Monday, February 6, 2012

Comic Quickies: Re-imaging Origins

Action Comics #5: Grant Morrison gets another crack at telling Superman's origin story in this issue, and unlike his previous effort in All Star Superman, which only took up a single page, this one get's a full issue's worth of story.

It's a pretty damn good origin story too.  We get to see a little bit of the downfall of planet Krypton, and even some Ma and Pa Kent in their younger days.  (Good job stickin' it to the man Ma and Pa!) There's also some very cryptic foreshadowing going on here, pointing towards some epic stuff in the future for the title.  Which is about time if you ask me.

Morrison has spent the first four issues telling a cute little Superman story about his youthful struggles, but so far the story hasn't been nearly big enough for a character like Superman.  I'm not saying the first four issues weren't good, they were good, but Grant needs to really bring the thunder from here on out.  I have faith in the man.  Looking forward to seeing what he's got up his sleeves.

 Batman #5: I'll make this really simple.  This is the single best Batman comic I've ever read.

It's like this: Batman is stuck in a massive labyrinth, no bat belt, no food, no contact with the outside world, and the only water to be found is likely drugged.  Oh, and he's been in there for at least eight days so far.

Aside from an insanely tense story, what you get here is a journey through delusion and starvation with one of the normally most sharp minded guys around.  When all of Batman's mental walls start to break down due to exhaustion and hunger, it is a crazy trip, and an incredible read.

Accompanying the fantastic writing by Scott Snyder here is by far the best art I've seen from Greg Capullo yet.  I know, I haven't been so easy on the guy in the past, but he not only impressed me here, but pretty much blew my mind with his depiction of the events in this story.  Capullo does a fantastic job of showing the unhinging of Batman's mind, and puts the reader right there next to the big guy.

It's not easy to describe the amazingness of this issue, it really needs to be experienced, and I highly recommend, even if you aren't a comic reader, or a Batman fan, that you go out and give this issue a read.  It is quite amazing, and pretty fucking awesome to look at too.

All Star Western #5: I'm sad to say this, but I think I'm beginning to get tired of this title.  I've started to realize that there isn't much character depth to Jonah Hex, and each issue bears a striking resemblance to those that came before it: Jonah Hex gets in huge fight, and either A) kicks total ass or B) gets in life threatening situation with no feasible way out, and somehow survives to kick more ass.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

I think I failed to notice this routine for so long because I was enjoying Moritat's art so much, but sad to say, even that has begun to falter in the last couple of issues.  I wonder if he's having a hard time keeping up with the monthly schedule because it seems to me that his art is a little rushed looking these past months.  I don't know, hopefully this one will pull itself together, but right now this one is moving towards being dropped.

Prophet #21: Yes, this is technically the twenty-first issue of Prophet, but it is also the first in a new era for the title.  I guess this was a Rob Liefeld comic back in the day and ran for 21 issues, and has lain dormant like a Balrog for some years. Now it's back, freed from the dungeons of Liefeld-dur (Rob Liefeld's castle of shitty comic artistry and writing) and being written by one of my comic creating heroes, Brandon Graham.

It seems like a minor tragedy that Graham isn't doing the art here too, that is until you actually flip open this issue and see the amazing artwork by Simon Roy.  Graham gives Roy's art lots of room to breathe, and I found myself having eye-gasm after eye-gasm as I journeyed through this issue.  Roy's art is simply wonderful.

Graham's writing is pretty flippin' awesome too.  He took sort of a minimalist approach here, with little dialog, or narration boxes, but his scripting is great, and he works in some great fantasy and sci-fi elements that are as creative as anything China Mieville has cooked up.  I definitely wish I had a Dol Mantle (a symbiotic shawl-like creature that appears to have many versatile advantages).  There's plenty of other great ideas to be had in Prophet, and this issue definitely left me hungry for more.

More than anything else, this comic reaffirmed to me how wonderful and creative comics can be when done well.  Graham seems to be well on his way to creating a true gem of the medium.  This is one of the best single comics I've ever read. Check it out!

The Bulletproof Coffin Disinterred #1: Yay!  More Bulletproof Coffin!

The first arc of The Bulletproof Coffin was one of my favorite titles from previous years, so I'm thrilled to see new material hitting the shelves.  I'm a big fan of the David Hine and Shaky Kane writer/artist combo, so I have high hopes for this series.

The first issue seemed to mostly lay out the origin story for The Shield, and felt like it was mostly a stand-alone comic, but it worked in a few other angles that makes me think the six issues in this arc will interconnect in some way.

I'm hoping to see more of the strange pulp-style heroes that only played limited role in the last arc in this current arc.  So far, this one is off to a great start.

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