Current Reviews


Tokyo Storm Warning #3

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2003
By: Cody Dolan

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: James Raiz (p), Andrew Currie & Trevor Scott (i)

Publisher: Cliffhanger

Warren Ellis, giant robots, giant monsters. Sounds like a match made in heaven, does it not? It turns out thatís pretty much the case, but the writer canít help but slip in his own feelings on the genre before closing out this miniseries with an unexpected conclusion. Itís been over 24 hours since I first read this book and Iím still not sure I liked that conclusion, but I can say that I liked the series as a whole. I know this is supposed to be a review of the final chapter of that series, so I will say that I thought this issue wrapped the story up nicely. I got what I expected out of the book, and that in and of itself is a good thing.

This issue sees another big fight between the robots (or Archangels, as theyíre called) and the monsters, and Ellis crafts a compelling and brutal action sequence. People talk a lot about comics being written strictly in the hopes of being made into movies, but I donít think thatís the case here. Having said that, I would love to see this kind of fight on the big screen. Much like issue one the city around these creatures takes as much abuse as the combatants. Buildings are knocked down, people are crushed, and the blood of the monsters floods the streets in waves big enough to surf. The robots can do it all, from slashing with energy swords to kicking monsters in their non-existent genitals, and thatís just cool to see. This isnít the highest concept, but that doesnít mean itís not fun.

Earlier I said the conclusion was ďunexpected,Ē and I stick by that. Unfortunately, in this case unexpected also means disappointing.

James Raizís pencils once again look very cool (not the best choice of words, but it fits), but the addition of Carlos DíAnda is a little distracting. The latter provides a fill-in page or two, and even though their styles are similar I could still tell the difference. Aside from that little quirk, Raiz does some nice work even if it does take some getting used to. His depiction of the giant robots brought to is a sight to behold, and his monsters exude danger. Unfortunately, the action sequences arenít as clear as they need to be.

Do you remember those ďMagic EyeĒ pictures popular in the mid-90s? You know, those computer generated things you had to stare at for a while to see the picture? Thatís the perfect analogy for Raizís action scenes. Once you figure out whatís going on youíll always be able to see it, but if you canít itíll drive you crazy. One of the problems is that the artist refuses to use obvious speed lines to show movement for the most part. Theyíre there some of the time, but I had to really squint to see them and that doesnít help anyone. Once you figure it all out, youíre rewarded with a giant robot kicking a giant monster in the nads, so you decide for yourself if itís worth it.

In the finale we get to see the source of all the strangeness in Tokyo, and itís a bit of a let down. I appreciate that Ellis wants to share his opinion of the genre with us, but in the end it felt a little like he was talking down to the people that were buying this book and thatís never a good thing. Given that I felt this way, I guess itís a bit of a surprise I liked the series as much as I did, but then again I havenít been let down by the writer yet. Fans of Ellis should track down back issues, but anyone hoping to see a big knockdown drag-out fight will be disappointed.

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