Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. Before we get to the reviews, Professor Challenger wanted to pass on a little something. Take it away, Prof.Professor Challenger here, back safe and sound and exhausted from the experience of C2E2. A lot of interesting encounters in Chicago. Whether it's bumping into Jimmy Palmiotti in the bar, hanging out at the library-style Archaia booth, visiting with Michael Easton & Chris Shy and talking about the final SOUL STEALER volume (NOW AVAILABLE!), being introduced to the cutest little collectible R/C robot toys for kids called ZIBITS which are already at Toys-R-Us and worth taking a look at, or best of all, making friends with Jim Kakalios, the author of THE PHYSICS OF SUPER-HEROES and science adviser to THE WATCHMEN film. Which brings me to the reason for this introduction. We now have a golden opportunity for the united voice of the geeks and comic fans to be heard this week by supporting Prof. Kakalios in his bid to win a Webby Award Webby Award for his short webisode discussing THE WATCHMEN and Physics. The voting ends on Thursday, April 29 soooo...all AICN Readers, let's rally behind Prof. Kakalios and get him that well-deserved Webby for his efforts to expand the reach of comics into Academia and beyond. Thank you in advance for his resounding win! :)
And now, on with the reviews…
GREEN LANTERN #54
Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Doug Mahnke Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous DoucheThere’s an obvious power-play happening at DC. While this could be the final death rattle for the congealed holistic continuity between all DC titles coveted by old fanfucks, it also is a sign that we will witness a new level of co-opetition between singular stories to see which creators’ brain children will reign supreme.
The seeds have already been planted; after all, DC has been operating this way for the last few years. What’s changed in recent months is that instead of conjuring loosely bound narratives like COUNTDOWNS and CRISES that seemed to cause more confusion than clarity someone finally just said, “fuck it just do whatever the hell you guys want to do.” And all I can say in reply is, “Thank the smelly seat cushion of Metron’s chair.”
Yes, I am part of that new breed of collector that is willing to forego the days of when a whisper of plot line would be uncovered in BATMAN, exploited and blow-out in SUPERMAN and then trickle down through the B-list titles. The universe has simply become too large and convoluted to support this model we all grew up with. Personally, I’m looking forward to this future of spandex fiefdoms.
In one corner you have Morrison working his magic with Batman and hopefully justifying the return of the multi-verse in coming months. Dan Didio promised us at last year’s Wizard World this would be so, and I for one always believe a comic editor. Robinson is still doing his thing with the multitude of Kryptonians in the various Superman titles. Not much else to say there so moving on. Great work is being done in the C-lister verse, but we’re here to talk GREEN LANTERN and specifically how Johns has made the B-List roster the best damn read in all of DC.
We still don’t know a hell of a lot, which is exactly how I should feel during this stage-setting phase of the next GREEN LANTERN epoch. Yes, epoch. This is not an event. As a matter of fact, I would love it if the term “event” could be magically circumcised from our collective tongues. We have become sheep people, believing in the marketing more than the stories themselves. Somewhere, I think it was around 2005, the term event became a grave misnomer. When everything is an event eventually nothing is an event. Both Marvel and DC are guilty. Just stop it with the events already; they are parlor tricks to draw in the uninitiated. Here’s a clue, guys--you won’t baptize new readers this way. Just keep making movies and the new readers will come.
Heroically Creepy…if I can be so bold as to create a sub-genre for comics, that’s the best way I can describe the current state of GREEN LANTERN and BRIGHTEST DAY. The heroic part naturally comes from Johns doing what he does best, ret-conning what once was for the modern age. The creepy part is all Mahnke. More on that in a minute.
If I had to pick one moment that stuck in my mind, it would be the simple interchange between Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris in the old pilot hang-out bar. Most reviewers got full on fanboners for the set-up at the end of issue, and while it gets my green goblin all riled up as well, it’s the interchange between Hal and Carol that sits at the crux of everything GREEN LANTERN right now. We knew there would be a “come to Jesus” moment for the love the two professed during the throes of battle in BLACKEST NIGHT. Johns is often accused of ret-conning to fit into his version of the universe. Not here. Despite professing their true feelings, the two still dance around the issue. It’s worked for them for the past forty years and I commend Johns for putting that passion on the back-burner instead of turning up the heat.
