I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Insurgent #1

Designed to root out domestic terrorists, sleeper super soldiers are awakening in America and they're going nuts. When American soil is threatened by the government's mistakes, there's only one man you can turn to: bounty hunter John Ravane. Insurgent is an '80s Arnold Schwarzenegger action film without the Arnold Schwarzenegger and without the film.

Insurgent fits into two genres that DC comics is trying to incorporate into their main line comics: military and edgy anti-heroes. While some have had commercial success, the only good story written for either of these genres of DC comics was Peter J. Tomasi's story about the Haunted Tank in GI Combat right before it was canceled. If I can say anything about Insurgent, it is that it avoids many of the pitfalls of the military and edgy books. It is possible to distinguish one character from another because they don't look, act and talk the same. Rather than simply adopting a simple hawk or dove perspective about war, there appears to be some semblance of a story. Finally, there are more to the characters than killing, dark pasts, and first-person monologues about falling.

Unfortunately, too much information is packed into the first issue. The world is presented bluntly and quickly in hope that quantity of content might trump quality of content and keep you reading. As a result, characters who may have been interesting and stories that may have brought us to cool places feel empty. While the premise is directly from an '80s action film, Insurgent actually reads like a '90s political thriller much of the time. I wondered if the dialogue might have felt more important if there were an over-dramatic soundtrack alerting me to how dire the situation was. Alas, there was not.

Reading Insurgent #1 was like a dream. If I hadn't taken notes about it immediately afterwards, I would have forgotten it altogether. It is a better attempt than most, but ultimately not worth reading. You might be happier reading anything else that came out this week.

I've syndicated this review at Examiner. You can read it here. If you click on it a few times, spend some time there, or navigate to a new page, I might get some money. But I'm only asking that of you if you liked reading the article here and want to show your appreciation.

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