Review of The All-New Atom #3

Graphic novels. Weekly rags. The @$$holes.

Review of The All-New Atom #3

Postby Squashua on Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:39 am

<b>Minor humorous links originally submitted for review were not available when posted. Here is the review as originally submitted, external links intact:</b>

Image
THE ALL NEW ATOM #3
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: John Byrne
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Squashua


"That is not dead Which can eternal lie, Yet with strange aeons Even death may die." -- H.P. Lovecraft

When declaring a new Lovecraftian entity, unless said being wears a thousand masks, the task of providing a name becomes a cosmic balancing act between satisfyingly creepy and downright silly. The empyrean daemon must come across as wholly alien, yet be memorable enough without deriving from "Zarkon", the overused moniker officially embedded in the geek racial subconscious. Hints of tantilizing familiarity may encroach, as with the Egyptian-esque Nyarlathotep or the bordering-racist Shub-Niggurath (Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young) and care must be taken to allow pronounceability by the entity's supplicants; use of apostrophes and hyphens are not unheard of in the quest to simulate that-which-man-may-not-emote. With these parameters in mind, writer Gail Simone has gifted Ivy Town with the omnious M'nagalah the Cancer God, both a success as a classic riff on Ubbo-Sathla and
a failure to escape this reviewer's ridicule (CC).

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -- Arthur C. Clarke

After two-point-three lacklustre issues (recall BRAVE NEW WORLD) of nothing really happening, the short Asian man finally hits the flowing underground river of poo with this issue, which brought me back from the brink of dropping the series by pulling me in with unexpected and gratuitous Lovecraftiness as well as setting multiple intriguing plots in motion. One can definately taste the Grant Morrison influence, examples of which include both joy with the aforementioned Cthulhu-gasm and dismay at the use of "QQQQQQQQQQQ" as an audible word from a high-science bug warrior. The plot primarily centers around a conflict between science and magic (super-science?) permeating beneath and about Ivy Town, with The All-New Atom caught right in the middle. The text is satisfyingly thick and the multiple scenes are sufficiently varied that I feel this is one of the few books on the market that provided a proper bang for my buck.

"Stick with me [and the error will be resolved]" -- Bill Willingham, writer of SHADOWPACT

For those of you interested in the nitty-gritty of the plot, one mystery is solved in that we finally receive an explanation for why the character known as Panda is drawn with dark circles under his eyes. It's intentional, not an art faux pas, and not due to AIDS like a Judd Winnick yarn. It's all due to SPOILERXtXhXeXXXhXeXrXbXSPOILER. In addition, a certain gigantic villain steps up to the (dinner) plate, simultaneously skeeving me out and making me suspect this storyline takes place a few months before the current bi-monthly WONDER WOMAN plotline. Either that or we've got another case of Superman-in-Shadowpact syndrome.

"Read what Lea had to post on a neighbor's computer while wearing her pajamas at:
Livejournal.com/users/divalea ... Finally, if I understand the story correctly [...] it was Lea’s daughter hearing the smoke alarm that allowed the family to get out in time, so for [M'nagalah’s] sake, do everyone you love a favor and CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS. Donate (PLEASE) to her paypal account at: divalea@gmail.com" -- Gail Simone


There are only a couple of drawbacks to this issue, but they apply to the series in general. The first is the use (or abuse) of distracting and seemingly irrelevant quotes throughout the text. The second is the concept of Dwarfstar, who is possibly an "evil Atom" character. With TEEN TITANS' revelation of the teen Atom known as Molecule, these days it seems that every character at DC is being provided with both a diametrically opposing number (a Bizzaro to Superman) and a teen sidekick (a Supergirl or -boy). I don't know if there is a coordinated plan in place or if this is all just coincidence, but without an Earth-3 and an Earth-Teen to ship these duplicates off to, it's getting to be a bit of a juggling act for the fanboys.

"I get no sense from Morrison's work that he has any 'love for the genre'. I get the same vibe I get from Moore -- a cold and calculated mixing of ingredients the writer knows the fans like, but to which the writer himself has no eviceral connection. Nostaligia without being nostalgic, as I have dubbed it." -- John Byrne

The art is fellow @$$hole Dave Farabee's bestest buddy John Byrne all the way. To me, that means meticulously detailed (and beautifully rendered) backgrounds and John Byrned people. His own politics aside (a wonder he didn't try to influence Gail to rename M'nagalah something racist like Golkahnahda, the Floating Frozen Feculence), you already know whether you love or hate Byrne's art. I didn't care for it with Doom Patrol, but I really like it here, with the exception of the Byrne Mouth. "Byrne Mouth" is synonymous with (Gil) "Kane Eyelashes" as both distinctions are easily recognizable in the work of a comic artist considered by many to be a master, and they are both distinctions that do not appeal to me. As an aside, I used Google to search for "Byrne Mouth" to see if anyone had coined the phrase yet, and interested parties should cross-reference one "D rew Leavy".

"Squashua, enough with the fucking quotes man, they get it! And where the hell is that GIRLS review you promised me?" --AiCN @$$hole Ambush Bug

This issue is a pick-up, and I recommend it to any cosmic horror fan who might be on the fence. I'm going to continue reading the storyline next month, but I hear that Byrne is no longer on the series and despite the issues I have with his art (and politics), it's a shame he had to go, but I understand and respect the decisions behind it. Eddy Barrows has art duties next issue, so we'll see how it all works out. At least it'll still be Gail Simorrison at the helm.
Last edited by Squashua on Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:28 pm

Morrisson and Moore expanded the fucking genre.

grab a clue Bryne, and stick with the pictures.

glad to finally read last weeks @ssholes column, thought the (ass)chaps might have taken a vacay.

but my review of Pride of Baghdad > Humphrey's :P.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby Squashua on Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:22 pm

Three things:

1) I have no idea why "D rew" was replaced with "Grande Rojo's Favorite Person". The following test actually removes spaces from the word "D r e w": Drew

2) I posted the above because it was missing links that enhanced the original article; otherwise the second paragraph made no sense. If I had known it existed, I would have followed netiquitte and posted in the Comics Reviews thread. My intention was not to step on any toes, but to provide the relevant missing information.

3) I'm glad that I can use this post to help draw attention to last week's missing @$$hole column. which seemed to have never made it to the forefront announcement section.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:30 pm

Squashua wrote:Three things:

1) I have no idea why "D rew" was replaced with "Grande Rojo's Favorite Person". The following test actually removes spaces from the word "D r e w": Grande Rojo's favorite person


back when Harry and Mori were more frequent contributors here they played around with the word filters, messing with each others names.

Squashua wrote:2) I posted the above because it was missing links that enhanced the original article; otherwise the second paragraph made no sense. If I had known it existed, I would have followed netiquitte and posted in the Comics Reviews thread. My intention was not to step on any toes, but to provide the relevant missing information.


it's all good Squasha. I'm a big fan of links within articles as well.

nice review, btw. I like the quotes! Always wondered who originated the technology and magic quote...
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby Squashua on Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:42 pm

Thanks for the info. I wonder what H arry looks like: Harry. edit: Oh, I get it. Big red.

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:I'm a big fan of links within articles as well.


Ditto, as you can tell. Morrison used to be quoted and linked to his "Zenith" and "Invisibles" entries at Wikipedia, but the link to Zenith kept failing; they insist on using parenthesis and the URL here doesn't handle it well.

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:nice review, btw. I like the quotes!


Thanks. I am tired of the quotes in Atom and felt my review was as good a place as any to air my grievances (he writes, while quoting the above forum post...). :-)
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