Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, January 08, 2006
      ( 1/08/2006 12:24:00 PM ) Bill S.  

"NOTHING MORE FRIGHTENING THAN RANDOM, GRAHAM!" – The central idea behind Boom Studio's new horror one-shot, 10, is deceptively simple and familiar: in it, ten Californians are sent a package with a Smith-&-Wesson semi-automatic and a letter telling them that they've been randomly selected to be part of the Hunter/Seeker Competition. Nine of these recipients are given the address of one other member of the competition; the tenth has been the addresses for all nine other players. The competition, of course, is kill or be killed.

Who is behind this contest; what they hope to get out of it or how they keep track of their ten unwilling recruits once the killing starts is never explained. It's as if scripter Keith Giffen, after struggling and failing to provide a consistent and logical explanation for the goings on in his Americanized adaptation of Battle Royale, decided to jettison explanation altogether and concentrate on his victims' dilemma. We quickly learn to doubt the small bits of explanation that we're given in the letter: if Hunter/Seekers are chosen "randomly," then how come all of 'em are unattached adults, how are both members of a recently split relationship chosen for the same competition – and why does the one guy who gets the full list, pill-poppin' Isaiah Pope, work a day job as an exterminator? That last's a bit too convenient, especially since Isaiah seems to take to his part in the game with such unbridled enthusiasm.

But whether their selection is the result of author contrivance or an unseen villain with a strong case of motiveless malignancy, Giffen's mini-royale battle remains gripping. Primary focus of the story is on Pope and average guy Graham Meachum, who in a nice twist receives his package while he's away on vacation. When he returns, blissfully unaware of the life-&-death struggle going on around him, at least one of the competitors assumes his vacation is a cover story, that he's been playing Hunter/Seeker all along. Poor Graham is quickly forced to catch-up in a game you know he's not equipped to win: from what little we see of him beforehand, the guy looks about as adept at life as Milo, the loser half of Hero Squared.

10 plunges into its swiftly bloody action from the opening page, so we start out in the same position as Graham. Artist Andy Kuhn does an efficient job keeping up on the cold-blooded action - which plays Tarantino-y with its timeframe - though I have to admit that at one point I wasn't initially sure whether what I was reading was a flashback or not. Still, for readers of plain ol' heartless pulp violence, 10 delivers the cynical goods; to his credit, Giffen doesn't shy away from his inevitably downbeat conclusion. If what we're seeing isn't random, it's definitely (at least to the men and women inexorably caught up in it) unknowable – which is plenty frightening by itself . . .
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter