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Injury #4
posted August 7, 2012

imageCreators: Ted May, Jeff Wilson, Mike Reddy
Publishing Information: Alternative Comics/Self-Published, comic book, 36 pages, August 2012, $6
Ordering Numbers: 0980162130619 (ISBN)

The only problem with the (mostly) Ted May-directed effort Injury #4 is that it makes you wish for a Ted May comic book series that comes out three times a year as opposed to once every three years. This feeling will hit hardest during a reading of the second feature, "Blades Of Grass," which we're told is a continuation of a Beast Biplane story from Injury #3. They could offer $100,000 in small, unmarked bills and I couldn't testify as to a single event in that particular story's previous installment. I might not even come close. If the Injury #3 episode had the same ragged character designs and lazy energy as this brief visit in issue #4, I likely enjoyed it quite a bit, but there have probably been 14,000 comics between that one and this one. It's unfortunate only in that one of the strengths of serial comic books is that it's supposed to be easier to maintain these creative conversations from issue to issue, to hold a little bit of the past long enough to get to the present, like artistic experience starter dough. I have every confidence that there's something to enjoy here, and I could always re-read the issues, but I miss the natural ease of that particular comics-reading experience. This kind of thing would be perfect for that.

Then again, it's difficult to gripe about the abstractions of specific ways of consuming art when May and company put a sequence together as much fun, as humorous and as essentially lovely as the opening scene that kicks off this comic in the story "A Birdsong Shatters The Still." A crew of school-age heavy metal fans gathers before a period of Saturday detention unable to see anything around them but their own, self-selected symbols, iconography from which they've assembled a "rebellious" group identity as rigid and commercialized and ordinary as it could possibly be. They are surrounded by beauty of the Midwestern suburban variety (these kids might push down the bicycle riders from that old issue of Supermonster that featured a similar landscape), but they're largely oblivious to it except maybe as a place to be preferable to the poorly-lit tortures of boredom yet to come. I won't forget any of those pages any time soon. The story itself gets a bit more standard as it unfolds, although it becomes very, very funny -- the apt timing reflective of both the situation and the stoned people suffering their way through it. I could read 40 pages of this a week, no problem; I'm happy to read what May and company are able to provide.