One of the comics I picked up last week was this offering from Boom! Studios, War of the Worlds: Second Wave. I didn’t see the recent Tom Cruise movie, but I do like the War of the Worlds, and so this comic grabbed by eye when it was first solicited.
The title pretty clearly says what’s up. After the Martians are defeated in the first wave, where the book and movies end, there’s a second wave. Presumably the Martians in this group have some means to defeat the bacteria that took out the first one, or else it’s a short series.
This first issue serves only to set up the title and introduce us to a guy who I guess is the main character, Miles. We get a capsule synopsis of the first wave, which seems fairly close to the modern-day adaptations of Wells’ novel. The last panel of the last page is what sets up the series, which I’ve read is set to be a sort of “Walking Dead,” only with Martians.
Overall, I wasn’t stunned. It’s hard to really be fair to the book, since it’s saddled with backstory, but that’s kind of a choice it chose to make. And there’s a bit in this first issue that’s particularly weird. Miles says, after the first wave is wiped out, “…I could not help but feel guilty…Guilty for surviving. So I prayed, not just for forgiveness, but for something more…I knew that some day my dark prayer would be answered. I would be delivered vengeance.” And then the second wave arrives. What’s more guilt-inducing, failing to act the first time, or hoping for a second time to “redeem” yourself? Now, it’s possible that this is setting up a very nice commentary on 9/11, and all of that is on purpose, but something about the rest of this issue doesn’t make me confident that this is the case.
My main problem with the book isn’t anything to do with it in and of itself, but with comics in general. This is one of the few “floppies” (comics-geek lingo for standard, monthly, comic book issues) I’ve gotten in a while, and I remembered why. Three bucks it cost and the trip from front to back was about three minutes. That’s not a good value, I think. I’m not uninterested in continuing to read this, but I’d much rather do it in trades, and I’m unsure if that’s in the pipeline.
I really do think it’s time to hang up the floppy as the chief mode for delivering comics. I can’t see any justification for its continued existence other than “that’s how it’s always been,” a phrase that has far too much weight among comics geeks. Now that I’m mostly reading trade paperbacks and graphic novels and manga volumes, floppies just irritate me for being such an expensive, unfulfilling alternative.
In my opinion, comics should follow the Hellboy model (more or less). Ignoring the fact that Hellboy and BPRD series come out as floppies, I think that when you have an idea for a story, you write the story. That’s how Hellboy works. There’s no regular monthly Hellboy comic, just a series whenever they have a new idea for one. In my world, that series would come out as a trade. Done in one. Hey, there’s a new Hellboy book out! You go to the shop, buy it, read it. None of this monthly foolishness. Not only does this give you more bang for your buck and a more normal experience, but it also puts an end to a lot of the stupidity going on in current comics, because I think this model should be applied to the superheroes as well. No regular “Batman” comic, just when someone gets the idea for a Batman story, a trade of that story comes out. So you don’t have to slog through month-to-month flailing around until a decent story comes along. There’s a reason why there’s nothing in Barnes and Noble called Harry Potter and Some Crap to Unload for February. When the new Potter novel is ready, it’ll come out, and be complete.
I’m sure someone with far more knowledge of the comics marketplace than myself is ready to come along and point out why I’m wrong. I’m sure there’s a lot of factors I’m overlooking. I’m not an expert or even a well-educated amateur. But I am a guy looking at a three dollar comic book, on I’m even interested in reading, and thinking, “This isn’t worth it.”