Just for fun, I’m gonna toss my reactions right onto the blog as I read this. FYI, I haven’t been the biggest fan of Kyle Baker’s last few high-profile projects. Birth of a Nation, with Aaron McGruder, was only okay. I think Baker’s cartooning actually took a lot away from the book’s satirical potential. And that Plastic Man run was bland, though I agree that Baker’s art held great for the character. I just wish the writing and layouts had been more experimental. But, my impression is that Baker’s been stretching out on Special Forces, and I’m looking forward to that.
Anyway, here we go.
Have you seen this page one? Shit. “The black guy dies first.” The art is downright gruesome. Hey, that chick’s having the same reaction as me – “FUCK!”
Some of this art is positively Eisner-esque. Look at the pleading face in panel 8. WOW.
Talk about a sudden tone shift. One minute we’re laughing at a little witty Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repartee, then turn the page and -wham- intestines all over the place.
At this point it becomes absolutely impossible to ignore all the T & (page turn) A. Interesting. Is Baker commenting on comics with that? Is he trying to make the violence more palatable? Or is he purposefully convoluting the sex and violence to demonstrate how easy it is for Americans to accept it when they’re all mixed up. It’s a lot harder to ignore in a comic, of course, since the images don’t flash by us accompanied by a THX soundtrack. Instead, they linger. We flip back and forth and back again trying to get a sense of it all and encountering the same pointy angles each time. Blood, guts, boobs. My mind doesn’t know what to do with it.
Inside Back Cover
Well, here’s the kicker, the biggest, baddest shot in the gut – the truth. Baker ends the book with a pair of news stories that inspired the book. They’re both about Jared Guinther from Portland, Oregon, and 18-year old autistic who was recruited by the Army and not released from service, despite his parents’ complaints, until the media started to run with the story.
The book had me all happy, happy, even when I was repulsed, and now I’m a little depressed.
I gotta think this is how he wanted it. Nice work, sir. Nice work.