Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
I don’t get it. I don’t know how we ballsed it up. But... we did. We ran the previous week’s reviews as this week’s reviews and, long story short, my last GHMOnline posting wasn’t what it was supposed to be.
Try these on instead, eh?Hi Gang. Andrew from GrayHaven here with another heaping of Recommended Comics for you to check out.
Of course, after your done reading what you have to say about them, you can now preorder any and all of your comic needs from our store located at preordercomics.com. Great discounts, low to no shipping costs and popular features like our Trade Paperback Lending Program.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #47
Written by J. Michael Straczynski and Illustrated by John Romita Jr.
Published by Marvel Comics
Reviewed by Aaron Weisbrod (E-Mail Me!)
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #47 is where Straczynski has been leading us since Day One of his run on this title.
Finally, after months of new developments concerning everything from animal totems, his new job as a teacher, extra-dimensional jaunts, and his estranged relationship with Mary Jane, everything is now finally coming together in one explosive storyline.
In the last issue we were introduced to Shathra, an extra-dimensional entity who resembles a human/Spider-Wasp hybrid. Upon completing the previous issue I (as well as several other people I spoke with) felt that Shathra bore a striking resemblance to Morlun in that "unstoppable and hyper-focused" sort of way. However, by the end of the issue Shathra displayed that, although she is also intent on destroying Spider-Man, she will be going about her defeat of him in a much different manner.
By posing as a former lover of Spider-Man, Shathra has begun an all-out assault on the integrity and moral character of Peter Parker's alter ego. This attack soon drives Parker into a rage that culminates in Spider-Man attacking this seemingly defenseless woman on national TV. As for what happens next, well. you'll get nothing more from me save this: the issue gets even more intense from there.
Although Straczynski and Romita Jr. have continued to impress me more and more with each passing story-arc, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #47 marks a quantum leap in terms of passionate, exciting, dramatic, and powerful storytelling from this creative team. Complete with humor, horror, suspense, and surprises (not to mention the long-awaited return of a fan-favorite character from earlier in the series), this issue has set a new standard for this title, if not for all Spider-Man stories set to follow it.
Amazing? Indeed. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN has never been as amazing as it is now. Buy this issue. Buy this issue. Buy this issue.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: HOOKY (TPB)
Written by Susan K. Putney and Illustrated by Berni Wrightson
Published by Marvel
Reviewed by Adam Penname
Spider-Man is typically a friendly neighborhood superhero, dealing with the semi-real world of New York City and its criminal inhabitants, regular or super-powered. Every now and then, though, Spider-Man stories take the character to bizarre locations and dimensions, with results that can be either a story that seems out of place and uninteresting, or one in which Spider-Man, in character, is wonderfully in over his head. The 1986 graphic novel, HOOKY, is fortunately an example of the latter. and a very one at that.
Putney's tale places Spider-Man in a world that isn't his own, battling someone else's enemy. Really, Spider-Man is a part in another's story, another's adventure, but he still feels like the primary focus. Part of this is because readers are discovering this world, Cloudsea, just as Spider-Man is, from his perspective, and they share his wonder and his fear towards this new, bizarre, and exciting situation. It is also helpful that Putney takes the reader through progressive stages of oddity: the story begins much like any Spider-Man story, with an attempted robbery, and gradually progresses through new dimensions, new worlds, and a new opponent whom Spider-Man simply cannot defeat. The story builds at an engaging pace, coming to an excellent climax of epic proportions.
Another factor that helps this story maintain the feeling of a Spider-Man story is Putney's excellent Spider-Man characterization. Spider-Man is clearly in a bizarre situation, one he has not before experienced and does not know how to handle, yet he persists anyway, with heroism and his trademark humor which is often used in this context to cover his fear and wonder. Displayed here is not only a full-fledged devotion to the mantra of great power and great responsibility, but also a realization of the difficulty in stepping back and letting someone else take responsibility.
