Thursday, 18 August 2016

If I didn't have my kickboxing class as an outlet, the watercolours I do in my painting class would be REALLY dark

ZOMFG!  New Power Pack story in Marvel's Choosing Sides #4 is good news on its own, but it's also written by Bad Machinery's John Allison, who's one of those rare modern writers who combines invention with distinctive character voices, the former being easy to come by in these days of an industry on an endless quest for shocks and/or the next big hook, but the latter being a lost art to the point I have - as you can see above and for the last month and change here on the blog - given up entirely on the idea of the spoken word in any comics what I does.  Let the reader's imagination do some of the lifting, that's my philosophy - they'll thank you for it.
HAHA no they won't what am I saying?
Anyway, the Power Pack strip is slight by its nature, being the characters are supposed to comment on the whole Civil War 2 thing without making an impact on it in any way seeing as they're starring in an anthology title full of inessential filler, but the in-universe rationale is that they have chosen to sit the whole thing out like most sensible people and leave it all to the hopeless hardcore comics nerds - erm, I mean, to the superheroes who have been in successful movies lately.  I don't even know what Civil War 2 is actually about and I am oddly proud of this, but I'm probably being unfair on it considering DC's crossovers are now basically fanfiction rehashing decades-old Alan Moore stories and characters, so it's off to Wikipedia I go for a quick catch-up...

Okay, in a "you couldn't make it up" twist, it seems Civil War 2 is a rehash of Alan Moore's Judgment Day crossover he wrote for Image in the mid-90s.  Em... only it's not a complete copy, as Civil War 2 has a mutant who sees the future instead of the metatextual magic book McGuffin used by Moore.  I have now learned to keep my snark to myself and shall continue with my thoughts on Choosing Sides #4 - or rather the Power Pack bits of it.  Did I mention I like Power Pack?
The story is a bit slight, but it has three things I like very much going for it:
1 - the characters have kept their noses out of Civil War 2 and only stick their noses in enough to speak briefly about events among themselves out of a lingering sense of obligation to the superhero world they once knew and immersed themselves within - there's your metatext right there, buddy.
2 - a character opines "why choose sides at all?  I change my mind all the time." and is commended for their sensible thinking and then everyone goes about their day.  This common sense and civility is where Allison's metatextual journey clearly ends, because this is not how people discuss superhero crossovers.  Where are the death threats?
3 - it doesn't star Alex Power, who is my least favorite member of Power Pack.  Not because he is a terrible character - although don't get me wrong, he is pretty dreadful - but because he is the one I find least interesting.  There was a moment in Matt Fraction's Fantastic Four/FF runs where Doctor Doom drags Alex around by his hair and makes him cry like a baby and it's the closest the character has come to being entertaining since 1988, but apart from that he is utterly dull.

Anyway, do check it out if you can, as Allison is worth watching in the same way Al Ewing was: an overnight sensation from nowhere who's actually been toiling in obscurity for more than a decade.

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