Right along I've thought it would be interesting to try and find away to E-Mail Doug Moench about Electric Warrior, and now knowing that it came to a premature ending the urge is even greater. I wonder what his thoughts on the book are looking back on it?
I rarely write fan-mail but this might be worth doing.
Certainly worth a try, my search for a fan mail address or a twitter account yielded nothing.
Not to spoil things, but to reassure and comfort: in the final issue's text pages, Moench addresses the "premature" conclusion. Fortunately, the situation seems to have been such that Moench did not need to force material in at the end; rather, even though there was more to the story to be told, the cancellation coincided with a climactic event that served as a perfectly fine conclusion.
Electric Warrior #4
writer: Doug Moench
artist/co-plotter: Jim Baikie
letters: Annie Halfacree
colors: Tom Ziuko
I have no idea why this is the title of the issue.
So this is the first issue in which Baikie was given some freedom in arranging the pacing of the story, though I really can't tell the difference. Once again, the story jumps across and between its three storylines (Marder/The Primmies/9-03), and once again, the jumping doesn't bother me because they are interrelated, just as the societies each storyline represents are interrelated in the grand scheme and affect one another. Moench seems to feel this jumping around is integral to the story, stating in the letter column that:
"...our real goal is indeed the interaction of all three. In fact, I'd say we're already well on our way toward interweaving our triple-threaded narrative into a single master tapestry."
And again, the main action of this story, in which the EWs begin rounding up Primmies for the big experiment and 9-03 takes a tour of the Warrens with two zigs holding him and Kinsolving hostage, isn't the true appeal of this issue. It's the conflicting ideologies, the inter-relationship between worlds, and the little commentaries. In this case, the moment in which a small zig boy hungrily waits for scraps to fall from the Techno level and is rewarded with a wine bottle to the head, killing him, was damn powerful. Coincidence that he was black? As always, the true power of good science fiction is its relevance to the world we live in.
Indeed, the entire tour of the Zig culture was powerful in this issue. Learning that acid is routinely poured down upon them, both as a form of fire suppression and (presumably) either to eliminate waste or quell insurrection, seeing just how close the extremely wealthy live to the extremely poor (they can toss things to one another), and even seeing the few Zigs who choose to work in the menial levels of the factories walking around with a false sense of pride, was shocking and powerful to the point that Derek Two-Moon's claim that the Technos once considered using the Zigs as food seems thoroughly believable, even though it's ultimately said to have been an urban legend.
Additionally, The Primmie method of defeating the EWs was clever and fun to watch. Moench always makes his action scenes clever as opposed to brutish. I respect that.
The minor details:
- 9-03 is still a tired cliche of a character, but he's a lovable tired cliche of a character. The fact that he could have taken down his kidnappers at any point but simply wanted the tour they were making him take was not at all shocking, but still created a little "awww" moment in my head. I know Moench has said he won't be the centerpoint of this series, but he is growing on me. However, his relationship with Kinsolving is not. If Moench were a formula writer, she'd die in the next few issues in order to take 9-03 in interesting new directions, but I never know what Moench is going to do in this series.
- Zeedle and Janda, the two Zig kidnappers, appear to have joined 9-03 and Kinsolving in their travels. A band of regulars is forming.
- Confirmed: Zigs wrap their heads to make it easier to sneak through small spaces.
- Ah, so there ARE other cities led by other magistrates, but they all appear to be white and English speaking. Intentional?
- The fictional slang word "slag," meaning "kill," is outright stolen from Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 AD.
- How convenient that there's suddenly a second city of Primmies, and that's the one the EWs attacked first.
- I still don't care about Derek's relationship with Amber Brightstar.
- She implies that the meaning of Derek's name is that his second shadow is "the shadow of his past in the city." Is she being clever, or is that really why he is named "Two Shadow"?
- Moench is holding Draxon's discovery from last issue annoyingly close to his chest. It was very frustrating when Marder finally decided to reveal it to Quintana and then left us out of the conversation!
- Two Shadow now has a gun that emits a frequency causing EWs to self destruct.
- The factories were built on the outer boundaries of the city. Perhaps this is where the middle class(es) reside.
- It looks more and more like my theory about what's being done to the Primmies is correct. They will be turned into Cyborgs.