Putney's own characters are also inventive and enjoyable. For example, with Marandi Sjorokker (Mandi), Putney mixes massive magical power with the emotional maturity of a twelve-year-old. It's a combination that has been done before, but Putney makes it seem new and fun, emphasizing the humor of a little girl guiding Spider-Man into a new dimension. Mandi's dialogue is a constant joy throughout the story, filled with the humor of youth, one that at times seems to undermine the overall seriousness of the situation in a wonderful way. Like Spider-Man's humor, though, it is often used to cover Mandi's very believable, child-like fear. The fear is justified, though, in light of Putney's villain, Spindrifter's Bane, a genuinely frightening threat of unexpected, and intriguing, origins.
Much of the fear caused by Spindrifter's Bane can be attributed to artist Berni Wrightson. For each of its varied appearances, Wrightson conceives a new, different, and scary image, gradually increasing in proportion as Putney's story heads towards the climax. In fact, not only does the creature become bigger and more intimidating, but so does the background, which starts out bright and sunny and becomes, by the climax, dark and terrifying, complete with storm clouds and lightning. Wrightson's art is very realistic, which only serves to enhance the fearful imagery. Every monstrous design she can imagine comes to life, leaping off the page and into the readers' nightmares. Wrightson mixes this realism, though, with cartoony people and faces. Spider-Man's appearance particularly is bright, animated, and easily accessible. Amazingly, these seemingly opposite styles blend together perfectly in the mystical world of this story, and never does a figure seem out of place due to the dominance of one style over the other. If anything, the difference emphasizes again just how out of his element Spider-Man really is. This is just one of many ways in which Wrightson's art is impressive. The alternate dimensions are intelligent, creative, and beautiful; the action panels are exciting and vivid; and the emotion on Mandi's face at the story's climax is truly awesome. Putney conceived a bizarre story here, but Wrightson makes it real.
In a normal Spider-Man title, it is quite likely that this story could not work. But as a complete graphic novel, HOOKY is an exciting tale from cover to cover that readers will want to return to time and time again. Putney and Wrightson's story has no evident flaws, and that is quite an accomplishment. This piece may not be easy to find nowadays, but it's worth looking for.
Written by Paul Daly and Illustrated by Steve Bryant
Published Online at www.adventurestrips.com
Reviewed by Michael T Bradley
This review is a special honor for me, as it represents the first review-by-request I have ever performed. Now, lest ye worry that this implies kickbacks and under-the-table pay, let me take this opportuntity to set your minds at ease: our staff is impeccable with our morals nigh-unapproachable by mere mortals.
In other words, I would have only demanded pay for a good review had I not liked the comic.
ATHENA VOLTAIRE is an online comic being published bit by bit at www.adventurestrips.com, or you can also visit the AV home site at www.athenavoltaire.com. ATHENA is updated every Tuesday, and you can see the latest installment (#9 or #10, depending on when this review hits the streets, so to speak) for free on the day it comes out, and you can always view the first strip for free at www.adventurestrips.com. You can also purchase monthly or yearly subscriptions to the site, which grants you freedom to view any episode from any strip. From what I can tell, www.adventurestrips.com works the same way with all their ongoing features (and they have quite a few, many of which are by "known" writers/artists).
The current (and first) story arc of AV is entitled, "Athena Voltaire and the Terror in Tibet." Athena, a world-renowned aviatrix and Hollywood stuntwoman, is hired by an English expedition (with ulterior motives) to lead them up Mt. Everest. Along the way, she and her not-so-trusty companion Harcourt Templeman (a would-be lush to whom Athena keeps denying alcoholic pleasure) encounter diabolic Nazis, unscheduled weapons deliveries, and the ubiquitous fat man in a fez in Morocco. Needless to say, Athena's prowess as a pugilist - and a detective - is tested trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Paul Daly's writing is smooth and clear. Take the gratuitious sex from James Bond, the guns from "Tomb Raider," and Bogey from "Casablanca," then mix what's left, and you can imagine the tone Daly has set for the series. One can almost hear the melodramatic viola playing in the background during the ship scenes, or the tinny fake-Arabian notes piping through during the meeting with the man in the fez.
