Sunday, November 9, 2014


At PopMatters this week, I wrote a quick piece about my personal preference for hard copy comicbooks, and how I have of late been forced to face the fact that digital comics are here to stay and will inevitably become the norm before long. I also had a new "1987 And All That" column on CSBG covering the first four issues of Silverblade. It was a seriously trippy comic, and I definitely intend to get the rest of the series as soon as I can and see what other madness it has in store.

Something I Failed to Mention
I'm sure there are a million things about Silverblade that I ignored and could bring up here, so I'm going to go with the first one to pop into my head. I didn't really get into Mr. Vermillion and Miss Hothgard, a pair of villains who have a weird relationship (is it romantic? boss-employee? professional partners?) and who hate Jonathan Lord and Bobby Milestone because of an old grudge from Vermillion's childhood. In The Silver Blade, the film that originally made Lord famous and which also featured a young Milestone, Vermillion was an extra who was asked to fill in for Milestone in a key stunt scene, and ended up with a severe injury as a result. I guess the young Vermillion wanted to be or was already a dancer, and the injury he sustained ruined that career for him by fucking up his hip so that he could no longer dance. For decades he's been pissed about it, and in Silverblade he's back for revenge. Writing it out right now, he sounds like an interesting character if perhaps bordering on the overly familiar, but in the comic itself Vermillion comes across as more of a distraction than anything else, an oddball interruption to the already oddball narrative. He's not the main threat of the series, or at least he doesn't seem to be, though I suppose in later issues it may be revealed that they have a connection, and Lord defeats him (or, more accurately, his henchmen) pretty easily in the couple of encounters they have in the issues I read, so Vermillion's presence is somewhat out of place. I don't mind him; he's got some significant damage, not just physically but internally, too, including delusions/hallucinations of dancing again that make for nice visuals. But his importance is unclear. Hothgard, for her part, is barely a character, mostly there just so Vermillion has anyone at all to talk to, and to keep him from losing himself completely when his crazy dancing spells take hold. Again, she may become more important later on, but in Silverblade #1-4, neither she nor Vermillion seem essential to anything else that's happening. They do kidnap Milestone in the debut, and rescuing Milestone from them becomes Lord's first act after he gets his powers, so it's not as though Vermillion and Hothgard have zero influence on the narrative. It's just that they represent side quests for Lord, separate from the real evil he's meant to be fighting, and it's difficult to fully understand their place in the larger scheme. Which I guess probably has to do with the fact that I don't totally know what the larger scheme is yet, since I've only read 33% of the story. So maybe I'm just making a half-baked point based on incomplete knowledge, and this whole thing was a waste of time. But like I said above, it was the first thing I thought of that I didn't discuss in the original column, and now I've said my piece, so...g'bye.

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