Get Ready to Play Pretend!
Today I'm going to review some comics that kinda share a theme, with that theme being our imaginations and how we use them. What's that, you're confused? Well, read the article and then everything should make more sense. Maybe.
This was an interesting first issue. Basically, there is an imaginary friend who has found a way to just barely exist in the real world by taking advantage of the concept of fantasy, and using some very real medication. The comic at first is confusing with his family discussing how they feel people don't notice them ever, but things slowly come into place as some mysterious men take Neverboy's family back to the realm of imagination and try to arrest him for breaking, "The rules," whatever they may be. It's a solid introduction to the character and has me wondering just what kind of rules he has gone-up against, along with what kind of organization the people pursuing him are a part of. I'll definitely want to check out the next issue to see if we get some answers, or at least more intriguing questions.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Supreme: Blue Rose #7
I previously expressed some annoyance at "Supreme Blue Rose" and how I was worried that unless the seventh issue finally got around to spilling the beans and explaining everything that I would be upset with the series. Well, in a remarkable turn of events this issue actually does put all the puzzle pieces into place and gets a bit meta too, with writer Warren Ellis kind of making me think of Grant Morrison and his tendency to treat continuity as its own storytelling device (shown in-depth in my next review). You see, this issue the characters all realize the world is being weird because it is a tad broken after a revision. As Ethan Crane/Supreme puts it, "Every now and then," the world changes and revises itself into something new. The same people are there, but oftentimes different. Now, the book doesn't outright say how these revisions are done by the hand of an invisible God, i.e. the writer, but an allusion is clearly made to the characters acknowledging they are simple ideas forever being revised and rewritten as desired.
This is actually a pretty clever way to try and explain all the various versions of "Supreme" we have seen over the decades (be they Alan Moore, Erik Larsen, or *shudder* Rob Liefeld), and be able to claim they are all true and in a continuity-of-sorts, just revisions of themselves with all versions being, "Real," in a way. I tip my hat to Ellis for actually giving me a satisfying conclusion to a story I feared would end-up as an utter mess, and I tip my hat once again to artist Tula Lotay for giving us just incredibly gorgeous imagery. Now that I know this all makes sense in the end I actually feel a bit of an urge to re-read the series so that I can both more thoroughly enjoy the story, and so my eyes can again immerse themselves in the beauty that is Tula Lotay's art.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1
If my previous review of "Supreme: Blue Rose" is for a comic that gently bumps up against the 4th wall, then this is a book that doesn't just tap the wall, it shatters it into a million pieces and goes full-on metafiction with a vengeance. A comic that knows its a comic, with the super-hero being you, the reader, this is a mind-melting piece of reading, demanding at times you turn the page or don't turn the page, whilst the characters describe how they are pieces of ink on paper staring at you. It is all very surreal and in some ways a culmination of what Grant Morrison started with his run on "Animal Man" in the 1980's where the character eventually broke out of the comic to confront Morrison himself.
With just the final book-end issue of "The Multiversity" remaining we can only wonder if some answers will be gleamed about what became of each world, if we, the hero of this comic--managed to win, and if Morrison is going to turn in a solid ending to what is arguably his magnum-opus of almost every idea he's ever expressed...or if this is going to end up coming off like a messy vanity project. All I know is that as someone who enjoyed the post-modernism of Morrison's, "The Filth," I ate-up this issue and would consider it a favorite along with the "Pax Americana" entry in the series.
Another individual who has worked with Morrison a bit--Doug Mahnke--provides the art and in yet another example of being self-aware the comic points out how his style is one that is both friendly to those who enjoy the crisp art-style of the Golden Age, but want some of that Modern edge in it too. Considering the madness in this issue that Mahnke has to illustrate he does an expert job, with it really feeling like the characters on the paper are yelling or grinning at us in the moments the comic directly addresses us, the reader. Another all-around stellar issue in the loosely-linked "The Multiversity" series that has me even more excited for the final issue.
5 out of 5 stars.
Exhausted From Dreaming
Having read my reviews, I think you now understand that all these comics deal with our imaginations and sense of wonderment in some way. Whether being about imaginary friends or a piece of entertainment that acknowledges its own existence as fiction, clearly the human mind can concoct some crazy things.