Friday, July 27, 2007

Badrock #1A



The series no one demanded! Well, except perhaps the American Dental Association...


I think at this point we can abandon the prospect of this coming out weekly during the summer. Maybe back in the fall again, but otherwise expect it more on a monthly basis. Hey, just like a good comic is supposed to come out!

I had considered running another Liefeld story at the one-year anniversary of the site, but what the hell, I wanted a non-DC or Marvel story for this one and I found a copy of this at my local comic store.

Badrock is the solo series of one of our zeroes from Youngblood and from what I hear the only decent character that came out of the lot. You wouldn’t think so from reading this book, though. Dark, poorly-drawn, and filled with confusing internal continuity throughout, it’s just another tale brought to us by our old pal Rob Liefeld.

Strangely enough, this story is marked with issue #1A. I saw #1B at the shop, too, with a different cover featuring our titular hero and a thinly-sculpted (though not in the chestular region) woman holding a huge gun along with him. I can only presume this to be a variant cover with them deciding that people would get confused with two covers on the same book, but it’s possible I’m wrong and they just made a comic that feels like it’s lasting forever stretch out into two issues marked #1.



You know, I’ve got to wonder who first came up with the idea of the ‘person(s) running at the reader with their mouths open’ cover, because honestly it is one of the most boring and static images I consistently seen in comics. Come on, give us something artsy or heroic, not something you expect to receive at a convention from an artist who’s drawn the same thing over and over to give away. In any case, as we can see, our hero Badrock, with Hulk-like proportions and a big strap over his shoulder with a button that just screams ‘I love Brian K. Vaughan!’ is running at the reader. What’s got my eyebrow raised, though, is the signature of both Liefeld and McFarlane [!] at the bottom, yet there’s nothing in the credits to indicate Todd McFarlane had anything to do with this comic or even the cover.

We open to a close-up shot of Badrock glaring out at the viewer. Get used to this shot folks – Rob really likes the close-ups in this one. There’s a web of red lines hanging out of his mouth and on his teeth that I’m sure was supposed to be blood, but just ends up looking like Badrock accidentally popped his gum and its hanging out of his mouth. “Y’know, there’s this scene in just about every action movie where the hero says to himself--” Boy, I need a new agent? ““How did I ever get myself into this mess?” As clich├ęs go, it’s a pretty common one. But y’know what? If I was in one of those movies right now, this would be that scene...” And we’d all be asking for refunds. “And, even though I tend to pride myself on my originality--” Unlike Greg Land. “That would be my line.”

As we turn the page, get to see our old friend the double-page spread that you have to turn the book on its side to see properly. The establishing shot, tucked away in a corner, is of a tall building with a nice chunk missing out of the top of it with the moon behind it looking positively HUGE. The rest of the page features Badrock standing in rubble in a pose as if he just hit something while standing behind two people, a man and a woman, who both have their legs spread reeeeaaally wide. The woman has odd metallic wrappings around her arms and legs while she wears a cleavage-exposing bathing suit and a huge gun in her hand. The man has inexplicably muscular legs with brown pants that seem rather skin tight. Oh, and it looks like he’s checking his pulse. In front of the three are two huge muscular guys (one sporting a purple Doctor Doom-esque outfit) and a bunch of goons who, of course, all wear the same outfit (I wonder if there’s a contractor for these guys who supply the equipment and clothes?).

“I knew from the minute I set foot in Chicago this wasn’t gonna be easy.” Yeah, the Cubs’ failure tends to just infect everything else in that city. “I mean, it’s not like I came here lookin’ for trouble. All I wanted was to get my Pop home in one piece. Brought Gunner here along for the ride, figured it’d be a piece of cake.” So I’m assuming the woman with the big gun is Gunner, then. Mr. Liefeld’s talent for character names never ceases to amaze me. “Unfortunately, the Fates -- and just about every last member of the Chicago underworld -- were conspirin’ against me. Uglier situations, I had definitely yet to see in my young life.” Passive sentences, I’m thanking you for that, Rob. Yoda-like, it is.



“Y’see, my Dad’s too cool to be kidnapped by just your ordinary run-of-the-mill criminals. Nope, he had to get himself heisted by the most powerful criminal organization in Chicago, a bunch of sweethearts better known to the world at large as the Vicious Circle. The creep in the tin suit is their leader and he calls himself the Overlord. Not much of an ego there, huh?” I wouldn’t think so, what with the bolded names for both himself and his criminal organization. I wonder how they manage to speak in bold like that? I mean, it couldn’t be that Rob bolded them himself, since there’d be no need to emphasize the names by the way the narration is speaking...

