Comics

AICN COMICS REVIEWS Part Two: INCREDIBLE HULK! BIONIC MAN! SUICIDE SQUAD! MUDMAN! BUFFY! STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES & MORE!!!

Published at: Nov. 16, 2011, 9:04 a.m. CST by ambush bug

Issue #34 Release Date: 11//9/11 Vol.#10
The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: THE INCREDIBLE HULK #2
FIGURE DRAWING FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH
SUICIDE SQUAD #3
BIONIC MAN #4
THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS NEVERWINTER TALES #3
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 9 #3
FIVE SENSES #0
STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #2
Advance Review: MUDMAN #1


Advance Review: In stores today!

THE INCREDIBLE HULK #2

Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencilers: Marc Silvestri, Whilce Portacio, Billy Tan
Pencil Assists: Michael Broussard, Eric Basaldua
Finishes: Scott Hanna
Inkers: Joe Weems, Rick Basaldua, Jay Leisten, Don Ho, Crimelab Syndicate
Colors: Sunny Gho of IFS
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Johnny Destructo


ooooOOOOOooooo…I get it now. B.R.A.I.N.: a giant floating …yes, brain-creature that enjoys 1950's melodramas and Dixieland Jazz. This is THAT type of comic book. I know this sounds stupid, but it wasn't until the introduction of B.R.A.I.N. that all the tumblers fell into place and I started really enjoying this book. There is going to be some kooky isht in this book. I don't know about anyone else, but there are experiences that I enjoy no matter what, but I definitely need to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy certain other things. For example: I hated “Austin Powers” the first time I watched it--turned it off after 10 minutes to watch the Bruce Willis mega-blockbuster “Striking Distance”, but realized with a later viewing that I loved that silly Michael Meyers film. There are albums that I need to listen to two or three times in order to start appreciating them. So, too, goes this title. I didn't have a great experience with issue 1, but with this installment, I'm in!

We have some more answers as to Bruce's current shenanigans, we have some more Amanda Von Doom (whom I'm really starting to like), a shark-fight and more of the annoying Rock-Steady and Bebop characters from the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoon, apparently. Oh, and Betty Ross. I had heard that she was the Red She-Hulk, but honestly I'd given up on anything Hulk-related after “World War Hulk” and the Who Is The Red Hulk mess. Bletch. But to see Betty and Bruce in this issue, and how Betty reacts to him, I have to say, I'm now intrigued in Betty as a character. So this issue killed two birds with one stone: it not only got me interested in this series, but it also has me curious to hunt down the issues that reveal more about Red She-Hulk. Bravo, Jason Aaron.

Aaron also introduces us to two more characters, the aforementioned B.R.A.I.N and Mister Gore. Neither fella says word one in this issue, but since one of them is a giant floating brain with tentacles, I'm assuming Mr. Gore is going to be just as interesting. And even through B.R.A.I.N is the silent type, he immediately told me that I shouldn't be taking this series too seriously, because Jason Aaron isn't. He's just having fun with it, and so should I. Message received loud and clear, giant-floating-brain-thing.

One of the other things that I noticed was that Banner is starting to remind me a little bit of Walter White from Season 3 of BREAKING BAD. He seems to be totally losing his mind, and it's fascinating. I don't remember ever really seeing Bruce like this: the mad scientist of the Marvel Universe. This almost feels like Ultimate Reed Richards, a man so intelligent that he's gone off the reservation and is now a villain. I'm wondering how far they'll take him before they can't return him to the put-upon scientist that is haunted by his deadly, greener half. Add to that some adorable hippy Moloids and you got yourself one hell of a Hulk comic!

JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, drawing a weekly webcomic, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at www.poptardsgo.com, graphically designing/illustrating for a living, and Booking his Face off over here. Follow his twitter @poptardsgo. His talkback name is PopTard_JD.


FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL ITS WORTH

Written and Illustrated by: Andrew Loomis
Publisher: Titan Books
Reviewed by: superhero


Well, it looks like Titan Books have found the Holy Grail of art instruction books. For years and years the highly respected FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL ITS WORTH has been out of print, only making the rounds as a scanned PDF. Only the fortunate few who were able to secure a digital copy of this rare tome were able to partake in the genius that Andrew Loomis first imparted to a world of wanna-be and professional artists almost seventy-five years ago. Now it seems that Titan Books has taken on the task of publishing this formerly rare volume and I'm pretty astounded that a book of this caliber has been out of print for so long.

