Monday, August 16, 2010

Ravage 2099: Worst Comic Ever?

Worst Comic Ever?

I recently inadvertantly aquired a copy of the first issue of Ravage 2099, the first, and some say, the worst title in Marvel's short lived line of comics detailing the adventures of super-heroes in a dystopic future world, most of whom, with the exception of Ravage, were riffs on current day Marvel heroes.
Inadvertantly? Well, the Half-Price Books store across from the Graceland shopping center here in beautiful Columbus, Ohio often sells bundles of old comics consisting of 15 or 16 issues bagged together.  I picked up what was labeled as a "variety bundle", and since the bag was sealed I could not see what all was inside.  The books that I could see were two issues of Comico's Justice Machine, a series I have been collecting and reading recently, and it was, after all, only two bucks, so I picked it up.  Unfortunately, the bundle contained only five JM's, two of which I already had.  The rest was mostly a lot of crappy Marvels, mainly from the 90's.
When Ravage 2099 is mentioned, it is usually as an example of the quintessential bad Marvel comic of the 90's.   So, is it?
Well, it's certainly bad.  The script is by Stan Lee, and it is among the worst things he's ever turned out.  (And let's remember that, with the exception of post-Ditko Amazing Spider-Man, when Stan isn't working with an artist with a strong creative vision of his own such as Ditko or Kirby, Stan's writing has never really been all that good.) Ravage's transformation from corporate pawn to rebel vigilante is too abrupt and utterly unbelievable. The issue's villain, an evil executive of the corporation that rules most of the future  world of 2099, is just laughable. He goes around casually killing people who happen to be in the room while he's monologuing about how evil  he is because they now know too much.  ("Hello.  My name is Anderthorp Henton. Oh, dear. I'm sorry, but you know too much now and I must kill you." ZAP!)
The art really isn't that bad. Paul Ryan is a decent artist  who tells a story well. He's certainly nowhere near as bad as some who were drawing paychecks from Marvel and DC back then. (You know who I'm talking about, Liefeld. Yeah, you  too, Larsen.)
For a more complete overview of the issue, check out this post from the blog Again With The Comics.
Bad as it is, however, I certainly wouldn't say that Ravage 2099 epitomizes the absolute nadir of Marvel's 90's output.  
On the other hand, 1997's Uncanny X-Men #346, which I was also duped into purchasing, certainly comes close. The story, if it can be called that, by Scott Lobdell, is merely an excuse for a protracted fight scene punctuated by really bad dialogue.  The alleged art by Joe Madureira is even worse. Imagine, if you will, Rob Liefeld trying to draw in Manga style and you begin to get an idea how bad it is.  
Just about all this issue is missing, and that would truly make it a prime exemplar of the typical bad Marvel  comic of the era, is a shiny foil enhanced cover.
Which, by the way, Ravage 2099 #1 has.
OOOOH! Shiiiny!


  1. My reaction to learning the existence of "Read Comics in Public Day" was similar to your own. Nothing pleases me more on a long trip than to be lost in the illustrated fantasies of my favorite fictional characters. That said, however, I would be very embarrased to be seen (let alone photographed) reading any comic book with foil embossed, holo-stamped, motion graphic covers!

  2. The next logical question then is this: Is Ravage 2099 a perfect storm of awful that makes it so bad it's good, like "Plan 9 From Outer Space"? Based on the Again With the Comics blog review, I sense some unintentional yuks are to be had. The idea of trendy 90's ecological crusades leading to a garbage strewn dystopian future 100 years down the road where eco groups rule with an iron fist is pretty damn funny.

    P.S. My nominee for worst comic ever: Venom: the Madness #1. Maybe I should write my own blog about that...