Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Netgalley: The eARC Taco Bell

Infographic courtesy of Taco Bell
So, let's talk about Taco Bell.  This partially has to do with my review, and it's partially just stalling for time because I really don't want to have to revisit the comic I just read.  As you can see above, Taco Bell sells a buttload of tacos.  I mean, 1 billion Doritos Locos Tacos.  That's like 4 billion hours spent in the bathroom regretting your decision, as the human race, to purchase and eat 1 billion Doritos Locos Tacos.  I'm not saying I don't eat Taco Bell--I lost my second tooth in a bean burrito, for heaven's sake--but when I do, I take necessary precautions and I go into it fully aware of the probable outcome.

It took a while to learn that, though.  Sometimes I'd eat a Nachos Bell Grande and think, "Whoa, why do I feel like there are fighting weasels in my intestines?" and totally not connect it to the food.  I'm still on that stage with Netgalley.  So many free books--specifically, comic books/graphic novels--to tempt me.  Occasionally I'll find a few that are quite delicious.  Particularly in my graphic novel choices, however, it has been ... let us say ... unpleasant.

A few days ago, I found myself, moth drawn to the flame, looking at the downloadable graphic novels on Netgalley.  I saw one called Sovereign that was written by Chris Roberson, a name I recognized in my feverish haze, and that was supposed to be about gods and monsters and mythology and stuff.  I thought, "Sure, why not?"  Here's why not:


First of all, I remembered halfway through that Roberson was responsible for some of the not-so-great entries in the Cinderella Fables spinoff.  

Secondly, the art in this was so atrocious that it actually made me feel better about my artistic ability.  I thought to myself, "Hey, if this person can make money drawing like this, I could illustrate comics too!"  There's no consistency in characterization from one panel to the next, people's faces look like smashed potatoes (and those are the handsome ones!) and several characters have long hair that blows in the wind ... inside, where there is presumably no wind.  I guess it just sticks up like that in an "artistic" fashion.  Another character has a thick mop of blond hair, but it's drawn in such a way that it doesn't move at all, and resembles a turban of hair rather than, you know, real hair.  In one panel, a woman has breasts so large that they could belong to one of Rob Liefeld's anatomically incorrect ladies. 

Thirdly, the story made no sense at all and attempted to hobble along as a misfit Frankenstein-monster creation cobbled together from history and myth.  The main political characters are the infighting Rhans, whose forefathers built a sweeping empire with their sturdy horses and fearlessness.  Oh please.  Every time I saw "Rhan" I read it as "Khan" so why not just go with the Mongol Empire?  Is it copyrighted or something???  The main religious/spiritual belief system seems to be vaguely based on Hinduism, but with the caste system based on what kind of magic a person can do.  They worship gods like Shiva the Destroyer, who is here a woman (but I know that Hindu gods have many incarnations, so Shiva could be a woman.  I suppose).  I mean, you couldn't even be bothered to create a slightly different version of an existing deity?  The ending story with the slave women came way out of left field and I have no idea what is going on here.  

Finally, there's inane dialogue like, "You're a seer, aren't you?  You can perceive reality with your mind!"  Okay, buttercup.  That's not a special ability.  We all have minds (for some there is doubt) that use the electrical impulses sent via neurons to "perceive reality."  We see the world around us; we hear it; we taste it; we smell it; we touch it.  That is how we know what reality is.  Unless you're going for some metaphysical concept of "reality" in that it's something we'll never know, something beyond our comprehension.  However, once you start questioning the essence reality you get into some seriously mind-warping business, and I leave that to people who have lots of degrees and make lots of money writing long books about what reality is or is not.  So, anyway, to sum up, the character tells another character that she is using her brain exactly as everyone else uses their brains: to perceive reality.  He could have said something like, "You see beyond reality" or "beneath reality" or something else--anything else!

So, before you go download that graphic novel, stop and think.  Will this give me the equivalent of mental indigestion--or worse?  Will I regret this in two hours' time?  

Of course it will.  And I'll keep going back for more, just like everyone who eats a Doritos Locos Taco.

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