Bizarre New World: Population Explosion

William Gatevackes

Krutcher and the world where everyone can fly returns; more of the same, and that's both a good and a bad thing.

Bizarre New World: Population Explosion

Publisher: Ape Entertainment
Length: 52
Writer: Skipper Martin
Price: $6.95
US publication date: 2008-04

When we last left Paul Krutcher, star of Bizarre New World, he had just stumbled upon a startling revelation. The power of flight, which he thought was a power only he had, had been bestowed on all of the Earth’s population. He went from ordinary to special back to ordinary, all in the span of a couple of weeks.

Bizarre New World: Population Explosion picks right up where the last series left off. Humanity is reveling in their new found powers—in the most reckless ways possible. Paul then gets a voicemail from his son, Sean, in Arizona. All he hears is crying, the words, “Help Me,” and then dead air.

Panicked, Paul must make his way from California to Arizona in the quickest way possible, trying not to get killed by the legions of morons now littering the sky. The only chance he has is to employ everything he has learned with the head start he received to navigate the now crowded skies.

This seems like the perfect concept for a sequel. The stakes are raised, the risks are greater, and the character must grow to overcome them. And, for the most part, Bizarre New World: Population Explosion carries through on this concept’s potential.

When I reviewed the first Bizarre New World series, I was impressed by its charm and humor. I spoke of the hero we could root for and the concept being grounded in reality. That all still applies. You want Paul to succeed in his quest, you worry about the fate of his son, and you admire his courage in the task.

Paul’s flying ability is, once again, portrayed in a realistic fashion. Skipper Martin has done his research, and is sure to provide readers with an explanation of how Paul could travel from Los Angeles to Arizona so quickly. And the final scene shows some real heart, and should bring a smile to the face of even the harshest critic.

However, in the above review I also mentioned a flaw I saw with the original story, which was with the pacing. There was a tendency with Martin and/or Provencher to stretch things out. In other words, they took five panels to express what could be said in one.

In the original series, it was a minor distraction. In the sequel, the same problem exists, and it is much more of an issue. Perhaps it is because we are hoping that Paul is reunited with his son that the full page the team devotes to Paul selecting things to take on his trip is nigh unbearable. Perhaps it was meant to build tension, but it took me right out of the story.

The pacing all over needed a lot of tightening. This is at most 32 pages of story padded out to 52. With a tighter edit, the story would be much better.

Another awkward part is the character of Marie. She is a waitress at a diner located halfway along Paul’s journey. Without a proper introduction, she provides Paul with water, a free meal, and cot in the back room of the diner for him to rest and a wordy monologue to ease his fears. I assume this is a diner Paul stops at frequently, therefore that is how he knows her, but it would be nice if this was explained better.

In Hollywood, conventional wisdom states that the sequel is never as good as the original. Well, that is certainly true here. It is not a completely awful comic—it does have a lot of redeeming qualities—but it also has more flaws that the original.


The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

'Curb Your Enthusiasm' S9 Couldn't Find Its Rhythm

Larry David and J.B. Smoove in Curb Your Enthusiasm S9 (HBO)

Curb Your Enthusiasm's well-established characters are reacting to their former selves, rather than inhabiting or reinventing themselves. Thus, it loses the rhythms and inflections that once made the show so consistently, diabolically funny.

In an era of reboots and revivals, we've invented a new form of entertainment: speculation. It sometimes seems as if we enjoy begging for television shows to return more than watching them when they're on the air. And why wouldn't we? We can't be disappointed by our own imaginations. Only the realities of art and commerce get in the way.

Keep reading... Show less

Wars of attrition are a matter of stamina, of who has the most tools with which to keep fighting. A surprising common tool in this collection? Humor.

The name of the game is "normal or abnormal". Here's how you play: When some exceedingly shocking political news pops up on your radar, turn to the person next to you, read them the headline and ask, "is this normal or abnormal?" If you want to up the stakes, drink a shot every time the answer is abnormal. If that's too many shots, alter the rules so that you drink only when things are normal—which is basically never, these days. Hilarious, right?

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.