Thursday, 25 December 2014

The Midas Flesh, Volume 1 Review (Ryan North, Braden Lamb)


A few months ago I bought the Boom Studios Humble Bundle, where you get to buy a ton of electronic comics and name your price with the money going towards Humble Bundle, Boom, and/or a named charity – it’s basically a great deal and millions gets raised to help disadvantaged people. I ended up reading one book immediately, disliked it enormously, and promptly put the rest on the backburner. 

It’s now the end of the year and I’ve decided to download nearly everything else (I’m not going to read the Planet of the Apes or Sons of Anarchy comics!) and plow my way through them. So far, Lumberjanes and Bee and Puppycat are the only halfway decent comics I’ve come across, so Boom do kids’ comics well at least. Other books like Curse, Day Men (unfinished), Six Gun Gorilla (unfinished), Deathmatch, Suicide Risk and The Midas Flesh are so bad they’ve given me a new appreciation of DC’s New 52 line-up. 

That’s right, DC might put out some bad comics (so, so many) but at least there are a few gems here and there. Boom’s catalogue? I’m not seeing anything that measures up to Scott Snyder’s Batman! And when a book like Midas Flesh makes you think “Hmm, y’know I bet Ann Nocenti’s Catwoman isn’t THAT bad…”, then, boy, is it a bad comic! 

Ryan North is Matt Fraction minus the talent plus a severe blow to the head. Or at least that’s my perspective as an adult male who can read slightly better than a high schooler, because I’m sure this book – like most of North’s stuff – is aimed at the youngs and not I. I’m sure the characters are meant to sound hep and funny, witty even for a 12 year old reader, but their dialogue just read as teeth-gratingly annoying to me. 

The weak-ass story: King Midas was real and his wish to turn everything he touched into gold came true – don’t ask how or why, it just happened. Only he turned the entire planet into gold because of a chain reaction – but not his flesh. Fast forward 200 years and a pair of humanoids from another planet – and a talking dinosaur because we’re fun and whacky, yo! – go on a mission to cut off part of Midas’ body (finger) and use it against the evil Federation. The evil Federation (guess how we’re supposed to feel about them?) are oppressing everyone in the universe and the freedom fighters/terrorists (depending on your perspective) want to fight back by turning them all into gold. Do they do it? There’s a Volume 2 available but I’m definitely not going to read it to find out! 

I can’t say I ever liked our “heroes” partly because their personalities were just so horribly written to be “cool”, and their dialogue – yuck! They’re also given the most minimal backstory, like all the characters, and the cap’n of the group thinks nothing of blowing up a civilian transport ship at the end, killing hundreds of innocents, so… yeah, I wasn’t rooting for either side really. I just wanted the comic to end. 

The story is so simplistic and annoyingly slow, partly because I think we’re supposed to love our characters’ interactions so much that we want to spend all the time with them, that it became an enormously frustrating read. The art looks like every other kid’s comic (ie. serviceable and unmemorable) and several elements of the story felt hopelessly derivative of Star Wars and Star Trek. I’ll just stop here with: The Midas Flesh was dreadful! It is a super-annoying comic and I hated it! 

I’ve got six or seven more Boom books in the bundle left to sample (it looks like they went for quantity over quality) yet, despite the string of failures I’ve encountered so far, I live in hope that at least one of the remaining books will be good. I mean, there’s got to be one, right? I’m not even angry, I just feel sorry for this company – they’ve got nothing but crap! I might even just go back and tip them a few extra bucks out of pity. 

So, Ann Nocenti, eh…

The Midas Flesh, Volume 1

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