Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This Comic Is Good - Klarion the Witch Boy

One of things Grant Morrison often gets credit for is being an "ideas man."

And it is true, the man knows how to come up with some crazy ideas in comics that work really well.

In addition, he often has a sort of "throw a lot of stuff at the reader quickly" approach, that often works really well, but sometimes leaves readers (not me, but I know of others who have complained about this) cold because they would prefer Morrison to choose one idea and just develop it, rather than jump to a new idea right away.

Therefore, the one thing that you could argue that Grant Morrison comics often lack is in-depth characterizations. This makes sense, as his stories do not tend to slow down enough to GIVE such characterizations (when he DOES slow down during his long runs, he does manage to whip out a lot of characterization really quickly, see his New X-Men run for examples).

His Seven Soldiers work, though, is beginning to go away from this, at least from the early indications.

Seven Soldiers #0 gave us a lot of characterization.

Guardian and Shining Knight did not, but Zatanna did.

Klarion the Witch Boy, though, is Morrison at the slowest I have seen him in a looooong time (maybe since Animal Man!), and it works very well, I think (spoilers ahead).

Klarion is a resident of Limbo Town, and he constantly questions the rules that the elders of Limbo Town come up with, but what is most interesting to me is that Morrison does not give Klarion a one-dimensional reason for disobeying (which is a far bit different from his character in the Guardian, whose motives ARE fairly one-dimensional, although the Guardian is not ATTEMPTING to be a characterization-driven title, so it is not a big deal), but rather, gives layers upon layers for the whole issue, so that when the rebellion actually occurs, it feels like the culmination of a long plot and not just a decision made in one issue. Good work there.

I also enjoy how Morrison was able to make the almost tyrannical rules of the Elders seem palpatable, as though it is really feasible that people WOULD follow them. I liked that a lot. It would be very simple to make them OBVIOUSLY a bunch of evil tyrants, but instead, Morrison gives depths to their rules and let's us understand them (while we still, of course, side with Klarion in his opposition to said rules) better. I really liked that.

The artwork by Frazier Irving is the best I have seen from Irving, and I have generally enjoyed Irving's past work.

Just so you do not think that Morrison is keeping away from the whole "ideas" routine, he DOES give us quite a whopper with his origin of Solomon Grundy(s). Cool, cool stuff.

After all the slow-paced characterization, Morrison is going to be able to make #2 all filled of crazy action.

I cannot wait.


Blogger Michael said...

Gotta be Mr. Pedantic Writer here: In the large scheme of things, GM's ability to come up with a host of great ideas means very little. It's his equally masterful ability to execute those ideas that makes him one of the modern masters.

Switching media for a second, consider the following three ideas for films that have been made:

1. A vacationing family is systematically enticed and enslaved by a Satanic madman.

2. Three escaped convicts take part in the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

3. A portion of the crew of a generation ship in the midst of a centuries-long voyage mutinies.

Now, those ideas are perhaps not Morrisonian, but they have potential. A good writer could think about them for a while and come up with a worthwhile story.

Unfortunately, good writers were nowhere near the films "Manos: The Hands of Fate," "Night Train to Mundo Fine," and "Space Mutiny."

I trust I've made my point.

4/20/2005 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Republic of Replicants said...

Great review, Brian!
I'll get to read my copy tomorrow and will spill my thoughts later that night.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to love it.

So far this series has been the best Anti-Crisis I've seen. It's a shame it's being dwarfed by the promotion of that other event.

4/21/2005 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Lex said...

Brian, don't tell Alice, but after reading that I think I love you.

I totally agree with your review. The characterization was outstanding and the build-up was incredible. I thought Zatanna would be my favorite mini out of this project, but this book impressed the hell out of me.

4/22/2005 11:26:00 AM  

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