The Library is a great place for readers to discover comics, and it’s a great place for comics readers to check out things that they want to try without spending their hard-earned cash. I’m looking at comics that I find in the New York Public Library system.
I have a few other NYPL articles in queue at the moment, but with this Watchmen film out (I haven’t seen it yet, so don’t ask what I thought) and the library having finally delivered a copy of this collection odds and ends from his Wildstorm stint in the late 90s, I thought I’m bump up this selection of less renowned Alan Moore comics.
One can only hope that fans of the Watchmen movie don’t find a copy of this book lying around their local library or bookstore. It’s simply not a good comic. Not good by any standard, but it’s particularly bad when you consider the name splashed across the top of the cover is the “greatest comics writer of all time.”
I like Alan Moore’s work a lot, and he’s typically worth the praise he receives, but the Spawn/WildC.A.T.S. crossover miniseries included in this book is practically a document of all the shortcomings of its era. The irony is that it’s everything Moore seems to hate about post-Watchmen superhero comics. Terrible, clichéd dialogue, abysmal art by Scott Clark, and a story with no worthwhile point at all. The entire plot seems to hinge on the thin, and short-of-brilliant, concept that by traveling into the token Sucky Future, the WildC.A.T.S. and Spawn are at a disadvantage facing the future (and evil) Spawn because – y’know, he remembers the battle from the perspective of his younger (not evil) self. It’s dreadfully thin stuff, and the ending comes from out of nowhere. Maybe regular Spawn readers found it compelling, but with nary a Spawn issue in my entire comics reading collection, I found it lacked set-up, emotional context or believability. I can’t imagine any neophyte reader will feel any differently; there’s not a redeeming moment in the entire storyline.
There’s a Voodoo miniseries here, as well, that just lies there on the page, lifeless, pointless, utterly boring. Moore seems to hint (very, very slightly) at certain mystical themes that he’d later explore in greater detail and to great effect in Promethea, but the Voodoo serial seems to exist largely for the sake of showing its protagonist’s pole dancing skills, literally.
Travis Charest does a superb job drawing a WildC.A.T.S. short story, one I suppose might’ve made some sense if I’d read Alan’s WildC.A.T.S. run. But I haven’t, so it didn’t. The Deathblow three-parter seems to function only as a loose framework on which Jim Baikie can draw pulp sci-fi imagery (the fun Baikie had is at least a minor virtue). The one-off Mr. Majestic story isn’t too bad, casting the hero as a wanderer and scientist at the end of time, traveling with the pitiful band of survivors still left to face the End of Everything. It’s sad, quiet and reflective, and has a bang of an ending, but it’s nothing essential and it’s certainly not worth paging through the rest of his drek to read.
So, Watchmen film fans, if you’re looking to explore the world of comics and you come across Wild Worlds at your local library, please find another place to start your searching.