Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Larfleeze volume 2: The Face of Greed

The orange light is stronger than ever in agent Orange. Sadly this is not reflected in his series as it flickers out

Writers: Keith Giffen & J. M. DeMatteis
Artist: Scott Kolins
Publisher: DC Comics

Summary: Having freed himself from his captors Larfleeze is hunting for his butler whom was stolen from him. This leads him into a war between a family of cosmic beings from another universe. And that's not all. Larfleeze will also run into the single most ridiculous Green Lantern of them all. G'Nort! Who will be left standing when all these forces collide?

My thoughts: I really liked the previous volume for this series. It was creative, energetic, colorful and full of new faces. It treated Larfleeze as an anti hero, but not the dark brooding type super badass type you can find anywhere. He was delusional, selfish and childish but still powerful and interesting as it explored his past and how messed up he really is. And it was funny, dark jokes, visual gags, slapstick and lots of absurdity filled the each page. It was just a blast.

A lot of that is lost in the second and final volume of the series. Which is kind of natural as the series didn't sell enough issues and got the cancellation notice and the creative team had to rush to wrap things up in a convincing manner. Which it does, and Larfleeze is still a very atypical anti hero for a super hero comic (every other anti hero wants tries to be Batman but with dark twist). That doesn't make up for the lacklustre run to the finish, but it does explain a few things. Mainly that three new characters are introduced but their presence doesn't really add anything to the story beyond more characters with fun designs for Larfleeze to beat up.

The story basically becomes that everybody is running around for one reason or another and when they then meet up they fight a bit and then they run around some more before fighting when they meet up again. It's another sign that the series got cancelled and they had to get everyone into the right place under rushed circumstances. It does affect the quality and makes the story that much less interesting as there's less insight into Larfleeze's character and the inner politics of the new characters introduced.

The fighting stuff is also disappointing really. It's largely just big energy blasts and explosions and tossing each other around when most of these characters can do so much more. Larfleeze alone can construct replicas of every one he's killed and absorbed into his ring, he does no such thing in this series and instead uses it like a standard power ring. The cosmic family have somer great designs and impressive monikers that makes you think they'll have a large variety of abilities. They do not apparently, it just energy blasts and etc. So the action packed portion, while filled with energy and enthusiasm, become repetitive and not terribly enjoyable.

The inclusion of G'Nort, the butt monkey of the Green Lanterns, does provide some laughs as he is very amusing as a straight man in the midst of cosmic crazyness. But in a case of ludonarratative disonance he kinda screws over the new characters. They're all described as a family of cosmic entities that ravaged their own universe in petty family arguments, a concept that I honestly love because it's a great mix of cosmic scale epic adventure and domestic problems that make for lots of fun potential. One would think that these individuals would be intimidating opponents for any super hero, let alone G'Nort. He certainly acts like they're way out of his league. But then he routinely kicks their asses at several points in the plot. I kinda don't mind that Larfleeze does it due to the power he has at his disposal. But G'Nort? That just doesn't really work for me.

Another annoying bit is that Sena the Wanderer, the one member of the cosmic family that is not a complete douchebag, gets into this running joke were she pledges herself to marry Larfleeze since he defeated her and she promised her father that she would marry the first man to beat her in combat or some such nonsense. It's played for laugh rather than actual romance, but it's still annoying as it takes up too much of her screen time and is reminiscent of the joke that Wilma/Marge/Lois is too good looking for Fred/Homer/Peter. It's just not a good running joke.

There are few fun jokes here and there but not at all on the same level as in the first volume. Though there is a great one at the end of the book that I hope has been followed up on somewhere else. Kolins' art is still great and a perfect fit for the series. But sadly it's wasn't enough to save the series.

Grade: Meh - 2

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