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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Martha Washington Dies -- The final chapter in the life of the dystopic war hero created by Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons has been released as a single issue comic book, and it strikes me as pretty symptomatic of the ongoing transformation of the comic book industry from a floppy, periodical-based enterprise to a graphic novel-centered business. It undeniably wraps up the saga and will, probably, make for an acceptable "final chapter" in the eventual collection of the entire series; but as a standalone comic book, it is less satisfying than half of a Pringles potato chip at snack time.

For $3.50 USD, readers get acolytes and followers of a now-ancient Martha Washington sitting around the fire listening to one last, lengthy inspirational speech. Gorgeously illustrated by Dave Gibbons, all you need to know about the contents of the issue are found in the title: Martha Washington Dies. Is Frank Miller yet again thumbing his nose at his longtime readers? More likely, again, Dark Horse just needed a final chapter. But as a single issue, this one feels like it's worth about $0.35 USD, not ten times that.

I'll admit I've long since given up on the idea that Frank Miller can write a comic book I will enjoy on a purely visceral (or any other) level. His tics and tropes, at this late date, seem as automatic and uninspired as his early Daredevil work seemed energetic and unpredictable. Clearly this was a comic meant to inspire, and if it's writer had remembered to give us a story to care about, it might have.



Blogger Jason Marcy said...

I agree 100% on this. I was more than just a little disappointed with the book, and was sort of grateful I only paid U.S. cover (minus 10%). Just sad, man, sad... I think Miller's recent film success is going to his head...

14 July, 2007 09:22  

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