Bill Jameson on May 26, 2012
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Title: Judgment Day
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Rob Liefeld, Gil Kane, Rick Veitch, Chris Sprouse, Terry Dodson, Joe Bennett, Various Others
Publisher: Checker Publisher Group
Price: Out of Print, $5.99 Kindle Edition
Publisher’s Blurb: Following the success of his run on Supreme, acclaimed comics writer Alan Moore was given the opportunity to write a mini-series featuring an entire super-hero universe. The results were just as unpredictable and ingenious as his writing on his landmark work, Watchmen.
Review: Alan Moore’s run on Supreme was so successful for Rob Liefeld that he quickly asked Moore to continue and develop an entire line of comics for Liefeld’s new company Awesome Comics. Behind the scenes reading of Image’s inner-workings claim that Liefeld was kicked out of Image due to his hording of artists. But his business skills were persuasive enough for Moore to stay on as the writer for the new Awesome Universe.
The result was Judgment Day, a story that ended Liefeld’s original era of the Awesome Universe while establishing a massive expansive history. In many ways this is applying the same style of narrative that Moore used for Supreme, but now expanded to include everything in Larsen and Liefeld’s Awesome Universe. Moore in his insightful and angry interviews has stated that his disputes with DC prevented him from “fixing” the continuity forever. While knowing DC that “fix” may have only been temporary, Judgment Day is pretty much a great frame narrative story that uses its structure to allow a surge of stories that establish a massive new and comprehensible continuity for the Awesome Universe.
The main story involves the murder of Youngblood heroine Riptide allegedly by a drunk Knightsabre. In order to avoid a PR disaster the superhero community vows to privately try Knightsabre. Testaments by various superheroes help to reveal a vast expansive Superhero universe and a long history related to the murder.
Now, as can be noted by the Publisher’s Blurb up top, the publishers wanted to hype the idea that this was a worthy follow-up to Watchmen. But that remark is unfortunately the start of Moore being used as a brand name. I had heard about this book for a while now, and it has been generally regarded as one of the worst Alan Moore comics of all. Having read it I can safely say that the fault for such notoriety is solely on the artwork of Rob Liefeld.
Of the 25 artists who helped to draw Judgment Day Liefeld’s art is by far the worst. The best critique of Liefeld’s art comes from something Alan Moore said when asked about Liefeld’s art. “Obviously there’s something appealing about [Liefeld’s artwork] to the readers, but for me it looks lazy, there’s almost no backgrounds, all the characters look the same, it looks like there’s no involvement between the artist and the script he’s working with, there’s no backgrounds in the panels, just characters posing and gritting their teeth or looking resolute.” Reportedly Liefeld responded with, “Well, who cares about windows?” With the exception of cartoonists like Will Eisner, Frank Miller and Darwyn Cooke, the comics’ medium is a collaborative work and a writer or an artist can sully the other’s incredible work. Those aforementioned comparisons to Watchmen are a little apt as the writing of the comic screams of being much smarter than the artwork demonstrates. When I first saw Liefeld’s drawing of Glory I instantly was disgusted at how anatomically disproportionate it was and how misogynistic it felt in portraying women in such a way. The only artwork in an Alan Moore comic that has ever come close to this bad is the infamous Chuck Austen’s stiff blocky artwork on Miracleman. But when compared to Liefeld Austen seems a master of sequential artwork. I fear that because of this, it is quite likely no one will dare read Judgment Day which I feel is a great tragedy as it is a genuinely enjoyable read if you can accept poor artwork.
The rest of the Judgment Daytrade has very little do with the story but are tagged as such. In reality the remaining stories are some fun hints at where Moore was planning on taking the Awesome Universe. They are fun silver age feel stories drawn by much more talented artists then Liefeld. Wrapping up something that could have been much greater than what it amounts to.
Rating: 3/5, C
Bill Jameson on May 11, 2012
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Title: Supreme: The Story of the Year
Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Rick Veitch, Joe Bennett, Alex Ross, Chris Sprouse
Publisher: Checker Book Publishing
Price: Out of Print, $13.99 Kindle Edition
Publisher’s Blurb: The acclaimed Alan Moore run of Supreme is collected in trade paperback at last! This is the first of two volumes, and contains Moore’s ground-breaking The Story of the Year arc in its entirety. Checker adds a never before published Alex Ross cover to create the supreme graphic novel of the season.
