writer: Grant Morrison
artists: Chris Weston and Gary Erskine
points while reading this series, my British parapersona takes
over and says it's just a load of bollocks. Who's really who
and what exactly it is they're trying to accomplish keeps
sliding from issue to issue. Sometimes it seems doubtful that
Morrison even knows.
keeps this series, in all its hip incomprehensibility, from
completely losing it. Perhaps it's the philosophical questions
it raises, such as "what sort of a world is it in which photographs
of fully-clothed children wearing ant heads is considered
in The Filth's favor is the gorgeous artwork from Chris
Weston and Gary Erskine, a team up to the task of bringing
Morrison's phantasmagorical imaginings to life. Though everything
about The Hand is meant to disturb on a sexual level, Weston
and Erskine make it playful, as if Dr. Seuss and Jack Kirby
had a lovechild. (Which kind of explains the message on the
tampon on page one - a Freudian twist on Horton Hears a
the concepts are just too big. Certainly, the idea of the
floating nation and its terrible fate merits more than two
short issues of a comic book. Then again, all of The Invisibles
never seemed enough time, either.
it. I can't decide if this book is genius or pure wank on
Morrison's part, and that dilemma sucks me back month after
writer: Geoff Johns
artists: Scott Kolins and Doug Hazlewood
byproduct of DC's Silver Age, Gorilla City could be a pretty
silly concept. And indeed, the JLApe crossover a few summers
back didn't help that image, though events there laid the
seeds for something cool by shaking up its status quo.
Johns found those seeds, took them, and did what he does so
well. From his words and Kolins and Hazlewood's art, Gorilla
City seems like an alien civilization (which, once upon a
pre-Crisis, it actually was), unhuman and ethereal.
is, perhaps, a too cliched spiritual gentleness about all
the apes but Grodd, but it still makes for intriguing imagery.
In Gorilla City, even the color suggesting blood is
forbidden, an idea turned on its head before the story ends.
poses a larger question of justice, one which has a little
weight right now. Horrified and angered by the destruction
wrought on Keystone City, Wally wants to punish Grodd for
his crimes. Solavar's son Nnamdi, now leader of Gorilla City,
insists that their ways require their own punishment be levied
gets satisfaction? Readers who like a little philosophical
distraction with their gorilla/superhero slugfests.
writer: Rick Veitch
artists: Darryl Banks and Wayne Faucher
An adventure that completes in just one issue. And it's satisfying.
a little bit from Superman: The Animated Series' version
of Brainiac, guest-writer Rick Veitch presents Mnemon, a chillingly
dangerous being whose sole purpose is to gather memories.
Of course, those memories are all the sweeter when the real
things are gone. So Mnemon travels the galaxy destroying civilizations
that he might enjoy a rueful reverie.
of his power lies in a contained black hole. Knowing that
much combined with superhero history, it's obvious that Mnemon
is on a collision course with The Atom.
beings go, Mnemon suffers from a cocky attitude, and likes
to play with his prey's memories before destruction. Upon
encountering the JLA, he steals only certain crucial memories,
random but dramatically effective. The Atom forgets how to
enlarge. Green Lantern forgets what his ring is. Batman forgets
how to talk. And so it goes.
plays with each Leaguer's strengths and weaknesses well, and
still takes the time to make Mnemon a full-fledged character
and not just a concept. The only characters who get short
shrift are those created by regular writer Joe Casey; Faith
and Manitou Raven appear, but nobody really knows enough about
them to judge their appearance one way or another. (Other
than nicely drawn by Banks and Faucher.)
like this give me continued hope for Aquaman. And such
a stand-out fill-in sets the bar for the regular team.
Parker: Spider-Man #52
writer: Zeb Wells
artists: Francisco Herrera and Wayne Faucher
Faucher has proven himself to be a good stabilizing inking
force, on this book and in others. His work on JLA
this month continues that tradition. But there's just not
a lot he can do over the chaotic pencils of Herrera.
own distaste for Herrera's style aside for a moment. It simply
weakens the effect of Spider-Man's unique physicality if every
character is capable of being caught any which way at any
time. Ditko certainly understood that. Part of what makes
Spidey eerie to people is that he doesn't quite look human
in the way he holds himself. Sometimes artists miss that,
and it still works because doggonit, he's still a superhero,
but Herrera takes it to the opposite extreme.
it isn't very fluid, either, which makes even Hydro-Man appear
could be redeemed by a good story, but that doesn't really
happen here. As villains, Hydroman and The Shocker have seen
better days, and they know it. But knowing it doesn't really
seem to make a difference for them. Wells amps up their power
levels to make them into more credible threats, but the story
still plays out rather predictably.
seen it before and better, ironically enough from Wells himself
in a recent issue of Spider-Man's Tangled Web.
Red, White & Black #3
writer: Robert Morales
artist: Kyle Baker
Joshua Elder tore this book to shreds a
few weeks back, and though I can understand his point
of view, Truth: Red, White & Black works for me. Not
perfectly, as it suffers a bit from a too politically correct
point of view that reduces things too much into black and
Morales has begun filling in more than atmosphere. With this
issue, the sarge provides some historical context for his
animosity, and if readers aren't careful, they might actually
learn about something shameful and real in our nation's
about such events helps make the great evil being done upon
these men more believable. Still, I'll go with Josh and agree
that the whole-scale slaughter of a battalion last issue feels
over the top. But I'm willing to admit that that could be
wishful thinking on my part.
Baker's art works, too. The only character that jars is Dr.
Reinhardt, who looks like a refugee from a Rankin-Bass holiday
special (okay, purists, yes - he looks like a Paul Coker design).
Because the original character is early Kirby, and burned
into our minds that way, Baker's take on him just doesn't
fit, even with his other, looser character designs.
spiritual seems to be happening by the end of this issue,
making a nice bookend to the tragedy we experienced at the
beginning of it. Clearly, Morales is after a bigger picture
than we might have been led to believe at first, and it's
intriguing. The truth may not be what we think it is at all.