This Week’s Haul

  • Batman and Robin #8, by Grant Morrison & Cameron Stewart (DC)
  • Booster Gold #29, by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund (DC)
  • Secret Six #18, by Gail Simone, John Ostrander & Jim Calafiore (DC)
  • The Unwritten #10, by Mike Carey, Peter Gross & Jimmy Broxton (DC/Vertigo)
  • Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. ultimate collection TPB, by Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger (Marvel)
  • B.P.R.D.: King of Fear #2 of 5, by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi & Guy Davis (Dark Horse)
  • Phonogram: The Singles Club #7 of 7, by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie (Image)
Grant Morrison does clear a few things up in the new Batman and Robin: Who the body left behind when Darkseid killed Batman in Final Crisis belongs to, and why Superman verified that it was Bruce Wayne’s (the explanation is fairly stupid, though), and how Batwoman ended up in England (though she’s basically superfluous to the story).

Either DC or Grant Morrison (maybe both) have really painted themselves into a corner here: Bruce Wayne is “dead”, but we know he’s not really dead. But Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne Al Ghul are now Batman and Robin – but we’re getting this story where Dick’s being a weenie and trying to resurrect Wayne using a Lazarus Pit. Which means the story can’t focus on Dick and Damian – plus Damian just had his spine replaced (!) so he’s been off the stage for a few issues anyway. The most promising part of Batman and Robin from the start was the relationship between Dick (a kinder, gentler Batman) and Damian (a nastier, crazier Robin), but that’s all fallen by the wayside in favor of plumbing the depths – yet again – of Batman’s convoluted mythos. And that’s just not as much fun as playing new games with new players. And Morrison’s writing style seems supremely unsuited to writing this series, inasmuch as characterization is his weak point.

At this point I’m basically assuming that Wayne will be back soon, and that this series will end with #12 or so. It’s shaping up to be completely forgettable, which is too bad, since there was some potential here.

From the beginning, The Unwritten felt like it was going to take a while to get going, and now it feels like it’s getting there: Our hero, Tom Taylor, has been confused for his fictional alter-ego written by his father in a series of Harry Potter-esque novels, and he’s been hunted by an assassin, whose victims’ murders Tom has been framed and imprisoned for. Now Tom has escaped prison with a reporter and a mysterious woman who sees to know more than she’s telling, and in this issue they end up in what seems like a giant hologram of late-1930s Germany. The only person they can talk to is Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who is making the film Jud Süß, and who provides a little insight (if obliquely) into the nature of fiction in the world writer Mike Carey is creating.

I’m willing to go along with the sometimes-frustrating pace of the story because I can identify with Tom’s own frustrating that many things don’t make any sense. He’s a sympathetic character who has gotten caught up – apparently through no fault of his own – in something much larger than he is. Of course, there’s the implication that he actually is the fictional character and that the story is building towards revealing that to him and showing what it means. My expectation is that these early chapters are largely sowing the ground for where the story is ultimately going, and that they’re not being oblique and obscure just for the sake of being so. The success of The Unwritten is going to depend heavily on there being clear explanations and resolutions of the major story elements at some point.

But so far I’m happy to go along for the ride. While I wish the pace would pick up a little bit, The Unwritten is still an intriguing read.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E is all about superheroes blowing things up. It’s Warren Ellis writing about five heroes who barely achieve the level of has-been (Photon and Machine Man are the headliners), making smart remarks and blowing up everything that a terrorist organization that’s taken over their sponsor group can throw at the, with Stuart Immonen drawing in a cartoony style which completely submerges the lush realism he usually brings to the page.

It is, overall, a really, really bad idea, executed with a modicum of what I assume is supposed to be humor, and even less cleverness, never mind anything even resembling an understanding of the characters. ( I always wondered why Machine Man suddenly appeared in Ms. Marvel behaving completely unlike his past appearances, and apparently this piece of drek is the reason.) The one actual good idea is plundering Marvel’s 1960s humor comic, Not Brand Ecch, for a team to fight the Nextwave.

