Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Comic Quickies A Mixed Bag of Greatness

Rocketeer Adventures #1: This amazing ode to Dave Stevens' Rocketeer is a glorious comic that should be owned by all.  This issue features stories and pin-ups from some of the biggest and most talented artists and writers in the field.

First off there's the beautiful cover by Alex Ross, plus a story written and drawn by John Cassaday, a Mike Mignola pin-up, a story by Mike Allred, and another story written by Kurt Busiek...along with many others.  Along with the field of wonderful talent comes a few great Rocketeer stories.  It was cool to see each creator's unique take on this classic character.

Despite the bevvy of talent I was most taken by the art of Michael Kaluta, a guy who was an unknown to me prior to this comic.  His artwork on the Dear Betty story was nothing short of amazing and his Robo-Squid and Samurai Gorilla were wonderful additions to a couple of sweet black and white panels.  One of the most entertaining and high quality comics I've read this year. I highly recommend picking this up, along with the other three Rocketeer Adventures issues that are forthcoming.

Strange Adventures #1: First things first, I'd like to point out how awesome that Paul Pope cover is.  As much as I like looking at it, the actual copy of the comic I own is not nearly as pretty to look at due to a GIANT Green Lantern movie banner that runs across the top cover.  Thanks DC.  Why the fuck would I want to look at Ryan Reynold's face when I'm reading a Vertigo title?  Keep your lame DC hero movie ads on your lame DC titles please. Ok, moving on...

Strange Adventures is a collection of sci-fi themed short comic stories.  I openly admit that I pretty much only picked this up based on the fact that I knew there'd be a Jeff Lemire story in it.  His entry Ultra the Multi-Alien  was pretty wonderful.  Like all great Lemire stories it was tinged with a heavy dose of tragedy.  In the span of eight pages the guy nearly had me in tears.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lauren Beukes had a story in here also.  All the Pretty Ponies was pretty damn good, and I'd love to see her idea get fleshed out in greater length.  Of all the stories, the Lemire, and Beukes tales stood out as the best, and I was pretty underwhelmed by the Brian Azarello and Eduardo Risso story Spaceman which gives readers a first look at their new series.  I don't think I'll be diving into that one anytime soon.

 The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde #2: The plot thickens in a big way here in this second issue as we see Detective Adye team up with Dr. Jekyll in hopes of putting Jack the Ripper in cuffs.  There's some incredibly tense and nerve wracking moments as the two work together and get into and out of trouble.

I was happy to see Dr. Jekyll get some more page time, as he struck me as a very interesting character in the first issue.  Jekyll more or less stole the show in this issue, and looks to be a major player in the next two issues.

Somehow Cole Haddon, the writer, manages to pack plenty of story into one issue.  I definitely feel like I'm getting my money's worth.  The art of M.S. Corley is also quite good again, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next issue.

The Intrepids #'s 3 and 4: I know I'm way behind on my comic reading/reviewing when I lapse and have to double up on one of my favorite comics.

I'll try to put this simply: The Intrepids is one of the most entertaining and fun comics out there.  I'm pretty amazed by how many awesome/crazy ideas Kurtis J. Wiebe has managed to pack into this series so far, and I get the sense that the best is yet to come.  Scott Kowalchuk's artwork continues to be some of the most unique and visually interesting art in the business.  I truly believe he's the perfect guy to draw Wiebe's mad science imaginings.

As this story progresses, I find myself getting further invested in the characters.  Most of the character development attention is given to Crystal, the team leader.  My only gripe with the series is that I wish there was more attention given to Doyle, Rose, and Chester, the other team members.  Still, even though they don't get as much character development, those characters still have unique and interesting qualities that make them stand out and add more depth to the story.

With only two issues left, I'm starting to feel pretty depressed that The Intrepids is coming to a close.  I know I've gushed about this series before, but I highly recommend it, as I think its an accessible and high quality story for just about anyone out there. 

Green Wake #2: Kurtis J. Wiebe's other comic effort is the dark mystery story Green Wake.  This comic takes a definite slow-burn approach that fits the plot well, and I personally really enjoy.  In this day and age of instant gratification this drawn out style of story telling may be a turn off for some readers, but I think it makes the mystery element of this comic more intriguing.

Though things move slow, and important information is kept obscured, hidden and slowly revealed, there is some important reveals and clues in this issue.  That being said, there's a plenty of further mysteries and questions that result from those little nuggets that are revealed.

Green Wake is another example of great story telling and art in the comics medium.  Each issue so far has demanded my full attention and I've had to force myself to take my time with Rossmo's art which can take some adjusting to.  I'm looking forward to the next installment which hits stores today.

 Who is Jake Ellis? #4: Rounding out this mixed bag of comic awesomeness is the latest WiJE?.  I've discussed the hallmarks of this series before but I'll reiterate: if you like fast paced espionage action and a story that is paced perfectly with a clean no-frills, no-waste plot this is your comic. 

I really try to avoid gushing like a depraved fanboy around here, but shit, Who is Jake Ellis? is really fucking good.  The writer, Nathan Edmondson does a great job telling the story, but I also appreciate how he'll let Toni Zonjic's art take over at times and do the heavy lifting.  These two guys seem to work really well together, and it shows in how flawless the connection between the art and story is in each issue.

There's a great twist/plot reveal at the end that'll probably have me pulling my hair out until the next issue lands in my pull box.  Really great stuff, and so worth checking out if you haven't done so already.

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