Friday, May 19, 2006

New Comic Reviews:
Moon Knight & Super-Skrull


Somewhere, William Gaines is sitting at the right hand of the Lord, smoking a fat cigar and loving the hell out of Moon Knight #2. They never did let old Bill get away with the whole ripping off the bad guy's face thing.
But here we are, sixty years on, in a mainstream comic with the words 'PARENTAL ADVISORY' camouflaged into the bar code, and yup, old Moonie just ripped off that dude's face. Why did he do this? Well, we're led to believe Moon Knight's insane. But beyond that, I just think Moon Knight's got a hack writer working for him. Exactly the kind that E.C. employed all those years ago.

It's a fine line to travel when you're doing the whole 'hard-boiled' thing. It's all too easy to veer off into unknowing self-parody.
Example: "Blame it on the passing years. Blame it on him. Blame it on our hatred. The hatred born from slaughter. Slaughter born from friendship. Friendship born from recognition. Recognition of a kindred soul. Souls hating each other. Hating as you can hate only one thing. The reflection in the mirror."

Ugh. That just makes me want to yurk (how the fuck is slaughter born from friendship?), and the blood dripping from every goddamn panel in this book does the same. Finch's art still impresses, on a basic, visceral level, but the detailed beauty of it is deadened by constant closeups of blood drenched eyeballs and cut sinew. Also, the layouts are starting to bug: every once in awhile, we could use some basic eight-square panel pages, thank you. Slow that camera down, Scorsese, ok?
I kind of like this guy, though. He seems like he stepped into the wrong comic, like Bill Murray in Wild Things or Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. An oddball you can't take your eyes off of, but has nothing to do with the plot-not really. Just some actor with his own agenda.
Again: I know nothing of the world of Moon Knight previous to this, so he may be an old character. But either way, he's the only thing that gets close to being interesting about Moon Knight 2, an ugly, poorly written book.



Super-Skrull, on the other hand, is looking up. The art is still inconsistent. At times, Greg Titus manages a great sense of atmosphere, either cartoony or dangerous:Other times, he seems to have missed the boat entirely, and it's all ugly, confusing lines that blend one into another. This impedes not only the flow of reading, but the ability to follow the story. And the story ain't bad.
It may not take a rocket surgeon to figure out that little R'Kin is Super-Skrull's long lost son, but until that big reveal, there's a lot of whizz-bang action to keep us satisfied. And I love how Javi's dealing with R'Kin's growing mixture of disgust and awe towards Super-Skrull who, while certainly not a hero, is working out of a moral duty to first his planet, and now his son.
Against this Annihilation Wave, it may not be heroes who will carry the day. Sometimes you have to be willing to do what the other guy won't. Like setting your enemy on fire after he's given you the information you requested of him. 'Flame On', indeed.
This is a fun book. It will undoubtedly be in the 50-cent bin in a few months, but it'll be the best 50 cents you've ever spent.


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