Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: CLiNT #2.1

Mark Millar has been doing great things for the comics industry, particularly in Britain. Having founded the Kapow! comic convention, Millar is passionate about bringing comics to the mainstream. One of the chief ways he's doing that is with his comics magazine CLiNT. Heh. I see what he did there. I don't know how well the magazine sells, or whether it has indeed brought in new readership, but i can tell you I found it sadly disappointing. There's nothing necessarily bad about CLiNT #2.1, with the possible exception of it being Millar's love letter to himself, and there are some things that are actually awesome.

unfortunately, unless you're a hardcore Millar fan, this publication belongs in the annals of mediocrity.

The magazine is made up of 4 comics and a bunch of filler. It begins with a bunch of pages explaining what Millar is doing (dude, we don't care), and then launches into Supercrooks #1. Before I go on with the review, let me make it clear that I don't hate Mark Millar's work. I loved Old Man Logan, Kick-Ass is great (although Luther Strode is better) and Civil War got me back into comics. Unfortunately, not all his stuff is good. Supercrooks takes it's place amongst those not good ones. There is nothing inherently bad about it, and Leinil Yu's art is pretty tidy, but it's just kind of boring. It's like going to the ballet - you know you should enjoy it but it's about as interesting as a Tom Hanks movie. Millar seems to be writing his comics for movies, rather than writing a comic to be a comic, and his stories seem to suffer as a result.

The next story, Rex Royd by Frankie Boyle and Mike Dowling, also lacked any real punch. it was a little hard to follow, the characters seemed kind of shallow and it just didn't grab me at all. When I first started reading it, I really wanted it to be good, so I could take a break from the disturbingly large dose of Millar that had been forcefully injected into me previously. Sadly, this felt exactly like a Millar story. I did finally get my reprieve on page 43, as a Roman Dirge Lenore story was reprinted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the character. Fun, quirky and beautiful. Too little, too late.

Secret Service #1 followed, which started really strongly, with the 'rescue' and subsequent death of nerd icon Mark Hamill. funny and action packed. The rest of the story was interesting, even enough for me to read issue 2. It does seem like it's heading in a similar direction to Wanted, also by Millar though. In it, a secret service agent bails his ne'er do well nephew out of prison. There's an underlying mystery that seems to be playing out slowly, and it's not all that bad a read. Not brilliant, mind you, but it didn't suck.

After an interesting interview with Clint, a real life superhero, Death Sentence by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling graces the final pages of the magazine. A gritty distopian tale about seemingly unconnected young people who are given chemicals that manifest into superpowers, Death Sentence is a clear standout. Dowling's art is expressive and gritty, and the story is engaging. If it were published as a comic on it's own, it may even get a spot on my pull list. Unfortunately, to get to it, you have to wade through 80 pages of Millar touching himself. Yeah, I wen't there. Unless you're a hardcore Millar fan, you don't need to go there. Leave it alone.

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