And I agree, I'm really enjoying the back and forth we have going on the issue. I think it's really made for a better reading experience.
And I agree, I'm really enjoying the back and forth we have going on the issue. I think it's really made for a better reading experience.
I used to. It's funny. I never really paid any attention to art until I started doing these review threads. Now I'm spoiled to the point that I can't truly appreciate an amazingly well written story without the right artist to bring it to life.Perhaps you're right, it could have been better if the visuals had more impact but for my part I tend to enjoy the text in a comic more than the art in many cases and I felt the narrative really conveyed the emotion so strongly that I perhaps glossed over the short comings in the art.
As with the Frankenstein experience, I envy your ability to enjoy this for what it is.
I'm slowly turning that way, recently I bought Age of Reptiles and it's all art and no text. It's a book that's way out of my comfort zone but it's teaching to really appreciate visual storytelling far more than I ever have before.
Man, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who fell behind. Work has been particularly grueling this week so I haven't had the chance to read any more Electric Warrior, never mind write about it. I hope to be able to get back on track soon, but my schedule might make it difficult.
With a little luck, I'll be reviewing again as soon as tomorrow.
With a little less luck, it could be another week...
Depending on how fast my errands go tomorrow I could get some quality time as I don't work until 2, but we'll see. I like to be pretty relaxed when I write and I just haven't been able to find that zone lately.
Electric Warrior #9
writer: Doug Moench
pencils/co-plotter: Jim Baikie
inks: ? Marcos
letters: Todd Klein
colors: ? Hoolahan
It's obvious that Doug was quite proud of this issue. After 8 issues of build-up, his responses in the letter column seem positively giddy with silliness, even the credits at the beginning are bolder than usual, and let's not forget that front cover caption promising "The REAL first issue!"
I wish I felt it.
This actually wasn't a first issue, but more of a "just-before-the-first-issue" story, ending with the introduction of the protagonist we've waited eight long months to meet and still no real understanding of who or what he is beyond the obvious. Somehow, the pages upon pages we spend in Two Shadow's head prior to this point, replaying his past and exploring the odd sensations in his present, don't add up to the supremely pissed off anti-hero that shows up at the end. It makes sense on paper that he'd be this angry, but I felt none of that rage building up throughout all of this.
Certainly, Baikie's art was no help. Oh, he tried to go surreal and expressive, but it largely didn't work. I suspect the few truly expressive panels (the machine grinding out Dereks and the final Electric Warrior shrouded in shadows) were prescribed by Moench's script, as they did not fit the generally grounded and inexpressive visuals Baikie was providing otherwise. Sadly, asked to show the inner mental workings of a man machine, Baikie seemed able to do little more than conjure sad imitations of Tron.
And the actual look of our Eternal Warrior at the end -- blech. And I thought 9-03 had looked silly.
Beyond all this though, what truly frustrated me about this issue was that, by the end, I still wasn't sure who our main character was. The issue is shown from Derek's perspective, but the final being we meet acts nothing like him, and Moench adds the (probably intentionally) confusing narration of:
"9-03 lives again, his spark of humanity completely doused, within the dead metal shell of Derek Two-Shadow"
We could have had eight more pages to get to know the character after that, but the story stops short on that note and then offers us a forgettable back-up story about the legacy 9-03 has left with the Zigs. I don't know whether this was done to give Baikie catch-up time (Moench clearly indicates that he's struggling to meet deadlines in the letter column) or because Moench wanted to tease us further.
Either way, 9 issues in, I still feel that we haven't hit the first issue, and it's finally beginning to bug me.
- We learn a lot about Derek's past life in this issue, perhaps most significantly learning that Rektek was a father figure to Derek throughout his boyhood (not previously implied) and that Simon was like his brother. While I'd been far more interested in learning about Derek's early days as a Zig, we didn't learn anything by seeing this that wasn't already obvious (no binded head, mom wanted something better for him). However, the minor parallel between Derek's mom and Quintana, both wishing to spare Derek from "binding" was probably the only evocative moment in the entire issue.
