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A quick review before I leave

Yes, I’m hitting the road for the long haul across the desert to that place that was discovered by the Germans in 1904, but I thought I’d squeeze in a review before I left. Won’t that be fun?

I was kind of hoping that the fourth issue of The Life and Times of Savior 28 wouldn’t come out this week, because J. M. DeMatteis was awfully swell in sending me the issue a while back and I knew I’d want to get a review up the day before it came out, and of course it comes out this week, when I ought to be getting my affairs in order (no, I’m not dying, but I am taking the wife and children to the “whale’s vagina” this weekend, so we have a bit to do), but I’d feel like a jerk if I didn’t write a review when he was nice enough to get it to me early. Man, that was a long sentence. Oh well.

As you may recall, I’ve been enjoying DeMatteis and Mike Cavallaro’s tale of a fallen superhero (well, “fallen” in the sense that he decides one day that maybe beating everyone up isn’t the answer, which causes some consternation among his fellows and his government) and there’s nothing in this issue that changes my mind. Cavallaro gets to draw some different superheroes in this issue, and he also gets to give us an impressive page with a gigantic tidal wave, but he manages to keep the art grounded as he’s done the entire series. It’s definitely not art that shows “superheroes in the real world,” but Cavallaro does a good job balancing the fantastic with the horrific, and as a good deal of the issue shows Savior 28 getting tortured in a device that shows only his face, Cavallaro conveys many emotions with just facial expressions, and there’s nothing bad about that.

DeMatteis continues the theme of the first three issues, exploring what happens when a superhero becomes a pacifist. He makes many good points about superhero comics in general, as his peers believe he’s been replaced (as has happened several times before in his life, apparently). He also references his own 1980s work, including “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” which is a nice touch. DeMatteis continues to add new levels to the relationship between James and Dennis, his former sidekick (and the man who killed our hero in issue #1), which keeps this from being a banal recitation of why we should all get along. It’s not surprising that a good writer like DeMatteis can explore this kind of theme over and over (as he has) but continually find fresh angles to it, and he’s done that here.

I certainly don’t expect anyone who hasn’t bought the first three issues to pick this one up, but it’s interesting how someone coming to this cold with this issue could easily figure things out. Yes, there are a lot of narrative captions, but DeMatteis makes sure we get a lot of new information along with the old, and this blend makes it the kind of issue you could understand without reading the first three. And if you’re waiting for the trade on this, I can assure you that it’s still a good comic, and it’s getting better. So that’s nice.

I’d like to thank J. M. DeMatteis once again for sending this over to me (in .pdf format, so no scans for you!). And if I can get Internet access in San Diego, I’ll write stuff about the con. I don’t know why Chad Nevett pities me – SDCC is kind of awesome. Maybe I’m just not jaded and bitter like he is!

15 Comments

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 21, 2009 at 5:33 pm

(no, I’m not dying, but I am taking the wife and children to the “whale’s vagina” this weekend, so we have a bit to do),

???

Pack a towel, I guess.

Lucky- I wish I could go to WVCC….

Near as I can figure, you are either going on vacation to Pellucidar, or are going to see a taping of Oprah.

FGJ: We have to take a bunch of food so we don’t blow all our money on eating out, we have to take a bunch of DVDs so the kids don’t get too bored, we have to pack clothing (I’ve only been overnight once to the con, so I never took too much clothing) – traveling with two kids is a big honkin’ deal!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 21, 2009 at 7:20 pm

DVD’s on a holiday… man times have changed.
I used to pack a book or two, grab some comics (okay, usually so many I got in trouble), maybe scam some cash to buy one or two new one’s for the trip, and maybe an action figure or two.

But actually, I was referring to Whale’s Vagina.
That reference has me lost, disturbed, curious, and just a little aroused.

Both the Germans discovering it and the whale’s vagina are what Will Ferrell says about the history of San Diego in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Not a great movie, but fairly funny.

Yeah, I wish we didn’t have to take DVDs. But the one kid has a ridiculously short attention span (brain injuries tend to do that) and the other can’t read quite yet. I live for the day when she can read and maybe (MAYBE) we can ditch the DVDs. That would be nice.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 21, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Yeah, I wish we didn’t have to take DVDs. But the one kid has a ridiculously short attention span (brain injuries tend to do that) and the other can’t read quite yet. I live for the day when she can read and maybe (MAYBE) we can ditch the DVDs. That would be nice.

Singalongs don’t work?

Or ‘Eye-spy’?
Everyone knows it’s the most boring game ever created, but dammit, it’s traditional!
(Traditional defined as – I had to do it so everyone should!)

Shit, I didn’t realize the third issue had come out! Gotta track that down.

When we’d take long road trips, my Dad would toss a pile of comics in the back seat.

Ain’t it ironical.

Anchorman is Da BOMbZ!

fourthworlder

July 22, 2009 at 7:33 am

Good luck stopping the habit. if they can’t travel without a dvd playing now, they won’t stop any time soon.

Imagine if our parents had suddenly said “no more comics in the car on vacations” after the age of seven or eight…. You would have seen station wagons careening out of control on freeways coast to coast, little kids behind the wheel, moms and dads left back at the rest stops, with that crappy KFC potato salad everywhere…

I’m just saying…

fourthworlder: They actually do travel long distances without any external stimulation. We have only used the DVD player once, when we drove to Disneyland, and that was in the last two hours of a seven-hour drive. So I hope they’re not quite addicted yet!

When we’d take long road trips, my Dad would toss a pile of comics in the back seat.

Ain’t it ironical.

I loved trips and car rides; there would always be a new comic hidden “ingeniously” somewhere in the car that I would discover and read the shit out of.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm

I wish I could read comics like I used to – I’d read them like a zillion times.

Finish a good read, and start right over again!

Now… not so much.
Instead, I have to buy millions of the fuckers to read.

Ya, I remember the days when the pull list and collection small enough that I read things more than once in a short time. I read Moon Knight #1 two or three times the day it came out.

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