“The loser to his left is a professional killer who goes by the name of Girth.” Girth is sporting a serious Joker smile. I mean, his cheeks are all clenched back and we can see every one of his teeth. “For, like, the hundredth time, though, he’s tellin’ us that he took this job for free. Can you believe it?” That you’re still getting work? Nope, I still can’t believe it. “Hey, if it’s good enough for Hollywood, it’s good enough for me.” Uhhh... Badrock, maybe you want to rethink that statement. ““How did I ever get myself into this mess?”” Well, I could point out that you just explained to the reader exactly how you got into the mess – you went to Chicago to bring your father home but for some unknown reason, possibly due to him being as you mentioned before, “too cool,” a criminal organization called the Vicious Circle are trying to take him.

As if our close-up of Badrock’s face wasn’t enough, we now have a close-up of Girth’s face and surprisingly, he too appears to have issues with candy since his mouth is covered with some sort of red webbing. To make matters more interesting, he didn’t have this ‘blood’ there in the previous page, nor was he smoking a cigar as he is now. “Betcher feelin’ pretty stupid right about now, huh, little buddy? Should o’ listened when I told you t’ keep your distance.” Wait a second; isn’t this supposed to be the first issue of this series? Was there an issue #0A and #0B where all this happened? “Yer impaired hearing notwithstanding, you’re due for some serious damage now!”

And now as if he was channeling the spirit of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, Badrock happily retorts, “What-ever!” And now I get this really funny picture in my head of a seven foot tall grey superhero with muscles that make the Hulk look like Elijah Wood in terms of buffness in a blonde wig cocking his hips to the side while rolling his eyes. “I’ve had it up to my neck with freaks like you tellin’ me how you’re gonna mop this place up with my sorry butt before wringin’ me out to dry. I didn’t come here to hassle you, Girth-- But if it’s a hassle you want-- FINE. Just keep in mind, when I’m shashin’ that pin head of yours into the ground, that you’re doin’ it for free--!” Okay, I’ll admit, that’s a good line. I will say, however, that with the way Rob draws, Badrock shouldn’t exactly be proud of his own cranium-to-body ratio.



Badrock somehow leaps into the air and slams down on Girth, a surprising feat, I must say, considering the sheer size and muscle mass shown on Badrock must make him like a thousand pounds. Of course, Rob Liefeld’s penchant for wormholes during a fight scene also takes effect (see Youngblood #1), since on one page we see Badrock falling down towards Girth, right at him, before we flip to the next page and see him suddenly charging from a side angle towards him. Even Liefeld acknowledges the odd physics of Badrock’s body: “Even though he’s way bigger’n me, I can tell just what he’s thinking as I bear down on him. “How can anything that big move that fast?!!””

Girth apparently has the superpower of shifting bodymass, since on the page where Badrock is falling down on him he appears to have a HUGE body but a cone-shaped, teensy head not unlike Dr. Robotnik, but then on the next page when Badrock hits him, his body’s still huge, but his head is round and a more reasonable size. “At that point, I’d be lyin if I toldja I wasn’t thinking the same thing about him. I mean, lookit him go! Have you ever seen anything that big move that fast?!! HA! I kill me.” Do it faster.

“If I’m gonna be killing anybody, I’d rather it be him than me and-- YEEEOW!” Hey, Girth shut up his narration boxes by hitting him! Now I’ve got someone to root for! In an ironic twist of fate, Badrock is bleeding again in the same web pattern as shown earlier, only now it matches the bizarre veins in his neck! “If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was linin’ his gloves with solid rock. Not that it should matter all that much, I suppose-- to a kid whose entire body is composed of solid rock!” Thanks for the exposition there, ki- wait a second, Badrock’s a kid?! Jeez, no wonder he’s such a momma’s boy. Girth yells out, “This isn’t over yet, you punk ass--!” “Yeah, I know it isn’t-- I was kinda savin’ the grand finale up until about NOW!” And... what? It looks like Badrock grabs one of Girth’s huge pectorals (which are so round that I think they qualify as man-boobs) and... I really don’t know. I think he throws him, but I really can’t tell.

One of the real problems with this book is that every panel seems so damn dark. Seriously, I’m holding this up to a light and even the white areas look like they’ve been put through a filter. Maybe it’s the age of the comic itself showing, or it’s simply that they used a really cheep printing process. As such, it’s really hard to tell what the heck is going on. Maybe it’s just that the coloring has consisted completely of reds, oranges, yellows, blacks, and dark blues. By the by, while Badrock and Girth were having their little slug-fest, what exactly were the goons, Overlord, and Gunner all doing?

Anywho, Badrock grabs Gunner and his father and runs off the edge of the building. I’d make a joke about the comic ending early, but who am I kidding? Since he’s falling about eighty stories, Badrock takes the opportunity to bore the reader by talking about how awesome he is and then doing a comparative analysis of roller coasters to life, giving us this pearl of wisdom: “One unfortunate difference between roller coasters and “real life”, though, is that it’s a lot easier to stop one than it is the other.” Oh, I don’t know, one good crash tends to stop one as well as the other.