- In the letter column, Moench recognizes by name a fan who wrote in to Master of Kung Fu. The more I learn about Moench, the more I'm convinced he's a nice guy, through and through.
Definitely my favorite issue, thus far. It kept up all it had already been doing right, minimized its faults (I liked 9-03 a lot better this time, and there was no stilted dialogue), the pacing and transitions between worlds felt maybe a little more fluid and, best of all, that portrayal of the Zigs (especially the small boy) really moved me.
Last edited by shaxper; 03-31-2012 at 10:27 PM.
I agree with Shaxper, this was probably my favorite issue so far. I was originally a little hesitant going into it, outside of say Jack Kirby and Mike Mignola my experience with artists taking the lions share of story telling has not been that great and I've never seen anything else by Baikie so I really had no idea how his turn at telling the story would go. My intrepidation was ill-founded though as he proved to he was more than capable of not only telling a story but also telling one that was seamless from the preceding issues. In fact, in a lot of ways I felt the transitions between the different story lines were actually an improvement over the last issues, they really flowed inti each other really well and created a much better reading experience.
I haven't talked a lot about the art so far, but I feel it bears doing for this issue. The unique design elements that Baikie brings to each zone in the story are incredibly well done, they each have a definitive look to their respective architectures and yet are similar enough that they don't feel like mismatched puzzle pieces; it's still a cohesive look. The new Primmie village is an excellent example of this, it's cliff side, pueblo indian look was really interesting to see and yet it didn't seem out of place in comparison to the village of Derek Two-Shadow. It was very believable that both villages belonged to the same culture despite being very unique from one another.
Beyond that though the highlight was the tour of the under city, right along the real selling point of this book for me has been the feeling of exploration and this issue had that in spades. The amount of insight we gained into the Zig culture was astonishing, in a single issue the Zigs went from a group of goons with little to distinguish them from your typical sci-fi cannon fodder to a society you truly sympathized with. I never really cared that the Zigs were being wiped out by the Leks until now, which really takes the drama in the book to a whole other level.
Over all, the new characterization of the Zigs, and the unfolding struggle of the Primmies really added another layer of richness to the story...and I didn't think there was really all that much room for improvement. I mean, sure 09-03 still bugs me a little but he's growing on me and his expanding cast of supporters is really interesting. So it's still not perfect but it's extremely well put together and I really enjoy reading it so far.
Definitely a sold A in my book.
Electric Warrior #5
"The Silver Savior"
writer: Doug Moench
art/co-plotter: Jim Baikie
letters: Anne Halfacree
colors: Nansi Hoolahan
How odd that, five issues in, we still don't have a real sense of what this series is about. Moench clearly has a distinct plan in place, and he even outright told us in the letter column to #3 that 9-03 wasn't the star of the series, and yet we're still not sure who that star will be, nor why the series is then called "Electric Warrior," and yet we're more than a quarter through the series (1/6th through the series Moench has initially planned to tell).
This issue chooses to shine the spotlight almost exclusively on 9-03 (even though he apparently is not the intended star of the series), and his character proves too shallow to handle the spotlight. He suddenly know about holo-videos humans watch (how?) and goes on and on about the love he feels for Kinsolving once she's been taken, but it all feels stilted and forced. 9-03 doesn't come across as a machine that has just gained sentience, nor does he come across as a well developed person. He's little more than a cliche reeling off lines and moving the action forward. As a result, this issue felt a little less intriguing than the previous ones.
I'm also lost on the characterization of Zeedle and Janda. Forcing 9-03 to bear witness to their plight last issue was the work of intelligent and intuitive people who think before they act. Their actions in this issue were far more impulsive and thoughtless. They seemed like desperate opportunists, and desperate opportunists don't take electric warriors on full tours of the city in order to persuade themto see their plight.
Still, I do like that the Zigs become a lot more real in this issue. We've felt their pain, but we also see that they are far from perfect, themselves, and will need to learn to help themselves before being helped by others. It's a mature and complex viewpoint. You can see why Marder and others like him feel justified in keeping the Zigs down, and you can also see how those actions cause their bad habits to perpetuate.
Similarly, the Primmie society begins to feel a little less ideal in this issue when they expel Derek Two Shadow from their meeting for arguing that technology must be used to hold back the EWs. Their blind adherence to their beliefs is nearly as damning as Marder's, with the major exception that they victimize no one but themselves in remaining slaves to their own version of truth.
