AICN COMICS REVIEWS: SAVAGE WOLVERINE! SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN! QUANTUM & WOODY! THE STAR WARS! & More!
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1
FANTOMEX MAX #1
Indie Jones presents CRAP SHOOT #2
BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE #2
QUANTUM & WOODY #4
ALL NEW X-MEN #17
THE STAR WARS #2
SAVAGE WOLVERINE #9
Advance Review: IT CAME #2-3
Advance Review: In stores today!
SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Tony Daniel
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
I learned one truism when I got married 13 years ago that I find holds water in about 90% of relationships, “Women marry men hoping they’ll change, men marry women hoping they won’t.”
I think Charles Soule agrees with me, because as perfect as Superman is, Wonder Woman is damned and determined to make him better. He’s powerful, but untrained. Good of heart, but unwise towards the world. He’s the greatest man to walk the earth, but needs the veil of mediocrity found in Clark Kent to honor his earth upbringing. These are the things Wonder Woman plans to fix. Honestly, I smelled wafts of an impending break-up between these two powerhouses more than I saw the buds of a relationship ready to flower. Because while men are capable of change, the process is slow and no matter how much we love, certain tenets of the self can not and should not be changed. Wanting to live a life of humility and simplicity is a much different personality trait than not hitting the laundry basket or leaving the toilet seat up. Hell, Clark isn’t even willing to show Wonder Woman his frosty bachelor pad much less clear a dresser drawer or make a giant pink key for her own entry.
This book is the deep emotional and character deep dive I’ve been begging for from books like JUSTICE LEAGUE. I get it, JUSTICE LEAGUE is an all-ages bombastic battering ram of conflict, to take a quiet respite like SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN 1 portrays in its first issue would probably upset a lot of Fanbabies. Fangeezers though, who have been tempered by years of co-habitation with the gentler sex actually appreciate books where we see how this life of frenzy actually affects them as human beings.
Don’t think for a second this issue is without action. Soule’s pacing coupled with Daniel’s able art bops us back and forth between these discussions of self and the harrowing heroics of rescuing an entire naval battalion of naval forces from impending doom. While the issue starts with Wonder Woman getting in some gal talk during a sparring session with one of her fellow Gods and Clark trying to manage Kat Grant’s ambition for their Huffington Post knock off, Soule perpetually thrusts the book forward from earlier to now to show some great plane crashes and the complete destruction of a naval carrier.
The threat at first seems to merely be a nasty whirlpool created by some thermal dynamics at the bottom of the ocean. What causes that heat though, is a threat as old as Nirvana. Doomsday is back folks and Daniel welcomes him with some massive scale carnage that will turn the stomach of even the most stalwart horror fans. I’m of two minds here, and part of my apprehension stems from New 52 continuity versus what we’ve known for years and the issue DOOMSDAY 1 during Villain’s Month.
I’ve never been clear on whether Superman has ever been fell by Doomsday’s massive meat hooks in New 52 context. The entire “origin” of Doomsday took place on Krypton as a young Kara is told of her Aunt’s battle against the creature with the help of Zod. However, the book of El also relays a prophecy of a day when Doomsday will return and kill the house’s greatest champion. During these scenes Superman has a mullet, which we all remember from the 90′s, and he looks much older than his New 52 visage. Who the hell had a mullet between 2006 and 2011 and didn’t live in an area still waiting for cable TV? I know, I know, comic time is it’s own beast. but at what point do we cry uncle from the confusion. Did the book of El tell of a time yet to come? Will mullets and perms be all the rage in 2014? It’s the problem that comes with trying to reboot, while still keeping pieces of your old boots on your feet.
Even though it has never been implicitly stated, I believe Superman does know Doomsday simply by a recognition of fear in this issue. I’ll also assume his death did take place between in the five year before dark time. It doesn’t jive with JUSTICE LEAGUE behavior in later arcs of the New 52 nor what actually happened during his death in 93 (that Justice League was not the new one by a long shot. I mean Booster Gold and Blue Beetle anyone?). All of this would sit better if the artist and DOOMSDAY 1 simply skipped the oh so 90s character renderings, but whoever said comics are for the hyper-literal (even though we all go there). Misgivings and continuity nits aside, I’m happy with SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN from a sheer content standpoint. I’m not happy about having to buy another book each month or the face FOREVER EVIL is completely ignored, but again that’s comics. I guess sometimes the needs of the one title, do outweigh the needs of the many.
