Monday, November 26, 2007


The Nightly News - Jonathan Hickman (Image Comics)

Like artist, designer and near-future sci-fi writer Brian Wood, artist, designer and near-future sci-fi writer Jonathan Hickman serves up a revenge-laden tale of crimes against humanity carried out by a cult of anti-media terrorists and the American corporate media machine.

There are no good-guys here. Hickman has his characters say so right in the pages of his book, just in case you're unsure about it.

Essentially the story here is about a group of misguided terrorists who get off on blowing things up real good and their target just happens to be a group of people no one can really feel top sympathetic for- namely the American Media. So this means we don't feel bad when on-the-scene reporters get their heads blown apart live on camera. We giggle when a bomb goes off inside a bar known for serving stuffy journalists. We marvel at the gorgeous, design-heavy artwork on each page instead of feeling dirty because an undercover report is forced to shoot his friend in the head with a revolver. I don't believe that Hickman's book intended to mirror the media's tendency to render us numb to hyper-violence, but it does just that.

Not that I'm offended by violence. I love it in the context of entertainment harnessed to a lesson on good and evil or right and wrong. Here there's no right. No good guy. No one to feel any sympathy towards or compassion for.

Having said that, the book is a good template for a screenplay which, in the hands of the right actors and a skilled director, could easily become an enjoyable and compelling work of cinema.

Much of the book is packed with bar graphs and information about media and television and corporate-sponsored propoganda. It's like reading a Chick Tract merged with an issue of USA Today and peppered with speeches from the last issue of Adbusters.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, believe it or not, but if you're jonesing for good politico-sci-fiction try DMZ or the new SHOOTING WAR hard cover. Those stories have more depth and a story worth telling.


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