Hudlin Entertainment Forum

Comics => Comic Reviews and Spoilers => Topic started by: Sam Wilson on March 06, 2008, 01:09:41 pm

Title: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 3/5/08
Post by: Sam Wilson on March 06, 2008, 01:09:41 pm
Sam Wilson’s Reviews

Logan #1 (of 3)
Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian K. Vaughn
Drawn by: Eduardo Risso

For those of you who missed out on the “House of M” crossover a few years back and haven’t picked up a Wolverine comic in awhile rejoice (well, maybe).  At the conclusion of “House of M” Wolverine (aka Logan) was given his full memory back and one of the biggest mysteries of Marvel Comics was finally solved, while, as finally as they can keep telling stories that reveal piece by piece who the man we’ve come to know and love as Wolverine really is and what he’s done.  Yes, it’s been painstakingly slow with both the “Wolverine” regular series and “Wolverine Origins” both assigned flashback duty.  A third title can be added to that lineup with “Logan”. While this may seem redundant, Marvel keeps things fresh by acquiring the best and brightest to deliver us the goods, this time around those individuals would be Brian K. Vaughn and Eduardo Risso.  Brian K. Vaughn is known worldwide as one of the writers for the hit TV show “Lost”, but I know him from one of the best OGN’s in recent memory “Pride of Baghdad” and of course his Vertigo Series “Y the Last Man”.  I first came across Eduardo Risso a few years back with his “Johnny Double” series from Vertigo, a precursor to his and Brian Azzarello’s “100 Bullet’s” series.  Stylistically unique, I’ve always been a fan of his.  With that much talent behind it does “Logan” deliver?

Ever since Logan (I will never call him James, “Origin” = worse idea ever) got his memory back I’ve been hoping, praying, that someone would explore Wolverine’s whole Samurai side.  In “Logan” what I’ve been wanting and hoping for years may finally be happening.  Brian K. Vaughn introduces us to a WW2 POW named Logan, who is with the Canadian military.  When we catch up with Logan he has just been taken prisoner and finds himself in a cell with an American soldier.  Logan decides they aren’t going to stay and soon they find themselves on the run.  While in the Japanese country side Logan and his compadre run into a Japanese woman, whom the American immediately wants to kill.  Logan doesn’t see her as an enemy and so it begins (hey, revealing any more would spoil it). 

I’ve never seen Risso’s pencils done in color this way before, and I must say I’m impressed.  As far as Vaughn he delivers like you would expect.  Granted most of the story was set up, but one can clearly feel the tension and tone being set.  I’m definitely in for the next two issues, and would highly recommend this series to all, even those burnt out on the ol’ Canucklehead.   

Punisher War Journal #17
Marvel Comics
Written by: Matt Fraction
Drawn by: Howard Chaykin
Cover by: Alex Maleev

Back in the late ‘80’s/early ‘90’s you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting the Punisher. A character who was once a “C” lister back in the day was given a little bit of a boost Frank Miller in the early ‘80’s, and then a HUGE boost by the Mike Zeck/Jo Duffy limited series which led into the Whilce Portacio/Mike Barr series. At one point there was that series and a second series entitled “Punisher War Journal” written by Carl Potts and penciled by some forgotten guy by the name of Jim Lee and let me tell you, that book was AWESOME. Wow, Punny going up against drug dealers and doing his thing, all the while casually interacting with those members of the Marvel U he would most likely encounter, DD, Wolverine and the Black Widow to name a few. When Garth Ennis kick started the Punisher for the new millennium he wanted to move him away from the super hero stuff and make him more of a Mack Bolan type of hero (ha, anyone remember those books?). This worked out really well in the MAX world, but the powers that be decided they wanted to bring the Punisher back into the regular Marvel U thus we have a new “Punisher War Journal”, and let me tell you, it’s not so bad.