Steve Bryant's artwork is amazingly well-crafted, and I'm surprised that I've never heard of him before. If this is his first widely-published work, I'm quite shocked. I can't quite pin down whose style his character-art reminds me of, though it seems that his "good guys" have a definite Steve Epting quality about them (much smoother and less hard-edged - though perhaps it's only noticeable because Athena is one of the good guys), whereas the "bad guys" have an older Steve Lightle - perhaps even very early Keith Giffen - touch to them (fairly angular, though still realistic). The backgrounds are probably the most striking portion of the artwork, however. The buildings have almost a photographic quality to them, but off a little, as if perhaps Bryant used a photo and then drew over it, creating an eerily uber-realistic (though sometimes not quite to scale with the rest of the shot) background piece.
Also, I cannot comment on the art without giving major kudos to the colorist, Chad Fidler, whose striking palettes have, if not the technological achievements of, then at least the craftsmanship of Laura DePuy of RUSE fame. The colors are multi-graded and always dynamic. Note how in installment #9, the first panel has every gradient from bright and dusty light to deep shadows, including approximately four gradations in-between. It's damn impressive, and a perfect complement to Bryant's artwork.
Since I've mentioned both Steve Epting and Laura DePuy here, it seems only fitting that I voice the question that immediately hit me when looking at this comic: why HASN'T CrossGen picked this title up? All you need to do is slap a sigil on Athena (or Harcourt, if I had my druthers) and this title would be perfect for Crossgen: a genre not being explored very much in most mainstream books (though both BLACK PANTHER and TOMB RAIDER come close at times, I suppose) and beautiful lush artwork with soft yet amazingly detailed color. Perhaps the creators simply don't want to move to Florida.
I wish this title WOULD be in a normal-format comic book. Though it would be unimaginably more expensive and probably twice as time-consuming for the creators, it would solve my main problem with the title: it's an online comic. I fully believe in the Scott McCloud-inspired idea that one day we will wave goodbye to dead trees and embrace the Internet as the future of comics (or at least moreso than we do today), but with current technology as it is, it is simply frustrating as all hell to try to read a comic this way, especially on my backwoodsy phone connection (my modem might be a 56k, and I might have a T1 ethernet card installed, but neither of these help when my local phone company's cables won't handle any connection faster than a 24k). The problem is that I think I represent the majority rather than the minority on this matter.
The other problem is that, in these bite-size chunks, the story is difficult to keep up with. Perhaps I'm just dense, but I had to reread the series twice to fully comprehend where everything and everyone fit in, and I still fear that I'm missing something. At times I'm reminded of the SPIDER-MAN comic strip, wherein Stan Lee continually has to make two to five panels somehow interesting and suspenseful, with few if any breaks in the action. It's near-impossible and oftentimes frustrating to read.
I think the way to fully enjoy this series is to re-think the way you view comics. Instead of thinking of it as a comic strip that's part of a greater whole when you read a new installment on a Tuesday, think of it more like a stand-alone serial cliffhanger. Rather than viewing it as a giant story, take it one bit at a time and don't even bother trying to figure out all the details until the resolution. This might cause a lot of confusion at certain points, but I think for the overall improvement of your reading pleasure, it's necessary. Then, once the current story-arc is completed, you can use your existing membership at www.adventurestrips.com (or else purchase even just a short-term one) to go through and reread it as a whole, filling in all the mental gaps and allowing the characters to flourish more than flounder. It's not the way I would PREFER to read a comic (I was never a big fan of serials), and I'm not whoring for www.adventurestrips.com here (though that last sentence does read as if I should be getting a commission, doesn't it?), but I just think it would be a hell of a waste if the work of such talented and devoted individuals were not appreciated.
