Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Trial of Tony Bedard

A little while ago, I posted, detailing the reasons for my negative impression of Tony Bedard's work in comic writing. I also stated my intention to hunt down a few issues of the CrossGen series Negation, as a friend had provided it as an example of something Bedard wrote that didn't suck.

I received the issues today. I've read them through, and I'm digesting them.

I'm not sure who came up with the pitch for the series, but I really like the idea. It's the story of a group of people plucked out of the CrossGen Universe, and dragged into another dimension to be studied by the forces of the Negation Empire, ruled by the God-Emperor Charon who plans to invade the CrossGen universe. So we're starting with a cool concept, and a mark in it's favor.

And I have to admit that over the course of the first six issues, it certainly didn't suck. In the first two issues, Tony Bedard shared writing credit with Mark Waid, but the book certainly didn't tank in the third issue. (And it's not like Mark Waid's never written a bad comic... I only need to think of his three issue run on Top Cow's City of Heroes series for evidence.)

Naturally over the course of the issues, the prisoners attempt to escape, which turns them into fugitives in a strange universe. In two small groups, they manage to escape their prison, pursued by their former jailor. So on some level, it's a pretty archetypical story as a group of disparate individuals with few common ties must evade a massive force. I think one of the things that bothered me about the first six issues was that we learned very little about any of the characters. It's possible that some or all of them originated in other CrossGen books that either I haven't read, or don't recall so that's not as heavy a criticism as it could be. One thing that I did particularly like was that one of the main characters, Obregon Kaine is considered a major threat despite the fact that he doesn't have any weapons or any powers... It's his ability to organize and rally the others that makes him a threat. To me it draws parallels to Captain America. He never had as much raw power as some of the other Avengers, but because he was the one who could pull the others together and orchestrate things tactically, he was the most important Avenger on the field

My final verdict on what I've read is that it was a pretty enjoyable read. It's not great, but it rises above mediocrity and moves along well. It doesn't do enough to erase all the stuff I've read that's left such a bad taste in my mouth, but I think it does go to show me that he's capable of writing something pretty decent.

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