Sunday, November 17, 2013

Katana #9 Review

Written by: Ann Nocenti
Art by: ChrisCross and Cliff Richards
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Beware of Children, You Stupid Katana

It's been a running joke here at Weird Science to make fun of Ann Nocenti.  It is nothing personal, I'm sure she is a lovely woman.  However, when it comes to writing comics, there may not be a worse writer out there.  Her Catwoman is horrible and she turned the hype surrounding Joker's Daughter into a joke.  The best thing she did on Green Arrow was let Jeff Lemire take over.  Then there is Katana.  This book has been a total mess since it started.  It goes from laugh-out-loud funny (in a bad way) to frustratingly confusing page after page.  Luckily the powers that be at DC have seen the light and are allowing Katana to commit seppuku on her Soultaker and end the madness.  Until then, we have the final issues of Katana trying to take over the Dagger Clan.  At least that's what I think is going on.

Explain It:

After defeating Coil in the last issue, Katana has been told she must kill Mona Shard and the Dagger Clan.  Unknown to Katana, Mona has taken possession of a little girl's body and has killed the leader of the Dagger Clan, claiming the leadership for herself.  When Katana attacks the Clan, she cannot bring herself to kill a child even though the girl (who is Mona Shard, remember) stabs her in the back.  She goes back to the Sword Clan convinced she was setup, sleeps with Sickle, has a crazy dream about her dead husband and Sickle, spies on the Sword Clan's gambling den and then returns to fight the little girl.  Ok, if you need to sit back and relax a bit I understand.   We also get to see Shun's severed foot, Shun, herself, buying a sniper rifle and deciding to maim thugs instead of killing them and a possessed Sumo wrestler trapping a rat in a cup.  

Ann Nocenti has done it again.  This book is so bad it is almost good.  The dialogue is hilarious, the story ridiculous and the characters just plain stupid.  Ann is definitely from the "tell-don't-show" school of comic book writing.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is such a school.  I imagine Ann sitting at a desk in an empty classroom waiting for the teacher to arrive.  Seriously, comic books are at least a bit of a visual medium, right.  Isn't that what the pretty pictures are for?  Everything that happens in this book is explained with dialogue.  Mona Shard has killed the Dagger Clan leader and is sitting on his corpse and we get such gems as, "She's sitting on our Boss like it's her couch".  

What makes this even worse is often the visuals don't even seem to match the story.  CrissCross and Cliff Richards have done a decent job on this book in the past, but maybe with the cancellation they mailed this one in.  Katana looks different throughout the book and the action can get a bit confusing.  Again, I have to give them a bit of a pass because most of the action is described with dialogue leaving little room for them to show what they can do.

Bits and Pieces:

Katana has been canceled and issue #9 shows why.  The story is confusing, the dialogue will make you laugh and the art is not good.  I really cannot find any reason for anyone to read this book except as a lesson on how not to write a comic.  It is that bad.


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