Pick of the Week
What did the
Art by Goran Parlov
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Cover by Dave Johnson
Size: 0 pages
I tried desperately to not make this Pick of the Week again. I read more books this week than I have in months. I tried to like several of them more than I liked Fury MAX #6, but it wasn’t to be, and I knew it was going to happen. I left the book for last, and I kept trying to find other stories to read, but nothing hit the spot. Then when I started Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov’s issue, I thought, “maybe this will be the bad one,” but by the halfway point, I knew that wasn’t the case. When all is said and done, the Pick of the Week is the one that, in your gut, is the book you liked best. It’s the book that mixes its strange comic book alchemy with your own specific tastes and objective knowledge of the art form, and your true feelings will not be denied. That’s what we do here with the Pick of the Week.
Fury MAX has been our Pick of the Week for issues 3, 4, and now 6. It’s neck and neck with Saga for most beloved book on the stands, it would seem. Also, Preacher, written by Garth Ennis is my favorite comic book series of all time. What happened here was that past met present. While I firmly believe that you can’t go home again, this book, this specific issue, made me feel more like I felt when I was reading Preacher than anything I’ve read from Ennis in some time. It doesn’t have all the strange aspects of Preacher, but what it did do was nail a sense of duty, partly wrapped in patriotism, and partly wrapped in a sort of fictional machismo. It’s not really something that lives in my daily life. I’m not a tough guy, and I really don’t relate to Ernest Hemingway that much, but there’s a tone in the story here that smells of tough guy, and I can admit that it has an effect on me. There’s a brief allusion to The Old Man in the Sea that really brought it home for me, and the events taking place on either side of that wrapped it all up. In Preacher, it might have felt a bit more comedic, but the brutality on the page, combined with the sheer acceptance Fury has for the horrible things in the world is something only Garth Ennis can handle, precisely because he does it so effortlessly. He doesn’t overdo it. It’s just what’s happening on the page. There are no long narrator passages. So much of the reaction is confined to a couple of words and the steely gaze portrayed by Parlov. It’s comic books whittled down to its minimal form.
None of Garth Ennis’ magic works without the perfect artist. I’ve read plenty of fun Ennis stories with some of my favorite artists in the business collaborating with him. Up until now, no one has touched Steve Dillon working with Garth Ennis (which works the other way around too). But the more I read these issues, the more I see Parlov is the perfect compliment to Ennis. He gets what Dillon got, which is to keep it simple. People who don’t know any better always bagged on Dillon for being too stiff, upright, and formulaic. It wasn’t that at all though. Dillon then, and Parlov now, are just doing straight up comics that fit just right, without taking away anything, or adding too much. I love Darick Robertson’s art very much, but I never got the sense he fit with Ennis on The Boys the way that I wanted it to. As a result, I never really loved the series. A good Garth Ennis book is like an AC/DC song. There doesn’t seem to be much there, but really it’s just straight ahead perfectly voiced rock and roll, in a form that’s so pure, many mistake that simplicity for the lack of skill. It’s also just a little dirty. It’s like how musicians say virtuosity exists in the notes you don’t play as much, or more, than the ones you do. There are also a lot of things Garth Ennis comics don’t have in common with AC/DC, but you take my point.
It feels like we’ve got a special thing here. If Fury MAX is for you, you know it, and a new issue is about as good as it gets. If it’s not for you, and I can totally see how that would be the case, you’re going to be wondering why it keeps coming up here over and over again. If that’s the case, I have bad news for you, unless the book gets canceled, there’s a very good chance we’ll be forced to name it Pick of the Week again, because it feels like we’re just getting started.