|#41||12/21/06 & 12/28/06||#5|
ESSENTIAL MAN-THING V1
Writers: Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Steve Gerber, Tony Isabella, Mike Ploog Artists: Gary Morrow, John Buscema, Neal Adams, Dan Adkins, Rich Buckler, Howard Chaykin, Jim Mooney, Jim Starlin, Val Mayerik, Frank Bolle, Chic Stone, Frank McLaughlin, Sal Trapani, Jack Abel, Mike Ploog, Frank Chiramonte, Klaus Janson, Tom Sutton, Alfredo Alcala, Vincente Alcazar, Pat Broderick, Al Milgrom
ESSENTIAL DEFENDERS V2
Writers: Tony Isabella, Len Wein, Steve Gerber, Jim Starlin, Gerry Conway, Roger Slifer, Chris Claremont, Scott Edelman, Bill Mantlo Artists: Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Sal Buscema, Klaus Janson, Mike Esposito, Gil Kane, Dan Green, George Tuska, Mike Esposito, Vince Colletta, Sal Trapani, Dan Adkins, Don Newton, Jim Mooney, Don Heck, Bob McLeod, Jack Abel, Frank Giacoia, John Trataglione Publisher: Marvel Reviewer: Dan Grendell"For whatever knows fear BURNS at the Man-Thing's touch!!"
"Paper dolls don't cry. Only us real people got that problem."
I'm sure you're wondering why I'm reviewing both these ESSENTIAL volumes together. At first glance, they don't seem much alike. I mean, MAN-THING is quasi-horror with a mindless muck monster used as a focal point for stories. DEFENDERS is a super-hero team book, albeit a more off-the-wall one than, say, AVENGERS. And no, it isn't that Howard the Duck appears in both volumes (in fact, his first appearance is in this MAN-THING volume), although that's close. The real tie is the writer of most of the stories in both books - Steve Gerber.
Most prolific in the Seventies, the era of both these collections, it's rare to see comics work from Gerber anymore. That's a shame, because he's a talented writer with a definite knack for mixing the totally strange with normal tropes of comics and making it work. Another hallmark of his work is the inclusion of social commentary, something he was doing long before it was fashionable. Grant Morrison reminds me of Gerber in some ways, though other aspects of their writing styles are completely different.
Taking over after a couple issues from Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, MAN-THING is pretty much all Steve Gerber. He stays with the basic idea of a man who injected himself with super-soldier serum to keep it out of AIM's hands and seemingly died in a car explosion in the swamp, rising as an empathic creature whose touch literally burns any who are afraid. But instead of just making Man-Thing a monster that kills people in a swamp, which is boring as hell, Gerber tells stories of people trying to drain the swamp to build an airport. Now there's an environmental tale going on. Later, he reveals the swamp as the Nexus of all Realities, where alternate realities meet, and cults and brains that make their own bodies and jars of peanut butter that turn into barbarian warriors make appearances. And throughout, people are learning lessons about themselves or life in general. Sometimes the lesson is a bit heavy-handed, but the innovative stories always soften that blow.
Gerber picks up DEFENDERS after Len Wein, and again most of the book is devoted to his work. If Gerber wanted to work on a superhero book, DEFENDERS seems like the perfect choice, because they specialize in dealing with weird crap. Flourishes like the Headmen fit right in, a pair of freaks who with screwed up heads. One was working on shrinking (like Hank Pym) and instead turned his head into a cross between Droopy Dog and melting butter. The other was using organs from apes to give transplants, until the apes somehow became intelligent and grafted his head to an ape body. And that's not even touching on Valkyrie's search for who she is, which stretches across a good part of the book and involves destiny, cults, and a drunk who plays a harmonica and unmakes the universe. The lessons are here, too - stories about racism and responsibility with the Sons of the Serpent, making assumptions with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and, of course, just what defines who you truly are courtesy of Valkyrie's search.
As usual with ESSENTIAL volumes, there are so many artists involved that it’s hard to make a very clear call on the quality, but both of these volumes have a high percentage of strong artists putting out good work. Mike Ploog, especially, in MAN-THING, and Sal Buscema in DEFENDERS, seem to really nail the essence of the characters and action perfectly.
If you end up enjoying either of these books, you may want to check out ESSENTIAL HOWARD THE DUCK V.1, another Steve Gerber ESSENTIAL from the Seventies focused solely on the character he is most known for. If you've only ever seen the movie, you've got a few things to learn about that duck.