Review: Alan Moore supposedly “left” comics for a good while after 1988. While this was in reality going off to do some independent works such as A Small Killing, Moore was out of the mainstream for a while. By the time he got back in 1992 the world of mainstream superhero comics had changed. The Image Rebellion had begun and an age of grim and gritty comics began to dominate the market (and still partially do). Despite Moore and Frank Miller being credited for ushering in the Dark Age of comics for their respective work on Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, Moore (and Miller) both were quick to dismiss this ultra-serious dark tone to superheroes.
Moore quickly tried to rectify this with a mini-series called 1963, which was Moore’s tribute to Marvel Comics. While this was being written Moore was being approached by everyone at Image to write for their respective series. To everyone’s surprise he settled for working on Rob Liefeld’s Supreme. Supreme was a thinly veiled Superman who was more of a caricature of the Man of Steel who in 30 issues of Liefeld’s series had done nothing but be a psychotic violent version of Superman. Moore pulled the same trick he did on Marvelman/Miracleman, Swamp Thing and Captain Britain by having the character learn everything in the past did not happen. This time around though there was a self-awareness at changes being made in continuity. Moore quickly created an elaborate, intricate and fun new universe for Supreme where he was a meta-textual commentary on Superman and comics itself.
The meta-moments of Supreme seem a little overly familiar and cliché in this day and era, yet they work very well in being an entertaining commentary on the “brilliantly stupid ideas” as Moore puts it of 60s Superhero comics. The cynicism of Moore’s most popular DC Superhero work is not here, this tribute shows a man who loves superheroes. In fact Moore mocks himself as the alternate identity of Supreme writes the comic “Omniman” and has to deal with an obnoxious British comic writer named Billy Friday who wants to include rape scenes and killing the entire supporting cast.
Many have stated that this was the best Superman series being written at the time, and it still stands as one of Moore’s most pure fun series of all time.
It’s worth noting that the artist of the series is a revolving door term, as rarely does an artist return for more than one issue. Yet this isn’t as troubling as one might suspect because the majority of Supreme: The Story of the Year has Golden/Silver/Bronze Age flashbacks all drawn by former Swamp Thing artist Rick Veitch. Veitch’s talent as an artist is prominently displayed as the backstory Golden Age/Silver Age are lush reminders of how fun and charming comics are supposed to be.
Overall, it may not be the best work ever by Alan Moore, but it certainly some of his most purely fun comics ever written.
Bill Jameson on May 2, 2012
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Publisher Name: Icon Comics (Subprint of Marvel)
Publisher Website: http://marvel.com/
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Lenil Francis Yu
Publisher’s Word: In A World Where Pickings Are Slim And The “Heroes” Are Everywhere. Now, With Little Left To Lose, He’s Convincing His Pals That Their Last, Best Hope Lies Overseas. But Will Culture Shock Get To Them Before The Policأa Do? Continuing The High-Stakes Escapade From The Creative Team That Brought You Superior!
Reviewer’s Thoughts: Fans who read Millar and Yu’s previous collaboration Superior may have been surprised at how light and upbeat the book was. Superior had weaknesses in story, but it was mostly compensated by fantastic passion in the writing and artwork. This time around in Supercrooks, Millar is clearly writing in more familiar territory. While Millar is fun to read for his superheroes, he is probably even better at writing anti-heroes and supervillains. Supercrooks #2 avoids becoming too heavy handed or bogged by slow pace and embraces itself as a high concept mini-series. I admit that while reading the first issue I felt that this book was going to be very disappointing as it seemed to be too obviously Ocean’s Eleven meets Wanted. But luckily Millar picks up the pace and introduces a series of fun character moments and begins hinting at the heist which will presumably taking up the second half of the series. Despite some gaping plot holes that Millar somewhat explains away Supercrooks is turning out to definitely be a worthy succesor to the pure fun that was in Superior.
In regards to the art Lenil Francis Yu is clearly a master at storytelling creating some dynamic action scenes and good expressions on the characters. My one complaint with him is some of the characters look a little too similar to each other at times. But other than that this is some great writing that is only sweetened with a fantastic artist.