Apparently this series was something of a fan favorite when it first came out, and it’s completely beyond me why: It’s not funny, it’s not smart, it’s not exciting, it’s just a train wreck from beginning to end. In short, it is Brand Ecch. And that ain’t good.

Eight months ago, Phonogram was getting a fair amount of positive Internet press, so I picked up the collection of the first series, Rue Britannia. Although it had its rough edges – Jamie McKelvie’s art wasn’t very polished, and Kieron Gillen’s story’s structure was a fairly uninventive “hero’s journey” one – it won me over. The premise was that phonomancer David Kohl’s identity and power were bound up in an early-90s incarnation of the goddess Britannia, based around the music of Britpop, and that someone was trying to rewrite her role in history, which would completely change Kohl’s nature, so he sets out to save her, even though her obsolescence meant that no one was really willing to help him. No one really cared, except him. It worked as a story of identity and sense of self in the face of a changing world.

Gillen and McKelvie followed this up with the series – now in color – The Singles Club, which comes to a close this week. Greg Burgas loved this series, as he wrote about here and here, but the series has not done well commercially, and it sounds like there won’t be a third series. Unfortunately, I’m not very surprised, because The Singles Club had none of the strengths of Rue Britannia, and I found it very difficult to relate to.

The core problem is that The Singles Club is a collection of 7 vaguely-linked short stories, and none of them have the power of Rue Britannia. I guess they were emulating the Sandman model of a big story followed by some short stories, but that’s a terrible model for a struggling independent series, and none of the short stories here are anywhere near as good as Neil Gaiman’s typical short story in Sandman. Gillen tries awfully hard to evoke a sense of wonder through love of music, but the characters are mostly ciphers and there’s no deeper thematic underpinnings to the stories to give them force. The premise of the world of Phonograph is subtle and thus a difficult clay to work with anyway: Phonomancers are able to work magic through the focus of music, but the magic is very understated, which means the sense of the fantastic is subdued and rarely a selling point to the series. Rue Britannia did get to the payoff of big-effect magic in the climax, which is what it really needed. The Singles Club never reaches that level in any of its stories. There’s just not much oomph in these little character dramas – the characters were pretty thin anyway – and they needed some oomph to get readers to spread the word. While Rue Britannia is something I’d recommend to a certain set of readers, The Singles Club isn’t.

This is a real shame, because McKelvie’s artwork is leaps and bounds better than in the first series, and the colors are fantastic, making his art all the more vivid. Indeed, the best moments in The Singles Club are the visuals and panel-to-panel storytelling; this last issue has one of the most memorable scenes in which the main character taunts and is chased by gang of apparent street thugs.

Burgas has a response to one of the criticisms the series has received:

Some people here have said they don’t like Phonogram, and some have even said they don’t like it because of the music Gillen references. But the music is ultimately beside the point completely, because, as Kohl points out, any music will do. Gillen might be an elitist ass, Kohl might be an elitist ass, Seth Bingo might be an elitist ass, but who really cares about their taste in music? All that matters is how you make it magical.

But I think Burgas is not understanding the criticism, which is that Britpop is such an integral part of the setting of this series that the series has to bend over backwards to make it relevant to the readers. The story titles in The Singles Club come from a variety of songs, none of which I’m familiar with, and so they have no meaning for me. The music isn’t magical for me, and Rue Britannia went to great lengths to emphasize that music is very personal, very specific, from person to person (a sentiment I completely agree with), so using Britpop as a stand-in for “any music the reader finds magical” is a complete failure of approach, because it’s not that “music” is used to make magic, but that very specific music is used to make a very specific sort of magic. The magic of Pete Townshend‘s “Stardust in Action”, Yes‘ “Wonderous Stories” and Dream Theater‘s “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence” are all very different from one another – and probably different for someone else than for me. So I can completely sympathize with readers who found it difficult to relate to the series because of the musical references (and the “liner notes” at the end aren’t really adequate): I thought Rue Britannia did a good job of making the story work even though the musical references were outside my understanding, but The Singles Club didn’t succeed in doing so at all.

