Friday, May 15, 2009

Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye

Here's how this works. I read a book or two and tell you about them and try not to get too long-winded. This time, a review of Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye # 1-2 (Vertigo, 2009).

Well, this is a little more like a step in the right direction. Honestly, even hardcore Grant Morrison apologists like myself have to admit that he's been rudderless lately, wasting our time and his with impenetrable messes like Final Crisis, where every imaginative moment was lost in a tidal wave of poor transitions and incoherent storytelling.

Seaguy was first seen in a 2004 miniseries, one of three that Morrison did for Vertigo that year. From the beginning, it felt like there was a lot more to this odd world that he and Cameron Stewart had designed than we would ever see. There's no place in Seaguy's universe that's identifiably our world, instead it is populated by allegories and pastiches from our history of fiction and literature. Seaguy himself, bored and restless and longing for the adventure that the architects of his world had long ago completed, caught our attention because we could really identify with his energy and desire. Compare this to Final Crisis, where readers can't identify with anybody in the narrative.

Honestly, Morrison's been fumbling so badly the last couple of years that I wasn't confident he could pull off the new three-part adventure, but it works extremely well. From the bizarre reconstructions of long-dead monsters, made from bone and from twentieth-century household items, to the retired gladiator who refuses to miss a turn on an amusement park ride to the very concept of our hero being banished into a trap of a world that bears a strong resemblance to Carmen, there's a strong allegory about the nature of fiction, particularly modern superhero fiction, running under the bizarre surface of Seaguy's adventure. It's very like TV's The Prisoner, where Patrick McGoohan is playing a character who's more than just the fictional "Number Six." Everything in Seaguy is rich with multiple meanings and commentary, and it's an entertaining read from start to, well, middle. The story will wrap up next month, and I can't guess what will happen next. Whether you're just interested in the wild surface ride or curious about Morrison's meta-commentary, this comes highly recommended.

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