Posted by: Graeme McMillan on September 2, 2007
LOCAL #10: There’s two separate things that I left this book with. One was that it was a strange, uncomfortable comic, and not necessarily for the reasons that its creators intended it to be. While this is an undoubtedly interesting comic – and one that tries not only to portray a particularly male rage that you don’t often see identified as such in comics, but also tries to analyze its origins and show its destructive qualities – I’m not completely sure that it’s a successful one. Part of that is due to the silent, uncertain misanthropy (misogyny?) of its lead, which doesn’t lend itself to storytelling particularly well; you get that he’s a dick, sure, but do you get why he’s such a dick, or even care…? Another part is that, in order to bring the chapter to some kind of closure, the emotional epiphany of the last couple of panels doesn’t really ring true – Yes, I can buy that a lot has happened, but why does that one thing in particular cause that reaction, other than it being the second last page of the story? – which may be more my fault as a reader (Expecting there to be a particular reason, when the point may be that there is no real reason; he just snapped… which does, in fact, tie back to the earlier issue in this series where two brothers talk after the death of their father; one of them snapped, as well, albeit in a more violent way) than anything else.
That said, there’s a lot to like about this issue – not least of which is the quiet morality and humanism of the whole thing (The unnamed guy in the second last and last page? Bless ‘im) – and if you’ve been reading this book and not become a massive fan of Ryan Kelly yet, this will be the one to push you over the edge. Just in terms of whether it’s worth reading or not, consider this a flawed but worthy Good.
The second thing that I came away from the comic with (Remember I said that there were two, back at the top?) had to do with Brian Wood’s text piece at the back of the book, where he talks about reader reaction to Megan, the main character of the series. Now, I’m used to being at odds with overall audience reaction to things – Hey, I loved the Monkees film Head – but I really don’t get the idea that people think that Megan’s obnoxious or deserving of being punched in the face. I mean, ignoring any part of the whole “protagonists are meant to be flawed and make the wrong decisions, to drive the story” thing, I’m concerned because I’ve gone through the entire series sympathizing with Megan and seeing a lot of my former mistakes and decisions in her. Now I’m convinced that half of Brian Wood’s fanbase would punch me in the face given the chance.
Time to stay off the streets of America, I feel.