Electric Warrior #11
"Ghost of Warriors Past"
writer: Doug Moench
pencils: Jim Baikie
inks: Dennis Janke
letters: Todd Klein
colors: Nansi Hoolahan
I'm trying to imagine how frustrating it must have been to have been reading this series as it was being published. I have the luxury of reading these issues as fast as thewhtguardian and I can find the time to do so and yet, 11 issues in, the series still hasn't found its center. I can only imagine how this would have felt after 11 months of following this series. At $1.50 an issue back in 1987, I can tell you with all certainty that I would have ditched this title by now. Reading in hindsight and at my own speed (and having paid only $1 an issue in 2012) I can afford to be a little more patient, and yet that patience is still beginning to wear thin.
Shouldn't we have a grasp on who our protagonist is by now? This issue attempts to explain it, but beyond the scene in which Kinsolving determines that he is alternating between the minds of Two Shadow and 9-03 and stuck in the past in both instances, our character's behavior does not match that explanation. Which character was on a murderous rampage and calling Kinsolving a "bitch" last issue? And how could two minds, both stuck in the past, have such a rich understanding of what was happening to its own mind in both this and the previous issue? This just isn't working for me. Perhaps if we'd had a richer sense of who Two Shadow and 9-03 were prior to this point, we'd be able to recognize aspects of their personalities in our protagonist this issue, but not much characterization came across in those first ten issues. And while both characters (especially Two Shadow) had good reason to feel rage, I don't see either of them behaving like the drastic anti-hero that our new Electric Warrior appears to be.
Sadly, this lack of familiarity extends to our supporting cast as well. Two Shadow truly does love Amber Brightstar? This is news to me. What did we ever see them share in common beyond lust? It always seemed as though Moench was depicting her as the love interest who was always wrong for Two Shadow, too simple to share his depth and complexity, unable to understand the true and fundamental him. If her simplicity is somehow as desirable to Two Shadow as the glade he sacrificed, Moench and Baikie have failed to imply this. It makes sense, but we've never seen it.
And I must say I'm very disappointed to see Brightstar and Quintanna both miraculously spared of the tragic fates they seemed to succumb to last issue. I felt that was a daring and powerful direction for the series to take, but now bringing them both back feels cheep. I'm not sure what either character has left to add to the series.
I'm not sure what any of these characters have left to add to the series.
All along, the greatest appeal I have found in this series is the concept for the world around them (which has not gained any depth or breadth in recent issues) and in the series' willingness to embrace well-planned surprising changes (which the ressurection of Brightstar and Quintana seems to bring an end to). In short, the series is losing the qualities that it once did well and is adding little in their place. At the very least, it shouldn't be working so desperately to cling on to the few boring characters we've met thus far when there's a mega city full of potential new and invigorating cast members to meet.
Truly, the only moment in this issue that I enjoyed was the one in which Simon and Two Shadow both detect each other and both choose not to act, waiting for a later confrontation. I felt that connection, reflecting both their past rivalry and their new electronic circumstances, made for a powerful relationship that I'd like to see more of.
Beyond that, our protagonist is beginning to feel and look like a bad imitation of Judge Dredd rather than the fascinating duality of passions and memories that he is supposed to be, and his supporting cast feels similarly simplistic and lacking in potential.
-If we're hundreds to thousands of years in the future, and this class structure has been in place for a very long time, why does Kinsolving (a bottom dwelling zig) have a past history as a librarian? Is this something Moench is planning to explore further, or is it just a clumsy detail that doesn't fit?
- "and at least the concrete prevented yellowing -- better'n plastic bags." Cute, but why would Kinsolving have even made this point? Clearly no one was putting book in bags and boards, only comics.
- Why is Two Shadow doing the whole "Hail Hitler" thing on page 15??
A "meh" issue overall. I truly hope this series will soon begin to deliver upon the fantastic potential it possesses, but, at this stage in the game, I am beginning to doubt it ever will.