Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wisdom #3

Wisdom #3
The first ever comic with its own soundtrack! Sure, Nextwave had a theme song, but this book has a soundtrack! So, let's analyze said soundtrack, shall we?

1 - Goldie Lookin' Chain - Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do
EXCELLENT choice for this scene. It gives it a Reservior Dogs feel, while at the same time maintaining the humourous aspects of the scene. And listening to Brits rap? Hilarious!

2 - Manic Street Preachers - Life Becoming a Landslide
Well, unless the point is to say that Shang Chi is a bit gay, this song doesn't really work. Perhaps just the heavy parts of it, but any of the vocal parts spoil what I believe was the intention in this song's inclusion. Yeah, for the largest part of it, this song doesn't work. EH. Also, Paul Cornell got the title of the song wrong. It's becoming, not becomes.

3 - Shirley Bassey (and Propellerhead) - History Repeating
I understand why this song was included in the soundtrack, to jive with the history lesson on the Welsh dragon, and also to go along with Maureen's comment in her and Wisdom's hotel room. It works, but just barely. OKAY. Really, the instrumental parts match best with the history lesson, and the vocal parts work best with the hotel room.

4 - Stereophonics - The Bartender and the Thief
This song works well. It's relatively short and gets going right from the start. It provides an excellent accompaniment to a fight scene. Unfortunately, the portion of the fight scene which specifies this particular song only lasts for one page. VERY GOOD. A nice visual synchronicity here is when the bartender fires at Shang Chi and the Master of Kung-Fu pulls a matrix dodge.

5 - Tom Jones - Sex Bomb
If a vocals only version of this song existed, it'd be much more appropriate for this scene. Also, the tempo is much too fast. Imagine Barry White singing this track slowly, and you'll realize what this scene needed. That said, I understand its inclusion. Wisdom goes down on Maureen. It works...barely. OKAY. Again, this scene is only one page long. Start the song at the point where the key transposes - approximately 2:45 - and it works pretty well.

6 - Super Furry Animals - God! Show Me Magic
Another really fast song, that starts right away. Unfortunately, it requires you to read five pages in the space of 1:48. It's an excellent fight scene, but there's too much intercalation with other scenes. Play the song twice and it works much better. And for the scene in Wisdom and Maureen's hotel room, it doesn't work at all. GOOD. And is Shang Chi flying? Graphical cues as to what's happening in that particular panel are missing.

7 - The Velvet Underground - I'll Be Your Mirror
They're joking, right? This song doesn't fit with the tone of this book at all. If somebody had covered it without the soft guitar in the forefront of the track, and replaced it with a heavy bass line, perhaps. But as it is, aside for the suggestion that Shang Chi is supposed to show the dragon who he is - noble - it doesn't work at all. AWFUL. At least it only lasts for one page.

8 - Lost Prophets - Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja
This could have done very well for the previous page as well. It's an EXCELLENT selection for this scene. It gives you about 2:45 to read four pages - one of which is a full-page splash, so it works very well.

9 - Catatonia - Bulimic Beats
Ugh. The only reason that this song works at all is because of the strong harp line. Not that I can think of any other harp songs off the top of my head, but any would be better than this. It's really the vocals that kill this song. Who ever gave this person a singing job? Even Bjork is better! The instrumental bridge in the middle works well. Get a version of this with no vocals, and you have a great selection. I see a certain synchronicity between the lyrics and the book, but that voice kills any feeling. It's CRAP.

Averaging it all out, we wind up with a rating slightly higher than OKAY. For the soundtrack alone. But given the amazing fact that this book has its own soundtrack, I'm going to have to rate it at EXCELLENT.

[Paul O'Brien pointed out to me that this soundtrack thing has actually been done before - in every issue of Adam Warren's run on Gen-13. I'll take his word for it, but if you've got copies, I'd love to see them. That being the case, this issue's soundtrack gets demoted from EXCELLENT back to merely OKAY. But that's besides the point. The book itself is abso-frickin-lutely incredible. So, EXCELLENT for the book, OKAY for the soundtrack. Does that about cover it?]

I like this book a lot. Each issue is relatively self-contained (which my regular readers know I love), even though they're part of a limited series. I'd like to see Cornell given an ongoing Wisdom title following the successful conclusion of this series, but, unfortunately, unless the numbers really pick up, I really don't think that's going to happen.

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