Writer: Bill Willingham Penciler: Mark Buckingham Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics Reviewed by Humphrey LeeThere are many, many, many questions to this little bit of dismal-itry we call life that go unanswered. What's the purpose? What am I supposed to do with my time here? Why do the good die young and the bastards live for-fucking-ever? And how, each and every December 25th, does that fat and jolly fuck from the North Pole make deliveries to each and every boy and girl in all of the world in just the span of a mere handful of hours?
Well, thankfully Mr. Bill Willingham has finally answered that last one for us.
Christmas has descended upon Fabletown, but more specifically the Bigby household. But not only does this special issue deal with the big question of "Is Santa Claus a Fable?" but it also gives a couple pushes and nudges towards big things to come. Not everything can be fun and games, as much as we'd like it to be with the subject matter at hand. But even though it's the time for giving to loved ones, in Fabletown the prospect of war with the Homelands is always looming.
But there is a lot of fun to be had here, as is the case with most issues of this amazing series. The book starts off with a hilarious bit involving our resident loveable rascal Jack Horner trying to steal Old Saint Nick's Naughty and Nice lists for extortion purposes. Plus, add in some holiday bliss at the Bigby's and an interlude with Boy Blue and Rose Red as they try out some spoils from the Arabian Fablelands and there's plenty of smiles to had. Even Santa's explanation as to how he performs his yearly miracle is a fun little yarn, though there is a bit of melancholy hanging around via a sequence involving the newly re-frogged (man, I can't believe I actually typed that) Flycatcher. It does tie into the FABLES: 1001 NIGHTS OF SNOWFALL OGN from a couple months back, so those FABLES fans who somehow missed out on that instant classic may be lost, but it is a powerful moment filled with lots of foreboding. This series seems to manage a steady stream of those, which is probably why it's one of the best on the market.
And the art as always is spectacular. Buckingham's pencils are always the perfect combination of "adult" and "Disney" when it comes to this series; that is, it always packs the perfect emotional punch when called upon, but always has this upbeat energy to it keeping it fresh and kinetic. As much as the writing is particularly clever, full of twists and turns, and constantly innovative...well, the art is all that and more and is a huge part of this series' appeal.
So another great issue of another great series is in the bag and this is where I'm supposed to do the usual "If you're not reading this you're missing out" and "This is one of the best series comics has ever seen" and blah blah blah and that's done. But as much as it's probably (and hopefully) been beaten into your skulls by now, it's that way because it's true. This comic is that good, and you really should be reading it, and if your loved ones really are that to you and vice versa you'd be sharing Mr. Willingham's gift to the world with them and each other in trade form. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.
THE NEW AVENGERS #26
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Alex Maleev Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Ambush BugThe relationship between the works of Brian Michael Bendis and myself has been tumultuous at best. I’ve read many of his mainstream superhero books and found that a lot of them have flaws that tend to get on my nerves. But in recent months, Brian Michael Bendis has surprised me with some interesting reads, most recently the “solo” issues of the NEW AVENGERS that have been going on since Marvel’s super-crossover CIVIL WAR started. I’ve liked these issues and I doubt he would admit it, but I think Bendis has listened to his critics by tightening up the internal logic of his stories and recognizing what has come before rather than writing in a vacuum constructed only of his own design. Bendis has also reeled back his tendency to waste space on redundant beat panels and over-exposition which frustrated me because I felt as if I wasn’t getting my money’s worth by buying his comics in single issue format when they were so obviously paced for trade. These Bendis-isms that have been recognized by his critics and embraced by his followers have been honed to a sharper point these days. I think these “one and done” issues of NEW AVENGERS really have helped make Bendis a better writer. Try any of the last four issues of this series, each told in a single issue, each focusing on a single member of the team, and see what I mean.
But don’t check out NEW AVENGERS #26.