(SPECIAL UPDATE: I've just received a sneak preview of installment #10, and it's possible that Harcourt might get that drink soon! Ah, I can only hope that installment #11 will be comprised fully of Harcourt in an alcoholic stupor!)
DAREDEVIL/BULLSEYE: THE TARGET #1
Written by Kevin Smith and Illustrated by Glenn Fabry
Published by Marvel Comics
Reviewed by Todd Casey (E-Mail Me!)
At $3.50, compared to the usual $2.25, you may be wondering if this newest Daredevil mini-series is worth the price of admission. The answer is. "Yes" (and don't be such a tight-fisted skeptic all the time!). Kevin Smith is a comedy writer at heart. All his films, View Askewniverse comics, his SPIDER-MAN BLACK CAT and even GREEN ARROW stories were littered with wisecracks, sexual innuendos and double-entendres, but he knows these do not have a place in the world of the ever-serious Matt Murdock. ULTIMATE DAREDEVIL AND ELEKTRA helps to prep readers for the upcoming Daredevil movie on the lives the two lovers, while this series gives a crash course on the hatred that exists between Daredevil and Bullseye.
It has been three years since Smith's first run on Daredevil and the death of Matt Murdock's beloved Karen Page at the hands of his heartless nemesis Bullseye. The story begins with a sad reminder of the attack on the World Trade Center and the rubble that remains. Daredevil, perched on nearby scaffold, "watches" as construction crews continue to go on about their 24-hour clean-up effort. This leads him into a quick recounting of his place in New York City and his two births: the birth of Matt Murdock and the birth of Daredevil. After laying flowers at Karen's grave, his mind turns to one thing - vengeance.
Meanwhile, a New York "business man" (read: high-class criminal) sits down for a talk with two terrorists who have enlisted his aid in carrying out a planned assassination. In turn, he directs them to one of his associates named Bullseye, a man who happens to specialize in this area and can literally use any object he can get his hands on as a deadly weapon. All we know of the target is that it is an important individual who even manages to raise the eyebrows on Bullseye himself. Skeptical, the terrorists want a demonstration of Bullseye's capabilities. As a man who can turn anything into a weapon, Bullseye opts for the toothpick from his Martini to show off his skills. His coldness and adeptness at murder are revealed in what turns out to be a very disturbing scene (Hint: think the crying baby in SPIDER-MAN/BLACKCAT).
Smith's use of the terrorist attacks could be seen as questionable and unnecessary, but it serves a useful purpose in the story. It helps the reader to identify with the pain Matt feels over the loss of Karen and sets the somber mood and anger for the story. To help readers understand the grief and wrath that Matt feels, Smith brings along events from the real world. If I may nitpick for a moment, the odd phrase "mad-on" has resurfaced here. I have never heard that anywhere but in Smith's comics, but I'm still chalking it up to censorship. Otherwise, he does a fine job of developing Matt's character and demonstrating the undying hatred he has for Bullseye. This is not Stilt-Man or the Owl, but rather a cold-blooded killer who has all but ruined Matt's life on repeated occasions. Smith's rendition of Bullseye is reminiscent of the Joker because, while he is a complete psychopath, he is rather aloof about taking lives and would just as soon kill you as look at you.
While (now Marvel Editor in Chief) Joe Quesada did great work on Smith's first run on Daredevil, Glenn Fabry may be more apt for this storyline. His dark, heavy pencils complement the foreboding mood of the story and reinforce the seriousness of the events. The cover of the book is most outstanding, as is his rendition of Daredevil beating the tar out of a punching bag with Bullseye's picture taped to it. He gives the book a gritty feel, but for his portrayal of Karen Page, he presents a bright, almost glowing portrait of her. This is reflective of the way Matt idealizes her in his memory and the beauty that he will not forget.
