Author Topic: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 10/8/09  (Read 6742 times)

Offline Sam Wilson

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 1792
    • View Profile
sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 10/8/09
« on: October 08, 2009, 02:48:32 pm »
Sam Wilson’s Reviews

Planetary #27
Written by: Warren Ellis
Drawn by: John Cassaday

Planetary has been around since 1999, but has come out so irregularly most people have forgotten about it (last time it hit was October/2006). When it first hit the stands, I always said it was the best thing to hit the shelves in the last 10 years, and I still stand by that statement. Spinning out of Warren Ellis’s Sci-Fi heavy brain, the book “Planetary” is about four individuals who are archeologists charged (or have charged themselves, I don’t know) in tracking down the Earth’s secret history. Doc Savage, Chow Yun Fat, Tarzan, Godzilla, while not by name but in spirit Warren Ellis has had the members of Planetary track down each and every one of them and bring their stories to light (my favorite being issue three, the “Ghost Cop” story, an incredible homage to Chow Yun Fat/John Woo movies). The team consists of Elijah Snow, the 100 year old man with ties to “The Authorities” Jenny Sparks. Elijah is the secret founder of Planetary, and his power is “heat subtraction”, he is able to produce extreme cold all around him. It is said his power is limitless. Then there is Jakita Wagner, super strong, invulnerable and super fast. She is also ageless, and is the daughter of a man who more or less could be Tarzan. She was rescued from her birthplace in Africa by Elijah snow, and then raised by a German couple. The third and final member of Planetary is “the Drummer”, a young man who is insane, but a genius. “The Drummer” has a superhuman ability to relate to computer systems and has a physiological connection to surrounding information sources. The Drummer was rescued in his infancy by Jakita Wagner and has served the Planetary field team ever since. So what exactly is the team up to these days?

It’s been awhile since we’ve last seen our boys (and Jakita, word), so for those of you who missed it I’ll catch you up real quick on the previous issue: Elijah saves the world and brokers the ultimate information deal, we don’t get to see much of Jakita (booo) but a lot of hard and fancy super-science is thrown at us and it’s really nifty.  In our final issue the gang (mostly the Drummer) is busy deciphering all the info Elijah obtained to make the world a better place, and yes, Planetary is making the world into a utopia, but of course there is a problem. A man named Ambrose has gotten himself stuck in a non-physics bubble (time doesn’t work there), and the team has to figure out a way to track him down. The problem is, time travel will destroy all of existence, because you can only travel back in time to when the machine was created (and yes, the team has a machine that’s been around for a minute), but, well, you’re gonna have to read the book to let Warren explain it to you better. Of course his time-travel theory beats the crap out of anything you ever read in the Fantastic Four, and so off goes our group, on their final adventure…
In my opinion, one of the greatest comic series of the last 10 years has finally run it’s course, and I’m a little broken hearted. I wish we could have gotten a touch more, or at the very least I wish it could have come out in a more timely manner, but it’s all good. I’ll take what I can get. Of course the entire series is collected in trades, hardcovers, and even an absolute edition, and if you wait a few more months I’m sure this final arc will be collected and you can read it as it should be read, as one story. So I bid farewell to Planetary and I eagerly await the 2nd Absolute edition, which will probably be on my shelf sometime within the next two years (sigh)…

Luke Cage Noir #3
Marvel Comics
Written by: Mike Benson and Adam Glass
Drawn by: Shawn Martinbrough
Cover by: Tim Bradstreet

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Mike Benson is the latest in Marvel’s stable of hotshot new writers. Coming off an emmy-winning sting on HBO’s Entourage, Mike is a veteran TV writer and entered the comic game last year with a Punisher-one shot and then stepped it up with a sting on Moon Knight (taking him through the Civil War and then some) and the Deadpool one-shot “Games of Death”, and is currently writing Deadpool “Suicide Kings” and kicking all kinds of ass with everyone’s favorite merc with a mouth. Bringing dialogue and characterization back into comics, Mike is just the thing Marvel needed to bring some fire back into a clichéd and played out market, with crossover after crossover beating readers into submission with no end in sight. Marvel’s started it’s “noir” line a few months back, a shout out to the 1930’s Sam Spade-type hard nosed adventures, with a modern twist of course and Mike Benson (and Marvel newcomer Adam Glass, straight from the hit A & E show “The Cleaner” and CBS’s “Cold Case”) jumps into the fray with their take on Luke Cage, setting him in 1930’s Harlem. So how is it?