So has the wait been worth it? I'm sure that there are many people out there that are more suited to answer that question than I am. I know that art students and book collectors have salivated for years at the mere mention of getting an actual printed copy of this book. After reading through the book and looking at all the instructional diagrams I have to say, yeah, this baby does live up to the hype.

What a lot of people out there have to remember is that this book is sort of the book that all other modern figure illustration books sprang from. Yes, there were art instruction books that came before this but none (which Loomis mentions in the beginning of the book) that pulled together all of the practical aspects of figure drawing in one place. So while it's true that much of what's in FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL ITS WORTH has probably been mimicked in so many other art books since this one I have to say that Loomis's book still stands above most of the books that followed him, and I have read several art books in my lifetime.

While it is certainly true that FIGURE DRAWING does come off a bit dated with particular bits of advice it's still also true that the foundation of its teachings are still solid and relevant to this day. I can definitely see that there is a reason that this book is so widely regarded, why it's had such an impact, and why its influence has stood strong throughout the decades. This is one of the best books I've seen on setting the foundations of drawing the figure and I can only hope that I'll be able to expand on my own craft using the instructions and tips that Mr. Loomis provides here. This is one of the few must have books when it comes to rendering the human form and Titan Books should be congratulated for getting it back into print.

Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. Some of his work can be seen at www.kristianhorn.com and check out his blog at www.parttimefanboy.com. You can check also out his webcomic at www.babybadass.com, which is currently in development.


SUICIDE SQUAD #3

Writer: Adam Glass
Artist: Cliff Richards
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


If you’re going to bemoan the loss of SECRET SIX or get @$$ed up about Amada Waller shedding a metric ton of weight making her look more Angela Basset than Mama from “Good Times” then just skip this review. I think you’ll be denying yourself a frantic reading experience filled with villainy goodness, but hell with it, the choice is ultimately yours.

Now, if you’re the type that can move faster than amber and are willing to say the past is just that, then why the hell aren’t you reading SUICIDE SQUAD?

Missions of epic bloodshed? Check. Questionable morals? Check. Batshit fucking crazy lunatics forced into helping the greater good? A big big check. SUICIDE SQUAD is everything I want from an action based comic; even in an issue that is supposed to be “down time” the scenes in this book come faster than a virgin on prom night.

Not skipping a heartbeat from their last mission, issue #3 shows the SQUAD trapped in a diner with their precious package, a baby whose blood is the antidote to the zombie strain that infected an entire sports stadium of spectators.

The first thing I loved about this issue was the “How I Met Your Mother” backwards chronology of presenting the action. Jumping from 21 minutes before present, back to two hours, and then flash forwarding again to the present was an interesting way to handle the mandatory exposition for new readers without boring those of us that have been in it to win it since the beginning. It also allowed Glass and Richards to start the book off with the action of Mad Dog and his hounds going right for SUICIDE SQUAD’s throat.

I usually hate “day in the life of” issues. You know what I mean--it’s those issues of the X-Men playing softball or the latest ACTION where we don’t even see a whisper of Superman or, ironically, any action. I’m as far away as they come from an adrenaline testosterone jockey, I’m OK with a lot of talk in books. But these are comics, damn it, and I do need at least a small dose of male nip to make the reading worth my while. SUICIDE SQUAD does a lot of hiding in this issue, but due to the fact most of the team is insane their day in the life is equally insane. During the two hour flashback Harley Quinn and Deadshot visit a local podunk market so their precious package doesn’t starve and the reaction from the locals is priceless. Kudos to Richards for remembering the backdrop is often more important than the foreground and also for some creative camera angles when Harley decides how she’s going to “pay” for their groceries. Also in this time, Harley and Deadshot do “the deed.” It was a great moment that was only trumped by Deadshot and Harley’s laisez-faire attitude towards their moment of intimacy.

This issue was also a stellar example of things to come as we learn there is far more to Diablo and Black Spider than meets the eye. It’s easy to see that these are our repentant criminals which will make their time in SUICIDE SQUAD wrought with even more tension. This statement becomes doubly true as two more team members join SUICIDE SQUAD at the end of the issue.

I won’t spoil who the newcomers are, but one is a Rogue that we got to know pretty damn well over the various CRISIS aftermaths from the past few years.

I can say without reservation SUICIDE SQUAD is one of the rare nuggets in the new 52 that hasn’t lost an ounce of momentum from the first issue and looks like it will only be getting better over the next few months.

