Warning: The Funnybook General’s Office has determined that the following review SPOILS THE EVER-LIVING HELL out of a comic that just came out today.
“Seriously,” their statement read, “he just flat-out shows you the three best pages in the thing, completely ruining the surprise and impact of a really great scene. And I mean, sure, the STORY is NOT SPOILED in the main, but… It’s the best pages in the book! He just scanned the damn things in and– Look, that sort of thing is fine if you’re reviewing something that’s a week old, but on day of release? That’s just no good at all. No one should read it.”
So proceed with caution, or not at all…
Annihilator 2, by Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving
So I’m sitting in the Hibachi place reading along in the latest issue of the new Morrison / Irving joint, when
Holy crap, did I really just read that? I think I did, and
Omigod, seriously? That’s
Ooooh, man. That’s the stuff. Morrison learned the Kirby lessons right, and he just unleashed them full-force. You just don’t get that kind of grand idiocy, that crazy-ass power-poetry, often enough. But this book delivers, and it’s a great surprise.
Or it was, at least. I… just pretty much gave you the bulk of it right up there. Sorry. But I just couldn’t do it justice describing it. “Like a Roger Dean album cover in comics form” kinda didn’t cut it. Neither did “The Mahabharata on steroids … IN SPACE!” So there was no alternative, really. I just had to SHOW YOU THE AWESOME, and let the chips fall where they may.
The whole book’s not like that, of course. I mean, my god, how could it be? So, no. It’s not all JET MAKRO(!) making AMAZING PROCLAMATIONS that CHANGE THE COURSE OF MIGHTY CIVILIZATIONS. It’s mostly, in fact, Ray and Max talking about memory and writing and brain tumors. And bad food. Then there’s a talking teddy bear, and some obscene graffiti. A black mass is mentioned, too. Or, you know… a Black Mass. Like, with Satan Robes and stuff. Not, like, rotting vegetable matter, or… Oh. You got that. Okay. So, yeah. It’s… talky and goth.
You know, more like issue one.
That’s not a bad thing, however, because (if you’ll recall) I thought issue one was pretty ginchy, too. This issue might offer the best expression yet of Morrison’s obsession with the connection between fiction and reality. He gets a bit into the nuts and bolts of the writing process, moving between reality and screenplay (or reality and… OTHER reality) with aplomb…
…and delving on some level into the age-old question every writer’s gotten at least once: “Where do your ideas come from?”
In this case, they come from a data bullet fired into Ray’s brain, a memory download from another reality that he has to make sense of in order to save the universe. Which is actually not at all a bad way to describe how it feels when you’re telling a story, and the writing’s going really well. It all just pours out of you, and damn your plans or your intentions, things are happening this way, dammit, because that’s just how they happen. The best stuff always works like that. And the worst… doesn’t.
So! Annihilator Number Two! Amazing prog-rock ridiculousness… gothy trappings… bee-yoo-tee-ful artwork… a meditation on the creative process… a character named JET FREAKING MAKRO… Plus, it’s funny!
If the raucous laughter above didn’t get that across. One of these days, they’re gonna toss me right on outta that Hibachi joint…
(A post-script: if you didn’t click to embiggen the above images, I urge you to do so. I left ’em at extra-big screen-filling size for you, and man… They reveal detail in Frazer Irving’s art that I simply couldn’t see at printed size. I’m tempted to scan the whole issue in, just to see his work in its full glory. It is GAW-geous!)