Monday, November 2, 2015
All-Star Section Eight # 5 Review and *SPOILERS*
Art By: John McCrea, John Kalisz, Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 28, 2015
*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
We’re pulling into the next-to-last leg of this title’s whirlwind tour, after seeing some of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes being assaulted with vomit, physical violence, and embarrassing sex. Sounds a lot like Jim’s band days in college! This time, we get a little introspective with the leader of Section Eight, good ol’ Six Pack, and considering the state of his outsides, going deeper is probably not a good idea. Will Six Pack gain the ethereal knowledge he needs to lead Section Eight to glory, or are we going to lose our lunches watching this guy puke and poop all the time? It’s not an either/or thing! Read on!
I’ve been trying to come up with a way I could ease you, the reader, into understanding that this issue contains Phantom Stranger rapping with a deep “street” inflection whenever he is in the scene, and that he has backup R&B singers with big boobs and skulls instead of heads, and that Etrigan also shows up to rap with Phantom Stranger about the creators’ run on The Demon, but there’s just no subtle way to put it. It all happens. In the first half of the book. It’s unbelievable, I kept checking the cover to make sure it had a DC logo. Why the hell is Bat-Mite so timid when Ennis and McCrea are over in All-Star Section Eight making Phantom Stranger bust rhymes and the Flash run into his own farts or whatever? This issue is the next best thing to smoking angel dust.
So Sidney, aka Six Pack, has fallen gently to sleep in his own vomit and filth on the floor of Noonan’s Bar as usual, and has this dream where Phantom Stranger is rapping to him—in a decidedly old school style, mind you—about taking on a journey into the afterlife for some enlightenment. On the way, he picks up Etrigan and, as revealed, they do a duet that ends in recommending the creators’ run on The Demon. It was so weird and great and awkward to read that I didn’t know what to do with it. I just blindly went down to the shop and picked up the run in back issues and returned to reading this comic book being reviewed.
Eventually, the Phantom Stranger—styled in his turtleneck and dookie necklace from the Bronze Age—takes Six Pack to Limbo, which for the purposes of this story is where the dead members of the original Section Eight hang out. And let me tell you, these guys are fucking hilarious. I never read the original stories, but I think I need to check it out. The one that had me laughing far too much was the Defenstrator, an analogue of Arnold Schwarzenegger character from Terminator 2, who carries a broken window and only speaks in quotes Schwarzenegger has used in his movies. The old crew gives Six Pack a dressing down and blames him for their state of in-between, and they generally call him names and break his balls until he tweaks out and fights back. The old Section Eight guys ask Six Pack how he’s doing and that puts him in full panic mode, which as you can imagine means the perpetual trail of snot issuing from both nostrils becomes a veritable volcanic flow.
Phantom Stranger then plays Ghost of Christmas Future, and that’s when this book took a sharp turn. Stranger whisks himself and Six Pack to a snowy city scene and presses Sidney to go down an adjacent alley to find his own naked body, curled into a fetal position and muttering curses to no one. Sidney huddles up with the body to keep it warm, so he won’t die, and goddamn if it isn’t one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve seen since I stole that family’s Christmas presents and then gathered with onlookers outside the police tape the next day. What the hell is happening with this book? First Phantom Stranger is doing his best Kool Moe Dee impersonation and now I’m having actual feelings? And this thing is only three bucks? It’s like three comics in one!
Six Pack wakes from his repose and jumps up from the filthy floor to find the crew has…changed. Grapplah is talking mutiny, Dogwelder is riveted to a news story about a missing father, and standing in the doorway of the bar is Superman, who I guess will have to eat a cockroach and pick someone else’s boogers in the next and final issue.
This comic book is so ridiculous and crass, I really love every second of reading it. John McCrea’s art is perfect for the proceedings and everything is very well-presented, even when traipsing through otherworldly dimensions were the Devil is finger-fucking God’s fist. No, I am not kidding. I’m going to go bold here and say that if you wanted to just grab this issue without reading the prior ones, you probably could—say if you felt like you could use a comic book-length dose of poop and puke jokes, you could find it here. What’s so amazing about this book is that it really is a classic comic story, just couched in rivers of mucous and phlegm and inappropriate boners.
Bits and Pieces:
If you feel like the comics you’re reading don’t make you pleasantly nauseous enough, then you should definitely check this out. It’s rude, it’s crude, and it’s got a rapping fallen angel dude. You’ll get more insight into Six Pack and his motivations for re-forming Section Eight in this issue, but you’ll also laugh your ass off and even have a surprise or two. If you’re so inclined to such humor, that is. If you prefer your humor a little drier, then go read Puppet Master.