Wednesday, July 05, 2006

NextWave #3
NextWave #1: Director's Cut

writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Stuart Immonen
published by Marvel Comics

Man, I'm late getting this up. By this time, issue 4 (heh. now it should be 5) should be out, and I haven't gotten my lazy ass to the Laughing Ogre to buy it yet.
From the beginning, I knew I was going to like NextWave. It was smart and spiteful, yes, but it's also a comic that revels in its comic-bookiness.
Warren Ellis is a cynic, but he's a cynic with a healthy balance of idealism behind his jaded ethic. NextWave is full of honest-to-goshness gee-whiz moments, peppered with pop culture parody and winking irony. The heroes are mostly familiar Marvel characters, with the exception of The Captain (aka Captain ****). And the situations they're in are familiar to anyone who's ever picked up a sooperhero book. The plot is convolutedly simple: The Beyond Corporation sponsors a SHIELD-esque rapid-response team called HATE (Highest Anti-Terrorist Enforcement) to combat America's enemies. It's all lies and bullshit, though. The Beyond Corporation are the baddies, in reality the super-terrorist organization SILENT.
After discovering this, the NextWave team (all second-string heroes banded together to be a branded presence in toy stores and TV screens) turns traitor and fights both HATE and the Beyond Corporation.
In the third issue, the team discovers a "hyper techno samurai" seed has been lost and jumps into action to find it. It's been discovered already, by a cop who epitomizes the perjorative "PIG". The seed jumps into him and...changes him.
So, now NextWave not only has corporate-sponsored law enforcement and terrorist agents after them, but they also have a rapidly evolving supertechnical biomechanical creepazoid to throw down with. And throw down they do.
The next issue promises the origin of NextWave's most mysterious member, the aforementioned Captain. Since the book's not in the soon-to-be-defunct Max line, we know we're not finding out what **** the Captain really is. But, we might find out why everyone aside from the book's readership hates his surly ass.

The director's cut of issue 1 doesn't add a thing to the story. None of Marvel's "Director's Cuts" ever do. It does, however, come with a few extras. All of the Director's Cut series include the issue's script and occasionally the odd sketch or character design. This one's no exception. Reading Ellis' pared-down script really does let you in on the fact that he's pretty much got the book visualized in his head. That he gets an artist to do exactly what he wants if part of the fun.

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