LOVE AND HATE # 1

Like most of you, i can read an awful lot of comics each month, so i thought i might share with y'all a couple of things in this wacky four colour world we inhabit that i love about this medium and that i hate. I'm not usually in the habit of reeeally bad mouthing comics (not in a public forum anyway) but here is where i'm gonna let my bile fly, so stand back in the front rows. It might be a comic, a character, a creator or a pot plant in the background of the next issue of Archie.

This month i'm going with a series and an issue.

LOVE - AKIRA

I know that we don't really talk about manga here, but i've just been re-reading this seminal series and every time i revisit it i am reminded about the scope that only comics can provide. Alan Moore always said that Watchmen was written specifically to highlight the strengths of comic book story telling. As a medium i don't believe there is any other that can compare to the depth that comics books can cover when done right. Akira is a fantastic example of this, combining art, character, plot and the sheer length of the series to tell a story that is as complex as it is brilliant. The scope of the comic is staggering and when it kicks into its many action sequences, not only are they eye poppingly beautiful to look at, but have a real sense of danger and import on the story.

No mindless slugfests in this one.

If you've only seen the movie version (which is a major achievement in itself) then you're missing an awful lot. Short of making a three day long film, there is no way that the complexities of the comic could be translated into film, though they certainly gave it a good try. Akira is disturbing, compelling, exhilarating and a must read for any self respecting comic fan. I'm stopping myself short here before i end up doing a full review but if you haven't checked it out, don't be put off by the manga element and pick yourself up a copy.

HATE - DARK X-MEN: THE CONFESSION

What a steaming pile of crap.

I think i could very easily have included the entire Utopia series into this section as the whole thing was a confused, badly written turd, but this particular issue was the worst of the lot.

Ab. Solute. Shit.

I've dipped in and out of X Men since the late 80's and i've always been willing to give whatever creators are handling them at any given time a chance. With Matt Fraction, even more so as i know that a lot of people hate his writing (and as an extension, the man himself it seems). So i went out of my way to read his stuff, to prove people wrong and to make up my own mind as i hate to feel swept along by any kind of herd. I definitely didn't hate his stuff, but i could certainly see why people had problems with a man lauded as a 'Marvel Architect' when his ability seemed to be no more than mediocre. His plotting was uninspired, his dialogue cliched and though he wasn't terrible, he was far from great.

Then i read Utopia. It was rubbish. The writing was rubbish. I'm not a fan of Terry Dodson so i thought the art was rubbish. Everything was rubbish.

Okay. Fine. Just my opinion. Put the comic down and go back to your old man's cave and dust off your old copies of Ambush Bug, four eyes.

But then i read this excrement. Though not written by Matt Fraction, i assume that he must have had his hand in the plotting of this issue as it fits under the whole Utopia arc. I can imagine that the plot meeting went a little something like this;

"Hey, i know, let's take everything interesting about the Summers/Frost relationship and piss all over it! Hey, that sounds great! We can turn the intricacies of their involvement into a vapid, two dimensional snore fest which makes The Hills look like it has depth! Cool! Now, let's spend another hour patting each other on the backs."

Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle should hang their heads in shame for being party to this. When Emma Frost was reintroduced into the X Universe as an uneasy ally and lover to Cyclops, she was interesting because of her differences from the rest of the X characters. Marvel, apparently didn't like this and have since tried to subvert her to being nothing more than a trophy, an accessory to Cyclops arc. This story was the last nail in the coffin.

R.I.P. Emma Frost. You were once interesting.

7 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by God_Spawn

Gillen seems have a grasp on Emma's attitude the way it should be written. Let's see how he handles her cause he seems to be focusing a bit on her in the new UXM series so far despite only being 2 issues if you haven't read it yet.

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Posted by One_Eye

@god_spawn: I agree. I've enjoyed he first issue of Exalted as well. Some good writing with Emma there as well as everyone else.^_^

Posted by feebadger

@god_spawn said:

Gillen seems have a grasp on Emma's attitude the way it should be written. Let's see how he handles her cause he seems to be focusing a bit on her in the new UXM series so far despite only being 2 issues if you haven't read it yet.

Haven't checked those issues out yet but would love to see Emma handled properly again.

Posted by Squares

What, per se, are the four colours?

Pretty ambitious, deciding to take on Akira. If you're into beautiful action sequences, maybe try reading some Miyazaki?

Yeah, you clearly don't read much of the X-men these days. That's pretty standard fare.

Posted by feebadger

@Squares said:

What, per se, are the four colours?

Pretty ambitious, deciding to take on Akira. If you're into beautiful action sequences, maybe try reading some Miyazaki?

Yeah, you clearly don't read much of the X-men these days. That's pretty standard fare.

The four colours? Magneta, Yellow, Cyan and yellow. The four colours used to print all (or most) colours.

I definitely didn't try to take on Akira. Just a brief description of what i love about it. I don;t have the time or the inclination to go wading through that fantastic mess of sub plots and symbolism. I love Miyazakis' work and have seen all the Studio Ghibli films to date. Love their motion and their sweep and even though they have their darkness in them, i don't think they come close to the complexity of Katsuhiro Otomos' epic. Maybe its the difference between the comic book world and that of the movies. There really are things only a comic book can achieve. What do you think?

(Also, you're right, don't read much X Men these days but am catching up. So far, so underwhelmed).

Posted by Squares

@feebadger: Try reading the manga version of Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. The film cannot compare to the manga.

It's without a doubt true that there's some things only comics can portray properly. Putting comics to film seems to be like turning a watercolour painting into acrylic- sometimes it just ends up garish and awful.

For relatively recent stuff, New X-men isn't mind-numbingly awful. Grant Morrison is pretty awesome and whatnot. Most of Astonishing X-men is pretty good, too, and the pacing is nice. If you're looking for some not-horrible stuff, those are my reccomendations.

Posted by Hawkeye446

Hilarious.

I will have to eventually check out Akira.

Interesting to see when Emma finally bit the dust.