I have spoken a bit on my annoying film-student phase. Kevin Smith played a big ol’ part of that. Clerks was a centerpiece of that part of my life. That, along with Robert Rodriguez’ El Mariachi put the damn-fool idea in my head that anyone could make an independent film and make a name for themselves. Smith’s attachment to the nerd demographic made him a personal hero of mine. He was essentially doing everything I wanted to do. He was writing and directing films and scripting comics for DC and Marvel.
But somewhere around the release of Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Smith receded into himself and at the same time inflated his persona to the point where I can’t listen to him without getting slightly annoyed. His less-than-stellar creative output since then has only hastened his fall from grace in my perspective. I only say this so you can understand why when he talks about Clerks III, where five years ago I might have been excited, the current version of myself simply sighs and shakes his head.
Deadline spoke with Smith and he spoke a bit about what form a third Clerks might take.
Now, he said, he would prefer to write a book based on the two central Clerks characters, releasing it chapter by chapter. “I get to go inside the characters’ heads, tell Year One origin stories where the first chapter is Dante and Randall meeting in kindergarten, all the stuff I can’t do in a movie,” Smith said. “That’s what I want to do, because I’m a stoner. I want to investigate the inner life of every character, and I can’t do that in 90 minutes with a film.”
I would like to see Smith make his final film something personal, coming full circle with hisClerks franchise but I feel like the association to those characters has been so muddied by the other installments that whatever part three looks like, it will bear little resemblance to Smith’s debut. At this point I will just wait for some concrete news on what the damn thing will look like before I start to make any assumptions.
Did you miss me? I bet you did. How would you know what comics to buy if I didn’t tell you what was good or not? Surely you would be lost and you would have to find a new hobby. Like knitting. I’m sure you could do that on your own. Can you tell I’m completely rambling right now? Sorry. I went to a Dropkick Murphys concert last night and didn’t get any sleep afterward. Oh yeah, comics!
THE PULL LIST:
ADVENTURE COMICS #8 3.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #623 2.99
BOYS #40 (MR) 2.99
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #33 TWILIGHT PT 2 (OF 5) 2.99
CHEW #9 (MR) 2.99
CONAN THE CIMMERIAN #19 2.99
DEADPOOL TEAM-UP #895 2.99
DETECTIVE COMICS #862 3.99
FALL OF HULKS SAVAGE SHE-HULKS #1 (OF 3) FOH 3.99
FIRST WAVE #1 (OF 6) 3.99
GIRL COMICS #1 (OF 3) 4.99
GREEN HORNET # 1 3.99
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #24 2.99
JSA ALL STARS #4 3.99
MIGHTY AVENGERS #34 2.99
PRELUDE TO DEADPOOL CORPS #1 (OF 5) 3.99
PUNISHER MAX BUTTERFLY #1 (MR) 4.99
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #5 3.99
ULTIMATE COMICS NEW ULTIMATES #1 3.99
WOLVERINE WEAPON X #11 3.99
And now, my humble opinions…
I’ll start off by saying that, yes, the art has taken a bit of a nosedive for this issue. The art isn’t horrible. It’s a bit muddy, but it’s not indecipherable and it clears up in scenes set in daylight. However, I believe that any art will look lackluster when following Michael Lark. Because, c’mon, it’s Lark.
The story however is right up my alley. We finally get a little background on this new Vulture and we get some throwback to JJJ’s involvement in crafting the original Scorpion. There’s a lot to love for Spider-Man purists here, while being modern enough to appeal to people who think that the old Lee/Ditko Spidey stories were too cheeseball.
One thing I would like to point out is that we once again get some acknowledgment of the daughter of Kraven’s existence. She’s been on the periphery for a while now but hasn’t been directly involved in the proceedings, it looks like we’re finally getting to the crux of the story, and I’m anxious to see how things play out.
First of all, how weird is it that this book has reached issue forty? It doesn’t feel like I’ve been reading it for that long. And yet, it’s been on shelves for over three years, and chugging along like a juggernaut each and every month.
This issue sees the fallout from the last issue, which I reviewed HERE starting to shape up. It plays with the common storytelling trope where the reader knows everything but the parties involved know only pieces of the puzzle, thus creating a sizeable bit of tension and drama. Here, Butcher has drawn his own conclusions upon finding out about Hughie’s relationship with a known supe. Hughie is unaware of Butcher’s knowlege and we start to see a bit of a breakdown within the group. As readers we’ve come to really like Hughie and hate to see him put in such a position, and we hope that nothing bad happens as a result of Butcher’s rash and brash nature, but this being a Garth Ennis book, we have a sinking feeling in our gut that something REALLY bad is going to happen soon, and so we are forced to keep reading with mindless zeal.
