If the sight of a tiny, adorable otter wearing yellow overalls and galoshes whilst wielding a giant axe for the purposes of walrus-herding doesn’t kindle sheer, unbridled joy within your heart, then I’m not sure anything ever will. And you have my pity. Also, if that opening sentence doesn’t make you at least want to try reading Saga, then I’m not sure anything ever will. And you have my pity for that, as well.
Describing this book always feels like I’m rehashing a one of Stefon’s “New York’s hottest club” reviews. This book literally has everything. Teleporting bounty hunters, alien St. Bernards that shoot tranquilizer darts out of their noses, polygraphic cats, magic goat people, graphic violence, graphic interspecies spider sex scenes, talking sentient plants, the aforementioned otter, aristocratic robots… And that was just this issue. I haven’t even mentioned the fairies, tree based rocket ships, cyclopean romance novelists, or ghost nannies.
But perhaps the most amazing thing about this book is its consistency. We are now 24 issues and four complete story arcs in, and I have yet to be disappointed with any single issue. Despite all of that craziness, at its heart, Brian K. Vaughan‘s Saga is a story about the challenges of raising a child and maintaining a marriage. Everything else is window dressing — really pretty window dressing via Fiona Staples — but window dressing nonetheless.
The only downside is that this single issue probably can’t be enjoyed all that much without reading the previous 23. This series is much more Battlestar Galactica storytelling than Star Trek storytelling, and to that end, any single issue is going to fall a bit flat. But if you like your stories serialized, you’ll have no problems here. If you are a human being who has ever cared about another person, you should definitely give this series a try. I honestly can’t imagine you won’t be glad you did.
Deathlok has never really been an overly interesting character to me. It’s true, I’m not sorry; he was just never captivating– until now. Nathan Edmondson (Who is Jake Ellis?, The Punisher) does the dark side of Marvel like nothing I have seen in a long time. Reading this had hints of The Bourne Trilogy (before they went sci-fi with that last one). He also dropped the hammer in a few scenes that made my jaw drop, which doesn’t happen much in comics anymore. By the end of the issue I was upset that issue 2 wasn’t there waiting for me. His callback to the original Deathlok left questions lingering that I want answered, and judging by how he has handled his other books, he’ll bring everything around full circle. Also, finally, we get to see the black ops side of Maria Hill — as the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. — and it was very satisfying. Now, even the best writer needs a great compliment, and Edmondson has that with Mike Perkins. He brings a hyper realism to his work that makes the panels pop off the page. I loved his work on Captain America with Ed Brubaker. He knows how to bring his writer’s words to life and it is done in such a magnificent fashion. I sincerely dug everything that Perkins did with the re-design of this new Deathlok. Hell, I loved this whole new re-design of everything. Who he is, what happens to him after every mission, everything. Go now and pick up this book! Seriously, why are you still reading this? GO!! 4.75/5 Bibles.
Dark Gods is a title that could have meant any number of things, given that this is a comic book were talking about. However, the title at least, is pretty straightforward. This book takes the concept of humanities Gods and makes them dark.
The first issue of this new Avatar series absolutely flies by and is absolutely begging for a trade paperback. That’s not a particularly bad thing, but know that before you buy it. Justin (Green Lantern Corps) Jordan‘s story, in a nut shell, follows a guy named Resnick who is attempting some corporate espionage and discovers that his coworkers are not they seem. Dun dun dun! The eye-catching art is what makes this breezy read worth picking up. 3.5/5 Dragon Aged Bibles.
Sometimes first issues knock you on your ass. They’re filled with kinetic action and tremendous character moments, teasers of future events, hints of background moments, and a cliffhanger that has you panting for the next issue. They’re the debut chapter of an adventure serial, and that chapter delivers the entire series in microcosm. And sometimes first issues are just compelling and interesting but just tell their story, like the initial chapter of a novel, as fragments of what will come. Those few early scenes don’t give the reader a strong vision for what will follow but do give the them a lot to chew on and some fascinating character moments.
Rasputin #1 is one of those latter sorts of premiere issues.
Riley (Green Wake, Proof) Rossmo‘s art and Ivan (Astounding Wolf-Man, Haunt) Plascencia’s colors are gorgeous in this book – moody and intense and involving and unsettling. It’s the kind of wonderful art we’ve come to expect from Rossmo, but that’s a high standard of awesomely disturbing beauty that he delivers here much as he’s done many times. But the story this issue is told almost entirely in pictures. We get a few words at the beginning and end, and some disconcerting scenes of domestic abuse in the middle, but the hook is missing for a reader to return. I’ve learned to trust Alex (Proof) Grecian to deliver a complex storyline as this longform serial plays out. Certain moments will pay off over time– but they need some refining, like the jewel this series will undoubtedly become. There is some fascinating business with what seems to be magical powers for Rasputin, but I’m not sure that’s enough of a hook to keep me picking up the floppy every month. 3.5/5 Forms of Murder.
I’ll be honest; I haven’t cared about the Ultimate Marvel Universe since approximately 2006. I really wasn’t aware it had any sort of existing continuity outside of having a new, non-Peter Parker Spider-Man. Well, it’s still around, apparently, and the Young X-Men are visiting, albeit against their will and scattered around the globe. Of course, this also makes for extremely short, disjointed, and not very cohesive segments. Young Iceman gets 6 pages to fight the Mole Man. Young Angel and X-23 get 5 pages to explore the Canadian wilderness/Weapon X program with Blond Wolverine (Angel and Blondie made remarkable time from the Antarctic Savage Land in the last issue). Young Beast gets 2 pages in Latveria (thanks for checking in, Hank!) And Young Jean and Ultimate Spider-Man get 7 pages to get to Westchester and take part in the ongoing “Everybody Loves Jean” sitcom.
For me, the best part of Brian Bendis‘ All-New X-Men is the original, young X-Men reacting to 50 odd years of Marvel continuity. Having them react to a decade or so of Ultimate continuity in which they have no vested interest does absolutely nothing for me. I suppose if you really like 1960’s Marvel and whatever constitutes the modern Ultimate universe, this book has nailed your niche, otherwise, give it a pass. I’d have gone with 1.5 stars, but I gave it an extra half star because I got to find out that Ultimate Doctor Doom’s name is Victor van Damme. Because I want my tyrannical, goat-legged monarchs of fictional Eastern European nations to have realistic last names. 2/5 Ultimately Doomed Bibles. – Luke Miller