Here I go. I promised I would never review another book after the last one. Why? Namely because the books that I am asked to review tend to be garbage. Complete, stab-myself-in-the-eye-and-if-I-partially-lobotomize-myself-the-pain-might-go-away tripe. So, when my editor asked if I’d review the book, Normalized, of course, I said yes (after finding out I could just buy it on Amazon rather than reading a long pdf or some other ridiculous work around which is not how you read a book!).
Today, I read Modern Testament, a comic made up of three tales. The premise of the comic is taking biblical critters and inserting them into modern times, in essence continuing the latest bible stories with some new ones. The good news is that the comic isn’t 100% preachy; it has some darkness, and it tackles some stuff that I think the bible might have missed. The bad news is that this reviewer is pretty much an atheist, so this review may miss some points of the author (at best). I guess we’ll see.
I gotta tell you - when I heard about this comic, I was just a little bit curious. When the synopsis says, "It tells the story of pumpkins, corporate scum, and little, green plant people taking over the Pacific Northwest," you know it’s got something to say. I took the pumpkin by the green, stemmy thing and read the comic. Here are my thoughts.
I’ve been reading Binary Gray, the new digital (and paper) comic from Assailant Comics. I’ll give you some background about what it’s all about (in case you don’t know). Our fearless hero, Alex Gray, is a nerd and Help-Desk Guy. Kind of a depressing life, really – he pines for the hot girl, doesn’t seem to have any friends, and is genuinely haunted by the fact that his dad died when he was a kid – he was killed by a super-villain, and Alex blames himself for the death, etc., etc., etc.
So . . . yeah. I’m not sure if I should be flattered or insulted, but my editor likes throwing the weird stuff at me. I like the weird stuff (much like Captain Hammer, but I digress), but man it can take work. It’s hard to figure out what the message was supposed to be versus what I got out of it versus what YOU might get out of it – especially if “it” is some crazy picture-only book of abstract ideas about “stuff.” And, “things” sometimes, too.
You know what I’m saying.
This comic is so cool. It’s got everything I like in a comic. (Well, almost – I guess cover art by Grimm Fairy Tales is too much to ask for – but still.) What, you ask, does this comic have?
I’m not sure if you remember, but, awhile back, I reviewed EGOs #1 (by Image Comics), and I liked it. The latest and greatest by the legendary Stuart Moore got my attention. I thought it felt a little Watchmen-esque (referring to the graphic novel, not the awful movie) in its mildly dystopic future. This comic series is about a group of superheroes (with relatively non-clichéd powers) coming together in a science fiction future on par with Mass Effect. Basically, this aging superhero tries to get a new “band” back together (the old band being mostly dead). He crosses several very shady lines, pisses off his wife (a very redeemable and nice character, I might add), and things happen.
Here we go. Another graphic novel. This one is something – I remain conflicted as I put finger tips to keyboard. I’ll give it a shot anyway, and we’ll see if this review makes any sense.
I just read Cogs and Claws – the latest and greatest by Jimmy Pearson (writer) and Brian Bennett (illustrator). The Brian Bennett side of the fence is, without a doubt, impressive. He pencils some of the most complex and ridiculously detailed images I’ve seen in some time. Just sayin’.
Have you seen the Jim Henson’s Storyteller series? It’s a TV series from the '80s, and it is awesome. Puppets, fairy tales (the dark ones), John Hurt, and the dog from Fraggle Rock. Basically, the premise is that back in the day, the Storyteller was always given a free meal close to the fire to tell his tales – often with lessons hidden inside. Then, John Hurt would go on and tell a tale with puppets and people that often led to tragedy. The tales were sometimes reminiscent of modern fairy tales (although I can’t think of an example). In short, the TV show was like The Muppets meets Dark Crystal with Dark Ages morality. Cool stuff. Freaked me out as a kid.
So, my editor was all, “Jack, you suck. You need to review more comics,“ and I was all, “Yeah, editor, but Destiny is so good, and I have virtual friends now!” Then, my editor was all, “I don’t care, Jack – write this review.”
So, that’s why I’m writing this review. Good story, right?