Actually, inspired by that thought, I’m comparing the opening pages of the other two comics we’re looking at this week. Uncle Scrooge‘s first page establishes Scrooge and Gyro and his assistant as characters, spells out the story’s MacGuffin, and throws in half a dozen gags, all in the space of six panels; Axe Cop sets up the general tone of the story and jumps straight into hardcore absurdity. Takio has a little bit of dialogue to establish the relationship between the sisters, but it’s basically just beginning to yawn and stretch–we don’t even know what the story’s going to be about, really, for a fairly significant stretch.
I’m happy to see Oeming stretching out stylistically here, but there are a lot of places where the new style he’s using doesn’t seem to have had a lot of its kinks worked out yet. In general, actually, this seems like a first draft of something potentially promising: I like the snap of the dialogue (although it really does need to be more character-specific and less standard-issue Bendis), I like the relationship of the sisters, I like the overall look of the thing. But there is no room in all-ages comics for a ramp-up or a first draft, or for a plot this relaxed. This badly needed a firmer editorial hand–in both its superstructure and its details, I suspect that tightening it up would’ve done it a world of good.
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EVAN: I don’t have a ton to add to what you guys said here. I agree on the Bendis Dialogue issue, and the more problematic wrinkle here is that it breaks the premise of the book. The kids don’t sound like kids; they sound like mini-Powers/Avengers/Ultimate Spidey characters. The uniformity of Bendis Dialogue is tolerable when characters are all adults, because there’s a sense of “this is what I’m showing up for,” that post-modern Sorkin-style chatter. But that stuff is an adult affectation, and it messes things up as far as making the kids feel believeable.
I wanted this to be a modern-day Power Pack. In that book’s initial run, the kids dealt with challenge and trauma with a broad spectrum of emotional responses. One kid felt like a baby, one was rowdy, with the brainiac and the dreamer rounding things out. Takio’s main characters all feel cut from the same cloth, and it makes me wonder how much a young reader would relate if you put this in front of a kid whose personality is different from those in the book.
GRAEME: It’s potentially bad comic blog talk karma to say that, as much fun as Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #1 may be, I don’t really believe that it’s written by a six-year-old kid. And yet, I don’t – that, or Malachai Nicolle is the smartest six-year-old out there. I mean, sure, there’s a lot that works with six year old logic, and that’s what is really, really enjoyable about this strip, and this issue in particular (the randomness and surreality of being able to drink a guy’s brain, or later, the chickens’ brains turning into bad guys and jumping out of the chickens’ heads, say, or the illogical logic of Axe Cop having a partner called Dinosaur Soldier), but there’s also this weird, knowingness to the writing as well. Maybe Malachai comes up with a basic story and his 30 year old brother Ethan reworks it and expands it as needed? That would make sense, I guess, unless Malachai also manages to write exactly the right length of story each time, and it’d also explain the schizophrenic feel to some of this issue, which occasionally feels like someone trying to keep up with some of the more inspired segments elsewhere.
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All of which sounds like complaining, but it’s not, not really; this is still a fun, inventive comic with a particular energy that propels it quickly towards its cliffhanger ending, and everyone involved seems to have had as much fun making it as I did reading it. It’s just that somehow this felt a little more forced than it used to, and I found myself wondering what would happen if the mind that came up with this concept in the first place could do something new with entirely different characters and an unlimited page count. Maybe I’m just too old for the joke, or something?