AT4W: Crimson #1

I’m seeing red! …and black… and purple… and more red… basically, it’s not very many colors.

About Linkara

Atop the Fourth Wall is a show about bad comic books. Linkara finds the surreal and the stupid and breaks them down page by page. You'll know why they're idiotic and how they can be improved.

71 comments

  1. Those silly teen vampires. So full of angst and bloodlust.

    How many times have I told you not to bite your sister!

  2. It’s funny, the Grigori, Lilith and the Chalkydri are not in the bible, Do you want to know what are?
    Seraphim, Cherubim (Which are friggin terffiying by the way, they do not look like apple cheeked winged babies), Giants, the Leviathan, the Behemoth, the Egpytian Gods (according to the book of Exodus the Egpytian priests actually wielded real power, they weren’t phonies like most modern depiction want you to believe) and Demons.
    the Bible! Are you atheists sure you want to give it up?

  3. God and Post-Its. Good one!

  4. The Jelly Bats? PSHAW! They can’t compete with “The Buttercream” or “Apple Dumpling” GANGS!

  5. I love it whenever you review an early Image comic with terrible artwork and half-naked women. At least this time it’s not one of Rob Liefeld abominations that will NEVER have a movie based on them; Deadpool doesn‘t count, because his CHARACTER was created by more talented writers like Fabian Nicieza.

    I’m also not a fan of the design choice of the woman on the front cover. I’m letting it pass for Lady Gaga, because she at least wears a see-through top whenever she has tape covering her nipples.

    10:30- Darth Alex: the worst name ever for a Sith Lord.

    12:25- Biggest understatement of this comic. We already got the fact that Electrical Tape Boob Lady is a slut.

    15:08- I guess the artist either didn’t finish or didn’t care about finishing drawing Alex’s face here. What a dick.

    18:16- (As the crazy old man from Pulse) “…But I’m not telling it.”

    The only good thing about this comic is the “Got Milk?” ad with Sarah Michelle Gellar on the back.

    21:40- I was also thinking of WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan with the “No” sash, or he saw Spoony wearing his “No! No! No!” t-shirt, which is a parody of Daniel Bryan’s shirt which says “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

    • When Bryan was in the middle of a heel turn last year, he switched to a “No! No! No!” shirt, and the audience drove him crazy by shouting “Yes!” at him. So the joke still makes sense, depending on your knowledge of rasslin’.

      *heads over to Spoony to see if he talked about Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling*

  6. Taste in art is subjective, so I have to say that I really like Ramos’ art. Its bright, fluid, composed well, and lends itself well to storytelling. Of course I can’t say much about the story here, but I think the art at least keeps it flowing smoothly and dynamically from panel to panel.

  7. American Vampire did this much better, only that was another vampire and not a Grigori that make the first appareance after Pearl become a vampire, but her creator, Skinner Sweet, I really love American Vampire, is a very good comic series, with very original draws, very stylized, maybe you should review it as a good comic review, and of course, the first arc was written by Stephen King, the rest by Scott Snyder.

    The new species of vampires are terrifing, even that they follow the common themes as for example Blade, have all the streghts and non of the weakness, actually they have some weakness but nothing like the real vampires, and when they unleash their vampire they have some of bestialit. Sweet is 100% hardcore vampire, with ambigious morality, he could be your friend or your doom, Peal is a little more moral, but only a little, she dont have any issues of killing people.

  8. To each his own, I guess, but Ramoz’ run on Impulse was pretty sweet.

  9. Well… at least Electrical Tape lady’s coat is nice. I’d wear the coat. You know, when I saw this cover… I would have never thought about the Bible. Some of the eyes in this comic scared me. To say one thing about this comics favor, I would like to see where this story goes

  10. So, this is virtually the same plot as Tokyo Ghoul xD

  11. I really like Ramos artstyle, It’s lively and dynamic. Likara had a diffrent opinion on this, but I think it’s very expressiv. There are some artistic mistakes here an there, but for me that also keeps it interesting, and prevents it from looking too ‘clean’. As an artist I can say, that it had quiet an influence in me.

    I even liked the story of Crimson, at that point in time it was still pretty new to make a teenager your main character and the story itself is well thought out. Maybe it’s just the first issu, there wasn’t enough time to put in much character devolopment, because they were just setting up the story.

