Friday, December 23, 2011

Vertigo Resurrected: Finals #1

Written by Will Pfieifer
Art by Jill Thompson

The Vertigo Resurrected series, like the DC Comics Presents series, really is a great idea.  A mini-series like Finals, from 1999, doesn't have enough of an audience to warrant receiving a proper trade paperback, but this less-expensive format, similar to Dark Horse Presents, is perfect to bring some attention to some pretty decent comics.

Finals is a pretty amusing comic.  It's set at Knox State University, a bastion of independent academic thought and the pursuit of knowledge.  It's loosely centred around a group of seniors, who have to complete their final projects in order to graduate.  Wally, the more or less main character, is supposed to have been working on an example of extreme cinema verité for his Film Studies course, but so far hasn't shot a single frame.  His girlfriend, Nancy, however has found great success with her project, and is therefore the godhead for an on-campus personality cult.  Dave is plugging away at his project, which involves violently robbing just about every business on the campus.  Gary is working on devolving himself into an animal, and so has left their rented house in favour of living rough on the campus, and Neil, the final main character, finally gets his time machine to work, although Dave shoots the future-Neil that comes through the portal.

There's nothing particularly pointed about the satire here - Pfeifer is taking shots at the pre-9/11 atmosphere of self-indulgent pointless study that has infected higher education, but he doesn't put a lot of bite into his story.  This is a fun little college movie, basically. Jill Thompson is terrific at everything she does, but this is the 90s Thompson, before she reached the heights of Beasts of Burden or her other more recent comics. 

Finals is a fun read.

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