Friday, March 27, 2015

What I Bought 3/24/2015 - Part 2

Typing this on Thursday. They say we have a chance of snow tonight. I can't imagine it'll stick if it does happen, since it's going to be sunny and at least in the 40s most of the day. But I've seen snow in Missouri in mid-April, so I guess we'll see.

Klarion #5 and 6, by Ann Nocenti (writer), Trevor McCarthy and Szymon Kudranski (artists), Guy Major (colorist), Pat Brosseau (letters) - So McCarthy stuck around until the end. I didn't expect that. I figured they'd move him to some other project since this book was basically dead on arrival. Hopefully he gets something that'll last for his next project.

Klarion eats Swag's nanobot, which boosts his power enough to get everyone out of his "pocket", although there's an ancient monster he'd angered in the past hot on their heels. Back in the world, Klarion tries ditching everyone for awhile, but Zell and her nanotech-based Buddydog track him down, just in time for his Buddybot to emerge from his hand. It has his face and hair, but also insect limbs growing out of her back, and Klarion wants nothing to do with her. He'd rather go fight Coal and his swarm of nanobots, and he beats him, and even shows some concern for his new "Daughter" when she showed up (mostly to yell at him for abandoning her). Then everyone has to work together to banish the thing that followed them from Klarion's pocket, which was some ancient beast from Jack Kirby's Demon series.

I'm not even going to try and claim I understand everything here. Coal was beaten, and it seems to have served as some representation of the public's struggle with the questions of what it means to be human raised by the Buddybots, since the public turned against them. But Coal's not finished entirely, he's just coming back with something new. Technology marches forward, and the questions can't be put off. Also the idea that we frequently implement something new without having a firm grasp of the implications. What we've created, how it reflects us, what its relationship is to us (Rasp was distinctly uncomfortable when it was pointed out Contessa was either his sister or daughter, considering he'd been wanting to mack with her).

I'm also not sure what to make of Klarion. Maybe that's the point, he's still a kid, he's still prone to mood swings, and even he isn't sure what he wants. Does he want to be part of the gang at the Moody Museum? Well maybe, it's nice to have people who care, but it would mean caring about other people, taking their needs and desires into account, and I'm not sure he wants to do that. He likes Zell, but he's afraid she's bound him to her in some way, and naturally, that she used magic for it. Better explanation than that he's developed feelings for her. He's confident in his power, but not confident enough to let that speak for itself. He's like those young hotshots in Westerns that think they have to challenge everyone to prove how good they are, when the ones who are the best don't feel the need to prove it. They know how good they are, and that's enough. Klarion isn't there yet.

I think he's also repeating past mistakes. He said his teacher would break his fingers if they were out of place during a spell, and eventually whatever it was about that guy that drew Klarion to him, it soured and the kid killed him. When he's confronted by his Buddybot, Klarwitch, he abandons it, and when it finds him, he smacks it away. Then he tries to teach it magic, but when it doesn't grasp it immediately, he knocks it off its broom and casts the spell himself. He seems to develop some concern for Klarwitch after that, but the damage may have been done. Klarion's already made himself look pretty bad.

McCarthy and Kudranski are a little awkward on their figurework - there are pages where Piper and Noah are almost unrecognizable, and Klarwitch never really comes together as a design - but the page layouts are pretty good. The double spread of them being ejected from the pocket, as the ancient beast comes charging in from the left in pursuit, that was pretty cool. The pages where the panel borders form the creature's mouth, so the interior of the border is ringed with teeth, also pretty cool. Guy Major helps, because his color work is nifty. I especially like at the beginning of issue 6, Coal's swarm (which has formed into a giant spider) has the same green glow letters and numbers get coming off computer screens. You know, the shade of green they used in the Matrix films? It contrasts with Klarion's blues nicely, but it does work as a good shorthand for technology.

So that does it for Klarion. Not sure it accomplished what it set out to do, it certainly didn't if keeping going for any extended period of time was the goal. As far as Nocenti's recent DC work, I'd rank it ahead of Green Arrow (McCarthy's a significantly stronger artist than what she had on that book), but behind Katana (which I think had a stronger central premise, and had a little more time to deal with it, rather than being rushed).

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