Some books need short reviews.

*Ah, the new issue of The Comics Journal was released today, and the site is updated. Feature interview with Mike Ploog. Looks good, though I haven’t gone through too much of it - quite the scorching critique of Planetary by Tom Underhill, and that Harvey Kurtzman comics section is calling out to me already.

Nextwave #2

Hmm. Well, my attitude is such that if it’s called ‘Nextwave’ (one word) in the legal indicia, then that’s how I’m spelling it. That’s also the spelling they use in the official front-of-issue Primer, and since that’s one of the funnier parts of this issue I’d hate to somehow violate its sanctity via alternative spelling and cause all the funny to drip out of the book. That’s what happens, you know.

Anyhow, it’s the end of the first storyline for this Warren Ellis-written Marvel humor book, and it’s a big fight with Fin Fang Foom. Unfortunately, it’s not really as funny as last issue; while Dirk Anger remains a genuinely amusing parody of a tough-talking typical Ellis protagonist (spotted in this issue preparing to enjoy a delicious peep smoothie via intravenous drip), the other characters swiftly fall into more standard-issue badass characterization, and when they’re posing and blowing things up quite as much as they are here, well, the book kind of loses its special charm, drifting down to the level of a more typical Ellis-fueled smash ‘em up, as decently-mounted as the fights are. Unless it’s supposed to be part of the joke that the characters’ personalities are really similar; honestly, if you just read me the dialogue out loud and omitted the names, I’d have a damn rough time figuring out which among four of the ‘main’ characters was speaking at any given point, the somewhat more distinct Machine Man serving as the exception via his comments about how much he hates ‘fleshy ones,’ along with other general robot references.

Ah well, at least there’s a punchline to the whole routine concerning Fin Fang Foom’s pants. There are some genuinely good parts in here: I enjoyed the four separate deployments of the book’s logo at important parts throughout the issue, and the part with the combat robot becoming a priest was pretty sweet. Stuart Immonen’s art remains quite attractive, likably bouncy and sharp. There’s some nice sight gags, and the narration is now managing a 50/50 split between smirks and groans. Truly, this is a book that wants absolutely nothing more than to blow things up and slap people around, and make you laugh in the process. It’s pure fizz, all rush. I liked some of it, didn’t like other parts - there's little that's harder to evaluate than humor though, since truly one person's gold is another's garbage. Still, there's hardly anything
excessively awry with this book; its basic level of quality is enough that such dart-tossing comments on what's funny and what's not can be made without concern that there's deeper cracks in the foundation.