When Cronin asked me if I’d like to join the Comics Should be Good blog my initial reaction was “Fuck a duck! I guess I’m a Big Man now!” This was followed almost immediately by “Shit, I bet they blackball me because I think We3 is sentimental crap.”
Yeah, I swear a lot. Sue me.
Just in case you’re mildly retarded or have never, ever read this weblog before- We3 is a miniseries recently released by Vertigo. It was written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely. It showcases the story of three cute animals that have been turned into cyborg killing machines by the U.S. Government. These cute and lovable animals have been operated on, experimented on and trained to kill for the Betterment of the U.S. But now the poor wee bairns are scheduled to be liquified to make way for the next wave of nastier animal operatives.
We3 has been universally acclaimed as an instant classic all over this weblog. Furthermore, it is the comic book that straight men give to the girlies in order to impress them. And the girlies love it. Everyone loves it. It’s a masterpiece!
Only it’s not.
I happen to be very deeply in love with Grant Morrison. He has written one of my all time favorite comic book series (The Invisibles) and one of my all-time favorite runs on an X-Book (New X-men). I’ve read almost everything he’s written. I’ve pretended to be hip enough to get all the references in Doom Patrol. I’ve chuckled at Seaguy. I’ve scratched my head over The Filth. I’ve applauded JLA and Marvel Boy and Kill Your Boyfriend and Flex Mentallo. I’m a Morrison fanboy and there’s no doubt.
We3 is sentimental crap.
We3 reads like a particularly well-written PETA comic book. The animals have distinct personalities and are completely innocent. The Government goons are evil except for the brave woman who tries to rescue the animals she’s been helping to torture. And there’s a happy ending for two of the animals. And a not-so-happy ending for the government goons who are brought low by all this.
The story is paper-thin and stretched over three issues when one would have done. And when Morrison decides he’s made his point it just ends. When he figures he’s gotten you to accept his thesis he kills the rabbit (alas, not with spear and magic helmet), has the animals escape and a convenient guy removes all the machinery and they live happily ever after. The End.
It’s a Disney cartoon.
What We3 lacks in story it makes up for in heart. You can tell Morrison feels for these animals. Their pain and confusion is writ large all over the series. You’d have to be made of stone not to feel for these poor animals caught in circumstances beyond your control. And if you are resistant, each cover shows a poster for one of the missing pets that have been turned into cyborg deathdealers. It’s a highly emotional and sentimental journey. It’s the comic book version of Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows.
We3 is sentimental crap.
We3 is not a badly written or drawn or told story. Morrison and Quitely are both solid professionals and turn in professional work. But the story they’ve chosen to tell isn’t worthy of their talents. We3 is an emotional exercise with no intellectual center. It’s a sob story for the superhero set. It’s a break from most mainstream comics in that it focuses on animals rather than super-powered people. But boiled down it’s just a little, sentimental story.
The name of the blog is Comics Should be Good. I’m behind that. I think comics should be good. I think comics should be great. But I think part and parcel of that is holding creators who consistently reach higher than the norm to higher standards. I expect more from Morrison because I know Morrison is capable of more. We3 is very much lesser Morrison.
On its own it’s a good (albeit overly long) story with pretty art.
As a book by Grant Morrison it’s sentimental crap.