Men of War #5

Shoot him! Please!

Men of War has gotten so bad that I couldn’t even bother to reread my blog posts about the previous issues. I remember what happened! Rock and his crew were trudging through sand that turned into acid when a car ran over rock and ended up in a lake and Rock was saved by a noose around his neck thrown by a guy who is going to kill him. So let’s get on with it!

The first two pages of this issue repeat nearly exactly the last three pages of the last issue. So here’s the first “Fuck you!” of this issue to Ivan Brandon. You just wasted two pages of story. Thanks.

My second “Fuck you!” comes from the grenade that Sgt. Rock somehow conceals in his closed fist. Now, I’d let it slide if maybe he decided it was some sort of mini-grenade that could be concealed in a closed fist. But before Rock hides the grenade by closing his entire hand over it, the artist gives us this panel:

Maybe Sgt. Rock has Plastic Man’s powers?

One of the reasons I’m crapping all over this comic is because the creative team has already proven to me that it’s an outhouse. I can see the comic this could potentially be, even with the current story arc. But it’s just all been done so sloppily: the writing, the story boarding, the art. Let’s see if I can find some good stuff to say about it too. And then I’ll get back to trashing it.

The man with the X on his head has Sgt. Rock on the end of a noose and a gun on him. The X Man’s compatriots have rifles, pistols, and vehicle mounted machine guns trained on Rock’s men. When the X man notices Rock has something in his hand, he tells him to throw it down. So Rock throws the grenade at them.

Here’s an example of the laziness in all three categories I just mentioned. After Rock threw the grenade, it explodes and the bad guys go flying through the air. Rock and his men must have been just at that point outside the explosive radius where it didn’t affect them. You know, that one critical foot past the guys who go flying all over the place. Oh, anyway, that’s not the lazy example I meant! These panels are:

After the explosion, Rock gets to the guns the men dropped and trains them on them as the top panel shows. Then the second panel shows the big guy charging Rock. Right? Am I the only one who thinks that? He’s not. Okay then, is he stomping away in a huff? And Rock doesn’t threaten him or shoot him? Who the fuck knows because that’s the last you see of him! He just makes a threat and disappears into the smoke, apparently. But that’s all you get. Those two panels. Does that mean the writer thinks the reader is smart enough to figure out what happened? Sure, if you want to like this comic so bad you’ll pretend you’re reading a good comic. Instead, it’s just confusing and lazy.

Also, what happened to the noose around Rock’s neck? Yeah. He took it off during the explosion and the two panels after the explosion which show the bald guy trying to crawl to the guns. Then the panel after that is the first of the two I posted. Rock suddenly has those two guns and the advantage. Most of this comic is like that. Just making huge leaps in space and time and leaving the reader to make up what happens in between those moments.

It may sound like I’m bitching that the creative team isn’t showing every step of the action. But I’m not! I really can’t convey how badly these scenes are laid out!

Rock knocks out the bald guy, leaving no more bad guys (or bald guys!) to deal with. At that point, one of Rock’s men panics and he runs for higher ground. It’s apparently a bad move.

See? Sunday Comics version of Sgt. Rock says don’t do it!

McLeod gets shot in the stomach and the leg as he runs uphill. I was going to scan that big panel of him getting shot but after scanning the page, little Sgt. Rock just looked too cute to not keep.

And then the X Man reappears out of the smoke. He may have been the one to shoot the soldier. That’s not really made clear. Just like everything else in this comic book.

Now Sgt. Rock is going to listen. Now that he’s given his word. You sure you don’t have just one more grenade, dumb dumb?

This time, Rock allows his men to be taken prisoner. Bags are put on their heads and they’re taken to some secret location. A gray man that looks like Captain Atom or Batwoman’s brother asks if Rock is the one that killed the man. Rock follows along but I have no idea whom they’re talking about until I recheck Issue #4. They mention he killed him with a pistol and Rock says he also had a grenade, so they’re speaking about the man in the truck that tried to run over Rock in the middle of the desert. Apparently he was a powerful or important man.

It turns out the men who have captured Rock and his buddies are long lived war heroes. One is from Waterloo. One is from the Civil War. One is from, well, I don’t know! Longer ago than that? One of Rock’s men says the X man is a legend called The Gravedigger. They’re supposed to be protecting the ship that Rock and his men were sent to blow up. I believe the man Rock killed was one of them. The fact that Rock killed an ancient being has impressed the leader of this group. And that’s the only reason the Americans are still alive.

Rock talks them into letting him see his man who was shot to make sure he’s okay. The bad guy that takes him is the guy Rock hit in the face with the gun. And Rock treats him like shit so that he’ll get enraged enough to attack him. Which he, predictably, does. And Rock gets the gun out of his handcuffs and gets the gun away from him. The bad guy wonders how Rock escaped the cuffs.

Oh fuck you! I’d rather he said he went to Magic Camp.

Oh! Here’s my nice thing to say about this comic. I like the introduction of a squad of guys who have lived for a very, very long time. They’re instantly interesting! And I might have continued to be interested in how Rock and his men deal with and relate to these guys. But then Rock got an attitude and taunted the big guy and then said the Brooklyn line and I remembered I really don’t like this character at all. How dare he judge if other people were raised right when he talks shit and, apparently, was busy in Brooklyn as a criminal and busting out of police cuffs.

Fuck you!

The back-up story was the best written piece in all five issues of Men of War so far. It was written by Matt Kindt, pencilled by Patrick Scherberger, and inked by Dan Green (oh, colorist, Thomas Chu and letterer, Rob Leigh. I might as well give all the credits!). It has some awkward moments and I think it ran one page too long. It’s a female agent chasing a male agent. She’s trying to kill him because she thinks he’s going to detonate a bomb he planted on a ship. He’s just trying to get away from her. And they fight and fight and run and run and fight. And lots of narration box thinking by both of them. It works pretty well.

I like how they interpret the situation so differently. And how the female character projects her feelings on the actions of the male. Both characters are fleshed out quite well in the small amount of space given the story. And I think it would have worked much better without the last page. But the last page doesn’t ruin it. It just seems a bit much and ruins the possible reality of the situation by having them both survive a missile blast that destroys the mansion of the roof they’re on.

But other than that final page, it was the first really intriguing back up story yet in these $4 titles. I’ve been expecting just cheap, thrown together crap for the back-up stories so this is surprising. And it shows what good use the back-up stories can be put to. Good job, back-up creative team!