Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Forty-Niners

Alan Moore & Gene Ha The Forty-Niners (2005)

The Forty-Niners is a flashback to the formative years of characters from Moore's Top 10 - the cop soap set in a city in which everyone has superpowers. It's probably not the greatest comic book ever written, but it's so close to perfect in almost every way as to render any attempt at criticism almost redundant. Amongst those stories intertwined here with all the languor of a plurality of legs and sheets at daybreak, we have a vampire mafia, Nazi scientists granted asylum in the US, the aftermath of a second world war fought by caped crusaders, and Jetlad - our main character - coming to terms with being gay; and all told with a minimum of fuss or clamour. Even the vampire plot seems completely original, told from unfamiliar angles whilst remaining absolutely faithful to the lore - none of that arbitrary bolting on of dubious revisions like how actually they're fine in daylight, and it's margarine that causes them real problems. The artwork too is absolutely breathtaking, and perfectly redolent of the era in which the story is set - some tosser somewhere probably really, really needs this to be decopunk or whatever, but fuck 'em - get a life. I know that not everything Alan Moore has ever written has been a certified work of genius, but when he just seems to casually poop out material of such effortless quality before breakfast, you really have to wonder if anyone else even comes close.

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