Anyway, as predicted with his body made of rock, Badrock slams into the ground below with Gunner and his dad in his arms and survives the fall. Now, as I’ve stated before, I’m not a scientist, but I think the two humans are probably still going to feel that one even if Badrock was holding them... probably in particular because he was holding them since, as he said, he’s made of ROCKS. “Hold on tight, folks! Jumpin’ outta buildings may be a little on the scarey(sic) side-- but landing SUCKS!!” Seems like both really SUCK!!, but what do I know?

The three start running with Gunner leading them into an L Train station. All of a sudden though, Wolverine suddenly leaps onto Badrock’s back! Well, okay, I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be Wolverine, but frankly how can you mistake that hair for anyone else? Not-Wolverine comments, “Overlord’s got a blank check for the freak who bring’s your head in on a platter, rock boy-- and you can bet your sweet patootie ol’ Lowblow is gonna be the one cashin’ it!” Okay, first of all – Badrock must be chewing gum or something because he’s got the weird lines in his mouth again like webs. Secondly – “bet your sweet patootie?!” Did this suddenly become an episode of Laugh-In?

Cut to the next page and... well, I’m sure what was supposed to happen was that Badrock was supposed to throw him, but really it looks more like he’s standing right behind Badrock and looking up at the sky. Then, in a really bizarre choice of art, we see Gunner holding her weapon while she pushes out her breasts and ass and her legs just kind of hang in front of her and curve back down with the feet pulled back, as if she was leaping through the air in a really bizarre pose. She apparently shoots him three times and tells the others they should get out of there.

They continue running and a train shows up. Badrock comments on the good timing of it. His father comments, “I, for one, would certainly prefer that our timing centered less around these violent exchanges than is currently the case. I don’t know how much more of this I can take..!” Your son is that huge and made of rock and you didn’t imagine there’d probably be some stuff going on with your life? Badrock tells him he’s doing fine, to which Gunner replies, “You’re a real piece of work, Badrock. One minute you’re frightened to death that your dad’s in danger-- the next you’re acting like this is some kind of joy ride!” Ummm... Did I miss about three comics in between and around this one? The only emotions he’s been displaying so far have been anger, irritation, and smugness. Oh and then while our busty, rather thin-waisted lady is standing at a peculiar angle, a knife suddenly flies out from somewhere and lands right in her shoulder.



Further proving my point that Badrock has the emotional range of “pissed off” to “yelling angrily,” Badrock demands to know who’s attacking them this time. Both are less-than imaginative, the first calling himself “Cutthroat” (Yarr!) and sporting a huge ass razorblade on his arm that apparently has the same red silly-string that’s been getting onto everyone’s mouths. Of course, where the ‘blood’ came from I’m not really sure since all he did was throw a knife (he’s sporting knives all over his chest). His companion is “Hellrazor” (Damn you, Clive Barker!) and is holding a bo staff behind his leg for some reason while sporting Squirrel Girl-like eyes and a Shi’ar hairdo. Oh, he also has a rather visible cup. *Snickers*

I will admit that Badrock actually has a talent for banter as he tells them, “If you wanna make it off this train in one piece, grab a seat and enjoy the ride. Me, I’m curious if your boss has you jerks on a health plan that covers he kind of beatin’ I’m gonna dish out if you don’t.” Of course, his intimidation factor might be a little higher if he didn’t have what I’m sure was meant to be drool coming out of his mouth in the same web pattern we’ve seen with the ‘blood.’

Hellrazor leaps at Badrock (making me wonder what two guys whose shtick seems to be that they have really big, sharp knives are supposed to do against a guy made of stone), his bo staff mysteriously vanishing. Badrock just grabs him by the wrist and holds him away at arm’s length, making me chuckle and wonder what the plan of these two losers was supposed to be. ‘Here, let’s attack him under the cover of a brightly-lit, closed-quarter environment where we can’t maneuver and then jump at him! That’ll work!’

Badrock practically growls at Hellrazor: “I’ve got just about ZERO tolerance for creeps like you in the first place... But you and Superfly over there are fuelin’ me up with all sorts of reasons to go BALLISTIC like you wouldn’t even understand!” Ron O’Neal IS Cutthroat in Badrock 1A: This time he’s going ballistic like you wouldn’t even understand. “Or, to put it in terms even you can comprehend... I’m really pissed.” And this is of course accompanied by a shot of Badrock’s teeth, once again stained with red liquid in inexplicable patterns. Seriously, is he biting his tongue or something every few minutes?