Batman does not appear in this book. Unless he was stealthily hiding in the shadows or something. I just feel like I should point out that this intro issue is definately a showcase for Doc Savage and the Question, providing the new readers with an insight into the diversity of their crime-fighting styles. Throwing Batman in there might have muddied the waters, I suppose. Still, I’m never going to say that something should have less Batman. I mean, wouldn’t Avatar have been even more awesome if there were some Batman in it? I just imagined There Will Be Blood with a Batman cameo. That would rock.
As far as the issue goes, they do a good job of setting up the story. It’s full of classic noiry intrigue. The kind that Brian Azzarello does so well. And the art by Rags Morales is quite effective. Remember that book called Identity Crisis (aka Mindwipe & Rape : A Musical Revue)? That was a detective story at its core, albeit a shoddy one. But the art was very well done. Morales knows how to capture the tone of a pulp/noir/detective environment and here it most definately shows.
But the next issue better have some Batman or I’m gonna start wrecking shit.
In the same comic we get a cute little comic about Venus trying to prove her worth to the male gods of the pantheon by working at a fashion magazine and a story where the Punisher goes all Chris Hanson to the nth degree on a pedophile at an amusement park.
Kind of a striking dichotomy no?
Everything about this felt…wrong. It was too modern and too keen on being hip to feel like The Green Hornet. The voices of the characters seemed off. I know that characters are open to different interpretations and that no one embodiment can be considered definate because it could always be replaced down the line. I mean, c’mon, look at Batman. But in this instance it just seems like it doesn’t fit anything previously established with the character. Like, if Superman started saying “Yo, man. Stop the crime, dude.”
I spent an entire review praising Kevin Smith’s work on Cop Out, but I cannot do the same here. It just doesn’t feel right. It just didn’t click with me. I hope it clicked with someone because Dynamite put out EIGHTEEN variant covers for this issue, and that’s a lot of effort gone to waste if everyone felt like I did about this particular issue.
The ending of the Tony Stark : Dissassembled arc hits home with a fairly anti-climactic final issue. I think that attempting to balance a fight with Ghost against the cerebral surrealism inside Tony Stark’s head led to a contrast of intent and could only really be resolved in a manner that felt overly simple in the end.
What the book has going for it however, is the last few pages which really drive home how much has changed for Tony Stark. During Civil War someone commented that they wished Tony Stark from years back could see his actions during that crisis, and here we sorta get that but with none of the satisfaction. It’s more of a shallow pity and it does a great deal toward redeeming Stark as a character. Which needs to happen considering he’s just as recognizable as Spider-Man in the public eye now.
The issue begins with a panel of Lady Deadpool seen from behind where her leg tapers off into something that looks like a suction cup. It’s supposed to be her foot.
Did I just start this review with the statement that Rob Liefield can’t draw feet? A fact that is pretty much abject fact at this point? Yes I did. And do you know why? Because it doesn’t get any better from there. The book is one long rambling fight sequence, then Deadpool shows up and drafts Lady DP into some mission and the issue ends.
There is NO substance here. And for a character where razor-sharp wit is the defining characteristic, this issue is filled with some of the dullest humor and sloppiest attempt at witty writing this side of a Dane Cook special.
My fears have been realized. Deadpool is no longer infallible in my eyes. Excuse me while I weep.
I think this book simply proves my point that the Punisher is only as interesting as the people he kills. Garth Ennis knew this. Jason Aaron knows this. And Valerie D’Orazio knows this.
If you don’t know Valerie’s story, and believe me it is a long surreal tale unlike any you’re likely to hear in the world of comics again, you might want to take the time to give her pseudo-memoir/blog “Goodbye to Comics” a look-see. It’s not a short read by any means, but it is something that begs to be read. For a quicker bio, you can click HERE.
There are two ways to read the book. You can read it knowing Valerie’s story or going in blind. If you’ve read Goodbye to Comics you can get an inkling of how cathartic writing this book must have been for her. There are themes that are definitely derived from her experiences in the publishing world and it helps to make the book feel genuine. If you know nothing about the writer, you’ll either bitch that there’s not enough Punisher in the book or you’ll comment on how the best Punisher stories of the last few years seem to use the actual character of Frank Castle sparingly. Like the shark in JAWS.
