More Graphic Novel Reviews

Ms. Marvel: Generation Why
by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Jacob Wyatt and Adrian Alphona (artists)
2015, Marvel

Alternates between very funny (her fawning behaviour when Wolverine shows up, including mentioning that she wrote fan fic about him) and obnoxiously preachy and pedantic to its teen audience ("you're NOT a wasted generation and it's NOT your fault, do something good with your lives!" ... I'm paraphrasing, but trust me, this is exactly the message). At least we get some more explanation of her origins - I'll just say it's not what she thought it was ...

Quite clever in some ways, but heavy-handed in its message and predictable in its story arc, I'm done with the series.

The Private Eye
by Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Marcos Martin (drawing), and Muntsa Vicente (colour)
2015, Image Comics

Many years after the "Cloud Burst" ("the Cloud," where everybody stores EVERYTHING, burst ... leaking everyone's secrets and leading to the elimination of the Internet), a private eye (now an illegal form of employment) is asked to investigate someone just before that person is killed. His instinct is to run the other way as it would put him and his illegal form of employment under scrutiny, but he's made to reconsider by the victim's sister.

The format is unusual: I thought of it as being in widescreen. The pages are 30cm wide by only 18.5cm tall (let me tell you, it's damned awkward to read a 60cm wide hard cover on the subway).

Initially published on their website, Vaughan wanted to write a "story about privacy, and whether our generation's ongoing campaign against it will ultimately be good or bad for society. I don't know the answer to that yet, so I want to make a comic to find out." He wrote that before they started, and I would have been very interested in their answer - but I'm not sure it's in this book.

In the future Vaughan has envisioned, everyone over the age of 18 (EVERYONE) wears a - usually outrageous - disguise while outside and goes by some sort of made-up name. Vaughan makes fun of our generation in the form of Private Eye's grandfather, drug-addled and still forgetting that the Internet doesn't exist anymore. The news men are the police - for all the good and bad that implies. If you're story doesn't make good TV, they don't follow up.

I don't think his vision of the future is very likely, but it was interesting and the story, characters and art were all very good. Definitely worth a look.

Invincible: Eight is Enough (Volume 2)
by Robert Kirkman et al
2012, Image Comics

Includes another ass-kissing introduction, this time by Erik Larsen - I think it's meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but it's not actually funny. And the content ... Kirkman seems to think he's writing something deep, but it's pretty insipid and standard. Approximately twice a day one or the other of him or his father has to take out a supervillain, and about once a week it's a threat to the entire planet. The pace is utterly ludicrous, and the destruction they and their enemies cause mean the entire economy would be collapsing from the constant rebuilding required (and where are the construction sites in the background? their whole town would be being rebuilt once a year). Oooh, look, Daddy has betrayed Junior (and the entire planet) and Junior doesn't even know it yet! Isn't that terrifying, deep, and meaningful?

Invincible: Perfect Strangers (Volume 3), and Invincible: Head of the Class (Volume 4)
by Robert Kirkman et al
2012, Image Comics

By the time I read these I was realizing that the stupid introductions are a thing, meant for comedic effect (not working). And I concluded that Kirkman had decided that there had to be a major fight in every issue (each graphic novel being about five issues bound together). It didn't matter that it didn't make sense, or that it wrecked any possibility of emotional story arcs carrying weight: I assume he just enjoyed writing and envisioning them. But by mid-way through book 4 I was done with the tedious consistency of it.