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Offline Sam Wilson

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sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 12/13/06.
« on: December 14, 2006, 03:01:41 pm »
Sam Wilson’s Reviews

Stormwatch PHD #2
Written by: Christos N. Gage
Drawn by: Doug Mahnke

In the old Wildstorm U, Stormwatch was the equivalent of the JLA and the Avengers. The team operated under a UN charter and was made up of superhumans from around the world. The team was lead by Jackson King, whose father lead the original Stormwatch, and its members included Fuji (Japan), Hellstrike (Ireland), Winter (Russia) and Fahrenheit (USA). Each character had a cool trait that made them more than just a blank slate, Winter was former Spetznaz, Fuji was a Sumo, Hellstrike worked for Interpol. The book almost lost its way and then was saved in 1996 but a couple of guys by the name of Warren Ellis and Tom Raney. Ellis bought his trademark realism and Sci-Crazy writing style, and Raney brought a level of detail that just made the book explode artistically. Unfortunately all good things come to an end and Ellis killed off most of the team in “Stormwatch vs. Aliens”, and what was left of the team (Stormwatch Black) became “The Authority”. There were attempts to resurrect the book, but all unsuccessful, but with this “reinvention” of the Wildstorm U, does Stormwatch PHD (Post Human Division) have a chance? We shall see…

Issue one opens up with Jackson King, aka Battalion interviewing Officer Doran of the NYPD, the only cop who survived a supervillan melee. In that same fight Fahrenheit (no, she isn’t dead I guess this is the “new” Wildstorm U”, kinda post-Crisis like) received a head injury which depowered her. Anyway, Officer Doran survived because of his keen tactical sense, he even ended up killing a couple of super-villains. As the issue progresses we find out that Stormwatch no longer has an infinite budget and Battalion is going to have to figure out how to fight supervillany on the cheap. As the issue progresses Jackson continues his obvious recruiting mission by talking to a supervillan girlfriend, an assistant to a sorcerer and a former Super-villain. Eventually the team comes together in what Jackson hopes will be the start of a smarter, cheaper national anti super-villain initiative.  Issue two has the team come together and take out the supervillan who wrecked havoc in issue one.  Fahrenheit learns some hand-to-hand combat skills, Officer Doran shows some personal initiative, and we find out that Stormwatch Prime is still alive and kicking…

I’m liking this book, but issue two left me with a couple of questions.  So the characters from Stormwatch Prime are all alive?  What’s up with that?  What are they doing?  Also, the way issue two ended, are they moving on to new characters and a new team?  Things were left a little unsettled, but ultimately I think this book is off to a good start.  It’s a grittier, trimmed down version of the original book and the characters have unique personalities and will mix together well. The scripting is tight and the art is unique and pretty damn cool. This book is definitely worth checking out, for old fans of Stormwatch, new fans, or people just looking for a good read.

Gen 13 #3
Written by: Gail Simone
Drawn by: Talent Caldwell and Sunny Lee

Way back in 1994 Gen 13 was one of Image Comics lynchpin books, and J. Scott Campbell was at the brink of superstardom (he went on to do the three year, six issue series “Danger Girl” which no one truly gives a crap about, and now he does covers for Marvel (and sometimes DC) and will be penciling a new Spider-Man series). Gen 13 was Image’s “Spider-Man”, it was about five young people on the run from the Gov’t (Roxy, Rainmaker, Burnout, Grunge and Fairchild), they had super powers, were scantily clad a lot of the time and had a badass mentor with a shadowy past (John Lynch). All of their fathers worked for an elite military unit (Team 7) and there was lots of cloak and dagger type stuff. Even with conspiracies abound, the stories were light hearted and fun. Towards the end the series went a little bit off the beaten path, and was relaunched a few years ago with Catlin Fairchild mentoring a new group of teens. The series bombed horribly and Gen 13 pretty much died a quiet death along with the rest of the old Wildstorm Universe, until now. The Wildstorm U is back, reimagined if you will with new WildCAT’s, Stormwatch, and yes, Gen 13 books featuring top level talent and an all new take on a universe that, well, meant something to this reviewer anyway. So how is the new Gen 13? Well…

