It's been a little while since I have done one of these posts, so I'll start with my PopMatters piece from two weeks ago, about how following so many comicbook series means some of the story details fall through the mental cracks. Then this week I published the first of four planned columns looking at non-100 Bullets work by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, starting with their first collaboration, Johnny Double. I quite like that series, but am mostly excited about getting into some of the upcoming topics for that collection of posts. Finally, my big news this week, which I already talked about in passing the other day, is that my "1987 And All That" column officially made its transition over to Comics Should Be Good. This time out, I wrote about Comet Man, a surprisingly dark six-issue series from Marvel that sort of turned the typical superhero tale on its head. CSBG is one of the sites that got me into this whole comicbook criticism thing to begin with, and I'm a big-time fan of several of the writers over there, so to actually be one of them is pretty damn amazing. I feel crazy honored to have the chance, and so far I seem to have not screwed it up completely, which is just aces.
Something I Failed to Mention
I didn't want to recap every single detail of Comet Man in my review, because I needed to have room to talk about the themes and impressions of the story as a whole, too. As such, I ended up completely ignoring one of the main members of the cast, a major player from the first issue to the last who is both hero and villain at different points in the narrative. It's a pretty huge oversight, and even though he's not real and he's dead at the end of the book, I feel like I owe it to the guy to at least mention his contributions to the comic here. His name is David Hilbert, and he is a damn fool. Originally part of a team with Stephen Beckley (Comet Man) and his wife Ann, Hilbert soon becomes their enemy. He has a romantic past with Ann and desperately wants her back, so much so than when he discovers Beckley did not die in his deep-space accident, Hilbert hides that fact from Ann so he can have more time to woo her. He is then in charge of kidnapping her, which leads directly to her death, which Hilbert witnesses and despairs over. It is his turning point, basically, where he starts to doubt if working for the Bridge and the Superior is really what he wants to do, but it doesn't stop him yet. He just buries Ann in an unmarked grave, cries, and moves on with his life. Eventually, though, he does openly defy the Superior, after helping Beckley get his son Benny to safety. It's a small bit of redemption for Hilbert, but then the Superior quickly and ruthlessly snaps his neck, turning Hilbert's head a full 180 degrees, and that's all we get from the man. He's an infuriating and depressing figure, adding a particularly tragic spice to an already incredibly negative tale.