  12. I used to love Danger Girl when it was out (all 7 issues of it).
    I even bought one of the action figures (of course it had no articulation).
    Abby, of course.
    I never read Crimson, though.
    The cover put me off of it.
    The human female body is NOT proportioned like that.

    7:47
    Wait…so God creates sentient beings because he wants them to have the free will to decide how to live their lives, and then punishes them for USING that free-will in any manner which distinguishes themselves from robots or pets?
    Well THAT makes perfect sense.

    (starts making a mental checklist of God’s blunders)
    …Lets see…the Gregori (check), Adam and Lilith (check), Adam and Eve (check), Lucifer, (check)…
    You know, maybe before he starts lecturing humanity about how lowly they are because they are imperfect beings, he might want to work on some self-improvement himself.

    : /

    I actually really liked Humberto Ramos’s artwork on the original Impulse comic book series.
    Of course I was around 9th grade at the time.

    • It is more problem with stupid writers then God. In original legends Lilith live on her own, and that is especially reason why making her in vampire is stupid, as she never did fall in opposition to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eva weren’t punished because they use free will, they didn’t have it and obtaining it was punishment on it own (as that was fruit of knowledge). Lucifer is other story and in short: Christian legend of Lucifer is pore adaptation of Islamic legend of Iblis, which also is pore adaptation of Cabala legend of Raziel where he is not evil, and never fall. He was only accused of pride and disobeying God be accusers (Satan), except God forgive him because he did exactly what God planed and in fact did that to help humans. In end God allow him to represent him on earth (yes, he is the Christ).

      But we arguing here with stupid comic who use random names in random way, not propose any interesting interpretation of source.

      • I should add that name Lucifer (Helal aka Morning Star aka planet Venus) come from Greek translation of the bible. Helal was mentioned in bible two times, first is as part of title used by one of enemy of Israel called “son of star/Helal”, what is obvious astrological reference mistranslated as name of demon in late medieval for purpose of adaptation of legend of Iblis. And second time is in apocalypse where ironically is used in reference to Christ.

  13. Jelly Bats sounds more like the name of some rock band from the 90’s. Now I want to see the Jelly Bats become a rock band in the next book. Maybe have Ekimus as the manager and Alex as the roadie

  14. I liked this book more when it was The Vampires Apprentice.

  15. As a lazy person, I must take issue with your comments on canned food.

    You see, canned food is actually…eh….Oh, nevermind.

  16. Eh, I’d be interested in checking this one out, for the condept. Personally, I don’t have an issue with the art style… though my tastes are kinda weird, so what do I know?

  17. I kept reading Grigori as Gorongi. This comic would be so much cooler if that was right.

  18. So men CAN’T be sex positive for women Linkara? Because it was MEN that wrote and drew the comic they can’t be sex positive, because they’re, as you took the time to point out, MEN.

    • Yeah, I noticed that too. Coming from Linkara, who is a noted feminist, that sounds mighty hypocritical.

      • Also, considering 2 of the guys on the cover are showing lots of skin as well, Im not sure it’s fair to call out the tape-pasties lady alone. Seems to me her whole gang has weird and revealing fashion sense, men and women both.

    • Men writing and drawing women as thirteen-year-old boys’ fap material is really, really different than “being sex positive for women.” WTF does that even mean?

      • Specifically, Linkara worded it as “this is written by men, so it can’t be sex positive”. He didn’t argue along the lines of “this work is exploitive and demeaning, which isn’t sex positive”, and just left it at “because men drew it”. Which is a horribly weak argument, and very hypocritical of him considering his supposed feminist stance, and, ya know, being male.

        Also, considering in the book the characters in question are not portrayed in any particularly sexual way, and are portrayed as monsters and threatening, saying it’s just for jack-off material is a pretty weak argument. They aren’t even in the boob-and-butt pose.

        And considering some of her male counterparts are standing right next to her in just as much/ little clothing, it seems odd to specifically single her out, other than her being in the center of the cover. In the comic itself, she seems to be portrayed as in control and vicious, while still looking sexy (without resorting to boob-and-butt poses as i mentioned earlier), which is a very good portrayal of a sex positive character/ villain in a comic.

