Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Golgo 13 and Doom Patrol

Here's how this works: I finish reading something, and I tell you about it, and I try not to bore you to death.

NO WAY. And this was first published in 1975?! Here's what I think: the first 150 pages of this book comprise a police procedural that starts with a multiple murder in 1946, moves forward 15 years, and then goes straight to HOLY FUCKING SHIT LAND. There are 26 stories to be found in the 13 volumes of Golgo 13 published by Viz. At least 22 are downright excellent, and then there's "The Serizawa Family Murders." Damn!! THANK YOU CARL HORN for getting these published. Now will SOMEBODY OUT THERE license the rest of these stories? I WANT MORE.

Well, it's a strange day indeed when the final issue of Doom Patrol, arguably one of the finest single issues of anything Grant Morrison has written and the conclusion to one of the two or three best American comics of the 1990s, gets knocked down cold-cocked by a thirty year-old Japanese book, but them's the breaks, Grant. Doom Patrol is sublime, surreal and surprising at every turn, but I think Vertigo really had their work cut out for them, as the last ten issues of the book formed one long continuity and there just wasn't any place to break it without making book five abnormally thin. As a result, this book starts one-third into an apocalyptic scenario without giving new readers a chance to catch up, lacking even a "story so far" page. The series is a work of complete genius and should be read by anybody who likes comics, but Vertigo's production really has been slapdash of late, hasn't it? They don't do the introductory essays and creator credits like they used to anymore. (I know what the great Sean Phillips is up to, but where the heck's Richard Case these days?) I'm willing to forgive any chance to get the final "Empire of Chairs" issue, both heartbreaking and life-affirming in equal measure, into readers' hands again, but they could have done just a little better on these editions, I think.

This book also includes the silly Doom Force Special, a needle-in-the-eye parody of Rob Liefeld's labored X-Men comics of the early 90s, full of intentionally awful anatomy, constipation faces, agonizing soliloquies and villainous ladies who wear next to nothing. Doom Patrol itself is absolutely recommended, but while you could pick up any of the first five books and get hooked, this one is best saved until later.

(Originally posted April 23, 2008 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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