Monday, October 19, 2015

REVIEW: Weirdworld #1

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Review: Will Dubbeld

Ah, Secret War. The Marvel Zombies amongst the HCB need no explanation and the rest of the lot are probably aware of the event via osmosis.
Not to bore the reader base (or myself) with the minutiae of the event, the condensed version is as follows:
Multiverse destroyed, Dr. Doom gets godlike power, salvages bits & pieces of Multiverse and crams them together to form a patchwork planet called Battleworld.
In the wake, Marvel is pumping out what seems like several hundred dozen thousand miniseries highlighting corners of Battleworld, as one does.

Mileage may vary on these, but I've been pleased more than not with the results. Chiefly amongst these is Weirdworld.
Originally a 1970s fantasy comic by creative team Mike Ploog and Doug Moench, writer Jason Aaron mined the Weirdworld name for a new fantasy title starring Arkon of Polemachus, a semi-esoteric other-dimensional warlord best known for sometimes tussling with the Avengers.
The Secret Wars incarnation of Arkon sees the warrior searching the length and breadth of Weirdworld for a way back to his kingdom of Polemachus. Jason Aaron's interpretation of Weirdworld is nothing short of spectacular, and he seems as enamored with Marvel's esoterica as I. This miniseries so far has bestowed upon we reading public the following:
  • -Morgan le Fay, dragon-riding baroness of Weirdworld and her army of Lava Men
  • -Skull the Slayer. Google him.
  • -an underwater ape city called Apelantis.
  • -Warbow, from 1983s seminal classic The Saga of Crystar, Crystal Warrior. God bless you, Jason Aaron. God bless you . . .
  • -and not to be outdone, in issue 4, a swamp full of Man-Things.
You heard right. Man-Things.

Sidebar, your honor:
Loyal readers may or may not be familiar with my deep, abiding love for shambling vegetable monsters. Swamp Thing, Man-Thing, The Heap, hell, I'll even settle for a Glob or two. So when I heard about a whole swamp full of Man-Things, I could hardly contain myself...

Indeed, after having a hearty tussle with Skull the Slayer, Arkon finds himself trapped in the murky swamp, surrounded by Man-Things. He and Skull attempt to fight off the muck monsters, but are paralyzed and taken before the Queen of the Man-Things.

You guys, this book . . .

The Swamp Queen, revealed to be this realms interpretation of Jennifer Kale, wages a guerrilla war against Morgan le Fay and I don't know if I can adequately express my love for this book. It's just chock full of arcane characters from the dusty corners of the Marvel Universe and plotted like it could have been a sword-and-sandals fantasy VHS from the 1980s
And I mean one of the really good ones, like The Warrior & the Sorceress. Or Deathstalker. The Barbarians, maybe...

Anywho, tormented by visions of an inverted Polemachus in flames and beset by Man-Things, our hero Arkon snatches his quiver of lightning bolts (you read that correctly) and makes good his escape.
Will he find his way back home?
Will Morgan le Fay catch up to our hero?
Will The Orb show up?
Does whatever knows fear burn at the touch of the Man-Thing?

All these questions and more answered in issue 5.

This comic is boatloads of fun, ladies and gentlemen. The subject matter is right in Jason Aaron's wheelhouse. A free for all fantasy-adventure book featuring some of the Mortiest of the Morts seems to really be the perfect vehicle for Aaron to tell a great story.
Still waiting for The Orb to show up...

Mike del Mundo is absolutely murdering it on the art detail, seamlessly dovetailing his art with Jason Aaron's writing. The art's got an almost ethereal, dreamlike quality that lends itself perfectly to the surreal nature of Weirdworld.
Marco D'Alfonso pitches in on color detail with del Mundo and the result is an impressive, soft palette that further enhances the trip down Weirdworld's rabbit hole.

My biggest problem with Weirdworld is the fact that only one issue remains. On the bright side there's been announced a post-Secret War Weirdworld title starring the Black Knight (hopefully sporting a leather jacket and wielding a lightsaber), but we'll have to see if the new creative team can capture that near-lightning in a bottle dynamic that Jason Aaron and Mike del Mundo have.

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