I keep reading this book because Brian Vaughn is telling a compelling enough story that I’m interested in seeing where it goes. But my goodness, isn’t this the most popular book from Image these days? I know the title wins all kinds of awards. But man, it just feels so… manufactured. The sex scenes and Alana’s dirty talk dialogue are clearly there to try and grab attention; it feels juvenile. It reads like something a kid would write and hide from his or her parents.
With the months between my reading of volume 2 and 3, I got very confused about the sequence of events too. Things cleared up for me about halfway through. I find myself much more interested in Lying Cat, The Will, and Gwendolyn than I do in the core cast, though. The introduction of The Brand and the other associates in the bounty hunting world is pretty interesting.
I also love the inclusion of Marko’s mother as a core member of the cast. Not only does she add a fun point of view and source of conflict in the group, but she’s another accomplished fighter in a group that is quickly racking up quite the list of enemies.
I’m not totally bought into the parallel storyline of the journalists yet. They don’t seem particularly heroic, so I can’t imagine they are protagonists. Clearly, they aren’t antagonists. They seem like two likable dudes trying to do their jobs; I’m just puzzled why they are getting so many pages dedicated to them? If I had to guess, they are going to share Marko and Alana’s romance between the two warring societies, showing everyone that peace is possible. I think that’s an admirable place to take the narrative, but if the reporters are going to be the ones showing us this, I’m hoping for more guts and bravery from them soon.
Vaughn’s work has always had a certain level of… preachiness? Superiority? I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I get the feeling that Vaughn’s titles are very pleased with themselves. Now, the reader is included in that; “if you are cool and hip enough to get it and agree, then you are cool and hip too!” Perhaps I’m just reading into it, but I got the exact same feeling when I read Ex Machina. Like Vaughn’s other work, progressive ideas and hipster cred are mixed in with fantastic original ideas like Lying Cat and living tree spaceships.
Fiona Staples’ art is as impressive as ever. Her ability to elicit emotional responses from the reader for all sorts of insane aliens is amazing. Seriously, who doesn’t empathize with Lying Cat? Who doesn’t feel a twinge of pity for Prince Robot? I am amused at how many normal “Earth” animals are anthropomorphized into interesting aliens, but frankly, that just makes the sci-fi setting more relatable. This is solid work
This is a FAIR comic full of neat ideas and compelling characters. My only complaint is, for me, it seems to be trying too hard for hipster cred that it takes me out of the book a bit.