Current Reviews


Nextwave: Agents of Hate #7

Posted: Saturday, August 19, 2006
By: Ray Tate

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Stuart Immonen (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i) Dave McCaig (colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Nextwave kept me amused and infrequently made me laugh aloud. The first moment of laughter occurred when Aaron Stack does his impression of the Stilt Man. The next laugh arose when Ellie's "life takes on a new meaning." The third laugh came when Tabitha pays tribute to Indiana Jones. The fourth laugh tittered when Aaron makes the rude comment directed toward Tabitha, followed by her less than shrewd retort. The fifth laugh was a surprise thanks to an epilogue where skateboarding rules. All in all, I had a fine time reading this comic book.

Ellis does more than generate a catalyst for laughter. Ellis concocts with this issue a weird spaghetti western where the heroes ride into town and attempt to stop the BEYOND corporation in their next bid for world domination.

Western motifs abound in Nextwave. The BEYOND's contact of an extradimensional crimelord amounts to a corrupt official hiring gunslingers to do in the heroes. The quiet scenes where the characters talk about their history reflects the laconic moments by the campfire. Even some of the dialogue reflects the western sensibility:

"We're not done. You up for a ground war, boys and girls?"
"Wouldn't be riding with you if we weren't.."

As does Nextwave, usually the Italian westerns employ fun over-the-top violence prevalent in the Dollar films of Sergio Leone and the Django couplet. Django's a pleasant chap who drags around a coffin. We discover what lies in the coffin in a moment of glorious feel good excess that results in multiple dead proto-Klansmen.

Stuart Immonen's long angular figures should be familiar to anyone who has seen the opening animation and the posters of the Dollar films. The young Clint Eastwood and Lee van Cleef were rather gaunt figures in cinescope. Von Grawbadger's sharp inks only enhance the elongated feeling of the sixties pasta pecoses. The colors by Dave McCaig, which are primarily oranges and yellows, translate the panels into a vivid language of violence, and these hues also mirror the sun-scorched Spanish deserts where the spaghettis were filmed.

Nextwave: Agents of Hate it's an Italian western directed by an Englishman and filmed by Americans. Despite that, it's very, very good.

The Ellisonian (in order of their appearance)

"...Vishanti"--trio of really powerful and benevolent extradimensionals in the Dr. Strange section of comics; not to be confused with The Impossibles.

"...Moons of Munnopor"--Based likely on the Majipoor series by scifi grandmaster Robert Silverberg.

Rorkannu--apparently the half-witted nephew of Dormmamu. Left in charge while the Dread One has gone fishin'.

Faltine--the race of Dormmamu and presumably Rorkannu; also a tasty cracker.

The Mindless Ones--minions of Dormmamu and workers under the table for Rorkannu

Suicide Girls--a real-life community of sexy, intelligent women, usually tattooed and pierced in various places. The Suicide Girls began with a website and became a phenomena that includes DVDs and a performance art tour.

Captain Power--center character to an obscure live action kiddie drama. (thanks to Michael Paciocco)

Captain Ron--Kurt Russell character from obscure eponymous film.

Captain Ultra--obscure super-hero introduced in The Fantastic Four; recognized for his eyesore of a costume.

Captain Avenger--super-hero character portrayed by John Ritter in Hero at Large

"Ant-Man and his dirty little feet"--a reference to one of the most disgusting images ever produced in comic books--an itty-bity Hank Pym pitter-pattering out of his wife's nether regions ever-so subtly hinted at in an Avengers issue written of course by Geoff Johns, The Maestro of Hackery.

The Wasp--Monica implies that the Wasp also hit on her during her time at the Avengers. Therefore the Wasp is either willing to experiment or bisexual. This would imply that a company crossover featuring Batwoman is imminent.

"Nextwave: A pirate super hero fight comic..."--Ellis attempting to suck from the teat of the wildly Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Stilt Man--absurd comic book Daredevil villain imitated by Aaron Stack this issue.

Indiana Jones--legendary archaeologist portrayed by Harrison Ford in three movies and one episode of a television series; imitated this issue by Tabitha.

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