The Mystery Play

The Mystery Play is difficult to summarize. Part religious allegory, part mystery novel, it is a well-executed experiment in rural noir, lending itself to many interpretations (and in all honesty: a bit hard to read).

Parallels could be drawn with Arkham Asylum in that madness is a fairly central theme. Muth's hyperrealistic art (which is reminiscent of Dave McKean's) has a kind of oneiric quality, and adequately conveys the protagonist's confusion.

Vimanarama!

Called back to Earth after 6000 years away in outer space, the gods find the human race much diminished, largely unfit to defend itself against the antediluvian demon-robots who are destroying London. Caught in the middle of it all, Ali picks the worst possible moment to have an existential crisis, hopes his arranged marriage will prove the benevolence of God.

In other words: Best. Thing. Ever.

The human cast is immediately endearing. Far from diminishing the supernatural characters' mystique, the deliberate distortion of religious tropes demonstrates the shortcomings of ordinary rationality when it comes to apprehending the numinous.

Grant Morrison is in top shape. Philip Bond's art seamlessly mixes the caricatural and the iconic, to great effect. Vimanarama is both esoteric and fun -- a rare combination -- and accomplishes all it sets out to do in only three issues.

DC Comics Presents: The Demon Driven Out

This one will likely please fans of grunge-era ultra-violence.

I picked up this release not realizing it was the collected edition of a ten-year-old limited series. The best thing about it is probably its fantastic cover. The magazine format may be a cheaper alternative to the regular TPB, but the lower price-tag doesn't quite make up for the disorganized plot, the uneven tone and the heavy-handed references to yakuza culture. The artist attempts some fairly cinematic angles and the break downs are extremely dynamic, but I was left feeling as though he didn't quite know what to do with a script that alternates between earnest noir and farcical grand guignol.

Diary: A Novel

This one is delectably erudite and rife with half-truths. It seems that taking liberties with History is rather the point and the art of it. We must reclaim our freedom from History, from the "collective unconscious" and other forms of maieutics, as these are not emancipatory forces. Theirs is an ancient and insidious kind of domination, like the karmic cycle which we must escape.

Fight Club

It must be added to the "list of novels I did not like," not because it is poorly written or uninteresting (quite the contrary) but because I feel strongly that ...

1. ... there are many acceptable ways to be a person, and/or a man, and/or fatherless
2. ... there are at least as many legitimate ways to be free.

One can choose to be completely determined by history or not -- a cynical corporate whore or not -- a raving, Chaos-worshipping urban savage or not. One is free to do what one can with oneself, to love others and oneself. Maximum smashism is not the only -- nor necessarily the most exalted -- mode of being.

Angry folk will inevitably read some kind of hypermasculinist gospel into Fight Club even though the book does not make any unequivocal claim to that effect, and so: I can't completely like Fight Club, because there are still angry folk who read books, and I wouldn't want to endorse their interpretation.

Direction

Seems I have made great strides
though little here is certain --
neither the speed nor the direction,
not the place from whence I came
(but I’ve made strides all the same)
and the silence bearing over is
some manner of space to wonder
at the bare expanse of self
at memory, if nothing else.