So, if any of you have been reading these little ramblings of mine, you’ll know I am a Marvel Zombie. There are a couple DC books I pick up, but for the most part, it’s ‘Make Mine Marvel’ with all it’s wonky continuity, sliding time scale, exhausting crossover events that promise to change the universe but only until the next event. I like the Marvel characters better, and as a rule, with a few notable exceptions over at DC, I like most of the Marvel creators better… And, then, there’s Brian Michael Bendis. Oy vey, is there Brian Michael Bendis! He’s everywhere, and everything, and you know what, it’s a little too much… ok, it’s A LOT too much.
So what does Marvel do when their busiest writer wants yet another book? Well, they give it to him, and stick it on their ICON imprint. Thus comes Takio, from the writing/illustrating team that gave us Powers – Bendis and Michael Oeming.
Now, before I go on, I want you all to understand, I am not the audience that Takio is meant for. It’s an All Ages book, geared towards kids, and it is heavily influenced by manga, not really my fave genre. But, here’s my problem, even with knowing that it’s written for little girls who walk around saying “kawaii” while reading about sailor suited schoolgirls with demon powers, the book is still insultingly written to talk down to the reader, which in my opinion (and this is my column so ONLY my opinion counts) is the predominant flaw in a great deal of Bendis’s superhero stories.
The premise of Takio is simple, three little girls accidentally get superpowers when one of their scientist father’s blows up his lab. Two of the Taki and her little sister Olivia decide to become superheroes but the scientist’s daughter Kelly Sue goes evil. Now, these three girls have to try and balance their new powers with the normal things little girls have to deal with like school and boys and whatnot. Meanwhile, Kelly Sue’s father is being forced to try and replicate the accident that turned them into superpowered beings, even at the expense of his daughter. It’s a cute and promising premise, simple, the characters are easy to relate to, the art work is charming and colorful.
But the writing! Bendis is so in love with his own words that he doesn’t seem to get that in a superhero story, we’d like to … uh… I dunno… SEE SUPERHERO STUFF! Yeah, the book starts out with the Takio duo fighting a trio of clowned themed villains who stole all the donuts from the local bakery, but then the whole origin, which is really sort of important for us to see since the big fight that it resulted in was referenced several times in the book, is told by young Olivia as she pretends to be on a talk show. For two and a half pages, we’re treated to an almost static shot of Olivia on a chair with Taki glowering behind her. Yaaaaawn. Even the false cover story Taki gives later in the book has a few flashback panels, but not the origin? No. Because BMB likes to have long running monologues or inane dialogues where the same information is repeated several times, in ‘humorous’ succession. Yes, that’s probably how kids talk, but when you have a limited page count to get your story across, it grinds the narrative to an awkward halt.
So, Takio, while your concept is cute, your execution, in the language of your creator, sucks. Sucks? Yeah, sucks. What sucks? Bendis sucks. Bendis? Yeah. Bendis sucks? He sucks. Bendis? Yeah. Bendis sucks.
You get the point.