        That, and Linkara assuming that someone who likens sex positivity (or someone who thinks he doesn’t get it) to a rape scene in a Superman comic is just idiotic and a bit insulting.

        • At least don’t play stupid to see if you can get away with the “not that bad” arguement. The artist slapped a woman’s borderline-nude breasts on the center of the cover to draw horny boys to it. They did not just put that on there innocently thinking it was fundamentally the same as emphasizing the musculature of the men around her. The difference between implying combat capability in an action comic and implying gratuitous sexuality for its own sake is not difficult to tell.

          And the ONLY reason it would be any different if a woman came up with the cover is the same reason that flushing your own money down the toilet is different than flushing somebody else’s. Women are the ones who have to deal with the sexist viewpoints that may go hand in hand with such material and so have the right to decide whether they mind encouraging them. (Although in this case, you could make the arguement that she’s still doing wrong by other people who aren’t okay with it.) It has nothing to do with being “sex positive.” It’s not a question of sex. It’s a question of objectification.

          • I see that hyperbole is one of your strong suits. Good to know. Also, opening with schoolyard level insults of stupidity: classy.

            I really don’t want to get into the whole double standard about portrayals of men in comics, and how men as well can feel inadequate next to the idealized male characters, but honestly, i feel like that has been said so many time, that if you still refuse to understand it, you probably always will.

            So since there is no point arguing there, hows about we look at how you completely ignored my take on the female character in question. The character herself is a villain, true, but is also portrayed as strong, a leader, and in control of herself and her situation. She also happens to wear very little clothing. Despite this, at n pint in the comic does she experience the “boob and butt” pose or any other embarrassing postures. Her sexuality is portrayed matter-of-factly; the fact that some people are attracted to women and may find her attractive doesn’t detract from this, if anything it means the artist is doing their job right, making a character that can be both sexy and scary.

            There are other things one could complain about (the accents, for starters), but to focus on the characters fashion choices really just comes off as unnecessarily prudish.

            And finally, if an attractive woman is put on the cover to draw in some sales, what of it? What harm does that do? Are you being forced to buy it? Are young girls being forced to get surgery to look like these women against their wills? No? Then what is the harm, really? Is it any different then putting pictures of shirtless men on the covers of the thousands of romance novels made every year? No, it knows it’s audience and tries to draw them in with sex, because as we all know, sex sells. As such, when a character(not even a main one, i might add) in a work is portrayed as strong and in control in the book, while still being liberally dressed, and is doing nothing more than looking at the viewer on the cover while her breasts are in view, yeah, i am going to say that someone complying about the skin is acting like a prude.

            And furthermore, You seem to think that 14 year old boys are some hive-mind of horny rabid lust that are innately draw to anything with boobs. News flash, as someone who grew up around a crap tone of tween comic nerd (still do, to some extent), i can tell you right now that those sorts of blind assumptions are what give comic fans a bad image, not the readers themselves.

          • And I see that rhetoric and painting yourself as a victim are yours. For the record, “don’t play stupid” would imply that you’re playing a game, not that you’re actually stupid. But launching into a tirade of hyperbolic rhetoric, after accussing me of hyperbole, on the other hand…

            Where to start? Nobody was even talking about double standards against men in that light, but since you spend most of your response trying to argue that the depiction of women here isn’t actually bad in the first place, I’m going to assume we’re not talking about it now either. So why bring it up at all? Anything to divert guilt for enjoying this?

            And actually, I didn’t ignore your take on the character in question, as that’s where I assumed you were playing stupid. But as it turns out, it’s actually your own little philosophy that you really expect to convince people with: That sexuality, however gratuitous or irrelevant, is not objectification, exploitation, etc., as long as it’s not something like the “boob and butt” pose, aka an abnormal way of emphasizing it. So in that case, I have just one question: How many women go around in public with nothing but tape over their nipples?

            And the rest is pretty much all rhetorical counter-punching. What does being a prude or being forced to buy something have to do with whether it exploits gender inequality? Notice how you still haven’t directly denied that it does. All you’ve done is try to downplay it with issues beside the point, such as male characters in romance novels (which this isn’t) being drawn with their shirts off (which isn’t considered nudity by most people). Sure, action comics might have the need for attractive characters in common with romance novels, sex comedies ect., but with sexuality itself no longer the point, what does it say when the excessive focus on it disappears in one gender and not the other?