Our story starts out with a shadowy government organization running secret experiments on the unsuspecting populace. Right away you know this organization is hinky because one of the evil scientists is in hot pants (the female one). Anyway, five familiar teens, Roxy, Catlin, Grunge Burnout and Sarah are all taken from their families; their parents killed by government agents, well, at least the people they thought were their parents. The kids were normal enough, Catlin was a nerd but now she’s a supermodel, Sarah was a native American trying to find her place in life, Burnout and Roxy are both troubled youth to say the least and Eddie is a loudmouth skater. Early on the kids realize they need to ban together to survive, and in issue two they make their escape (after some torture) but Roxy gets shot (gasp).  In issue three we find out Roxy isn’t dead, but she is waaaay different than the previous Wildstorm “Roxy” (well, not way different, but different enough, more human even if I were to qualify that statement).  The team hides out in a church but are soon discovered by their previous captors, and as usual antics ensue…

Truth be told, I like this relaunch. The art isn’t as crisp as I’d like it to be, but Gail Simone’s storytelling is head and shoulders above the original “Gen 13” series writing. If you are a fan of the old series, check this book out, or if your looking for something different and are a Gail Simone fan, you won’t be disappointed either. If you don’t fit either of those categories I would still give “Gen 13” a strong recommendation.

Justice League of America #3
DC Comics
Written by: Brain Meltzer
Drawn by: Ed “the Snatch” Benes

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with recent going-ons in the DC Universe over the last few years (deep breath): A few years ago New York Times bestselling author Brian K. Meltzer, who also happens to be a lifelong comic fan, dropped a little mini series on us called “Identity Crisis” which featured the death of Sue Dinby (the Elongated Man’s wife). Big deal, yeah, but it wasn’t so much her death but everything surrounding it. See, once upon a time a bunch of supervillans found out the Justice League’s Secret Identities, so the League voted and had Zatanna erase the villains memories, but Batman caught wind of it, and well, Batman is Batman and things went downhill fast. The League disbanded, Infinite Crisis, Wonder Woman killed someone, one year later, 52, you get it. Recently the big three have made amends and put a brand new kick ass league together, featuring the Big Three (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), Arsenal (yay), Black Canary (word), Vixen (meh), Hourman (now flesh and blood), Black Lightning (representin’), Hawgirl (foxy), and the Hal Jordan Green Latern (hopefully he won’t kill everyone in a mad rage). The team is ready and back to kick some ass on a global scale, with smoking hot art by Ed Benes, fresh of his :”Birds of Prey” hotness his style seems to have improved exponentially for the JLA, and Brian Meltzer, getting down to brass tacks and good storytelling on a team and characters he obviously loves.

The current story arc started with Hourman’s old android body destroyed, and supervillianry abound. Our story opens with Black Lightning, taking on some clown named Signalman and getting in a bit of trouble, but since he is in St. Roch we know who is there to lend a foxy, helping hand (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Carter Hall). Meanwhile Arsenal, Green Lantern and Black Canary take out an army of Red Tornado-bots, and by the time we get to issue four GL, Dinah and Roy have made short work of the Red Tornado-bots and have moved on to some bona-fide supervillians.  At the same time Black Lightning and Hawkgirl take Signalman to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to deal with the Starro they found on the back of his neck, GL and co. find the same thing on the back of their foes.  Batman Discovers that the Starro’s aren’t organic though, and then Amazo and Solomon Grundy show up.  Oy Vey…

I’d like to take a moment here to curse out Paul Levitz and whoever else at DC comics who didn’t encourage Ed Benes to put more Black Canary in issue four.  I mean seriously, what the hell is going on here?  Fine, Vixen is foxy I guess but does she wear fishnets?  No.  Leather jacket?  No.  Expert at hand to hand combat?  No.  So Ed, brother, hear me now, every single story with as many panels as possible need to contain my girl Black Canary.  For real.  Please.  Anyway, I’m going away now to read some of your “Birds of Prey” tpbs (oh yeah, and the new JLA kicks ass so read it), but don’t take my word for it, my bro kdawg will let you know what’s up…

A word from the Dawg…

What else can be said as this is the single most kick-ass issue of this new series yet. The first three were setting the stage, but number four has some unbelievable action. This is gonna be a incredible book and if you are reading this reviewers opinion it NEEDS to be in your pull list.

