Friday, April 08, 2011

Trade Marks: Aztek - The Ultimate Man

When this series launched, I was finishing up my first year of law school in Halifax. I was buying a lot of titles at the time and following all of the latest hype thanks to Wizard (good riddance) and Overstreet's Fan (R.I.P). Aztek had a lot of buzz back then, and was mourned in the press when it was cancelled. For one reason or another, I had never read an Aztek story, save for the issue or two of JLA in which he appeared. After all this time, I had really high hopes for this book and borrowed it from the library. Perhaps it was the high expectations built up over 15 years, but I was terribly disappointed. It was a decent read, but far from the masterpiece it was portrayed to be. I think the Morrison/Millar combination is actually too many cooks in kitchen, as the script seems very inconsistent and bits and pieces of the story and Aztek's back story seem to be missing. Too many guest stars (heroes and villains) hurt the development of the main character. I'm not a fan of ill-defined powers, and after 10 issues I still had no idea what Aztek could and couldn't do. Penciller N. Steven Harris doesn't help much, as his storytelling is weak in action sequences, leading to a lot of confusion. There was some promise here, but I can understand why it didn't garner a wide audience. It's not kooky enough to be Morrison and not cool enough to be Millar. It's just a mish-mash of styles with some so-so artwork and irritating dialogue. I'm happy I read it, but I'm happy I don't own it. Trade Mark: C+

1 comment:

BenoƮt Leblanc said...

I'm not a fan of Morrison to begin with, and although I enjoyed what he did with Animal Man or with X-Men, most of what I've read from him left me decidedly underwhelmed (especially since the man comes with expectations of excellence, a corollary of his reputation).

His Aztek character I've only seen in the one JLA trade that I read, "Rock of the ages", a mishmash of "Days of future past" and Jack Kirby's Fourth world. Poor Aztek stuck out like a sore thumb in there, even if he managed to save the day... As I understand it, after the Bwah-ha-ha era of the Justice League, JLA was an attempt to return it to its roots: DC's mightiest heroes in one title. So the roster included Batman! Superman! Flash! Wonder Woman! Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Martian Manhnter! and... Aztek??? I'm sorry? Who?

It's unfair to pass judgement without knowing more about the character, but he didn't strike me as anything particularly original. Did he have new and interesting personality traits? Unheard-of powers? Anything to distinguish from a plethora of other technologically-enhanced superheroes? Not that I could know from his JLA appearance.