            But it seems we’re not done with the rhetoric yet, as I’ve apparently developed a pretty specific image of teenage boys, which would, once again, be irrelevant even if I HAD done anything to imply it. Yes, the reason an excessive and exploitative image of female nudity would draw teengage boys to it isn’t because they’re all a bunch of raving horndogs. It’s because a significant portion of them have not yet had time to develop the maturity to see it as more absurd and demeaning than what common decency would require, which makes them much more likely to embrace it to sate their budding desires. They’re still the group the comic is targeting, and the means in question are still exploitative. And not that I’d normally feel the need to cover this base, but yes, teenage girls are often that way too, though pandering to them in the same way is less common and less extreme, hence why this conversation happends much less often where they’re concerned.

    • They can, but what’s more likely? That a group of men drew a half-naked woman in essentially a stripper outfit to endorse positive sexuality/body image…. Or that a group of men drew a half-naked woman in essentially a stripper outfit because boobs.

      Considering the next seemingly plot-important female character in this series is wearing almost nothing but red fishnet for no reason, I’m going to say it was probably the latter reason.

      • You do make a good point, that yes, the character’s were probably initially designed to add a bit of sex appeal to the comic. I think, however, that despite what a characters origins in the drawing room may have been, what really matters is how that character is written and implemented.

        If a character is poorly written, by all means tear into the horrible writing. But if a character is well written, cool, badass, and has character depth, and fit’s nicely into their world, then does it really matter if they are drawn to look sexy, even when it fit’s the character (in general, i mean).

        While i am not saying Linkara has especially done this (he seems like a pretty cool guy most of the time), I do feel like some people are quick to demonize characters that show off a bit of skin. If the character is well written, and the only complaint people have is “she needs to cover up more”, well, that’s a pretty crappy argument in general.

        Interesting in how Lilith was in this comic briefly, as in most portrayals of her, she is shown as being very scantily dressed and very promiscuous (and demonic, but that’s beside the point). However, some feminists see her as an important feminist figure despite, or in some cases helped by, her open sexuality, despite it’s early usage as a way to demonize her.

        I suppose what I’m trying to say is, despite a character’s initial purpose or creation, i feel that we should look more at their actions and characteristics, and how they are portrayed in story to make our judgements about them and the book they are in, rather than the clothing/lack there of that they wear.

  19. The art’s not doing anything for me either. The style is like that 90s American-Korean hybrid cartoon style when animation studios decided Japan was too expensive.

  20. whooo candy! thank you mr Linkara!

  21. Linkara isn’t “sex positive” because he objects to pandering to horny teenage boys via goofy, nonsensical, demeaning images of naked women as a feminist and as a critic demanding good writing?

    This is why Michael Bay is one of the richest directors on the planet.

    • The criticism seems to be more that he attacks sexuality of all kinds, when sexuality, in and of itself, is not an inherently bad thing. Just because a character shows some skin doesn’t instantly make them a bad character or make a story bad.

      Now maybe when Linkara reads every single female character in a stereotypical 50’s secretary voice it can make them seem that way, but if anything, doesn’t that come off more as him demeaning the women in question due to the mocking tone?

      (Just my two cents, as for all I know, that is literally the only female voice he can do, but even then, talking like a caricature could make anyone sound bad)

      • Weren’t you around for the Rise of Arsenal review? He said he liked the sex scene in that as a good depiction of two people needing each other in a devastating time. (Except, in fact, when they undermined it by instead making Ray Harper’s impotence the point.)

        When you have a show about reviewing bad comics in a world full of pandering to horny kids, odds are that you’re going to be talking about bad depictions of sexuality much more than good ones.

  22. So it seems we’ve found the disease that is on the opposite spectrum of Youngblood’s Disease; A disease that makes your eyes disgustingly huge, Crimson’s Disease!

  23. Western and eastern comics all seem to have the same gravitational phenomena that apparently breasts are never effected by gravity.

    Maybe that’s the secret to repulsorlift technology! We just put boobs on a car and bingo, instant hover car!