So will Moench endeavor to provide us with any real answers in this series, or will it take a super powerful android warrior to solve society's problems?
The minor details:
- Does the acid burn the Zigs or not, because they seem to be standing exposed in it when 9-03 first appears to them?
- Still no clear explanation of what Marder is doing to the Primmies, though last issue heavily hinted at Cyborgs.
- Quintana programmed directly into the EW net without any supervision. I'm wondering if she left any "surprises" in the programming, perhaps an order for the EWs to leave Derek alone?
- Baikie's pacing in the moment when 9-03 whisks Zeedle and Janda away was darn powerful.
- But what are the chance he'd whisk them to EXACTLY where Derek Two Shadow was? Bad plot convenience!
- It's possible Baikie's panels in this scene are showing us that the wealthy people throwing the wine bottle down to the Warrens last issue were the middle class, as there appears to be a level above theirs. Perhaps everyone else is living well at the Zigs' expense, and this isn't a 99% thing. After all, this was written in the '80s, when the middle class was tasting an unprecedented amount of affluence.
- Electric Warriors have been around for at least 247 years (the age 9-03 claims to be). Assuming he is from the Series 4 line, EWs could be a lot older than that, thrusting this society upwards of more than a thousand years in our future.
- Mike W. Barr's "Meanwhile" column at the beginning of the issue was another fascinating one, in which he comments upon readers/collectors who buy major events and titles they don't enjoy because they feel they have to keep up, therefore sending a dangerous message to the comics companies. He then goes on to criticize the higher ups of pushing what sells over what is quality (I can't believe they let him write this). But, of course, readers of today are smarter than that, and Avengers vs. X-Men will be a quality tale that people will read for the strong writing and deep characterization.
So not as strong an issue as the previous ones. I feel like we wasted a lot of unnecessary time on 9-03 when we could have been moving the larger plot of the series ahead further or at least exploring the themes that have been introduced with more depth.
Last edited by shaxper; 04-02-2012 at 02:14 AM.
I haven't read 5 yet(probably will later tonight or tomorrow) but one thing I forgot to mention was that I really liked the close proximity between the Technos and the Zigs. When we first saw the Lek's blow out the support beams of that Techno building a few issues back I remember being disappointed then that it seemed that the city wasn't as layered as I would have liked, but the situation in issue four with the wine bottle and the small Zig really struck an emotional chord with me. The idea that the Technos live is such opulence with in sight of a class of people living in such soul crushing poverty really humanized the Zigs in a way that I don't think could be done through any other means and really helped me to sympathize with the Zigs.
That situation just made it very real to me in a way that's hard to explain. It was truly fantastic.
After the greatness of issue four the latest installment left a little bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. Gone were the sympathetic characterizations of Zeedle and Janda that so endeared me to the plight of the Zigs, and in their place was a shallow motivation of greed. It just seemed like a needless 180, in the last issue they seemed like decent people by the end of the issue but there was little sign of that to bee seen in this issue which was a big loss for the story.
That loss of empathy was compounded by a painful focus on 09-03, it's as if his stilted and unbelievable romance wasn't enough so they decided to tack on a tired Superman like clichéd personality as well. I found I had to really struggle with myself to actually read the sections focusing on him instead of just skimming over them, there was just little there to hold my interest.
The only real bright side to this issue was Derek Two-Shadow's plot line. His confrontation with the Primmie council was well done, again showcasing Moench's ability to realistically translate an argument into text. And as little as I care for the love triangle between Derek, Amber and the native American looking dude I enjoyed the confrontation Derek had with him.
Also of note was the way 09-03 whisked Zeedle and Janda away, the three long panels together created a real sense of movement that was fun to see.
Still overall this was the weakest issue so far. The book seems to be floundering in its direction at this point, but I have hope that the coming assault on the Primmie village an 09-03's attempt to save Kinsloving may help find that direction in the coming issues. With that said I give it a B-.
Electric Warrior #6
writer: Doug Moench
art/co-plotter: Jim Baikie
inks: Pablo Marcos
Todd Klein: letters
colors: Tom Ziuko
As I was picking up this issue to read for the first time, I made the terrible mistake of glancing at the cover of the issue beneath it. MWGallaher specifically warned me not to look at the covers since one contained a massive spoiler. Well, in looking at the cover to issue #7, I think I saw it.
