Good afternoon, geeks and geekettes. This is it, the Sunday for which we’ve all been waiting. You know what we’re talking about: The Sunday Stash! We’ve got a lot of great titles to go over today, and our geek congregation is once again putting out great work before you settle down with your beer and wings.
Hopefully, you’ll find something great to pass the time before kick-off. Let’s go Yankees! Wait…wrong sport? What year is it again? (Written by GHG’s resident New Yawk editor, J.L. Caraballo)
So I’m going to say something here that, if you read my reviews regularly, might catch you by surprise: this shit’s not bad.
In this incarnation of our infamous Merc With A Mouth, Deadpool has rallied together his own “suicide squad” of sorts, comprised of cold-blooded mercenaries. They’re kind of like the A-Team, but on acid. And mescaline. And probably cocaine. And, I don’t know, some other uppers. Why not?
What makes Deadpool so fun in comics is that the tone of his stories have always been inane. You can get away with a lot of bullshit, for lack of a better term. This comic issue is no different. DP’s team is assembled from what would seem to any sensible comic writer as a bad idea. But on these pages: a living cartoon, an Avenger wannabe, and a Spanish-speaking version of Deadpool himself make total sense. My argument with doesn’t waiver from my argument with a lot of short-series comic issues centered around some of our more popular characters from the MCU — there ain’t no stakes. Same as true here. Because we’re working with comic book canon, we forget that we still have to motivate the characters with something. We rely on whatever has worked, and worked, and worked, and worked, and…I’m sorry…but for me, that doesn’t really work anymore.
After a long wait, this weekend we all finally get to see Deadpool appear on film, live-action. Hopefully the film version can find the slap-happy medium. 4/5 Bibles.
I must admit. I have never read much of the Miles Morales Spider-Man, but I have always heard great things about the character so I was interested to see how Mr. Morales would fit in the 616 Universe.
MY GOD! I loved it.
Granted, I am a Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man, Jinx) fan and pretty much love everything he does and, well, he just continues the trend with this book. Bendis recreates what was loved about the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Spider-Man from the Swingin’ Sixties with the same pitfalls and hang-ups that Stan Lee gave Peter Parker.
While Peter Parker has always been one of my favorites, I have more than once identified with him and his “Parker Luck”; it seems that Marvel, perhaps in a type of “graduation” or maturation, has started to push Peter Parker into becoming more of a “Tony Stark” light whereas Miles Morales has “graduated” into the 21 Century Spider-Man. The artwork by Sara Pichelli (Runaways, X-Men) is crisp, clean and just full of emotion with a hint of playfulness, which Spider-Man is supposed to be. It will be exciting to see where these two take this title in the future–especially when the first villain that he encounters is Blackheart, the son of Mephisto, who has just taken out the Avengers in the first page. 4.5/5 Web-Slinging Bibles.
I’ll be honest: this is the first comic review I have ever done in my writing career, and hopefully it won’t be the last. The great Monsignor sends me an email this week assigning me Dejah Thoris #1 to review and my first thought is… “Are the readers going to know that the only comic book (well, technically ‘graphic novel’) I have read is Kick-Ass? Am I going to epically fail at this?”
Judge lightly, my friends.
I surprisingly really enjoyed Dejah Thoris and can’t wait to continue reading her story. At first, I was a little off put by the ridiculous outfit that Dejah was graced with, but I tried to avoid that and get a feel for the whole story. There’s mystery, a little violence and a lot of “What is going to happen next?” moments. I definitely recommend keeping Dejah Thoris in your comic book collection! Fans of the classic science fiction Martian Chronicles by Edgar Rice Burroughs will most likely love this visual representation of that universe, even if its artistic sensibilities leave a little to be desired.
Dejah Thoris is written by Frank J Barbiere (The White Suits, Five Ghosts) and illustrated by Francesco Manna (Crossed Badlands, Swords Of Sorrow), and is published through Dynamite productions. 4/5 Bibles.
Just like nature abhorring a vacuum, the Marvel Universe’s good old Earth-616 can’t really abide for long without everyone’s favorite former berserker Canadian Ronin slicing through the ranks in his own solo series. The good news is that this time, editorial has recruited an A-list creative team with a very strong take on this inevitable title. Jeff Lemire first came to prominence with strong creator-owned work and was one of the brightest stars of DC’s New 52 reboot before Marvel stole him away to shepherd the X-Men in the wake of Bendis’s All-New shenanigans, while Andrea Sorrentino (I, Vampire, Green Arrow) delivered strong pages in Bendis’s Secret Wars spin-off featuring this character that it turns out functioned as a back-door pilot for this very title.