  24. CONFESSION TIME!
    Back in my teens, I really liked Crimson.
    Yes, it was weirdly drawn, excessively silly and stupid, but hey, I was a teen and stupid.
    Still, there is one issue that I would say really holds up.
    I think its number 5 or 7. Basically, its an issue where Alex walks into a burger joint on christmas and just wants to spend some time alone. Suddenly all Arc-angels walk in, kill the other people inside and begin to judge Alex for his future, potential crimes against creation.
    And then, Satan walks in.
    And its the best written and layered Satan that I have ever seen. A completely smug, self-assured, pompous ass. At least in front of the other arc-angels. Later, all others leave and he remains with god. And they have a great one-sided debate about the nature of his fall in this universe (basically, he realized that mankind’s decisions in garden Eden had no meaning. They had no way to be evil, since it didn’t exist and therefore good was no choice, so he betrayed god and led the rebellion for the sake of mankind), his relationship with god (he is the only angel who still talks to god on a regular basis) and how he has to keep his act up as the betrayer for the rest of eternity, all because he loves mankind as much as god does.
    That guy takes stage for half the issue and he is such a tragic figure, its amazing. And he walks off with the great words “The sun shines on the just and the unjust, and I get snow…”
    Yeah, its terribly drawn and silly, but it is really enjoyable!
    The rest sucks, though.

  25. The art style is questionable, but I applaud the artist for at least drawing female characters with some kind of musculature and anatomy. Most artists seem to believe women are balloons comprised of nothing but smooth surfaces and breasts. I’m reminded of that weird advertising poster where they airbrushed a woman’s kneecaps off, apparently to maintain the illusion that women don’t have skeletons or internal organs.

  26. I’m surprised that you didn’t go a bit further into Lilith, seeing as she was the first feminist, and that’s what pissed off Adam. She wanted to be treated with equality to him and *gasp* have sex on top!

  27. Also, did you put Angel up in the background because of Buffy in a milk ad on the back?

  28. Anyone else see the electrical tape lady on the cover and immediately think of Wendy O. Williams?

  29. It’s worth noting that Crimson is some of Ramos’ earliest work. The art in Crimson itself improved over time, the story too.

    Ekimus’ sash reading “No no no” hinting that Ramos’ didn’t want to work on Crimson would be odd considering Crimson is his creation. Yeah, Ramos is the main guy behind the book, both story and art.

    Linkara’s cahracterization of Joe kinda bugged me a bit. More somewhat of a pet peeve than anything though. Joe is mexican and honestly one of the most likeable characters in the entire series. certainly my favourite. So hearing him portrayed with, in lack of a better term, a broski type of voice came off weird. Also, Crimson (the woman in the red hood) is french.

    For anyone interested in other stuff Ramos has worked on (that isn’t marvel) I’d recommend “Revelations”. Murder mystery set in the vatican. Heavy, for obvious reasons, religious themes. As an atheist I’m always of two minds when it comes to portrayals of religion in fiction. It’s fiction so it’s completely plausible that in the fictional world gods exist, and a lot of it is great fodder for stories and such. It’s just a fine line to walk to not become preachy when portraying real life religions. (If it’s a completely made up religion for the story, like say in a fantasy setting, go nuts.)

    That was a huge tangent to say that Revelations handles the theme well. Very good introspective of theism/atheism and the nature of belief.

  30. the really sad thing is that despite how dumb this comic is, this is the first time in a good LOOOOOOONG while that I’ve seen vampires portrayed in a way that didn’t make me want to facepalm my own head off. they actually retain their personality, are capable of kinship and rational thinking, aren’t permanently drowning in melancholy brooding and angst-bursting emo-ness, and don’t seem to need a friggin computer chip implanted into their head in order to not automatically turn into evil vicious feral monsters who are basically just non-rotting zombies with fangs.

    • Except Vampires should be almost like zombies. Only people who retain their personality as unleaded were so extreme evil that they could fit the role anyway, just were smarter and in some cases could use black magic if they were warlocks when they live (vampire powers are mostly sorcery not caused by vampirism on it won).

      It is stupid Hollywood who change those wild beast in thinking emo-drama BS, still even those movies without Twilight-disease depict them horribly wrong. I could understand that you prefer Vampires as thinking being, but proper presentation as monster isn’t reason for facepalming. Only justified reason for facepalm are sparkling vampires.

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