Smith has set the stage for a knockdown, drag-out brawl between Daredevil and Bullseye. One has to question if Daredevil would be willing to fight to the death this time because of what is at stake. Would it be worth it to kill Bullseye to save countless lives? Smith may be exploring this question by the end of the series. Another question that I hope Smith will address is that of Daredevil's identity being revealed. If there were any continuity to be involved, that would be the one event of the past three years that should come up, especially since Bullseye nearly made the connection himself at one point in time. Fans of Smith's first run on Daredevil are unlikely to be disappointed as Smith has certainly demonstrated that, for all his humor, he can still fashion a grim and gritty tale.
Written by Bill Willingham and Illustrated by Mark Buckingham
Published by DC/Vertigo Comics
Reviewed by Aaron Weisbrod (E-Mail Me!)
It's hard for me to put into words why FABLES continues to be such a stellar series.
The title, which chronicles the exploits of the citizens of fables and folklore after they were forced to flee their homelands due to an invasion by "The Adversary," is quite simply one of the best titles in Vertigo's already noteworthy roster.
This issue, which is Part Two of the "Animal Farm" story-arc, sheds more light on the upcoming revolt that is brewing at the farmlands where non-human fables who are unable to blend with their human brethren in New York City are forced to reside. Sick of being forced to live in what many of them consider a "prison commune," a plan is afoot in which the residents of the Animal Farm, under the leadership of the remaining two "Little Pigs" (the third one, who was recently revealed to be a dissenter, was recently decapitated with his head placed on a tall pole a la "Lord of the Flies") plan to take their lands back from The Adversary.
Of course Snow White, the Deputy Mayor of the Fables, will not stand for this. and that's why she's next on the pig's hit list.
Rose Red, her estranged sister, sympathizes with the residents of Animal Farm, though, and that's why she's joining them in the revolution. even though she knows the pigs' plan for Snow White.
Oh yeah. and readers will also learn the shocking truth about Goldylocks and her relationship with the three bears. Be forewarned. it isn't for the faint of heart.
FABLES combines action, drama, horror, and satire into one amazing package that somehow manages to be greater than even the already impressive sum of its parts. If the end of SANDMAN and PREACHER left you with an empty feeling that has yet to be filled, it's probably because you haven't been reading FABLES.
FAR FROM SAINTS
Written by Myatt Murphy and Illustrated by Scott Dalrymple
Published by Second 2 Some Studios
Reviewed by Michael T Bradley
While I've been enjoying their current ongoing series immensely (FADE FROM BLUE), I must admit that the underlying cop-drama in that title has begun to grate on me. So what a nice, refreshing break from that storyline this little repackaged one-shot piece of craziness is.
FAR FROM SAINTS is the story of Dorian, a man on the run from bad luck. He got canned, his woman left him, and he decided to high-tail it out of town before anything worse happened, taking only his trusty dog companion along with him. But he runs into something completely unexpected at a small run-down copy store in the middle of nowhere: Heaven. Not only does he find Heaven, but he realizes he's been elected to be a new shareholder.
What really sets this book apart from all the other pseudo-intellectual religious fables that have been written is that it never takes itself too seriously, yet it rarely devolves into cheap shots or base goofiness. Most often the humor comes from verbal sparring or facial expressions rather than easy targets. There are a few times when the comedy feels forced, and what are probably the best moments in the comic are when Murphy doesn't even attempt to be funny and simply tells a nicely-constructed story.
Rather than spending too much time on the implications or ramifications of Heaven being a committee-run business, we are instead quickly refocused upon what Heaven is trying to do: stop the Apocalypse. or at least delay it a bit. The world has to end SOME day, of course, but they're working on pushing it back further and further. Instead of trying to become overly philosophical or send out an over-tired "message" about faith and/or the human spirit, Murphy instead makes the book essentially a ticking clock story of wild tension about pushing back Armageddon, with the religious issues tossed aside for each reader to deal with in his or her own way. By taking this approach Murphy forces nothing down your throat, but still says much.
Also, Dalrymple's art is just as stunning here as in his current work (FAR FROM SAINTS was originally put together about five years ago). His overly detailed, amazingly well-toned (but never TOO overly textured for black-and-white artwork) is reminiscent of Jim Lee via Will Robinson: detailed but crisp.
