What I thought of Airboy #4

Thoughts about #1#2 and #3.

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The last issue of James Robinson’s extraordinary Airboy is finally here and picks up from last issue with Robinson and Hinkle in the world of Airboy and dressed in S.S. uniform, but it’s not all bad.

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They’re on a mission given to them by Airboy to infiltrate the Nazi lines, but seeing as neither man speaks German, not to mention they’re cowards that still think it’s a dream, though Robinson isn’t sure what they’re experiencing in the here and now is in fact a dream.

Even in a dream, or whatever they’re in, there’s still time for some drugs….

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This loosens Robinson up and the next page he spills some home truths about his career, and in particular his feelings on the League of Extraordinary Gentleman film which apart from being considered a dreadful film (it’s bad, but there’s much, much worse out there) ended up killing off the careers of several of the people involved, including Sean Connery who thought ‘fuck it’ after the film and slipped into retirement.

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After the pair defeat the Nazis and return to their normal lives, Robinson’s soul searching doesn’t end as Hinkle tells him he’s not a Neil Gaiman or a Grant Morrison.

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It’s true. Fans don’t snap up Robinson’s work like a Morrison or a Gaiman, but then again it’s not just Robinson that’s turned out some stinkers, but Gaiman has, as has Morrison. It’s just fans are less inclined to punish the latter pair than someone who has become a bit of a punchbag for a section of fans.

Then again I’ve not seen any mainstream comic book writer have the courage to expose himself in this way, and although the sex, drinking and drugs seem overblown, I don’t think it’s by that much as there’s too much of a catharsis going on here that’s resulted in a singularly extraordinary comic that soars above Grant Morrison’s often lazy, often tired reuse of the same themes he’s been writing about for 30 years, or Neil Gaiman’s ‘Goth by numbers‘ comics.This comes from somewhere honest, though it’s only something Robinson can do once, the ending of the comic makes it very clear that Robinson’s very clear of his flaws and faults, so from now on he’s going to get back to the man that produced fine work in the likes of The Golden Age or Starman.

Airboy is the best mini series produced by a mainstream comics publisher this year, not to mention it’s a massive gamble from Image Comics to have produced something this challenging potentially to readers, but the gamble has more than paid off. This is one of those comics people are still going to be talking about in a decade, it simply is brilliant in terms of script and art, and hope I see more from Robinson and Hinkle very soon.

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