06 January 2016

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part XXXVII: Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters: Brave New World

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2008 (contents: 2007-08)
Borrowed from the library
Read May 2015
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters: Brave New World

Story by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Renato Arlem
Letters by Rob Leigh
Colors by Alex Bleyaert and Rob Schwager

God exists, and He hates me. How do I know this? He permitted the existence of a second volume of Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. (Actually, he permitted the existence of still more, but in His mercy He left those ones uncollected.) Only the sheer deep-rootedness of my completist instincts can explain why I read this: given that I'd read the previous volume and that it takes place during Countdown to Final Crisis, I felt compelled to read it, but now that I've typed that it out, it seems a wholly inadequate explanation for why I inflicted this on myself. Perhaps I, like God, hate me.

This is like the first volume, but worse if you can imagine it. Nothing that any character does in here mean anything; I want to give Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti the benefit of the doubt, but this reads like sheer hackwork, comics vomited out to fulfill some kind of contractual obligation. (Is DC required to publish stories featuring the characters/concepts they inherited from Quality Comics? Surely nothing else could explain their insistence of releasing terrible comic after terrible comic featuring them.) One imagines they wrote each issue in mere minutes, never edited a word, and then laughed as they cashed their paychecks. (2007-08 was a good time for them and shit writing, given they were also partly responsible for Countdown to Final Crisis.) As a fan of what I've read of Christopher Priest's run on The Ray, I'm glad he's not alive so he didn't have to witness their utter ineptitude in handling the characters he poured so much brilliance into.

The only person more guilty than the writers of this comic is its artist. Seriously, Renato Arlem's art is irredeemably bad and completely terrible. A heavy user of Photoshop, characters usually don't move from panel to panel, and images are reused in different contexts despite inappropriate poses and facial expressions, and what the dialogue and narration indicate ought to be happening is often wholly undepicted in the artwork. That anyone has ever hired him to "draw" anything boggles my mind. I can only assume that since 50% of his drawings are reused, he costs 50% of other artists. (Caleb Mozzocco has said much the same at me, but at length, and with pictures.)

Don't be like me. Don't make my mistake. Don't turn on God. Don't read this book!

Next Week: It can get worse! Countdown: Arena!

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