Optimous Douche has successfully blackmailed BottleImp to draw purty pictures for his graphic novel AVERAGE JOE coming out in 2013 from COM.X. When not on Ain’t It Cool, Optimous can be found talking comics and marketing on robpatey.com and just marketing on MaaS360.com.
FANTOMEX MAX #1Writer: Andrew Hope
Art: Shawn Crystal, Lee Loughridge
Publisher: Marvel MAX
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy
Man, I was hoping for a lot more.
I wanted this series to be incredible. I wanted it to be an uncensored James Bond set in the Marvel universe, with wining and dining and action and… I really wanted cool. But I think that's the problem with this title. It tries to be cool for the sake of being cool, but lacks anything (except the solid artwork) that feels inherently cool.
The MAX setting isn't…. really used for anything inventive. It's just an excuse for Fantomex to swear and E.V.E make sexual references. There's nothing really to justify the change in setting. It comes off very adolescent, and it feels lacking. There are curse words and blood and sexual innuendo's thrown around without having earned it, all in the name of being cool. It fails, in the same way books like KICK-ASS fail to achieve it; By mistaking the immature for mature. It's just not as effective as it could be.
For a book with Fantomex in the title, he's not really the focus of the story. Throughout the first issue, more time is spent on Rhoda Flemyng than Fantomex. It's unfortunate that she doesn't have any real defining characteristics beyond "secret agent" and "under duress". She's a very cliche character, and while there are hints at some possible depth, none of it is shown off.
The art is surprisingly strong, with creative use of sound effects and conveying action. Glass will be shot, and the remains of the window spell out crash. Other scenes are framed with a beautiful simplicity, such as the faded colors to represent fast movement. And, even if it may get a little tiresome by the end of the issue, the ben-day dots do create a unique experience. Even small scenes where E.V.E and Fantomex are beautifully done. Credit where credit is due, Shawn Crystal's work is wonderful on this title.
Maybe the series will grow into itself, but for the time being, it's just not as enjoyable as it should be.
CRAP SHOOT #2Writer: Jason Walz & various
Artist: Jason Walz & various
Reviewer: The Dean
Last year, while reviewing his original graphic novel HOMESICK, I made the prediction that within five to ten years Jason Walz would be a seminal creator in the world of comics. When news of his latest work CRAP SHOOT hit my inbox, I was both excited, and a little nervous that I’d have to spend my weekend figuring out a polite way to retract that statement. Fortunately CRAP SHOOT, the new anthology series from Walz that features short stories from himself and others, has me looking really, really good right now. Him, too, but mostly me.
Each issue of CRAP SHOOT features a few comic book shorts (as well as a Q&A with other indy storytellers and a free music download) that focus on a central theme. CRAP SHOOT #1 gave us different looks at love, whereas issue #2 examines “lies and the lying liars that lie them.” What I loved about Walz from HOMESICK that makes itself even more apparent in these shorts is his appreciation for the myriad ways in which words, acts, or emotions can be interpreted. “Fortune,” the first story in this issue, takes a somewhat playful look at how the little lies we tell ourselves on a daily basis, or maybe the truths we choose to ignore is a better way to put it, keep us moving when we’d otherwise collapse under the weight of our own endless self-scrutiny and paranoia.
Walz’ second story, “Antlers” (featuring a character in the story with antlers that he readily admits was borrowed from Jeff Lemire’s SWEET TOOTH), focuses on the disastrous side effects of lies and kept secrets. Walz is a natural storyteller, and I want to say he “makes it look easy,” but besides that being cliché, it’s more that his stories just read easy, and the complexity and depth can be applied as the reader sees fit. This isn’t a Charles Burns story where work itself is a puzzle that needs to be read multiple times to truly comprehend. Walz is more in line with a guy like Will Eisner, whose stories read so quickly, and so easily, but resonate well beyond their initial read-through. It may only take a few minutes to read, but you’re true understanding of the work doesn’t start to develop until you’re playing it over again once your head hits the pillow at night.
Each of the shorts in CRAP SHOOT #s 1 and 2 probably have enough content in them to warrant their own full reviews here, so including the insightful interviews Walz has conducted so far, CRAP SHOOT may be the best anthology out there today if it can keep up the quality set in these first issues. I’m really not the type to determine the worth of a comic based on how many other people have heard of it, but you can head on over to www.jasonwwalz.com to check it out for yourself. It’s one of those name your price deals, too, but try not to be a jerk about it. It’s one of those name your price deals, too (try not to be a jerk about it), and both issues are now available through comiXology as of today.
BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE #2Writers: Various
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Joseph Wallace
BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE has been a paragon of Batman comics since 1996 and through the series DC has brought together some insanely talented creative teams to take on DC’s most iconic character (sorry Superman, dem’s da breaks). The creators of this issue of BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE deliver a impressive installment into the sterling series. For me, this issue was all about playing with role reversal and giving the reader the ol’bait and switch.
In, “Manbat Out of Hell”, the roles of monster and victim are reversed and Batman is caught in the middle. In this phantasmagorical little treasure we get a closer peek into the family life of Dr. Kirk Langstrom. The Batman in this feature is sort of like the one at the end of Batman Begins: his attitude seems to be that he doesn’t have to save everybody (not to be confused with ending TDK Batman who would save even his most hated enemy). On the topic of intervening to stop potential death I do not know which philosophical approach to Batman I prefer, but I must say, it is mighty gratifying in this story to watch Batman sit back and let a enraged Manbat pursue a criminal. J. G. Jones’s produces standout artwork in this entry and created my favorite character design for the character of Manbat I have ever seen. This story is detailed, optimizes the comic format, and still manages to read very cinematic.
The next story has Rafael Grampá pulling double duty as writer and artist. His story, “Into the Circle”, was a little reminiscent to me of ideas and themes in Neil Gaiman’s WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER and Damon Lindelof’s short from LEGEND’S OF THE DARK KNIGHT, but his style keeps his entry one of a kind. The story does a fine job of giving Grampá opportunity to shine artistically. His ability to capture depth is worth note and he manages to sneak in a astonishingly creepy joker interpretation (although its a bait and switch). I felt like I was being sucked into some of his illustrations because of how layered they were and their sense of space really brought the locations and action sequences to life. I thought that Grampá’s art looked a little like Paul Pope’s but by the end of, “Into the Circle”, it was evident that Grampá is a unique artistic talent in the world of comics.
Writer/Artist Rafael Albuquerque is next up at Bat (haha get it) with “A Place in Between”. Starting this story I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere Batman is thrust into. The setting: a Erebus-like-underworld with Batman being pushed along the River Styx by Deadman!! Hell! yes!
It’s a fact, classic heros have to travel into the underworld, and even though Batman has done it before in different ways, I really liked getting to see it captured in such a literal style. This story explores the idea of Batman being forced to experience his fear of taking a life, and thus, falling prey to the Batman. Albuquerque’s artwork is appropriately surreal and enhances the mood of the story. This telling plays with some reversal of expectation and, well, I don’t want to spoil the ending so just go out and buy the damn comic already (If you bought it, you know what I’m talkin’ bout, and if you were Batman, you would have figured it out by now).
Jeff Lemire delivers the weakest story of this issue (sorry Jeff, I’m a hugh fan, but its true). His story, “Winter’s End”, is by no means bad, it just fell a little flat for me after the high standard of the other creative teams. I felt this entire effort was very unclear both in its narrative and its art. I liked the way Alex Nino laid out his paneling but I felt some of his designs in this piece were not flushed out enough. His art does draw great contrast when compared to the other work produced for this issue, but it was, alas, a little phoned in. This story also breaks the pattern I mentioned of role reversal, so for making my argument weaker, I must hate on it.
The final installment of this issue is Michael Uslan’s, “Silent Knight...Unholy Knight”. This tale goes with a silent movie motif which I didn’t care for at first but with some solid art and a unique narrative, Uslan keeps it interesting. This story has possibly my favorite role reversal with a villain whose origin story is not unlike that of Batman’s. The origin stories of hero and villain deviate with how the characters react to the murder of their parents in crime alley. This ‘Unholy Knight‘ character reacts by going on a killing spree to lash out at a world that doesn’t properly know his pain...but it will. The art is appropriately retro and the villain becomes oddly sympathetic because of his close link to Batman mythos. As a longtime comic book fan, origin stories start to wear on me after a while, but this was a great way to harken back to Batman’s roots by telling a original story flavored with some familiar elements.
All in all BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE is a must for any Batman fan looking for a quick fix. One of my favorite things about the BLACK AND WHITE series is that you can pick it up after being away from the character for years and just enjoy the stories within. Despite a few misfires, BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE #2 shows why the character is able to maintain after so many years and just how interesting he can continue to be in the hands of great writers and artists.