Issue 17 is the second issue with Howard Chaykin doing the pencil’s, and I gotta say.  Word.  People either love Chaykin or hate him, and I’m one of those who love him.  In this issue Frank’s sometime partner, Stuart aka Rampage (hey, check out the old Champions series for more info on that) has his day, sort of.  He gets caught up in a play made by two of his former partners.  The good news? He gets some (punnany, geez, do I have to spell it out?).  The bad news?  Frank has to pull his but out of the fire.

Yeah, one can say these last two issues didn’t show Frank so much, but just as important to the man is the world he lives in and sometimes its cool to see that side of things.  Chaykin and Fraction to a great job of bringing that aspect of Frank’s life to light.  Fans of the Punisher don’t worry, while it isn’t exactly the Lee/Pott’s awesomeness of 15 years ago, it’ll do.  Word…

Scalped #15
DC/Vertigo
Written by: Jason Aaron
Drawn by: R.M. Guera

How does one classify this book? Personally, I would say its balls out the most bad-assed comic on the streets right now. Think of everything awesome about shows like “the Shield” and “the Sopranos” and add nunchucks to the mix and there lies “Scalped”. “Scalped” is about Dashiell Bad Horse, the prodigal son of the Oglala Tribe, a southwestern US tribe that has fallen to all the stereotypical woes most native Americans have fallen victim to over the years: drugs, alcoholism, third world conditions, third world education and self hate so thick you could run a nail through it. Dashiell Bad Horse was exorcised from this hell hole at the ripe age of 13 and spent as much time after that staying as far away from it as he could, learning martial arts, joining the military and then being deployed in Kosovo. One day Dashiell finds himself back amongst the Oglala with a shaved head and a pair of nunchucks looking to beat the crap out of whoever has the misfortune of crossing his path that day. His ass kicking binge is so bad assed that Chief Lincoln Red Crow, head of the tribe and local bigwig in general, offers him a job as a tribal cop, busting (more like beating the sh*t out of and taking names later) meth labs to clean up “the rez” for the Chief’s new multi-million dollar foray into the whiteman’s pocket: gambling. Yup, a casino is about to open on the rez and the Chief is going to be a rich man, and so it goes…

Of course all is not as it seems. In the opening story arc we find out Dashiell really, really hates his mom, and she ends up being killed (scalped even) at the end of said arc. Also turns out the Chief and Dashiell’s mom go back, way back to Wounded Knee and two murdered FBI agents. Also turns out those FBI agents had a friend whose mission in life is to bury Chief Red Crow and send him up for murder if possible. And the Chief? Well, turns out he’s not a great guy, in fact, mob boss may be the best words to describe him. Aside from the Wounded Knee business he controls all illegal activities on the rez, getting rich off of his casino and using the tribal police as his own private thugs. Yeah, it’s a mess, and the thing I’m not saying that is Dashiell Red Horse is an FBI agent sent in by the afore mentioned agent to bring down Red Crow, for murder, and stay alive long enough to do it. Yup, Dashiell lives in a world of sh*t, and other than being in a place he hates surrounded by his childhood nightmare, he has a crazy boss, an evil Chief and ANOTHER undercover FBI agent on the rez who clearly doesn’t have Dash’s best interest at heart. Word. So where is the story now? Coming off of the death of Dash’s mother Gina in the last story arc, the new story arc, “Dead Mothers” has been kind of rough for hero.  Thus far he found out his mother was murdered, which didn’t bother him as much as the mother of five who was found murdered in a meth house.  Making a promise to the oldest son Dash makes a vow to find the woman’s killer, in spite of the fact the Chief wants him to investigate his own mothers murder. Yeah, that and Dash’s number one suspect in the meth house murder is Diesel, whom he finds out from his FBI handlers that he is also FBI undercover, which really, really ticks Dash off.   In issue 15 Dash bonds with the young man whom lost his mother, reminisces a little over his mother and gets some help from a very nasty Hmong gangster who clearly doesn’t give a f*ck. 
 