Mike and Adam set the “noir” tone right away, opening the first issue with the murder of a white woman in Harlem. Luke Cage is brought into it as a man who just got out of prison, a man whose reputation precedes him. Harlem denizens speak his named in a hush tone, part fear, part respect and Cage is looking to get his mojo back on again after being away. His origin is still the same, he was experimented on in prison and it did something to him (steel-hard skin is mentioned) but he got early parole for it and did not break out. No mention is made as to why he was in prison or if he was guilty or innocent, but at the onset of our tale that isn’t important. Cage checks out some of his old haunts, looking for an old girl and touching base with an old associate Stryker, a man who has done well for himself running a speakeasy in depression era Harlem. He finds out his old girl died in a fire, but doesn’t buy it. Cage also finds himself a new gig, a mysterious white man hires him to find out who killed his wife, the white woman whom I mentioned earlier was murdered. Before Luke can get moving on the murdered white girl, he has to settle a nagging feeling that his girl is still alive, so he goes to her grave and digs it up only to find it empty, and to find Tombstone waiting there to welcome him back. The second issue picks up right where the first one left off with Tombstone laying a beating on our hero and telling him to get out of town. Things only go downhill from there as Luke continues his investigation of the murdered white girl only to find out that he’s the one who murdered her. The police have framed him for murder, and to pour salt on it, Tombstone is with the police. Issue 3 picks up with Luke trying to collect himself, Styker offers him a way out but Luke figures Styker is neck deep in whatever is going on with Tombstone, the rich white man, and his old girl.  Before I say any more I’ll just say this, Like finds his old girl and doen’t like what became of her, and we finally get to see some “Power Man” action…

Luke Cage noir is 2009 bad-ass with 1930’s cool. I didn’t think I would go for the whole “noir” concept, but the way Mike and Adam laid it down I’m good with it. Luke Cage is the baddest motherfu**er in Harlem, and he doesn’t even put anyone through a wall. Mike Benson is putting the character back in comics and newcomer Adam Glass brings the hotness, and I’m damn okay with it. Shawn Martinbrough also sets the “noir” tone perfectly with his muted tones and subtle pencils. My pick of the week.

Offline Sam Wilson

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 1792
    • View Profile
Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 10/8/09
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 02:48:59 pm »
Wktf’s Reviews

Daredevil #501
Marvel Comics
Written by:  Andy Diggle
Drawn by: Roberto De La Torre
Cover by: Esad Ribic

A new creative team has taken over this book and it’s the fourth major team since the title’s Marvel Knights relaunch so many years ago.  Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada’s incredibly tepid run was followed by the nearly reverential Bendis/Maleev team.  While Bendis hit Alias earlier than Daredevil, it certainly feels like this is the book that put him and Maleev on the map at Marvel.  Bendis left Daredevil with a huge status quo change out of which Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark had to work their way out, but this team’s equally excellent run of storytelling ended by literally changing the Daredevil paradigm Frank Miller created nearly thirty years ago, with Daredevil not only joining The Hand but offering to lead them.  How was the new creative team’s first issue catching the ball Bru and Lark passed off to them?

Outstanding.  Just awesome.  Diggle had already given us a bit of a preview, with artist Billy Tan, of what he’d be setting up here in the Dark Reign – The List: Daredevil one-shot, much of which is recounted in the first act of this issue.  But with this issue we see Daredevil wrestle with his conscience and even his very soul while seemingly unflinchingly make the choices that will take him, ironically motivated by his sense of moral obligation and justice, irrevocably down a path toward damnation.  Is The Hand an army that a man, who believes he is just and righteous, can command for good?  Or, through the actions required to lead this army, is it an envelope of corruption and evil?  Foggy Nelson, through his dialogue with Becky and Dakota brings this question to the forefront and he appears to be the mouthpiece for the new creative team on this book, a team that seems to be channeling Shakespeare’s plots for tragedies while delivering their readers what feels like the beginning of a truly epic Daredevil storyline.

Roberto De La Torre’s art is well matched to Diggle’s writing and, of course, these two worked together on Thunderbolts so they probably have a good feel for each other’s craft.  Here, aided by veteran DD colorist Matt Hollingsworth, he strikes a powerful blend between Maleev and Lark with harsh camera angles and powerful shadows.  His action scenes are brutal, especially the taking of Master Izo juxtaposed against Daredevil’s mournful indifference.  His scenes underground in New York, in The Hand’s lair feel almost like Hell, or at least purgatory.  And the very last scene, shocking as it is, has hooked me completely on this book once again, as well as on the creative team who’s now set the bar for the rest of their work incredibly high.  No doubt about it.  This book is my pick of the week.