In this issue, it seems as if Bendis is returning back to his bag of old tricks. One thing that frustrated me about the HOUSE OF M and AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED events was the foundations of logic Bendis used to plant his story upon were not strong. Plots were explained away with mentions of words like “chaos magic” or left unexplained entirely. One such occurrence happens at the beginning of this issue as Hawkeye magically appears in the ruins of Avengers Mansion seven months ago. There is no explanation. No dialog. Nothing giving the reader a clue as to how Hawkeye was back. He just was. There are those who say, why ask why? Just enjoy the story. But when shit just happens for no reason, that’s not a story. It’s life. And there’s a difference between story and life. Life happens for no reason. Life is waking up, brushing your teeth, putting on deodorant. Monotony until one day you’re dead and you can’t wake up, brush your teeth, and put on deodorant. Story happens because there is something to tell. One day, you wake up and put on your deodorant before brushing your teeth. Why? That’s the story. There has to be a reason to make your audience care this occurrence happened. When the foundation of your story rests on an occurrence with no explanation, the reader, right off the bat, has nowhere to cling to. Shit happens in life. In story, it doesn’t, not if you want to tell a good story. Sure, later on, Bendis can come back and say “I purposefully left out the explanation.” But the story starts with Hawkeye coming back. The story is Hawkeye coming back. You’d think there’d at least be a clue as to why other than Dr. Strange saying, “You’re okay now” and then moving right on to the search for the Scarlet Witch.
That’s lazy writing anyway you slice it. Bendis knows that any explanation offered will be cheap, or maybe he just can’t imagine anything up to do so, so instead, like a good slight of hand artist, he quickly changes the subject and we’re off on a journey to find the Scarlet Witch.
The rest of the story is ok. Hawkeye stumbles his way around and eventually finds Wanda AKA Scarlet Witch in a village below Wundagore Mountain where she was raised. The two share some intimate moments and then…well…I don’t know what the fuck happened.
And I don’t fault Bendis for this one. Alex Maleev, while in my opinion not a very good ball-handler in the first place, drops the ball big time in the last few pages of this book. After Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch (who by now should be called the Scarlet Ho-Bag since she’s bagged The Vision, Wonder Man, Captain America, and now Hawkeye) bump scruglies, here’s what I think happens: Hawkeye gets out of bed. He looks at her in bed. Looks at her chair. Looks at a door. Walks to the door. Grabs the knob. Looks at the door. Looks at his hand on the knob. Looks back at her in bed. Looks frightened? Constipated? Excited? Sad? I donno, inscrutable facial expression time. Now, his hand doesn’t have a doorknob in it. Hawkeye is a foot away from the door. Another shot of the door. Hawkeye looks at her in bed. Another inscrutable facial expression. Final shot of Hawkeye fully clothed, outside of door, seemingly leaving.
To quote the bard: “--the hell?”
Did Hawkeye just get a case of One-Night-Stand-itis and decided to leave Wanda alone in bed after puttin’ the ol’ shaft into her quiver?
Does reality shift a bit and the door that he thought was there move a foot away?
Did Hawkeye open the door and see something that none of us did?
I have no freaking clue. For a few panels, Bendis flashes back to a quote from Dr. Strange saying that Hawkeye may not like what he sees when he finds Wanda and that he may make matters worse, but this doesn’t shed a beam of light on what Hawkeye is thinking in this final scene. It looks as if the series of panels have some kind of relevance, but I honestly have no clue what it is.
So you have an issue which starts out with an occurrence with no explanation, some shit happens, and then in the end a hodge-podge of panels are jammed together to try to say…something. And as much as one would think I am trying to blame Bendis for this mess of an issue, I have to rest the blame on more appropriate shoulders, that of Alex Maleev. Maleev’s scratchings may convey mood, but mood doesn’t tell story. Maleev’s handling of panel to panel progression is horrible. Something’s going on in these panels, but I have no idea what it is. A better artist would have been able to clarify this mess of an ending. He would have been able to conclude this single issue story in a manner that didn’t leave us asking more questions. So whereas the way the story started out and the initial confusion that proceeds is all Bendis’ fault, it’s Maleev, not Bendis, who messed this one up in the end. Maybe it’s the Bendis/Maleev combo that I don’t like. I’ve seen Bendis work with other artists and I was pleased with the results. Maybe it’s the way they communicate with one another or the lack thereof. Whatever the case, if you’re looking for a clear story about the return of Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch to status quo, look elsewhere. This one ain’t it.
Writer: Greg Rucka Artist: Jesus Saiz Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Sleazy GAnybody who’s read a Greg Rucka novel can tell you CHECKMATE is pretty much the best possible match for his sensibilities. It allows him to use his knowledge of the military and private security contractors, as well as how they interact with the government and how quickly their worlds can suddenly explode. It also lets him play with the comics characters he has such a strong affection for in new ways. So far the espionage/superhero combination has worked surprisingly well.
