Bring on The Filth
I picked this book up at the local Rockwood library branch on the idea that Grant Morrison is a pretty solid writer – with no other recommendation to urge me on but the few issues of “New X-Men,” Dan forced me to purchase and read. Not bad – not GREAT – but not bad.
Seeing as I am in the middle of “Y: The Last Man” (which, BTW – is STILL amazingly good), I didn’t want to start a whole new series – so “The Filth” seemed like the perfect one-shot-tpb-collection for me to pick up, read in an evening (I got mad skillz like that) and report out to all you good, fine and lovely people.
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And I was horridly shocked and appalled by what I found within the pages of this book. There was rampant SEX (not sexualizing, actual SEX), swearing, violence and drug use. Nudity on every other page (completely irrelevant to the plot). Men raping men – men raping/killing women. Some kind of crazy Communist Chimpanzee named Dmitri running around cursing foul words at all human beings.
I was horrifically un-impressed by the “in-your-face-over-the-top-sex/violence. Even if it was in the name of some kind of metaphor about our society being obsessed with these two elements.
And the futuristic sci-fi bent was also terribly off-putting. There are a few things I don’t like (unless they’re done well): aliens and “future societies” with out-of-control technology. Again – only if these things are done well (and with some nod to moderation) – will I accept them in my comics, movies, television shows, video games, etc.
The only thing that kept me vaguely interested was the main character when he was in “disguise” as Gregory Feely – the single, porn and cat loving everyman. The “hero” Ned Slade was of very little interest to me (his hair was stupid looking too). I basically forced myself through the first 2/3rds of this ugly, affronting story with it’s annoying plot twists, often awkward character dialogue, gratuitous sex/violence and everything else in between.
This, too me, felt like a comic writer free from censorship on the DC Vertigo label, mentally and physically jacking off. I could just picture him laughing hysterically at Dmitri’s dialogue and maybe getting a little too excited while scripting a few of the “Pornomancer” scenes.
I like Vertigo’s “adult comic” angle, but I guess I prefer a little less “adult” in my comic.
But don’t take my word for it – have a little taste yourself:
It was like some Playboy version of the Matrix, the Watchmen and Total Recall all blended together with a penciler and inker providing an ugly backdrop for these ideas to run rampant. There lacks a greater sense of cohesion and nothing else is nearly as compelling in the “Filth” as when Greg Feely is being confronted by his neighbors about child pornography, or bemoaning the fate of his feline friend with thyroid issues. I guess that’s probably my particular taste in comics shining through. I’m all about simpler plots with not so much tits and ass and guns and weird bugs. You know how I roll.
Again, I realize there was some greater thought behind this book – it was all about paranoia, the 21st century looming ahead of us, biological warfare, mid-life crisis, etc.
But I just didn’t care. I won’t completely write Grant Morrison off – but I cannot in good conscience recommend trying to read “The Filth” in one sitting. Or any sitting. Or any setting. It’s revolting, disturbing, and a bit too smug.
Also – the art by Chris Weston and Gary Erskine was well done – they knew the mood of the scenes, and captured the crazy world of “The Filth” perfectly. That being said – I hated the art because I hated the story. But kudos to those guys for rendering it well on the page. I thought the coloring was especially effective.
I want to say that I didn’t enjoy this book, because I picture the future a little less bleak – a little less dystopian. I don’t know what it is about England, and their artist’s satirical eye-stabs at the future of their country and America and the World…but I don’t see it the same way.
LAST NOTE: If stomach-churning images of the depressing future are your bag – by all means, read away.
Otherwise – avoid this one. There have been better before it and will be better in…the future. 😉
Much Love, Mindy C
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