Longtime GodHatesGeeks journalist and Ringside Apostle Guy Copes is back! Eff err’ thang else. Join us now, for The Special Padre Edition of The Sunday Stash.
It’s the return of the Fifth Deadly Finger on the renegade fist of unholy geekdom. Your absentee Padre is here to wax wise on the latest, greatest from the Criminal team of Ed Brubaker (Velvet, The Fade Out, Captain America “The Winter Soldier”) and Sean Phillips (Fatale, Sleeper). Oops, I gave it away. The only thing more certain than death and taxes, is the inevitable noir-perfection that results when these two creators return to their much beloved property.
Making its debut at the new House of Ideas, Image Comics, Criminal: The Special Edition is a tour de force of comic book cool. It is a perfect example of what makes this genre so uniquely entertaining.
There is a comic within the comic that main character Teeg Lawless goes the full fanboy for throughout the one-shot’s 48 pages. Of course, his love for Conan analogue Zangar The Savage gets put on hold and violently interrupted when he stops to fight for his life, deal with double crosses, and generally do whatever it takes to make it out of prison and survive on the streets in one piece.
To get the full effect of the artistry on display, I suggest picking up a copy of the oversized version. The Savage Sword of Criminal edition harkens back to the old black and white Marvel anthologies like Deadly Hands of Kung Fu or the Savage Sword of Conan (well, Duh!) magazines of the 70’s. The range of styles on display by Sean Philips perfectly creates an “only possible in comics” experience. This is really a beautiful book to behold.
Bru remains the master of dialogue when it comes to scripting lowlifes and hoods. During the Zangar scenes you will also be drawn in by what reads less like a parroting of those past barbarian king books and more like a legitimate entrant into that genre. There is even a letters page in the back featuring an appearance by some familiar comic book names.
1970’s prison drama = check. Crime noir done to perfection = check. Death by comic book? Double check. Say what? Read the book congregation. This is a straight-forward, yet nuanced story that is well worth your time and cash.
Such a saturated market of Zombie/Post Apocalyptic films, TV shows, etc., that it hurts to know that good intentions don’t always work out when tacking onto to an “on fire idea” and the attempt fizzles out. Sorry to say, it has happened again with Suiciders. With no direction I can pick up on — nor much of a plot — the main issue that frustrates me is that reading the comic feels like you’re being dropped right in the middle movie all the while attempting to guess “WTF” is going on. I can literally put this comic book together like a recipe built on the concepts taken from 2 movies: 1.) The Purge, 2.) Gladiator.
And that’s about it, yeah I know kind of sad right? Well, just have a read of it yourself and you too will ponder what was going on in the mind of Lee Bermejo. Your Bishop, for once, is questioning whether Lee was in the concept room of those films when piecing this comic together. The one saving grace for the comic was Bermejo’s artwork. If you know anything about his Batman: Noel, the man can draw. Matt Hollingsworth also kills on colors (but you knew that if you followed his work on Marvel). Whether Bermejo’s writing can head up to at least half the level of The Walking Dead, or even The Last of Us, is a question that may never be answered.
P.S. Did I mention I think I saw Lord Zed from the Power Rangers as a character in the Suiciders. Great, I think I’m hallucinating from Bad Comic Syndrome till next time… keep the Pencils sharp and your Ideas Fresh and Evolving. 1.5/5 Suicides.
So, Daredevil is the blind, red Batman from Marvel right? He’s the one Ben Affleck ruined before he decided to don DC’s cowl? Okay. I think I’m caught up. Oh, and just in case I wasn’t, it looks like someone wrote an entire page dedicated exclusively to doing just that. Hmm, as someone who doesn’t really read Marvel, that’s actually pretty convenient, and still… kind of foreign. I mean, it’s nice, but almost patronizing. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. . . Meh, we’ll get back to that later.
First off, I gotta say I’m genuinely digging the art of Chris Samnee (The Rocketeer). It reminds me of the simplicity yet effectiveness of Darwyn Cooke. The line work and colors are clear, concise, and to the point. The story seems a bit vintage though. Hero’s girl is kidnapped!! Time to save the day!!! Daredevil! Swing into action!! Even Daredevil’s dialogue is a bit old-timey and over the top “It never pays to underestimate any man willing to lure me into battle.” He may as well be pointing to the sky heroically, his other fist on his hip.