The only crit I have with this issue is the fact that we had a full on mega foxy dose of the Black Canary ala Ed Benes last issue with fish nets and leather galore and this month we don’t get nearly enough of that. I think Ed Benes is famous for his butt in the moon beam type panels with his chicas, but this issue all we got was pulse pounding action. I suppose it’s a trade off… but the mandate has been issued ED!  We need more foxy Canary in each issue…

Kdawg’s Review

Fantastic Four: The End (3 of 6)
Marvel Comics
Written by: Alan Davis
Illustrated by: Alan Davis

So what’s been going on in this book so far you ask?

For many, many years, The FF have been fighting the Marvel Universe’ baddies and ending threats both on a global and galactic scale. They are Marvel’s royal family and they have been right up until this book’s beginning.

Apparently there has been a mutant war that has run rampant and as a side effect of this has driven Dr. Doom further insane due to the many injuries he has suffered. Over a long time, Doom has rebuilt himself. Now more machine than man he battle the FF one last time… Events of this fateful battle are only the beginning of this tale though. The battle is where the beginning of the end occurs…

 Well we jump ahead some time into the future… Apparently Reed’s been busy saving the Galaxy again. She Hulk is his therapist and she’s trying to get him to open up about all that has happened. He of course evades the issue and rambles on about just needing to accomplish this or that first. They begin to unveil events that have happened, where the other members of the Royal Family are etc… Including a scene that furthers my opinion of Reed being such a biatch. How can you neglect Sue you dumbass?

 Johnny the Human Torch is off being an Avenger with Thor, Iron Man and others…

 Ben who can apparently change his form back and forth now, has him a mess of children with Alicia off on Mars. Ben is living the life and enjoying being a family man, all the while missing Reed, Sue and yes, even Johnny as the Inhumans come to visit.

 Sue has grown tired yet again of being neglected by Reed and has sunk herself into her own interests. Currently archaeology near Atlantis, which inevitably leads to a run-in with Namor.

First of all…any chance I get you know I am going to pump Alan Davis’ work.  He is the cream of the crop that rises to the top and can’t be stopped… He is giving us a 6 issue mini-series on the grandest of scales. He is toggling through the entire marvel universe and including every hero and classic character you can think of. It’s very reminiscent of Perez and Byrne have comics loaded with characters. Davis draws a Sue Richards that makes you wish you were a pencil just so you could touch her.

This story is galactic, mysterious, and set to be a epic tale of the last adventure of the Fantastic Four. We have Sue still being loyal to a husband that has long stopped caring about anything except his workload. We have a fantastic reunion between Ben and Johnny on Mars. And we have a mysterious foe pulling strings that no one can lock down.

Oh yeah and we have the Watcher, the Silver Surfer, Kree Sentries, and Galactus… MY oh MY!!!

Only one thing to not about this book though…  It’s an issue 3 of 6…  Issue 3’s never tend to be anything more than a plot developer and tend to be a bit slower. This is no exception, but also not bothersome and that’s why it’s my pick of the week.

Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 12/13/06.
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2006, 03:02:10 pm »
Trade Reviews

Continuing our hero per week theme (last week was The Batman) we move to Marvel’s flagship character, The Amazing Spider-Man!

