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comics read, 10/17/13

I found quite a lot to say about this one.

Fantomex MAX #1 - Hope, Crystal
Wow. This was terrible. This is my first MAX title, which is Marvel's explicit content line - is that usually code for "fanboy wank fantasy"? Because this supposedly "retro, pulpy adventure" is retro in all the worst ways.

Fantomex's external nervous system E.V.A., a sentient being whom we've seen in other comics first as a spaceship and later as an android, appears here as a holographic fantasy woman, flirty and wearing ever more ridiculous outfits - see here and here.

In fact, here are the artist's own words on E.V.A. in this comic, from an interview with Newsarama:
NRAMA: X-Force or not, at Fantomex’s side in the comics is his external nervous system, E.V.A. Does she play a role in this?

SHAWN CRYSTAL: E.V.A. is a major part of this story. She is much more than an external nervous system in this book, and she takes the holographic form of numerous females. Cheesecake, anyone?

(FYI, I'm developing a tick about 'female' as a noun. It never, ever bodes well.)

It's too bad, because I found the artist's style kind of fun otherwise; it doesn't take itself too seriously, and his women especially are fun, aside from all the fanservice.

Meanwhile, the other important female character in the comic, Special Agent Rhona Flemyng, is described by the narrator as "Dedicated. Intense. Looks great in skintight black Kevlar." Despite her assumed expertise, Flemyng is bested by Fantomex, dressed down by her superior, posed by the artist in her panties for several panels, and finally kidnapped, threatened, and held hostage by the badder, scarier agents that get brought in on the job. Oh, and E.V.A. calls her a bitch. If the comic has a consistent emotional focus, it's on the continued humiliation of Rhona Flemyng.

And let us not forget the last female character in the book, one of those badder, scarier agents - she’s a predatory lesbian.

As for the rest of the book, Fantomex is a personal favorite for all sorts of reasons, but none of them are in evidence here: his great costume (which this isn't), fascinating relationships with especially Psylocke but also Evan and even Deadpool (not referred to at all here, understandably, since this mini is a standalone), his tendency towards self-parody, for example his faked French accent (but he sounds British here, what with "old girl" and "peaky" and several more), and, you know, his layers. But he has only one layer here. He's just another flip masterthief in a mask who evidences his not entirely total lack of humanity by large donations to Habitat for Humanity.

Unfortunately I've already preordered the second issue of this, so I'll probably report on it as well, but it will absolutely be my last. So, for my reference and yours: author Andrew Hope, artist Shawn Crystal. Will think twice about the latter; will avoid the former like the plague.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

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