on 4 October 2008
Well, if you like Jonathan Lethem you like comics, and if you like Lethem AND comics there's no way you won't like this. There's everything in it, weird superheroes, common people who are weirder than the super-heroes, New York, fast food, yokings, black-white relationships, weird dialogues, funny scenes, and that Lethem touch that takes us back to the days of Girl in Landscape, Amnesia Moon and the rest of his earlier SF--but set in a NYC setting which is directly out of The Fortress of Solitude. I do recommend you to buy this one and read it, because it's absolutely good. Beware: it's definitely for the sophisticated reader, but much of what's in it may well appeal to the unsophisticated ones. Moreover, it's also powerfully Dickian, in that it's a hommage to Philip K. Dick. You can't miss this one.
on 18 August 2014
Considering the direction Marvel is taking under the Disney ownership, there is a strong chance that you will never read anything like this from marvel comics again.
This highly imaginative tale is a revival of a seventies superhero series with a difference. The tale does not follow the superhero, but the boy who is mysteriously connected to him. The story starts with a dream with the protagonist, Alexander (a home-schooled savant lacking any interaction with the outside world), imagining a superhero fighting against robots; followed by an accident, were he discovers his parents were not who they seemed to be and starting a new life in new york were he encounters a lot of trouble (and a certain blue-attired vigilante...and a sleazy superhero to boot... ) And thats just the tip of the iceberg....
A lot of the story is unclear admittedly, and a lot is left to ponder and wonder, which for me just builds upon the story much better than being presented neatly with the beginning, middle and end fully wrapped up and explained. There are a lot of ideas contained within the story, and all are as equally perplexing as they are as effective to adding to the bizarre premise. It does lack a bit of warmth from the characters (which i get the feeling is deliberate) The protagonist himself is fairly detached and lukewarm , as well as being bizarrely verbose and openly challenging. His character (and Omega) change the most over the story unsurprisingly, I just wished the other characters were fleshed out a bit more instead of being mostly hostile. Dialogue can be a little stilted (in particular, from Alexander...) and some of the other characters do feel a lot more realistic (dialogue-wise...) Maybe the story is a little too full of ideas at the expense of characterisation. Its an unusual criticism but I did feel this toward the end.
The artwork is good for me. It has a fairly ugly, but whimsical look which is far removed from generic superhero sagas. There are no anatomically improbable characters (save for one...) and the colouring is drab to give a sort of antiquated look about it. Whether this is your thing is down to opinion. A few of my comc-reading friends didnt like this on account of the artwork (I liked it myself...)
I would recommend this to comic fans only if they are looking for a truly alternative take on the cowl and cape stories, and with a storyline to chew along with rather than swallow whole (also to fans of Marvel Strange Tales too...)