Wktf’s Review

Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth
Marvel Comics
Written and Illustrated by: Charles Vess

For my Spider-Man trade review I wanted to pick a title that was off-the-beaten-path, not an easy thing to do with a character that’s as mainstream as this one.  I went through my trade collection and was surprised to pull out a few that I’d consider non-mainstream and, therefore, possibly less well known Spider-Man stories.  I picked this one because, frankly, putting Spider-Man in the Highlands of Scotland is about as off-the-beaten-path as you can get.

Published as a HC OGN in 1990, the premise of this story is as follows.  Peter Parker is newly married to Mary Jane who discovers she’s inherited a cottage in Scotland.  Said cottage, though, is caught up in some legal dealings where the town in which it resides is being pressured to sell its land, land that’s been in these townspeople’s’ families for generations, to some large corporate concern.  So, Peter and MJ decide to fly out to the pastoral Scottish countryside to help settle these affairs and possibly enjoy a second honeymoon while they’re at it.  However, as you’d expect, all is not well in this quaint Scottish town.  Not only does Peter feel like a complete fish out of water without his skyscrapers and city traffic, but the folks in the local tavern are talking about ghosts, faeries and a missing child, the grandson of the local laird (or lord, as is translated for us) who’s castle not only was damaged by a fire but seems to be the source of the angry spirits.  This tavern scene with nervous locals harkens back to the beginning of the Bela Lugosi “Dracula” or like the tavern scene in “American Werewolf in London.”  Peter decides to sneak out late at night to investigate (after all, there is a missing child) as Spider-Man and, for his troubles, he encounters murderous ghosts, a mob of frightened and angry townspeople (can you say “Frankenstein”?) and, if that’s not enough, runs into a splinter division of The Hellfire Club.  Before too long, Spider-Man is battling like mad to save not only a small child but an entire town from an overseas evil and is caught in the middle between a scientific threat and long dormant earthly spirits raised to the surface to help combat this evil.

This OGN is a real treat.  The book’s Afterward, titled “A Scottish Journey,” takes us through Vess’ long love affair with Scotland and the story of how he came to place Spider-Man so far from his normal setting.  While the story is unique and serviceable enough it’s the art that really takes center stage.  This book was a labor of love for Vess which he “painstaking painted over the course of two years” according to the back cover.  It shows.  The opening splash page of the colorful Spider-Man swinging at night below The Chrysler Building, the top of which is brightly lit yet shrouded in clouds, in a concrete and glass sea of browns, grays and blacks is just stunning.  And the entire 70 pages of art follows suit as he moves from Manhattan to the wild open Highlands of Scotland.  And while there’s enough Ditko-like energy in Vess’ Spider-Man, especially in the way he furiously battles The Hellfire Club minions and then the main villain at the end, there’s not so much to make his art feel like a rip off.  It all feels pretty fresh and fun.  This isn’t my favorite Spider-Man story or one that even came to mind when I was thinking about this review.  But it’s one I’m glad is in my Spider-Man library and I’ll bet you’ll be glad is in yours too.  Originally retailing as a HC for $18.95, I’m pretty sure this book’s long out of print.  But I see it in comics shops from time to time and I’ll bet you can find it on eBay or Amazon.  For a unique Spidey story with some pretty awesome art, I think you’ll be pleased with this book.

Sam Wilson’s Review

Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 15:  Warriors
Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Drawn by: Mark Bagley

“Warriors” is quite possible my favorite USM storyline of all time.  Why?  Simple: this arc contains everything and everyone, moves at a breakneck pace and not once are you left scratching your head in confusion, in fact, more often than not I found myself saying, “Word”.  Let me break it down for you, at the beginning of the “Warriors” tpb, Petey is in a world of sh$#.  He just broke up with MaryJane and it’s become real hard to deal with her at school.  A new mob boss is trying to take over things in NYC, a mutant by the name of Hammerhead.  He’s currently making a move against the Kingpin, which doesn’t make the Kingpin to happy.  So the Kingpin provides evidence to Peter linking Hammerhead cold to a murder.  Yeah, Peter is in a little of a moral quandary, should he allow himself to become the kingpins pawn even though it does mean taking a bad man off the street?  Oh yeah, and then there is Moon Knight, the Black Cat (engaged in her own little war against the Kingpin), Elektra (currently employed as the Kingpins #1 assassin), Iron Fist and Shang Chi (both of whom entered the fray as bystander in Chinatown, where Hammerhead is trying to muscle in on the Kingpin’s extortion racket).    Issue #83 ended with a face-off involving Spidey, Moon Knight, Elektra, Black Cat, Hammerhead, the Enforcers (now working for Hammerhead), Iron Fist and Shang Chi. None of them really knowing which side they are on.  Yeah, the sh$# is about to hit the fan.