Ghost Riders: Heaven’s on Fire #3 (of 6)
Marvel Comics
Written by: Jason Aaron
Drawn by: Roland Boschi
Cover art by: Das Pastoras

If you’ve been reading my reviews of Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider then you know this book has never been as off the wall awesome as it is right now.  Talk about shaking up the status quo!  Not only did it turn out that Johnny Blaze and his brother Danny Ketch weren’t pawns of Hell but, rather, were weapons of Heaven.  No, the renegade angel Zadkiel who created the Ghost Rider convinced Ketch into gathering the collected powers of the worlds’ Ghost Riders in order to conquer Heaven.  Seriously, Zadkiel is about to wield the Almighty’s power over His creation.

Last issue, after an all out demonic battle of the two Ghost Riders, their Caretaker and the Son of Satan  vs. Zadkiel’s hellspawn minions in defense of the Antichrist (yes, when phrased like that it’s a bit confusing but should all make sense if you’ve been reading along), Ketch revealed he’s sold his soul to Satan to learn the path to the Gateway to Heaven.  This issue is as much about the brothers trying to find that Gateway as it is about their relationship with and to each other.   Ketch, of course, is carrying serious baggage for having been manipulated by Zadkiel in a way that caused this whole mess in the first place, and Blaze is none too happy with him.  Using a technique Jeff Loeb deployed back when Superman/Batman launched, we’re given dueling dialogue boxes that play each brother’s thoughts about the other off each other.  The shift in attitude toward the end certainly is interesting, compared to how they start, and the two Ghost Riders have to deal with some seriously crazy heavy equipment possessed by a hysterically funny blowhard named Trull the Mighty, a conqueror from beyond the stars with a serious case of “kneel before Zod” envy.  Fortunately for us, as the two brothers begin to close in on the Gateway to Heaven, Aaron brings back the nun chuck and machine gun toting nuns to make life interesting for our demonic heroes.

Aaron, Wizard’s 2008 Writer of the Year, is lighting up this storyline.  It feels as nearly epic as Lord of the Rings (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration) but with only 6 comic book installments.  Boschi’s art is a bit wild and even sloppy at times, but seems well suited for this visceral, angry storyline.  I believe Aaron’s stepping down from Ghost Rider after this arc, but his run has been a signature run and he’s made Ghost Rider his own, much to our benefit.  Pick up all of Aaron’s Ghost Rider trades.  Pick up the first two issues of this series if you haven’t already and then pick this issue up.  You won’t regret it. 

Justice League: Cry for Justice #4 (of 7)
DC Comics
Written by: James Robinson
Art and Cover: Maro Cascioli

Recent promotional art for Justice League of America #9 reveals a number of characters who’ve banned together in this book, including the mysterious Congorilla.  So, this particular team appears to be as short lived as this seven issue series.  The jury’s out, of course, on whether that’s a good thing or not but what’s for certain is that, between the triple layered story Robinson’s cooked up and scripted and the beautiful painted pages Cascioli’s delivered, this has been one sweet book so far.  The premise started with Hal Jordan who’s decided he’s completely fed up with the JLA’s reactive stance and moral code that hampers how severely the heroes deal with villains, especially in light of all the heroes who’ve been killed in recent years.  Accompanied by Green Arrow, Green Lantern sets out to create his own team and over the last few issues has brought together The Atom, Supergirl, the new Captain Marvel (or Shazam, what have you).

In the mean time, Congorilla (or Bill) is out for revenge against a criminal crew who slaughtered his troop of gorillas, aided by an alien named Mik who’s own lover was similarly slain.  They’ve followed a trail to Paris, France where they learn, just as Hal’s band of heroes did last issue, that mega villain Prometheus has been at the center of nearly everything that’s made their lives miserable.  In the mean time, the Jay Garrik has been circling the globe alerting heroes of many ilk about something that’s still a mystery to us, but has made him and Shade strange partners against a mutual problem.  We can only assume that problem also is Prometheus.

