Tuesday, May 10, 2016

CBR Vext

Battling the one foe he couldn't defeat...

... Low Sales!

Check out these following KEITH GIFFEN-related creations. Cheeks, the Toy Wonder demands so.

Comic title: Vext
Written by Keith Giffen
Drawn by Mike McKone, Mark McKenna and Andy Lanning (#4)

Published by DC Comics 
From 1999
Lineup DC Universe/creator-owned
Format: Standalone ongoing series Vext issues #1-6.

It's no secret here Keith Giffen is easily one my favorite storytellers. Most of my first reviews on this very blog have been some of his comics.

Keith Giffen has worked on countless series over the years. Not only has Giffen a great sense of humor but also a terrific unique art, very cartoony and actually kind of Jack Kirby-esque.

After working on several series including a popular run on Legion, he had some particular success with fans thanks to one of his first original creation Ambush Bug - an over-the-top 4th wall-breaking meta superhero parody. After that he would also create The Heckler, an often overlooked and forgotten gem just as funny and smart. Easily one of his wildest works, very original with an abstract look. Along the way Keith Giffen also created Lobo in Omega Men, who started out as a pretty generic bad guy before turning into satire (too many fans take the character way too seriously if you ask me).

Vext is another one of his creation. The book was meant to be a full-on ongoing series but it ended up being a 6-issues limited series in 1999. Blame it on the ill-timed era of late 90s comics.

It was written by  Giffen, penciled by Mike McKone and inked by Mark McKenna, with guest inker Andy Lanning filling in for McKenna on issue 4.

And it is another fun meta-comedy with even less superheroing aside from being another DC Comics title.

There's countless gods in superhero comics for some reason, from Northern deities to ancient Greek gods, and let's not even get Jack Kirby's New Gods into the mix to name but a few. Actually, there are a lot more gods than that, there's a god for every sort of ordinary situations.

Our tale begins in the Jejune Realm, "the Borough of Mawkish Indifference". Nothing impressive, really, it's not the home of those far more impressive gods like those god of war, of love, or thunder there. It's just a place where a bunch of irrelevant gods live. A pan-dimensional pantheon where resides our main character, Vext - the "patron deity of mishap and misfortune". He's always had one helluva bad luck, and one day true to his nature his misfortune went too far causing the disappearance of the entire dimension where he resides. Due to the deities living there being no longer actively worshiped anywhere in the whole universe. The place is shut down causing a mass migration of those minor deities to other dimensions...

Vext is quickly evicted from his place and forced to walk among us. Actually he is sent to live in the moral realm and ends up on Midgard, or the Earth of the DCU. Despite having some funds to start living his new life his bad luck only makes things worse. Also he cannot interfere with human affairs, nor take over the planet, and not even think about becoming another one of those countless Earth superhero.

Vext is sent to rents apartment 4A in some building in Delta City (which is also the home of The Heckler!). He gets into a lot of mishaps, having the misfortune he's known for. He finally gets a break has some good luck finally as him befriends the next-door neighbor Colleen McBride, an aspiring writer. She tries helping Vext settle into his newfound life on Earth (not knowing Vext is a god!).

Vext has a ton to learn, such as understanding the concept of a landlord, how to flush down the toilets, what fast food is and other crazy day-to-day life occurrences! Let's not even mention his "adventure" at the DMV...  Will he survive all these Earthly shenanigans?! There's even a crazy dangerous driver on the road and a deadly bacteria escaped from some lab!

And let's not even mention the arrival of another deity in the neighborhood, Paramour...

Vext's first appearance was actually in DCU Heroes Secret Files and Origins #1 (in February 1999), preceding his actual comic debut.

Vext is your usual "fish out of the water" scenario, only turned up to 11 in a crazy world of superheroes and various gods!

The issues feel very standalone, be it Vext trying to get some furnitures to his apartment to him working to get a driver's license!

The series was actually initially pitched as an ongoing series, but it only lasted these 6 issues sadly... Call it a manifestation of Vext's own bad luck!

Vext feels very self-contained and quite different from the usual offerings from DC Comics, because despite taking place in the established DCU, it was actually partially creator-owned, Keith Giffen retaining copyrights to the story and the characters.

Also throughout the series there was a parallel secondary plot following this adventurer parody and his two deadly bad girl assistants on their quest trying to obtain the immortal power of some minor god (like Vext), going after various totems to steal their power. Only to end up with this fat guy Rypta Gud'n, the "God of Inappropriate Flatulence"! The story sadly never meshed up with Vext's aside from a few close calls, but it was a fun look into this world of minor deities and the main character looked like a fun parody of Doc Savage. Sadly it never reached a proper conclusion..

Vext is a very funny book, with a very smart tone.

The gorgeous art was done by the talented team of penciller Mike McKone and inker Mark McKenna. It's rich and detailed, and you can actually feel Keith Giffen's breakdowns behind these pages (relying on a lot of 9-panel grids).

The lore is a lot pf fun. There's various gods from all sorts of pantheons meshing up in this universe. There's a deity for everything: a god of Uninvited guests, a god of Déjà vu, a god of Inappropriate exhibitionism, a god of Insincere apology, a god of Incessant nagging, etc.!

It's a pretty funny comedic series set in a world of superheroes, but the DCU is very incidental here. In fact this could have just easily be a standalone creator-owned comics through Vertigo Comics in my eyes. But at least that offers a funny backdrop which Keith Giffen use in the very first issue when Vext is visited by Superman and the angel Zauriel who were both part of the same JLA at the time.

There's a ton of hilarious little details, such as Vext's misfortune behind alluded to be the cause behind the "fall of man" in the Garden of Eden and accidentally causing the sinking of the Titanic!

Speaking of, the same chaotic misfortune seems to have caused the editor to "mix" the fan letters of Vext with some Scooby Doo comic's letters, in an hilarious fashion in one of the issues. (Obviously a well-played joke by the crew behind the book.)

Overall, Vext is a very funny and very unique book made by a different DC Comics compared to what we have nowadays.

A time where the editor didn't fear publishing a few comedic titles in their superhero lineup.

I Highly Recommend this comic to any one who would enjoy reading a different type of DC book. Or any fans of Keith Giffen's previous work on JLI, Doom Patrol, Metal Men or Ambush Bug!

Easily one of his funniest comics!

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

No comments:

Post a Comment