On the one hand it’s sad that Phonogram didn’t make it because Gillen and McKelvie were clearly trying to hard, and they’re both so talented. But on the other hand, The Singles Club was really not a good vehicle to try to build an audience for the series, so I’m not surprised at the outcome. If they try again in a few years, I hope they’ll return to something in the Rue Britannia mold.

This Week’s Haul

Hey, it’s my 150th comic book haul entry!

  • Booster Gold #24, by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund (DC)
  • Green Lantern Corps #40, by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen & Prentis Rollins (DC)
  • Secret Six #13, by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott & Doug Hazlewood (DC)
  • The Unwritten #5, by Mike Carey & Peter Gross (DC/Vertigo)
  • Wednesday Comics #10 of 12, by many hands (DC)
  • The Incredible Hercules #134, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Reilly Brown & Nelson DeCastro (Marvel)
  • The Marvels Project #2 of 8, by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting (Marvel)
  • B.P.R.D.: 1947 #3 of 5, by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart & Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse)
  • Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #6 of 8, by Mike Mignola & Duncan Fegredo (Dark Horse)
  • The Life and Times of Savior 28 #5 of 5, by J.M. DeMatteis & Mike Cavallaro (IDW)
The Unwritten #5 An interesting twist to The Unwritten this month: Rather than starting a new story (the first one having ended on something of a double cliffhanger) with Tom Taylor, instead we’re presented the shadow history of Rudyard Kipling, who seems to have sold a bit of his soul for his successful fiction and poetry, but eventually turned against the people he bargained with, and they brought him low for it.

If this sounds like a dark twist on the bargain Shakespeare made with Morpheus in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, well, other folks have noticed this too, only in this case the bargain seems to be with a secret cabal – who may or may not be human – who are using fiction and writers thereof for their own purposes. So there’s more to this secret history than Kipling’s story, he’s just how we’re getting our first direct exposure to it. Tom Taylor’s father clearly knew something of them as well, so I expect we – and Tom – will be learning more about them in the months to come.

Peter Gross does some excellent work with his period art for this issue, less cartoony than his usual style, which is a good thing.

Wednesday Comics #10 My old bud Jason Sacks (whom I know from my APAhacking days) wrote a thoughtful piece about the different creators in Wednesday Comics, with particular attention to Paul Pope on Strange Adventures. There’s a lot he says that I don’t agree with (the statement “We can’t expect an auteur approach from Busiek” I think shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Busiek’s career; and as I’ve said before I find Ben Caldwell’s Wonder Woman strip to be truly terrible, making the least out of the series’ format), but it’s still an article well worth reading.

(By the by, the “Unhand me, you pink furless thing!” panel Jason lauds in Pope’s page this week looks like a direct homage to the famous Charlton Heston line in Planet of the Apes. And inasmuch as Pope has taken Adam Strange back to his roots as a twist on the John Carter of Mars premise, I think Pope’s showing his influences rather clearly rather than being a straightforward auteur as Jason sees him.)

Deadman reaches its climax this week, but it’s something of a routine thing (“That’s it?”). On the other hand, Green Lantern and Metamorpho are both aiming for their climaxes next week, and they do so in different ways, with a darkest-before-the-dawn moment in Metamorpho, while GL defines the dawn through sheer bravado. And Karl Kerschl draws a gorgeous Flash page this week (which Jason reprints in his aforelinked article), though the story has fragmented a bit and I hope he can pull it together into a big finish.

And as for Pope’s Strange Adventures, well, it also reaches its climax this week, and it’s a rather clever one. I almost lament that Pope wasn’t given a larger canvas (in number of pages, not page size) to play out the ideas he’s presented here, as it’s perhaps the most interesting take on Adam Strange in decades. With two pages left to go for the denouement, I’m curious as to what other gems Pope can present in this milieu.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #5 I nearly stopped buying The Life and Times of Savior 28 after last issue, but #4 was just interesting enough to make me buy another issue. I guess that’s a good thing, as it turns out it was a 5-issue mini-series, which I didn’t realize; I’d thought it was going to be a longer-form, ongoing series, and that this was still essentially the prologue.

