Friday, May 12, 2006

(Marvel Comics)
Nextwave #2 When: April 2006
Why: Warren Ellis How: Stuart Immonen

The story so far...
It's like Shakespeare, but with lots more punching.
It's like Goethe, but with lots more crunching.
Like Titanic, but the boat's still floating.
No it's not! The mother-f***ing boat is exploding!


Dirk Anger is one crazy mamajama. He leads H.A.T.E. sitting around in his pretty pink pajamas.
H.A.T.E. was formed by the Beyond Corporation. Purposely to bring about catastrophic devestation!


Do you want a haircut? The Beyond Corporation's gonna help you out.
Do you need a toothbrush? The Beyond Corporation's got an extra one.
Do you have a step-son? The Beyond Corporation's gonna run him off.

Do you see a monster? Or a pirate? Electric Emu? A giant sky rat? A midget Hitler?! Or Pontius Pilate? Don't call your mum or your doctor, just pick up the phone and call... NEXTWAVE!

Whoa-oh-oh, NEXTWAVE!

Give us a Nextwave rollcall!
Monica! Is gonna microwave your ****!
Tabby! Is gonna steal all your stuff!
Aaron! Is going to organize your sock drawer.
Elsa! Is gonna speak with an accent!

NEXTWAVE! Whoa-whoa-oh-oh-oh, NEXTWAVE!
Wooooo-oo-oo-oo, NEXTWAVE!
Oooh, somebody please call up NEXTWAVE!
For God's sake, somebody call... Nextwave...*

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Fin Fang Foom 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Machine Man 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Photon 5 (Super Speed)
Stamina: Fin Fang Foom 6 (Generator)
Agility: Photon 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: Photon 4 (Trained Fighter)
Energy Powers: Photon 6 (Mass Destruction)

Y'know, for such a third-stringer, Captain Marvel [aka; Photon, aka; Monica Rambeau] is a pretty high rating hero. Oh, and if you didn't know, she once ran the Avengers. Hah-cha-cha-cha-cha.

Still, microwave special beam cannons and SHIELD regulation callisthenics aren't really all that much next to a giant dragon. A giant alien dragon who wears purple trunks, as it were.
As you can see, there are some of those vulnerabilities in the Haseloff system. I never could have accounted for purple underpants. Truly a formidable power (as we shall see).

Stats that include impressive strength levels on the side of Elsa Bloodstone and the Captain, as well as the multitude of abilities possessed by the gadget, geared up Machine Man, while impressive, aren't enough.
Even the dodgy record Fin Fang Foom has against superhero types isn't enough to render him a likely loser in this situation. Not on paper, according to statistics, at least.

Arguably a Nextwave should have far more chance of dealing with the alien dragon than a lone Iron Man, but that probably speaks more to the unfortunate writing of history.
Fin Fang Foom is a poor Iron Man villain choice, and should be granted higher status, dealt with by the likes of the Fantastic Four, or other.

What went down...
The second issue of Nextwave resumes very much where the end of the first left off. As the Nextwave arrives on the scene, Fin Fang Foom, having just been awoken and freed from his mountain prison, is f**king sh*t up!

Former X-Forcer, Tabby "Boom Boom" Smith, swoops in wearing an anti-gravity harness, to give the Fin-man an eyefull of plasma blast fit for 'shake, shaking' the room.
This plan, however, backfires...

Fin Fang Foom is swift enough to catch the little Boomer in-hand, and announces the offensive strategy of intending to place her in his pants. Not a very pretty plan, but effective in concept, none the less.
At least until an airborne Captain hurtles toward the situation.

The f**king absurdly strong action hero grapples with a giant green finger, peeling back until finally... He snaps the finger clean off Fin Fang Foom's hand.

FFF waves his agonized hand around a bit, sending The Captain [and Tabitha Smith] hurtling once more, this time into a nearby apartment building.
Fortunatley, The Captain's absurdly powerful body was able to protect his Nextwave compadre from mortal injury.

Meanwhile, while Machine Man parks the Shockwave Rider, Photon leaps into action. Using her fantastic Photon-y powers, she converts her body into a flying deadly, flying exawatt gamma-ray laser beam! Which results in... her bouncing off FFF's big green chest...

Apparently unable to even damage the creature's toenails with a shotgun, the team decides drastic situations call for drastic measures. Well, okay, they didn't really put it like that, but I'm trying not to drone on too much...

