Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nextwave thoughts

I've been reading lots of comics recently--more than I have within the past few months, anyway--and I decided to give Nextwave another try. I read the first five issues or so, and my reaction was pretty much exactly the same as it was when I first tried it out: so what? I mean, yes, Nextwave has lots of crazy, fun ideas...but that's it. There's no depth or logic to the crazy ideas, rarely a rationale for the crazy ideas, and only the barest minimum plot to link one crazy idea to the next.

Maybe it's just me, but I read for the stories, not for the concepts. I had similar problems with 30 Days of Night and Full Moon Fever--books that read more like pitches than stories. Nextwave reads like a bulleted list of wacky concepts. I'm all for wacky concepts--whether it's Nikola Tesla fighting Thomas Edison's Lovecraftian demons with a giant steampunk mecha-suit or giant frog gods with reality-altering tongues or Skrulls trying to steal magic from faeries--but there has to be some kind of follow-through. Just throwing the idea out there in isolation is all right occasionally (for example, the crazy background or cameo characters in "Invincible" or the Star Wars flicks), but doing so repeatedly doesn't make for a story. It just makes for a bunch of throwaway gags or unelaborated ideas. The majority of the fun is in that elaboration, in the examination of the consequences of those crazy ideas, and nothing in those first few issues of Nextwave seemed to provide that follow-through.

I may go ahead and look at the rest of the series, but this experience hasn't made me interested at all. Where's the brilliance that people saw in this series?

9 comments:

LurkerWithout said...

I'm not sure how to answer. I mean the books are MEANT to be short two-issue arcs that can be read alone. So while there is a general over-reaching story (H.A.T.E. is evil and does evil and weird stuff, but also wants to destroy their rogue super-human agents) if you read the first two arcs (issues 1-2 and 3-4) and didn't like them I dont see how you'd like more of the same...

Though I read them from the two trades rather than the singles (I don't trust Ellis with singles). So maybe it read better in two big chunks?

Not sure. Still, I found the whole thing brilliant and hilarious...

Bill S. said...

I found it better in theory than in fact. I liked the surreal randomness of some of it, and some of it was hilarious, but it ultimately seemed sort of empty, and I have not had the interest to revisiting it. I'm usually a sucker for high-concept stuff (i.e., Grant Morrison), but I just found that this was oversold by a lot of people. It may just be my aversion to Ellis; with the exception of the earlier issues of Planetary, I have to say that I don't like a lot of his writing.

Avalon's Willow said...

I actually really like Nextwave. People kept telling me to read it because Monica Rambeau's in it and I'd loved her as a kid and had had trouble finding her again, etc.

I read Nextwave whenever I'm feeling particularly depressed about creative fiction. It makes me laugh and I fell in love with Machine Man (Aaron Stack is a sexy robot man).

I keep wanting there to be another series where the team, takes on something else. I like the almost boiled down take on heroics, child training (as abusive), evil as petty, etc.

[Word verification:antsize]

Justin said...

It's non sequiter silliness in an industry with very little non sequiter silliness. It's a book that didn't give a shit about all of that, and it was fun and refreshing. I didn't read it for plot or sense. I read it for demons selling their infernal armies for a hundred dollars and suicide girls.

I mean, it's like asking people to explain why Looney Tunes is great if it's all just rabbits and ducks in slapstick comedy without any of the substance of Aladdin. Well, yeah, that's part of it.

It is possible the genre/style just isn't for you.

plok said...

I like non sequitur silliness quite a lot, but Nextwave wasn't for me -- some of the gags were pretty funny, but I quickly tired of Ellis' voice, and to me it all had a strange seen-before quality.

Craig said...

man. you post like Garrett bothers to use a condom -- infrequently.

Tom Foss said...

I had to move out of my apartment, and I ended up in a place with no Internet for several days. I've been post-blocked.

Craig said...

you are bad at updating your blog, sir.

Craig said...

notice how i didn't see you're apartment response until after i'd repeated myself.

still.

lazy ass.