Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Zenith: Phase Three

Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell Zenith: Phase Three (1990)
Zenith was already the greatest thing ever, so it seemed to me back when I was reading it in weekly instalments in the pages of 2000AD comic, but Phase Three just took it to the next level so far as I was concerned; and yes I know I've just written took it to the next level, which is because Grant Morrison was for once clearly giving it 110%, thinking outside the box...

Fuck it. Look - this was just magnificent, okay? Lovecraft's squelchy horrors attempt to take over the universe by destroying free-will, and Zenith hangs around making snarky remarks as the day is saved by thinly disguised versions of Billy the Cat and Katie, Robot Archie, Billy Whizz, and other clunky stalwarts of British comic history; and that's all there is. It's hardly even a story, just a series of references and ludicrous characters done grimly realistic - which is itself ludicrous and therefore seemingly aware of its own inherent absurdity - and yet it's a thing of great beauty. Much of this is probably down to timing, knowing when to shut up, and knowing when Steve Yeowell's wonderful artwork - at this point both impressionist and bordering on photographic - is able to speak for itself, carrying even the most preposterous ideas with dignity far beyond their due. This is probably the greatest comic Grant Morrison ever wrote, and it illustrates very well how, when you hold it up to the light, you realise he really isn't anything like Alan Moore, despite all the guff which has been written on that subject between now and then, at least some of it by themselves.

For sake of contrast, just to demonstrate how horribly wrong it all could have gone, this volume also prints a bonus feature drawn by the consistently awful Jim McCarthy, doubtless a lovely bloke but nevertheless one who draws like it's the back of a school exercise book and the hard kid just ain't letting you go until you've copied out that Whitesnake album cover to the very best of your abilities.

Sorry, Jim. Take an art class maybe?

At the risk of appearing crude, any dicks need sucking for whoever helped bring this one back into print, just let me know.

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