Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Stuart Immonen(p), Wade von Grawbadger(i), Dave McCaig(c)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
You really don't expect Warren Ellis in Nextwave: Agents of HATE to live up to his hilarious opening where the Mindless Ones mimic the Jets and the Sharks from West Side Story. Frankly, you couldn't possibly expect anybody to mine further comedy from the risible snapping fingers, dance-fight, but damned if Ellis doesn't manage to do it on both counts.
This would be a perfect issue of Nextwave: Agents of HATE if not for one really depressing scene of characterization that stops the book's comedy dead. This scene brings down a heavy weight on one character and in addition unwittingly reminds the reader of the now deceased Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Ellis in short is a victim of bad timing. Though this scene of childhood trauma does reinforce the idea of Nextwave: Agents of HATE a hybrid consisting of super-hero antics and spaghetti western.
Once we go beyond that vignette, the lovely violence, zaniness and pure liquid-streaming-out-of-nose inducing jokes steadily fires. I'm not even sure why certain scenes are funny. They just are. Part of that credit must go into the visual execution of the story. Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger and Dave McCaig choreograph one of the most unprofessional and wacky fights between super-hero and villain. Maybe it's because they duke it out using toilet implements. Maybe it's because the angular style emphasizes cartoon violence. Maybe it's because the characters so damn powerful that seeing them behave in such playground juvenileness creates absurdity. Maybe all these reasons apply. The scene where Dormammu's half-witted nephew gets his ass kicked just makes one laugh and laugh even when after the reader closes the book.
Nextwave: Agents of Hate: it’s the language of slapstick violence humming to an Ennio Morricone score with the judiciously added lyrics of Tom Jones in over-the-top majesty ala Mars Attacks!
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