Mark (Fantastic Four, The Flash) Waid‘s recurring theme of spying, or monitoring is laid on pretty thick, especially since our hero’s main schtick is he’s blind. Hmm, real subtle guys. I admit it was a pretty awesome twist to have Kirsten’s kidnapping be a red herring to to what we thought the big baddie was gonna be, but I still couldn’t help but feet a little cheated. I’ll take it for what it is, though.
As the opening page explained, it’s a big deal that everyone now knows Matt Murdock is Daredevil, but I still feel a little unnerved that his girlfriend keeps calling him out by his first name. What’s the point of the mask then, dude? I can almost hear him whining: “Kirsten, I told you! When I’m wearing this, call me Daredevil!! You’re making this dark red leotard, and mini devil horns somehow look uncool!!”
This comic feels like a 90’s cartoon for all ages, and after reading through the story, well, call me the world’s greatest detective, because I’ve figured out why I’m so confused by that “PREVIOUSLY:” page! This is a kids comic! (Or at least a young teens comic!) Good for you Marvel. This is what I like to call a “gateway book,” luring readers in at a young age! Mwahaha!! It ‘aint quite for me, but after reading it, I feel like I just walked out of a Disney movie (which, technically, I kind of did.) For what it is, I’ll give it a 4/5 Mickey Mouse Ears, and then aptly hand it to my little cousin.
The story of Duane (Cable, Birds of Prey) Swiercynzki‘s The Black Hood #1 follows a Philly police officer, Greg Hettinger, that responds to a call outside an elementary school. In an effort to do the right thing he accidentally kills a vigilante called the Black Hood and is shot in the face as a result. Greg becomes disfigured — picture Two-Face as One-Face, eek, thanks Moody! — and starts a daily regiment of pain meds.
Hettinger also becomes a pain med addict that now wears a Black Hood in an effort to be someone else. Although, this sounds very similar to Arkham City’s whole Black Mask ordeal, the crime novelist still pens this version wonderful enough– all the while setting up an interesting enough character that you can relate to; besides, mostly the accidental Ace Chemicals stuff, of course.
Relatable, perhaps chiefly in part of Michael Gaydos (Manhunter) nitty and gritty art. Everything appears so torn and weathered, as if Dark Circle were the All-New reimaging of Marvel Knights. And yet despite my limited knowledge of the original 40s version (Archie Comics) of Black Hood, you can count this Sister looking forward to the next installment to see what Hettinger will do next. It’s almost as if he is becoming the man he killed to get rid of the guilt of taking a life: A story us comic geeks will — apparently — never get sick of. 3.75/5 Black Bibles.
At its core, Curb Stomp has some very interesting things going for it. It’s essentially a 70s Exploitation film in a comic with a cast of characters that have their own gimmicks and characteristics. My favorite of the bunch of Ryan (check this past week’s D4Ve review) Ferrier‘s merry band is Bloody Mary who brought shots to her friends at the “FU BAR” and proceeded to drink them in front of them. The art style, delivered by relative newcomer Devaki Neogi (Zombie Broadway) is also bright and colorful contrasted by some dark moments. Think Archie Comics crossed with Sin City.
What ultimately ends up harming Curb Stomp in the first issue is the convenient happenstance of the plot and the protagonist – Machete Betty. In classic 70s exploitation fashion, the levels of conspiracy for the turf war go high but the event that involves our girls – either called the Bayside 5 or The Fever – is too convenient for their own good. It felt rushed for the sake of creating the cliffhanger at the end of the issue, which is legitimate and holds interest.
The other caveat to this romp is Machete Betty who doesn’t even attempt to be a consistent character. Like a light switch, Machete Betty will change her life perspectives from flight to fight within a couple of panels with no inbetween. I can buy that she’s unpredictable and can swap behaviors at a moment’s notice but her outbursts and outlook don’t feel organic. She feels like the groups’ own personal Deus Ex Machina. 3/5 Bible Beatdowns.