QUANTUM AND WOODY #4Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Tom Fowler
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
QUANTUM & WOODY absolutely suck as superheroes, are marginal human beings (especially Woody) and have more baggage between them than all the carousels at JFK airport. However, each negative cancels out the next to turn these two man-children clad in spandex into huge positives for readers.
Issue 4 closes out the exposition arc that has reintroduced these two characters for the next generation. We’ve seen brothers reunited, brothers cast racial softballs (Woody is the adopted white sheep of the family) and watched the brothers learn that perception is very rarely reality. We’ve also been entreated to a deep mystery starting where the best mysteries often do – at home.
Both Quantum and Woody had the benefit of a very smart Father. A man so smart he not only gave his son’s very important life lessons, even if they didn’t realize it until twenty-five years later, but also he was smart enough to tap into a source of unlimited energy for the planet. Unfortunately for papa QW and the boy’s themselves, this new energy source caught the eye of a secret think-tank cabal that likes to keep new discoveries at bay until they feel the world is ready to be illuminated. No one fucks with Edison’s Radical Acquisitions (ERA), as papa and the boys learned way back in issue one – papa with his untimely death and the boys with their imbuing of power that promises to leave them tethered until the end of their days. What that power is I still don’t know and neither do the guys. It’s kind of like Firestorm’s energy manipulation…except after he’s had five Car Bombs and a stroke.
The ERA came from old Tom wanting to cross some ethical boundaries in the name of science and the best way was to go underground to form the ERA (all right it’s a cheap laugh in a racially charged book, but it did make me giggle). His progeny have since controlled the world and turned themselves into their own set of monstrosities: a leader femme fatale that began cloning spare parts since the 1940’s and now looks like the Face of Boe (but smaller) from Dr. Who , a cyborg that hasn’t updated his firmware or BIOS since 1986 and the goat…sweet Jesus, that evil evil goat.
I don’t mean to rehash the whole series, but I don’t feel enough people are giving Valiant and most certainly QUANTUM AND WOODY a fair chance. I’m also recounting because even f you are a Valiant fan, this is one of those fringe titles that breaks step with the rest of the universe. It’s a title that requires a tongue surgically grafted to the cheek where the rest of Valiant is a stark reflection of reality. QUANTUM AND WOODY also live on the fringe of the universe never touching the other parts, a scary proposition for those of us who love the intricately woven nature of every other title.
I consider QUANTUM AND WOODY a nice respite from the rest of the morose. However, with each laugh comes a delicate balance of heart and weightiness. Since issue one, they have pieced together their relationship after a long estrangement as well as their father’s death through flashbacks to the time of their childhood when Quantum was the star and Woody, was exactly what you would expect a guy named Woody to act like. These tender moments helped the book stay lighthearted without jumping the shark into schlocksville like a certain new ABC series that better find the serious fast or I’m done watching.
If the tenderness and cuts of hilarious tenderloin from the side of Don Rickles weren’t enough, Fowler does a great job with the art, his facial expressions are rich and diverse – a necessity in a book dealing with humor. Plus I was able to score one of Valiant’s 8 bit covers and this was an homage to my favorite game from that time, “The Legend of Zelda.” The main difference being, two Links and and…the goat…inside that first cave where you got the crappy wooden sword. Thankfully no Octorocks shot my face off as I opened the book.
I’ll admit it; QUANTUM AND WOODY won’t be for everyone. If you can’t turn that frown upside down once in awhile, you’re best off reading SHADOWMAN. However, if you can actually enjoy life and release your sphincter give QUANTUM AND WOODY a chance. The next issue starts a new storyline, and I think will be a little less frantic than the intensity hook required for the first arc.
ALL NEW X-MEN #17Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
So we've just gone over the hump of “Battle of the Atom”, only four more issue to go. Despite my misgivings on the nature of the initial plot, the series is improving nicely. Though isn't it amusing that Bendis' last two big event stories are time travel stories (AGE OF ULTRON and Battle of the Atom (is it odd that 'of' is in both titles too?)
Now I still maintain that, even with the scary future ahead of them, chasing around a couple of teenage heroes from the past (who should know better) because they won't go home isn't worthy of a big crossover event like this. Seriously teenagers whining about their 'curfew', that COULD have gotten really lame really fast. To the credit of the writers, they were hip to this and kept it from being irritating, although it did go on a bit too long.
