Friday, February 12, 2010

Lost in the Library #4: Short is good

Frankenstein’s Womb

These wonderful little things by Warren Ellis that Avatar keep putting out are always worth a look. Crecy was a bloody brilliant slice of historical horror and Aetheric Mechanics was had a good little metaphysical kick in the testicles to offer, right at the end there.

The latest one has Mary Shelley meeting the shade of her monster in the castle, and given a rundown on history and her place in it. It’s another Ellis monologue – informative, a little tenuous and oddly moving. Ellis shows all the cynicism of a true failed optimist and has an excellent grasp on what he wants to say, even if he overcooks some of the links between dead bodies and electricity.

Like the rest of these little comics, the art is a bit too eager and a loosening up of Oleksicki’s art would go a long way. But it is nice and moody, and occasionally hits just the right spot. Oleksicki does a very nice sideways look of contempt.

Frankenstein’s Womb is a sweet little one night stand of a comic, in and out and gone again, leaving behind feelings of vague satisfaction and a slightly dodgy smell. It’s still better than a wank in the dark.

* * *

Secret Invasion Infiltration – Avengers: The Initiative : Killed in Action

It’s kinda nice when a character stops acting like a dick and reacts to things like a normal human being, because then they’re loads easier to relate to. I don’t know why it doesn’t happen more often.

Fuck, I’m pretty sure I enjoyed bits of this, but it all slides right through the mind, and dribbles out my ear. Super-generic Marvel art of the early 21st century doesn’t help, and I just flicked through it again and it all seemed kinda familiar and ten seconds later I’ve forgotten what was in it again. Hang on, I’ll try again.

Nope, it’s gone again.

Shit. This is spooky.

* * *

Dark Reign: Accept Change
By fuckin’ heaps of people

So this reprints a whole bunch of Dark Reign tie-ins by Bendis and Parker and Fraction and all those crazy Marvel kids. It’s all the usual fun and games, but is largely pointless.

I’ve already read two of the comics here in other collections – the first issue of Dark Avengers and the last Uncanny X-Men annual both in print elsewhere. Apart from that, there is the Secret Invasion: Dark Reign story – which is another exciting adventure of people siting around a table spouting terribly important dialogue – and a bunch of short eight-pagers that all lead off into a bunch of comics that I’ll probably never read.

And then there are a whole lot of profiles culled from various handbooks, along with some blatant advertorial from the Marvel Spotlight magazines, and this shit takes up half the book. Hearing about how awesomely awesome a new comic is going to be doesn’t quite have the same sting when that book is about to be cancelled.

And the profile stuff just gets tedious. Just enough information about various characters to provide the barest of backgrounds, but not enough to make them interesting. They lack the ridiculous density that makes things like the Official Handbook series so charming, but still go on for pages and pages – random round-ups of various villains.

Slapping in a bunch of profile pages bulks out a book and makes it look like a good deal, but it’s being done to death in some Marevl comics. The worst example in recent times is the trade paperback collection of the Bendis/Dell’Otto Secret War, which has profiles of various characters, and then has exactly the same text – with a small added note – fifty pages later. What’s the point of that?

This comic costs US$25. Full credit to Marvel. If I could get people to pay for my advertising, I’d do it too.

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