Optimous has successfully blackmailed fellow @$$Hole BottleImp into being his artist on Average Joe. Look for Imp's forced labor on Optimous brain child in mid-2011 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.


BIONIC MAN #4

Writer: Kevin Smith w/Phil Hester
Artist: Jonathan Lau (pencils) & Ivan Nunes (colors)
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: Professor Challenger


“Colonel Steve Austin, a man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We're going to recreate the world's first, fully functional Bionic Man. Stever Austin will be that man. We'll make him better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.” -- Oscar Goldman

After three ridiculously awful snail’s-pace issues that made me want to set my hair on fire, we finally get to the surgery. Most everyone knows at least the basics of the story: astronaut (well, test-pilot in this comic) Steve Austin crashes an experimental plane and loses an eye, one arm, and 2 legs. A top-secret government organization invests $6 million (a day, in this comic) to have his limbs and eye fitted with bionic replacements and a commitment by him to be their own, secret super-spy.

If you were a kid with a television in the 1970s, you watched it. If you're younger than 30, you probably only know it by reputation because the character and the basics of the premise (along with slo-mo running and neh-neh-neh-neh sound f/x) are a pop-culture touchstone now.

And now, at 45, I sit here trying to read a horrible attempt at updating the character for the modern day. However, this issue is at least a bit more readable than the previous three issues, mainly because it's essentially just the surgery, recovery, and training to control his bionics ending with Steve agreeing to join the OSS and take down folks like Bin Laden and Qadafi. So, I guess I'd have to say that if you haven't picked up the previous 3 issues, this is the place to jump on because they were all so inconsequential and gloriously bad that I can't in good conscience recommend them. But, even saying that, this issue is far from being good. It's also pretty stupid. I can see where some of the elements in play were hashed out in terms of plot; it's just that the way the storytelling progresses and how stilted the dialogue is is about as bad as some of those 50s' B-monster movies with pointless cursing added.

Beyond the fact that it just kind of stinks overall, I'm amused by the things that distracted me (always a bad sign in terms of quality of writing or art). For example, I am just assuming that part of the license Dynamite has here requires them to avoid the likenesses of the actors from the TV series. And that's fine. However, was it really necessary for them to “cast” Wilford Brimley in the role of Dr. Rudy Wells? And to add to the confusion in terms of comic book casting, the covers (especially issue #2) realllllly make Steve look very much based on Lee Majors, whereas in the comic he's a generic steroided out mushed-nose tough guy. More confusing is the appearance inside the comic of the actor Richard Anderson, who played Oscar Goldman in the TV series, in a couple of scenes as one of the surgeons. This was especially confusing at one point where (in another example of bad storytelling), it appeared that he might actually be “Oscar Goldman” and I had to flip back a couple of pages to figure out what I was looking at.

They’re just inconsistent and odd decisions to make when doing the comic.

During the surgery, there's a lot of scientific jargonage tossed around by Oscar in an attempt to lend some degree of believability to the plot. So if you want to read 4 pages of exposition, this is the book for you. Thankfully there's no following up in this issue to the plot that kicked off the first issue (the one with the bionic bad guy slicing people's heads in half with a samurai sword—yeah, that's what I said). It's basically a stand-alone comic that's a glorified training montage.

They completely skipped over the emotional struggle of Steve coming to terms with what happened to him. This was a strong part of the original TV pilot movie and the novel the show was based on, CYBORG by Martin Caidin. And that's the worst thing about this series so far: there's no passion or emotional connection to the characters.

At least Max, the bionic dog, makes a short appearance at the beginning to somehow convince this man who woke up to find himself with one eye, one arm, and no legs to submit to experimental surgery that would wind up also removing his good arm and his one good eye as well. Yes, they did that to him. But don't worry. He frets about it for three or four panels and then it's all good.

Prof. Challenger was beloved by many, despised by a few, but always lived his life to the fullest. Never did he miss an opportunity to pet a puppy, kiss a pretty girl, or ignore a hobo. He is survived by a long-suffering spouse, 2 confused children, a ridiculously silly dog, and a pompous fat old cat. The things that brought him happiness in this life were his comics, his books, his movies, and string cheese. Had he passed from this plane of existence, he would expect the loss to the world to be severe. As it is, however, he has not passed and has no plans to pass for quite awhile. So visit his website at profchallenger.com and read his ramblings and rantings and offer to pay him for his drawrings. He will show his appreciation with a winning smile and breath that smells like the beauty of angels.


THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS NEVERWINTER TALES #3

Writer: R.A. Salvatore and Geno Salvatore
Artist: Agustin Padilla
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Lyzard


It was a vampire weekend for me, not that I enjoy the preppy indie rock band’s music. No, what I should have said was that my weekend was a bloody good time having spent a good portion of it reading two strong vampire comics. While 30 DAYS OF NIGHT’s focus is clearly on vampires, THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT does not necessarily call to mind bloodsuckers. In all my years of playing Dungeons and Dragons, I never encountered vampires. Even as a Dungeon Master, I never once tried to torture my friends by having them sucked dry by a coven of the undead. All I’m trying to say is that vampires, though part of the D&D world, have never been a huge component of it.

I was unable to get my hands on the first issue of THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT, and though sorely missed after reading the next two issues, I was able to follow the plot (especially due to the quick intro in the front of the book). In THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT #3, Drizzt Do’Urden and his companion, Dahlia, continue their search for the creature that massacred a group of goblins they were paid to destroy. Dahlia is certain that it must have been a vampire, but Drizzt has his doubts. We readers, however, know that Dahlia is correct and that Drizzt and she are coming ever so soon to a fledgling creature of the night. What these two also don’t know is that this newborn vampire is being manipulated, but to what end?

Last year I had the opportunity to read the first issue of IDW’s take on the Dungeons & Dragons series. I enjoyed it, mainly because it brought back the sense of playing the game. There were multiple characters, various fights, and most importantly to me, there was humor. Lightheartedness was the element that brought me back to that shack of a classroom in high school. Even when our small band of wizards, rogues, and paladins were up against an army that could take down Minas Tirith, my friends and I would still be cracking jokes. DUNGEONS &DRAGONS #1 was written as if writer John Rogers was reporting on an actual game of D&D he and his co-workers were playing.

THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT series plays differently. Where DUNGEONS & DRAGONS #1 was based on the role-playing game, R.A. Salvatore created the character of Drizzt Do’Urden for his Forgotten Realm novels. Though these books are based on and assist the actual game of Dungeons & Dragons, they do not read like the play-by-play of an actual campaign--not that there is anything wrong with that, because some campaigns can be rather boring and redundant.

Due to Drizzt’s different origins, his comics have a different style than the main series. While Andrea Di Vito’s artwork is more fun, bordering on cartoony, Augustin Padilla’s work is less playful and darker. Both styles work for each of their respective projects.

There is humor in the Salvatore’s writings, mainly coming from the character of the elfin Dahlia. It would be incongruous of Drizzt, a dark elf, to have a funny bone. What the Salvatores create is mystery and a sense of foreboding. They keep the line of suspense taut throughout the series, revealing just enough to have the reader come back for more.

I am sure, never having read the Neverwinter Saga novels, that I am missing certain character references, but I do not feel that it is necessary for me to scour through hundreds of pages of fantasy novelizations to be able to keep up with this one series of comics. When adapting any work to another medium, a question of fidelity is always brought up. How do you stay true to the original material that the fans love, while enticing a new audience? Maybe this is an opinion that I share alone, but I feel that whether the work rings true to its source is irrelevant, as long as the new material is good. THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT needs no comparison to its preceding works; it is strong enough to be judged on its own.

Lyzard is actually Lyz Reblin, a senior screenwriting major with an English minor at Chapman University. Along with writing for AICN, she has been published twice on the subject of vampire films.


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 9 #3

Writer: Andrew Chambliss
Art: Georges Jeanty & Dexter Vines
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


Writing: (3/5) One of the constant strengths of this series has always been consistently fun writing. The characterization and dialogue are spot on, and the established characters all come off well. Spike in particular gets a scene that reads just like the Spike of the show. The relationships between the main characters are also good, and play on their new dynamic. The Seed’s destruction and the semi-retirement of Xander and Dawn adds to the characters’ interactions.

Where the issue falters is actually its deviations from the main series. The "cops vs. Buffy" angle is interesting, but isn't really fleshed out well. Neither are Buffy’s roommates, who are good in theory, but a little dry at the moment. It's disappointing because elsewhere in the issue, he quickly establishes a good character. There's nothing about those three that really stands out. Eldre Koh is already a more interesting character then all of them, and stands out quickly. It'd just be better to focus more on him, at the moment, or further flesh out the others.

