With Marvel not publishing a single thing of interest to me this week, I decided to throw an extra $3 towards an indie comic I’d never read before and let me preface its review with this offer: the first person I don’t know personally to leave a comment here, I’ll mail it to you, bagged and boarded, postage-paid, completely free of charge. Someone involved in its creation would be ideal, actually!
I told someone recently that when it came to indie comics, if I didn’t have something nice to say about a particular title, I simply wouldn’t review it. The publishing industry is tough enough for the big boys, even moreso when it comes to comic books, and as much as I enjoy a good rip job, I don’t see the need to kick someone when they’re already down.
That said, there’s just no way in the world I could not review the atrociously bad Worldwatch, aka The Authority, as published by Larry Flynt!
The issue opens mid-battle with fallen heroes aplenty and a moderately interesting setup as the government-funded superteam is unsuccessfully taking on what appears to be their primary nemesis, a hulking brute called Atomika, one of the better names among a rather unoriginal cast that includes such notables as Fastball, Horseman and War Woman. It all starts to fall apart by page 4, though, as its true nature is revealed in lines like:
“You want your little secret out, Marvin? About how you finger the girls when they’re unconcious?”
Or dialogue like:
“Don’t even THINK about it you bastard!”
“Well, I was originally planning to hold hands chastely, but momma did always say: ‘When a woman dresses like a slut–‘”
“THERE ARE PRACTICAL REASONS FOR THE WAY I DRESS!!”
The latter takes place mid-battle, a la old school Spider-Man, as Atomika disrobes the scantily-clad War Woman with two quick flicks of his finger, leaving her naked and completely vulnerable to the attempted rape that follows.
Oh, yeah, did I mention Worldwatch has two warnings on its cover: “MATURE READERS” and “18 and UP”?
Not surprisingly, there’s nothing even remotely mature about this juvenile Spice TV spin on the Avengers – complete with embarrassingly lame scripting and “plumber nails lonely housewife” plotting. The majority of the issue is a combination of sex, voyeurism, and standard porno tropes, with a flimsy wrapper of a story about super-heroes as rock stars attempting to rationalize it all. There’s even the requisite “RAM YOUR BIG, BLACK COCK INTO ME!” moment, uttered of course by what appears to be the young, blonde ingenue of the team. Honestly, I’m not sure since it’s her only scene and no context is offered for it.
I’m not even going to get into the nine pages in the back that include fake soft-core magazine covers of Rolling Stain, Super Scoopers, Fan Boy and Fan Girl, or the Penthouse Forum-style interview with someone named Plinks.
Worldwatch‘s tagline – People who wear masks, usually have something to hide – might lead some to mistake it for satire, as I did on first glance at the store, and if that is in fact its creators’ intent, it’s just another example of how difficult good satire really is.
Saddest of all, it isn’t just some random, low-budget fanboy production, but the calculated work of industry veteran, and controversial lightning rod, Chuck Austen, much-maligned writer of such mainstream books as the Avengers, Uncanny X-Men and Action Comics! While I’m more familiar with his reputation than any of his actual work, I was intrigued by the full-page introduction to this issue explaining how, due to fan outcry, Austen had been fired, effective this issue, and replaced by an “extremely talented newcomer,” Sam Clemens. It wasn’t until a day later, when I found out that the publisher, Wild and Wooly Press, is in fact Austen’s company that I got the joke.
Mark Twain’s real name.
Sadly, it’s the only clever thing about this issue.
Oddly, due to Austen’s breaking an arm, issues 5-7 of this mini-series have been mercifully canceled. I wonder if the business side of him simply realized his writer side had dropped a turd, as I have trouble believing he couldn’t have just hunt-and-pecked his way to completing this piece of trash with one hand.
Or hired a monkey to do it for him.
Worldwatch #3 (Wild and Wooly Press, $2.95); Written by Chuck Austen, Pencils by Tom Derenick, Inks by Norm Rapmund.