AICN COMICS REVIEWS: MOON KNIGHT! RAT QUEENS! URBAN LEGENDS! TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER! & More!
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: FUTURE’S END #2
ORIGINAL SIN #1
RAT QUEENS #6
Indie Jones presents URBAN LEGENDS #1
MOON KNIGHT #3
DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK #1
Indie Jones presents GRUMBLE Chapter One
IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #2
TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER #4
Advance Review: SUPERMAN: DOOMED #1
Advance Review: In stores this week!
FUTURES END #2Writers: Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire
Artist: Jesus Merino
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
I fear my review for issue 1 of FUTURES END came across much harsher than I intended. I still have some grudges against some of the new 52 character iterations, and at the end of the day I need to take the same harsh pill I jam down the throats of others who have issues with character changes I could care less about: in essence, “time moves on--get over it.” But when it came to characters like Green Arrow and StormWatch my rage blinded my objectivity. For this I apologize to DC and, more importantly, to you, the comic buying public.
Instead of my paragraphs of ranting about where characters had been, I should have focused where they are now, which unveils the intent of FUTURES END – clean deck amidst a yarn of time travel, treachery and yet another redefining of the word superhero.
I will dare say this second issue truly moved me. Building off last issue’s demise of a now-bearded Ollie Queen, the few superheroes that still have solidarity five years from now come to pay their respects. It all comes across as a truly heartfelt endeavor as Animal Man delivers a truly beautiful eulogy for a relationship we’re just getting introduced to over in JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED (yes, this book will want you to reassess your feelings on JLU 2, also dropping this week). It was during these moments that I felt my Giffen and Jurgens of old appear seemingly from the ether. The follow-up dialog to the eulogy where Firestorm is confronted about choosing a booty call over League business was so reminiscent of the JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL of my youth it inspired me to pleasure myself to the Bangles “In Your Room.”
The source of venom aside from Firestorm’s negligence was our first introduction to Mr. Terrific five years from now. I don’t get the transformation, but he is now far more Kanye than his New 52 beginnings of Will Smith. His outing of secret identity for a better IQ score is very different from the cerebral detective who was exiled to EARTH 2 after low sales. The Justice League has always had a hard time getting along in the New 52, but there is enough friction in the future to power Cleveland.
I hate to call this book the D-List parade, because it diminishes the quality. Even though these characters had a bitch of a time supporting their own books, mashed together they are pretty great. Throw in a high B+ lister like Batman Beyond beginning his break into Brother Eye, an inquisitive clue dropped to Lois Lane, and the shroud lessened a bit around our ultimate villain, and the plot really did move despite the maudlin mentioned above.
Also, Jesus Merino drew the hell out of this; again…the funeral…the funeral.
It’s also nice to see another weekly done good like BATMAN ETERNAL, as opposed to done bad like COUNTDOWN. Personally, I don’t care if it takes 14 writers and 12 monkeys on Adderol to get a book done, as long as they all mesh.
These guys mesh.
When not talking comics, Optimous Douche is the head of marketing for Work Zone, Project Management so powerful it could straighten out the New 52. To read Optimous other marketing, comic stuff and advice columns head to robpatey.com.
ORIGINAL SIN #1Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Deodato
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Any entertainment medium we consume is about mystery. Music, movies, books, gameshows, etc. all operate on our need to know more. With music we wonder how an artist will convey to us their thoughts and feelings; with movies, even the silliest romantic comedy hopes we are curious enough to see what happens next, and with all print media the challenge is to give the reader a reason to continue reading. In this comic we are faced with a mystery of epic proportions that even a novice comic book reader could be interested in. For me, the names Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato are a sure bet for me. The title could say “Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato on....MICROMACHINES”, and I would blindly buy it. Needless to say, I have a lot of faith in this creative team and would pretty much give a chance to anything they do, and a MARVEL-wide crossover using some of my favorite superheroes is pretty much a no-brainer. Am I going into this comic review biased? YES, because these guys are legit and can have all my money. Also, did I go drinking after work and decide to write a review? YES, thus my review of ORIGINAL SIN #1.