... So, the invincible Elsa Bloodstone leaps into action, shotgun in tow, and fires at Fin Fang Foom's fintastic right eye. Which really hurts, and makes him open his mouth and shout in agony. This oral opening allows the Aaron "the Machine Man" Stack to hurtle into the gullet of the beast.

Twisting his way down through Fin Fang Foom's digestive system, Machine Man pops a whole mess of wacky, dangerous and sharp looking gadgets, and hacks away at FFF's innards like a sissy footballer brutalising a shin in the name of a steal.

In the end, Machine Man's rampaging butchery paid off.
Lurching in agony, Fin Fang Foom wonders if perhaps he had eaten too many people, but this was more than a little Bangalore belly. This was the bitter, hard-to-digest result of man's intolerance for giant alien monsters.

When will you learn to accept, humanity? Shame.

The hammer...
Fin Fang Foom's heart was broken, as was mine, with Nextwave walking away with the victory via excessive force.
This begs the question - is Fin Fang Foom now dead?

Popular opinion is to simply dismiss Nextwave as a book that obeys it's own exclusive canon, irrelevent to the established history of the Marvel "616" universe. This reporter, however, sees it otherwise.

In fact, despite it's comedy stylings, I tend to believe this book would greatly benefit the Marvel universe if it were to be directly attached.
This book has the potential to succeed where other series, like the recent ill-fated Defenders mini, have failed. Despite it's humorous and untamed antics, it has an over the top quality that nullifies, I believe, any potential misuse of characters.

In fact, thus far, it's my opinion that it hasn't even tred dodgy ground.

As a creatively and artistically brilliant piece of madness, this book, in my estimation, has not yet betrayed any of the characters it's borrowed. This opinion is no doubt held intact by the editorial wisdom that birthed a character like Dirk Anger, rather than pushing the boundaries of the likes of Nick Fury beyond parody.

In the case of Fin Fang Foom, I'd like to think a little bit of alien psuedo-reptilian regeneration could explain away a prompt resurrection. With, perhaps, the rest of the book steering clear of potential snafus that would necessitate separation from the other childred.

Critically, I could only fawn over this title.
Thoroughly disappointed with mainstream ventures from Ellis in recent past [Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate Secret, JLA: Classified...], this book not only makes up for those lapses of judgment, but seemingly does it on Ellis' own specififc terms.

The collaborative design produced under Ellis' direction by Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Dave McCaig and Joe Caramagna, makes this more than just a beautiful, and kinetic read. This is a book generating it's own exciting image, akin more to high-end popart than just another Marvel comic.

I have nothing but gleaming reviews for everything from cover to cover.
The application of under utilised characters is brilliant. I could not say the book is a trailblazer in that sense, but solicitations from the big two are clearly indicative of an overdue realisation that this is a fantastic way to produce interesting, and unique books.

The use of Fin Fang Foom as a recognisable face under the 'UWMD' classification is fantastic. This was surely an intelligent way of ensuring long reading fanboys had interest to invest in the style of the ook, before it deviated to it's own self-perpetuated characters and stories.
I only hope the book can keep one foot in the Marvel Universe, because there are many characters I'd love to see gain new life here.
Post-New Invaders, I think the likes of USAgent and Blazing Skull would fit in superbly here, but I digress...

Since these ramblings are rapidly going nowhere, I'll close with a negative.
While the writing is strong, and suitably wacky, Elsa Bloodstone's dialogue is a bit grinding. Coming from a true Brit like Ellis, I would have expected slightly less over the top British dialogue. It's like someone threw scripts from The Bill in a blender, and pulled out as many of the colloqualisms as possible.

Machine Man's anti "fleshy," robotic antics were fun, but also seemed a little less shiney. More specifically it felt very much like strings from Futurama were being plucked, taking some of Bender's finer moments, and regurgitating them with more psychotic menace.

NEVER THE LESS, a shining review here. This is the kind of effort I'd like to see Marvel producing more often. Superb! If there wasn't a fight in this issue, I probably still would've forced it onto the site.
A pleasure to 'review' such an oustanding book.

*Finally, if you enjoyed the opening lyrics, you can still find the Nextwave theme song via the Thunder Thighs MySpace page. This glorious madness is perpetuated by Nextwave editor, Nick Lowe, along with his brother Matt.

The Fight: 6 The Issue: 7

NEXT: The May main event. Captain America versus Batman. When it comes to fantasy fights, they don't come much bigger than this one folks. Stay tuned!

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