The protagonist we have here is not the Logan that we know and love from the hallowed Claremont/Byrne era; but, instead, the permutation introduced a few years back in Millar/McNiven’s completely over-the-top but enjoyable Old Man Logan arc. This is a Wolverine who not only lived to see the villains rise up and kill pretty much everybody, but he actually got tricked by Mysterio into slaughtering all the mutants in the mansion all by himself. And you thought Brother was drowning in guilt and self-loathing in the eighties! Millar piled on the fun by giving our hero a few years of familial happiness before a gang of Hulks slaughtered them all too, sending him on his own Unforgiven-style road-trip massacre. But due to all the climactic Hickman Secret Wars shenanigans, Old Man Logan is now here in regular continuity alongside Kamala Khan, Miles Morales, and all the other all-new, all-different slate of double-shipped re-branding bursting forth of late from The House of Ideas.
See, that was easy…
But all of that context aside, how does this #1 read, particularly to a casual buyer who has no idea that our boy is coming from an America that had The Red Skull most recently occupying the Oval Office? Very, very well. We get the obligatory naked/feral Logan running through Times Square bit before Logan remembers who he is and what he wants, which isn’t exactly groundbreaking from a narrative perspective but is certainly the best direction to send this character in terms of an overall motivational hook: he’s got to stop his horrible future from coming to pass. This leads to a kill-list with the potential for massive confrontations as soon as next month. We have a man who’s not trying to suppress the animal within but instead is embracing it for the noblest of reasons: saving the lives of everyone he loves. It’s a terrific fit, and anyone who’s managed to maintain affection for the character over the past three decades of oversaturation is going to find a lot to love in here. And the art sells the show–no question.
Sorrentino and colorist Marcelo Maiolo (I, Vampire, Green Lantern Corps) provide an expansive canvas for all of this to unfold whether they’re setting the action in the city or the desert. They’ve retained the look of the previous mini-series, hanging on to those really saturated and washed out Ben Templesmith-type colors and still copping that trick that J.H. Williams III threw down so much on the dear, departed Batwoman, highlighting the action with an in-set panel within the main panel that just focuses on the claws popped (or about to pop) with all the color drained out to just shades of red and white, almost implying some sort of Kill-Vision POV that Logan might be experiencing the instant before the outbreak of violence.
The single misfire for me — and it’s a gorgeous one — is the shot near the end of our newly motivated hero jumping off the rooftop just in the nick of time to be cast in gritty silhouette as a lightning bolt strikes behind him. I get that it’s surely a deliberate homage to Frank Miller’s classic cover of The Dark Knight Returns #1; but all it did was basically take me out of the story and remind me that, as good as this is, it doesn’t quite hold up to one of the greatest Batman stories of all time. Never a sound strategy, Wednesday Night Faithful! Overall, though, this is a terrifically engaging read and a stand-out in Marvel’s very crowded roster of new titles. 4.5/5 Supervillains Gutted Before They Even Have The Chance To Do Wrong (But You Know They Will! They Will . . . )
There are few characters in comics as dynamic as Hellboy and in Hellboy: Winter Special #1, that dynamism is in full display. This is an anthology book with four stories that fit into four different genres, yet all feel at home within the Hellboy universe.
The first story, “Broken Vessels” written by Scott Allie (Abe Sapien, B.P.R.D.), with art by the great Tim Sale (Batman: The Long Halloween, Captain America: White), is a somewhat traditional horror story. The art is gorgeous and the story is good; but, while it doesn’t feel out of place within the Hellboy universe, it does feel a bit generic, especially when compared to the next two stories. “Wandering Souls” by Chris Roberson (Edison Rex, iZombie) and Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers, Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra) is more of a traditional Hellboy story. It’s pure action-horror and so much fun.
The gem of this issue, though, is the third story, “Mood Swings,” written by Chelsea Cain (Mockingbird: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary) with art by Michael Avon Oeming (Powers, Thor). This story encapsulates Hellboy as a whole in a short eight-page story. It has creepy monsters, action, heart, and sense of humor and optimism just beneath the surface of horror and darkness. The fact that it reads like an all-ages Hellboy comic is even more impressive. The final story “Kung Pao Lobster” by Dean Rankine suffers from the same problem as the first, in that, while good and not out of place within this universe, it feels like a scene from a slapsticky sitcom rather than anything definitively from Hellboy. The fact that all four of these stories are so different in tone and genre yet none feel out of place within the Hellboy universe is a testament to it’s strength and dynamism. This issue is definitely worth seeking out for both Hellboy fans and newcomers to Hellboy, especially for those middle two stories. 4/5 Snowgeists.