Severin is the center of the ongoing arc, and at the moment, it's better to let it grow. The origin is interesting, but not terribly revolutionary. The final few pages lead him down a more interesting turn, but I'd like to see it grow before commenting on it. It's expected, but is set up well.

The new arc, still developing, is also a fun deviation, and a good turn on the nature of vampires within the universe. The feral zombies are something different then we've seen, even being a different kind of threat rather then the uber-vamps of the show.

Art: (4/5) Jeanty, one of the most recurring artists of the series, really is a good fit for the series. He has a handle on Buffy’s movement, and it never feels tired. Sometimes the faces are spot on, and they really look like the show. The framing is just as good, looking like an episode of “Buffy”. Some of the body bits are also fun, really giving the illusion of movement. It's small and subtle, but adds a lot to the atmosphere.

His only problems in the issue are ones that have cropped up before: some of the faces are very weird, and hard to discern. Some scenes lack any real tension because of it. It also sometimes feel a little repetitive in the settings, never really trying anything new.

Best Moment: I'm actually liking Eldre Koh....

Worst Moment: ...and none of the other new characters.

Overall: (4/5) The issue, despite i's flaws, manages to maintain a solid beat.


FIVE SENSES #0

Writer: Jake Black
Artist: Justin Wayne
Publisher: Viper Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


“Don’t be a dick.” It’s a simple statement that has provided a societal foundation for millennia from the Ten Commandments to the new commandments of political correctness. Yet time and time again literary figures ignore this tenet and reap the face full of semen that comes from sowing their fields with copious amounts of dickery.

Chad Bowman, the protagonist of FIVE SENSES, is one such character that has not learned from the follies of yesteryear. While in Seattle on a business trip that promises to be the deal of a lifetime, Chad lays witness to the brutal slaying of a waitress from a diner he stops in to have an eat. Late for his meeting, Chad sloughs off his moral obligation to help the police identify the killer. With a wink and a nod this epic dick goes off to his meeting, signs the deal and then begins to imbibe the nightlife of Seattle reveling in his success with blondes and booze. While at the club, someone starts to play mind games with Chad: a hidden note on a cocktail napkin with the simple message “come forward” arrives with one of his many drinks. Likewise, the next morning Chad is greeted with a message on his hotel mirror reminding him of his moral turpitude.

Being a coward of epic proportions, Chad decides to make a speedy exit from Seattle only to be greeted with a care package at the concierge’s desk. Chad, not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, decides to open this package while driving to reveal a doll with a string on the back that says “pull me.” Again, Chad’s not too bright, so he pulls the string and the doll explodes, sending his car careening out of control ultimately landing Chad in the hospital with a case of tinnitus that seems to be more than temporary.

Chad is obviously being played with, which leads me to immediately compare FIVE SENSES with famous mind fucks like “Saw.” While FIVE SENSES doesn’t revel in bondage aspects of “Saw,” there is a clear game being played here by someone who wants Chad to suffer both mentally and physically.

Who this person is and which sense will be attacked next are answers for later issues. What was answered in this issue, though, is that writer Jake Black, has a clear idea of good pacing. I would have liked to see a bit more dialogue to give Chad some more depth. As it stands right now, I’m really happy to see Chad get fucked up ten ways til Sunday. I think if there were some stage-setting to show that Chad has an ounce of soul beyond his “greed is good” mantra, I would have scooted a little closer to the edge of my seat when the wheels start to fall off in Chad’s life.

What I can find little wrong with in FIVE SENSES is the art. The style is definitively cartoony, but is rife with rich detail and vibrant color. Very often indies falter in the art department compared to the big houses. I can say without reservation, though, that if Wayne doesn’t already have contract work with one of the big guns he could come about it quite easily. I was most impressed with his rendering of the fairer sex. The diner waitress is adorably girl next door, with a flounce to her hair and a twinkle in her eye. Likewise he made Chad’s whores appropriately whorey without ever falling into the realm of caricature representation.

All in all a great outing that piqued the interest of at least one of my senses.


STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #2

Writer: Chris Roberson
Artists: Jeffrey Moy (pencils) & Philip Moy (inks)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Professor Challenger


Ingredients:

1 Cup – Original Starship Enterprise crew (circa the end of the second season)
1 Cup – Legion of Super-Heroes (circa post-Great Darkness Saga)
1/2 Cup – Tommy Tomorrow and the Space Rangers
1/3 Cup – Borg
1/4 Cup – Khunds
2 Teaspoons – Klingons

Pour all ingredients (except the Original Enterprise crew and Legion of Super-Heroes) into a large mixing bowl. Amalgamize cross-dimensionally and mix in basic time-travel tropes.

