Stabby-Wolf-Guy and Floating Body Parts: Two Micro-reviews

As a consumer, I feel I have certain rights and entitlements. I’m gonna start classifying items as either keepers or charity shop. I work hard for my money, therefore I have the right to comment on the items on which I choose to spend it.

This week I consumed ‘Age of Ultron’ a trade paperback graphic novel from Marvel and a digital novellete called ‘The Body Project’ written by Kameron Hurley.

‘Age of Ultron’ is either a disappointment or not, depending on which direction you view it from. On the one hand it’s the same kind of multi-crossover event graphic novel that Marvel and DC have been churning out for decades now. They are generally forgettable cash-cows. From that perspective I should not have expected much and therefore should not have been disappointed. On the other hand I bought the book because I usually expect snappy dialogue from Brian Michael Bendis and good art from Bryan Hitch. Personally, this is how I look at comics: art and writing (I include inking, lettering and colouring in art as well as editing in writing).

In this comic the art was partly fantastic, because of Hitch, but mostly mediocre, because of the other interior artists. There wasn’t enough Hitch to make me want to own the book.

The story was weak, the characterisation was weak, the execution was a series of wide-shots of large-scale destruction that swelled the page count without narrative progression. Bendis is usually entertaining but he appears to have phoned this one in. I have found him over the years to have a great ear for dialogue, but in this book it was just so-so. The whole book was just the usual fare of, “oh, let’s concentrate on Wolverine because kids like Stabby Wolf Guy” and “oh, isn’t Tony Stark so smart and amoral” and “shall we go and kill Hitler” and “space-time continuum”. Meh. I cold not begin to care about anyone in this book. I found myself wanting them to die and when they did I didn’t care because I knew they were all just going to come back to life.

Why marvel doesn’t look to stand-alone narratives like Thor’s ‘Godbomb/God Butcher’ must be related to the gazillions they can fleece from their punters by foisting this pap on them.

Verdict: straight to the charity shop (with some ethical concerns about perpetuating this type of sequential art thuggery on the next sucker to read it)

‘The Body Project’ I bought and read within one hour. You can read the first half of it here. We’ll skip past the troublesome definition of the word count of a novellette. This novel is set in Kameron Hurley’s ‘God’s War’ universe (of which I was an early adopter). It’s pacy in a well-realised world which is complex, full of danger and entertaining. I noticed a nod to ‘Die Hard’ and a possible influence of the Bene Gesserits from ‘Dune’, but this may be saying more about myself than the author. It follows former Bel Dame Nyx and her band of misfits on a side adventure involving guilt, sexual tension, violence and dismembered former soldiers with floating body parts. This may or may not entice you to read the other related books. It is enjoyable and bite-sized although it sometimes felt like the fantasy role-playing game prototype where you gather a team of different skills and go on a quest. Here’s the warrior, here’s the magician, here’s the mercenary, etc. That said, the story delivers and Hurley, as usual, brings her A game.

I did like it and would recommend.

Verdict: Keeper.




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