Tuesday, April 19, 2005

 

Sebastian O

Sebastian O
Written by: Grant Morrison
Illustrated by: Steve Yeowell


This is an odd little collection. It's pretty thin (only three issues), and the story itself seems far more like a part of a larger story. It's Morrison doing steampunk, which sounds like it should be pretty awesome, but there's something a bit weird about it really.

The introduction by Morrison just tracks how the world evolved, and why amazing technology was available in the 19th century. Then we're plunged back into the 19th century where there are hand scanners and videophones, computers and clockwork everything. We follow Sebastian as he escapes from prison to seek revenge on the person that put him there. Fairly typical plot, but Sebastian was dandy, and Morrison has him make several almost Wildeian turns of phrase.

While Sebastian O is filled with great ideas (the clockwork house! The clockwork plants! The roaring boys!) it's also filled with some debauched characters I don't really care for (and probably aren't supposed to really). Regardless, good idea and bad, none of them really seem to be done justice. I really felt like I was reading an abridged version of a longer book, letting Sebastian get to his goal without undue troubles. Without developing some of these ideas and plot points further the book sort of fails. For example, while the people that Sebastian O fights look kind of cool I have no idea who they are. They're just random killers. In the first issue it seems as if the roaring boys are going to be really interesting, there's an oddly intricate manner of summoning/employing them and then… nothing. We don't get any follow through, it's not explained to us.

(I'm realizing that the way that sounds and the Clyde Fans review I sound like I hate subtlety and mood completely and need everything spelt out to me. This isn't the case, in Sebastian O I see all these ideas Morrison has created and I just want to know more about them.)

Perhaps a comic just wasn't the best way to do Sebastian O, I'm not really sure, I don't think that Steve Yeowell's art really adds anything to it. The collection's pretty cheap, but it is only 80 pages, and sort of disappointing. Worth it or not? I'm not sure, I'm glad I got it out of the library though.

That was pretty short, so here's a bonus review.
Swamp Thing #10 (Which volume? I have no idea) (February 2001)
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencilled by: Roger Petersen

Hey! It's a comic by Vaughan before he got all big and famous. Is it any good though? Um, not really. I haven't read any of the rest of this Swamp Thing series, in fact, apart from Alan Moore's run on the character I haven't really read any (and I haven't even read all of Alan Moore's run). So this is pretty weird. It's not about Swamp Thing, it's about his daughter Tefe, who I didn't really know about. So she and some horribly scared guy and some other guy are driving around America when they meet John Constantine who's been trying to find Tefe. Vaughn writes a pretty decent Constantine, but I don't think he looks right here. It's basically a retelling of Tefe's origin; Swamp thing appears in a panel, John Constantine is a bastard, some other stuff about the end of the world, the end. It's okay for what it is I guess. But it doesn't make me want to hunt down other issues of this series.

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