Thankfully, with this issue we get the meat of the plot- or at least knowledge that something is going on besides just trying to get Jean Grey, and teenage company, to return to their own time. I feel this development should have happened in like issue 3 or 4. If you wait too long to spring the 'interesting thing' about your story, you might lose a lot of readers before you get to it.
So what's the new wrinkle in the story? Well Magik decided to take a look at the future and see how bad everything is suppose to be- SPOILER TIME- turns out, it doesn't seem that bad after all. Aside from poor Dazzler and Madrox, that is (though seriously Dazzler become President(!?) Bendis is just being silly there). Oddly enough all the dragons stomping around again reminds me of AGE OF ULTRON, when Morgan le Fay's army was... stomping around. Anyway, it turns out the X-Men from the future might not be 'the' X-men from the future. But let's be serious, having like five X-Men teams in the present, it's really no big surprise Marvel is still pumping out X-Men spill-offs in the future (see what I did just there (well I amused myself)). All this makes me more interested in what's really going on in the future (where originally I could careless, because it's always some, days of future / past nightmare). And it raises my hopes of seeing a full on, X-Men on X-Men (future, past & present) slug-fest (the 'Battle' of the atom)- that isn't cause by dumb adults dealing with silly teenagers.
Meanwhile, Stuart Immonen has turned in a damn good looking book. On some level I wish he would find his own artistic voice, since he had been 'aping' Adam Hughes in the 90's and now he's 'aping' Olivier Coipel. Though this issue seems to have more 'Hughes' touches than I've seen in a while. But Immonen is such a talented artist, I can't help but wonder what he really has in him. Getting back to the issue, great looking stuff, from the dragons and the kill shot, to Colossus and his tache- all great stuff. Though I'm not sure why Colossus and Magik were fighting on page 23, because it sure didn't seem like it was in the story. I suppose one could arguing there were too many two page spreads in this issue, but they all looked great and there were enough smaller panels (of a good size) to prevent them from wasting too much story space.
This was a really good issue and the next four issues are looking to be much entertaining than the first five were. It looks like Marvel really does have two good crossovers going on at the same time- nice job everybody.
Learn more about the Masked Man and feel free check out his comic book GOLD STAR, CINDY LI: THREE OF A KIND and CAPAIN ROCKET at www.Toonocity.com
THE STAR WARS #2Writer: J. W. Rinzler
Artist: Mike Mayhew
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewer: Corey Michael Dalton
The second issue of THE STAR WARS arrives after sellouts on issue one and a flurry of media coverage. If you've read the first issue, you know that the excitement isn't necessarily over what a great story J. W. Rinzler has managed to wring out of George Lucas's first draft screenplay as it is for the concept itself. Peeking into the mind of a creator like George Lucas and seeing how now-iconic characters came to be has captured quite a few folks' attention—including mine.
Unfortunately, though, this second issue is a little boring. The Death Star (although it hasn't yet been called that in this draft) is bearing down on Aquilae, the seat of the rebellion, while our characters debate over and over what they should do in response. I'm still not sure who the main character is. One of the lead characters from the first issue, the partially robotic Jedi Kane Starkiller, disappears on the first page, leaving his son, Annikin, to be trained by the George Lucas-looking Jedi General Luke Skywalker. Unfortunately, Luke really has more important things to worry about at the moment than a teenager with bad hair—such as that pesky Death Star hovering in the sky. (Nice timing, Kane.) Annikin doesn't seem too sad to say goodbye to his papa, uttering a simple "So long, dad." There is a mention later in the issue that Kane is going to meet "Han Solo, the Ureallian," though, so maybe he'll be back. Or not. I'm not sure it matters either way at this point.
As I alluded to earlier, there is a lot (way too much) discussion between Luke and various tertiary characters about whether or not Aquilae will declare war on the Empire and defend itself—all while the Empire's moon-sized ball of terror is taking aim at their planet. Apparently, Luke reaaaaallly needs the "war code" before he can rally support to protect Aquilae. Despite the lack of a "war code," a group of random pilots we've never met with names like Mace, Chewie, and Babs launches from a city called Gordon (snicker snicker) and attacks the approaching Death Star. This extensive sequence is is not very exciting for three reasons: 1. we don't know anything about any of these guys, 2. we know they can't succeed in blowing up the Death Star yet (it's only issue two!), and 3. the sense of speed and motion conveyed by moving pictures is simply lacking in static panels of art (even lovely static panels of art), robbing the sequence of any energy.
