Tuesday, March 22, 2005

We3 Is Sentimental Crap

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.


Blogger Tim O'Neil said...

Thank you! At least there's another persons who understands what I've been trying to say all this time...

3/22/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Chad said...

You're welcome.

Now where's my ten bucks?

3/22/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Shit. You're going to make it hard for me, I see, Chad. You bastard!

I liked We3 - apparently I'm nuts. I thought the ending did take the "safe" way, especially because Morrison hasn't done that in the past. Maybe he's getting old and sentimental. Up until that, it rocked.

3/22/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Chad said...

I don't think it's nuts to like We3. I liked We3. But I didn't love it and I don't think it deserves the massive amounts of parise it's been getting.

It's good for the type of story it tells- but the type of story it tells has limitations.

Had Chuck Austen written this book ity would have amazed me. Not because the story would have been any better, but because it's a better story than Chuck Austen is capable of writing. But it's a Grant Morrison story and so it loses points for being a much lesser Morrison story.

In my opinion, of course.

3/22/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

You're an idiot! I'm glad I'm gone!

Equating "not the saddest ending possible" with "sentimental" is an easy mistake. It's still a mistake.

3/22/2005 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chad said...

You're an idiot.

I'm glad you're gone.

So leave already.

Oh, and where did I say that it was the ending that made it sentimental crap. The whole series was sentimental. Not just the feel-good nearly happy stopping point.

3/22/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

Go fuck yourself, you wannabe iconoclast with nary a clue as to the technical innovations contained within the simple story of We3.

Adios and goodbye, CSBG.

3/22/2005 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Ach, dammit.

Anyway... sure, We3 is a Disney cartoon, albeit an ultraviolent one. Sure, it's sentimental, sure, it's got a simple plot. The way the story is told, though, is what makes the comic. There's innovative layouts and technical achievements. The animals are written well... like actual animals! It tugs at the heart-strings, sure, but not in a pandering way. I dunno... I thought it was a smart and fun little comic.

3/22/2005 11:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, come on guys...don't be like that...Joe, stay.

Chad, good controversial post, but I can't believe there wasn't an intellectual point to We3 just because it lacks the mad Morrisonese I've gotten used to. (Also nice to see Quitely art that isn't forced to revolve around funny mouths and leather, but that's neither here nor there.) All Morrison ever does is brilliantly subvert the expectations of formula, and I can't see that he's given that up with this riff on Incredible Journey he's done. Are the animals really innocent? I'm not so sure that the world of animals has any innocence in it at all but for what we insist ought to be there, just as I remain unconvinced, for that very reason, that the ending is really as much of a cop out as they say. Sentimental, though, you bet. Kinda gets you right here.

And bloody beautiful to look at and read.

3/22/2005 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

Wow. When I saw the title of this post, I thought I was at the wrong blog.

It's just weird to see a post about not liking a Morrison book here.

3/23/2005 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous kamandi said...

So.... the Blog is called "COMICS SHOULD BE GOOD", but the first thing you do is find a Good Comic, and call it "crap".

That's not fair. I'm sorry. It wasn't a "good comic". It was a Fucking Mindblowingly Awesome comic.

Basically, your review was idiotic. Congratulations.

3/23/2005 08:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Martin said...

I love sentimental comics, but We3 was just dull (and occasionally badly told).

3/23/2005 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

This is only half right. We3 is sentimental, but it is by no means crap.

For starters, sentimentality was the right way to go with the story. I mean, it's, by GM's own admission, "The Incredible Journey" with cybernetics, so you have to expect that. And there's nothing inherently wrong with doing a sentimental story.

Secondly, the plot. As a plot, it's pretty standard, adhering to the basic three-act structure. There are few, if any, twists along the way. If that's a deal-breaker for you in terms of your entertainment, then you'll be dissatisfied, yes. But that doesn't make it bad. It's quite well-constructed, has moments of excitement, pathos, and humor, and it moves along at a sensible pace. For the very exacting, it's not great, but it is quite good.

Finally, and this is the element that makes the story more than just the sum of its part, there is the execution. The synergy in the collaboration of M & Q brings out every last erg of energy the story has, and fulfills its utmost potential. Not a panel is wasted, not a moment is mis-timed, and not a single element is extraneous. It's a wonderfully crafted comic book, of which any creative person would be proud.

Now, of course, everyone isn't going to like anything, and there are people whose boats We3 doesn't float. I am not one of these people, but then again, I hated Seinfeld. (Still do, actually.) Tastes differ, but there is such a thing as objective quality, and We3 has that. It is by no stretch of the imagination a bad comic. I know from bad comics. I stayed with the X-Books and the Spider-Books through the mid-90's, fer chrissakes, so I've paid for some stinkers in my day. We3 ain't crap.

3/23/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

With the addition of Greg and this entry from Chad, I might have to start reading this blog regularly again.

I thought WE3 was way overrated and, if it were written by anyone other than Morrison, it would have barely registered on anyone's radar. While "sentimental crap" may be a bit harsh, it's definitely not the classic some have proclaimed it to be.

3/23/2005 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Nik said...

Nope, can't agree with this one. "Sentimental" doesn't automatically signify crap. Morrison has even said he was going for that "Incredible Journey" feel here. I've read and seen a lot of sentimental books and movies that have been just great, and a lot more that have been terrible, of course. I don't think WE3 is Grant's BEST work but it's hardly crap, IMHO.

3/23/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

Is saying something is sentimental crap the same as saying that being sentimental is crap? I didn't get that Chad was saying that. I mean, saying that, say, JSA is superhero crap doesn't mean you hate superhero comics.

3/25/2005 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous plok said...

No, he's clearly saying it's crap because it's sentimental.

Sorry, can't agree. Insufficient justification.

4/01/2005 07:00:00 PM  
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Anonymous Generic Cialis said...

I agree with you in every single way We3 is the kind of comic I give to a little cousin so she stops bothering the hell out of me. It is bad, not at all god, pure BS waste of money and paper.

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