Posted by: Graeme McMillan on May 24, 2007
I can’t tell if this week is going quickly, or if I’m just getting old and forgetting what’s happening each day. Nonetheless, I’m tried and it’s almost the weekend, and one of those things is definitely good. So, let’s move on from there, shall we?
MADMAN ATOMIC COMICS #2: In which we discover that last issue’s everything you know is wrong cliffhanger is, in fact, wrong in and of itself – So everything you know is wrong again! Ha! Sucks to be you! Sadly, the “you” in this case turns out in a very real sense to be “everyone who’s reading the book,” and this turns out to be a second Crap issue in a row.
It’s not even that everything is a lie is a lie is that bad of a dodge – It gives some weight to the extended recap that was the first issue, after all – but that it’s a dodge that it takes seventeen pages to get to, most of which are filled with meandering dialogue that goes exactly nowhere (Seriously: “I think. I think I am. And so, therefore I am. I think.” That’s an entire page right there. Or maybe “I remember nothing. Nothing. Nothing!” “He’s bad. Real bad.” That’s a double page spread). And once we get that twist, it’s half-undone by the end of the book, where Madman seems to think that maybe it’s true or maybe it’s not, and Allred tells us that everything happened the way we’ve previously read it except where it didn’t. It’s not that I don’t want to read existential superhero comics – I’m a Grant Morrison fan, for the love of God – but I don’t want to read existential superhero comics that are so weightless and meaningless. None of the concepts are really even thought through, never mind explored fully – Mike Allred writes in his (pretty interesting, but maybe not in a good way) lettercolumn text piece at the back that he wants this comic to be “an epic mindtrip” that evokes similar questions to the ones that 2001: A Space Odyssey gave him when he was a kid, but the only similar question it brings up for me is that “When is this bit over?” part that I had when all the solarized color was being used towards the end. It’s an admirable goal to try and create a comic that asks the big questions, but it’s a pretty hollow one if all you’re really going to do is ask those questions without any real context or intent to try and at least suggest answers.
The art is still really nice, though. So there’s that.