“Scalped” will easily fill the gap left by “Preacher” and the soon to be over “Y the Last Man” as far as comic cinematic masterpieces go. I can’t recommend this series enough (it’s my pick of the week yo), check out the first tpb “Indian Country” and the new trade of the 2nd arc, “Casino Boogie” out this. You won’t be disappointed.

Wktf’s Reviews

So, is there anyone out there who hasn't given new writer Mike Benson's Moon Knight a spin yet? If so, folks, please don't let the morass into which this book fell prior to Benson's picking up the reigns deter you from giving it another try. It's fresh and fun again!

Justice League: The New Frontier Special
DC Comics
Written by: Darwyn Cooke
Drawn by: Darwyn Cooke, David Bullock & J. Bone

Celebrating the DVD release of the New Frontier movie, Darwyn Cooke and DC have released this collection of never before seen stories from The New Frontier universe, if you will.  Actually, one of the greatest parts about this double-sized comic, retailing for $4.99, is its introduction where Cooke uses DC’s own time traveling Rip Hunter to take what appears to be the author’s personal shot at the convoluted continuity contortions going on now with Countdown and DC’s 52 Universes.  It’s a pretty funny page and I couldn’t agree more with the conclusion Rip draws at the end!

So, what treats does Cooke have in store for us here?  To start, the lead story is a fantastic tale of Superman and Batman’s first meeting and confrontation titled “The Greater Good.”  This tale provides a first-hand look at Faraday and General Eisenhower's quest to outlaw masked vigilantes, culminating with the day Superman goes to Gotham to bring down Batman.  Wonder Woman and Superman are briefed by Faraday on Batman’s activities and Diana will have nothing to do with bringing down this honorable man.  Unfortunately, Superman feels an obligation to follow his government’s orders.  However, unlike Frank Miller’s treatment of the Man of Steel as a half-witted government puppet, Cooke’s treatment is far more respectful and sympathetic.  In fact, we get what may be a hint of what’s driving Clark’s “obligation” from an ominous conversation he has with Ike under Mt. Rushmore.  Even so, this Superman needs to be taught a lesson, one he could not conceive The Batman might teach him.  The battle between DC’s big two, and how they come together at the end with the help of a common friend, is worth the price of admission alone.  Cooke’s Batman is as devastating a character as they come.  For this segment alone this issue is my pick of the week!

The next two stories aren’t nearly as strong, though they are lots of fun.  Dave Bullock (Director of the New Frontier movie) picks up the artistic chores on a story were Robin and Kid Flash (here called Wally Wood, rather than Wally West…is this a tribute to the sadly, prematurely late artist?) save Air Force One and JFK, and another penciled by Cooke’s long-time collaborator J. Bone where Wonder Woman and Black Canary team up to try curbing the tastes of some lecherous men.  Yeah, admittedly, that last story is pretty weak, even if the title of “The Mother of the Movement” and a historical guest star on the last page attempts to add some weight to this tale.  Of particular note, this issue also contains “behind-the-scenes bonus material” from the New Frontier movie in a section called “The Art of Justice League: The New Frontier.”  In this section we’re treated to lots of great concept art and storyboards from the film.  Finally, there’s even an early 1960s mock advertisement in this issue for a “Legend of John Henry” comic book as well as Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern comic, each for only ten cents!

All comic books should be as high quality as Cooke’s New Frontier, and as much fun to read as this particular special comic.  I can only hope Cooke has more New Frontier comic book stories up his sleeve.

Detective Comics #842
DC Comics
Written by: Peter Milligan
Drawn by: Dustin Nguyen

In picking my three titles to review, I had a choice between this another I’ve been reviewing the last couple of months, Nightwing.  Normally, Detective Comics would always win out due to the fantastic writing of Batman legend Paul Dini.  But, sadly and yet again, Dini didn’t craft this issue.  Milligan’s produced some serviceable work before, this was a one-shot story, I kind of like Nguyen’s art.  So I put Nightwing back in my comics bag to read later and opened up Detective.

