Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Swap Shop Massacre: Hellblazer and 7 Psychopaths

7 Psychopaths #1 of 3
Written by Fabien Vehlmann
Art by Sean Phillips

Action Ash
First up on this months swap shop is my nomination, the BOOM! Studios offering from Fabien Vehlmann (who?). Apparently Monsieur Vehlmann is better known in the French comics community, however I'm glad he decided to work with BOOM! and Sean Phillips to create this bizarre WWII adventure. I definitely thought this would be up Valhallahan's alley, and so thought it would be a good choice for the massacre.

Right up my alley. I loved it!

Action Ash
I like being right! The plot is basically about a, laughed at and bullied, Colonel and an escaped mental patient recruiting a rag tag team of people with mental problems (7 to be exact) to carry out an assassination on the Fuhrer himself. The idea being that only someone that was majorly head fucked would try such a thing. It had me interested the moment I heard about it, and it did not disappoint. It was well written with occasional witty dialogue and I did not mind the fact that it was quite wordy in places, although I can see how this would put some people off.

"It 'as got some talking" eh Ash? I loved it. Perfectly mental proposition setting up for either a depressingly hilarious Catch 22-esque commentary on war, or a rip-roaring Dirty Dozen-esque Boy's Own adventure. Either way I'm sold for the duration. It's sort of like Inglourious Basterds, but if that film had been about Inglourious Basterds instead of German cineastes.

Action Ash
Sean Phillips strikes again with his shadow soaked visuals, two particular high points being his renditions of wartime London and the huge panel depicting one characters prediction of Hitlers reign of terror.

He does do a lahverly job don'e? The finer line work here reminded me more of his earlier Vertigo books, than his looser style on Criminal/Incognito. He seems to have about three distinct styles that he uses and you can’t fault him on any. He gets all the comedy, all the drama, all the necessary ‘acting’ and it looks great. Bastard.

3 and a half Spitfires piloted by the criminally insane out of 5 - AA

Four tinfoil hats out of five - VH

Hellblazer #267
Sectioned: part one
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Okeydokey, my pick was the latest issue of Hellblazer. I picked it because Ash has been meaning to try Hellblazer but wanted to try a “classic” story. I hadn't read Hellblazer regularly for years, but when I heard Peter Milligan had started writing it, I knew I had to give it a look. I wasn’t disappointed. The only surprising thing is that he’s never done it before. You want Classic Hellblazer Ash? Well Have at Thee!

'Sectioned' is the start of a new storyline, and it looks like it’s going to be a doozy, it starts off with a row between John and new his sort-of missus which seems to end very nastily indeed, but like John, we aren’t entirely sure what happened. We do know that he seems to have fucked up big time. John’s in the shit; his world is literally crumbling around him, his friends are feeling the brunt of it, and he may need some help from someone a bit more in the know than even John himself. So yeah, it’s classic Hellblazer

Action Ash
Believe it or not I've never read Hellblazer until I read this issue. I'm not sure why but it never presented itself to me as something I would enjoy but was always on the periphery of my comic book interests.

Well I'm glad I have finally got round to reading some of it because I Loved it. The britishness is my favourite thing about it. I like the bleak way in which british comic writers tell a story. Also I'm into horror as a genre and demonology so all the demonic and dark magic elements helps get me off too.

Camuncoli's art was very different to the aesthetics I'd associated with Hellblazer, so at first I was disappointed. However it grew on me and I now think he was a perfect artist for this kind of story and I look forward to seeing some of his other work.

It took a while for me to warm to as well. I thought he was far too 'cartoony' when I picked up the first issue of Scab, but he totally won me over with the India storyline, which I heartily recommend. I can't wait to see what he does with Shade: The Changing Man next issue, it's an artist's dream. I do wonder what the series other artist, Simon Bisley -who's recent style style is face-meltingly fantastic - would do with the opportunity though.

Action Ash
From now on I will follow this series, or at least pick up the odd issue and two or three part storyline.

Four shit-smeared padded cells out of five - VH

4 copies of the lesser key of solomon out of 5 - AA