews for some series I’ve just read.
Now, as a responsible citizen who pays taxes (or who is too poor to pay taxes himself and therefore asks his parents to take care of it because taxes are complicated and boring ughh i hate taxes), I thought it would behoove me to take advantage of a publicly available institution which my taxes pay for. This institution has existed for a long time and I in fact was a frequent user of it a long time back, when I was a little chap. It basically saved me from dying of boredom as a grade schooler.
This institution of course is the public library. And having just returned from a years stay abroad, I decided to get a brand spankin’ new library card for the library in my area. It was quick and easy, and I went to work perusing through the catalog available. Today’s reviews are a product of that perusal.
First up, we have the not-so-well-known red-headed step-child to the ground-breaking Watchmen book, Top 10. For me, Alan Moore is very much the Paul Thomas Anderson of comic books. Everything he makes seems oddly familiar, but somehow out of place. They both subvert your expectations of what they are seemingly doing. You think There Will Be Blood is a tale of one man’s journey to succeed in a cutthroat business? No, it’s about the corruption of the American dream you ignorant sod. You think Watchmen is clever, ret-con on traditional super-hero lore? No, it’s a dissection of the super-hero genre to reveal the corruption at the heart of the ideals that birthed them in the first place. These are heartless men who have no intention of leaving any stone unturned. They are out for blood when it comes to those things you love, or at least have a societally-constructed preconceived notion about.
With Top 10, we ostensibly get a police procedural in a world where everyone has super-powers of some sort. However, they are still people, with people problems and people flaws. All those things that they would have had had they been normal are now super, and that includes those problems and flaws as well.
Top 10 has an uniquely normal and predictable rhythm to it, unlike other things in Moore’s repertoire, but that really just works to give you more of a feeling of the police procedural, “crime of the week” vibe. It worked for me, I was fine with it. There were enough twists on the genre and oddities in the plot to keep me interested, although I felt the deconstruction of the genre was simply presented to you and then played out, rather than plainly dissected and autopsied like Watchmen. That said, if I go around comparing everything Moore has done or will ever do to Watchmen, the poor guy would go insane. Not that he needs my approval for anything in his life, I’m just sayin’….
But yeah. Top 10. Cop drama in super-hero drag. Neat and grimy. 7.5/10.
Next up, we have The Superior Foes of Spider-man. Now, this series is a limited series spin-off of the Superior Spider-man arc and while I don’t think it contributes much to the current topic, I’m gonna just put my opinions about that arc out there because this is my blog and that’s how this works. I have heard many different opinions on The Superior Spider-man and for those who have not heard of it, here’s a basic description of what happens. Prior to the beginning of the arc, Doctor Octopus and Spider-man have a fight to the death and in the finale, a dying Doctor Octopus and Spider-man switch bodies, leaving Peter Parker to apparently die in the body of Doctor Octopus and Doctor Octopus to live on in the body of Peter Parker.
I don’t think I gave an unfair idea of what happened, and hopefully the way I described it does not bias anyone’s opinions. However I think that is the most ludicrously dumb thing I have ever seen, I hated every moment of it and it felt like Marvel was looking for writers to dig them out of their horrible plot-hole, and by sheer accident they managed to hire Dugtrio instead, and he just kept digging. It felt creepy, it felt wrong, and as someone who has been reading these comics since I was a wee lad, I felt like the character and company I had been following for so long had taken (yet another) false step.
That said, your opinion is your own. If you felt differently, that’s fine. Your life is happier than mine, I guess.
Anyways, Superior Foes of Spider-man is a spin-off that takes place at some time after than switch. The series features the most B-level of Spider-man’s traditional rogue’s gallery teaming up to re-form the legendary Sinister Six, one of the traditional team ups of evil-doers in the Spider-verse. The series is ostensibly a look at the world from the villain’s side of things. A strange twist on the traditional super-hero comic book, we see the world through the eyes of crooks, who by one bad turn or another, end up in a bad situation surrounded by liars, cheats and criminals just like them. Deceit, under-the-table tactics, wheeling and dealing and backstabbing are all fair game.
All in all, it’s a fun little series. It definitely goes on a bit long and the plot gets severely convoluted to the point where the most important part, the characters, sort of get lost in the shuffle. That said, the characters are, throughout the whole thing, the strong suit of the book and they do have some flair to them. There may have been some imbalance in terms of who got more time to be fleshed out and such, hurting some character development, but it was alright on the whole.
In the end, it’s a quick balls-to-the-wall action and comedy, tongue-in-cheek take on the super-villain story. Maybe a little more forethought to the plot and characters and we have something really valuable here, but it was okay. 6.5/10.
Lastly we have I Kill Giants. If you are a fan of graphic novels and have been one for a little while, you should already know about this book. It’s a real treat and has all the style and grace that I would expect from a labor of love. The art has a great sketchy aesthetic that I enjoyed (it took some time, but it grew on me), and the story is your typical, hard-hitting, one man against the world character arc. It’s dark, it’s funny, and it’s very real. I won’t say any more because I think it’s something you should just go read. It’s a quick book so go pick it up now. Maybe at your local library, like I did. Well, maybe not from MY local library, I still need to return my copy. Oh, and yeah. 8.5/10.
Okay folks, that’s it from my end. Hope you enjoyed it. I’ll put out more of these as the summer goes by. I’m gonna be visiting my local library all the way through until I head back to college in September. I should really check out THAT local library….
Until next time, thanks for reading and have a great day!