A lot of ideas are being tested in this collected creator owned mini-series from the veteran writing team of Gray & Palmiotti, and while it is moderately entertaining, I think this story will probably be missed (if it hadn’t already in its previous serialized incarnation) by a larger reading audience. That general audience opaqueness will not stem from the presentation of the story but I think more from some of the upfront questions presented by the writers unfiltered and untouched by mass marketing editorial decisions. The general public still equate comics with comfort food/entertainment, which is true (and a good thing) to a degree and probably could care less about creators and creator issues with companies. The appeal, however, of a creator owned work like Trigger Girl 6 is the freedom to explore tough questions and how those questions are handled. Yes, Green Lantern can handle questions of genocide, but it is how Green Lantern is allowed to do it for a wide audience that puts it into an area of constraint,which is sometimes not a bad thing, but it does lasso creators to an editorial and marketable confinement. The problems raised in Trigger Girl 6 are free of such constraints, and the reader is presented in a less coddled way questions that range from the ethics of passivity versus aggression to conservation versus progress.
Imagine a world in which a two term president has somehow been able to completely abuse his power unchecked by congress, the senate, and the people of America to allow never before seen destruction of natural resources and animals. The reader can assume that such power is motivated by greed and lobbying, an unfortunately true by-product of any political system. The president has in fact done so much to anger a certain party that said mysterious faction create a form of super soldier to assassinate him. I imagine many may have to pause at this point to think about that as it is one of those extremes as a U.S. citizen that, even in my most fantastical flights of fancy, I have never really entertained.
I love sci-fi. I love fantasy. I am always on board to how those genres, no matter the medium, have been able to illuminate ideas and explore social problems. But attempted assassination of the President of the United States is very difficult to work successfully as a plot point into any story. This is why I don’t read Mark Millar anymore—his seemingly gleeful approach to irresponsible ideas (e.g.,young people and violence), revenge fantasies,etc. Nevertheless, getting back on track with the creators of this comic, Gray & Palmiotti do come to a peaceful and, I think, quite lovely resolution. I don’t think that they are being flippant about what they are trying to say in setting up some of the difficult narrative points, but the getting there is hard to mire through at times. This is again the example of tackling the difficult ideas and questions, those things that can make the reader uncomfortable. The thin line the creator can walk with this is perilous, too far one way alienates group A, too far the other alienates Group B. Perhaps in the end it comes down to you have to serve that muse within and hope that the story finds those most accepting of what is trying to be communicated.
While the prose raises questions, the artwork does not. Phil Noto’s artwork is fabulous, especially the Bond-esque opening covering the first 22 pages. The way the creative team paces it is very impressive, and I recommend folks take a look at it to appreciate the difficulty of putting a sequence like that together. I actually smiled in reading that whole action sequence, as it presented images that I think represent the beauty of comic story telling, especially as we follow trigger girl crashing though a number of windows and buildings en route to the White House.
I support creator owned comics, but like any art, creator owned doesn’t always equate to quality or accessibility. Trigger Girl 6 is entertaining, and the art is consistent but not necessarily a story that fills a wide demographic of reader. The audience for this story could grow at cons, through word of mouth, and that good old fashioned process of handing a book to someone and saying read this.