Friday, June 4, 2010

Time Lincoln!

A while back I had the wonderful fortune to read a comic by the name of TIME LINCOLN, a wonderful little piece so ridiculous that it must be written in all caps. It is utterly, stupendously, and oh-so marvelously preposterous that it makes for an incredible read and I am honestly waiting with baited breath for the other installments of TIME LINCOLN, including the soon to arrive TIME LINCOLN VS MEPHITLER (Yes. That is Mephisto + Hitler, which of course = awesome).

TIME LINCOLN is the story of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, who somehow has harness temporal energy to face off against his nemesis, VOID STALIN and his squadron of historic evildoers including Napoleon (who appears riding a large man in a diving helmet), MEPHITLER, and Mao Tse-tsung and his squadron of "Time Fighters". TIME LINCOLN'S team of historic do-gooders includes Albert Einstein, a psionic staff-wielding Ben Franklin, George Washington Carver and his freeze-ray (he did more than just peanuts), and of course Isaac Newton and his trademark energy swords.

From what little I can gather, anyone with a profound effect on history can engage in time travel given they have the appropriate steampunk gear. Everything is all rayguns and goggles and copper and I honestly could not love it more. It's been a long time since I've seen something this ludicrous and I read Deadpool. Even Deadpool gets swept up in Skrulls and drama and X-factors, and even though he would rather be at home watching Bea Arthur he still has the occasional moment of seriousness. TIME LINCOLN is so over-the-top and deadpan that it comes full circle and becomes pure, unadulterated fun.

What I really love is how the writers manage to say everything with a straight face. I can't even write TIME LINCOLN without giggling to myself about Abraham Lincoln fighting a void-imbued MEPHITLER atop Mt. Rushmore, or, and I quote, defeating VOID STALIN'S trusted leftenant with the "Lincoln back-fist". I spent most of last year swept up in the Blackest Night event, and don't get me wrong, it was good. But it's really refreshing to see something that is so amazingly different and lighthearted.

Different is really good in comics. I think that's why a lot of people, myself included, really liked Kick-Ass. It was a completely separate thing from all the continuity and just something fun to read. Of course Mark Millar had to ruin is by making his main character a stagnant angsty teenage chronic masturbater who is meant to represent the entirety of the comic-reading community and then of course by making his story all serious, just disguised with copious blood and swearing. One of the reasons I really enjoyed the Kick-Ass movie was because it decided to do the opposite of the comic book and grab all that grit and angst, take it up really high in a jetpack, and then let it fall to the earth like an Armenian with a history of mental problems.

Every so often readers need a break from Black Lanterns and Identity Crises and Skrulls. Angst gets tiring and becomes an incredible burden for anyone who actually wants to enjoy reading. I love all that drama and emotion, but I love TIME LINCOLN. It stands out simply because it is a beautiful piece of sheer ridiculous. I am always happy to read into the personal tragedies or heroes and the inner turmoils of villains and all that but it gets old. Thirty pages of Hal Jordan trying to understand basic emotion month after month is great for meaningful plot and character development and all those things that people like me use to suggest that comic books can be put on the same level as actual literature, but thirty pages of Abraham Lincoln fighting Hitler? That's fun.

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