After the two have this awkward moment they decide to do what any of us would do with pent-up sexual frustration – go fly some fighter planes, baby. We’ll ignore the fact they did this right after they were at a bar. A swoop in by Sinestro during this frivolous sortie made me realize once again when Johns is on — the man is on. To date I have never read another author that has made a son-of-a-bitch so damn likeable. Johns is able to convey every arrogant ounce of Sinestro while somehow still making him…dare I say…noble. All of this of course is leading Hal Jordan on the path of discovering why the White Light keeps asking for him.
That’s what we know; the rest of the issue serves as an exercise in foreshadowing and where Mahnke rocked out with his cock out: a lone green shackled figure on Ryut that was around before the Corps…hell, before the Manhunters that predated the Corps; that same figure calling to a drooling Hector Hammond; a truce between Atrocitus, guy Gardner and Ganthet that threatens to tear the Corps asunder; and finally Larfleeze still tormenting Luthor. This was probably the most horrific and the most amusing moment. How Mahnke portrays Larfleeze precariously balancing his pet Guardian like part child part puppet was startling, and Luthor’s line about Earth’s greatest asset will make Donner fans squeal with glee.
BRIGHTEST DAY may not accentuate the “big players” of DC, but I will say hands down this is the biggest and best story they have going right now.
Optimous is lonely and needs friends. Even virtual ones will fill the gaping hole, join him on Facebook or he will cry like a newborn kitten.
Writer: Peter David Penciler: Valentine De Landro Published by: Marvel Comics Reviewed by: BottleImpAs a selective comic book reader, there is one word which, when I see it emblazoned on one of my regular titles, causes my eyes to roll back in my head and bile to rise in my gullet. That word: crossover. There’s a reason I don’t buy every single X-MEN title on the racks (or AVENGERS-related, or DC, etc.); part of this reason is the mere pragmatism that won’t allow me to throw all my money away on what used to be a fairly inexpensive hobby, the other part is the simple fact that I read what I like and I like what I read. If I don’t enjoy reading a certain title, then I don’t want to be forced to spend money on that title just because the powers-that-be at the editorial department decided to force their writers to drop what they had planned and tell one part of a big story designed to either A) dramatically change the world of BLANK…forever! Or B) bring in some cash. Luckily, there seems to be one writer whose opinion on crossovers mirrors my own, and that writer is X-FACTOR’s Peter David.
So this issue is a tie-in with the “Second Coming” thing that apparently is happening throughout all Marvel’s mutant books, and from the text page introduction in this issue I’m getting that a Sentinel from the future has resurrected some old X-Men villains in an attempt to destroy mutantkind forever, blah blah blah…in a nutshell, the same old, same old. Frankly, we’ve seen it all before. In fact, we’ve seen it most recently in the very pages of this series, right down to the whole time-travel thing. Does this mean that X-FACTOR is embarking on a boring repetition of this recent plotline? Far from it. Thankfully, David is not only continuing the adventures of Madrox’s misfit mutant detectives as he intended, the writer is using the burden of the crossover as a way to draw attention to the fact that X-FACTOR is NOT repeat NOT the typical X-book. The resurrected Bolivar Trask, creator of the Sentinels, is shown conferring with the U.S. government’s Mutant Response Division about how to eliminate the “mutant threat” that X-Factor poses, and during this discussion it is pointed out that, “…they’re not terrorists. There’s nothing for us to respond to…X-Factor is a business. They’ve broken no laws.” It’s great to see that even when David and Co. are roped into the latest spandex super-nonsense storylines that are the hallmark of the mainstream X-books, the focus of the title remains on what makes it appealing to readers like me in the first place: the fact that the comic ISN’T the typical spandex super-nonsense.
David also continues on his mission to bring the X-Factor team out into the wider scope of the Marvel Universe rather than letting it stew in the “mutants only” corner, as he uses the unconventional character the Absorbing Man as this issue’s plot device. Along with the previous Dr. Doom oriented storyline and the current use of Dr. Strange’s nemesis Baron Mordo, the Thor villain serves as a reminder to the readers of Marvel’s longstanding, once innovative tradition of a shared world for all of its characters.