- It would have been a nice move to show a non-self aware 9-03 present at some point in Derek's flashback to his early days, running from the 'leks.
- It's beginning to seem like that "heart" from 9-03 that Kinsolving is carrying around is going to become important later on. It's certainly getting an inordinate amount of attention , even more so than the actual grief Kinsolving is feeling.
- I feel like Moench is working far too hard to keep Zeedle and Janda in the story. Their single panel appearance in this issue felt very forced.
- When Marder calls his engineer "Techno" on page 17, it got me thinking for the first time that the class system of this society may be based upon your ability to utilize technology. Perhaps the "Techno" Cluster (upper class) is called this because they all work as various types of engineers to keep the city running. Of course, this would contradict the implications 9-03 made in his debate with Quintana that there was no true reason why one group was on top and another on the bottom.
- Within one page of attaining consciousness for the first time, our new hybrid protagonist instantly realizes that "somebody preserved my mind." Just like 9-03's initial moments of consciousness, this feels a bit too rushed and artificial. Why would he have such a clear understanding of what is happening to him right away?
In the end, this really wasn't the issue I'd hoped for. Hopefully, the next one will be.
Last edited by shaxper; 04-13-2012 at 09:46 PM.
Well, my few weeks of Hell are over with. What's your schedule looking like, Guardian? I'd love to get back to these.
Visually the ninth issue started out pretty strong, I really enjoyed the contrasting black and red of the new Lek armor and the digitized image of Two-Shadow's mind being integrated with the technology but sadly that impression didn't last, neither in the art nor in the narrative itself. I'm not opposed to comics with a preponderance of text, as I've mentioned before I tend to enjoy the words more than the art when it comes to comics, but here in this issue it was a little too much. It just seems like a lot of filler and you can't escape the feeling that the text is just an info dump to quickly lay down exposition, and don't get me wrong every story needs a little exposition but it needs to be delivered in moderation ad in a way that doesn't detract from the pacing of the plot. Neither of those two conditions were met in regards to this story, it was far from moderate and it brought the fast pacing of the previous issues to a screeching and almost painful stop.
Lest this becomes too negative there were some elements besides the cover and the title page I did enjoy, namely the parallels between Two-Shadow's mother, Quintana and Kinsolving. The way they were all set up as mothers to Two-Shadow's current state was an interesting concept and a strong reminder about how good this comic can be when it does find its balance. At first I thought that perhaps it was setting up for the reveal that Kinsolving was Two-Shadow's mother due to how it alternated between the two characters and I was excited by that prospect but I think ultimately the three women being separate entities will be much better for the story in future issues as that kind of connection between Two-Shadow and 09-03 would probably feel a little too clichéd in the long run.
...But then it's back to the negativity. It's superficial I know, but I liked the black/gray and red armor on the cover far more than the technacolor monstrosity in the interior. For some reason I can accept green and purple as working for Lex Luthor's armor but not on the hybrid 09-03/Two-Shadow, it just seemed kind of silly. On top of that I didn't care for how fast he gained sentience...but I suppose it was silly to think it would be more subtle with Two-Shadow as the development of sentience in 09-03 had been a continual short-falling for me in most of the previous issues.
With all said and done this was easily the worst issue so far, with a rating of a D, but still I think there is real promise in the story. So even though this issue was a bit of a chore for me to slog through I hold out hope for the rest of the story and look forward to see it shine again.
Nah, it'll just take a little bit to get used to. I just accepted a new position at work which means longer hours and as I've discovered there is a definite learning curve to finding a balance between work and home life.
Electric Warrior #10
“Two Shadows, Both Loaded”
writer: Doug Moench
pencils: Jim Baikie
inks: Pablo Marcos
letters: Todd Klein
colors: Nancy Hoolahan
editor: Doug Moench
Well here's the real first issue. Doug promises this for the second time and, this time, I feel he's correct. He also indicates that DC put forth extra effort at his request to solicit this issue, and while that sounds like a good thing, it also suggests to me that the book is not doing well. And, after all, it will be canceled in only nine more issues.
