Monday, 2 July 2018

New Universal

Warren Ellis & Salvador Larroca New Universal (2007)
New Universe was a line of eight related comic book titles published by Marvel back in 1986, in part to mark the company's twenty-fifth anniversary. New Universe introduced superheroes to a world without Gods or aliens, in other words, a world pretty much like our own. The sales pitch was that back in the sixties, Superman was able to lift up the corner of a building as though it were simply a massive box resting on the ground, but Marvel had introduced buildings with electrical wiring and plumbing as well as heroes who worried about acne and mortgage repayments; and now they were taking the realism one step further, possibly having become aware of industry buzz preceding the publication of Watchmen; or it was Marvel arrogantly thinking they too could do independent comics, as Neil Gaiman suggested because he's a fucking genius and is able to understand the sort of stuff which thickies such as you or I might need explaining. At least I think it was Neil Gaiman. It could have been Rick Veitch.

Anyway, with the best will in the world, the New Universe titles were still very much eighties Marvel comics - low on moody homages to noir cinema, but plenty of captions and thought bubbles expressing the fear that Lulabelle might not be quite so keen if she finds out about the terrible power which I now wield. These were still comics for kids, and being of developmentally equivalent age at the time, I personally thought they were a lot of fun; which is probably why it had all gone tits up by the early nineties. Imagine then, my excitement when I discovered that Marvel had given it another shot back in 2007, when I'd been looking the other way.

Warren Ellis too; and I've heard such good things about Warren Ellis, even if what I've actually read of his has been distinctly underwhelming. Perhaps inevitably, this isn't the New Universe I remember, but a re-imagining of the same characters and situations, something taken much more seriously, because there's nothing which isn't betterised by being taken much more seriously; so it's reet classy sans thought bubbles or any of those silly captions which spoil the illusion of our watching summink sophisticated like one of those French films where nobody says nuffink and you usually get to see tits at some point. Also there's the superflow which is a bit like something from The Authority, and there are secretive government meetings discussing what is to be done about the superhero problem, just like you'd get on an episode of Torchwood.


It looks very nice, but I preferred the New Universe when it was stupid.

So what was the thing Warren Ellis wrote which was good?


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