This edition of Comic Quickies is brought to you by the letter S.
Strange Tales II 1 of 3: First of all, take a moment to drink in that gorgeous ass Rafael Grampa cover...Mmm, MMMM! That is pretty! Stange Tales is probably the coolest thing happening at Marvel these days. Basically, they let a bunch of indie writers and artists run wild with characters from the Marvel Universe. Brilliant idea, and the results are pretty brilliant too. The cover artist, Grampa, also has a great Lucha-Wolvie story that kicks this issue off. In it, Wolverine battles Deadpool in a no holds barred style death-match. This comic short is bloody and gruesome, but has a nice, soft touch to it as well. Great stuff.
Kate Beaton also has a hilarious Kraven the Hunter story, where he's on the hunt for a prom date. There's lots of other great stuff in this issue to, you really get to experience a lot of cool indie creators, and the stories they crank out are all pretty solid. Pretty much a value deal despite the hefty $4.99 price tag.
Skull Kickers #2: The first issue didn't exactly BLOW me away, but it certainly didn't blow either. So, with a small measure of trepidation, I approached the second issue. The opening pages are action packed, as the two still unnamed mercs whoop ass on some grave robbers, but I didn't find myself enjoying the action too much. It wasn't until they hit the trail of the recently escaped grave robbers, hung a dude over a fire and basted him like a turkey so he'd spill information, and wrecked a horde of goblins, that I really got to enjoy things. However, that being said, the whole issue is pretty much one action sequence after another, which isn't a bad thing, but it doesn't say much for the story.
Another gripe I have is that in one panel the two mercenaries are overlooking a lush verdant valley, when they decide to steal some approaching horses, then on the very next page, seem to be in a dusty,dry, desert locale. Maybe this is just supposed to be yet another gag, but it bugged me. Still on the fence.
Vertigo Resurrected: Shoot: Way back in the late 90's, ancient history for some folks, Warren Ellis started what many hoped would be a long run on Hellblazer. However, he quit after only 9 issues because Vertigo wouldn't run his issue titled Shoot which dealt with recent school killings in the U.S. Then the Columbine shootings happened and Vertigo decided that it wouldn't be the best thing to run the issue without some major changes. The changes were drastic enough that Ellis, as a writer, couldn't support the changes to his material, and quit writing Hellblazer. Shoot had never been available until now.
I guess if you'd been waiting since like, 1999 to read this one issue, it would be really fucking awesome to finally read it, but I bought this not just for the Shoot story, but also for the other great re-run short comics by some of the best in the industry. Some of my favorite writers and artists have comic shorts in this gritty, heavy read. Every story is a bit dark and twisted. As an anthology, they all work pretty well together, and they are also pretty good representations of each creator. Not a bad way to sample some of the biggest names in the biz, if you are just getting started on comics.
The Sixth Gun #5: Is it possible for a Western/Horror/Fantasy to be a comfort read? If you are me it is. The sixth gun is pretty much all the reasons I read comics rolled into one. Great story, great art, cool characters, great setting, cool shit happens, crazy shit happens, when the issues is over, I instantly want more.
I don't want to gush too much, but I really think this series gets better with each issue. The good guy team of Becky, Drake, and BillJohn balance the scales a bit in this issue, but General Hume and his cronies still have some pretty diabolical tricks up their sleeves. The end of the issue sets up what I expect to be a pretty god damn amazing showdown at The Maw for the next issue.