As for the issue itself, I REALLY enjoyed it. Things are finally, truly happening, and a sense of maddening gleeful destruction pervades as our new protagonist struggles with his delight in destroying (seemingly with good reason and to further good causes, though this is questionable), Marder's government truly begins to topple, the Zig rebellions begin to escalate, Quintana's mind is snapped, and Amber Brightstar appears to have killed herself. Powerful desctruction all around, and it was exhilarating and liberating to watch so much of the corrupt structure of ths series premise topple in this issue, yet it left me with the same guilty questioning conscience that haunts Derek. Certainly, that final haunting moment, in which he pursues Kinsolving (out of love, we presume) but then refers to her as “bitch” and indicates he only wants back the piece of 9-03 she possesses, floored me and left little doubt that all is not well – this destruction is not a good thing, and our protagonist is in grave moral danger.
Unfortunately, Baikie's art is really starting to bug me. Not only is his inexpressiveness holding back a damn powerful issue, but even his faces are starting to annoy me. Everything feels a little clumsy and awkward. He's holding back the book.
On a related note, in the letter column, Doug indicates that both Aztec Ace and Slash Marauder are on hold due to the artists' inability to attend to the books on a monthly schedule. We saw this happen with Ploog on Planet of the Apes as well. I've commented before on my understanding that Doug was always particularly kind and giving in working with his artists, and I wonder now if he didn't get taken advantage of for that reason. In this book, Baikie keeps getting co-creator credits for doing very little and meanwhile turns in C to D level artwork while lagging behind on deadlines. Moench's work deserves better than this.
Love the first page, explaining in great visual detail how Derek's face was reconstructed though, again, Baikie's pencils are far too literal in depicting this, completely missing the emotional componant that Moench was inevitably going for in beginning with Derek's surgical death and rebirth.
So Prime electric Warriors are Blue, the next best ones are Red, and 9-03's blue/gray group appeared to be bottom of the line.
Marder indicates that part of the reason for wanting cyborg leks was that the cost to maintain regular leks was too high, yet 9-03 indicated to Kinsolving that he required no maintenance. I would think the delicate interactions between biology and hardware would require MORE maintenance, especially as organic material ages. Remember, 9-03 had been in service for over 200 years.
Silver Simon is finally getting a major role to play as a Zig leader and co-conspirator with Marder's political opponents, and now with cyborg primmies following him.
Watching Derek relive 9-03s first moments of consciousness with Kinsolving was an absolute highlight of this issue, though no mention of the initial red dreams are made. 9-03's awareness now appears to have begun with Kinsolving “sparking” it by confronting him and commenting on his small act of sympathy toward a dead zig by straightening its leg.
Derek reconfigures his wrist blaster to autodestruct other Ews without even actively considering it and then kills three without even looking at them. Bad-ass.
Zeedle, Janda, and Astronomer Drax all still feel superfluous to this title. When will they earn meaningful roles in the story?
GREAT issue overall, but Baikie's pencils are still holding it back, and Hoolahan's colors are still too bright and primary as well, fighting the dark tones Moench paints in his script.
This one had another interesting cover, as an image it's perhaps more than a little predictable but thought provoking none the less as you read the issue.
The opening page is even more thought provoking than the cover however, I don't think I've ever seen such a page as this in any book I've ever read. Sure many books have given character lists, but the paragraph before that and the way it stressed that this issue was being heavily promoted to drum up new readers was unique. I wonder what the numbers for the preceding issues were like? From our point in the future we know it gets canceled after a few more issues, but at the time how pressured did Moench and Baikie feel? If this opening is any clue I'd guess they were pretty stressed. None of this has anything to do with the issue at hand of course, it's just one of those things that you stumble across when reading old back issues that really gives you some food for thought.