Have you ever noticed how DC and MARVEL events kind of reflect the same themes? Watcher’s Eye...Brother EYE...damn, I thought there was something there...we’ll get back to that. In my opinion, I think Marvel’s last big crossover, INFINITY, was awesome and felt like it had a real impact on the universe (not like Age of Ultron’s apocalyptic past futures changed NOW) and gave our heroes a pretty serious threat that we hadn’t seen before. In this comic we are treated to a good ol’ fashioned mystery. Spoiler alert: who killed the fucking Watcher and stole his eyes, and why? The cast of characters so far is great, and I would pay big money to read a team up book with Dr. Strange and Punisher by Aaron & Deodato. The dialog is crisp in this issue (see Wolverine and Black Widow discussing bear meat) and for the most part the story doesn’t feel like something I’ve read before.
In “Age of Ultron” I felt like I could easily guess the ending after reading two issues. We knew the Marvel Universe wasn’t going to remain in a world where Ultron ruled the world, so in my opinion the stakes were flimsy at best. In ORIGINAL SIN, this story could play out a number of ways and I find my self just as curious as the fictional characters involved to find out how this mystery unravels. If you need more convincing, we have a brand new team made up of some of the most underrated characters in Marvel U assembled by...well, we don’t know that yet, but that is one of the grand mysteries evolving in this issue. I really hope this team gets their own book (you hear me, MARVEL? Make it so!). Jason Aaron has been absolutely killing it at Marvel. If you haven’t read the story GOD BOMB in THOR: GOD OF THUNDER...well shit, you have missed what I consider one of the best THOR stories I’ve ever read (just thinking about THOR being tortured in that cave...whew!). If you’ve read Aaron’s SCALPED, THOR, WOLVERINE or the new SOUTHERN BASTARDS then you know he has the skills to get intimate, violent and fun all in the same stroke, and judging by this issue, he’ll be getting low down and dirty by the time this series ends...trust me.
If you have been following Mike Deodato for the past 6 years then you have seen a drastic improvement in his art. From NEW AVENGERS to THUNDERBOLTS to DARK AVENGERS to SECRET AVENGERS, Deodato has been stepping his game up, and the results are beautiful: his pages are a not only interestingly crafted but they’re also a delight to look at. I know I’m gushing, but he is one of my top three artists at Marvel and he does not disappoint in this issue. Deodato’s art style almost looks 3D, but also has a lot of shading which adds mood to this mysterious mishap on the moon. Deodato’s page layouts are always unique and fun to follow (see Mindless One vs. Thing). Did you see those preview pages of the Punisher & Dr. Strange on the astral plane?!?! I mean, holy shit! Can you tell I like the art? ‘Cause I do.
This is my kind of crossover where the stakes are unique, or heroes are baffled, a cosmic entity lies dead and mutilated by an unknown who now holds...well, that would be telling. I’d say a great comic yields mystery, and this issue does it perfectly. I feel like this comic not only can intrigue even the most novice comic reader but can entertain even an old vet like Kletus. I know I’ve sounded very biased through this review (that’s cause I’m drunk! get over it! You don’t know meee!)...but I trust this team of creators. Not only have I been following both of them independently for years, but I believe that together they could be another great team like Loeb & Sale, Brubaker & Epting, KC & JoJo, or Tango & Cash. To put it simply, these two names at the top of a comic means, at least for my money’s worth, I’m going to enjoy it. I know this review involved a lot of praise but I love what both of these guys do (oh god, I’m in the ‘I love you, man’ stage of drinking) and I have a good feeling that we are in for a great ride. I say pick this issue up if you trust Ol’ Kletus (and I know ya do)--I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
RAT QUEENS #6Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artist: Roc Upchurch
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee
I’ll start off with little context for this review and some inside baseball on our process here in the @$$hold Parade, because sometimes I’m not as humble a human being as I like to believe myself to be. Usually the gears turn like this for one of these columns: we all get some comics on a Wednesday (maybe earlier, if some people in the business are feeling generous), the gang of us call out within a few days of this what we all feel like putting coverage toward, and then we try and get our word vomit to our overlords by Tuesday morning at the latest so it can deposited in your brain receptacle by Wednesday for enjoyment and informative purposes. I, being the unreliable bastard that I am because I’m a masochist and a workaholic, usually hold back on my call outs because I’m never quite sure just what physical hell I’m going to put myself through and if it’ll lead me to an insufficient amount of time for me to even read my weekly comics, let alone pound out 1,000+ words about one of them. Running with that, I can tell you right now that since Wednesday comic book day I have ground out roughly 60 man hours of work, it’s currently 4AM on a Tuesday morning, I have a freshly made pot of coffee and a determination to see this piece through. Why? Because a) MASOCHIST! and b) I think RAT QUEENS is just that good and even important a comic book to put in the effort, that’s why.
