Wednesday, July 09, 2003

royal reading

Part of my haul this week is the second volume of Tokyopop's Battle Royale reprintings(Koushun Takami & Masayuki Taguchi, English adaptation by Keith Giffen), which continues the bloody series of vignettes that comprise the master storyline.

The pacing is brutal and the sensibilities are delightfully Japanese, down to the absurdist conventions that make the entire concept work. Often melodramatic, always harsh, the story is uncompromising in depicting what happens when an entire class of high school students are forced to turn on each other to survive, in a send-up to the classic troupes of literature like Goldman's Lord of the Flies.

What part do friendship and loyalty play when the context of such social conventions are removed?

royal thrashing

On the other hand, Time magazine's recent film reviewer gave a thumbs down to Battle Royale II, the sequel to the cult classic that provoked a storm of controversy when it was first released. Ain't It Cool News had similar sentiments.

I have no problem with that. Rarely does a sequel do justice to its predecessor - you count it on the fingers on one hand, beginning with Godfather II.

I'll see it anyway and see how the director (the ever-so-polite son of Kinji Fukasaku, the previous director who passed away) handled the narrative as an ongoing concern.

The agenda seems to be two-fold: to complete his father's unfinished work; and to provide social commentary, using terrorism as his platform.

We'll see.

more moore

The other book I got was Supreme: The Return, the companion volume to Alan Moore's Supreme: Story of the Year.

In this reimagined Superman cycle, Moore mines the Silver and Bronze Age for sublime nuggets and mixes in his own strange ores (no doubt from Ideospace or whatever crap he's sadly pushing over at Promethea).

The thing about Moore is this - when there is a story involved (versus a ideology be it magickal or otherwise), he invariably succeeds. When his agenda is something else disguised as a narrative, then he's one of the shittiest writers on the face of the planet. Believe me, it isn't a matter of intelligence or taste, it's a matter of expectations and propriety. (If you want Moore's prose, then pick up his 1996 novel Voice of Fire).

For more Moore go here.


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