We had a nasty snowstorm here in the Northeast this week so I got my comics a day late. After this weeks pathetically small haul, I just should've waited.
Astonishing X-Men #20The best X book continues to impress. Joss Whedon and John Cassady sure do take their time but the quality and care shines through. The pace of Whedon's story is deliberate but never boring. Every event and plot point is somehow important to the story or characters. And there are very few working artists today who draw as good as Cassady. I don't think he's capable of crapping out a job. The current storyline revolves around Colossus. Seems this alien race thinks he's going to destroy their world, so they try to kill him and the rest of the X-Men. Yeah, right. Now the X-men have traveled to the alien's world where much mutant ass-kicking is sure to ensue. I'm enjoying it so far, though it's torture having to wait two months for the next issue. As I said last time, this is one of the best superhero books currently being produced. It's definitely worth your hard earned bucks so pick it up.
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1 (of 7)I've always found Stephen King to be a bit of an enigma. As the preeminent best selling author on the planet for the past 30 years, it's pretty clear the guy knows how to write a novel that always pleases fans and even, occasionally, critics. Why is it, then, that the majority of his other work, such as movies, TV and comics, sucks ass? Since his novels or short stories are the source material for all that awful crap, one has to assume the germ of the idea is at least decent. Still, I can count the number of truly excellent outside projects based on King's work on one hand. I have no concrete proof of this (perhaps in another blog) but it seems the more King himself is involved, the worse the project turns out. Most fans agree that the worst King-related project ever was Maximum Overdrive, the Emilio Estevez abortion about trucks that conquer the world. King himself directed that shitstain. Projects where he's had no creative involvement, such as Carrie and The Shining have been critical and financial successes. With this supposition put forth, I can only assume King wrote, drew, colored, lettered, edited and printed The Gunslinger Born. This book plain sucks donkey dick. On the surface, it sounds like a can't miss proposition: Peter David, one of fandom's best writers and Jae Lee, one of the most talented artists around ably embellished and painted by Richard Isanove, teaming up to tell the origin of one of King's more celebrated recent characters: Roland Daschain, the gunslinger from his epic, The Dark Tower. So what went wrong? For one thing the story, for another the dialogue and storytelling. Now, having enjoyed the past work of all the parties involved, I can only assume King Inc. had way too much input into too many aspects of this book. The story begins as Roland is being trained to become a gunslinger by mastering the art of falconry. FALCONRY? What does that have to do with guns? It's never explained and really, what's the difference anyway? Eventually, Roland gets pissed off because his Mom's a whore and is getting fucked/abused by some guy who may or may not be Roland's current and future sworn enemy. This is never made clear, but I assume he's evil because he has a mustache. Anyway, Roland wants revenge, again I'm not sure why or against whom, but the only way to get this is to best his teacher in combat so he can take his guns. Apparently, there's only two guns in town. He meets teacher in a duel to the death where they get to choose their weapons. Roland, having only received training in falconry, chooses....drumroll.... FALCONRY!! Ta da!! For some stupid fucking reason, everyone in the story is surprised by this. His teacher, master of all weapons and professional dealer-of-death, chooses some evil-looking blade weapon. Finally, something makes sense. Everyone thinks Roland is gonna get killed, and if this story were any good, he would be, just for being such a stupid little shit who would presume to kill a blade-weilding weapons master with a bird. Anyway, Roland wins because his master/teacher forgets to cover his eyes, which happen to be the one place Roland's bird can realistically do any damage. How fucking convenient. And idiotic. Based on my earlier theories, I really don't blame the creative team, and David specifically, for this idiocy. He probably cringed when he received script changes from King Inc. I find it hard to believe he wrote lines like this:
"Perhaps he reasons that only a man may kill another man...and to be truly a man, one must learn to wield all weapons of manhood, including the weapon that god gives man at birth"It takes special talent to write that badly. And who describes a cock like that? Stephen King (or one of his assistants) when he's trying too hard, I guess. He used the word "man" five times in one sentence, for gods sake! Jae Lee turns in his usual professional work. Most artists would be thrilled to come close to his level of skill even when he's only half interested. It's not bad, and Isanove's coloring is very well done. There's just no love there. Not that I'll begrudge anyone doing anything for a payday, but it seems as if Lee didn't put as much thought into this project as he would have if he'd actually cared. Of course, if I liked the story, I'd probably like the art a whole lot more, also. Anyway, Roland then gets to carry guns, get laid and meet his long lost pa. Woo hoo. The end. At least until next issue, but it's the end for me, as I'll actively be avoiding any future adventures of the Gunslinger. This book wins this weeks coveted Crapola award! At the end of the year, we'll have an awards ceremony and hand out no-prizes (hows that for geekery, fanboys?).