RAT QUEENS, if you’re a silly goose not in the know, is a comic about four very sassy, sarcastic, and borderline sadistic ladies set in a very Dungeons and Dragons world. They like to hack and explode the kind of beasts and demons you would associate with such a genre setting, swear, and fuck. It’s over-the-top in brutality and humor and is a level of clever most of us wish we could access. Being honest, these ladies are pretty well designed to appeal to a geek culture in which the menfolk would find these ladies irresistible from a compatibility standpoint and the ladyfolk find them enviable from a personality standpoint. If RAT QUEENS were just here to capitalize on capturing that zeitgeist it would be doing a damn fine job of it and would be enjoyable enough. This latest issu,e though, is really bringing these characters and their relationships and personalities around to make it a special read.
What is going on with this beginning of the second RAT QUEENS arc is a pretty pointed effort to dispel the notion that it is going to just be the fighting and fornicating that did solidly dominate the first story. That was a jolly good and beautifully illustrated time had by all, but there was also the underpinnings of a broader personality to the characters to go with their broadswords, and it’s really coming to fruition here. For a bunch of foulmouthed ladies that are pretty DTF they really seem to be getting attached to some regular people in their lives. Pippish Betty has herself an adorable fling going on with a local, Elf Mage Hannah keeps finding herself in the bed of Captain of the Guard Sawyer despite promises not to, and Dee the Cleric is pining for someone not quite there. And then there’s Violet the muscle who, okay yeah, she just banged to bang. But it’s this type of setup that plays into RAT QUEENS’ outward personality and sales appeal but show a deeper core to these gals. Even the town they’ve spent most of their time drunk and disorderly within is seeing them in a new light as potential protectors and not just mercenaries who get rowdy a lot. There’s a noticeable shift going on here to play up some more emotional resonance with moments in between the bloodshed and gore, and it really makes the book feel more complete.
Now, I threw the word “important” in here earlier when describing/praising this book and here’s why: It has no reservations about itself and it doesn’t pander. Well, okay, it panders a little with its personality as I said before, but for the most part it gives no fucks. This isn’t some blatantly obvious attempt to get the Grrrl Power sales and it’s not trying to paint this foursome in any sort of stereotypical light that tends to come with female leads. The Queens like sex, but they’re not depicted as overt sex objects. They’re strong women but not being shown as “strong because they’re not as weak as their counterparts,” they just know how to kick some ass and come back from the licks they take as well as anyone: man, woman or ogre. And they all have their own hang ups on relationships as we all do in our own ways.
All of this is important because – as I have occasionally gone tangential about before in this space – we are at a pretty imperative moment in comic book culture and fandom where we need to get our heads out of our collective asses about gender. Yes, this is a medium that has through the vast bulk of its existence been dominated by males and, yes again, we’re seeing the ladies wanting in on the action. And, quite frankly, a percentage of us guys, as we have seen recently with shit like the Comic Book Resources debacle, have been a bunch of tiny-dicked, exclusionist losers about this transition in our beloved medium. And I happen to feel that a book like RAT QUEENS here is a good bridge of attributes both genders enjoy in their fiction and fantasy because it doesn’t pander in a gender specific way, but a universal geek-centric and humorous way. It’s not a female-driven piece of D&D fanfiction; it’s a comical fantasy piece that happens to have badass female leads.