Yes, there’s less of the X-Factor team than I would have liked to see, thanks to the need for pages to be spent on crossover-related plot exposition. We still have yet to see the return of Syren (now re-christened Banshee) or why Layla Miller kept Shatterstar with her in Latveria, and I could have done with seeing more of Guido and Monet’s subplot. But despite being fettered by editorial direction, David is still on course with his plotting…he’s just taking a more indirect route. And unlike the “Secret Invasion” Larry Stroman debacle, the scenery is still pretty, thanks to De Landro. So stay strong, X-Factor fans. According to the “Second Coming” checklist at the end of this comic, we’ve only got two more issues to go until we can go back to happily ignoring the rest of Marvel’s mutants.
When released from his Bottle, the Imp takes the form of Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from the Northeast. You can see some of his artwork here. He’s given up comics more times than he can remember. But every time he thinks he's out, they pull him back in.
SPELL CHECKERS vol. 1
Jamie S. Rich: Writer Nine years ago, Oni released a story about three young women who were secretly assassins. Written by Gail Simone and illustrated by Lea Hernandez, KILLER PRINCESSES was funny and action packed. The cool thing about it, though, was it was also an attack on two of America's pasttimes, the pursuit of fame and the elevation of mediocrity. It's a favorite of mine, if for no other reason than it makes frequent reference to the short story Gimple the Fool.
Nicolas Hitori De & Joelle Jones: Artists
Oni Press: Publisher
Vroom Socko: Living Weezer Song
Now Oni has a new book about a trio of bitchy girls who have a secret life, this time as a coven of witches. This new book, SPELL CHECKERS, also has an undercurrent of social commentary, this time on the sense of entitlement held by young beautiful people that they deserve whatever they want whenever they want. Now, I'm not saying that Jamie Rich is ripping off Gail the Great. I'm instead suggesting that Oni is developing its own new genre. Well, if future stories along these lines are as good as these, I'd certainly welcome them.
This particular story features three 16 year olds who at a young age stole a book of spells from an old wiccan woman, and proceed to use their new powers toward such noble ends as cheating on their history exams, banging cute boys, and generally holding court as the top bitches in their high school. This lasts until one of the three is confronted with a problem she inexplicably can't magic away. Then one of the others finds her power level drained, and before you can say catfight the three are at each other's throats.
These three are genuinely hateful, unlikable wastes of skin. One of then, Kimberly, has a protracted rant against learning history, since it's all about crap that's already happened, so what's the point. I'm reminded of what Stephen Fry had to say on the subject: that it's the kids who think like this that end up unemployed alcoholics, while those who find joy in learning are the one who actually do something with their fucking lives. Anyway...the point is, there's every reason to dislike these girls. But because Jamie Rich fills the pages with as much schadenfreude as physically possible, and with the anti-entitlement sentiment to the narrative, I can't help but love these horrid c***s.
Now, I know that I've praised both Mr. Rick and Ms. Jones on this site before (and in the interest of full disclosure, they and I have had occasion to drink from the same bottle of scotch once or twice) but it's Nicolas Hitore De that really wowed me in this book. There's a scene where Cynthia, the bitchiest of these bitches, is attempting to stick to her regular routine of avoiding gym class, and failing spectacularly. You can write a scene like this and WANT it to be funny, but it's up to the visuals to sell the comedy. Hitore De sells it. Man, does he sell it. This is the first work of his I've read. It definitely won't be the last.
The best thing about this book, though, are the two words right on the front: VOLUME ONE. I already know there's a Volume Two in the works, (scotch, remember) and I hope like hell there'll be a third one after that. These girls are just begging for a comeuppance, and I want to be there when it happens.
Vroom Socko, aka Aaron Button, only hates two types of people: those who think they can manipulate the world to suit their own ends, and Seattle Sounders fans. Anyone else, and he's pretty easygoing. He's also a huge fan of online comics, so if you've got one, send a link his way.
