If you’ve missed out on the first two issues of Larfleeze, not to worry… well, maybe worry a bit. Maybe go out and go find them, because you’ve really missed out on a secret treat. But if you’re worried about picking up with issue #3, not to worry. There’s an easy introduction to the current dilemma faced by our not-quite-so-intrepid protagonist, by way of (of all things, if you can imagine), postures, poses, places really.
The introduction comes at the end of opening sequence of the issue (which tells the backstory of a new power player to the series), and the masterclass crafting of Scott Kolins is clear to be seen in the artwork. Page four is a singularly beautiful page, with dynamic artwork deeply reminiscent of the legendary Jack Kirby the “King” of comics. The similarity is not by accident, Kolins’ work is clearly an homage to one of the few comics giants we can all claim as our hero.
To top it all, this isn’t merely an homage, but a sophisticated drama ostensibly engineered by happenstance. The Wanderer towers over Stargrave (yes, that Stargrave, if you can reach back into continuity to recall one of the villains of Paul Levitz’s legendary run on Legion of Super-Heroes), and in so doing utterly diminishes his serene victory over Larfleeze, the unparalleled exemplar of greed in the DCU. Foregrounded and nearest us on the panel, from our worms-eye view, Larfleeze lies unconscious, visually, nothing more than a footnote in his own comicbook. Sitting calmly beside Larfleeze, looming serenely as the paragon of the evil mastermind is wont to, is Stargrave. The moment is the conclusion to the previous issue, but also the overture to the next few pages. Because hovering above Stargrave, towering above him, is the Wanderer. She dwarfs Stargrave in such a way as to disrupt his victory, his acquired manner. He seems to cower and cringe in her presence. And there’s a delicious disparity between the serenity of his words, and the physicality of his posture. This is perhaps the most compelling introduction possible. A drama is about to unfold, places everyone.
But as masterful as Kolins’ artwork might be, the real drama isn’t Larfleeze at all. But the drama of comics itself, of perpetual fiction. Some time ago now, Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis worked together on an altogether different book, one very far removed from the space opera they now find themselves writing together. It was a radical reinterpretation of a cherished DC classic, and for a little bit more than half a decade it seemed to be the only thing worth reading in mainstream superhero comics. But all good things must come to an end, and Giffen and DeMatteis’ partnership on this series did too. The real drama here, even on Kolins’ beautifully rendered page, is the drama of whether or not Giffen and DeMatteis can start again. On an entirely new project and effect the same magic. And this is the real drama at hand because the nature of perpetual fiction always places everyone at the very beginning of something great, and never at the end.
It’s maybe not on the same scale, because, as Bob Dylan reminds us, things have changed. But one look at this page and all the others in Larfleeze and you know that that old magic is back. Please enjoy our exclusive preview of Larfleeze #3, “Of Gods and Butlers!”
// Short Ends and Leader
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