Art Adams is a damn fine comic book artist. His style is impeccably clean but still immaculately ornate and utterly distinctive (there’s no mistaking an Art Adams piece). When Dark Horse was trying to build itself as competition to Image as a place for creator-owned projects to reside in the ’90’s, their “Legends” line (where Adams, Mike Mignola, Paul Chadwick, John Byrne, Frank Miller, and a few others were the Legends in question). Out of this resulted in the great Hellboy and Sin City, the not so great Danger:Unlimited, and the middle-brow adventures of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot and, yes, Monkeyman and O’Brien.
Adams characters - an inter-dimensional, hyper-intelligent giant gorilla and a radiation-strengthened glamazon business heiress - are an intriguing and entertaining duo, and Adams, not known for his writing, gives them some fun personalities. The problem with the three-issue mini-series lies in too much exposition (the second issue features six pages of recaps and expository captioning) and a lack of completeness. It starts after the events of the four-part Hellboy: Seed of Destruction back-up story, the events which still play a relevant role in the series, and it ends having introduced not one, but two major unresolved storylines. The first revolves around a demonic monkey head that Ann O’Brien’s half-sister stole, and is building itself a mechanized body with portents of world domination insinuated. The other involves an other-dimensional overlord which Monkeyman and O’Brien accidentally show the gateway to Earth. The end.
Adams is obviously channelling vintage Kirby with his various plots, characters (there’s a Mole Man copy, and a Darkseid clone) and imagery/homagery and does it well, but at the same time, the series is unsatisfactorily short, the lagging plot lines left to be resolved in various Dark Horse anthologies over the years… There’s a definite need for a complete Monkeyman and O’Brien compilation.
Was I disappointed with the endgame of Life on Mars? Somewhat. Like any show that only tangentially dabbles in science fiction, Life on Mars is a melding of the classic The Prisoner, where a man is hopelessly trapped in a place he feels he doesn’t belong, with the juxtaposition of 70’s and modern-day police procedurals (think if Starsky and Hutch were suddenly joined by Detective Elliott Stabler from Law and Order: SVU).
The question that has been posed throughout the series (in its theme opening) is whether Sam Tyler is crazy, dreaming, or actually has time travelled from the 2006 back to 1973. The finale answers that question, except that it doesn’t. It essentially states that all three are correct. I’m always a big fan of “what happens after” (more so than the hows or the whys), and for me Life on Mars doesn’t handle satisfactorily that question which I guess is why I’m disappointed, if I really am.
They totally need to make action figures of the claymation Sam and Gene
What would be the plot for an entire season of an American show winds up as 2/3 of the story of the series finale. Sam is told by Hyde Detective Inspector Morgan that all he needs to do to “complete the operation” is to find the evidence to destroy Gene Hunt’s career and dismantle sloppy, corrupt, inept department, so that the department can be rebuilt in Sam’s procedure-focused, by-the-book image.
While I don’t necessarily condone decompression, the episode tackles some meaty drama at far too rapid a pace. What should have been at least two episodes was condensed into a dizzying array of tears and betrayal. What is probably the most emotional and powerful of all the series’ stories is hidden under the larger shadow of the end of Sam’s journey.
But with a series as enjoyable as Life on Mars, only a mere 16 episodes worth, I think I’m just disappointed that it ended. But there’s always its sequel series, Ashes to Ashes to follow-up with (*clapclapclap*).
I always liked Life Cereal (I wasn’t sure why the other boys were so cautious about it), but as I started to develop nasty indigestion issues around oatmeal, so too did I develop it for oat-based cereals (pretty much all of Quaker’s output). Thankfully their Multigrain Life cereal, which tastes just as good if not better than the original, is a mix of different grains and poses me no problems. The only hesitation I have is that I have a sense memory associating the flavour of Life with stomach troubles, but I think if I can eat the Multigrain Life enough times I can overcome that hurdle.