THE SPIRIT #1
er(s): Mark Schultz (Denny O’Neil on backup) Artist(s): Moritat (Bill Sienkiewicz on backup) Publisher: DC Comics Reviewed by Humphrey LeeAfter a strong start, this whole FIRST WAVE idea has started to lose me. After the highly, highly entertaining DOC SAVAGE/BATMAN special that kicked this off, I was enthralled by idea of having all these pulp heroes in their own little universe to play with. The problem is, the concept has fallen silent. The first issue of the FIRST WAVE series proper came out and…it was okay. Too much meandering, too many subplots thrown out there right off the bat, not enough of characters we came to see, but that’s also to be expected since two of them, the Doc and The Spirit, were getting their own books. But that’s when the other speed bump hit two weeks ago, when DOC SAVAGE #1 came out and was probably the worst comic I’ve read all year. And now that brings us to the newest volume of THE SPIRIT, which now has the unfortunate role of renewing my enthusiasm for this whole FIRST WAVE endeavor…
And it kind of does for the most part. If anything, I think I’m excited for the idea of a SPIRIT book that doesn’t exist just to exist like happened to the book after the departure of Darwyn Cooke on his fantastic run. This first issue kind of quenched my thirst so to speak for a Spirit tale that seems to have some sort of direction and handle on the character and how he operates. An essence of the character if you will, which is what I wanted out of this whole FIRST WAVE concept to begin with, complete with the retro-pulp setting and everything.
The story of this first issue is pretty typical to be honest. Spirit busts up some thugs, gathers some info, hangs out with Commissioner Dolan and rubs his daughter/perpetual love interest the wrong way, and the Octopus does some scheming. But it’s the way it’s executed that had me enjoying this. The way The Spirit has no qualms just walking around, night or day, in his duds to do what he has to do. I’m not exactly a Spirit expert, but I think I’ve read enough to know that there needs to be an atypical blend of seriousness with aloofness from our fedora-bearing scourge of the underworld to make a book featuring him work. A little camp to go with the gritty, and Mark Schultz with the ingenious pick of ELEPHANTMEN’s Moritat to bring that all to visual light handles that balancing act very admirably. At the least it’s made me highly excited for the next issue of this book and to see how he is further handled in the FIRST WAVE mini itself.
As for the backup that drove the price of this up a buck, I’m kind of indifferent on it. On the one hand, love both the gentlemen involved. Think they are two of the most creative minds the industry has seen. But the story, while a little nifty with the turn it takes at the end, is a little disposable and I really, really, really don’t think I can handle Sienkiewicz art in black and white. So many lines that it all kind of bleeds together and looks muddled and scratchy without the colors to separate and drive home the emphasis. But it’s still enjoyable, and if DC is adamant to get what money they can out of this book for its continued existence, so be it. I can think of way more asinine back ups that I’ve paid for in the past and continue to pay for coughNomadinCaptainAmeriacough. I don’t find myself angry this book costs an extra buck for its existence, but I’d rather just be paying three for the main story.
Overall, I think we’ve found at least one winner of a book to justify this entire FIRST WAVE push, and I hope we continue to see more of this Spirit regardless of what happens in the main arc of this movement. I would just like to see some more traction in the main tale, more of the other characters I hoped into this to see, hell, I’d just like to see another issue (two months now I think the wait between issues one and two will be? Bleh). But, until then, I’ll just have to remain satisfied with the existence of a SPIRIT book that gets it right again.
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a Blogger Account where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.
WWE HEROES: RISE OF THE FIRST BORN #2
Writer: Keith Champagne Art: Andy Smith Publisher: Titan Books Reviewer: Mr. PastyThe boys over at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) are back in part two of Titan’s ongoing comic book series titled HEROES: RISE OF THE FIRST BORN. And what started as an interesting tale of ancient gods showing up at Wrestlemania to settle a thousand-year old score has quickly and (gruesomely) turned into BLACKEST MONDAY NIGHT RAW. I guess it’s unrealistic to think that a comic can exist in a zombie-free world but hey, it’s a sign of the times. Nazis have officially been replaced by the undead and truth be told, I kind of miss them. At least they had some sort of personality. Zombies have all the charm of a timeshare presentation – minus the fifty bucks you get for listening. And for me, that’s where HEROES stumbles.