The last object of praise that I will level at this title is what Roc Upchurch contributes with the art chores. All the humor and action and the flickers of emotional turmoil this book presents are as good as they are because they come in under his pencil (and he apparently self-colors, too). His linework has a range of expressiveness and comedic timing that I assume would make the likes of a legend like Kevin Maguire a little jealous. It absolutely sells everything from the outrageous lines the ladies tend to deliver to the ultraviolence they partake in. It’s a key component to a book I did not realize I missed as much as I did while it took a couple months to straighten out its schedule and then flooded me with lots of good tidings to hold me over until the next issue. Admittedly, it also somewhat made me realize that I did not quite remember some of the tertiary characters as well as I apparently should have as they get pushed to the forefront and meet some rough and important trade here (and I don’t know if that’s more a product of the hiatus or how overloaded my brain is or that maybe the previous issues didn’t sell them enough) but any excuse to refresh my memory of the Queens’ previous adventure is a welcome one. While I do that, I do not think I could possibly suggest any more than I have already that you go out and buy the wonderful in both content and price first volume of RAT QUEENS and get in with the gang. You will be welcomed with open arms, regardless of who or what you are according to your character sheet. Cheers…
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, Facebookand a blog 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.
Indie Jones presents!
URBAN LEGENDS #1Writers: Jeff Balke & Brandon Filbert (story), Keith Thomas (writer)
Art: Miriam Medina (pencils), Jeff Balke (colors)
Reviewer: Ambush Bug
The man with the hook for the hand on Lover’s Lane, the caller from inside of the house, the bridge that was the site of a grisly murder, the abandoned hospital that is haunted by the ghosts of former mistreated patients; my small home town of Lima, Ohio had all of those old urban legends and as a kid I ate them up like crack-laced hotcakes with bacon sprinkles. The new indie comic created by colorist extraordinaire Jeff Balke and writer Brandon Filbert, URBAN LEGENDS, deals with all of those myths and more.
I’m unclear if this is going to be an ongoing title with interlacing characters or if it’s just going to be a series of one-offs, but the first issue is solid in that it depicts one of the urban legends that never fails to scare the crap out of me--namely, the killer in the back seat of the car. I don’t know how many nights I’ve gotten into my car, started it up, and began driving before being overwhelmed with a feeling of utter fear that I haven’t checked the back seat. Maybe it’s a bum who needed a dry place to sleep or a stalker from the talkbacks who has a beef and has tracked me down. In just a scant amount of seconds, my mind races all over the place before turning to look in the dark back seat just inches behind me. Balke, Filbert and Keith Thomas (who actually wrote this issue) capture this feeling extremely well in the first issue, focusing on a nubile and somewhat vapid young woman flitting through her life, not really looking where she should (like the back seat of her car!!!). Distracted by her cell phone, she gabs incessantly to her friend, ignoring the fact that her final moments may be fast approaching. In this short but potent little tale, the writers have been able to encapsulate this fear we all have had and present it in a clear and effectively scary manner.
Art by Miriam Medina is solid throughout, depicting individuals as such and always paying attention to backgrounds. It’s a straightforward art style with few frills, but one that doesn’t get in the way of the story and communicates the details clearly. The panels depicting the shadowy presence in the back are truly scary, relying on that common fear of dark unknowns we all have to make the imagery all the more effective.
URBAN LEGENDS has loads of potential as there seems to be an abundance of them to choose from. Here’s hoping we see more from Balke, Filbert and Co. in the near future as this issue proves this is a scary, independent endeavor worth following.