To start with, I'm unconvinced by Marder's claims that the old Lek's were more expensive to maintain. As we were told by 09-03 earlier in the series Lek's require few tune ups and derive their energy from breaking down waste material, and even if their development costs were exorbitantly expensive their long life spans would seem to be sufficient enough to defer such costs. To me then this means Marder must be trying to deceive Derek, or possibly keep the other scientists from discovering the truth of the astronomer's mysterious discovery. Which, as if the length of time its remained a secret from the readers wasn't enough, really begs the question of what the threat could possibly be. What knowledge could be be so dangerous enough so as to require even top scientists like those working on the new Lek project to be kept in the dark? I hope we're clued in soon as at this point I'm nearly losing interest in what it could possibly be and its running the into threat of being anti climactic if it doesn't seem to be worth the long wait.
There were some other interesting issues raised as well, for one I really liked how Moench summarized the events of the that lead to 09-03's freedom and started the ball rolling for the story. Moench was able to make the recap both informational for new readers while not being to heavy handed for the older readers, which was no small task though I wish it also provided more information about Derek as well as 09-03. Also of interest was the duel ends of Amber and Quintana, both due to Derek; one through choosing the city over her and other through the revelation of what choosing the city really meant. I don't know if Quintana is really as finished as Amber seemed to be but I think that would be a suiting end for both.
In many ways this really does feel like a first issue, just as promised. It recaptures that energy that had been lacking in the previous issues, it has that feeling of newness and wonder that really compels you to read on. I'm really excited to see what happens to the transformed primmies and how Simon's rebellion unfolds and I'm hoping that Derek re-learns some of the humanity that Kinsolving taught 09-03.
So it seems the future is bright for the story even though we know it comes to a premature ending, which is important as I don't think I could have slogged through many more issues like the last one. This one gets a well desreved A- for me, it really invigorates the series and proves a much needed fresh start.
I'm not really sure what to make of this issue, it certainly wasn't as good as the previous issue but it but it wasn't the chore to read that some of the poorer issues have been. It's funny to think about, considering this is the eleventh issue, but in may ways this issue shared many of its faults with an affliction commonly known as Second Issue Syndrome in that it suffers due to an excessive amount of exposition that was left out of the fast paced first issue.
Considering the fact that the last issue was in many ways the real first issue I suppose that comparison makes sense and is a contributing to my feelings that this is an issue of middling quality. The exposition isn't really all that bad(though finding a perfectly labeled neurology section in an otherwise dilapidated library was more than a little hamfisted) it was just that it was far too much for a single issue and it seriously bogged down the pacing. This is perhaps a common failing in the story, whether it's due to a tight deadline, a failure to convey subtly in the art or editorial infringement I'm not certain but the book consistently favors dumping everything on the reader at once rather than letting it be slowly teased out as the plot unfolds. That was the problem I had with 09-03's humanity before and now it's the issue I have with nuTwo-Shadow's mental instability, rather than letting the split halves of his mind become evident with further issues he self diagnoses himself and then we get to learn about the disorder through pyscho-babble in the library. The notion of separate selves searching fr unification is thought provoking but the delivery is just too abrupt.
There were other less disappointing developments however, they built a new super-Lek, one who was untampered with. His introduction makes me wonder which Primmie he is, have we met him before or is he just a random villager. How will he react to Simon and Derek? He presents a serious wild card and I'm really interested in where they go with him. The further development of Simon is also something to note, he made it clear he's only in with the Techo's planned rebellion so long as it fits his plans, but what are those plans? At this point I find that to be a more compelling mystery than the threat to the planet.
And lastly, and sadly: neither Amber nor Quintana actually died. I don't really see what more either character can bring to the story and I find both of their continued existences to be slightly annoying.
All of that sounds more negative than I actually felt, but as much as I disliked the infodump that this issue was I did enjoy some of the new plot threads it introduced and I look forward to seeing them play out. Perhaps because of that promise I'm being too generous but I'd give this issue a B.