BIG BAG O’DYNAMITE
Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewed by Marc Mason
Some new books of note from DE…
In the annals of televised science fiction, there is no more reviled, misconceived, and poorly executed concept than GALACTICA 1980. A disaster from start to finish, it was mercifully killed before it finished an entire season, and earned an eternal hatred from fans of the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA that will never die. So when Dynamite announced a series based on the concept, my skepticism level was high enough to cut off my oxygen supply. No possible way that someone could take one of the largest piles of chicken shit ever created and make chicken salad, right?
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Writer Marc Guggenheim, along with artist Cezar Razek, did the impossible. Ignoring everything that happened in the show, Guggenheim took the concept, that of an aged Adama, Dr. Zee, and Galactica finding Earth in 1980, and ran it to a far more interesting and logical conclusion. Carter opens fire, the a battlestar crashes on the White House lawn, and the Cylons show up with very little opposition facing them. Grim, nihilistic, fatalistic, exciting… Guggenheim starts with an open field and goes to town here in issue #4, turning our own lovely planet into another version of Caprica. Honestly, there was no reason for this to work, no reason for this to be as compulsively readable as it is, but sometimes the universe turns itself upside down and weird shit happens. The conclusion promises a GALACTICA 1981, and with the way this one ends, I’m massively curious to see what Guggenheim has up his sleeve next.
One of my stronger areas of geek expertise happens to be ROBOCOP, so as I sat down with issue #1, I was a bit wary about what I would find inside. Previous efforts to translate the character to comics have been mediocre to half-assed, mostly. So I was pleased to see that writer Rob Williams had 1) been paired with artist Fabiano Neves, my favorite artist in the Dynamite stable and 2) that the book feels like a genuine ROBOCOP piece. Answers of continuity are set on the inside front cover (the story takes place after the first movie), and from there we jump right in. There’s a new CEO at OCP, and she’s overseen a new initiative to step up policing in Detroit now that the law enforcement function is private instead of civic. I won’t say much, but I will note that it involves an upgraded version of the ED-209s that failed so spectacularly in the first film. There’s a nifty action sequence, nasty corporate shenanigans, terrific byplay between Murphy and Lewis, and the traditional bizarre newscasts and commercials (including one that’s so sick that it’s actually inspired). I’m down for more.
The best superhero comic being published today is THE BOYS, and THE BOYS DEFINITIVE EDITION VOLUME 2 is easily the best way to enjoy the book. Writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson (with an assist from John Higgins) continue their massive deconstruction of the genre in this oversized slipcase edition, and it’s a glorious thing to see. Issues #15-30 are reprinted here, along with sketchbook work, a script, one of the most amusing emails you’ll ever read, and more. The story itself, and the action contained within, are all terrific, but what the book really gives you is the deep foundations of the relationship between Wee Hughie and Annie, neither of whom realizes exactly who and what the other really is/does with their lives. This Romeo and Juliet setup (he works for an organization that kills wayward superheroes, she’s a member of the largest team and will eventually be a target) is kind of heartbreaking really; they’re both so perfect for each other that you enjoy their happiness, but if you know anything about Garth Ennis, you know he pisses on happiness like a dog on a hydrant.
The package here is excellent, and I always recommend this comic to those looking for something a little different with their superheroics. I don’t go out of my way to own premium products, but this is one I consider a necessity.