ACTION MAN / CIVIL WAR II – CHOOSING SIDES / LUCAS STAND [Reviews]: BOOM! Goes the Dynamite!
Another weekend, another look forward at some upcoming comics titles. This week we have a few familiar names, and at least one of those names is new to the comic book world.
So, you know what to expect, you know what we do, and, after this, you’ll know what to buy (or not, and why!)
“Action Man: the greatest hero of them all!” or that’s at least what IDW are hoping you will think. That’s right, the publishing company that loves to pull on your nostalgia strings are dusting off Action Man. They’ve thrown every cartoon series based on an action ﬁgure they can get the licensing rights to at the wall in hopes that they will stick. Some have stuck, some have failed, but many have really outstayed their welcome on the wall.
So where exactly does the new Action Man series stick on said wall?
The ﬁrst thing you need to know, is that (***SPOILER ALERT!***) Action Man is dead. The issue opens with the old Action Man passing the torch to a new Action Man. Our new Action Man begins a new mission that involves a train, some ninjas, some tigers, a dirty-bomb and a bunch of eye-rollingly cheesy one-liners. The rest of the story, much like the supporting characters, doesn’t really feel like it has any legs. It’s mostly a one-dimensional, predictable storyline that is threaded together thinly with cliched 007 spy tropes, but that isn’t to say that the series won’t have potential in the future.
The story is split into two parts, with two separate artists working respectively on each. The ﬁrst artist is Chris Evenhuis, who you may have have known for Top Cow’s The Darkness: Resurrection, and he brings an Archer-esque look to the proceedings that is also enhanced with an Archer-esque colour palette thanks to the work of John-Paul Bove. This art showed some promise for the opening, however it also makes you realize that the writing would have beneﬁted from a little bit more of Archer’s self-awareness. The second artist, Paolo Vilanelli (G.I. Joe, Snake Eyes), has a kinetic, Anime-inspired American look and feel, but often this means just a lot of action lines when people are shooting, ﬁghting or running and a lot of stilted artwork when there is no action.
Overall, this ﬁrst issue is probably only for die-hard fans and people who have nothing else to read this week. Honestly, I’d save my money as there are better things being produced by other publishers, and there’s even better titles being produced by IDW. 1/5 Bibles.
Civil War: Choosing sides…should you skip it? Lets find out.
You are getting three separate story-lines dealing with how this “civil war” is unfolding.
Storyline #1 shows you a familiar face we all love to see: Nick Fury. I swear I can hear Samuel L. Jackson’s voice whenever I read Nick Fury’s character. This story brings up a new potential “big baddie” with a new angle. No more “Hail Hydra” for these guys! They are actually all about that “shield life”; it’s quite possible that they are going about it the wrong way? Declan Shalvey (Moon Knight) does a nice job of writing and illustrating.
Storyline #2 brings out the Night Thrasher. We see a familiar “big baddie” tearing up the city in the beginning. Quite typical (do you guys ever wonder what these people’s property taxes must be like?) opening, but then we see a face that is as far from typical as possible. The Night Thrasher’s inner dialogue is quite enjoyable, as he’s a really funny dude! Also love that his feelings toward Iron Man remind me of my own. The colors by Andrew Crossley really brought this story to life.
The final story will make you laugh, ending with a warm fuzzy feeling at the end that barely saves the filler. Overall, not the worst tie-in in Marvel event history, but highly unnecessary. 2/5 Bibles.
Kurt Sutter, writer of smash TV hits Sons of Anarchy and The Shield has taken pen to hand once more to bring to us Lucas Stand and it’s about what you’d expect.
Sutter, in my view, has always put very exaggerated spins on every typical character archetype out there. Stand is no different. Military veteran. Handicapped. Loose cannon. Angry as shit. Drug abuser. Overflowing with internal demons to which anyone lesser would succumb. Only as the inaugural issue unfolds do we come to find that not all Stand’s demons are in his own head.
Kurt Sutter is a brilliant man. I have had the pleasure of eavesdropping a time or two on some of his conversations and he’s one of those people that is almost **too** smart– so much in fact that much of the nuance that he provides through his storytelling is lost on most. At face value, Stand is exactly what it looks like: a badass Punisher-type character who now has a mission to kill demons. But you can almost guarantee that Sutter is telling a much deeper story here; not that I’ll understand it, but it’s there.
Lucas Stand is good, not great. In typical Sutter fashion, it’s a little all over the place, not exactly straight forward, and might be tough to follow if one isn’t familiar with his style. This first issue did a fine job, however, at the very least piquing my interest for the rest of the series. 3/5 Bibles.