Sunday, June 10, 2007

Black Summer #0 - A Review

Writer Warren Ellis, Artist Juan Jose Ryp & Colorist Mark Sweeney

Premise: A super hero kills the President and the Vice President and several of their advisers. He announces to the assembled press that he considered America to be unfree and that the current administration's actions in Iraq and other areas made them criminals. He also states a new election will be held in two days and ballots will be hand written and he will assure that these ballots will count. An ex-super hero (Tom) is watching on TV and getting drunk. He lost part of his leg during one battle as a super-hero. Another hero Frank was supposedly killed during that battle shows up at Tom's door.

What I Liked:

1) The story. Warren Ellis has been moving towards this type of a super hero story for awhile. I'm reading this as, what if you are a super hero and committed to doing the right thing no matter what the personal cost. What if you saw that bringing down all the criminals and other typical bad guys meant nothing because the system you were supporting had become so corrupt that the real bad guys were running the system. Aren't you morally obligated to take them down? In Authority Ellis moved the super hero group to taking over the world for their own good, in newuniversal Ellis has been showing that the government is fearful of the rise of super heroes and has protocols in place to take them out should they arise. In this we see that the hero is taking direct action to try and fix the problem. Ellis' promises that the US government will now leave no stone unturned in going after these heroes and killing them. All of this was done in a $1 zero issue that really delivered an opening chapter in an ongoing story as opposed to a fluffy piece of crap most $1 premier issues have been.

2) The art. Juan Jose Ryp has been doing great work with Avatar. I first saw his work in Wolfskin and this book really shows off his ability to show emotion, action and some talking head type panels. DC and Marvel should be trying to sign this guy to an exclusive contract. Really well done and of course Ellis knows how to write to an artist strengths. The coloring is well done also and really fits the tone of each panel.

3) Avatar is really breaking out of its box of being considered either ultra-violent or borderline porn. I have only read Wolfskin and now this from Avatar before, but I hear what others have said about Avatar. This book should definitely break what people expect of Avatar.

4) Themes. This book plays on a theme that I believe is true, that our system is corrupt and we need to fix it soon. The "War on the Middle Class" is a big deal and this administration has been worse then Bush I and Clinton (and they were really horrible for the country also). It also makes me think about the founding fathers a lot and the fact that they are only heroes because we won the war. If we had lost they would have been considered terrorist to the English. So it makes me think is John Horus morally right or morally wrong?

What I didn't Like:

1) Nothing. This book was what a $1 premier book should be, I want to read more - NOW!



  1. Hmmm... I might check it out. Somehow it doesn't really sound much like something I'd enjoy. I don't like comics about hardcore men who don't know how to be heroes going around and murdering people in the name of what they think is "right." If I want that, I'll read Punisher (which I've tried and never really liked much). It sounds very testosterone-oriented, but then, I've found that a lot of Ellis' stuff leans that way. The political question marks make it worth trying. Maybe one issue, and I'll let you know what I think.

  2. Vaneta - Your comments are not wrong and Ellis has a tendency to do what my friends and I call Warren Ellis' specials, where all problems are resolved by killing everyone. If he ends this story that way it will kill what for me has been a thought provoking start.

  3. Just sounds like more Bush-bashing to me. Yawn! Really tired of liberals using Bush as the source of all the World's ills. First they kill Cap cuz they say that if he was truly living in George Bush's America he would have blown his brains out long ago. Now they have a superhero do what liberals all across this land fantasize about doing----killing the evil that is Bush. Pure Garbage and I long for the days of civilized debate and discussion over these days of slinging mud and looking for impeachment. Between this book and The Boys Ennis has become one of my least favorite writers. I'll pass on this trash.

  4. Issue #0 was the best issue #0 I've ever, ever read.

    It gets you excited about the rest of the series.

    Lee, you must read this, the press conference is fucking amazing.