Soon enough our heroes find themselves in the middle of the tense standoff .  Of course within a few minutes there is some fast-talking and deal making and suddenly there is a big a$# brawl on Spidey’s hands (and no, I can’t give away any details lest I spoil the story).  Yeah, anyone who complains about Bendis being too much talk and to little action needs to pick this issue up. Anyway, Spidey is a little overwhelmed by the clusterfu$# that his current situation has become so he webs up everyone and tries to put a call through to his inside connect on the NYPD, Captain Jean DeWolff.  Of course the NYPD takes it’s time to get to the scene, someone escapes from Spidey’s Web and the brawl resumes.  I gotta say, a lot happens during the course of the brawl, alliances change, a hero is in deep trouble, if not dead and Spidey gets a pounding.  Yeesh.  Of course I haven’t even gotten to the shock ending, but you’re going to have to read the trade to discover what that is.

I feel the same way about Ultimate Spider-Man as I do Ultimate X-men, it’s easily the best Spider-Man title to come out in years.  The story telling is fresh and exciting, it has a great (yet not convoluted) supporting cast and Bendis and Bagely are easily the most consistent creative team in comics right now.  So if you haven’t picked this book up before, pick up this trade, if you even have a passing knowledge of the web slinger I guarantee you’ll enjoy this story.  If you like it, the rest of the series is also readily available in tpb form.  I give it the highest possible recommendation.

Kdawg’s Review

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Death of Gwen Stacy
Marvel Comics
Written by: Stan the Man, Gerry Conway, J.M. Dematteis
Illustrated by: Gil Kane, John Romita Jr., John Romita Sr.

Collecting issues #96-98 and #121-122 as well as “the Kiss” from Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man #1, this is a trade worth having. There are few Spider-Man stories that truly are responsible for the core of what Peter Parker has become today. Most important of these elements of course is the death of his Uncle Ben. Without him we would have no mantra about great power and great responsibility. But in my opinion Peter also carries with him another element that has shaped him into the man he is today.

This is the death of his first love Gwen Stacy.

Gwen Stacy was the beautiful blonde bombshell that would never fall in love with a nerdy geek named Peter Parker, but fall in love they did.  It wasn’t without pain or frustration but it was true and it was honest.

This trade is only a hundred or so pages and collects what is one of the most important and devastating stories, to this day in the Marvel Universe. Despite all of the recent ret con that has taken place in Spidey’s world, this is pure and still holds up. Gwen dies and stays dead.

There’s a lot of story that takes place in 5 issues worth of story leading up to that fateful battle between the Green Goblin and Spider-Man atop the Brooklyn bridge in which Gwen as an innocent bystander is killed.  We start off with Peter lamenting that his beloved Gwen and he are presumed broken up as he flies back to New York and Gwen is an ocean away dealing with the recent loss of her father (The death of Captain Stacy which my hombre WKTF recently reviewed).  Gwen blames Spider-Man for her fathers loss and Peter, being Spidey, takes it really hard. A trip to the Daily Bugle and a quick sale of some Spider-Man photos to Robbie Robertson and a visit to see Norman Osborn (the father of Peter’s best friend Harry and original Green Goblin) about a job makes Pete a bit more at ease, but even here there is underlying tension as Pete knows at any given time Norman could snap and remember that he is the Green Goblin and more importantly Peter’s secret identity as Spider-Man.