I’ve never been a big fan of J.M. DeMatteis’ writing, as it tends toward the portentious while being simultaneously quite shallow. Savior 28 meets both of these criteria, being a retrospective of a Superman-like figure who strode unevenly through the 20th century before being killed by his former protege, just when he was trying his best to unify the world peacefully. Savior 28 was a sometime-drunk, once had a nervous breakdown, never quite left the ideals he fought for in World War II behind, and thus seemed utterly obsolete and ineffective – despite his great powers – in the 21st century. All of this is presented without any subtlety at all, right down to his uplifting speech to the United Nations being cynically dismissed by the world at large. Realistic? Perhaps, but it’s as unmoving a portrayal of superheroes brought low by real-world concerns as any I can recall, made all the less effective by the larger-than-life, Kirbyesque art of Mike Cavallaro, which seems appropriate to this story only in that it’s as unsubtle as the writing.

While I can see what DeMatteis was going for here, I think it ended up as a simple hodge-podge of ideas, with heavy-handed presentation right down to the series’ grace note on its last two pages. This territory has been worked much better in series like Astro City (with the Silver Agent storyline), Kingdom Come, or even the largely-forgotten Doctor Tomorrow from Acclaim Comics. If this had been merely the set-up for a longer form story, then there could have been some promise here, but as it turned out Savior 28 was a pretty simple, and not very fun or insightful, series.

Greg Burgas liked it, though, as did Rich Johnston.

This Week’s Haul

And what an enormous haul it was:

  • Blackest Night #2 of 8, by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert (DC)
  • Booster Gold #23, by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund (DC)
  • Fables #87, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham & Andrew Pepoy (DC/Vertigo)
  • Fables: The Dark Ages vol 12 TPB, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Peter Gross, Andrew Pepoy, Michael Allred & David Hahn (DC/Vertigo)
  • Green Lantern Corps #39, by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Rebecca Buchman & Tom Nguyen (DC)
  • JSA vs. Kobra #3 of 6, by Eric S. Trautmann, Don Kramer & Michael Babinski (DC)
  • The Unwritten #4, by Mike Carey & Peter Gross (DC/Vertigo)
  • Wednesday Comics #6 of 12, by many hands (DC)
  • The Incredible Hercules #132, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Reilly Brown & Nelson DeCastro (Marvel)
  • The Marvels Project #1 of 8, by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting (Marvel)
  • War of Kings #6 of 6, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar (Marvel)
  • Echo #14, by Terry Moore (Abstract)
  • Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones vol 8 HC, by Phil Foglio & Kaja Foglio (Airship)
  • Absolution #1, by Christos Gage & Roberto Viacava (Avatar)
  • B.P.R.D.: 1947 #2 of 5, by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart & Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse)
  • Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #5 of 8, by Mike Mignola & Duncan Fegredo (Dark Horse)
  • The Boys #33, by Garth Ennis, John McCrea & Keith Burns (Dynamite)
The Unwritten #4 The first arc of The Unwritten wraps up this week. It’s a pretty interesting comic, a mix of outright horror and sophisticated mystery. Tom Taylor’s life has been turned upside down as he learns his writer father – who based his most famous creation upon Tom – had a lot of secrets, and now Tom’s been trying to track down the truth while avoiding both the law and some of the books’ nastier fans. The pacing is a bit slow, but I think Mike Carey’s building up to a much larger story so I’m willing to wait a while to see how it develops. Although this arc doesn’t really wrap anything up at the end, it actually ends on a cliffhanger which definitely piques my interest about what happens next.
Wednesday Comics #6 Wednesday Comics has some welcome developments this week. The most interesting is in Paul Pope’s Strange Adventures, in which Adam Strange returns to Earth, but rather than the young hero he is on Rann, he’s a much older man, an archaeologist, on Earth. This is an interesting twist on the character’s premise (though of course Adam Strange is somewhat based on John Carter of Mars), and I’m curious to see what Pope does with it.

Supergirl has an appearance by Aquaman, a much younger Aquaman who spends the whole page talking on his clam shell phone. Cute. Jimmy Palmiotti’s doing a much better job making a lighthearted strip with this one than Neil Gaiman is with Metamorpho, whose story is downright routine, and the little retro “extras” are rapidly getting tiresome.

