Pointless Nonsense

Posted in comics by Bill on January 15, 2011

Some older comics:

The Unfunnies, or what I read of it, is shocking and disturbing and has no redeeming value. I only got about 20 pages in. I’m juvenile enough to generally be entertained by horrific stuff in the right context, but this was just wrong. Mark Millar has stepped over the line for me a few times, like in Wanted with all the rape, but all through that comic there were things that were entertaining. The Unfunnies seems to exist on the premise that there’s entertainment value in horrific things done by characters drawn in a style that generally goes along with harmless content. But there’s not.
Maintenance is about two maintenance workers at a corporation that provides equipment and lab space for evil super scientists. Naturally, their work involves becoming entangled in wacky super science schemes, hanging out with aliens and man-sharks, time travelling, going to space, all that good stuff. It’s light and generally pretty funny, good enough to read all the way through, but not so good that I feel moved to read it again ever.
Jack Cross is yet another Warren Ellis comic. And possibly the last old one I can find that I haven’t at least tried out (not counting a few that are tied up in long-running series that I don’t follow). Cross is a liberal anti-war protester who, in exchange for guaranteeing his anonymity and giving him a big pile of cash, takes the occasional job for the government as an extremely violent Jack Bauer-type spy. It’s a nice concept in theory, and it has a few moments where it seems to work. In the middle of the first interrogation scene, I thought this was going to be excellent (and between this and Fell, I really think Ellis writes the hell out of interrogations), but it felt like it never quite came together. It’s a tough balancing act, having a guy shoot a defenseless prisoner one second then talk about human rights the next, and I don’t think Cross walked that tightrope very well. It was cancelled after four issues, so I think either DC editorial or Ellis or both realized it didn’t work.
303 is a war comic from Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows, the creative team that did the first volume of Crossed. It’s violent and bloody but not twisted like Crossed. It centers around a veteran Spetsnaz colonel, a mission to investigated a crashed American plane, and a concern that the whole “greatest generation” would be disappointed with the wars and the soldiers of today. Garth Ennis writes great battle scenes, in a way that even I follow what’s going on and get the strategy, but also that bring out the characters involved. I found the ending to 303 a little troubling, and between this, his Punisher stuff, and War Stories, I’m starting to find his war comics a little repetitive, but I still enjoyed it.

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