While the art’s stunning, it’s the story that’s really gripping.  Hal and Ray Palmer are so fed up with their histories and the status quo that they’re resorting to torturous tactics that rub against the moral fiber not just of the JLA but also of Hal’s close friend and long time ally, Ollie Queen.  Green Arrow shuts Hal and Ray’s current methods down in a way that brings the team nearly to each other’s throats, much like the earliest Fantastic Four issues from the 1960s.  The interplay between Hal and Ollie, and Ray and Ollie is rich with character issues.  And the relationship that seems to be developing between Kara and Freddie shows all kinds of possibilities.  As this team moves on Prometheus, Prometheus is moving on them.  How Hal’s team integrates with Mik and Congorilla has yet to be seen, but how the JLA reacts to Hal’s methods may be seen as early as next month.  This series may just be a post Final Crisis pre-new status quo interlude, but it’s one of the most compelling seemingly temporary series I’ve read in a long time.

Wktf’s Trade Review

The Sandman by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby HC
DC Comics
Written by: Joe Simon
Drawn by: Jack Kirby

It’s no secret to anyone who’s read my comic reviews that I’m a huge Jack Kirby fan.  Always have been since the first issue of Marvel’s Thor on which I laid my young hands back in the 1960s.  Tales of Suspense, with new tellings of Captain America’s war time stories, only cemented me as a Kirby fan for life.  Of course, I can’t claim to have read everything the King’s produced so when DC published this 300 paged HC with no less than all of The Sandman stories by the fabled Captain America team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, not just from their Adventure and World’s Finest Comics runs from the 1940s but also their one-shot Sandman issue from 1974, my wallet acted like it had a mind of its own.

To start out, I should mention that this is and, at the same time, isn’t the same Sandman character with whom most comics fans know.  The Sandman, or simply Sand, from today’s JSA actually was the original Golden Age Sandman’s sidekick, whose civilian name is Sandy Hawkins, from the stories in this volume.  The Golden Age Sandman, Wes Dodds, Sandy’s leader and mentor, is the same original character most know in trench coat, fedora, and gas mask…somewhere between The Shadow and The Green Hornet…only his costume was radically made-over before Simon and Kirby took over the book starting with 1942’s Adventure Comics #72.  So, here we have a far more traditional skin-tight spandex-type full-body superhero costume primarily of golden yellow with varnishes of purple for the cowl, cloves, shorts and boots.  Sandy’s costume also is primarily yellow but varnished with red, much like Bucky’s blue costume was back in WWII.  Both heroes carry a single weapon, a “wirepoon” pistol that fires a wire attached to an arrow (a wire  harpoon) which they can use to snag hold of speeding cars or, like Batman or Daredevil, latch on to buildings to enable them to swing through the city.

There are 26 stories in this collected volume, each a breezy and brief 10 pages long with the exception of the 20 page 1974 story at the end, so there are too many to summarize in this review.  But I will say that every one of these stories (again, with the only exception of the muddled final 1974 relaunch) and, thus, the book overall, is a rollicking roller coaster ride of really great, traditional superhero fun.  Make no mistake, Sandman and Sandy go up against some pretty heinous characters and far more than once this dynamic duo find themselves in serious trouble, even near death, but they manage to pull each short story out with some death defying escapes and plenty of fist throwing, jaw smashing battles with the bad guys.  As much dynamism and innovative action as Simon and Kirby brought to their inaugural and brief run on Marvel’s Captain America, they actually brought significantly more of it here.  Sure, despite his more traditional superhero garb and behavior here, The Sandman is a man of mystery, haunting criminals in their dreams by bringing “nightmares of terror to the guilty” while delivering “hope to the innocent.”  But this superhero duo clearly was meant to capitalize on the success of Batman and Robin, and of Captain America and Bucky, and this creative team delivers the goods.  Joe Simon proves masterfully imaginative in the many plots, stories and dialogue he was able to cook up while Kirby unleashes the trademark distorted and highly kinetic action scenes that made him the model to which  other comic book artists aspired from the 1940s right up through to today.

“The Sandman by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby” reprints, for the very first time, the Sandman stories from Adventure Comics #72 - 91, 100 and 102 from 1942 – 1946 (Sandman stories must not have appeared in the Adventure Comics issues DC skipped over for this book), World’s Finest Comics #6 & 7 from 1942 and, again, 1974’s Simon/Kirby Sandman #1 relaunch.  It also contains additional Sandman cover art for Adventure Comics #92 – 97 and #101, as well as an Introduction by Kirby historian John Morrow (publisher of the Jack Kirby Collector) and an Afterword by Mark Evanier, writer of the Eisner Award winning Kirby: King of Comics. 