Truth be told now that I think about it, there is so much going on in this story that I could write a lot of pages before I ever got to the meat of the review…

Harry is jealous of Mary Jane flirting so much with Peter, Harry is secretly struggling with a drug addiction and pressure from his father.

Mary Jane is portrayed as someone who hides behind her looks and air-head nature in order to hide the fact that she is made of something a bit sturdier.

Peter struggles with everything and the weight of the world that seems to be a decade spanning ordeal with his character make-up.

It doesn’t take Norman long to become the Green Goblin again and some of the most vicious battles that Spidey has endured come in the pages after foreshadowing this brutal end that becomes the only resolution to this conflict.

Of course Spidey saves the day and temporarily bests Norman, is given a fleeting respite and finds his dreams come true standing before him as Gwen has returned because she loves Peter too much to be away from him.

Cutting ahead to the second portion of our story we again find Harry crazy and on drugs again, Norman seems to not remember that he is the Green Goblin and Gwen and Mary Jane wondering just what has made Harry so screwed up that it has come to this.

Norman snaps once more and sees his sons problems as being Spider-Man’s fault and again the Goblin is unleashed. He kidnaps Gwen and leaves a message for Peter and where he can find them.

What happens next is one of the best graphical storytelling and shocking sequences ever displayed in a comic. A lifeless Gwen Stacy falling from the top of the Brooklyn bridge amidst a passionate and violent battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. Spider-Man shoots a web line out of desperation, snags Gwen’s leg and a snapping sound that is Gwen’s neck.

The Goblin assures Peter that Gwen was dead before ever being webbed. The controversy is still there in many cases to this day however. Was Gwen killed by Norman?, or was it Spider-Man’s web line and the sudden halt to her plunge that broke our beloved Gwen’s neck.

A very emotional Peter goes looking for an escaped Goblin, and swears vengeance. When he finds Norman, yet another monster battle rages that ultimately leads to Norman’s goblin glider impaling himself as Peter ducks at the last second. Peter got exactly what he wanted and yet there is no comfort in the Goblin’s gruesome demise… only loss for that beautiful creature that was our Gwen Stacy.

Peter eventually finds his way home to his shared apartment with Harry and finds Mary Jane waiting. She tries to comfort Peter, but he lashes out in anger and hurt over his loss. He tells her to leave. She sheds tears for Peter and again we are given a glimpse to the future depth and love for Peter that will be displayed in later years. She shuts the door but does not leave… She stays, because despite Peter’s emotional anger, she knows that he needs someone to comfort him and foreshadows the love that these two will eventually have for each other.
Damn, what a good book. Everyone knows the story, but have you really read and analyzed it? Gwen Stacy died too soon, but without her loss, we would never know the Spider-Man we do today. We would never know the Mary Jane we know today.

The art is some of the very best spidey art ever and you can really see where various artists have been influenced today from Kane and the Romitas. The dialogue and subsequent drug plotline are a bit dated, but it doesn’t bother you beyond recognizing how far this medium has come. Gone are the days when the writing has to explain every single panel and instead you are left to imagine the story unfold before your own eyes.  Comics are grittier, bloodier, and more in your face these days, but depth???  This story has depth that not many have been able to follow in Spidey’s storied lifespan.

For $12.99 can you honestly pass up such a tale? We all miss you Gwen Stacy…Word!

Bonus Trade Review

The Best of the Spirit
DC Comics
Written by: Will Eisner
Drawn by: Will Eisner

One of the biggest recent losses in comics was the death of Will Eisner, who passed away on January 3, 2005. Like Seigel & Shuster, Kane & Finger, Simon & Kirby and the other Golden Age comics names you can think of, Eisner helped to define the very medium. He actually began in comics in the 1930s on newspaper strips, is credited with revolutionizing “narrative sequential art” in the 1940s and 50s with The Spirit, and also is credited with inventing the graphic novel in the 1970s with “A Contract With God,” a title I’d previously reviewed. In 2005, just before the end of the year in which he died, DC published “The Best of The Spirit.” There is so much Spirit content out there that I have no way of judging if this is, in fact, the best of it. But I have to say that it’s pretty damn amazing stuff.

