Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Extermination #3: Mad Like an Eel's Elbow

Extermination #3
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artists: Jeffrey Edwards & V Ken Marion
August 15, 2012
Boom! Studios

This review is coming in a little late so rather than do my usual review style I'm just going to give a few thoughts of mine on this issue and what I think of the series so far.

I read Simon Spurrier on Twitter describe this series as "douchebags with capes," and this issue explores that premise as we learn more about what an asshole the Superman-analogue Absolute is and Red Reaper does something entirely icky to the Promethean.

It was clear from the start that Extermination is definitely approaching its "douchebags with capes" from a Warren Ellis-like approach to deconstruction, but after we learn the full scope of Absolute's crimes against women, Spurrier's story is shaping up to be much more mean-spirited and darkly satirical than Ellis' work has been of late. I don't want to push the Ellis/Spurrier comparison too hard, but Ellis' Wildstorm work seems to me to be a key influence here.

This issue continues to flashback between the present post-apocalypse scenario and the past, which is now illustrated by V Ken Marion in a style that reminds me of 90s Image or, wait for it, early Wildstorm comics. I'm not certain that's intentional or not, but the difference between Marion and Edwards art styles creates a jarring contrast that works by highlighting the essential difference between the post-apocalyptic present and the adolescent superhero fantasy of years past.

The flashbacks in this issue seem to serve as a way of filling in the reader on what happened to these characters before the EDDA invasion, and as a caution against nostalgia and a critique of the simplicity of American superhero comics. Again, there's that Ellis connection.

Even though the contrast between art styles works, it doesn't mean I am a fan. In fact, I think most of Jeffrey Edwards art in this book sucks. Sorry to be blunt, but his figures are often misshapen or awkwardly proportion, and the faces of his characters often lack detail and consistency. Edwards' pages looks they were all drawn on a computer, and lack any fine attention to detail. The only good thing I can say is that the EDDA look really otherworldly, although I'm not sure how much of that has to do with Edwards' art or the fantastic colouring in this book. Seriously, there are THREE different colourists on this title and the overall effect is eye-popping.

There hasn't really been any noticeable improvement in Edwards' art since the first issue, and I couldn't blame someone for picking this title up off the shelf at their local comic shop and putting it right back down because 70% of the art looks like computer-drawn shit and the other 30% looks good for 1992.

I know that Boom! Studios isn't Marvel or DC, and is one of the smaller publishers out there, but I've seen better art in self-published titles sold through Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. The colouring in this book is PHENOMENAL, but the art looks completely amateurish, and for a professional title is just unacceptable. Even though I'm not a big fan of V Ken Marion's style, I would be more okay with his taking over art duties on this title than Edwards continuing to draw this book.

I feel really shitty being so negative with regards to the art on this title, because Extermination is a comic you SHOULD be reading. The story is great, the dialogue is bat-shit crazy, every issue feels like a completely satisfying read that moves the plot forward while introducing new elements, and the
characters are not the standard popular superhero analogues that the first appeared to be. Si Spurrier has the imagination of a barking mad dog and Extermination reads like a DC/Marvel book infected with his super rabies. Read it.

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