Jeph Loeb didn’t make me want to kill myself while I read his latest offering to the Ultimate universe. You may remember how I called Ultimatum one of the worst books of 2009. I stand by that. UCNU (because typing out that long ass title every time would make me want to kill myself) is about as middle of the road as you can get. It is not excellent nor is it bad. It simply is. I like where Loeb hs put Tony Stark. I like that we got to see Frank Cho draw Hela undressing herself seductively in an attempt to get Thor to “raise his hammer.” I like that nobody was eaten alive.
It’s like when Homer Simpson invented the Flaming Homer; “It passed the first test…I didn’t go blind.”
Wolverine celebrates the resurrection of Steve Rogers by having Nightcrawler fly them around the world to different bars where they get drunk and form a nice little bromance. Also there are multiple Deathloks going all Terminator on the progenetors of the next generation of heroes.
Yeah. I dug it.
Kevin Smith is something of an oddity, or if you’re a Southwest Air employee, a manatee. I kid, I kid. He’s a large man but people in glass houses shouldn’t fire .50 calibres indoors, you get my drift? But speaking within the confines of the geek community (it’s kind of like the gay community without the ability to coordinate matching outfits) Kevin Smith is either a messiah or the bane of one’s existence. The only middle ground seems to be the people who don’t watch his work at all. Seemingly, you can either love the guy, hate the guy, or nothing the guy.
I’m not a fan of his more recent comic book work. Widening Gyre simply isn’t my cup of tea and I thought Cacophony was a pretty big misfire. But then again I love Guardian Devil and Quiver to death, so it’s not like I hate everything he’s ever done in the medium. When it comes to his films however I’m firmly in the “pro-Smith” camp. Even his lesser films (ie. Jersey Girl, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) are more enjoyable than your average movie. And let’s not forget that the man essentially handed us up Jason Lee on a silver platter, and for that he deserves a medal.
Now he’s back with a new film and it’s the first he’s ever directed that wasn’t also penned by his hand. A lot of naysayers were quick to condemn the film and say he could never put out a movie that he didn’t write and have it connect on any real level. Of course, those same people bitched back when Zack and Miri came out that Seth Rogen and company would probably not be able to deliver Smith’s dialogue in the manner to which we are all accustomed. And to both claims, I have to say; bull-shit.
Cop Out is a great comedy.
Yes. I said great.
Do you want to know why I say this? Because it works. Every buddy cop movie from the 80’s that we loved so much? This is right there with them. It even has a synth score for God’s sake! Foul-mouthed banter between rival buddy-cops. Every bit of interaction between Willis and Morgan’s team and their rival cops gave me warm fuzzy flashbacks to the “we’re not gonna fall for a banana in the tailpipe” bit in Beverly Hills Cop. As Tracy Morgan would call it, paying homm-age.
And let me speak for a moment on Tracy Morgan. This is a man who I feared, oh so greatly, would be just too much to handle for an extended running time on the big screen. He’s wonderful on 30 Rock, but I have to admit that 90% of what makes his schtick funny on there is the way he bounces off the supporting cast. Also, he’s only on screen for a short amount of time so his lunacy doesn’t have the chance to grate on the nerves. I was afraid that in a two hour film he would make me want to commit ritual suicide due to an overload of zaniness. But Morgan, while never losing anything that makes him so hilarious and unpredictable, is able to channel something that makes his character utterly endearing.
On the other side of the fence is Bruce Willis. I have to say that over the years we’ve grown accustomed to him being an overly gruff type and while he still retains that edge here, the best part of his performance comes from that sort of John McClane-era relateableness. He’s playing an everyman here. It is very easy to connect with Bruce Willis because he’s not so hard-nosed that we can’t see ourselves in his shoes. Also he draws a giant boner on the two-way glass of an interrogation room. And, c’mon, that’s gold.
And that’s what I would describe the movie as. Gold. Kevin Smith has made a movie that is sort of a companion piece to Hot Fuzz, but through a different sort of lens. I’m glad to see how much he’s evolved as a director over the years. Go watch Clerks again. Would you honestly think that the director of that low-budget film could frame the kind of car chases and shootouts we see in this movie? Even the way he shoots the dialogue sequences has evolved. And while his sense of humor still seems to have remained constant, with dick and fart jokes aplenty, you can’t deny that he’s still come a very long way.