Thursday, September 3, 2009

Magog #1

Maybe I'm mellowing out as I get older. Back when Kingdom Come originally came out, I was a big fan of Magog. I liked his ridiculous look, I liked his "rebellious" attitude towards the older heroes, and I liked that he killed the Joker in that alternate history story. But now that we have Magog showing up in the current DCU, I think he's kind of a jerk.

Keith Giffen does a nice job fleshing out David Reid/Magog in the first issue. Magog knows who he is, at least. He knows he's a hard-edged hero that will do more than what other heroes will do, both morally and politically. I admire the self-awareness he shows when he comments that he knows there is no way he can last in the JSA. He also lies to Alan Scott about trying not to kill people, another funny bit showing that Magog knows exactly what kind of hero he is. My problem is how dismissive Magog seems to be towards the attitudes of other heroes. He makes a few comments about still respecting GL, but not enough. The core plot involves someone selling low-end meta tech to criminals around the world, sort of a low-tech Intergang. The concept is ok, but the book needs a real antagonist fast or I'm afraid I will lose interest.

Howard Porter sure enjoys drawing teeth breaking. Twice in the first issue Magog busts up someone's dental work, and then we have 3 or 4 guys getting their skin blasted off too. I think I'd prefer a more "comicy" take on Magog's energy blasts. With his beams looking like they are searing folks to death, Magog comes off as a bit of a sadist.



Artillery MKV said...

I never got people liking Magog. He's a villain in hero's clothing. He's Kingdom Come's way of showing what a sham all the 'dark heroes' of the 90s were.

Mart said...

Yup, he's a dark joke/jock/jerk whose time has past.


Timbotron said...

I really wanted to like this, but I think I agree with you guys. I'll give Giffen one or two more issues though.

Ian from Westfields said...

I've not read the book nor have much interest to but I get Magog. He's basically the Punisher. A "superhero" with a soldier's mentality.

Thing is, why Magog? Why port that persona over and graft it onto this guy who's part of the FDR legacy? Such a gaudy motif and the horns and the shoulder pads and the obscure Biblical apocalyptic reference...doesn't really scream FDR or US Marines.

That's the totally frickin' weird part about this character. All the baggage of Kingdom Come (that's still technically Elseworlds or Earth-22 and has as much bearing as, say, Days of Future Past does on the X-Men--which never goes further than intimations or omens), and his origin involving Gog in the pages of the JSA (which we never really got to see what Gog was or necessarily wanted).

So there's all this dissonance and asymmetry surrounding the character that just makes it a really, really tough sell even though at his core he's just the Punisher archetype. Completely overcomplicated aesthetic I think.

Timbotron said...

No doubt about him being complicated. Gog created him, but we never exactly knew why. I did kind of like the guy better when he was just the face of the bad asses in Kingdom Come. But then again, I thought Von Bach was cool too (that big crazy looking German vigilante).

Artillery MKV said...

Von Bach was waaaaaay too crazy to be a leader, though. Magog was introduced to be, essentially, Dark Superman. His entire reason for existance was to show what a monster Supes would be if he gave up his moral code. A moral code he compromises and then resets during the course of KC.

Frankly I think bringing many of the polarized characters over into the main DCU from the KC subset was a mistake. Sure, they have a background and are fully designed, but the lose their impact.