Monday, August 5, 2013

Axe Cop

Axe Cop
Episode 1: Night Mission: Stealing Friends Back
Episode 2: Zombie Island...In Space
By: Carlos Uribe

Axe Cop is an animated parody of superhero comic books.

Spoilers Ahoy!

The adventures of Axe Cop started when a comic book artist was playing with kid brother. The artist wanted to explore the webcomic medium so he decided to practice by translating his brother's stories into comic form. It's managed to gain popularity, has received a publishing deal, and is now being translated into the field of animation by FOX. The history of Axe Cop is important in order to understand exactly what this show is about. This is a parody of superhero comic books in which the plot and ideas come from a young kid. The animation style and actual writing is done by an adult. Axe Cop is therefore a parody where what happens is really exactly what a kid comes up with. This basically means that it makes little no actual sense logically and ideas are introduced and dropped on a whim. There is some attempt to create continuity so as to not disorient the viewer but it's going to be impossible for fans to really make sense of the mythology. This can be amusing to watch but it can also be frustrating. It might work better in webcomic form but it doesn't really make a compelling series. This might be due to the time constant and I'd definably would be interested if making this series a whole half-hour might fix this issue but I never really laughed at all. In reality, the joke is just how ridiculous the whole narrative gets but this is never really good enough to keep me satisfied. There's a sense that there could be a lot of good jokes written into the episodes if it didn't have to go through the largely whimsical plot. It's possible it's just not for me. Fans of the show will probably point that the plot being the joke is everything the show needs to work for them. This might certainly please them but it's insufficient to really attract a larger audience. I can't see this show achieving the same level of success as South Park or any of the [adult swim] cult cartoons. Then again, I don't get most of the [adult swim] cartoons since I don't smoke weed.

I try my best not to compare shows but it's not like it's really productive of me to talk about how good the plot is. It was drawn up by a kid. It would be cruel to really criticize it on the same level as something crafted by a professional writer. So I'm going to talk about how Axe Cop could potentially work as a series and that's The Venture Bros. In case you don't know what that show is, it's a brilliant parody of Jonny Quest. It has many of the same core attributes: a ridiculous plot, one-dimensional characters, and it's poking fun of cartoons. The difference between The Venture Bros and Axe Cop? It's that the Venture Bros actually has jokes in it. The plot might be ridiculous but it's how the characters react to it that ultimately sells it. It's not the best cartoon out there but it remains consistently funny because it never mistakes a ridiculous plot twist as the only joke necessary. That's what I would like to see Axe Cop take a cue from. The two would be just different enough to justify Axe Cop's existence and it would be able to work as an actual television series. It currently simply does not and that's because all we get are the ridiculous plot turns as the jokes. Which starts to really run old by the time that you get half-way through the episode and their only like ten minutes long. I get that the plot is being drawn up by a kid and I think that's actually a good thing for Axe Cop but it's also being worked on by adults. There is no reason that Axe Cop can't do both: have it's fun with ridiculous narrative twists and to have some additional humor around that.

As it stands, Axe Cop isn't a complete waste of ten minutes. It has it's charms, it's interesting to see what a plot actually written by a kid looks like, but it falls short because it's not very entertaining once you get past the novelty. That's really all there is to Axe Cop: a lot of novelty without giving anybody a reason to come back. If it manages to get a second season, it might be worth another check-up because then they'll have some time to dedicate to actually writing in jokes. It's possible that once that happens then Axe Cop will actually be fun. I don't know about you but I would actually like that a lot. In it's present day, I'd say check out an episode of Axe Cop. You might just find yourself amused for a short while. Just don't expect to fall in love with it.

Oh, and Nick Swardson was an excellent choice to voice Axe Cop.

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