I’ve never been a fan of his taking the uniquely hard-nosed, non-powered, human character he created in Sasha Bordeaux and turning her into an angry half-cyborg weirdo because of the big OMAC thing last year in the DCU, and I still don’t’ think she needed the supposed “upgrade”. That said, seeing just what a hardass she really is and watching her throw her weight around in a war room as easily as in the field is a lot of fun, and seeing characters who were previously seen only in a superhero punch-up every now and again being used in covert military ops works to expose a new side of those characters. It’s certainly added welcome layers to the likes of Mr. Terrific and Fire, and it’s exposing a side of the DCU that hasn’t been touched since the old SUICIDE SQUAD and CHECKMATE! series.
Still, there are certain corners of the DCU that would naturally seem harder to integrate into a military-style international action thriller. One of those corners would be coming up with a way to use, oh, Sugar and Spike or Bat-Mite. Another obvious danger zone would be any of the magical/supernatural/occult characters. I mean, how do you do a rapidly paced story about a military squad attempting to exfiltrate with their target and then have the manifestation of the Wrath Of God stop in to help out? Things can get a little tricky, a little outta control. Sure, there’s a lot of potential for interesting stories, but if it’s not handled delicately the magic stuff can be overpowering and throw off the balance of the relatively grounded military/espionage stuff.
Rucka does a helluva job here, though. Sure, it was a bit odd at first, seeing a UN intelligence agency infiltrating the “extraplanar” Oblivion Bar, focal point for the DCU’s magic practitioners and home base of the gang from SHADOWPACT. I was a little leery that it might pull me out of the book seeing these two sets of characters cross over so early in their titles’ runs, but it wasn’t a problem at all. Rucka comes up with a very clever use of Shadowpact’s abilities, actually—a use which perfectly plays off of the military aspects of CHECKMATE. It’s nothing big, nothing flashy—in fact, as I was reading and started to realize what was going on I realized how much sense it made and how obvious it was in hindsight. It’s just the kind of clever adaptation of the magical characters’ abilities that had already been working so well with some of the superheroes in the title.
Of all the books spawned by DC’s recent mega-crossovers, CHECKMATE manages to be one of the two or three best reads every month. In fact, it’s probably the first new title I’d recommend people pick up from DC, because it’s got so much more going on than just the standard superhero fare. Sure, it’s consistently tense and action-packed. Beyond that, though, the insight into the backgrounds of the characters and the political intrigue add a lot more depth than you’re going to see in most of the other mainstream books on the shelves right now. Rucka’s doing some of his best comic work in CHECKMATE, bringing a lot of his knowledge and experience from outside of comics to the title. As long as he does that and keeps coming up with fresh new ways to use the superheroes and magical characters from the DCU, this series is going to keep clicking.
WINTER SOLDIER: WINTER KILLS ONE SHOT
Writer: Ed Brubaker Penciler(s): Lee Weeks & Stefano Gaudiano Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewed by Humphrey LeeIt's the holiday season and the CIVIL WAR is still raging strong apparently (if you could still call it "raging" since it hasn't really bothered to show up for a couple months, but I digress). But while most of the heroes of the Marvel Universe are trading blows over this whole registration act, Captain America's old sidekick Bucky (now going under the guise of the Winter Soldier) is laying low and trying to re-align himself with the world around him after having spent years in storage, only being drawn out to be used for assassination purposes under someone else's control. So this so-called "Casualties of War" tie-in is really just a one-shot focusing on the current emotional state of our once former "boy wonder" and actually turned out to be quite the touching little book.
The comic starts off with a WWII flashback (come on, what did you expect?) of the last Christmas our boy Bucky had a chance to celebrate before the same accident that flash froze Captain America for all those years also put Buck under as well. But besides just being a poignant flashback, it also sets up the only real "tie-in" this thing has to CIVIL WAR in that it reminds us how much things have changed. Back then Cap was about as popular a human being as you could get, with Bucky not far behind, but now our star-spangled Avenger is feeling the brunt of negative popular opinion due to his anti-reg stance, and Bucky is pretty much nothing but WWII nostalgia to the masses. And now our former sidekick is feeling a bit left out in the cold and deserted by a population that once adored him and by the heroes he once called friends and that are now content to beat each other senseless.
