Love and artificial hearts


  • Books
  • Friday, 25 Sep 2009

Title: Fall Out Toy Works # 1 (of 5) (Image /US$3.99) Writers: Pete Wentz and Brett Lewis Artists: Sam Basri & Imaginary Friends Studios

THE Man of Steel is vunerable to kryptonite and magic. Galactus always had the Beyonder or the Ultimate Nullifier to cause him problems. While the search for perfection in the fantasy world has been derived from the angle of might and strength, this offbeat five-parter (a gem!) offers a different take on perfection. We’re dealing with the “perfect companion” instead.

On this note, legendary couples who make the grade would be Lois & Clark, Sue & Reed and Olive & Popeye. Their achievements have not come easy, involving lots of perseverance, trials and tribulations.

However, it’s the near-misses that grab my attention. Case in point, the separations involving Peter & MJ, Cyclops & Jean Grey, and the eternal dating game between Batman and Catwoman. In short, even superheroes have their “Dear Thelma” moments but what’s interesting is that these are the moments that inject mortality into fantasy.

Anyway, Fall Out Toy Works is one of those thought-provoking tales about a struggling toy/robot maker who is commissioned by a Baron to build the ultimate robot, which doubles as the “perfect companion.”

Codenamed Tiffany, she has cyberpunk-esque features that can outmatch Barbie in the looks and articulation department AND best of all she comes equipped with artificial affection!

In the same mould as the Vision falling for Scarlet Witch, Tiffany is expected to be the Baron’s “TLC” generator. Here’s where the toy maker attempts the impossible by creating an artificial heart for Tiffany, whilst tugging some of his own heartstrings in the process.

At this juncture, what is predictable is the maker’s growing affection towards his new creation and you don’t have to be clairvoyant to predict a conflicting encounter with the Baron.

In case the name on the credits does not ring any bells, the Fall Out label is affiliated to the music band bearing the same name, particularly its guitarist – Pete Wentz. Inspired by the band’s hit song Tiffany Blews, this 21st century based tale is akin to a mash of a few movies, namely Pinocchio, Frankenstein and Cherry 2000. However, what is refreshing across this escapade is the eye-catching (and popping) illustrations by Basri and IFS, which overshadow the looseness within the plot.

If you are one of those who have yearned to create your own “companion” , this one’s right up your alley. If not, the artwork would be sufficient reasons to contribute to Image’s coffers.

Title: Ultimate Avengers # 2 (Marvel / US$3.99) Writer: Mark Millar Artist: Carlos Pacheco

After last issue’s startling revelation that the Red Skull is actually Cap’s illegitimate son, this issue makes some sense out of things. Tracing back to WWII, Cap’s relationship with Gail Richards is identified as the starting point of this blasphemous union and like every other Ultimate-creation, S.H.I.E.L.D and Nick Fury have a hand in the Skull’s origin.

Having Cap’s super-soldier serum in his genes sets the foundation for “Junior” to succeed his father as the perfect soldier. However, the absence of parental guidance proves disastrous as Junior decides to part ways with S.H.I.E.L.D. to embark on a career as a mercenary.

Expect the usual adrenaline-pumping action scenes synonymous with the Ultimates, with Cap and Hawkeye in the thick of the action. Only grouse is that the roll-call really needs some femme fatales as a 70-year-old Gail Richards is the only “eye candy” available here.

Title: Thunderbolts # 135 (Marvel-Dark reign tie-in / US$2.99) Writer: Andy Diggle Artist: Miguel Sepulveda

This is one of those issues that defines a story-arc and what more can you expect when the good guys have an absolute rough time. Starting with the Black Widow’s cover being exposed, Nick Fury’s plans of toppling Norman Osborn hits rock bottom when the Widow, Song Bird and him all fall prey to the Thunderbolts.

Having left this title since the infamous Osborn-Obama confrontation (# 128 and 129), I surprisingly found this issue a good jump in point and was immediately hooked by the cliffhanger ending – fingers-crossed that the creative team has the guts to “conclude” without relying on Life Model Decoys.

Title: Dark Reign The List – Avengers (Marvel one-shot / US$3.99) Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Marko Djurdjevic

IF you are fed up with Norman Osborn’s reign as the Marvel Universe’s big kahuna, then what Ronin (@ Cliff Barton/original Hawkeye) has up his sleeves should appease you. Once again, the controversial “heroes do not kill” debate is revisited as Ronin drives the idea of killing Osborn while his other Avengers compadres remain indifferent.

Title: Kick-@$$ # 7 (Marvel-Icon / US$2.99) Writer: Mark Millar Artist: John Romita Jr

HAS the wait been worth it? The same ol’ question lingers in my mind every month when this supposedly bi-monthly title fails to meet its deadline. Surprisingly, despite the long wait and the limited pages – I still take the trouble to re-read all previous issues every time a new issue hits the shelves. Maybe, I’m just a glutton for punishment or better still, maybe there’s a Dave Lizewski within us waiting to break free.

To fill you in, Dave’s never been bitten by a radioactive spider nor was he born with the ability to bend spoons with a stare. He is no jock and has absolutely no martial arts training. However courtesy of (extreme) good luck and the Internet, he is now a hero/vigilante with a cult following. This issue proves that good fortune and a metal plate in your head can only get you so far as the Mob decides to play hard ball.

While Wanted (also created by Millar) brought out the hero in most of us, Kick-@$$ would probably make us feel glad to conceal the hero within.

Comics courtesy of Earth638 (Atria Shopping Centre, Lot 2.13 J, Jalan SS22/23, Damansara Jaya, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Hotline: 03-7729-6380, e-mail: (earth638@streamyx.com)

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