“The Spirit” ran as a 7-page comic book section created as a Sunday supplement for newspapers and this tpb collects 22 Spirit stories that ran from 1940 to 1950. The first story, appropriately, is “The Origin of the Spirit” wherein we learn that criminologist and private detective Denny Colt was attacked while investigating a case for his friend, Police Commissioner Dolan. He was thought killed and, in fact, was buried in Wildwood Cemetery. But he wasn’t dead and dug himself out of his grave to return as The Spirit, a masked crime fighter the underworld soon learned to fear. Only Commissioner Dolan knew the truth about Colt, and The Spirit made the abandoned cemetery his hideaway even as he collaborated with the police while operating outside the law.

Unlike other heroes of his or any time The Spirit does not have an elaborate costume. Just a dark baggy blue suit, over coat, gloves and wide brimmed hat with a white shirt, red tie, and dark blue mask to cover his eyes. The Spirit operates in the shadows with the worst human elements Eisner’s imagination had to offer: extortionists, gangs, murderers and the desperate homeless of New York’s streets and sewers, not to mention some of the sexiest and most dangerous women in comics. These stories are rife with darkness, strangely warped angles and images, violence and terror. And the violence is palpable. When a fist strikes a jaw, a bullet enters a shoulder or leg, or a bottle or chair is broken over someone’s head, Eisner draws this so that we almost feel it. The Spirit takes a lot of punishment, both physical and emotional (two women, Satin and Sand Saref figure prominently in his life). But he could deal it out even better, taking on and busting heads with multiple men at once, and going deep into the bowels of the city and humanity in the name of justice. Eisner’s world seems real, more so than nearly any other artists work I know. And, these little 7 page gems operate almost like fables at times, reporting on the human condition while telling great dark and scary stories at the same time.

Reading this book, it’s clear that other comic book writers borrowed heavily from Eisner. Frank Miller’s Daredevil, Batman and Sin City stories, all dealing with graphically brutal city crime, clearly owe a lot to Eisner’s Spirit. One story in this volume, in particular, titled “Life Below,” has The Spirit going straight into the New York sewers in search of a killer. He’s attacked by both rats and gangs of homeless men before he gets his man and again reclaims the surface. It brought to mind Daredevil #172 when Frank Miller has DD travel through a city water pipe system to end up in a sewer of homeless people begging for food, or #180 when he must return there in search of the Kingpin’s wife. The recently published Dark Horse “Eisner/Miller” interview (which I own but haven’t yet read) lends further credence that Eisner has greatly influenced Miller.

Regardless, everyone who loves comics and doesn’t own the DC Comics Spirit Archives should pick up this book. For only $14.99, this wonderful collection of classic Spirit stories is a bargain no comics fan should pass up.