Find out how to pick up the first issue on Jeff Balke’s website here and check out the trailer for the first issue below!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 13 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Mark’s written THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, DEATHSPORT GAMES, NANNY & HANK (soon to be an Uptown 6 Films feature film), Zenescope’s GRIMM FAIRY TALES Vol.13, UNLEASHED: WEREWOLVES, and the critically acclaimed THE JUNGLE BOOK and its follow up THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES. FAMOUS MONSTERS’ LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (co-written with Martin Fisher) will be available soon in trade. Mark wrote/provided art for a chapter in Black Mask Studios’ OCCUPY COMICS. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
MOON KNIGHT #3Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
On some level it's hard to find a writer more respected in comics than Warren Ellis. Oddly enough, though, I've never really been wowed by his work. Most of the time his work came across as someone trying too hard, but at least he has never been as pandering as Mark Millar. I've pretty much had the same feelings about Moon Knight, too. He's a character who looks cool, should probably be something I'm into, but never really happened. But as I drift further and further away from DC, I thought I'd give Ellis and Moon Knight another shot.
Right off the bat, the most interesting thing about this series is Ellis’ desire not to write like anyone else. As the current modern comic book story is a six (or more) issue tale full of plot points dragging on forever, Ellis has be turning in single issue stories. There is an underlying story: who is Marc Spektor (aka Moon Knight), and based on his amazingly checkered history, how did he get to this point in his life? It really reminds me of the way comics used to be written. You could pick up a single issue and just enjoy it, or you'd keep buying issues and appreciate the tapestry that was being woven. For that alone, MOON KNIGHT is worth reading.
To get into the nuts and bolts of it, each issue in this one is a quick tale of Moon Knight taking on some villains. Unlike the last two, though, this issue gets more into the occult--which makes sense for a character born out of ancient Egyptian mysticism. You see, there are a few ghosts running around New York and Moon Knight's usual m.o., a sock to the face, isn't working (I'll sidebar here for a moment just to point out a cute story parallel just for fun, nothing more--Gardner Fox had a similar story in Batman #175 where Batman couldn't just punch out the villains in “The Decline and Fall of Batman”). As I mentioned earlier, Moon Knight expands his bag of tricks (letting us get a glimpse into his new world) and wraps up the villains in 20 pages (FYI, Fox did it in 24).
Another thing that stands out in this series is atmosphere. While Ellis is wrapping up stories in 20 pages, he also manages to make them feel like they are slowly unfolding. Artist Declan Shalvey does a great job with this, telling the story with more mood than superhero chutzpah. Colorist Jordie Bellaire really helps as well. Kind of funny that I bashed Bellaire's coloring on THE X-FILES: SEASON 10, but think it's great here. Then again, if you look at both comics, it's easy to see that for whatever reason, Bellaire is not giving THE X-FILES the effort he is giving MOON KNIGHT. The one piece of improvement, I’d like to see from Shalvey is to give Moon Knight a more heroic frame. Even in a suit and tie, I'd like Moon Knight to have a more than average build. Nitpicking aside, this is a pretty flawless looking book.
Depending on where Ellis takes us in the coming issues, it looks like I might finally become a fan of his and Moon Knight. With a great combination of action, mood, and smarts MOON KNIGHT “Box” (on the Masked Man's scale of Crap, Poor, Decent, Good, and Great) scores a GOOD.
DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK #1Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Iwan Nazif
Publisher: Titan Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
This will be a short review, because like any good children’s tale the plot and action are kept as a light affair to drive home the moral of the tale. There’s good guys and bad guys, a wee bit of peril to make young hearts go pitter patter without inducing palpitations, and an assload of dragons to fool young imaginations into believing there is still an ounce of magic in this world.
We’re big animation fans in the Douche house. We leave them on as company for our four legged son, Fergus, but ultimately get sucked into the two layers many CG cartoons play on to appease both dogs and parents alike. I know there are a ton of Pixar snobs out there, so in short this book is a continuation of Dreamworks’ HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. In this story, a mystical island of Vikings were originally terrorized by dragons until the friendship of two outcasts ultimately brought the clans together. Those outcasts--Hiccup the waifish Viking and Toothless, the littlest dragon, are both crippled in their own way, but prove to be very handiable when it comes to heroics. Now, despite loving cartoons, we are also not 12 or retarded, so the follow-up show escaped us. DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK 1is my first trip back to this unique land, and it was a welcome return of fun originality.
