05th Jun2013

Comics Round Up – Razorjack, Death Sentence and more!

by Jack Kirby

Comics-2

Razorjack, John Higgins, Titan Comics

John Higgins was the colourist on such well-regarded titles as Watchmen and The Killing Joke and series such as Hellblazer and Judge Dredd, as he keenly informs us on the kind of egotistical introduction to Razorjack, a book he has written, pencilled and coloured all by himself. Razorjack is some kind of nude alien demon woman from a dimension beyond our ken. For similarly vague reasons, she wants to come to earth and get all up in humankind’s grill. I guess that’s what creatures what are evil do. Standing in her way are the cops Frames and Ross.

This first volume was pretty wacky and not really in a good way. The story was not very coherent and I didn’t really care about the characters. And I mean, you’ve got to like at least one of those two things to like any work of fiction. I also thought the art was kind of cheesy and pretty dated looking. So yeah, not a whole lot going for it, I’d say. The single biggest criticism has to be the incoherence – if you at least make your story reasonably clear, then there’s a decent chance the reader will engage with it. I guess this is why comics are generally a collaborative medium.

Football Crazy, Craig Daley, CD Comics

Having said that, here’s a more interesting prospect created by just one person. Like Meadowhell (reviewed here), it’s an offbeat murder mysterious, illustrated fairly simply with some sly humour thrown in. We follow the heroic FA Cup exploits of Sheffield United. Unfortunately, after each game, the man of the match ends up being totally murder-ised. Can the rozzers identify the serial killer before the killing spree totally derails the cup run?

The streak of oddball humour that runs through Football Crazy like a cultured European creative midfielder on a lately greased pitch serves the book very well. It’s absurd but there’s a curious logic to proceedings – not that you’re likely to identify the killer and his motive prior to the final reveal, but you’ll have fun guessing. The slew of cheeky references and playful lampooning of the ridiculous world of football are also very enjoyable.

Death Sentence, Monty Nero, Mike Dowling, Titan Comics

This comic comes with a buzz around it generated by some very positive verbiage by Mark Millar. Set in London, it posits a reality wherein unprotected sex can lead to contracting the G-Plus virus, which gives those who have it six months to live, but also super powers. In this first issue, we’re introduced to graphic designer Verity, shambolic rock star Weasel and celebrity bad boy (as I believe they’re referred to in the trade) Monty (funny how one of the protagonists shares his name with the writer eh?). All three have recently contracted the virus and we see how this affects their lives.

This was quite interesting, to a point. Weasel and Monty are fairly thinly veiled stand ins for Pete Docherty and Russell Brand types, which I didn’t think was particularly clever. Verity is much more interesting and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she’s the character that isn’t based on a real life person (or at least not a famous and obvious one). The sexual content of the comic feels a bit tacky and there to titillate rather than to serve the story. Still, as a whole it’s kind of engaging and I’d be fairly curious to see how the story develops.

Metal Made Flesh III: Flesh, Simeon Aston, Jeremy Biggs, Subversive Comics

And now for something completely different. Well, a bit different. This is an ‘illustrated novella’. Which is essentially a picture book. You get sixteen pages of prose accompanied by eight pages of pretty gnarly illustrations. It’s about an assassin guy who has to transfer his mind into the body of a robot child in order to get close to his target, a children’s entertainer. Also, it’s set in a future where aliens and spaceships happen and no one likes the humans.

So it’s kind of interesting. Without a load of speech bubbles and pretty pictures, the text is under much greater scrutiny than you’d normally give to a comic. It doesn’t always stand up; some bits are a bit corny and it does feel like the kind of territory that Philip K Dick would have stamped all over in his sleep decades ago. But still, new is always good and though I’m sure it’s been done before, I’d certainly not read anything in quite this format and I have to say I enjoyed the experience more than I expected to.

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