And apparently Cutthroat has been standing off to the back just watching all of this, because suddenly he leaps into the fray while Badrock punches Hellrazor away. However, Gunner, apparently feeling all better from her shoulder wound, gives a high-kick to him. “Y’said the name was Cutthroat, right? Well, allow me to introduce myself--” I’m a man of wealth and taste. “I’m pretty. I’m bad. And, providing I love long enough to settle down and raise a family one day-- I’m potentially a “mutha.”” With that waist? Frankly I’d be afraid of a pregnancy splitting you in two, Gunner and- OH DEAR GOD, YOUR SPINE!

Gunner stands triumphant over Cutthroat, her hips making a 90-degree angle from her upper body. I really don’t expect her to have any kids now. In any case, they decide to get off the train before any more of Overlord’s bladed idiots try to attack them. Gunner states, “I know exactly where to go if we get off here--!” A chiropractor? Badrock expositions about Gunner in his narration boxes, talking about how she grew up on the mean streets of Chicago after her parents abandoned her (probably wouldn’t let her grow up to be a contortionist). He then talks about how his parents are the most important thing in his life and we get a close-up on his eye, which I’m sure was supposed to lead into a flashback, but it’s not framed very well.

And so we flash back to Badrock living in his house and cooking dinner with his dad. They talk about some pictures in the paper where Badrock was apparently hanging out with some woman (as established in Youngblood, superheroes are akin to celebrities... and just as irritating). “From the pictures I saw, she looked like a very pretty girl. And your mother said she was an actress.” Oh, Maryl Streep. Badrock replies, “Uh, Dad, not that you’d know or anything, but I don’t really think what that chick does qualifies as acting. I mean, all she’s gotta do to get in character is take off her clothes and--” Oh, so Elizabeth Berkley, then.

Badrock goes out to a store to get some food. However, on the way back, he sees that his house has burned to the ground. Girth appears on the scene, explaining that the Overlord had some business with his father and that he’d better stay out of it if he wants him to stay in one piece. This does make me wonder why he even bothered to tell Badrock, since it would’ve just remained a mystery up until Girth revealed his presence. By the way, this comes up on ANOTHER two-page spread that needs to be turned on its side and was really unnecessary. We turn the page again and- wow. Badrock has apparently come down with a serious case of mouth spiders considering the webbing that’s hanging all over his teeth.



For some stupid reason, Girth tells Badrock that if he wants his father, he can come get him (of course, he never specifies where he’s supposed to go to). Why? This is why: “Figured we could settle the issue o’ how tough you really are, once and for all!” Ummm... One, you two hadn’t met before this point. Badrock admitted that when he first sees your fat ass. Two, why didn’t you just attack him to begin with instead of making him jump through hoops and huge buildings? Three, for God’s sakes, just get on the Slim-Fast Plan already!

Badrock tries to attack him, but it turns out it’s just a hologram. And thus the flashback ends, providing no real answers to anything and in fact making things more confusing. The three dash around a corner as Badrock narrates: “I’ve come too far to let some stupid city stand in my way of gettin’ Dad outta trouble!” Um... Look, I know for someone like you, turns on a sidewalk can be difficult, but don’t blame the city for that... Anyway, they round the corner and see someone. To their shock and amazement it’s...

ANOTHER double-page spread that you need to turn on its side! Oh, and what was so necessary for this final two-page spread of stupidity? Why, it’s Savage Dragon! Wait, that exists in the same universe as Youngblood? “I need you to slow down, back up-- and tell me just what the hell is going on here-- or you’re coming to blows with one SAVAGE DRAGON!” And thus our story ends-

Well, okay, it doesn’t so much as end as just stop completely in its tracks with us scratching our heads. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go brush my teeth.

3 comments:

knicksgrl0917 said...
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UnSub said...

Just to provide some background here (I started reading comics just as Image launched):

1) Yep, Badrock really is a boy in a giant body of rock. I think he was about 12 or so when he got his powers ... however that happened.

2) Erik Larson's Savage Dragon had the villain group the Vicious Circle and was set in Chicago at the time. Liefeld's Youngblood (of which Badrock was a part) had Washington as a home city. Girth is one of Liefeld's villains; all the Vicious Circle guys are Larsons (and he used them better too). Gunner is also Liefeld's character, but I'm pretty sure she had limited appearances... she may have ended up in Team Youngblood.

3) This is obviously one of the early crossover series, when the Image guys would let each other into each other's universe (with the exception of MacFarlane's Spawn - I don't think he let them do crossovers with his characters).

David said...

Nah, Spawn had crossovers all over the place. Including one with youngblood. Chapel (a youngblood member) was critical to spawns origin story. Then Spawn got made into a movie and it was time to hit the retcon button to avoid legal entanglements. Spawn has also crossed over with the savage dragon.