While the red shirts get blown up attacking the Death Star, the king of Aquilae (Leia's daddy) gets killed off-panel (I think), seemingly spurring his wife to make nice with the Empire. (I guess the king's out-of-place line to his wife earlier in the issue about being "so shy" when they first met was supposed to lend some sense of loss to his death. Didn't work.) Oh, and the Princess Leia subplot gets even weirder in this issue. Last time, you may recall, she showed up for one scene only to get sent off to school. In this issue, Annikin is sent to retrieve her from school. When she refuses to leave her handmaiden/decoy (how very Queen Amidala), Annikin punches her in the face and knocks her out. I am not kidding.
One interesting wrinkle presented in this issue is that C-3PO and R2-D2 are introduced as Imperial droids onboard the Death Star. And R2-D2 talks! (I wonder what his voice would have sounded like.) In a scene reminiscent of the opening of A NEW HOPE, the pair of bickering droids climbs into an escape pod and flees the Death Star as the Aquilae fighters are attacking it. I don't yet see what this sequence has to do with our other characters, but I'm guessing the robots are going to wind up with Annikin and Leia somehow. For what purpose, I don't know.
Despite the flaws in the story, Mike Mayhew's art remains gorgeous, with only a few awkward panels—mostly involving Annikin, for some reason. (For example, what's with his weird bow on the second page? And who is he even talking to on page three while eating his turkey leg? And where is he when he's grabbing/making out with that random "Uh..." girl?) Overall, though, I have no real complaints with the art. The influence of Ralph McQuarrie on the designs remain—especially in the rather elegant version of C-3PO. The only real let-down from a character design perspective is Darth Vader. The part in the hair/scar/red eye thing is just not intimidating—especially when compared to the helmeted Vader we all know and love.
Honestly, this series is kind of a mess. There are lots of things happening, but those things often involve completely undeveloped characters and divergent plots that don't seem to tie together very well. We're a quarter of the way through now, and I am still not clear who the protagonist is, I don't really understand what's at stake, and I know that there are still more characters (in an already overstuffed narrative) that have yet to appear. Nevertheless, as a Star Wars nerd through and through I'm enjoying this series. It is fascinating to get a glimpse at George Lucas's initial attempt at telling his story. Thank goodness this rough-draft screenplay was never made into a movie, though, or I suspect that we would have never gotten THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!
Corey Michael Dalton has written and/or edited trade books, magazine articles, short stories, novels, comics, plays, review, websites, blogs, and more. You name it, he's probably written it. Except religious scriptures. He hasn't gotten around to those just yet.
SAVAGE WOLVERINE #9Writer: Jock
Artist: Jock and Lee Loughridge
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: The Kid Marvel
SAVAGE WOLVERINE is basically nothing more than various artists and writers, telling short stories with their take on Weapon X. These stories have been phenomenal so far from the first run with Cho and Keith, then to the second outing with Wells and Madureira. With SAVAGE WOLVERINE 9, we see the third shift of SAVAGE WOLVERINE with writer and artist Mark Simpson taking a crack at it, otherwise known by his alias Jock. The stories on SAVAGE WOLVERINE have been perfect for Logan. They’ve been simple, violent, and artistically spectacular. If you’re a fan of Wolverine, then this is the book you should have actually been buying because frankly, WOLVERINE was just not doing it for me. While SAVAGE WOLVERINE however, has just been excellent. I know some of you feel like Wolverine get’s overused and some of you love that overuse. With the SAVAGE WOLVERINE series, I think it’s become a nice median and mix for either camp because the story isn’t drawn out or trying to over utilize Logan, it focuses on the fast paced, short storylines that work perfectly for Wolverine while sticking to what makes the character good, the gratuitous violence.
In SAVAGE WOLVERINE #9, Jock slows down the faster pace that’s been synonymous with the book so far, with a more artsy take. The book begins with Logan waking up attached to a space ship, then falling onto a small planet, completely unaware of what’s happening or where he’s at. After wandering around and surviving multiple alien animal attacks, Logan stumbles upon a child who says he was sent to track Wolverine. This child then also reveals that he and some other unknown individuals, were made like Logan and that he could somehow save them, ending SAVAGE WOLVERINE #9.