But the book isn't all maudlin and reminiscing. In the midst of his little bout of self-pity, Buck is called out by his new handler, the de facto leader of SHIELD Nick Fury to stop the Young Avengers (out fighting crime in defiance of the Registration Act) from breaking up a Hydra cell that Fury needs operating a bit longer to find out just what they're up to. So you've got some great emotional bits at the beginning and end of this book to really drive home what this character must be going through after the ordeal he has had over the past 60-odd years, a few pages of ass-kickery in the middle, and some great nostalgia via the flashbacks to really put everything in perspective. Sure, I know none of this material is exactly "ground-breaking" material, but it does show some fine craftsmanship and polish to evoke the emotion that it does. I'm still not exactly sure why this warranted having to slap that red banner across the top of the book, but if it encourages someone to buy something they normally wouldn't, and give them a taste of the kind of top-quality writing they've been missing on Brubaker's CAPTAIN AMERICA run, then by all means I hope it worked. I just hope it doesn't leave anyone expecting a full-on tie-in dealie feeling they've been had.
Also, the art chores on this book line up with the writing very well. I've always been a big supporter of Lee Weeks’ art, and was a supporter of Gaudiano's too once he took over for Michael Lark on the classic GOTHAM CENTRAL series. Both have very story-driven styles, using lots of atmosphere in their panels via the dark tones and *gasp* background work (an art that seems to have been lost on most mainstream pencilers). Lots of facial ticks and range of expressions on the part of both of them, plus just great panel work in general, really push the book to make it such the unexpectedly wonderful little read that it is.
So, while the book itself is actually four dollars and a little on the subdued side, that still doesn't make it any less worth your money than whatever event book de jour also walked into your shop this past week. In fact, I think it's that very nature of the book that appealed to me in this mass of "shit blows up and guys in costumes angrily hit each other over a premise that has worn thin already". This is just a good old-fashioned tale of a man coming to grips with his place in a world that has passed him by, and trying to maintain a modicum of sanity throughout it all. And what person here can't identify with that? This is why Brubaker is such a potent writer, because he takes what by all means should have just been a throwaway special with a banner on it designed specifically just to generate sales, and he turned it into a book that really makes you think. That's just fine talent right there. I wish more of these "tie-ins" could be more like this one.
Writer: John Ostrander Artist: Tom Mandrake Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Ambush BugI know there’s a bit of a hubbub regarding this so-called “filler” arc that is currently running through BATMAN. I know people want their Grant Morrison Joker issue. Sure, I kind of want to read it too. But in the meantime, there’s a pretty good story unfolding. Issue #661 is part three of this arc and not necessarily the perfect time to bring attention to this one, but better now than never.
The arc is called “Grotesk” and it refers to a shady character who has been burning and stealing the faces of criminals on the streets of Gotham city. The guy’s got ties to Leslie Thompkins’ health clinic (Thompkins being Bruce Wayne’s maternal figure after his parents’ death until he sent her up the river for letting the Spoiler die) and to an experimental handheld weapon called I-Gore. He’s your typical deranged “Phantom of the Opera”-esque character, scarred and bent to enact revenge on those who he thinks has wronged him. Although the character isn’t all that original, Ostrander’s story is a well-structured mystery pitting bad guy against bad guy against Batman against Grotesk. It’s a strong story with ties to Bruce’s past, but not necessarily ground-shattering in regards to status quo changing stories. And that’s what makes it so special. This is the type of Batman story I love. A well structured mystery. It’s simple and will probably not be remembered as one of the best stories in Batman’s literary life, but it does prove that this is a tale told by one of the best writers we have in comics today. A writer that doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Ostrander isn’t a Wizard Writer of the Month, but he’s been writing strong stories for as long as I’ve been reading comics. This story proves that last statement without question.
Ostrander’s artistic partner for many books including THE SPECTRE and the overlooked MARTIAN MANHUNTER series from a few years ago is Tom Mandrake. I’m not one of those guys who puts comic book art on his walls, but if I were to get my hands on a few select pages of the art Mandrake provides for this series, I’d be a happy man. Mandrake has a subdued style, highlighting both the monstrous and iconic characteristics of the Batman in action. As I flipped through the pages on first pass, I noticed the art as a true standout. Upon looking back, there are specific pages that are truly frame-worthy. Mandrake catches the essence of Batman in action. Panel placement and shape, panel to panel progression, and the action that is illustrated within are all some of the best I’ve seen. You can goo all over that Jim Lee Batman cover if you want, but give me page three or four of issue #661 or any page of issue #660 any old day. Artists should look to the way the panels play out and the way the splashes have relevance and impact and learn how to do it right.
