Friday, October 13, 2017

Heavy Metal #287

This issue is a Music Special, with stories based on rock songs.  This is an interesting prospect, but I am at a disadvantage since I know none of the songs involved.  I hardly know any of the bands.  Being old probably has a lot to do with it.  I can have opinions on the stories themselves and the mag overall, but I will be missing out on some of the intent, so my thoughts will be even less significant than usual.

HM has a good bit of music in its history.  Early stories had rock music themes and sub-plots, such as Heilmann by Alain Voss, and especially the October 1980 Rock issue with Rock City by Moebius and The Legend of the Magic Tone Box by Angus McKie.  The 1981 Heavy Metal movie got a lot of mileage out of its soundtrack.  There was also Lou Stathis with his nu-musik rantings in the later 80s.  But overall, there wasn't much direct connection between Heavy Metal the magazine and heavy metal the music genre.  Until now perhaps.

I got the cover A at the bookstore, it's called Mass Ritual by Kilian Eng, a depiction of a concert venue it appears.  There's some interesting aspects to it if you look closely, but it didn't really grab me, I give it a 5.

Inside the front cover is an ad for an Iron Maiden comic, promoting their video game advertised a couple pages later, and for a Taarna comic series.  I don't usually look for these HM-promoted other comics, but I may look out for this Taarna one.  I wasn't too excited by the promo Taarna entry in #284, but she's a pretty prominent character in the HM lexicon so it may be worthwhile.

The Page 2 illustration, Skeletron by Boneface, under the title Music Special, is actually pretty nice, a spare depiction of a classic rock pose with incisive detail.

Mr Morrison's editorial is expectedly wacky and has the requisite callouts of mag entries, but this one seemed rather strained.  I am impressed by how he's been able to keep at it, but this one didn't do it for me.  I heard a rumor he may be stepping away soon, I get the feeling I may miss him.

Iron Maiden - "Legacy of the Beast" Preview, by Llexi Leon, Ian Edginton, Kevin J West, Jason Gorder, Carlos Villas & Jacob Bascle - 4 - a promo for a video game, following the ad for said game.  I'm not interested in a game and not excited by the execution of this story.  Best of luck to the gang though, you don't need my approval to succeed.

An ad for a 1985 follows, I think this another comic that I won't see, but I like the picture, a gritty depiction of a helmeted guy or robot with broken manacles, crying out.

In Flames - "When the World Explodes" by Blake Armstrong - 6 - A guided dream becomes a manipulated nightmare.  It packs a lot into its four pages, and the final image is good.

Mötley Crüe - "Wild Side" by Simeon Aston, Leah Moore & Adam Wollet- 7 - An oppressive dystopia is taken down, and a new society formed.  The urban future and stick-it-to-the-man attitude would have fit right in to the mag in the early years.

Gojira - "Shooting Star" by Kevin Mellon - 8 - Shows a story of metamorphosis and tells a story of pain and reconciliation.  I can even imagine the ending being sung in several styles of music.

The Color of Air - Part Four, by Enki Bilal - 7 - The only feature that's not part of the Music theme.  Fine with me.  A story of juxtapositions, slow paced and suspenseful.  Perhaps storylines getting closer to each other?  And I like the art, misty and murky and sometimes, luminous?

Nine Inch Nails - "The Way Out is Through" / "In The Hills, The Cities" by Clive Barker, Sean Lynch & Hannah Jerrie - 8.5 - I liked how I could read the text as a song, but even though it seemed like it told me just a part of a story, it expressed its sentiment well.  What I really liked was how the art was composed and how it expanded its perspective to show its own sentiment very well.  Honestly it took me a couple times through it for me to see it well, but I got into the ideas of how individuals can be incorporated into a larger whole, and be at the mercy of its existence.

Gojira Art Gallery by Mario Duplantier, with an interview by Rantz Hoseley - 7 - The artist is a heavy metal drummer, so it fits, and some of it's pretty cool, imaginative images and neat techniques.

Rob Zombie - "Living Dead Girl" by Michael Moreci, John Bivens, Omar Estévez & Adam Wollet - 7 - Zombie wrestling, or something like that.  Looks cool, frantic action.  These days it's harder to take the depictions of manipulative abuse of women in the mag, than in the older, sexist-er days.  Still gotta long way to go.  At least the title victim survives as a total badass and destroys all that oppose her.

Marilyn Manson - "Coma White" by Richard Kadrey, Menton & Adam Wollet - 6 - Looks really cool, but I can't relate.  Songwriting, pills, vampires, Mr Manson with boobs, just not my thing.  If it's yours, go ahead and enjoy.

Queens of the Stone Age - Boneface Villains Gallery, with an interview by Rantz Hoseley - 7 - I actually saw the first image in a music store.  Some interesting images and a nice interview.  I liked "Putting stuff in there that looks like it means something, but actually doesn't, is also fun."

Hollywood Undead - "Origins" by Paul Allor, Drew Moss, Billy Martin & Flor Gpe Ortiz Rivero - 4 - LA locals are mystified by societal changes.  I was mystified by this, I was only able to glean specks of insight, I'm certainly missing the point.

Vamps - "Calling" by Tony Leonard - 5 - A tale of struggle against authoritarian oppression, told as a futuristic love story, maybe.  Perhaps cool to look at, still I couldn't get into the storytelling.

Ozzy Osbourne - "S.A.T.O" by Tony Lee, Vasilis Lolos & Adam Wollet - 6 - A bored king is rescued from the illusion of years of pointless rule by his true love, to go seek new dreams in S.A.T.O. their ship of gold.  Nice art, story is ok though I wasn't excited about it.

So, like many issues, overall nice with a couple stories that I really liked and a few not so much.  Hopefully fans of the bands can gain more enjoyment where I did not.