Thematically this book stays on the concept of embracing and managing diversity. Not to get all HR or corporate trainer on your ass, but if political correctness continues to burgeon at such an exponential rate, kids will need all the lessons they can get on tolerating assholes in the worm place. See, every dragon, like every person, is different, and when one has the propensity for shedding scales while they are still aflame, the townsfolk decide that the dragon has to go.
Of course, exile doesn’t last long before this bruiser dragon is sought after by Hiccup and his pals who were very malcontent with the adult’s decision to throw out the dragon with the fire. There’s also a pirate sailing the seven seas looking to snag a dragon of their own.
Again, I don’t have a lot to dissect here, but I would be remiss in my nerd duties if I didn’t occasionally give a shout out to comics perfectly befit for the tomorrow’s collectors. Good story, fun and funny dialog, and animation right in line with the movie make this a must for fans of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and a definite recommend to get little people acclimated to sequential panel storytelling.
Indie Jones presents!
GRUMBLE Chapter OneWriter: Leroy Douresseaux
Illustrator: Diego Candia
Publisher: RA Comics Direct
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty
GRUMBLE was a comic book that started out piecemeal on the web, as writer Leroy Douresseaux revealed elements of his horror story as they became available. That's important to note, because GRUMBLE is now a bona fide graphic novel, something tangible you can hold in your hands, and the narrative unfolds in much the same way GRUMBLE did on the net--gradually, mysteriously, and above all, enticingly.
I like this comic. I wasn't so sure at first, as the story has all the familiar elements. Our protagonist, Ava, returns home after learning of her uncle's death, and must slowly unravel the supernatural circumstances that surround his untimely passing. Once there she meets up with her childhood best friend, and tries to deal with all the family drama she left behind. As if that wasn't stressful enough, Ava's also dealing with nightmares, or as her friend Mindy calls them visions, straight-up Native American style. I found the use of words like “colored” and “negro” to be a little off-putting at first, but then I reminded myself that parts of this country still talk that way, stuck in eras that (fortunately) no longer exist. In addition, a quick Google search turned up Douresseaux's website, titled “Negromancer.” I'm going to go out on a limb here and surmise that he's got a license to drive that bus.
What I found most attractive about GRUMBLE was Douresseaux's restraint. We only see bits and pieces of the supernatural element, and most of his story is focused on character development. It gave me, as a reader, a deeper investment in the major players, so when the payoff does come I expect it to be that much more rewarding. The dialog is often dripping with reality-show drama, especially between sisters, but cattiness is to be expected in any case of sibling rivalry. As for the illustrations, Diego Candia hits a home run. I would love to see GRUMBLE fall in the hands of a talented inker (it’s black and white) because his detail is extraordinary. This was a fun read and it leaps off the page, both figuratively and literally, thanks to RA Comics Direct, and I hope there is enough traction to generate follow-up efforts. GRUMBLE, without a doubt, belongs on store shelves.
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.
IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #2Writer: Kaare Andrews
Art: Kaare Andrews
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: The Kid Marvel
Already within two issues, IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON is becoming one of my favorite comics. Between the spectacular artwork, story pacing, narrative, and overall product, Kaare Andrews is doing an amazing job so far.
In IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #2, the angsty, more existentially troubled Danny is toned down from issue #1, with more focus on K’un Lun and on Danny’s return to the immortal city. The book starts off with Danny still consistently getting the reporter Brenda’s name wrong, to the point of trolling, although I think Andrew’s point is he just doesn’t legitimately care. It also comes off as an attempt to lighten the thoroughly heavy tone the story has been carrying thus far. Shift over to K’un Lun a day before the current events, where the city is being attacked by a massive army of robot zombie ninja, with Yi-Ti confronting a very large hunchback robot zombie ninja, who seems to have some ties or history to K’un Lun. However, what those ties are I’m personally not sure, and my Iron Fist knowledge is not extensive enough to possibly know. Midway through IFTLW issue #2, Andrews switches back to some flashback of Danny’s origins prior to entering K’un Lun, witnessing his mother sacrifice herself to a pack of wolves in order for him to survive and make it into the city. I’ll end my summary there without getting into too much more detail to avoid spoilers.
