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JUNK CULTURE
By
TED McKEEVER (DC Comics; 1997)

Writer/artist Ted McKeever can always be counted on for the unique and unexpected.  Those things are in ample evidence in this two-issue comic from the DC imprint Vertigo, which can itself usually be counted on for the unique and unexpected. 

     McKeever dubs JUNK CULTURE “as crooked a story as I’ve ever concocted.”  It begins in subdued fashion, with twin teenage girls discussing how weird their parents are.  And their folks are odd, seemingly spending all their time in their house, with no evident vocations or private lives. 

     Not that the girls themselves are all that normal: both are bald and wear matching gown like outfits.  Even odder is what occurs when one of them steps on an electrified grate: she’s electrocuted, only to be resuscitated by some guys in suits who fortuitously show up to (literally) switch her back on.

     Then one of the gals rips off a dude’s arm and swings it around...and the narrative takes a turn for the twisted.  The girls prove disturbingly adept at firing guns and blowing things up, and can’t seem to be killed, no matter how hard people try.

     Most of the above occurs in the first issue.  The second is largely a cavalcade of destruction, as our increasingly splat-happy duo embarks on a rampage.  They eventually learn of their true origin--as government-engineered combat robots whose “normal” lives are total shams.  They also fall in (and out of) love and meet their destiny...by which point one of them is a charred but still functioning relic of her former self, and the other a talking severed head! 

     Ted McKeever is a talented scripter with a gift for outrageousness, and his artwork has a skewed grace that really fits the material.  You could argue that the whole thing is little more than a wallow in puddle-deep excess, and you could be right (Vertigo’s ad line “Gratuitous icons, mass-media manipulation and psycho pop-science coagulate in this...tour de force of the copious junk in modern culture” promises far more than is delivered).  Regardless, it’s a great deal of disreputable fun.

 


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