Thursday, September 3, 2015

Weekly Review - Plutona, We Stand on Guard, Silver Surfer & Jupiters Circle

I decided to do something a little different for my weekly review of comics that are currently available to the public. I tend to binge read my comics on release day if I haven't reviewed them early. I always save a couple of my favorites for release day so that I can read them on paper rather than the digital review copies I receive from the labels. I tend to read debut issues digitally before release so that I can let you know what I think. I was thinking last night that it makes much more sense to write up a little weekly review of the books I subscribe to. I will warn you this article will contain SPOILERS because these issues have already been released.

Plutona #1

Last night I started my night off with Plutona by Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox. Image Comics is calling Lenox an amazing new comer but I don't see her as being a new comer at all. Certainly not to the artistic world. Image has collected her comic EmiTown back in 2011 and I remember it pretty well. Anyway, here she has teamed up with one of my favorite writers, Jeff Lemire. This time he's telling a different kind of superhero story, one who's focus is on children rather than the heroes themselves. The issue starts out by giving you a glimpse of what each child is dealing with at home and at school. The awkward social interactions between the kids, who I presume to be around 13-15 years of age (because a couple of them are more at that rebellious stage), happens to be exactly what grabbed me and sucked me in. I wasn't a fan of school as a child. It wasn't a pleasant experience for me for the most part but I found myself sympathizing with all the kids in the story, even the bully who you suspect hasn't had the best home life.

The story was actually written by both Lemire and Lenox which is perhaps why it doesn't feel at all to me like the average Lemire story. It has a lighthearted and grounded feel. It's direct and to the point. When was the last Lemire story you read that felt like that? um... hmm.... um... I'm drawing a blank. It starts to feel more like a Lemire story when the kids stumble on a fallen superhero. I told myself I wasn't going to add any more series to my subscription list until the new years... but I have to make an exception for this one. I absolutely love the artwork and the tone of this issue. I have to give it FIVE STARS for being outstanding, bittersweet and original. I'm adding it to the sub list.

We Stand on Guard #3

I was pretty taken aback with this issue. Brian K Vaughan has always been known to push the boundaries of what your brain is willing to deal with in terms of uncomfortable situations (that's the understatement of the year, seriously). But here... here I was shocked

If you've already read this issue, I bet you're wondering the same thing I first pondered: Why, when there is a female prisoner, does the torture always becomes sexualized? Every time I see the portrayal of women in uniform, be it military, law enforcement, etc, the violence is always sexualized. In this issue of We Stand on Guard, the leader of our Canadian Rebellion has been captured by the US and set to torture. Cruel torture which is implemented by means of virtual reality. This meaning that she's not really experiencing her face being lit on fire, but she thinks she is. This allows the torturers to do it over and over again because she's simply not going to die. The future ladies and gentlemen... Yet the story quickly takes a nose dive for me and hits the ultimate point of horror when the interrogation techniques fail to provide the interrogators with the whereabouts of the rebel base (all Empire Style right?). So the lady in charge uploads a new interrogation tactic which presents the image of her father to the subject who then proclaims that he will "make love to her forever". Yeah I'm feeling sick too.

This is what Vaughan is good at. Its thought provoking but perhaps not in the way you'd assume. I started analyzing in my mind why it always has to get sexual with a female prisoner. My mind settled on one answer: because it probably would in real life too. So I thought about whether this tactic would be used on a male prisoner and I thought, yeah it probably would. So why didn't Vaughan write THAT into the story. Would he have even thought to write that torture tactic if the leader of the Canadian troops had been male and not female? Probably not. Even though a male character in the same position would have been equally as vulnerable and defenseless, Vaughan would likely have written a typical torture story of arm slicing and amputation. I really can't see him writing a male prisoner as being seconds away from being raped by his father. That's when I started getting kinda angry about the sexualized violence in media, comics... everything, AGAIN. I get angry about it a lot.

Thankfully, the prisoner gave up before we had to see THAT event unfold in the story. It didn't do much for most of us as the thought was already out there and the artist might as well have drawn the whole horrific event as far as I'm concerned. That's not to say it wasn't completely a compelling point to make about the future of interrogation tactics lol. I can totally see the US military doing this. So much more effective than waterboarding... all I'm saying is that, if the character were male, do you think the interrogation scene would have been written that way?

Silver Surfer #14

My heart. Dan Slott and Mike Allred have my heart. This issue is just so adorable the whole way through. It's so cute to see Dawn struggle with the idea of rebuilding a world she barely knew. Most of all I love the ending. Just when everything is going swimmingly, it's just all too perfect for our surfer. CRISIS.

Unfortunately for you, I really don't have anything to complain about with Silver Surfer (do I ever?). I love the series and I'm really glad that it's surviving all this Battleworld nonsense (I don't even like Doom). The artwork in this series is still fabulous as always and I keep daydreaming about a hardcover edition being published at some point because I need it to sit next to my collection of Madman and X-force(X-Statix) collection.

Jupiters Circle #6

Okay let me talk about one more. I'm following the prequel to Jupiter's Legacy because I really like Mark Millar's books. I actually don't know anyone else reading this and haven't been able to discuss it with anyone. I haven't completely got a good grip on what anyone anywhere else thinks of the series. All I can tell you is that I think the first book (issues 1-6) have been pretty fabulous. It's kinda like Madmen with capes... and superpowers. Everyone is smoking, the men are behaving poorly, the women are treated more-so like objects (even the super ones) by the men and homosexuality is not acceptable. If you didn't realize, this is the story of the parents from Jupiter's Legacy. They are young and fighting crime. They also really, really suck at relationships.

Issue six marks the ending of Book 1, but it's not over. Millar has more coming our way and I hope Frank Quitely continues to do these amazing covers. I posted on instagram yesterday saying "If you can't get Quitely to illustrate a series on time for you, then get him to make covers. Fucking, Amazing, covers!!" Look, I just quoted myself. I think I'm done here.

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