Big mistake, as it turns out.  The premise of the story is that the armor Talia gifted to Batman in the absolutely awful ‘Resurrection of R’as al Ghul” story arc is beginning to warp Batman’s mind in dark and deadly ways.  In fact, chasing down and capturing a Gotham Jack the Ripper named Gotham Jack, Batman discovers a frightening desire to beat his quarry literally to death.  There’s a mystery behind this suit hinted at in a note left by Talia, but now its effects are beginning to manifest themselves in ways Batman must travel to the French Alps to understand. 

Okay, first of all, why is he now wearing this suit we haven’t seen in a few months, since the whole R’as al Ghul mess ended?  And why, after having worn it for a good part of the R’as storyline is he now discovering this note from Talia, the legend of the suit and the effect it’s having on him?  And a trip to a monastery in the French Alps?  A secret order sworn to protect the “Terrible Secret” of the suit, named the Suit of Sorrows?  And Batman going all Yoda Jedi Master at the end?  Oh, please.  Spare me.  I should know better to pick up Detective when Dini has a substitute writer.  Avoid this one like the plague. 

The good news is not only that is Dini back for a two parter starting next issue, not only will this story feature Scarface and the incredible new Ventriloquist (one of my favorite new characters in years), but that he’s bringing Zatanna back to this title as well.  Dini know how to write Z at well as he writes The Batman, and the latent romance between these two he’s hinted at in these pages is something he could explore beautifully. 

But, in the meantime, stay away from this issue and, if you’ve bought it already, see if you can return it.  Just say you picked it up by mistake.  Maybe, at least, you can get store credit.

Moon Knight #16
Marvel Comics
Plot by: Charlie Huston & Mike Benson
Written by: Mike Benson
Drawn by: Mark Texeira and Javier Saltares

We are now into the third installment of Mike Benson’s “God and Country” arc and, with each issue, the pedal just keeps getting pushed closer to the metal.  Moon Knight’s always been a hero who’s always been at least a shade darker than his peers (somewhere between Batman/Daredevil and The Punisher).  And why not?  After all, Marc Spector first appeared in the pages of Werewolf by Night #32 back in 1975.  A not quite willing servant and avatar to the Egyptian god Khonshu, god of vengeance and god of the moon, he now is haunted by visions of either the mad god himself or of Bushman, the man he “crossed a line” and killed two years back, or maybe Khonshu in the guise of the dead Bushman.  Either way Spector is a man frequently out of control.

And control is a central theme with this issue.  As Moon Knight notes, in the heat of battle, killing someone deserving death is easy.  The alternative, stepping just back from that fine line and delivering a non-fatal beating, takes resolve and years of training.  I think Tony Stark would not agree more though, as we saw last issue, Stark’s caught wind of Spector’s violent activities and doesn’t at all feel this registered hero is the model of control.  In fact, based on this issue’s newscast decrying Moon Knight’s rampages, Stark has got to be feeling the pressure of public sentiment building against Moon Knight.  Spector may have fallen in line with the Superhero Registration Act but, clearly, he’s done so to get a free pass to do what he does unchecked.  While Stark doesn’t appear this issue there’s no doubt a Moon Knight/Iron Man confrontation is in the works.

This issue we are treated to more of Spector’s life falling apart around him.  Frenchie, his former assistant and friend, lets Marc know he’s washing his hands of him completely.  He then learns he’s being set up with a different trainer at his gym until things “cool off a bit” after the training injury to Frenchie’s boyfriend.  Spector’s girlfriend, Marlene has walked out on him and, with this issue, is moving tentatively toward ex-con and former Moon Knight foe The Black Spectre, a.k.a. Carson Knowles.  And Knowles who’s cozying up to Marlene?  Well, I won’t get into details, but Carson’s just gone off the deep end with not one but two brutal actions.  And Moon Knight, himself?  The perpetually pissed off hero, in continuing his self righteous vigilante ways, finds himself in a situation that’s certain to bring him all kinds of problems next issue.  It’s been said already but it needs be said again, Mike Benson is exactly what was needed to give this book a shot in the arm and put the “Damn!” back in this title. The “Entourage” writer’s pacing, plot-weaving and tough-guy dialogue has reinvigorated Moon Knight and elevated it to a whole new level.  If you haven’t picked this book up yet you are seriously missing out.  Along with Cooke's New Frontier Special, this book is my co-pick of the week.