The Marvels Project #1 Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Captain America run has gotten a lot of acclaim, but I haven’t read any of it. However, I’ve enjoyed Brubaker’s pulpish work, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen by Epting in the past, so I’m going to give their new series, The Marvels Project, a whirl. It’s clearly rooted – at least in this first issue – in Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ terrific series Marvels from 15 or so years ago, covering the emergence of the original Human Torch in the 1940s, as well as the early escapades of the Sub-Mariner. Brubaker fills in some of the blanks of both characters ably, which gives me hope that it won’t just be a retread of that same ground. Though Epting certainly seems to be doing his level best to imitate Alex Ross’ style in that series.

The most interesting bit for me is the opening sequence, in which Dr. Thomas Holloway administers to a dying old man, Matt Hawk, who it turns out was the Two-Gun Kid in the late 19th century. But as long-time Marvel fans know, the Two-Gun Kid got a glimpse of the late 20th century when he spent several months hanging out with Hawkeye and the Avengers in some comics published in the late 70s, so he delivers some prophecy to Dr. Holloway, as well as his own pistols, and it looks like Holloway will use the guns to become a superhero on his own. (It seems that Thomas Holloway is the identity of the future golden age Angel, a character I’m not familiar with at all. But here he’s treated as a human observer, the point-of-view character for the story, and he works very well in that context.)

The first issue is promising, if rather derivative as I said. I don’t know whether The Marvels Project will take place during World War II, or will cover several different eras. Either one could work out. I also wonder what the “project” will be, or if the book’s title will be a misnomer. But Brubaker and Epting are both skilled enough that I’m sure it’ll be readable even if it doesn’t rise above my fears.

War of Kings #6 How not to conclude a big mini-series event: War of Kings #6. After half a year of Emperor Vulcan and sending his Shi’ar troops to fight with Black Bolt, the Inhumans, and their new Kree Empire, the series wraps up with Vulcan and Black Bolt going mano-a-mano on a giant bomb powered by BB’s energies. The two beat each other to a relative pulp before the thing goes off, after we learn that Vulcan can regenerate himself even from being mutilated by Bolt’s voice. The Shi’ar armada is devastated, and they sue for peace, meaning the Inhumans have won.

And then the series ends.


So, Vulcan will presumably be back since he can apparently live through anything, even though as a character he’s far, far past his sell-by date at this point. Black Bolt will presumably be back since, well, he’s a classic Marvel character (if something of a fringe one). The Kree and Shi’ar empires have been battered around yet again, and all things considered nothing has been resolved, really, at all. But a rift in space has been opened up which will play directly into the Guardians of the Galaxy series in coming months, or so it seems.

So, really, this big event is just kicking off some new plot threads without resolving any of the previous ones.

What a waste of time.

Y’know, I really liked Annihilation, which was primarily a Keith Giffen story, and I enjoyed Annihilation Conquest well enough. It was an Abnett/Lanning event, as was War of Kings, but there’s definitely diminishing returns here. War of Kings was not good, and I don’t think I’ll be signing up for any further DnA-driven event series featuring Marvel’s spaceketeers. I’m happy for them to keep writing Nova, but I think this milieu needs some new blood. Or, honestly, no more events for a few years.

Absolution #1 Avatar Press specializes in some especially nasty comics, and for the most part I don’t really like ’em. As I described a while back they publish a lot of stuff by Warren Ellis that doesn’t appeal to me at all, even though he’s written some excellent stuff for other companies. My general reservations about Avatar aside, I decided to give Christos Gage’s Absolution a try, as the premise was interesting, although I expected it would contain an awful lot of violence and gore. And I wasn’t disappointed on the latter point.

John Dusk is a superhero in a US where most heroes are cops, which means they have the full support of the law, but also that they have to behave like cops, with all the regulations that implies. But Dusk starts going over the edge, unable to deal with the fact that criminals get off, and live to commit more crimes. So he starts to kill people who he thinks need to be killed because they either won’t be convicted, or haven’t been before. But since he’s going around the bend, it doesn’t quite stop there, either. At least one critic has compared the character to Dexter.

