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Madman Atomic Comics #7

Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2008
By: Matthew J. Brady

Michael Allred
Michael Allred, Laura Allred (c)
Image Comics
ďMostly Iím SilentĒ

Iím somewhat conflicted as to my thoughts about this issue of Mike Allredís latest Madman series, but I think I fall on the negative side of the fence. I didnít dislike it as much as the previous issue, but I was still fairly unsatisfied with the experience. You see, as the title of the issue indicates, this issue is a silent one (aside from sound effects), detailing the title characterís mourning after the ďtragicĒ events of last month (the scare quotes are there because I didnít find them as tragic as Allred obviously intended; their reversal was a virtual certainty). He has decided to wander the stars in his spaceship, but he crash lands on a strange planet and goes off seeking civilization, before a surprise encounter restores his hope and love of life. Or something like that.

Now, I might be able to enjoy Allredís story here if he had taken the time to tell it. Maybe if he had spent a few months (or just the entirety of one issue) following the silent adventures of a despondent Frank Einstein, I might have felt some of the emotional impact that heís going for. But like last issue, he rushes through things, and resolves the conflict abruptly, and with little explanation.

And then thereís the ending, which, again, I might have enjoyed more if it had been presented more effectively: Frankís alien pal Mott and teammate It Girl show up in a spaceship, and apparently It Girl is now also his girlfriend Joe, who Frank thought was killed at the end of last issue. Thatís not a bad twist; It Girl (a.k.a. Luna) has powers that mimic others around her, so I guess she was able to absorb Joeís personality and save her life. But thatís not explained at all; I had to infer that plot point myself (and Iím a longtime reader. Those who started with this incarnation of the series will probably be completely lost.) The silence gimmick robs the moment (and the following scene, in which Frank and Joe appear to get married by an alien priest) of emotion. I was left trying to figure out what had happened (did Luna sacrifice herself to bring Joe back to life? Are Joe and Luna sharing the same body?), rather than getting caught up in what should have been a moving reunion and expression of love. Frank and Joe have one of the sweetest relationships in comics, and itís a shame to see such a big moment in their life rushed past so quickly.

So, like most any issue of the series, the best aspect is the beautiful art (I think I might be wearying of Allredís cosmic space vistas though; all the Kirby dots and colorful planets run together after a while), but when there is so little to the issue outside of pretty pictures, itís only barely worth reading. And thatís for a veteran fan of the artist and the character. I really wouldnít recommend it to anybody who is new to the book. Iím still hoping that Allred can turn things around, but he has yet to do so, and thatís a shame.



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