Tuesday, December 24, 2013

YALSA top ten 2007: Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Volume 1)

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Volume 1): This is What They Want
Written by Warren Ellis. Illustrated by Stuart Immonen.
Published by Marvel Comics (2006)

A friend of mine used to have a zine that was focused around monsters. Each issue spotlighted a different monster, and she'd have a section of movie reviews which she called "what I remember reviews". It didn't matter how long ago she saw the movie, or how much (if anything) she remembered about it, she'd write something about it. That's going to be the case with some of the reviews of these YALSA top ten books too, I have actually read a bunch of them, though in some cases it was quite some time ago...

Nextwave was a title I read when it was originally coming out as single issues. I'd have happily read it again, but the VPL doesn't have either volume in their catalogue. Honestly though I'm not that surprised, cause they'd probably have been stolen if they ever did have them.

Warren Ellis is (twice over) the reason I'm so into comic books. First with his run on Excalibur which got me to start going to comic book shops so that I could get every issue, and then later with the Warren Ellis Forum where I discovered many, many different creators and titles, and even made friends! However, while Ellis has written some stuff I've liked a lot (and has been influential to the comics medium), there hasn't been much released in the last decade that I can say I thought was really good. Now admittedly he's releasing a lot less material than he used to, but I just read through his bibliography and was like "oh yeah, I read all of Freak Angels, that was pretty decent", but keep in mind that I had completely forgotten that I read a six volume series.

However, Nextwave is the last title that Ellis was involved with that I think can be classified as "really good"! It's a superhero comic, but it's more of a comedy than most "mainstream" superhero comics are. The main cast are a bunch of minor characters that not many people cared about, and over all it's pretty ridiculous. For some of the characters Ellis pretty much just ignored the existing personality traits entirely and made up new ones. While this is frequently seen as bad writing, in this case the new versions of the characters seemed to be far more interesting than the ones that had existed before and later appearances of some of the characters, namely Machine Man and his newly human/fleshy one hating, beer drinking self, have reflected this.

I honestly can't remember that much about the art other than that it was "good", but Stuart Immonen is a pretty rad artist overall, and Ellis definitely wrote him some great scenes to illustrate in this comic.

When it was first announced that the series was going to end at issue 12, I wasn't that sad as I thought the comedy aspect of the title would get old if it had kept coming out indefinitely. But once it was finished I did miss it, and wish there was slightly more of it in existence. So yeah, if you're at all interested in superheroes as a subject this is probably worth reading, but if you don't spend your spare time reading Wikipedia articles about obscure Marvel characters be prepared to have some of the jokes go over your head.

Plus it has an official theme song! How many comics get that?

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