Pop Culture Gadabout
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
      ( 5/03/2006 11:02:00 AM ) Bill S.  


"SOMETHING'S HAD TO HAVE CHANGED" – With issue #2 of Boom!'s War of the Worlds: Second Wave, there's a major presentational shift from bright color comic in the first issue (which covered a tragic event in the first wave of Martian attacks) to muted gray tones in the second. Don't know if this change was financially or thematically inspired, but it adds an atmospheric overlay to the story: if the first attack was a Technicolor sci-fi action flick with the good guys triumphing, wave two is darker.

As a result, the first thing scripter Michael Alan Nelson shows in the second issue is a flashback which reveals that the marriage tragically cut short during the first attack wasn't as solid as we initially might've thought. When we return to present day, our apparent widower is traveling on the road to nowhere with his trucker brother Duke. The second wave of Martian attacks has commenced, but the two men are divided as to what they mean. Duke believes the attack is a futile final gesture by invasion stragglers too stupid to know they've been defeated by the Mighty Earth Germ. Miles (and we) know differently, of course.

This second installment's higher on dread than it is action sequences, and Chee's shaded b-&-w art enhances this. Even those moments where the tripod-stalking alien machinery menaces our two brothers appear muted in comparison to the sight of a flying fire truck (like we saw in issue one). The hero who missed his chance at sticking it to the alien invaders responsible for the death of his wife now spends his time running for cover and cowering. In this – and the creepy sewer scenes that end the new ish – Second Wave comes off closer to the recent dour Spielberg WotW adaptation than I first expected . . .
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



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