Thursday, 3 March 2011

Job ap

A few months ago (well, quite a few now I guess. It was sometime last summer) SFX were advertising for a new...person. I can't remember what the position was exactly, but it doesn't really matter as I didn't get it. This was no real surprise as I have zero proper experience in journalism, but I figured I knew a lot about comics, sci-fi and related geekdom so it was worth a shot.

Part of the application was to write a comic review. Since the review I wrote is dead-on 400 words, I suspect this was the word limit.

Anyway, for those interested here's the review I wrote.

Shadowland: Bullseye

Pointless.  That’s the first word that springs to mind after reading this comic, a tie-in to the Shadowland event running through Daredevil and, well, just Daredevil really and a couple of issues of Thunderbolts (plus a mountain of limited series, obviously, to enlarge the story to true Event status).  Even after a second reading I fail to see why this story needed to be printed.

The issue covers Bullseye’s funeral after [spoiler!] he was brutally killed by Daredevil at the end of Shadowland #1.  Those expecting a reflection on Bullseye’s life will not find it here.  It doesn’t include Daredevil’s reaction to the murder he committed.  It doesn’t include the other heroes’ reaction to Daredevil’s actions either.  All we get in this regard is a couple of panels of J. Jonah Jameson giving a speech about how the city won’t pay for a funeral.

The story tells how a biker gang become upset about Bullseye’s lack of a funeral and decide to arrange one for him.  Apparently Bullseye once took the bikers’ side in a bar fight and they feel they owe him a decent burial.  Quite why Bullseye, a psychopath who enjoyed killing everyone and everything at random, would decide to only kill half the people in a room is unclear.  It’s certainly out of character.  Everyone’s favourite reporter, Ben Urich, is forced along in events because, for reasons unknown, the bikers want a newspaper article about the funeral.  How Urich escapes his peril is poorly plotted and the ‘twist’ ending on the final couple of pages falls flat. For a twist of this type to work the reader has to have an emotional attachment to events, but by this point I really didn’t care.

Unless Dennis Deaver, a character introduced in this issue, appears in the main storyline at a later date (which I doubt), this issue adds nothing at all to the Shadowland event, nor is it an entertaining story on its own.  Sean Chen’s artwork is great, but wasted on the story.  An issue covering Bullseye’s funeral isn’t in itself a bad idea, but quite what John Layman was trying to do with this story I really do not know.

In this age of $4 comics, I can only hope the other Shadowland tie-ins have more reason to exist than draining fans of a little more of their hard-earned cash.  One for completists only, I’m afraid.

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