Fallen Angel..."Harlan Ellison is a Big, Fat Liar"
Peter David's Fallen Angel is a good comic book.It is probably a better book than about 70% of the comic books currently being published by DC.
I think the art from David Lopez and Fernando Blanco is good.I establish all of this to put into perspective my title, and why exactly I think Harlan Ellison is a “big fat liar.”
I think two of those three statements is incorrect, and the third, it is too soon to tell (a quick word on the third, "well-hewn." I really dislike the word "well-hewn." It is one thing to use fancy words when normal words would get across the same thing. I can give people some slack there. But here, Ellison is using the word "well-hewn," which means "well carved out of wood" in place of "well crafted." So not only is it a fancy word, but it is a fancy word that does not exactly mean what he wants it to mean, which is that the characters in Fallen Angel are well-crafted!).
The first statement, that Fallen Angel is "adult," I think is incorrect. Once, when I was in the sixth grade, we were asked to write a Halloween story. I thought this would be a cool time to write a sophisticated horror story. However, as I was a sixth grader, it came out like a sophisticate horror story as written by a sixth-grader. That is what Fallen Angel reads like to me. Throughout the entire series, it seemed pretty much like a typical Peter David comic book, which is not an insult. The only difference i noticed, was this sense that it was yearning to be taken seriously, yearning to be sophisticated, yearning to be adult...and that is not something that you TRY to do. It is just something that happens. You cannot just take your standard writing, and add "bitch" and gore and sex and then say it it is "adult." It reminds me of Pat Boone's metal days. Even if you thought Pat Boone's metal songs were good (and I did think some of them were quite good), you would not refer to Boone as a "heavy metal guy," would you? Same way I would not refer to the stories in Fallen Angel as "adult."
"Memorable" is something that I also think is missing from this series. Please note that I am only referring to the first trade here, but also note that that is what Ellison is referring to as well. While he mentions how he has access to more info, that does not exactly do us, the readers, much good, now does it (a quick aside about Ellison's introduction. I am sure it is helpful for a book to have someone as prominent as Ellison write the intro, but man, what a terrible introduction. It was ponderous, and was very difficult to read with the font and page color they chose. Not what you want for an introduction to a series which prides itself as being different)? The characters in Fallen Angel are not bad, they are fine characters, but their very nature almost demands that they are NOT memorable! Their very nature is one of shadows, and unfilled in blanks, and mysteries. We are not to know too much about any one character, and even less about the city they all inhabit. So almost by the very intent of the comic, I really did not find any of the characters to be all that memorable.
Which brings us to the comment that I do not think we can truly judge at this point in time, "well-hewn." As Ellison is using it, he means that the characters are well crafted. Well, since we know so little of them, and what little we know is being contradicted every other issue, I do not know if we can necessarilly characterize any of the characters as even CRAFTED, let along well crafted!
In any event, like I said before, I thought the comic was good. It is about a mysterious woman in a town where crime is almost unchecked at night. There is this crime magistrate, Juris, who controls the town's criminal population. He has an enforcer, Boxer, and an examiner, Slate. There is this drug dealer named Asia Minor. The "Fallen Angel," Lee, hangs out at a bar named Furors, run by an old barkeep named Dolf. She opens herself up as a "court of last resort." And in case you wonder how I remember that particular characterization of her situation, take notice that "court of last resort" to Fallen Angel is what "focused totality of her psi-powers" is to Psylocke, which is a description that the writer MUST think is clever, as he repeats it constantly. Basically, she helps the suckers in the town, but if she feels (while helping you) that you are unworthy of her help, she will gladly screw you over. Anyhoo, it is an interesting book. I just don't think it is adult or memorable.
However, in today's comic climate, we must learn the same lesson of the grocery store bagboy who tried to get promoted to being in charge of the store's fruit smoothie machine, which is "baggers can't be juicers."
Just for Peter David.
Aren't I so nice?