“Oh, The Villainy!” Take Three : “The Creeper” #1

Posted: September 18, 2013 in comics
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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If you think I sounded like a pissed-off curmudgeon when I was ranting and raving about what DC did to Jack Kirby’s Darkseid and Desaad characters as part of the unfolding disaster that is their “Villains Month,” then you might want to skip what I have to say about what they’ve done to Steve Ditko’s Creeper, because at this point I’m positively livid.

We might as well be honest and admit that The Creeper’s origins as laid out by Ditko — ace TV reporter Jack Ryder goes to a Halloween costume party wearing some garish yellow-skinned, green-furred ensemble and ends up ingesting  a military super-secret formula designed to allow soldiers to stash their combat gear on a molecular level within their own bodies, thus bonding him with his crazy get-up and giving him the weirdest set of super powers ever devised at the same time (namely the ability to leap from building to building and laugh like a hyena that’s been hitting the nitrous tank) — but damn, at least it was a fun kind of nonsense.

The Creeper’s backstory circa 2013 is equally implausible, but damn, is it ever a drag. To sum things up quickly : he’s an ancient evil spirit from Japan that causes tornadoes and was banished to another dimension inside some mystical sword and got loose when tabloid TV journalist Jack Ryder got himself killed on the freighter ship the sword was being transported on. The “demon” (or whatever) then hitched a ride in Ryder’s animated corpse and now he goes around causing twisters and other natural disasters and then reports on ’em right away because he’s, naturally, the first member of the so-called “Fifth Estate” to be on the scene.

I suppose that comes in handy on slow news days, but damn, you’d think that it wouldn’t take too long for everybody to figure out that when Jack Ryder hits town, your best bet is to head for the hills pronto.

Anyway, that’s The Creeper #1 (or Justice League Dark #23.1 if we want to go by it’s quasi-official numbering) in a nutshell, and it’s even more excruciating to see played out over 20 pages than it is to read my slapdash plot recap, trust me. Veteran comics scribe Ann Nocenti does a competent enough job with the dialogue and pacing here, but the plot itself as laid out by — and here’s the problem — Dan DiDio is such a clusterfuck of bad ideas from start to finish that there’s not much anyone can do to save it, and the hastily-cobbled- together group of pencillers and inkers (the pencils being handled by something called ChrisCross with assistance from Fabrizio Fiorentino and Tom Derenick, with Derenick, Wayne Faucher, and Andy Owens providing the inks — don’t ask me who did which panels or pages specifically since I don’t know and don’t care, and neither will you should you ignore my advice and buy this thing anyway) are all uniformlyy non-descript and uninteresting, so that really doesn’t help matters much, either.

As with all this “Villains Month” crap so far, all The Creeper #1 manages to prove is that DC in its present creative death spiral can pretty much fuck up any given character, concept, or idea, and that a 3-D holographic cover is no substitute for even a halfway decent comic story.  Honestly, at this point I’m running out of  even semi-clever ways to say “avoid at all costs,” so I’ll just state it flat-out — avoid at all costs.

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