Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Squidder by Ben Templesmith Review


Reading Ben Templesmith’s The Squidder is a game of “spot the reference”. I don’t think there’s a single original element to it that hasn’t already been used two or three times already in much more famous books or movies. 

In some post-apocalyptic world (like Mad Max, The Road, The Walking Dead, I Am Legend), humans have become like crops to be harvested by flying squid monsters - THE MATRIX anyone? Our hero is Jack aka a Squidder, a genetically enhanced soldier (like 2000AD’s Rogue Trooper) whose nanites cause any harm to him becomes magically healed (like Valiant’s Bloodshot) who lost his wife and kids to the squids because losing your family counts as instant audience empathy, right? 

Together with a female human sidekick, who’s a squid mage whatever that means, the two must travel the post-apocalyptic world (like The Book of Eli) to battle a female baddie who controls the hive mind of the squids. Anyone play Starcraft? This character screams KERRIGAN so much I bet Blizzard could sue and win if they wanted. I swear she’s even drawn like her in some panels. 

This book elicited two emotions from me: hatred and boredom. When I wasn’t feeling one, I was feeling the other. By the end, I was feeling both! Every page is dull action (it’s always tense when your main character is invincible) or cliched dialogue with plot and visuals borrowed from multiple sources. This was one long slog through utterly crap writing following two non-characters on an incoherent quest to do something that I can’t even muster up the energy to not care about. I kind of wanted the squids to win, that’s how much I loathed our “heroes”, but really I just wanted it to end. 

There was one scene here that seemed original, where the female squid mage becomes instantly pregnant and births a sword - yup, that squeezes it way out of there! - but what a monumentally stupid scene. I mean really, birthing a sword? 

The Squidder is a horrendously written and conceived comic. Templesmith’s a decent artist but he’s not a good writer. Those other things I mentioned earlier? Go check those out instead, they are infinitely better than this load of rotten squid.

The Squidder

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