Garth Ennis is on a comedic roll for the big two right now between Where Monsters Dwell and now All Star Section Eight, which takes him back to one of his favorite wells: the brutal mockery of superheroes. Andrew had to inform me that these characters were from Hitman back in the 90s, a series I haven’t read – this was simply an Ennis fan compulsory purchase for me. Glancing at the cover I wasn’t sure why he’d want to do a lighthearted goofy superhero comedy after his work with The Boys supernova’d the subgenre of Superhero Parody into astonishing levels of graphic depravity offset by deep moral convictions; as is his particular talent.
The titular bad news suicide squad of mystery men have been out of commission and their leader, Captain Sixpack, is getting the gang back together to fight evil once again. All these characters are amusing from first glance of their opening big double splash page, contrasting them with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Compared to what Ennis did to the latter’s analogues in The Boys, it’s a relatively more innocent school of superhero satire for Ennis along the lines of The Tick. Like the broad old-fashioned silliness of a French mime with a beret named “Jean De Baton,” or the total non-sequitor of a guy named Dogwelder whose superheroic talent is welding dogs to things.
John McCrea’s art is both lively and detailed, nicely complimenting the gut punch level of Ennis’ humor. McCrea also sells normality when needed for contrast, as in a scene of respectable art gallery patrons trading bon mots until they’re rudely interrupted by the hollering public drunkenness of Captain Sixpack.
Ennis ends the issue with a scene about Batman getting a parking ticket. It’s so funny, one wishes he were only writing blackout routines for every DCU superhero. If that’s all that All Star Section Eight turns out to be an excuse for, it should be worthwhile.
Incidentally, DC’s half-page ads for candy bars and the like really are intrusive abominations; the comic book equivalent of Internet pop-up ads.
I Often Wonder What the Vinters Buy; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, John McCrea; colorist, John Kalisz; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.