02nd Oct2013

Bluewater Comics: Review Round-Up Vol.1

by Mark Allen

bluewater-comics-header

An assortment of comics from a publisher I haven’t previously been aware of can be a promising sign occasionally. The rest of the time there’s usually a pretty good reason I didn’t know they existed.

Fame: Neil Gaiman is an illustrated biography of Gaiman, fantasy writer and easily-googleable man. It’s hard to picture exactly why this comic exists: full of factoids that seem to the result of a quick scour of his Wikipedia page (did you know Gaiman’s been on the Colbert Report?) and a thick, sketchy art style that I could only get on with when it was aping the characters from Gaiman’s work – though to Gerratana’s credit he does a fine Princess Mononoke – it seems like the kind of book handed out to young kids at a library and is something of a stodgy read. The cover’s lovely, though.

There are a few comics in this bunch I can make neither heads or tails of, and Logan’s Run: Rebirth #3 is one of them. Something of an odd choice to be sent out for review on its own without the context of the first two issues, I found myself half-figuring out the plot but being so put off by the Microsoft Paint-ish art, non-existent pacing and cringeworthy dialogue. Again, the cover is the best thing about this book, but Logan’s Run looks like Maus compared to Lou Ferrigno: Liberator #2, which is exactly as bad as it sounds. The conclusion to an adaptation of a movie I’ve never heard of, the former Incredible Hulk star’s superhero action story is chock full of clunky, clanking exposition from people I didn’t give a shit about, a plot that stumbles from one scene to the next without a clear sense of causality or story and art that never quite manages to make any of its subjects look anything approaching human. Oh, and a guy who looks exactly like Two-Face flies a jet pack for some reason or another.

Slightly easier on the eyes was Jesus E. Lee Volume 1: World’s Ending (B&W Edition), a supposed “dark comedy” following the exploits of the titular Lee, a superpowered behemoth doing the Lord’s work by punching shit really hard. The four issues and accompanying ephemera collected here never let up the insane pace and batshit crazy heroics, but it tired me out before long and the writing isn’t nearly as funny or clever as it thinks it is to something this knowingly broad work without getting irritating. The preview in Orion the Hunter #0 had some enjoyable artwork (kind of a second-rate Art Adams or Frank Quitely – not that that’s a bad thing) and a bait-and-switch conceit that was reasonably engaging until I realised it was the same derivative “Greek gods reimagined in modern dress” pap that we’ve seen a million times before. I say “modern dress”; really I mean “Hermes is allowed to look like a surfer douchebag but the unnamed, mute goddess at the end of the preview has to wear most revealing, oversexualised bit of cloth possible”. Funny how I get those two mixed up.

If I was to offer one constructive criticism that covered all of these books it would be to fire Bluewater’s current editorial staff and hire a new team. There might be problems inherent in the stories and creatives involved in these books, but school-level grammar and spelling errors (it’s LOSE, people, not f#&%ing LOOSE!), messy design work and a lack of narrative guidance in many of the books speak to either a lack of enthusiasm for the work they’re doing or simply incompetence, neither of which is acceptable if Bluewater wants to be perceived as a professional company.

 

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