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Post By
Nitz the Bloody

In Reply To
little kon-el

Subj: Re: Not all of his work, but I see your point...
Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:47:51 pm EDT (Viewed 159 times)
Reply Subj: Not all of his work, but I see your point...
Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:10:25 pm EDT (Viewed 6 times)

    His Superman Adventures was just pure altruistic fun. Trouble, although bad, wasn't cynical. Marvel 1985 didn't read as cynical. His Jenny Sparks series was pretty optimistic (despite the fact that the main character was dead). Even his Spiderman was more about conspiracy than anything else.

Haven't read Trouble or Superman Adventures, and don't remember much about Marvel 1985 or Jenny Sparks. However, I interpreted his Marvel Knights Spider-Man run as a story of futility; how no matter how many lives Peter saves, he's ultimately just wasting his time by reacting to villains while the real evils of society run amok, and it's just a game that only ends when he dies.

Ultimate X-Men was a little more optimistic, since the teens in the X-Men themselves were decent people trying to do the right thing, even when all the adult figures (including Xavier) manipulated their every move. And his Fantastic Four story with Hitch portrayed the characters in a postivie light (and, perhaps Un-coincidentally, was one of his weakest works). But Wanted is one of the most mean-spirited things I've ever read, even before the last page. Kick-Ass basically ridicules the entire notion of the superhero vigilante as the self-aggrandizement of the deluded. Nemesis is just a celebration of the villain's excesses. Even the Wolverine stories he did fall squarely under the category of "bad protagonist, worse antagonists".

    But everything else isn't necessarily cynical, but it is highly political. I don't necessarily mean he's making Cap into a Republican, but he does give his characters a type of politics or philosophical outlook. This makes the characters less than ideal. His violence is less "angry gruesome violence porn" that is Garth Ennis. It isn't the "bad-ass smarter than-thou" violence of Warren Ellis. Millar's violence always seems tied to political arguments in tights. Civil War, Wanted, Authority, Red Son and the Ultimates are all about political disagreements with violence put behind it,

He used to, but stories like Kick-Ass and Nemesis take the political context out, and leave behind the violence porn attributed to Ennis. Except that Ennis understands when to use violence as black humor, and when to show its consequences.

Also, I'd hardly characterize Ellis' violence as "smarter-than-thou", because it's almost always undercut by the weight of the situation. In Transmetropolitan, Spider Jerusalem only resorts to live ammunition towards the end, when his deteriorating health and the Smiler's reign have become truly dire; before that, he just beats people up or shoots them with a bowel disruptor. In Stormwatch, it's clear that most of the characters don't take joy in killing, and the members of that book who later became the Authority are established as having been thoroughly hardened by necessity. Also, let's not forget Planetary, where Elijah Snow ultimately refuses to kill anyone...

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