REVIEW: Killfile Wars # 3
milos_parker at yahoo.com
Thu May 25 10:33:56 PDT 2006
Note: Jesse actually posted KILLFILE WARS # 3 _within_
the SUPER-STOMACH GIRL # 4 thread. I assume that
he'll repost it, but if this review shows up _before_
the reposting, that's where you'll find it.
Structurally, Killfile Wars # 3 is typical of
middle chapters in superhero story arcs; a lot of
stuff is going on, but none of it unfolds in a
cause-and-effect way. I can be more forgiving of this
in this particular case, because it's the middle part
of a limited series. I assume that the reader who
wants to read # 3 has already read #'s 1 and 2.
I think the kind of chaos that's going on in this
installment, all the different plot threads, et
cetera, would work better in film or in actual comics;
in prose, it strikes one as a little aimless.
There is a strong central line-- one of the
remaining Ultimate Ninja seeking vengeance against
Delilah, who murdered the one-handed UN in KW # 1.
But I think it's seriously dilluted by the clutter of
Granted, this is a conscious choice on Jesse's part
and, again, at this time in the story, I can't quite
fault him. At the same time, the subplots in the last
two issues kind of kept to the side, allowing a
central line (especially in the second issue, the
funeral) to emerge unhindered. Here, I think what
would be a compelling central line-- Ninja, Avenge
Thyself!-- suffers from underdeveloped plotting and an
over-reliance on variant threads.
And really, both of these problems are the same
problem: when a plot is not developed to a substantial
degree, subplots are used to fill up the extra space
and bridge the gap between points a and b. I'd much
rather see that journey from a to b, rendered as
tightly as possible while still eliciting emotion,
suspense, and the occassional belly laugh.
One thing I notice and dislike in a lot of Jesse's
writing is this overreliance on subplots; it's a
problem I also have with some of Dvandom's work,
though in the latter case, the structure is much more
sound and facilitates the subplots.
I'd really love to see a story all about the Ninja
avenging himself, rather than have it squeezed into a
few scenes admist the chaos. But that's me.
One problem I do have with the Ninja/Delilah
scene(s) is the Ninja's troubling thematic assertion:
<<"Now you'll be dead in three months. You've made
much harder to get that bullet out. It had more than
trace amounts of plutonium. If the radiation
poisoning doesn't get you... you'll develop cancer.
more your healing factor tries to heal it... the worse
it will get. The same thing happened to Badass,"
Ninja said. (See Vel #1-2)
"You wouldn't..." she said.
"You killed me. It is only fair," he said.
killed me... and I'm going to have to live with it for
the rest of my life. So I want you to go slowly and
"But you're a hero.."
"No... I'm an instrument of justice. Big
[Tom waps Jesse upside the head. WAP!]
While the Ninja has killed people in the past
(after all, he does have the HeartThrob manuever), and
he's not a hero in the same sense as, say, Kid Kirby--
he's a darker hero, he's a ninja for chrisssakes--
he's still a hero, Jesse.
And heroes *don't* murder people.
Even if you accept the Ninja as a traditional
action hero instead of a superhero, in which case he
has a different code... he still has a code. He's not
going to take a human life _in the way that you
describe_. Maybe a battle to the death, katanas
But _not_ like this. This sounds like the sick
plan of a villain, and I'm sorry--
<< "But you're a hero.."
"No... I'm an instrument of justice. Big
-- but he's not an instrument of justice in this case.
He's an instrument of sick, twisted,
And, you're right, by these actions, he's not a
hero. But guess what?
He's not the Ultimate Ninja, either.
I have a general dislike for the "dirty
tights-and-capes" variation of the genre, of the Grim
'n' Gritty heroes that kill, of masculine heroes who
are emasculated. It's one of the problems I have with
the second half of NHOP, and it's one I'm trying to
remedy with the TEB.
Now, just because I don't like it, doesn't mean
that others don't, and, sure, there is room for
juvenile cynicism masquerading as serious literature
in superhero fiction. Hell, there's room for it in
But I don't think the Ultimate Ninja (or any of the
other classic legionnaires) is the right place for it.
I'd rather see him slay Delilah in honourable combat,
or not slay her at all, staying his hand at the last
minute. In either moment, he is still a hero, albiet
two different permutations of the concept.
As the story stands, he's no better than the
Killfiles. Which, I know, is Jesse's point. I
understand that. It just seems to me to be an asinine
and unimaginative point to make. No offense, but it
takes no mental effort to show the emperor has no
clothes. It takes much more of an author-- mentally,
emotionally, spiritually-- to hug the naked guy. It's
the difference between joy and cynicism, which at its
heart is the difference between good superhero stories
and bad ones.
I'm not saying that Jesse's story is necessarily a
bad one, or that he is a bad writer: he's just a
cynical one, and it is that cynicism that I take issue
with the most. Structural issues aside, this could be
a good idea for a good vs. evil action story.
Unfortunately, when it's lesser evil vs. greater evil,
it greatly lessens the moral angle and the contrasting
dichomoties necessary for its success. And it's that,
more than anything, that inspires my venom when
discussing this particular thematic idea, which, in my
opinion, has no real merit.
I'd much rather Jesse spend his time making points
that are worth making.
Director of MILOS, LIFE AND TIMES OF A DREAMER
Limited autographed dvds now on sale, directly from the filmmaker
"In the beginning, Milos seems to have no clue how to relate
to anyone. He is quizzical, leaving the viewer questioning
-- Ryan M. Niemiec, co-author of MOVIES AND MENTAL ILLNESS
"If a comic book, book, movie or novel is not somebody's fantasy
then who wrote it and to whom does it appeal to? In order for a
shared universe to have a widespread appeal, it has to appeal on
a primal level. If somebody says superhero comics are just 'wish
fulfillment' then he needs to explain what is entertainment that
doesn't satisfy our wishes and what satisfaction at all you can get
from it." -- Dr. Martin Phipps
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