Downe In The Silence

A couple of first issues are on offer this week. Joe Casey presents a one-off special from Image called Officer Downe, while IDW opens another series in the Silent Hill franchise – Past Life. I don’t really know the franchise well, but the latter is definitely my pick for the week.

While Officer Downe is almost nostalgic both in it’s art style and context, bringing to mind the rich history of 2000AD strips, this is not your comic for kids. It lacks a certain innocence that 2000AD possessed, and I only hope that responsible comic shop managers keep their eye on who buys it, as it fails to carry a ‘For Mature Readers Only’ banner. It is at least honest, as it claims to be ‘hyper-violent’ and that is what it is. To the point of ridiculousness.

Enjoyable enough I suppose for adults although I have to ask what the point of this title is? As a one-off special rather than an ongoing series, there seem to be no moral dilemmas raised, nothing to draw one in, simply a psycho-cop who keeps getting resurrected to beat the living snot (yes, I will obey the Comics Code) out of perps.  Judge Dredd anyone?

Yet Downe does not have the hooks that Dredd has, such as an environment that is dubious in its morals and laws, or the sense of camaraderie between Judges. It is ordinary if not bland and ultimately unengaging. We learn little about either Downe’s support staff or the villains of the piece. There is a half-hearted attempt of a character for the reader to identify themselves with, a rookie cop just being introduced to the ‘Basement’ where Downe is regenerated, but he is also irrelevent to the story, so again, pointless.

If you are a Heavy Metal fan, (or 2000AD) then Chris Burnham’s art is a delight. Yet there are only so many gore-filled panels one can admire before asking just what the point of the story is. Joe Casey’s comments in the backpages speak volumes.

When a kid gets a good gander at OFFICER DOWNE, he siomply won’t be able to go back to Captain Lantern or Iron Arrow or whatever other censored-for-good-taste superhero comicbook he happened to con his parents into buying. Nor should he. These kinds of comics – – pure brain-blasts straight out of the minds of their creators – – really are the future of everything. And the tastier, the better.

Well Mr Casey, you are wrong on so many levels. Firstly, when you say tastier, do you mean nastier? Secondly, a brain-blast from the mind of a creator should not leave you covered with the grey matter that is obviously no longer in your cranium. If I were buying for a youngster, I rather think I would I would buy something that at least exercised that said brain matter. As a youngster, I demanded that of my comics, they were there to inspire me, to make me dream and to strive for better things. IF a kid gets a good gander at Officer Downe, then something’s gone seriously wrong. If this is the future of comics (which I doubt), then I quit the medium totally.  Who do you think you are? Channelling Rob Liefeld of the mid-nineties? Even Youngblood had more depth than this!

I don’t get it Mr Casey, as you can probably tell. I have read a lot of your earlier work, and you are capable of so much more than this. This is self indulgent, overly-graphic one-dimensional twaddle.

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Darren Burr
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A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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