Offline masigl4179

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 12/13/06.
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2006, 09:01:00 am »
17 picks for the last comic book Wednesday
17) Devi#6- I don't know but I feel like this book has lost some momentum and because of that I'm starting to lose interest in it. I mean I want to support women of color characters in comics and what not but comics are getting pricier at $2.99
16) The Trials of Shazam#4- I'm starting to think this was a mistake to buy this series as individual issues. I thought it would deal with Billy Batson, but it's really all about Freddie Freeman becoming the next Captain Marvel. Not that I have anything against Freddie, but after seeing Billy Batson in JSA, I was more interested in what was going to happen to him.
15) Ultimate X-men#77- I think there was a shift in art that I found jarring, although I do like the work of Yanick PaQuette. Other than that, I'm starting to think this story may be running a bit too long.
14) Sandman Mystery Theatre#1- I actually bought this by accident. I picked it up because I remember how much Hotep used to talk about the old Sandman Mystery Theatre, but then I forgot to put it down. It was ok, not sure if I'm willing to commit for another 4 issues though.
13) Green Arrow#69- I'm disappointed by how low this ranked for especially since Green Arrow has been off the chain for so long now. I think what really killed this story is that it was all set-up. In fact, other than some nice interaction between Mayor Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne you don't even get to see Batman and Green Arrow interact.
12) Exiles Annual#1- I don't want to say that I didn't like this issue, but it didn't really impress me either. Something just seemed off, maybe it was because I'm not used to seeing Tom Raney artwork on these characters. Still, the worst part of the story for me was the end because in my opinion you never see the big battle.
11) Ghost Rider#6- Honestly, I didn't get a good read of this issue. I like the premise of explaining how Johnny Blaze got to hell, but unfortunately, you don't really see anything but set up this issue.
10) Super Bad James Dynomite#4- I've haven't seen an issue since I bought the first one and that was before I saw the Wayans Brothers at 2006 San Diego Comic-Con In any event, I was pleasantly surprised to see this issue, which I thought was going to be stupid but I have to admit that I found myself laughing out loud while reading it.
9) X-men#193-More interesting than I thought it was going to be, however I have to admit that I'm glad the Supernovas story arc is over. I’m still not a fan of Chris Bachalo's artwork but I have to admit that it was better than most of his other work I've seen. However, I'm the most impressed by how well Mike Carey was able to mesh together a team of X-men like Rogue, Cable, Mystique, Sabretooth, Iceman, and Cannonball. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to them next.
8. Firestorm: The Nuclear Man#32- I'm happy that the In My Father's House story is over, but I'm also sad to see Stuart Moore, and Jamal Igle leave the book. However, my main man Dwayne McDuffie is coming on the book next month, for a story about Firestorm and the Anti-life Equation so that should be very interesting.
7) Stormwatch: Post Human Division#2- I was never really a fan of the old Stormwatch, but I have to admit with an interesting premise and even more interesting characters I feel like this is a title that's really starting to grow on me. I might hang around for the long haul on this one.
6) The Other Side#3- I still fascinated by this Vietnam War story. It's pretty bloody and gory, but it's good too.
5) X-factor#14- Peter David really does a good job writing this title. Seriously, the dialogue, and character interactions are really on point. I'll be happy to see how long this title can last.
4) Justice League of America#4- Don't get me wrong, I really like this title, but I have come to the conclusion that Brad Meltzer is very slow and deliberate writer and just like a novel, every piece of the story is a larger puzzle. Of course, it's only been 4 issues (5 if you count issue #0) and each issue picks up with more action than the last one. Plus my girl Vixen and Black Lightening, get a lot of play. Oh, I think someone in an earlier review stated that Hourman in the new league, but it is actually Red Tornado.
3) 52 Week 30-I've come to the conclusion, that Ralph Dibny may just be my favorite character in 52. I've always been a fan of Ralph back when he was in Justice League Europe, and then I felt bad for the guy when his wife Sue got killed in Identity Crisis, but I never knew the character had such depth until I started reading about him in 52. He may just be the breakout character of the year for me.
2) Fantastic Four: The End#3-I'm really digging this story, because it seems to combine all the best sci-fi elements that make the Fantastic Four... well Fantastic.The best thing is the issues seem to be coming out at a regular pace, they creators have a good momentum going, and you haven't even seen the team reunited yet.
1) Green Lantern Corps#7-Ya'll know this is my favorite Green Lantern book right? Yeah, I know Geoff Johns has really stepped up his game on the main Green Lantern book with Hal Jordan, but there's just something about the Corps. Maybe it's the fact that Hal Jordan isn't in this book and no one's going around saying how great is all the time. Or maybe, the fact we get to see how good of a Green Lantern Guy Gardner really is. Who knows but this issue, Part 1 of the Dark Side of the Green where the Corpse was introduced was dope.  All, I can say is that it only makes sense that the sneaky little Guardians have a black ops/mission impossible section of the Corp.