Supermarket #4

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
There's this guy named Dare Obasanjo. You might have heard of him. He's a big blogger in the tech community. He's a good writer. Has clever ideas and helps lead opinion in some interesting areas. He also works at the same place as I do, and I frequently see mail from him. Dare has a long-running series of sig files in his email called "What I would do if I were an evil overlord." The sig files are clever and funny. I hope he won't mind if I quote an example in this review:

I will hire a team of board-certified architects and surveyors to examine my castle and inform me of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels that I might not know about.

I might have to send Dare a suggestion for an addition to his list based on a scene in this issue:

Even if she bursts out into tears, I will not leave my hostage alone with equipment that's crucial to my success.

In other words, great as this series has been, in Supermarket #4, the whole thing kind of falls apart.

See, there's this scene towards the end of the issue where Pella Suzuki, girl on the run, and her two friends are held hostage by the bad guys. Now, Pella has been pretty brave throughout her run for freedom, even driving "the most mediocre of late '90s American-built Japanese" cars in a high-speed chase down the 405. At the end of the chase Pella even says something about letting herself be captured. So when the evil woman brings Pella to her vault, which holds a very ordinary-looking computer, Pella breaks down in tears and asks for privacy. Incredibly, the lead bad guy gives Pella her privacy in the same room as the computer. Of course, once Pella has access to the computer, she quickly is able to access a file her parents created that somehow is able to completely defeat the bad guys, and, as if that isn't enough, allows her to completely change the entire economic system in the city of Supermarket.

Stupid, stupid villain. Stupid, stupid scene.

Sure, it's not like this whole mini-series hasn't been filled with odd and outrageous scenes. In fact, the series has been all about odd and outrageous moments. But none of those moments were stupid, and none of them left the reader shaking his head wondering where it all went wrong. And that's definitely what that scene did to me. Like a villain in a bad James Bond movie, the villainess of this story seems too stupid to win. Okay, maybe if I'm being charitable, it was her hubris that caused her to lose, but hell, this comic doesn't exactly strive to present the story of a tragic hero.

It sucks because I've been conditioned to expect more from Brian Wood than this kind of badness. He's been great at creating and then sustaining some unusual atmospheres throughout his career. But in this one he just completely falls flat.

Kristian's art doesn't disappoint, though. He is terrific at portraying an unusual city of the future, giving everything a wackily realistic sheen while also making everything feel very fun. And Kristian's coloring is terrific.

But this is a disappointing end to what seemed like a great mini-series.

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