Overall, I was just as impressed with issue 2 as I was issue 1. The whole style is a great motif of the martial arts genre and has such a raw, passionate feel to the story. It really stands out as something unique and of its own, between both art and storyline. After finishing IFTLW #1, while I enjoyed Danny’s internal turmoil and his lack of attachment to emotion, I did express a desire to see it toned down as the story progressed; in IFTLW #2, Andrews did just that. Danny is still having problems with his own lack of desire and distain for his fighting fetish over human interaction. However, during the time parts Danny gets focus on, he’s less brooding than previously written and slightly more upbeat.
While I think the writing is great, I believe what really makes the book shine is the way in which the art tells the story and the writing is more of a background narrative. Rather than push story through the writing, the art does just that, pacing the book smoothly and really engaging you as a reader visually. I find too many times, no matter the entertainment medium, writers walk you through the story having to tell you what’s going on instead of letting the story tell itself. Sometimes less is best, and the artwork is very much the highlight of this series.
IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON’s action art is also brilliant. Every panel sequence transitions smoothly and connects in art choreography. The fight designs are powerful and gritty, with a solid amount of detail and color. The pictures come across as a violent and faster paced “Dragon Ball Z”-esque style, with the viciousness of a movie like “The Raid”, emphasized that much more from the darker tones of color and apocalyptic style Andrews presents. Plus, who doesn’t like seeing one guy totally dismantle and go fisticuffs against an army of robot zombie ninja?
Honestly, I think everything about IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON is awesome, without a single glaring complaint for me anymore, personally. Iron Fist has always been a character I liked, but never read a solo story; they’ve always been team-based, so I like getting to know more about his mythos and a more in-depth take on the character. The art is awesome, the writing is solid, the story is fun, engaging, and exciting. Everything about IFTLW is enjoyable and if Andrews keeps up this level of quality, this will easily become one of the top comics I read from my pull bin, I would definitely check this out and highly recommend it.
TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER #4Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Mirko Colak
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Well shit, I was not expecting much from his comic. I’m a fan of Greg Pak, but not really too keen on Turok. I did some research because I really knew nothing about Turok besides the 2008 video game, which was pretty good but I had no concept about the premise besides a Native American fighting dinosaurs with primitive weapons. One series had a cool idea that Turok was trapped in a lost land where time moved slower than the rest of the universe in that 1000 years may pass in the outside world but maybe only 40 years would pass in this lost land, which was inhabited by Native Americans with not so primitive weapons, dinosaurs, futuristic spacemen, demons and a super being called Mothergod. Anywho, it seemed like a cool concept and one that I might try checking out sometime soon.
In this issue, we open up mid-battle where Turok is fighting dinosaurs as well as a large group of Crusaders (the Christian army guys, not the garage rock band from Los Angeles). The internal dialog is what really drives this comic, giving us a glimpse into Turok’s past as well as weaving between and accentuating the action happening on the page, all the while giving us an emotional anchor to the story. The artwork in this comic also surprised me because it’s pretty damn good, the faces convey emotion well and the action is well paced and easy to follow...plus (and this is by far the most important thing) the dinosaurs look great--oddly colored, but I can dig it. The T-Rex looks orange and blue and I’m a Florida Gator fan, so that color scheme is pretty welcoming to me.