I enjoyed part one. It had a nice balance between alternate realities. The wrestling stars did what wrestling stars do: They wrestled. Of course there was the banter and tomfoolery you would expect from a typical WWE show, but it was offset by the more serious tone found in the story of the two Shadow Brothers fighting for world domination. It was obvious these stories were eventually going to intersect, but I think it might have happened a little too soon and in my opinion a little too darkly. There are three deaths in the second half of this book and while they occur (mostly) off screen, they’re incredibly graphic in nature. One innocent bystander and one WWE wrestler are stabbed to death. Another has his heart crushed or zapped (hard to tell) but again, for a comic that is sure to attract a younger audience, I found the subject matter a little unsettling. I had originally intended on giving the first two issues to a friend who has a 7-year-old son that loves wrestling. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe I’m getting old? Hard to say, but as I think back, the last stabbing I can recall in a PG book was when Marlo Chandler got a knife in her back courtesy of Rick Jones’ psycho mom -- but at least she survived and made a full recovery (thanks to Jones’ patented itsy-bitsy spider physical therapy treatment). But I digress.
This seemed more like an Afghani hostage video, as the victims pleaded for their lives. Vince McMahon makes an appearance but is not killed, though it would have been understandable if the evil forces had seen a clip of the Mae Young-Mark Henry storyline from way back when. I don’t want to sound overly negative because the book does have its moments. I definitely dig Smith’s artwork and Champagne has good command of the narrative. Is it fair to slam a book for telling a story I don’t like – especially when it’s told well? That’s tough to say. I can’t call this a bad comic but between the murder and the zombies I don’t see myself committing to issue #3. Maybe everyone comes back to life in the end? It happens all the time in both wrestling and comics. A Paul Bearer cameo would go a long way in restoring my sense of optimism.
I’m a wrestling fan, and obviously I’m a comic book fan. Bring them together and you should have a double the pleasure, double the fun, right? Unfortunately,no. WWE HEROES: RISE OF THE FIRST BORN #2 fails to capitalize on the compelling groundwork laid by the debut issue and takes what I found to be an unnecessarily dark and morbid turn. It’s a decent comic that has a very indecent ending.
Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at MMaMania.com here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.
SIEGE: SPIDER-MAN #1 (One Shot)
Writer: Brian Reed Art: Marco Santucci Publisher: Marvel Comics Reivewer: Johnny DestructoI’ve been approached by people on the street who offer me sub-par services in exchange for money. Prostitutes slinging their raggedy tomatoes, homeless folks armed with Windex and newspapers, ready to "wash" the windshield of my car at an intersection, so on and such forth. Sometimes after they've finished smearing my windshield, I'll throw them a couple bucks out of respect for their attempts. I'm not saying that Brian Reed is a prostitute and that Marco Santucci is a homeless man. What I AM saying is that despite my charitable givings, I wouldn't pay them money for this book.
I've been enjoying the main SIEGE title, to be sure. But after reading this issue and last week's SIEGE: CAPTAIN AMERICA, I definitely won't be plunking down any more doubloons for these One-Shot cash-grabs. That isn't to say there isn't a touch of worth in here; the writing is mildly entertaining and the art does its job just fine. There's just nothing to sink your symbiotic teeth into. It's all icing, no cake. It's like this: Venom and Spidey take a detour from the main battle to duke it out in the nearby town of Broxton, Oklahoma, only to get interrupted by Ms. Marvel who abruptly gets taken over by the symbiote. Blah, blah blah, Spidey fights her, she breaks free of the goo and knocks the reunited Venom into next week before flying Spidey back into the main story of Siege.
The only thing that piqued my interest was the bit of news that comes out about Ms. Marvel "has emotions" towards Spidey. While the symbiote had its slime wrapped around Ms. Marvel, he was able to feel what she feels toward Spidey. Not having read much of Ms. Marvel, I'm not 100% sure what is being referenced. Is this old news, or something to be touched upon in the future? I'm sure someone reading this will let me know down in the talkbacks if I've missed something, so fire away!
As for this issue though, I love personal character pieces as much as the next guy, but I just can't recommend spending money on this. Take that $2.99 and hand it to your Friendly Neighborhood Window Washer instead.
