Star Wars #11
I’m leading with Marvel’s heavy hitters this week. I’m late – I know, but life gets n the way of even comes sometimes and starting off with Marvel’s best simply seems easier to begin this week’s review!
But this issue is a complicated assortment of all the different plot lines the Star Warriors find themselves in. Solo and Leia contend with his wife, Chewbacca and C3p0 struggle against a bounty hunter and Luke must reach for the few lessons Ben Kenobi taught him j order to survive the evil machinations of a Hutt gangster.
The action doesn’t stop. It’s a great collection of adventures and is definitely one of Marvel’s best.
Doctor Strange #2
Loving this. I’m sorry Chris Bachalo – I really am, but I just don’t think your art is suited for Doctor Strange. Strange is a revered mystic and Bachalo’s art seems too juvenile and sprightly. It would be better in a book for younger readers.
However, Jason Aaron has the right touch. He manages to distract us with references to the many magicks Strange has at his disposal while inserting a delightful note of humour every now and then. This is an excellent rendition of Strange for the 21st century and I’m loving it.
Uncanny X-Men #600
This is Brian Michael Bendis’s Swansong farewell to the book he’s been writing for donkeys’ years. My first question though is what happened to issue 599? I must have missed that.
I didn’t like it. I know, I know; if it wasn’t done by Claremont, Byrne, Cockrum or any of those major leaguers then t wasn’t any good. True … predictable but true.
But Bendis has had some pretty good stories in his time, so what should have been an explosive climax was instead a disappointing self-justification that didn’t pay proper homage to the history that got him to this point. In fact, this is characteristic of the problem in writing the X-Men – their roots have been forgotten.
Let’s see what Jeff Lemire can do with his turn at bat.
Extraordinary X-Men #1
Sigh … speaking of which.
Okay, the obvious redundancy in the title aside (really? Did no Marvel editor point this out?), and the disappointing choice of Humberto Ramos for pencilling duty, this actually wasn’t bad. Storm seems a bit besotted by her own image for my tastes, but at least there is a welcome, but predictable character return at the end of the issue that should make everybody smile … after they all groan, of course. Jeff Lemire definitely has a challenge in writing this book. I confess to a degree of curiousity in seeing what he will do with it. Heck, he lives down the street from me, maybe we’ll run into each other and I can ask him.
I honestly have no clue as to the purpose of this comic.
The cover is certainly an indicator that this is a totally different Vision from what we’re used to, be ye a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan or a traditional 616 universe comic reader. Why would Vision have a family? Even the half-assed attempt to explain the reason why in the book fails to provide the reader with a sense of legitimacy behind this story. Really … I would have simply preferred to go with traditional hero book that doesn’t see the fabrication of an accompanying family.
Invincible Iron Man #3
Definitely doing well from my perspective. I think Bendis is more at home with a single character story than he is with a team book. He has Tony Stark’s brilliance combined with his sense of irreverence perfectly down pat.
Howard the Duck #1
Wasn’t there already a Howard the Duck #1? What happened there? I’m at a loss to explain this and given that this book seems to begin in the middle of an already-existing character, I really feel like I missed something. Jim Shooter said that every comic should be understandable by a reader picking it up for the first time. Chip Zdarsky really missed out on that lesson.
Can’t say I enjoyed it.
Johnny Red #1
You might have caught my interview with acclaimed comic writer, Garth Ennis about this comic a couple of weeks ago. If you didn’t here’s the link:
In any event, this will be a mini-series of a book that re-examines the basic idea of the 1970’s-1980’s English comic strip that saw an English Hawker Hurricane pilot fight with a Soviet Air Force squadron over the skies of Stalingrad in World War II.
This was a comic that really caught my imagination when I was growing up and I’m really excited that the first issue of the re-vamp did the same thing. This time, a wealthy American warplane enthusiast is rebuilding an old Hurri found in Russia and that leads him to discover a lost piece of history behind this vintage aircraft.
Though I may be letting nostalgia take over my judgement, I have to say that Ennis has brought what made those war stories of my youth so appealing to a North American audience: a love of what could have been an alternate history. This is a story about “what-if’s” and it is definitely one that you need to read. Kudos to Keith Burns for his enjoyable art. Titan has definitely launched a winner with this one.
What an adventure! A beautiful package of political intrigue at home and fighting on the war-front; this comic sees Family Carlyle in a desperate situation and based on where we left Forever Carlyle last issue, it also sees a most welcome change in her own. It’s simply great. If I were only allowed one comic to read for the rest of my life, it would have to be this one.
We Stand on Guard #5
What really surprised me with this comic is the discovery that Issue #5 is the penultimate one. Apparently, the series is only going to six. I hope I’m wrong in this, but if so, then to me, that means that they need to wrap this story up fairly quickly, which disappoints me. I don’t feel like I’ve had time to know the characters well enough. It’s a cool series.
Star Trek: New Visions #9
Even though the price on this book is $7.99 – I’ll gladly pay for it. This isn’t a comic. John Byrne has elevated his art to re-tooling existing images of the cast from this iconic show and created new stories with them.
I’ve heard people complain about this – why can he simply not draw new stories? I have every single one of Byrne’s Star Trek books done with IDW and I love them. Plus, it’s a chance to see more great Byrne art.
However, Byrne doesn’t feel he can do likenesses well enough to do proper justice to the stories and characters. I say bollocks to that. Get over yourself, John Byrne. You’re a proven artist who is currently working in a subject that clearly entertains people.
Still, I enjoy New Visions regardless. I’d love to see John return to pencilling these characters, but for now, I’ll take the new stories of my beloved Star Trek however way he wants to deliver them.
… And that brings us to the selection of the pic of the week.
That honour goes to:
To me, it’s not about the super powers or the setting. IDW and Image have definitely got my love with their Trek stories and Lazarus. But Ennis is reminding me of what I loved about comics growing up in Scotland: the fact that we have endless sources of stories in our own histories that we can play with and re-tool for our entertainment.
Fact: Hawker Hurricanes did actually find service in the Soviet Union in World War Two. Fact: Merchant ships actually did carry catapult-laden Hurricanes for defensive duty in the Murmasnsk Convoys. But the extrapolation of these ideas by Tully and Colquhoun in the late 70’s is a slice of fried genius. Ennis is reminding us of this genius and what’s more, making it available to readers in North America. It’s this type of comic-reading that is unique to British readers and giving Americans and Canadians a chance to see it, is nothing short of brilliant.
Thanks Garth and Keith! Can’t wait for Issue #2!