I really can’t help but gush about this BATMAN arc. I think a lot of people saw that this wasn’t a Morrison issue and decided to give it a pass. To those people I say, “Give this one a shot.” They are missing a Batman tale that can’t be beat. There is probably still a chance to pick up the first three issues of this arc (which comes to an end next month) on the shelf or in the recent back issue bin. This story deserves the attention and the team behind it deserves a chance to shine on a project bigger than a so-called fill-in arc.
Creator: Housui Yamazaki Publisher: Dark Horse Reviewer: Dan Grendell"Dead and impure spirit of the deceased, once again becoming an evil spirit menacing this world. This will not stand. With this spirit gun called Kagutsuchi, I send you to the Underworld."
Okay, so I've read the first volume of Dark Horse's new release KUROSAGI CORPSE DELIVERY SERVICE, reviewed it even, so I knew Housui Yamazaki could draw. Well, guess what. Like most mangaka, Yamazaki can write, too. MAIL isn't much like that other title, though, except in art style, and though I really dug KUROSAGI that's a good thing- innovation is the name of the game in horror manga.
Reiji Akiba is a private detective, but he investigates special cases- hauntings, curses, that sort of thing. Akiba believes that the dead are always trying to communicate with the living, and that most odd things that people just ignore are this communication - mail from the Underworld. Armed with his ability to see spirits and his magical gun Kagutsuchi, Akiba tracks down ghosts and shoots them with a spiritual bullet which captures the soul. He then takes the bullet to a shrine and lays the soul to rest, allowing the ghost to move on from this world. Often he is just in time, and it is the stories of the various ghosts and the people they are haunting that are the really excellent part of all this. Yamazaki goes into each ghost's tale as the story unfolds and Akiba or the haunted character discovers clues, making it a mix of mystery and horror with enough imagination for two manga.
Yamazaki's art remains as excellent as it was on KUROSAGI, with expressive faces and great character development even in the short time we get to know each haunted person. It takes both writing and artistic talent to make you care that someone is in danger in just a few pages, but Yamazaki really shines at it. The ghosts, too, are creepy, and the double page spread of a young Akiba opening his eyes from beneath his blanket to the face of a ghost inches from his face yelling 'YOU CAN SEE ME!" scared the hell out of me.
I'm riding this new wave of horror manga, and while it isn't all to my taste, enough of it is that I have to commend publishers on their choices. MAIL is yet another good one, and I'm looking forward to the next volume.
AGAINST THE WALL OGN Caruso ComicsWhen I read the back cover of this book, I have to admit, I rolled my eyes a little at the “after shool special” way the comic tried to sell itself about a guy reaching for his dream despite the odds. But as I read the book I couldn’t help but be sucked into the narrative with its comfortable dialog and tender moments. This is a slice of life book about a man who has aspirations of making his own movies and develops a means to get the funds to make this dream happen, but somewhere along the way gets sidetracked with the stuff that has shattered many a dream, namely drugs, women, and pride. Illustrated with crisp lines which define characters that prove to be distinct and memorable in both look and action, this story, drawn by Shawn Richter, looks as good as it reads. And in the end, I felt a bit inspired myself. A really nice read with some solid storytelling coming from Dino Caruso. Worth a peek. - Ambush Bug
Warren Ellis’ WOLFSKIN #2 AvatarWOLFSKIN? More like foreskin…
Spoiler warning!!! This issue features a cameo by Wolfskin’s uncircumcised dangling man-junk. So if your bag is bathing barbarians with bulbous organs that resemble a turtle coming out of its shell, then you’d better high-tail it to the comic shop and pick this badboy up, ranger! It’s not that there isn’t a place for uncircumcised penis panels in the cornucopia of indie titles that make up today’s comic book market. It’s just that I was a bit jarred at not one, but two, large panels of Wolfskin in all of his glory. The story is simple, and Ellis is one of the few people that can pull it off, with this tale involving a debt to a village at war with another this barbarian is forced to honor despite the fact that he loathes both parties involved. In this issue, Wolfskin begins to play each side against each other, laying to rest that he is not just some simple, mindless killing machine. There’s a bit of welcome grue towards the end as Wolfy slices warriors in two with his sword and bashes their faces in with a hammer. And the art by Juan Jose Ryp is detailed to insane levels. His panels of bloody action splatter with juicy goodness. But I found the seven page bathing scene with our hero to be more than a little unsettling. - Ambush Bug