MARVEL HER-OES #1
Writer: Grace Randolph Artist: Craig Rousseau Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: KletusCasadayWell damn…where do I start with this one? First off the title is stupid seeing that there is an actual word for female heroes…anybody? Yup, it’s heroine. Now I know its not the best word seeing as it’s also a drug that contributed to the deaths of many of our beloved rock stars, but it is a word. I am very skeptical on Marvel’s approach to doing more female oriented comics--not that they shouldn’t but I question the approach. DC does a fine job with titles such as Batgirl, Wonder WomAn, Detective Comics, Supergirl--and none of these books scream “Look at us we’re women AND we’re in a comic book!” Do they really think women (or girls) want to read comics with “Girl” or “Her” in the title? I’m sure if you marketed a book to younger kids called Kid’s Comics any kid above the age of seven would probably skip it due to the perceived amount of fluff that could be found within those pages. Personally I think they should have got a few bad ass teams of writers and artists and just put out some quality one shots rather than (and this is no insult to the team on this book) getting a writer and artist that few people are familiar with. I’ve heard of Craig Rousseau but I don’t know that his name is selling books on its own (I could be wrong), which brings me to my next question for Marvel: why aren’t you treating this “Women of Marvel” thing with the same respect you would treat a high profile book? Why are these books relegated to relatively unknown creative teams and stupid titles? I know they did put out Sif and Firestar (one shot) and those looked cool but these silly titles aimed directly at women (or girls) are a little questionable (however I did sell out of GIRL COMICS #1).
Now this story isn’t bad but I have a little problem with it. It basically takes place at a high school that a few high school age super ladies go to. The very loose plot of this comic (if you’re worried about spoilers…get over it this is not one of those books) is that Janet Van Dyne (Wasp…recently deceased in the 616) likes a boy in high school but she’s kind of nerdy and feels weird about talking to him but the same boy is under the watchful eye of none other than Namorita (recently resurrected in MI13 or is it Nova? Or is that megann…AAAGGHHG whatevs!) and they argue and fight over said boy using their super powers. This in my humble opinion is a pretty stereotypical plot for anything involving two women especially a book aimed at a younger female audience. I mean isn’t that the plot of almost every high school movie with a female protagonist? My major complaint about this book is that it seems that they didn’t try very hard to stray away from a conventional “girl” story. I guess this book may be for kids so maybe I shouldn’t look too deep into this--or should I? A lot of things in our society perpetuate stereotypes and get overlooked and yes most of these things are a lot bigger deals than a comic book for kids but shouldn’t we try to at least curb these kinds of ideas? I know I have a lot of questions in this review but I’m trying to make you think, dammit!
Ok I’ll get back to reviewing…this book isn’t breaking any new ground with writing and the artwork is ok but everyone’s head is tilted at a weird angle and looks kinda knock off manga-ish. The art looks like Kenneth Rocafort if he was 13 (with a lot less style), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it definitely not a good thing. The one cool thing I found about this book was Janet’s librarian pal who has…let’s say…an anger management problem. I was actually surprised when I found out who this person was and maybe it’s because I was little hung over when I read it and missed something but I thought it was a cool addition. Marvel has other kid comics (that don’t mention it in the title) that are actually pretty good like Marvel Age Spider-man or Marvel Age Avengers that just take some of the grittiness, blood and more adult oriented things out but still manage to craft a story that even an adult could enjoy and desire more of. This title does not do that and I’d be surprised to see any male or female over the age of 8 that would want to pick this up. I know that this book was maybe designed with girls in mind but a good comic can transcend any kind of gender lines and appeal to anyone who appreciates comics.
This comic wasn’t for me and maybe that’s why I wasn’t really in to it but I feel they could have made a better effort to make a comic that anyone could enjoy and not pigeon hole this comic into some pink room with a Taylor Lautner Fathead on the wall. I guess maybe super young kids who have yet to read and fully comprehend that which they are reading may enjoy this book because it has pictures and colors, but I can’t see too many other people being interested enough to purchase the remaining three issues. But I guess if your mom is buying you comics (yes you, 40 year old person living in your mom’s basement) and you don’t have any choice in the matter, you’ll read anything. Basically I recommend you stick to the Marvel Age titles because they are fun and probably won’t have as much fluff and “girl” stuff as this comic. I’m not sure what age ranges this book is for but it has to be for ultra young kids. The bottom line is kids over the age of 8 or so don’t want comics for kids, they want regular comics that everyone else is reading and unless they have super strict parents that’s what there are going to buy.
Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Ron Garney, with Dale Eaglesham and Andy Kubert Inker: Bob Wiacek Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: WilliamThis past weekend I was in Richardson, TX for Official Pix’s Sci-Fi Expo. My first ever convention of any kind, and I had such a blast. I got to meet Adam Baldwin, took pics with some Klingons, spoke a little with Roger Christian during his Q&A, and even got an autograph from the lovely Jaime King. I’m afraid I wasn’t too familiar with her work as I got to her booth, but I can honestly say that she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met in my short life. So petite and charming.
In any case, while perusing the comic book vendors I came across one seller who had some boxes of clearance comics. Knowing that within one man’s trash is always another man’s treasure, I looked through the bunch and eventually found this great TPB from Mark Waid and Ron Garney.
Captain America remains one of my favorite comic book characters ever. Jingoism and all, he is Marvel’s version of Superman. So clean and All-American, to see any harm come to him always makes me take notice. I quickly began reading this TPB while I was waiting in another line, and I must say that this remains a truly great read.
To sum it up, it deals with the theme of “Capmania” as Captain America suddenly becomes a major superhero celebrity. Trying to convey to the people that he should be a symbol of hope rather than a product, Captain America balances a world that follows his every move as he continues his fight against villains. In this regard, Mark Waid hits a home run here as he presents one of the best Captain Americas I have ever read. Always looking to fight for truth, justice and the American Way; always willing to stand up to anyone (in this case HYDRA) looking to terrorize his American public. It’s interesting to note how Waid wrote this during a time before September 11. Here he explores terrorism through hokey villains as HYDRA and Batroc, with Captain America always being held in such a warm American light. After the Twin Tower attacks happened and former President Bush began his War on Terror, it would’ve been interesting to see how Waid would’ve handled such a change within Captain America.
A great plot point however remains with Captain America losing his iconic shield. This is one of the BEST moments here as it shows Captain America in his best spotlight. After having jettisoned himself and some naval officer out of an exploding submarine, Captain America suddenly finds himself with the choice of either saving the now critically injured officer or his plummeting one-of-a-kind shield, one about to be lost within the depths of the Atlantic Ocean forever. So Captain America easily picks the former, only hesitating slightly before making the right choice. Such a great moment.
Ron Garney (and company) provide some adequate artwork too. While sometimes too cartoony, Garney knows how to milk those patriotic shots as Captain America charges into battle.
In any case I highly recommend this TPB if you’re a fan of Captain America. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the more innocent days in America and Captain America’s life.
Upon being notified of the death of his grandfather, Daikichi hastily arranged for some time off of work and commuted back to his home town. Upon opening the gate to his grandfather's house, he was met with the tense gaze of a young girl in black mourning dress, clutching a bellflower in her hand. While he'd been focused on his career, Daikichi hadn't been around his family for a while, so his immediate guess was that the young girl was his niece. Entering the house, Daikichi meets his mother and she corrects the assumption. In fact, the girl is Daikichi's grandfather's illegitimate daughter. No one in the family is quite sure of the circumstances that lead to the elderly man fathering a child, and no one is too enthusiastic about taking in the six year old girl. It is perhaps telling that the manga never identifies who lets Daikichi know that her name is Rin. Her silence is off-putting, especially in contrast to Daikichi's rambunctious like aged niece. Creepily, she begins shadowing Daikichi, presumably due to his sometimes startling resemblance to his grandfather. If Unita had illustrated her with dark rather than light hair, she could've been mistaken for one of Japan's "dead girl" ghosts.
The child's presence spurs an impromptu family meeting. In the heated discussion, they cuss the old man. They make dehumanizing comments about Rin. Daikichi's mother in particular vocally asserts that the others in the room don't know the sacrifice it takes to raise a child. Daikichi angrily wonders where Rin's reality fits into the scheme of their reasoning. Quietly, he spells out that he believes Rin is more intelligent and more sensitive than they give her credit, not to mention, more likely to mature into a proper adult. Then, he leaves, taking her with him.