A pleasure to read and a beauty to behold, and only $1.50 at that, FAR FROM SAINTS is close to perfect.
Written by Warren Ellis and Illustrated by Steve Rolston
Published by DC / Homage Comics
Reviewed by Michael T Bradley
When I first began reading MEK, my immediate reaction was "Wow. This artist's style bears a striking resemblance to that of the guy who did POUNDED. I wonder why?" After quickly checking, I realized that the styles were similar because both books have artwork by Steve Rolston. Considering the fact that I had never heard of Rolston or seen his artwork before reading POUNDED earlier that day, I think it's a tribute to his talent that he immediately left so strong of an impression on me that I recognized his style later. Maybe it's simply because I read them so closely together, but I think it's more than likely that it's his stylistic ability, which is ably assisted by Al Gordon on inks, for MEK.
I'm assuming Rolston was chosen for MEK because of the great-looking punk kids he drew in POUNDED, since that's mainly what he's drawing here, though even more stylized since MEK takes place in a nearer-than-you'd-think future where body art has reached all new levels of cybernetic craziness. Rolston does a great job visualizing the world, and using images to convey meaning. For instance, the last two pages have a human transforming into a dog-like creature. With the panel layout as it is, a less-talented artist could have easily made this into a baffling wordless scene.
But MEK is not just about pretty and detailed pictures. I'd like to say it's a given that the uber-talented Warren Ellis's script is engaging and well-written, but I'll admit that his efforts over the past few years have been very hit-or-miss for me. All the beautiful art in the world couldn't save THE AUTHORITY from being a crushing disappointment to me, and no matter how many ways he thought of to push the action nor how many hip bon mots he squeezed in per panel, I found my interest waning faster and faster issue by issue. However, that being said, PLANETARY and TRANSMETROPOLITAN remain two of my favorite titles ever published, and I really relate to much of what he says in his online essays, so I generally try at least to keep an eye on his stuff.
All this led to me going into MEK with a mixture of hope and fear. I can't say that I'm pining away for the next issue already, but I can say that I will definitely buy it. The story has me hooked, and Warren is handling it in the way he handles his best stuff: by putting all the future pop culture images that he loves so dearly in, but having them serve as the background, NOT the focus of the book. Though the story is ostensibly a murder mystery involving murder-by-MEK (or Massive Enhancement Culture), the real core of the book is the main character, Sarissa Leon, and the empathy we have for her. She is a double outcast -- one of the oldest stories in the book: too much like type A for type B, and vice versa. Once one of the leading members of the MEK community, she is now a Washington pro-MEK spokesperson, which the underground MEKkers find a treachery of sorts. Also, she helped 'Them" take down a dealer of bad Mek, tattling on "one of her own."
So, understandably, tension runs high when she returns to "the city" to investigate the death of an old friend. But even larger forces than she expected are brewing and plotting against her.
Warren Ellis loves the idea of "something new and crazy on every page," but that's not what makes me interested in this title. Rather, it's the great art and the brooding tension that builds throughout this issue. Pay attention when you read this to how little dialogue there actually is (I count nine pages with ten or less words), yet how much information Warren passes on to the reader. His writing prowess is truly amazing at times, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this sleeper/murder mystery resolves.
NOBLE CAUSES: FAMILY SECRETS #2 (of 4)
Written by Jay Faerber and Illustrated by Ian Richardson and Matt Wendt
Published by Image Comics
Reviewed by Aaron Weisbrod (E-Mail Me!)
The concept of NOBLE CAUSES is so simple it's genius: focus on the lives of a famous superhero family who tries to hide their dysfunctions and scandals from the ever-vigilant public eye.
The result is akin to a cross between a daytime soap opera such as "All My Children" and a superhero deconstruction epic akin to WATCHMEN.