Title: Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 3/5/08
Post by: Sam Wilson on March 06, 2008, 01:10:12 pm
Dawg’s Reviews

Three letters can sum up my four reviews for this week’s Mighty Reviews…

DC and X

Green Lantern #28
DC Comics
Written by: Geoff Johns
Drawn by: Mike McKone

AS far as I am concerned at this point, this book can do no wrong. Green Lantern was mired down by many things in the nineties by Geoff Johns has resurrected Hal Jordan to again be the greatest Green Lantern and one of DC’s best books every single month. Three months worth of books have come and gone since the end of the Sinestro Corps war and the Green Lantern Corps are still reeling from the steamroller that this war started.

We have seen the introduction of the first of the news laws written in the book of OA. Lanterns are now allowed to use lethal force. This law has unleashed a lot of trouble though because who’s to say when the right time to use lethal force is? Ahhh that would bring about the creation of the Alpha Lanterns. Part Green Lantern, part Manhunter, these Alpha Lanterns were created to police the police. Internal affairs if you will.

Yep you guessed it… more trouble.

Last issue one of the lost Lanterns Laira used lethal force on the son (and Yellow Lantern) of the man who gave Hal Jordan the ring. She obliterated this man to get revenge for him killing her love Kehaan.

This didn’t sit too well with the guardians and this issue we have the trial of Laira and judgment from the Alpha Lanterns.

To top all of this off, Hal pays a visit to Sinestro and they have a rather candid conversation about how current actions for the guardians are as predictable as they come and what is happening is actually something he has always hoped for… A green Lantern Corps that will police the galaxy and command fear and respect and order. In a way you can almost see Sinestro as an evolved bad guy. It’s not just black and white with him and I like that aspect to his character.

Even more trouble pops up in this issue though as other factions are starting to learn that they can tap into the emotional spectrum of light that was hinted at during the war and we are introduced to the orange and most importantly to this issue… the very first Red Lantern.

I think that this book is just incredible. Space adventures that don’t bore you to tears and twists and turns even on the most predictable elements of Johns storytelling. I do miss Reis’ pencils, but he’ll be back soon and McKone has done an excellent job in the interim. The coming “Blackest Night” is building slow and is a testament to Geoff Johns for being on a book for long enough to see his vision build properly. There are dark times ahead, full of battle, death, and revelations and I cannot wait to see where it all goes.

Uncanny X-Men #496
Marvel Comics
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Drawn by: Mike Choi

This issue sees us continue with the “Divided we stand” arc. Cyclops and Emma are on their way to California to see why they cannot seem to locate members of their team telepathically. It seems Angel and Hepzibah and quite a few others have themselves locked into a “peace, dude, love” hippy state.

Wolverine and Nightcrawler have gone to Russia with Colossus to pay homage to the many friends and family members he has lost as an X-Man and in the time he was “dead”. Of course with Wolverine in tow, could the bar and a bar fight be very far behind?

Overall I will say that it appears that the X-Men are in a bit of a period where they need to be away from each other and somewhat low key. Even these bits of trouble that they seem to find in this issue, and last, seem to be minor in comparison to the devastation and life altering events that took place during “messiah”.

I was a bit disturbed by a spoiler that I won’t give away here. I am glad one of the X writers had enough nuts to finally let us all in on it though.

Choi’s pencils and artwork is very pretty and somehow although good it doesn’t seem to fit for me on characters like Logan, Kurt and Pete but works fabulous on Cyclops, Emma and pretty boy Angel.

