New feature: Save Your Money

In an effort to bring more (hopefully useful) negativity to the proceedings, here’s the first in a probably semi-regular feature, Save Your Money. In these inflationary, possibly recessionary times, it seems important to point to comics that aren’t really worth the expense.

I’m sad to report that this week’s superfluity is Switch (Viz), by naked ape (writer Saki Otoh and artist Tomomi Nakamura). Imagine if you took bits of DNA from 21 Jump Street, Wild Adapter and MPD Psycho, then fused them into an independent organism. Best comic ever, right? It sounds (and looks) a lot cooler than it actually is.

A pair of comely, youthful narcotics investigators track a new, high-grade speed. They encounter users, dealers, and jurisdictional conflict with rival cops. The younger and sweeter of the cops has an alternate personality that is considerably less sweet than his default state. His marginally more experienced partner wears glasses and smokes. Juicy as this all sounds, it doesn’t add up to much.

What the book really lacks is a point of view. It seems like more of a grab bag of stylish, saleable components than a coherent, distinct aesthetic or compelling narrative. The material begs to be taken over the top, but it never really goes there. The script is kind of disjoined, which can be effective in crime drama but isn’t here. The character designs all kind of blend together; it’s like the squad room is populated with catalog models.

Switch is probably far from the worst comic you might buy this week, but, given the bounty of excellent new arrivals, there’s no reason for you to settle. Use the money on gas or lottery tickets.

(I recognize that I could be unfairly holding Switch to the impossibly high bishie-narc standards of Wild Adapter. In the interest of fairness, if you’re still intrigued by Switch, I would be happy to send my copy, which arrived courtesy of Viz, to the first person who e-mails me at DavidPWelsh at Yahoo dot Com. It would be nice if the recipient posted their reaction to the book somewhere, and I’d be happy to host his or her comments here, but I won’t insist on it.)

7 Responses to New feature: Save Your Money

  1. I don’t need your copy to post my comments. I agree with you. I didn’t care for Switch on bit, and will be posting my full review over at tonight. And I knew something really bugged me about this book, but you hit it right on the head. There’s no point of view and it really hurts the story.

  2. Switch wasn’t among the last batch of books I received from Viz, so I’m glad I read your review (and Lori’s comments) before I wasted money on it.

  3. Deb Aoki says:

    Phew, and here I was feeling bad that I called it a “hot mess.” 😉

  4. davidpwelsh says:

    Deb, now you’ve got me wanting to rate all comics on the Siriano Scale of Empirical Fierceness or something, ranging from “Super Fierce” to “Tranny Mess.” I won’t, but…

  5. Deb Aoki says:

    Oh, now *there’s* an idea! Three snaps up! Make it work! 🙂

  6. ErinF says:

    Ah crud! My friend translated that…

  7. davidpwelsh says:

    I don’t think the problems were with the production — just the story.

    And seriously, this will probably be one of those posts where I’ll still be getting “You’re out of your mind, this book is awesome” comments three years from now.

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