Next we see Rin waking up in Daikichi's cramped apartment, telling him that she's hungry. He's immediately barraged with the practicalities of the situation. She needs clothes. He needs to figure out her daycare arrangements. And, there's an effect on his life. Minor alterations include being more selective about what programming he watches on TV least something like the new upset Rin. More major ones include a significant reworking of his career path.
Prior to his grandfather's death, Daikichi was fine focusing on his work. A guy doesn't need to "have it all" - career, marriage, family - the first will suffice. After Rin moves in, he bemoans his single status, but being derailed from the fast track is apparently what really gets him.
To reuse a previously made generalization, manga for young audiences tend to be about aspiration, while manga for older audiences tend to be about reconciliation. In discussing Bunny Drop, David Welsh brilliantly raise the point that men have a propensity for staging their involvement in child raising activities as heroic. Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys comes to mind. In that manga, the protagonist takes it upon himself to manage the family store and raise the infant daughter that his sister abandoned. I'll certainly admit that I was impressed. 20th Century Boy's hero is initially berated for this. He's the last bachelor in his circle of friends, and his mother laments for his future. It's an understatement to say that the character is on the receiving end of a lot of trouble, but sooner rather than later, he's positioned as not just responsible, but heroic... messianic even.
In contrast, Daikichi is simply doing his best. I thought that Urasawa did a fine job capturing mature responsibility, but that holds nothing to Unita's matter of fact suggestion that her protagonist is simply filling the need to raise a child, and not entitled to be canonized for it.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for over eight years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column every week on AICN.
Written by Troy Duffy and J.B. Love Art by: Toby Cypress Published by: 12 Gauge Comics Reviewed by: Irish RicanBoondock fans had to wait ten long years for a sequel to the cult favorite film. Luckily writer/creator Troy Duffy is not going to make fans wait that long again for the continuing adventures of the McManus brothers. While the movie brought us several years forward in the action, the new comic book series by 12 Gauge Comics brings us back within familiar territory.
The comic looks to add to the Boondock mythos by telling tales not told within both films’ fabric. The first issue is very similar to what Kevin Smith did many years ago with Clerks: The Lost Scene. Both comics tell tales within the film that were never actually shot. What's more amazing about both books is that they are written by the creators of the film, giving it that much more credibility.
The first issue of Boondock brings us right to the point in the film where the character most people loved, Rocco the Funnyman, realized he could help the two brothers bent on killing off bad guys. Rocco's mind is an encyclopedia of crime thanks to his time spent in the very, very lower depths of the mob as a bagman.
Suddenly the brothers McManus and Rocco are on a boat sailing to what we can assume to be bad guys. Rocco is pleased to be out on this adventure with his two best friends but not happy about being on the water. It seems he, just like me, gets a little green around the gills being in a small boat on choppy water.
Going in-depth on this plot is not worth it for a number of reasons. First: this is a Boondock comic. We all know the bad guys will all die in a blaze of glory. Second: one of the best parts of the comic is Troy Duffy's writing. His writing skills are as sharp as they've ever been and those abilities translate swimmingly to the comic book genre. Duffy is very comfortable writing his own characters and by being one of the few writer/directors who actually take time to work on a comic book we know that he's doing so out of the love for the characters and his fans.
THE BOONDOCK SAINTS #1 is a Duffy power punch. It's sleek, funny, and exciting - perfect for fans of the films and of the comic book genre. The comic has a bit of everything from action to amazing dialogue that rings out quicker then the machine gun blasts. My only hope is that the series bring us up to speed of how the brothers wound up in Ireland by the beginning of the second film. Hopefully Troy Duffy and his crew have much more to bring us in the future.
Ryan McLelland AKA Irish Rican has worked in movies and comics journalism for the past several years before joining the @$$holes here at AICN. Ryan’s comic work has already graced comic shelves with Arcana’s PHILLY, WISE INTELLIGENCE, UPTOWN GIRL, and THE SENTINELS ANTHOLOGY. He rarely updates his blog but when he does it can be read at www.eyewannabe.com. Ryan's new webcomic Mobile Estates can be found at www.mobileestatescomic.com.