Monday 13 December 2010

Seeya Christmas Eve, ya judgmental bitch

Continuing the pretty uncomprehensive list I made in 60 seconds of good superhero comics off the top of my head after reading Colin Smith's commendable post on his own blog and bearing in mind Zoids totally counts because it appeared in the comic "Spider-Man and Zoids"...

7 - V For Vendetta
The first thing I took from this book the first time I read it was that V was not the man from Room 5 and was more likely Valerie from the letters Evey read during her time in captivity, and there's not much to prove that reading wrong given Moore's playfulness when it comes to the 'true' identity of his main characters in everything from Superman and Swamp Thing to Promethea and Tom Strong - I'm also still not convinced that V's dialogue is not pre-recorded or piped through a radio from the occasional comment made about 'his' voice in the text and the general all-purposeness of his responses in some instances, so bloody maddeningly open to interpretation is so much of the text of this angry and wonderful tome that I read in collected form long after the original saw serialisation in the vaunted pages of the UK's Warrior anthology.
Moore's instinctive hate of the controlling and reductive mindset drips off every page and the story carries itself forward on a tide of righteous rebellion against the then (early 1980s) science-fiction-y idea that cameras would be placed everywhere and a heavy state response to phantom terrorists would be used to cow the population of a post-nuclear war Britain. The only things Moore seems to have got wrong was that there wasn't a war and we don't have a superhero running about (unless you count the film, which can only really be enjoyed as a campy superhero movie), and he also reckons that nuclear war isn't survivable, either, but Fallout 3 would never lie to me - post-apocalyptia is gonna be pretty sweet. Except for the Deathclaws and the Cazadores, obviously.

8 - Detective Comics 608-609
Alan Grant's superb run - alongside his frequent artistic collaborator Norm Breyfogle - in the Batman titles yielded the two-parter Anarky, an aquisition of V (from V For Vendetta) transplanted into batman's world as a conscientious anarchist dedicated to the less-popular idea of anarchy as a state in which individuals accept personal culpability for themselves and others rather than that espoused by the character currently appearing in Red Robin - a chap in a cloak who shouts at his tv a lot and likes things to break. The character used to be quite good, however, and this origin tale is a good indicator of why, and if you happen to accidentally read the issues that come before or after it you won't be doing yourself any hardship either, as Grant/Breyfogle's run remains the last time Batman had a consistent tone and personality for more than a few months, a trick even Grant Morrison hasn't managed, though to be fair he's had to wrangle status quo shake-ups every six months while Grant/Breyfogle were largely left alone to produce some fine superhero comic books that shockingly still go uncollected while the utterly, utterly awful City of Crime is given the trade treatment.

1 comment:

  1. That Batman run is still my personal favourite. SO many great stories, brilliantly told by a team who were perfectly in creative synch. Shame we'll never see them collected.