Let sit until firm. Once you have built enough anticipation, add in the Enterprise crew and the Legion of Super-Heroes and a dash of cliffhanger and you have one of the most fun comic book reading experiences an aging fanboy can have.

I'm not sure at all how younger readers might respond to this, but I can't imagine anyone who grew up with the old STAR TREK and was reading comics during “The Great Darkness Saga” could have any complaints here. This is just plain balls-to-the-wall fun and adventure.

Even the art is not horrible, although I won't say it's as great as the material itself deserves, but it is most definitely the best interior TREK art I have come across at IDW. For the most part, the IDW TREK comics that I have encountered usually have a snazzy and excellent cover and then interior art that ranges from amateurish to just boring. The Moys do a good job telling the story here visually so that I could believe this was coming from DC and not IDW.

It's a step down from the Phil Jimenez cover art, but it is consistent, clear, and fun with a real sense that they are enjoying telling this story in pictures. When I get a sense of that from the art, it is infectious and makes me enjoy it all the more.

I don't want to spoil too many details, but the scenario for drawing these two properties together totally makes sense and offers us a glimpse of an amalgamized universe where the continuities of the old DCU and the old TREK universe existed together and splintered off into a very different 23rd Century. The first two issues of this four-issue miniseries served to establish the mystery of how and why these two crews showed up in this alternate universe at the same time. And we get our pay-off for our patience at the end...but then we have to wait for the next issue to see what happens!

I will offer my guess that the unidentified “Emperor” of the Imperial Planets is not Spock (as I suspect they are trying to give that hint) but actually...Vandal Savage.

We will see very soon. Great stuff.


Advance Review: In stores today!

MUDMAN #1

Writer / Artist: Paul Grist
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: KletusCasady


This year Image has been putting out a ton of good comics. Damn near every week I feel like there are at least two or three IMAGE comics I feel like I have to crack open. MUDMAN is one of those comics. I feel like I knew what to expect in this book but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I read a brief teaser in PREVIEWS and from there I was hooked.

This story follows a seemingly normal, somewhat nerdy rambunctious high school kid who, while doing something he probably shouldn’t have, stumbles on to something strange in a “Scooby Doo House,” which leads to…MUDMAN. We learn a good amount about Owen and his family dynamic in this issue and it’s done very naturally--and in two pages, mind you. A lot of times when a comic wants to establish certain aspects of a character’s family, a lot of it is overplayed in an attempt to really show what this dynamic is like as well as having to be done over three or four issues. Here it’s almost as if we’re a creepy neighbor peering through the window witnessing this family as they are, in their natural habitat if you will. I’d actually say that all the characters in this story are very well done from the best friend to the sister to the teacher; everything seems fully realized and not at all forced. The story, while jumpy, at some points is well written and entertaining. I probably could have read a comic with this kid going to school everyday without the weird stuff that happens and still enjoy this comic. Not to mention there are some damn funny parts in this book, like when Owen is about to get beat up, his best friend steps in and does some great reverse psychology on the tough kid by saying, “Don’t let him turn you into a bully.” This comic is full of great little jokes like that.

I really like the art in this book. At first glance it’s not spectacular but this style really appeals to me. It’s not super complicated but it’s really easy to follow and the panel layouts are pretty great. It reminds me of Guy Davis with less sketchy lines.

A lot of stories are out there where normal, kind of nerdy kids get a chance at heroics, but not all of them take the care to set the foundation needed for good story and Paul Grist does it here. Image is doing a hell of a job this year with new interesting comics and I’m almost (almost) buying as much Image as I am from the Big Two. Hell, two more new Image comics and it’ll be neck and neck with my Marvel buys. If you feel jaded by MARVEL & DC and all the shenanigans going on with them, I’d give this book a try; it’s got great art and an interesting story. {Sigh} I guess there’s something else I’m adding to my pull list…seriously, Image, can you guys chill for a second so I can get my finances back in order? No? Ok…fine…guess I’m gonna have to increase my comic budget one mo gen (that means one more time). This comic book is good and even though on first glance you may say, “Mudman?!?! Give me an effin’ break,” this comic proves that your main character can have the superpower to digest paint chips and shoot them at evil doers but if you have a good story, well realized characters, and good art you can make anything worth reading.


Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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Readers Talkback

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  • Nov. 16, 2011, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Definitely going to get FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT'S WORTH

    by melonman

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Everything else above looks retarded

    by melonman

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Mudman looks vaguely interesting

    by rev_skarekroe

    And I like the idea of Hulk vs. Sharks. But really, there's not much I want to buy. Except indie TPBs that are all $30.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 10:06 a.m. CST

    I can't get behind Star Trek crossovers

    by coz

    It's just blasphemy to me. That Star Trek/X-Men crossover from the 90s was every kind of wrong. The only thing Star Trek can be crossed with is itself.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Amanda Waller

    by Joenathan

    Aren't they just making her more like her Smallville version, since for some reason I can not even begin to understand, Smallville is insanely popular?

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Buffy the comic

    by Joenathan

    It's never worked for me. I wanted it to, but it never has.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 11:08 a.m. CST

    do you guys review any cool comics? dorks.

    by THE_ONE_MAN_GANG

    with that being said, take some writing classes.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 11:32 a.m. CST

    ^uh oh...

    by KLETUS_CASSIDY

    somebody woke the troll.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 11:37 a.m. CST

    How does Mudman compare to Jack Staff and Kane?

    by superhero

    'Cause I love me some Jack Staff and Kane!

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Jack Staff & Kane...

    by KLETUS_CASSIDY

    i've seen them but i haven't read 'em.

  • So much fun.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    damn...

    by KLETUS_CASSIDY

    i need to check it out then. which trade would you recommend?

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Figure Drawing for all it's Worth...

    by Tom Fremgen

    future artist, stop learning how to draw by looking whatever hot artist there is now. Get this book and learn from a true master! I'm lucky enough to actually have a 1949 copy of it. GREAT BOOK!

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Waller

    by Homer Sexual

    I like Suicide Squad. But how can you defend the new Amanda Waller? Honestly, I prefer the old Harley Quinn as well, by a mile. I still like the book, though. Reviews seem slim this week, especially for two columns, but maybe cause Im not interested in the books being reviewed. And from part one, there is really no reference to Justice League in Douche's review, but Im pretty sure it sucked.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Professor Challenger...

    by Tom Fremgen

    FYI- Jeffrey Moy was the penciler of the Legion of Super-Heroes sister book, Legionnaires from 1994-1999. (he also drew some Star Trek for Wild Storm) He was mostly inked by W.C. Carani, but his brother Phil did ink some issues.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Fray

    by Hedgehog000

    I actually found Fray more interesting than the Buffy comics I've read. I think Buffy went off the rails toward the end of the TV series when they made every other girl on the planet a slayer. It took away from the idea of this girl leading the life of a girl inbetween monster slaying to making her the general of an army of supergirls.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Amanda Waller

    by Hedgehog000

    Hadn't read these but at a guess, they plan on having her be a romantic interest and everyone knows fat chicks don't get any action (in comic books).

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Buffy comics

    by Joenathan

    They just don't translate for me, even when Whedon writes them.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 5:20 p.m. CST

    @joenathan

    by Shit_Skribbler

    Recently talked to a friend of mine who moved far away and she has gotten into Smallville, bought every season. And she is not someone I'd ever expect to see watching or reading anything comic book related.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 5:58 p.m. CST

    i'm curious as to what a "cool" comic is

    by Poptard_JD

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 5:59 p.m. CST

    'It brought back the sense of playing the game.'

    by 3774

    You mean the smell of Doritos, Mountain Dew and neck beard? Ah, yes....the min-maxers, the in-depth stories mixed with eye-rolling innuendo, vaguely feeling sick after staying up to late playing. I miss that. Kidding aside, I do kinda miss that. Crossovers involving Trek are blasphemy. I call it hyper-geekdom, something that accelerates into dorkery. Like T-Rexes flying F-16s (with respect to Calvin). Or my boyfriend's old Dinoriders collection. That's all I can find to bitch out. Sorry about that. Where's the podcast?

