JLA Classified: New Maps of Hell

Written by Warren Ellis, drawn by Butch Guice, inked by Mike Stribling, coloured by Dave Baron, covers by the unforgotten nightmares of the 1980s

I struggled to get past the first few pages of this, felt totally scunnered by the pissy, huffy Clark Kent of the story’s opening.  I mean seriously, just take a look at this dick:

As someone who disdained the guy who ran our local comics/toy corridor for his enthusiastic blather about how Clark Kent/Superman represented a perfect combination of action and humility, patience and wit, even I can’t get behind this version of the character now.  The opening of this story, in which Clark throws a hissy fit when he gets fobbed off during a murder investigation, is one of those moments where you can feel the comics’ authors looking up you from the page, so sure of their superior intellectual position, of their mastery of facets of the adult world beyond the ken of your average comics reader that they want to look you right in the eye and teach you how to be a grown up.

The fact that this ascended mastery is demonstrated through the (metaphorical) detailing of Superman’s ironing arrangements is not supposed to concern us – somewhat remarkably, we are simply supposed to marvel at the fact that someone has actually thought about this shit!

So: don’t get me wrong, there’s much in this world to get angry at, I just expect this character to be a little more witty and subtle in his machinations. But no. Clark Kent, he’s a journalist right?  He’s a hard-ass, he’ll keep on pushing the point until something breaks, he probably drinks too much coffee and complains about being an old man with all the other technogoths down the pub at night, he’s… just another hack prick, basically.  Acht, it “makes sense” I guess, but not in a way I’m particularly interested in. Guice needs to take as much of the blame as Ellis for this, given that his Kent expresses his frustrations with the honking venom of a man who’s not shat right in weeks.

I was relieved when the plot started to happen, but alas, I can’t work up the enthusiasm of a Comic Book Resources reviewer…

The Faceless Mindless Collective are back and this time Patrick Meaney, film-maker and director of Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, is in reach of their terrible teeth in their terrible jaws.

Patrick’s new documentary, Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, focusses on the life and works of pop-comics very own futurologist, ‘Internet Messiah’, hard man auteur, and features extensive interviews with the man himself and a great many of his friends and collaborators. It’s well worth a watch even if you have only a passing interest in the guy behind Planetary, Transmetropolitan and the Authority.

Ellis turns out to be not just a true original, and maybe slightly scary, but also hugely loveable. Who knew?

We get stuck into it (Patrick, with our blunt fingernails) after the jump

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Yes, there is!  We talk about Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library # 20, also known as Lint.

lint

Then there’s some rambling chat about Mark Millar, Marvel Ultimate stuff, The Authority, Bryan Hitch, Warren Ellis, Freak Angels, The Boys, Garth Ennis, Unknown Soldier, Jesse Custer’s hair and white jeans,  Peter Milligan and Hellblazer. Then the battery ran out and we all went home to bed and it was all a dream.  Or was it?  Of course it wasn’t, you can hear it here:

Click to download