I try not to be hard on Mr. Liefeld as I’m a direct contributor to his meteoric rise to success in the early 90s. I was there through everything, HAWK & DOVE, NEW MUTANTS and the ultimate shitting of the bed, anything Image. He captured something during those “In Living Color” days and as fans we couldn’t get enough.
But he wasn’t the only thing I loved back then: I loved Z Cavariccis, a pair of pants that gave everyone that attractive 8 inches of waist that make a torso complete. I loved C&C Music Factory because it was rap white bred suburban kids could understand. I loved Cheers, because the banter between Sam and Rebecca was so sexually “charged.” And last but certainly not least I loved Tiffany Amber Thiessen in ways that still make my right hand blush.
Here’s the thing though, human knowledge and art are exponential in growth. They’re a building process wherein we take what was before extracting and carrying forward the elements of truth that resonate within the core of our collective humanity while leaving the “fad” elements behind.
I’m all for second chances, assuming the transgressions of the past are rectified and those that trespass against us learn the error of their ways.
So I gave Rob’s new titles a chance when the New 52 launched last year, thinking…actually make that hoping Mr. Liefeld would have taken some classes like Feet 101 (or how I learned to love arches), Physics Is Your Friend (or sometimes people walk), Guns – Triggers are Useful, Faces – Humans Aren’t Perpetually Shitting and last but certainly not least Screen Doors – Why All Stories Should Not Take place on Your Front Porch.
Sadly, Rob didn’t learn shit and I’m guessing neither did the comics world. Not only does Rob still get work without improving one iota, but with over 25,000 Twitter followers, a legion of blog hits and more titles churning off the presses by the day, we have proven beyond doubt that the core of human existence is misery suffering and a perpetual cycle of repeating our past mistakes.
I want to ask DC a question. If you have a loved one with cancer and a whisper of hope to save their life, would you get the worst doctor imaginable that charged you an arm and a leg? That’s DEATHSTROKE 10. Slade Wilson ruled the comic scene for a long time, never A-list, but certainly rising to a respectable B through his early days. He was lost in the reboot, but certainly not beyond redemption.
So what does DC do, instead of getting him the best treatment available to comic science, they instead fix him with a quack who not only embodies every past mistake, but brings a slew of new WTF moments with each passing panel.
Matt Adler said on our podcast last night, “DEATHSTROKE 10 is Liefeld at his Liefeldiest.” Meaning if you enjoy comic autopsies, here are the goods. Matt’s a nice guy and was trying to find something nice to say. I equate this statement to saying, “Hey if you liked genocide, then Hitler circa 1941 was ole’ Adolf at his most Hitlarian.”
The raping of comic good taste happens on page one. RobLef takes the examples Peter Jackson taught us about forced perspective in “Lord of the Rings” and gleefully shits all over them. As our favorite Czarian Lobo eats at a small dessert diner, he, his table and all of the food he’s eating is ten times larger than anything else in the scene. When a lovely waitress saunters up, I was thrilled to see Boom-Boom in comics again, until I realized this is just a waitress and Rob is only capable of drawing one type of woman in street clothes. This scene might have been funny and perhaps interesting if I had never seen the movie “Roadhouse,” but being a huge fan of the entire Swayze catalog, I was nonplussed when Lobo starts a fight with a biker in the diner and takes his bike. What did amuse me though for all the wrong reasons is how RobLef drew the biker as he gets punched through a doughnut display case. Instead of actually showing him travelling through the case, RobLef decides to let us imagine how the scene will play out by cutting to the Biker’s legs basically being attached to the case like a Garfield car window hanger. I mean honestly, do we really need to convey motion when God gifted us with these vivid imaginations…well some of us.
In case you didn’t know, Rob still writes terribly as well. As Lobo rides off into the sunset on how newly acquired bike with awesome space age treadles tires, we are treated to five monologue boxes that sound nothing like Lobo. This internal pontificating reminded me of my “Corky Reads Hemingway” Time/Life books on tape.
So where is Lobo going? To look for a ship.
Oh…well that’s uhmmm awesome. I can’t wait to keep reading. Or I guess I could go read a good comic about looking for a spaceship called SAGA. No, no why enjoy myself, let me keep reading DEATHSTROKE.
This would be as good a time as any to mention the intensity of this issue. We all know that not just ventriloquists talk through gritted teeth; a lot of people are doing it these days to wear away those pesky incisors we all have and avoid any hope of clear diction. I bet what you didn’t know though is that lip removal is becoming a huge fad amongst kids these days, I mean honestly who needs lips when you can just use your teeth to keep your insides protected from germs and penises trying to get inside. Seriously, I’ve seen so many lipless teenagers tehse days it wasn’t at all disconcerting when they were completely absent from the book.
So Slade Wilson shows up and he’s looking for Lobo, because Lobo is bad and Slade is good. Wait, that’s not right. Look, fuck you and your need for logic. Slade wants to find Lobo and we’re along for the ride whether we like it or not. Kind of like going to visit Grandma in the home, not fun, but you feel kind of obligated. RobLef clearly remembered the first rule of launching a new title, readers like to be confused and not understand who the characters are or what drives them. Next up, DEATHSTROKE and some refugees from I think Gen 13 (or insert any Liefeld production from 1990-1997 here) end up at a big hole in the ground that is a penitentiary for bad guys. We know this because the characters say so. In a visual medium like comics it’s always best to tell the story rather than show it.
Once inside, the team (at least I think they’re a team, I don’t fucking know) meet up with a big strong guy who doesn’t like Lobo either. I forgot his name after I took a shower huddled in the fetal position and cried away the memories. From what I can remember of the experience though, this guy had the really cool feature of portals on his body that would appear and disappear from panel-to-panel. I also remember at one point DEATHSTROKE takes off his mask so he could show the bad guy that he doesn’t have lips either and maybe they can get along. At least I think that’s why he took his mask off because I can’t think of another reason and neither could RobLef.
Physics abandoned? Check! Anatomical monstrosities? Check! Feet sans arches or form? Check! Backgrounds in their basic most simple form? Check! A story that neither matters nor makes sense? Check! This is pure Liefeldness and those of you who get off on trimming your pubes with a food processor will not want to miss this foray into comic book masochism.
Seriously, at this point DC is torturing the low selling books. It’s more humane to pull the plug on a book, then pull the plug wait for the last dying breath, and then plug the fucking machine back in again.