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 7:28 p.m. CST

    kletus...about Jack Staff...

    by superhero

    Don't want to build up expectations but pick up the Jack Staff Everything Used To Be Black and White trade. It's Paul Grist's stuff from when before he moved to Image. I picked it as one of my best ten of the decade because it took me back to when I thought superheroes were done right. It's one of the few new comics out there (like Invincible) that just wears its love for the superhero on its sleeve. Some people hate the art but Grist is a master at panel layout and storytelling. It's a hell of a fun read but it's not for everyone but certainly was for me. A great comic to inspire people to make comics of their own.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Oh and KANE...

    by superhero

    Is a great little cop/crime book. Lots of fun too. Check that out if you get the chance.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 7:35 p.m. CST

    As the spokeswoman for the Association of...

    by AmandaBaller

    Deflowered Prom Night Virgins of America (A.D.P.N.V.A) I can assure you of only one thing: <br><br> We most certainly did NOT come!

  • Because ten years from now I'll be rummaging through my purse, wondering what the hell it is I'm missing, and not quite remembering what. I can feel it.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Chalk me up in the fan of Jack Staff column. Beautiful,

    by Dennis_Moore

    stylized stuff. Also, the "Force" series of drawing instruction books by Mike Mattesi arre also worth owning.

  • Nov. 16, 2011, 11:58 p.m. CST

    are. Stupid sensitive keys.

    by Dennis_Moore

  • Kudos to DC on a job well done.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    This weeks books

    by Homer Sexual

    I just read a couple of my new books. I must say that Wonder Woman is now one of my top 5. For everyone who says WW can't be interesting, you should check it out. Birds of Prey, on the other hand, is a big let down. Of the four leads, only Katana is really interesting in this new version and the whole book is kinda "meh." I picked up Nightwing after an internal debate as well. And only because next issue is a Batgirl crossover so I decided to stay through next issue. I love the Batgirl/Nightwing relationship, but am getting bored with both books. Oh, and Red Hood, also losing steam.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 11:26 a.m. CST

    @ homer sexual...

    by 3774

    I'm with you on Birds of Prey. For some reason it just bores me, when by all rights I feel like it should be my favorite book. I can't bring myself to add it to my pull. On the other hand, I also feel the same about WW. It just strikes me as weird, and doesn't click with me in any way.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Hmmmm Interesting Pink

    by optimous_douche

    ALL and I do mean all of my female and gay friends hate the main Wonder Woman, yet loved her three pages opening the latest JUSTICE LEAGUE. There's something to this just can't figure out what yet.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST

    WW...

    by 3774

    ...it isn't anything like Catwoman, where I'm put off, offended, or annoyed beyond all belief. It's just that it does....nothing for me. It just seems weird, and unrelatable in any way. Speaking of Catwoman, I went back and read through it again. I don't know if this has ever been mentioned by anyone else, but the dialogue and characterization to me represents a much, much less offensive part of the equation that the artwork. If the artwork wasn't sexualized to an absurdly retarded degree, I might have reacted to it quite a bit differently.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Optimus...

    by Homer Sexual

    I don't know you, but I am gay and am surprised the homo folks don't like WW. Unfortunately, I dont' have any close gay buds who read comics to give me input.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Homer

    by Joenathan

    I'm with you on Wonder Woman. Who'd have fucking thought, but... shit, it's awesome. Amazing. Is there a new Red Hood out? I must have missed it.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 5:54 p.m. CST

    WW in Wednesday Comics is the direction they should have went.

    by Dennis_Moore

    Caldwell "gets" this character.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 2:55 a.m. CST

    haha I love when people say that.

    by Poptard_JD

    "So and so did something that I liked with a character I liked and so that person GETS the character" It's really just that certain people GET what YOU want the character to be. There's been 9,000 interpretations of any mainstream character, and I guarantee that for each iteration, there is an audience member saying that THAT is the right version.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 3:14 a.m. CST

    WW in Justice League..

    by Poptard_JD

    I dunno..it was fun and cute and all, but it was just like every other fish out of water, charmingly-experiencing-normal-human-things for-the-first-time type of scene. Oh man, Darryl Hannah is eating that Lobster, shell and all! In the middle of the restaurant! Oo! Look, Encino Man is drinking that slurpee waaaay too fast and now he's getting brain freeze! Oh, Encino Man, no whee-ee-ezing the jui---ice!! Joe Black sure does love Peanut Butter to comedic effect! Jet Li is eating that ice cream cone really fast because he's never seen ice cream before and doesn't know that it's cold and is ...getting...brain freeze! She just seemed like a petulant 7 year old who's just experiencing our world for the first time. Though to be fair, MOST of the JL have been acting like the Muppet Babies in Justice League so far. This isn't to say that I'm not really enjoying it, it's super fun and I'm digging it. Speaking of Muppet Babies, I'm stoked for The Muppets. That is all.