Overall, I have to say I wasn’t expecting a lot from TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER but this book wasn’t bad at all. Greg Pak is a very capable writer (check out PLANET HULK for proof; my buddy Steven also says SUPERMAN/BATMAN and ACTION COMICS both are good reads as well) and if his name is on a book of something I’m interested in, I’d probably give it a chance. Unfortunately TUROK isn’t really something I’m trying to seek out and read, so this probably would have fallen beneath my radar if I wasn’t doing reviews. Honestly, I’m probably not going to go out and buy this book now as I’ve exceeded my comic budget (thanks IMAGE!), but I did enjoy this issue. If you like dinosaurs, Native Americans and Crusaders in a battle royale, hell, you’ll probably dig this book. The writing is good and the art is good as well, what more do ya need?!?!
Advance Review: In stores today!
SUPERMAN: DOOMED #1Writers: Scott Lobdell, Charles Soule, & Greg Pak
Art: Ken Lashley
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
Color me surprised and not with this one shot. On one hand, I’m shocked I enjoyed this resurgence of a 90s staple that is probably more reviled than Liefeld for its contribution to the implosion of comic sales (and like Liefeld it did also help comics reach the zenith of sales, so suck it fanboys). On the other hand, Lobdell, Pak and Soule are some solid writers whose work I enjoy on almost anything they touch, but especially revere their revitalizing the Man of Steel almost 2 years after Barry Allen uttered “no more treadmill.”
Lobdell once again made Superman and his ancillary characters interesting, then Pak several months later fleshed out the boy and the man that is Clark Kent over in BATMAN/SUPERMAN. Both have done fantastic work. I did however groan when they were handed the unenviable duty of reviving Doomsday. It was a slow groan at first, because he was merely a whisper of Kryptonian myth. Then my groan got louder as he was released from the Phantom Zone and then supercharged the US Guvment. None of this was cause for alarm, though, since it didn’t affect the rest of the Superman storyline. Then my groan became an “OK” as Superman and Wonder Woman smacked down the big gray monster over in their eponymous title. I didn’t hate his presence, but I was still utterly befuddled as to why anyone would bring Doomsday back, given he is a bit of a continuity albatross.
Doomsday was never really a character in the old universe; more a plot contrivance - an epic plot contrivance, but still simply a vehicle versus a being. In the New 52 he drudges up THE question that I feel is best left forgotten, or at least would only ass up middle aged fangeezers. I of course mean, did Doomsday “kill” Superman in the New 52?
I’m pretty sure THE event stands pat, which by my count says Superman was on planet Earth for about three years before he “died.” I actually prefer to imagine a universe where my air-quoted for sarcastic effect words of mortality are just that: pure sarcasm. I like to think Doomsday f’d Supes up hardcore, but Big Blue’s vitals always kept thumping. Kind of what actually happened, just this time the event wasn’t shown or polybagged.
See, some new big bad villain wouldn’t cause this much consternation.
Now, with all that said, I’ll admit that I hate saying it because these guys created a damn solid comic book issue that kicks you in the teeth with action all the way through. Some spectacular and beautifully rendered action, I might add. This isn’t your Daddy’s Doomsday, and when I cast aside my baggage, the changes are awesome. Doomsday is no longer just a bruiser, but a siphon of life feeding on all lesser beings in his aura as he extends his gullet in preparation for the main course – Superman. It’s not just that Doomsday sucks life; now he does it in a fiery bellow that merely leaves a field of ash in its wake. For anyone who wants to throw out a jab of The Parasite, I defy that argument merely with the defense of cool. Parasite consumes only sentient beings, Doomsday consumes ALL life . Also, with Parasite, there’s no fucking fire.
I’m not going to spoil this book by revealing the end because it will also ruin the event this book is launching. Keep in mind, though, for as much as there was in this book it is equally counterbalanced by emotional introspection that is the true intent of the title DOOMED. What we are about to experience is a crisis of consciousness and faith spurred by Superman’s actions that we all wish were the final moments of the “Man of Steel” movie versus Superman dickishly wasting taxpayer dollars.
P.S. Don’t be put off by the three different writers. This book is all Soule, I can tell by now. I have no doubt Lobdell and Pak got nods for plot direction and universal cohesion.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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