Boom! Wham! Pow! The ComiQuad is a column dedicated to the spandex-laden world of comics and superheroes. It goes up each Tuesday and will alternate between comic book reviews and other comic book news. Reviews shall try to be spoiler-free. Zam!
Iron Muslim (Advance Review)
Before you send me angry emails, remember that I did not write this book. Please and thank you.
In this obvious spoof of Marvel’s Iron Man, protagonist Al Stark is a talented Muslim engineer and member of Al Qaeda who seeks to kill Americans. Over the course of the book, he succeeds in ending the lives of American soldiers and destroying a national landmark. After committing these atrocities, however, he realizes that, with this reputation, he will never be able to walk into a Baby Gap ever again. He then repents in a very bizarre and manipulative manner.
The comic is very clearly a commentary and satire on the stupidity of human beings. Every character is some easily duped moron and there is strong critique on the gullibility of the American.
The comic is also, shockingly enough, offensive. Often times, being offensive is ruled out as long as the story is poignant and funny enough to warrant the shocking emotional reaction. I am not entirely sold that the story was funny enough to warrant how offensive it was.
Between the brutal dismemberment of an American soldier, Stark’s advice on how to have better bombed the World Trade Center, and today’s current racial profiling issue that never seems to go away, Iron Muslim may have focused too much on shock value and not enough on the quality.
The writing, aside from issues mentioned above, isn’t bad. Some of the critique is valid and there are nearly as many successful funny lines as their are unsuccessful funny lines. The art is nothing spectacular, but it certainly gets the job done. The cartoony style works in the comic’s favor in that it constantly reminds the reader to not take the book’s content too seriously.
Overall, the comic is okay with a heaping portion of uncomfortable. Despite having occurred over ten years ago, the book’s commentary on Al Qaeda, America, and the event itself was not well-executed enough to excuse it from being labeled “too soon.”
Animal Man #8
After what has been a slow-moving past two issues, Animal Man has finally again reached its bestial stride in this latest issue.
One of the trademark experiences of any Animal Man reader is the sudden, contorted face of horror. I speak not of the faces within the comic book, but of the expressions planted distinctly on the reader. This issue promises at least three moments of pure, visceral terror.
Along the journey, Maxine discovers some new powers and Buddy Baker faces off against a bunny rabbit.
The art, slowing being wrested from the hands of Travel Foreman and into the pencils of Steven Pugh, blends the better between the two artists than it has in a while. Every decapitated head, airborne intestine, and mutated animal is illustrated in a way to make nightmares a guarantee.
The writing is strong as always, and it manages to move the story forward in a manner that doesn’t eclipse character development. The cliffhanger is also sure to leave any reader anxiously waiting to see what next month has to bring.
Transformers: Autocracy #7
Sometimes a comic book is written in a manner that makes it incredibly easy to dive in mid-story. The reader may not have read the previous six issues, but the introduction and characterization makes the plot easy to digest.
Unfortunately, Transformers: Autocracy #7 is not one of those books. It takes the reader about eight pages to finally understand what’s happening in the story. The comic itself is eight pages long.
The inside cover, to fix this problem, offers a quick blurb to explain the events happening prior to this issue. It fails. The character Orion Pax is referred to as Orion Pax, Orion, and Pax all in that same blurb, which makes the exposition all the more difficult to understand.
Diving into the content of the book, two of Transformers are the exact same color of green. The only way to tell the two of them apart is too pay especially careful attention to their head decorations. Factor in an extraordinarily chaotic background and prepare to spend several minutes trying to decode each page.
The chaos fortunately wanes as the comic transitions into some heart-to-heart (or should I say memory card-to-memory card?) dialogue between the Transformers that is nice but also really cheesy. And not in the intentional way.
Overall, the comic’s execution was pretty mediocre. The art would be much better showcased if it wasn’t so focused on a widely scattered backdrop. The writing wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t particularly engaging nor did it manage to make anything accessible to a new pair of eyes.