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  Reading only a few stories at a time I found myself really looking forward to picking this volume up to dive back into the new adventures of Wes Dodds and Sandy Hawkins, The Sandman and Sandy.  And what better review can I give than that?  These stories alone prove that Simon and Kirby made one of the best creative teams in all of comics.  As an added bonus, DC wisely chose not to reprint these stories on higher quality, glossier paper thus giving each one the feel of the original comic book reading experience.

On a side note, I read a December DC solicitation for Blackest Night: JSA where Sand (the adult Sandy) is going to have to battle a risen and undead Wes Dodds.  After having read this joyful book and seeing these partners in action, I’m actually now dreading picking this mini-series up.  I suppose that’s the point, like having the undead Aquaman attack Mera or the risen Graysons and Drakes attack Dick and Tim.  But somehow, in light of this volume, the upcoming confrontation between Wes and Sand just feels worse and far more upsetting.

Offline Open palm

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 2980
    • View Profile
Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 10/8/09
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2009, 06:59:49 am »
Planetary #27 was definitely worth the wait. Even after all they've gone through Elijah doesn't forget his friends. The scientific theories were neat. But Elijah didn't stop until he got his friend back.
Do you prefer a hero who will confirm your deepest fears? Or a hero who will inspire faith in humanity and goodness?

Offline Princesa

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 2340
    • View Profile
Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 10/8/09
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2009, 03:04:42 pm »
I think this is the positive review I've seen for Cry for Just-Hal.

Offline masigl4179

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 274
    • View Profile
Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 10/8/09
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2009, 03:12:26 pm »
13 picks for October 7
13. Superman : World of New Krypton#8- I didn’t like this issue because I just didn’t see the point of the Thanagarians showing up….Also whatever happened with them and the planet Rann anyway.
12. Buffy the Vampire Slayer#29- the cover with Twilight was dope but I ‘m just not feeling this issue…it all just too wishy washy to me with everyone complaining about not being able to use magic to defend themselves.
11. Batman and Robin#5- I want to like this title but sometimes the Grant Morrison craziness keeps throwing me off.  I like Batman and Robin in this but Jason Todd as the Red Hood with red hair and Scarlet as his sidekick.
10. Astonishing X-men#31-I love the look of this book. I love how Warren Ellis portrays the X-men as the science crisis team that has all the tools to get pull off the craziest jobs in the world.
9. Daredevil#501- I read a lot of it in the preview but this issue is still good because Matt Murdock has become a murderer in his role as leader of the hand. I'm curious to see what's next.
8. Black Panther#9- I like the political intrigue of Jonathan Mayberry's take on the Black Panther as well as the dual story about T'Challa trying to get himself back in shape to take on Dr. Doom.
7. Angel#26- This was actually a pretty good issue that reunites Angel and Spike at a showing of the fictional movie based on the actual events Angel and the gang experienced during the Fall of Los Angeles. This was a really good story
6. R.E.B.E.L.S. Annual#1- This was a very good comic for $ 4.99. I was really impressed by how all the stories ended up coming together to show exactly how Starro the Conqueror became all Powerful. Once again R.E.B.E.L.S. is probably one of the best sci-fi comics on the stand.
5.  Absolution#2- Slowly but surely I can tell that Christos Gage is building to something with this title because the man character a superhero named who is killing criminals in his part time is sleeping a little bit too well and enjoying the killings a little bit too much.
4. Irredeemable #7- This comic has steadily improved. This issue we learn about an incident that may have set the Plutonian off on his rampage.
3. Dark Reign: The List: Secret Warriors#1- I love the way Nick Fury comes off as the bad ass super spy who knocks Norman Osborn on his ass.
2. The Boys#35-Hands down this is one of the best issues of the Boys that I have ever read. This issue we get to see part one of the tragic origin story of Mother's Milk
1. Planetarty#27- This comic is a myth....I never thought I would it come out. Planetary is jewel, and it’s hard for me to believe that it came out 10 years ago. If you a true Planetary fan then you will love this book...its true Warren Ellis goodness. Seriously reading this comic is like getting a crash course in physics. Bottom line Planetary can do anything.  Best of all, the black man doesn’t do in the end :-)

Offline Vic Vega

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 4151
    • View Profile
Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 10/8/09
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2009, 09:08:10 am »
I think this is the positive review I've seen for Cry for Just-Hal.

That's hysterical-"Cry for Just-Hal"!!!

 ;D ;D ;D