So what’s the final word on this issue? Meh… it was pretty good… not much happened but still worth seeing in the overall scheme of things that are being set up in the X-Franchise. I think next issue will bring some of it together and make me a happy Dawg… (I’m a skrull by the way)

X-Force #2
Marvel Comics
Written by: Chris Yost & Craig Kyle
Drawn by: Clayton Crain

If you were worried that Uncanny was tame this week, you don’t need to worry too much. Tame is not a word that is found in this book unless blood, battle, 150% adrenaline are synonyms for tame.

(Tame is good once in awhile on the X-Books FYI but you won’t find it in X-Force #2)

There not much to talk about in terms of what is going on here from last issue to this. Rahne is prisoner of a mean bastard of a Purifier Mathew Risman. X-Force is assigned to take the Purifiers down and was doing quite well until they realize Risman had Rahne. The Purifiers have resurrected Bastion and aim to kill every last mutant on the planet.

This about covers the plot… That is not a bad thing though. Normally anyone reading this would say that this doesn’t sound like much plot and the story sounds kind of thin. Quite the opposite I believe as Yost and Kyle have so much more going on than these major plot points.

We have Wolverine reeling as a leader, trying to take care of his team in different ways than he would handle stuff on his own.

We Have X-23 acting very similar to Wolvie back in the days when he didn’t take orders from Cyclops too well.

We Have Warpath so wracked with guilt and looking to atone for everything that has ever happened in his life that he seems borderline suicidal.

We have a cold bastardized version or Cyclops telling Wolverine what he will and will not do.

We have the fanatical Purifiers that seem way more dangerous than they ever used to be.

We have a lot of subtlety that is hard to catch if you are too busy looking at all of the painted bloodshed by Crain.

I really think this book will be better than a lot of people think given the title still makes me think of a book from the nineties that had all the trappings of that time period now reviled in comics.

It’s nothing like Volume 1 though and I really like the idea of a black ops team of X-Men that are dealing with threats that the “Bubbly Bouncing Beast” will never know about when it comes time to meet up for the annual X-Men picnic☺

It’s not too late to give this book a whirl.

Cable#1
Marvel Comics
Written by: Duane Swierczynski
Drawn by: Ariel Olivetti

Speaking of all that was excessive about 90’s comics, I give you Cable. There’s great news here though Mighty readers… If you ever thought Cable was cool despite that Liefield drew him and that he was a huge gun toting darker character from the 90’s, then you will still like him here as I can say that over the years he’s come a long way. The character himself has a cool premise and I think he can find his place in the Marvel Universe and become pretty well cemented if he lives up to his potential.

I really like the way that Duane Swierczynski writes Cable. 

Cable has been on the run for 5 months with the messiah baby in his care. He has a desperate mission, as he knows that this baby will grow up to save all mutants kind. He sees his situation a lot like his fathers must have been when Cyclops sent him into the future so that he could be saved and grow up to do something incredible important. Up until now he thought that was to defeat Apocalypse. Now he realizes that it might just be caring for this child that will save his race.

Currently Nate finds himself and the baby in the future and headed toward New Jersey. He’s still on the run but we haven’t been informed from what as he seems somewhat safe tucked in a future that no one should be able to find him in.

Nate has a few amateur mercenaries he’s gotta get through to get where he’s headed, but he tends to make short work of them and Olivetti’s paints are really highlighted here and in contrast to those of Crain in X-Force, I feel that Olivetti’s are quite crisp. I loved the art in this issue and Duane Swierczynski paces his narrative voice for Nate quite well. You can tell that Cable is a man who has seen far too much in his life and his mission is one that he will defend with his dying breath and I like that about this previously sometimes 1-dimensional character.

We are treated to finding out that the reason Nate is still on the run is the same reason he was running in Messiah Complex. Apparently the battle of the “two futures” that Maddrox sent dupes into is far from over as a familiar X-Traitor shows up to take care of unfinished business.

I cannot wait for next issue. That coupled with me being surprised by Cable being as good as I felt it was makes me choose this book as my pick of the week.