?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Shoo, Rat, Don't Bother Me - The Book of the Celestial Cow

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile
> My Website

May 16th, 2009


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
11:03 am - Shoo, Rat, Don't Bother Me
You guys, the other night there was a rat in my apartment. Not a dead rat, but a live one. Zipping across my floor and under my couch one second and then, later on, sauntering back into the heater from whence it came, which has now been barricaded.

Which was terribly ironic because I've been reading The Exterminators, by Simon Oliver, which is about the guys we call to get rid of these pests. Rats, roaches, wasps, termites—the exterminators protect us. These exterminators, however, are protecting us from something even more sinister: THE FUCKING APOCALYPSE.

Henry James, ex-con, begins working at his stepdad's extermination company, Bug-Bee-Gone. Henry is relatively normal, our viewpoint character, but do you want to bet his co-workers are really quirky? THEY ARE! A.J., his training partner, is a lascivious, rat-faced little fucker who has a little drug addiction. Stretch is a black Buddhist cowboy who starts out speaking mostly in Zen but becomes one of the series' best characters. Kevin is a strange, ant-eating dude whose nightlife activities will amuse and/or shock you. Dr. Saloth Sar is a tiny Cambodian man with a mysterious past who performs Nobel-quality bug research in the basement.

Henry is dating a hot redhead named Laura, who works at Ocran Industries, the company that manufactures Draxx, the top-of-the-line roach poison Bug-Bee-Gone (and most everyone else) uses. He later meets Page, a bespectacled brunette who works at a literary whorehouse (where you come to live out your literary fantasies), and Gloria Perez, a single mother who has some bug problems.

All of these characters become caught up in, uh, well, the apocalypse. By GIANT COCKROACHES. There's a lot of Egyptian mythology and an ominous green scarab and a mysterious box that requires four keys to open. Also, corporate conspiracy! Let's just say Ocran and Draxx aren't all they're cracked up to be.

The artist for the majority of the run is Tony Moore, who really impressed me with the depth of his drawings, which were cartoonish and naturalistic at the same time. And you have to give the man props for being able to draw so many bugs. Most of the guest artists are good too. And Philip Bond's covers are great.

While I really wanted and expected to love The Exterminators, it never quite clicked for me. Granted, I loved all the apocalypse stuff—and I love how apocalyptic fiction gets so much more awesome when the apocalypse nears—and the corporate conspiracy stuff was also intriguing, but I didn't feel a strong attachment to the characters. Also, it's really gross. If you're squeamish about bugs and gore, this is not the comic for you. There was something about the tone of the series that I just didn't get, I suppose. From interviews with Oliver, it seems like he enjoyed being all over the place with the tone (exploding a hamster on one page and having a serious discussion of relationship issues on the next), but that didn't work for me, I guess.

The series is fun overall, however. I did really like it for the most part, and I thought it was an interesting sort of meditation on one of the Big Questions: do we, as a society, deserve to survive? What have we done worth keeping us around on this planet? Why shouldn't Mother Nature just reclaim her land? In the eternal battle of man vs. bug...who should we really be rooting for?
Current Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
Current Music: Jets Overhead - George Harrison

(9 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:May 16th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh Sunil, king of segues.
[User Picture]
From:barenakedjanie
Date:May 16th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hmmm... so you grab us with the rat story and then, before we know it, we're reading your book review...

Diabolical.
[User Picture]
From:the_narration
Date:May 17th, 2009 06:21 am (UTC)
(Link)
Devious bastard. Opening with what sounds like a serious story when you really just want to pimp a comic. :-)

I've seen The Exterminators around, but it never really caught my interest. It sounds really kooky.

If there's a rat in your apartment, you've got a serious problem. You can't give any ground to them, because you'll never get it back. It needs to be dealt with post haste.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 17th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
(Link)
It sounds really kooky.
It is pretty kooky. There's an issue with King Tut as a party guy. And a couple issues set at a pest control specialists convention in Vegas (although Gaiman still wins for the serial killer convention).

Also, there are lesbians in hot tubs.

I doubt I'll see Ratsy again. I spread a bunch of rat poison under his entrance point, which is fairly well barricaded.
[User Picture]
From:the_narration
Date:May 17th, 2009 08:14 am (UTC)
(Link)
It is pretty kooky. There's an issue with King Tut as a party guy.
That's... pretty kooky. It almost sounds like they're trying too hard, truth be told.

(Some writers throw in more weird than the story actually calls for because they think it is the same thing as being interesting and quirky. Much as I've long wanted to yell at writers of mystery-driven series that being vague is not the same thing as being smart.)

Also, there are lesbians in hot tubs.
Err... honestly? I don't really care about that sort of thing. I like looking at pretty ladies as much as any straight guy, but there's already a whole internet ready to help me fulfill that need. If I'm consuming a work of fiction, what I want out of it is a story. Gratuitous T&A, fanservice, cheesecake... it's just distracting, juvenile, objectifying and even a little insulting.

I doubt I'll see Ratsy again. I spread a bunch of rat poison under his entrance point, which is fairly well barricaded.
That's a good start, but remember: they're never really dead if you don't see the body! ;-)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 17th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It almost sounds like they're trying too hard, truth be told.
Yeah, I felt that way too.
[User Picture]
From:matchboxslayer
Date:May 17th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
(Link)
better a live rat, than a dead rat, i say.

it's a really interesting idea. i love it when people turn normal, everyday careers into something a little more. however, execution is the key.
[User Picture]
From:omoo
Date:May 17th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Eww, I don't like wild rats. You should snap trap it, that way it won't end up dying and decomposing in your walls. And poision is just a mean way to die.
[User Picture]
From:punzerel
Date:May 18th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)
(Link)
I do not think I could read this comic. :( Although giant cockroaches are, I think, less creepy than small ones.

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com