Grant Morrison's Bad Day

SKRULL KILL KREW #1-5, Marvel Comics, September 1995 to January 1996
Secret Invasion has brought attention to this Grant Morrison/Mark Millar series, and I'm afraid it shares more with Secret Invasion than just the Skrulls. This thing ALSO sucks! Puts the lie to Morrison being unable to do wrong.

In the early to mid-90s, Marvel tried to get some Vertigo-ish action going to try and steal some of DC's action. I guess their Epic line was too all-over-the-place, between Clive Barker's Hellraiser and Sergio Aragones' Groo. They tried Razor's Edge with Clive Barker's creations. They tried Frontier Comics, which might've worked, but they didn't give it a chance. And then it was Marvel Edge, which produced Skrull Kill Krew.

The basic joke is this: The Skrulls are a shape-shifting alien race that faced the Avengers and Fantastic Four all the time. On one early mission, the FF brainwashed some Skrulls into thinking they were cows. Morrison remembered this excessively silly (and cruel!) Silver Age story and had the Skrull cows butchered. Anyone eating a burger made of these cows caught a special disease that 1) allowed you to see Skrulls for what they were, no matter their disguise; 2) gave you shape-shifting powers; and 3) eventually killed you.
It becomes Marvel's take on mad cow disease. And that's the joke. As a concept, it's not that bad. Worth one "heh" maybe. But center a 5-issue mini-series on a group of infected killers violently offing what appears to be a full-scale Skrull infiltration and you've apparently got a recipe for disaster. One of the things wrong with it is that it has to take place in the standard Marvel Universe. That means lots of well-known guest-stars and villains. Captain America is just out of place in this gory Ennis-fest.

Another problem is that artist Steve Yeowell isn't equipped to do superhero action. Just look at this Captain America on a diner table.
I know the scan is crappy (trade paperbacks don't flatten well), but that doesn't look very comfortable. I'm not a big Yeowell fan, but his work is good when it's grounded in reality. This four-color stuff just does not work for him.

Bottom line is that Morrison and frequent collaborator co-writer Mark Millar include lots of little details that should work, but they just don't. One of the Krew is a white supremacist whose disease is slowly turning him black. He sports a hardware store hammer that he can fling as well as Thor. Baron Strucker of Hydra is pissed when the Krew breaks his favorite pencil...
Oh, he's a hoot and too briefly seen. But the series is just one big massacre, and when the art isn't as over the top as the writing, it falls on its face. The Krew winds up just riding into the sunset after killing off an entire town, and well, that's it. Until some of them reappeared recently, I'd imagined they were all dead from Skrull cow by now. If there was one likable character in the lot, I might actually have cared.

3 comments:

De said...

Looks like it was just as bad as the John Byrne story about people who drank the milk from the Skrull cows in Fantastic Four Annual #17.

Mick said...

I think you're a bit harsh on Steve Yeowell. You're right in saying he was the wrong artist for this book, but to say he can't do superheroics is a bit unfair. His stuff for Zenith was fantastic.

I agree with the rest of the review, though. I got this comic out of a bargain bin a few years ago. I wish I'd have left it there now.

Siskoid said...

I have to admit it works in Zenith, but here seemed rushed and lifeless.

 

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