Gage does a good job of making Dusk seem sympathetic, a professional with good intentions, but who’s simply been squeezed to hard and starts to exercise poor judgment. It’s hard to defend a ‘hero’ who acts this way, though, so I’ll be curious to see how long Dusk remains sympathetic, especially since hie girlfriend is also a cop and will presumably start hunting him down at some point. Roberto Viacava’s art is a little stiff, but still within the bounds of artists working for the third-tier publishers (where DC and Marvel are the first tier, and the major indies like Image and Dark Horse are the second). He’s good a good sense of composition and clean lines, which helps a lot.

Absolution could end up going either way, but the start is promising. I don’t have enough exposure to Gage’s writing to have a sense for which way he’ll take it.

This Week’s Haul

  • Booster Gold #20, by Keith Giffen, Pat Olliffe, Norm Rapmund, Dan Jurgens & Rodney Ramos (DC)
  • Fables #84, by Bill Willingham, Matt Sturges, Tony Akins, Andrew Pepoy & Dan Green (DC/Vertigo)
  • The Unwritten #1, by Mike Carey & Peter Gross (DC/Vertigo)
  • Echo #12, by Terry Moore (Abstract)
  • The Unknown #1 of 4, by Mark Waid & Minck Oosterveer (Boom)
  • Unthinkable #1 of 5, by Mark Sable & Julian Totino Tedesco (Boom)
  • B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess #5 of 5, by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi & Guy Davis (Dark Horse)
  • The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #6 of 6, by Gerard Way & Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse)
  • Castle Waiting #15, by Linda Medley (Fantagraphics)
The Unwritten #1 The Unwritten is getting as much buzz in comics as anything I can recall coming out of Vertigo this decade, and the first issue is only $1.00, so it sure seems worth a try. I didn’t read Carey & Gross’ previous series, Lucifer, and I think this might be my first exposure to Carey’s writing, though I’ve seen Gross’ work before. Although his art is on the under-rendered side for my tastes, I like it better than Peter Snejbjerg’s (a comparison I make because they have very similar styles).

The premise is that Tom Taylor is, like Christopher Robin Milne, a grown man who as a boy was the model for a fictional character in a children’s book. Tommy Taylor appears to be a hero much like Harry Potter, whose adventures appeared a couple of decades ago to great acclaim (the series in the story is even more popular than J.K. Rowling’s books), before the author, Wilson Taylor, disappeared. In the present day, Tom Taylor is eclipsed by his fictional namesake, and supports himself mainly through signing tours. Though gracious to fans of the series, he chafes that he has no accomplishments or career of his own.

But it soon comes out that not all in Tom’s life is what it appears, perhaps just a boy Wilson hired from his family to take on tour. Tom’s life collapses as investigations into his background and the fans turn against him. And then things get really weird, when it starts to seem like Tom might just be Tommy Taylor.

Carey and Gross say that The Unwritten is going to be a meditation on stories, and on “the story behind all stories”, which strikes me as both a hugely ambitious hook, and one a lot less interesting than the basic notion of a guy who might be a fictional character and not know it. Pulling off either of these metaphysical, metatextual notions is going to take some careful execution – nothing could kill the story faster than ending up in random fantasy lands devoid of structure or rules – but there’s a lot of potential here, and I do hope they can live up to most of it.

Gross’ art is still under-rendered for my preference (although the last page is quite good), but overall the book is quite intriguing and might well live up to all the hype. It’s off to a good start.

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #6 I wasn’t as enamored of the first series of The Umbrella Academy as some were: I thought it was a lot of random twaddle strewn about a decent but unexceptional plot, albeit with quite good artwork. The second series, Dallas, seems to have catered to the die-hard fans by reducing the quality of the plot and throwing in a lot more twaddle: Time-traveling assassins, a boss with a fish-in-a-bowl for a head, a side-trip to Vietnam, before winding up in Dallas at the Kennedy assassination. Quirkily weird, it also feels devoid of all meaning, with cardboard characters.

I guess sales have not been as strong as the first series, but no doubt there will be a third one. I’m not sure I’m interested enough to keep going, though; I don’t feel like I’ve gotten much out of the first two.