Tron: The Betrayal #1 (of 2)
Written by Jai Nitz
Illustrated by Andie Tong
Cover by Salvador Larroca
Published by Marvel Comics
52 Pick-Up Week 41:
I don’t double up. When I skip a week, I come back and make two separate entries. Usually. However last week, I was going to write about Tron: The Betrayal #1, but the malaise which led me to postpone my article also gave Ben Gilbert a chance to write his own review of the book. I can’t say I disagree with his evaluation, but I have an entirely different perspective on the issue. Just not enough to warrant a whole article.
Yes, Ben is right about how the book shows the stresses placed on Flynn as a working dad. However, it also paints him as a fairly unlikeable character who would rather play in his digital sandbox than spend time with his pregnant wife. This is all part of the plot/his growth throughout the issue, mind you. As an irresponsible husband, he is the creator of a world that begins to take on a life of its own, but as this happens, he realizes the weight of his responsibilities in the real world and shifts his focus, thus making him an absentee landlord within the virtual world. I get it; it’s an allegory for God and an answer to the question of why God would turn his back on us when we need him – he’s got more important things to do. Presumably, this will also set his son up as “Jesus” within the confines of Legacy, making Clu… the Devil? It’s a clever concept, but the writing just makes me dislike “God” for his indifference and “the Devil” for his inaction. He waits for Flynn to return, always hesitant to take action without him, despite KNOWING it’s needed. The characters, to me, take the “sym” out of “sympathetic.”
Tron: The Betrayal #1 gets 2.5 out of 5 ISOs; 1 for trying to be clever, 1.5 for Larroca’s gorgeous cover.
I’ll admit, Tron is on the long list of “classics” I never saw. Still, I get the concept, this book just rubbed me the wrong way. Moving on…
Warlord of Mars #1
Written by Arvid Nelson
Illustrated by Stephen Sadowski
Covers by Alex Ross, J. Scott Campbell, Joe Jusko, & Lucio Parrillo
Based on the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
52 Pick-Up Week 42:
I often joke that I’m borderline illiterate, and this is why I read comics instead of “real” books. As such, I’ve never picked up any of E.R. Burroughs works. I’m unfamiliar with the book this is based on. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it isn’t.
For a comic book, this reads rather like a book. The first page is a LOT of expository text establishing the premise that while this is a story about a former Confederate soldier, it will in fact be about Mars in the long run. Frankly, that’s a terrible way to start a book. It’s funny… in a recent Outside the Longbox, I criticized webcomic creator Benny Powell for taking too long to get to the point of his story, saying that readers may never have clicked through to the hook, and given up on the comic well before finding out what it was REALLY about. This is the exact opposite. It’s a comic book called “Warlord of Mars.” It’s safe to assume we’re going to end up on Mars eventually. And, once I’ve bought the book based on the premise of there being a martian warlord (and a half naked chick on the cover) I’m not likely to put it down halfway through because it’s about Confederate soldiers in the old west. If anything, I’m likely to be intrigued by the disconnect between premise and presentation, wondering how the two will ever tie together. But no. First page, big block of text, telling not showing, because that’s the way it’s supposed to be done, right?
To be fair, once we get past that first page, the dialog and art are fantastic. Frankly, I think I’d rather read a book by Nelson and Sandowski about the wild, wild, west than whatever this is destined to become. Sandowski’s forms and faces resemble Frank Cho’s linework a bit, though he brings a great deal more distinction to his individual characters. And the exchange Nelson writes between the “heroic” Union soldiers and the Confederates they encounter is refreshing, even for a New Englander born and raised – simply put, not everyone who fought under the flag of the Confederacy was a villain, nor every northerner a saint. Unfortunately, this part of the story only runs through the first half of the book. Then?
Then we start reading about four armed Martians, the design of which I can’t get into at ALL, and the four armed white apes who oppress them. Do I sense a parallel for slavery in the future? I’m going to pick up issue two, to see how the Martian society is developed – there’s potential there. But right now, as I said before, I’m really wishing this was just a straight up western. Sandowski seems an ill fit for drawing the spacemen, but I suppose it’s the tradeoff you have to accept for really well rendered humans. And speaking of…
WHERE’S THE BABE FROM THE COVER!?
Warlord of Mars #1 pulls in 3.5 out of 5 Apache scalps, and is TOTALLY worth its one dollar cover price.
I can’t say whether or not I’ll stick with this title for long, but it certainly has some potential. It’ll be interesting to see how the two halves of the story blend together. I’m hoping for something more interesting – and subtle – than