While Jock slows down the pace and overall styling in SAVAGE WOLVERINE, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a pace that seems like it will pick up as it progresses, something a lot different the other teams. Jock keeps the writing mostly to text boxes, until Logan meets up with the mysterious child and then finally adds in some dialogue. There isn’t much to talk about story wise from this issue because very little information is given about the transpiring events, the location, the enemies, and the overall story elements. Jock is basically keeping everything in the dark at this point, with no hint of how his developing run on SAVAGE WOLVERINE will pan out.
As for Jock’s artwork it’s ok, sticking to simple coloring and shady with a grittier, more abstract form of character design. It’s not awful artwork at all but it’s defiantly a downgrade from Cho or Madureira’s work, who absolutely killed the SAVAGE WOLVERINE art in the last eight issues.
While SAVAGE WOLVERINE has been excellent and above average across the board, issue nine is a bit of a letdown. It lacks the savage that has been SAVAGE WOLVERINE, it lacks the impressive unique art that’s been beautiful for eight issues, and finally, it just comes across as average without capturing the edge of the other SAVAGE WOLVERINEs. The future issues may hold a lot of improvement because Jock seems to be going for a story that builds, at least that’s the vibe I’m getting. The story idea is even something out of the usual Wolverine element with the space element, seeing as the last storylines involved typical Wolverine ideas with ninjas, the Hulk, or a jungle environment. However, Jock is going to have to do more in the future books, in order to make his SAVAGE WOLVERINE run stand up with the last two and not end up the ugly sister of the series. I would personally wait this out before purchasing it maybe browse the issue in your store if that’s cool with your comic guy. I feel this is a wait and see at the moment, at least until future issues release and pick up in quality. And for those of you who don’t care at all and are sick of Logan’s overuse, word around the water cooler is Marvel may kill him off in BATTLE OF THE ATOM. Personally, I think Logan’s just been used bad by writers in some stories lately and needs to take more of a back seat in certain areas. Not necessarily needing to kill the character off, but I digress.
Advance Review: Available today!
IT CAME #2-3Writer & Artist: Dan Boultwood
Publisher: Titan Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
IT CAME…all over the country side. IT CAME…and we saw misogyny was alive, well, and British. IT CAME…and didn’t even offer a towel for clean-up. Confused? Join the club; the characters of IT CAME, the story of a giant robot come to terrorize the 1950’s English countryside live in confusion throughout all three issues of this hilarious miniseries.
Boultwood, their creator, paints a canvas of double-entendre, giving a modern sensibility looking glass at a time when women were merely objects of affection and men were always right and in charge. I compared the first issue to MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER, but the more I think about it that’s the lazy man’s slugline. Boultwood has done more here than simply shoot holes at poorly crafted movies like Tom, Crow and Joel used to do. He has enveloped himself inside the 1950’s B-Movie and develops a compelling narrative from the simple concept of a pissed off giant robot.
The characters are what make IT CAME a delight. Dr. Boy Brett is a master of science. What kind, don’t ask, I don’t think even he knows. However, he has a pipe in his mouth and patches on his elbows so he must be really smart. His assistant, the lovely Doris, serves as the cheesecake and piñata for all of Boy’s well-intentioned in flattery, but still obscenely misogynistic analyses of the situation and the world. Together, the two discover the giant robot, its mothership, and what they have come to harvest. Here’s a clue what the aliens are looking for: it can only be found in Britain - it’s never been dunked, but often gets moist - it helps to cover a flaw that medical plans have painfully ignored.
This isn’t about the destination though; it’s about the vicars with vices, the bumbling British military and the delightfully ridiculous ole’ boy, ole gal and ole badger quips Dr. Brett throws out whenever he addresses someone. It’s also about the presentation. Boultwood keeps the B-Movie theme alive by placing himself as the director and taking many breaks for old time advertisers and behind the scene moments with the stars. These little niceties help keep the tongue in cheek alive and a DVD extras feel in a time when extras were merely fodder for the casting couch. Boultwood is also no slouch on artistic duties, while definitively cartoon in nature he has a keen eye for detail when warranted – when things go all alien, you can see that the cartoons in prior panels are a stylistic choice as opposed to a crutch. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the coloring in this book. There’s a blue he to all the pages that are reminiscent of old movies and England.
IT CAME is just one morsel of the phenomenal work coming out of Titan Comics. The older properties like FIRST KINGDOM are perfect hook to get readers engrossed in original pieces like IT CAME and NUMBER CRUNCHERS. Give Titan a chance, even though they came out of nowhere this past year they are definitively moving somewhere in 2014.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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