And yet, so unlike Lott's wife, I feel rewarded for looking when I shouldn't have. That revelation cast a shadow over the events of this entire issue; it's amazing how much more powerful a memory feels when viewed in the context of the tragedy that ensued as a result of it. That moment you turned up the radio, not realizing it would distract you from the coming car that would hit you, that date you cancelled, never realizing it would be the last one, that last word you said to a person you couldn't have known you'd never see again -- this issue carried all of that for me.
And maybe it was there in the writing anyway. This is certainly an issue full of momentum and tragedies as 9-03 is pushed to become a full scale semi-remorseless avenger, Derek abandons the life he has worked so hard to believe in since he was nine years old, and the Primmies are all but wiped out. Powerful stuff with the stench of doom and endings hovering all around it.
Surprising, then, that we don't see Quintanna at all in this issue. I'd considered her a major player in this series (perhaps more important than 9-03) up to this point.
The final battle between the Primmies and the 'Leks (I should start calling them that, I suppose) is, of course, the most memorable moment in the issue. I feel that Baikie could have done more here, though. The 'Leks, stepping through the flames, and repeating "We seek your prime males--but not their blood" in unison, unphased by the tribe's best efforts to stop them, should have been terrifying, and Rektek's final fate should have looked more dramatic, as well as Simon Soaring's ensuing reaction.
Sure looks like my theory about the Cyborgs and Derek's relationship to 9-03 (specifically, the idea that they may already have been linked in some capacity or that they are fated to be joined in the future) is holding up thus far. Marder makes it clear that the only way to avoid the threat facing the planet is to have "leks with free wills (incidentally, Moench starts a contest in this issue, asking readers to predict what the threat is -- I have no clue), Zeedle and Janda observe that Derek reminds them of 9-03 ("...'cept he's colder 'n Lekkie-Boy."), and Derek is painting in red to the point that he runs out of the color, just as 9-03 dreamed in red.
So things are happening. Momentum has been found. And, while 9-03 still isn't the complex character we wanted him to be, I can't help but feel for him at this point and the descent he has taken into the role of enraged and morally compromised avenger. Certainly, the moment in which the Zigs looked up and realized he'd abandoned them after bringing them only one bounty was a tragic one -- his dream to be a savior to the Zigs may never be realized.
- We FINALLY get a clear glimpse of the Middle Class, and they do appear to reside in a middle level between the Warrens and the Techno sector. From the brief view we get of one man leaning out of his window to yell at 9-03, they seem relatively affluent. As stated in my previous review, that makes for a better parallel with the US economy in the 1980s, in which the middle class was experiencing unprecedented prosperity, even while the poor were becoming poorer. It's certainly not a parallel we understand well in today's economy.
- Page 4 - Jim Baikie's "replay" of the Net's "memories" of previous events was haunting. Nice job.
- Will Zeedle and Janda have a proper role in this series, or are they just going to play commentators and (perhaps) comic relief to the main action of the story?
- It's pretty obvious 9-03 has walked into a trap against which he has no defense. For a being that understands human cliches and is practically a tactical genius, you'd think he'd know better.
- Moench explains in the letter column that time constraints have forced him to return to writing near-complete scripts for Baikie to pencil instead of giving him the freedom to arrange much of it himself. I don't understand why time would be a factor unless Baikie was too slow at doing this. Moench clearly has experience writing multiple titles at one time, writing (I believe) upwards of something like 5-6 monthly titles at a time for Marvel a decade earlier.
- Moench echoes the sense I got from this issue that major changes are coming in the next two issues. He seems almost giddy with the knowledge of what's coming next.
Really strong issue. Maybe not as intelligent as the ones that came before, but it was darn exciting, and I think a momentum and change-filled issue like this one was overdue for the series.
Last edited by shaxper; 04-02-2012 at 12:15 PM.
Dangit! I just caught a glimpse of #8!!!! I didn't realize there was a spoiler there too! I have officially flipped over the entire stack so that I can no longer see any covers until it is time to read them.
Incidentally (and I swear this has no relationship to what I saw on the cover of #8...really...I swear...kinda'): I know Moench chose the names for the characters in this series very carefully, and I suspect he's been trying to draw a purposeful parallel between Derek and 9-03.
Well -- "Derek" rhymes with "'Lek".