Although the story has several subplots, the main focus is on Liz Donnelly-Noble, a "normal" (i.e.: non-super-powered) young girl who married into the Noble family only to have her husband (the "golden child" of the Noble clan) murdered on their honeymoon. Realizing that kicking her out on the streets would be bad publicity, Gaia Noble (the family's matriarch) has agreed to "keep" Liz as part of the family. Now a celebrity in her own right, Liz is still trying to find her place as a part of the famous family she hardly knows.
In "Family Secrets," the second mini-series in this continuing series of mini-series (wow, try and say that five times fast), Liz has inadvertently given the public the impression that Zephyr, the promiscuous (and only) Noble daughter, is pregnant. Of course the family already knows this, but the last thing Gaia wanted was for the public to find out. After all, Zephyr is still unmarried!
Furthermore, Zephyr's overly-protective brother Rusty (a man whose brain was put in a robotic body by his father Doc Noble after he was nearly beaten to death) is on the verge of going on a rampage in an attempt to find out who impregnated her. Krennick, the "adopted" son of the Noble's devil-like archenemy Draconis quickly came to Zephyr's aide by saying that HE was the father in the last mini-series (due largely to the fact that he has such a crush on her that he desperately wants it to be true), but not everyone in the Noble clan believes this is true. including Frost, Gaia's non-acknowledged illegitimate son who claims to know who the father REALLY is! Furthermore, Frost is willing to trade this information with Gaia in exchange for the truth about who HIS father really is.
As you can see, Faerber manages to pack quite a bit of story into each issue. and all of the details listed above come only from the "main" story. You see, each issue also features a "flashback" tale that provides valuable insight concerning past happenings with various members of the cast.
While both stories are extremely engaging, the first story clearly surpasses the second simply by virtue of the superior artwork by Ian Richardson. While the back-up story "Unrequited" is a great short story that details the complexity of the relationship between Zephyr and Krennick, the art in this tale appeared somewhat sophomoric. NOBLE CAUSES is a great premise that is executed extremely well and highly praised by fans, critics, and professionals alike. and considering this, I can't help but feel that there are better artists out there that could have done the story more justice. Mind you, this is not to say that Wendt's art is bad, because it's not. His style is very proficient and his clear storytelling did little to take away from the story. However, I was surprised that an artist who appears to still be in the process of "stretching his legs" was given such a prominent gig so soon.
Month after month NOBLE CAUSES continues to be one of the best true superhero books on the market. If you like the "team tension" in books such as THE ULTIMATES, NEW X-MEN, and X-STATIX, but want something with a little less attitude and a lot more dramatic fun, NOBLE CAUSES should prove to be exactly what you are seeking.
Written by Brian Wood and Illustrated by Steve Rolston
Published by Oni Press
Reviewed by Michael T Bradley
POUNDED is most likely one of the few trades out there that's worth buying simply for the introduction (hilariously penned by Kieron Dwyer). In fact, I could most likely write an entire review about the introduction.
But that would be silly.
Though Brian Wood has long been touted as one of the most original and innovative storytellers in the business, I must admit that I found CHANNEL ZERO highly disappointing, and COUSCOUS EXPRESS didn't even interest me enough to make me want to pick it up (though now I'm tempted, since the semi-sequel will have artwork by the amazing Rob G of TEENAGERS FROM MARS fame). However, I found his run on GENERATION X to be decent, if not amazing -- proving that he was capable of writing SOMETHING I enjoyed -- and the basic idea for POUNDED sounded amusing enough that I figured I would give it a go. and I'm quite happy I did.
POUNDED is the tale of Heavy Parker, the self-proclaimed King of the underground punk scene in Vancouver. No one minds that he's a poser, a trust-fund baby who has no real knowledge of the "underground" beyond his piercings and tattoos and no one minds that he recycles staid lyrics and will most likely never amount to anything beyond what he is now. Much like a high school football star put out to pasture when the big scholarship didn't come in, Heavy is destined to be forgotten and thrown out like last week's trash. But no one minds, because Heavy has a cool pad and he lets everyone party there.