Talking Comics #2

March 11th, 2014

Talking Comics is a highly irregular feature where I try to review a few new(ish) books with the help of my phone’s voice recognition software.  It’s just like a regular comics review post except that it takes more mouth than fists to get it done on time, and is therefore far sexier than your average bloggy night on the town.

It’s also sort of like a bit of tech writing, except it’s even less useful to my future career as a failed magazine writer grumbling about social media in the corner of a pub on a cold Thursday morning.


Anyway, that’s enough warm-up for now.  Onwards, to the reviews!

The Deleted, by Internet Villain Brendan McCarthy and Darrin Grimwood

Sex Criminals, by Chip Zdarsky and Matt “Matt” Fraction

LOEG: Nemo: The Roses of Berlin, by Kevin O’Neill and Alan Moore

Battling Boy, by Paul Pope and Hilary Sycamore

Multiple Warheads – Down Fall, by Brandon Graham 

Dungeon Fun, by Colin Bell and Neil Slorance

That’s all we’ve got time for this week folks – don’t know if there’ll be any SILENCE! this week or not yet, but keep your eyes peeled because you never know what that amiable auld space god is capable of!

  • Welcome to England

Perhaps the most terrifying words ever read in a comic?

The Martian invaders, who Wells presents as being foul on a level deep enough to be both visceral and ontological, are upon facing a grinning English gentlemen made instantly sympathetic, as we realise we’ve been cheering for the wrong side all along.

This isn’t what the Martians are supposed to be. It’s one of Wells’ great tricks – they’re the bad guys that the reader is permitted on a planetary scale to Other and despise. It’s okay to revel in the violence of the conflict and the cruel irony of their demise. They’re not like us. They wouldn’t show you any mercy. They don’t belong here. It’s OK, you can hate them and enjoy their pain. It’s OK.

It’s not OK. From chapter 1 we’ve been presented with the Martians’ badness (they’re not even Martians! They’re not even from there! Not originally, not like the good Martians) as a simple, natural fact. So we cheer when they are chased off that planet. When these disgusting things arrive on ours, and treat those nice Wokingians exactly as generations of Englishmen have treated those they met as they set foot on shore, we are shocked and appalled and call righteously for vengeance upon them.

What if they just want somewhere safe to live?

It’s the final kick of the second book, hidden away in one small panel in the middle of the sequence that’s supposed to be giving us our final emotional catharsis. The scale of what Moore and O’Neill do in these panel isn’t to be underestimated – it’s something of a watershed moment in English literature – trumping Wells’ Woking, Larkin’s Slough and Morrissey’s seaside town they forgot to close down.  The repellent subject here withering under the poet’s red-hot glare is nothing less than England itself. The raw, fearful symbolism encoded in the imagery is unforgettable: the unleashed upper-crust, standing above England’s fetid carotid artery, physically devouring, digesting and delighting in the pain of this insect that thinks it knows about war and extinction, the gentleman so happy in their mutual immolation, their mingled ashes spread on the filthy red weed-choked water.

Come not to England ye monsters, ye Martians – there are plenty here already.

  • I Can See You!

Bobsy and I were worried that we’d make this ‘Best Of’ a bit too Hyde-heavy, but it seems somewhat inevitable that this would the case, given the crowd pleasing nature of the big ugly bastard. If we can’t all love our Id what can we love…?

Way back in the first volume of the League there was a moment that you just knew was going to have some repercussions later on down the track. Caught midway through some brutal black ops with Edward Hyde, the Invisible Man gets a brief glimpse at his bleak, black future. In the sequence, we cut to an infra-red heat image of Griffin, seen through Hyde’s animal eyes. With the simple words “What? What are you looking at?” right there and then you just knew that Griffin’s invisible chips were cooked. By Christ, we didn’t know how horrible his comeuppance would be in Book 2, but with the look of feral glint in Hyde’s eyes in the next panel we at least get a hint. It’s the look of a cat about to commence the hunt with it’s mouse prey.

The simple but effective juxtaposition of Hyde’s ‘I’m not blind you know‘ with the realisation of quite how far from blind he actually is, is classic Moore. No-one does horror in comics quite as well Uncle Alan, and when pared with an artist as subtle and talented as O’Neill the effects are devastating.

More classic classics after the jump