* (see below)
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Stuart Immonen (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I honestly don't understand a marketplace in which Stuart Immonen can produce a career-best display of fluid cartoonery and dynamic storytelling, and in which Warren Ellis can lose the misanthropy and unleash a story that's just as thrilling as his groundbreaking Authority work but also full of the colourful concepts that Marvel was built on, and yet the resulting comic sells far less than a story in which Iron Man and Captain America get grumpy and have an argument. This is the best title Marvel has published in 2006, and it's been demoted from "Ongoing Series" to "A Miniseries When We Can Be Bothered." It's X-Statix all over again, and I half expect to see a Loeb/Liefeld Nextwave title announced for mid-2007...
Nextwave is a slice of unassailable comics brilliance, and yet I do have one particular problem with this issue. We get the usual snarky but exquisitely timed scripting and bright, energetic storytelling as this title once again proves to be a pure celebration of the inherent wackiness of superhero comics coupled with an almost Dadaist refusal to actually be about anything (Nextwave is more intelligent than Civil War precisely because it explicitly rejects the latter's pretensions of intellectual depth. Discuss). But here's the thing: a good half of the story pages are devoted to a series of grand two-page spreads of the Nextwave squad mashing their way through swathes of monkey Wolverines, tigers with rocket packs and (best of all) Elvis-inspired MODOKs. These pieces are exceptional bits of work, full of fun imagery and energetic, witty cartoon violence, and Immonen does a good job of tying them together into a twisted Warner Brothers version of the Bayeux Tapestry, but as a narrative caption suggests, they could be considered a waste. When an issue of New Avengers was filled with text-free splash pages, I criticised it for the waste of everyone's time and money, and although Ellis and Immonen do make much better use of the splash pages than Bendis and Steve McNiven did there, and although Ellis' script self-consciously mocks the practice, I'm still not sure about it. I suppose that the technique does work quite well here, but it still niggles; knock a bullet off the score if such things bother you.
So there you have it; another excellent issue of Nextwave that's being ignored by the ab-human hordes also known as US comic fandom, because they have no taste. Well done cretins, you've killed another great title. Bah.
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