Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Comics Round-Up (Mar.7)

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Today I bring you an eclectic bunch of comics. A lot of great ones, too: military action and adventure, a beastly retelling of a fairy tale, more superheroes-gone-bad, real housewives of superheroes, ninja turtles, and fantasy. This was a very enjoyable selection to read.

I’ll be doing another comics round-up later in the week, after I’m able to get hold of some new Marvel, DC, Vertigo, and Image comics (list at the end).

Reviewed herein: G.I.Joe #11, Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths & Legends #13, Irredeemable #35, Supurbia #1, Infestation 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, Valen the Outcast #4

G.I.Joe #11 (IDW)

IDW-GIJOE-11Writer: Chuck Dixon | Artist: Alex Cal

Cobra Commander demands annihilation! COBRA’s horrific war escalates and the Joes are fighting for their lives in the killing fields. The new Cobra Commander unleashes weapons of unimaginable horror in a scorched earth strategy that will turn the Southeast Asian country of Nanzhao into a lifeless wasteland.

Will the Joes stand or run?

Things are not going so well for the Joe and UN forces: after what appeared to be a Cobra withdrawal, mechanical “BATs” are sent in to mop up surviving troops and refugees. These battle-androids are hard-as-nails, and force the Joes, who have basically taken over from the UN forces, to completely rethink their strategy.

Snake Eyes ventures deeper into the rain-soaked jungle, hunting Cobra’s ninja forces. He remains my favourite character, and his side-mission, as well as being more tense, gives Cal the opportunity to create some great, atmospheric panels. For example:

IDW-GIJOE-11-Internal

As Cobra forces lay waste to Nanzhao’s opium fields and the UN troops directing the civilian evacuation, Destro’s discussions with the Commander suggest a particularly deadly endgame is on the horizon. I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t any mention of the Baroness’s activities, but I suppose that does fit better in the Cobra title than in here.

Still a good series, and one that is complemented nicely by Cobra and Snake Eyes. Definitely recommended.

*

Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths & Legends #13 (Zenescope)

Zenescope-GFT-Myths&Legends-13

Writer: Raven Gregory | Story: Raven Gregory, Joe Brusha & Ralph Tedesco | Artist: Marr Triano

Eddie confronts Jenna over his brother’s death and begins his own journey down the dark path. His thirst for vengeance takes on a life of its own as a transformation begins to occur that will change Eddie’s world forever. The darkest Grimm story yet continues here in part two of the Beauty and the Beast story arc.

This is a really interesting series. I’ve only read this and the previous issue (the first in the Beauty & The Beast arc), but I think it’s a lot better than what I’ve read of the main Grimm Fairy Tales series. This series seems to play around a little more with the original material, making these more unique and stand out from other takes on fairy tales, myths and legends.

Eddie’s rage is building inside him, and I was again reminded of American Psycho, as he is forced to control his anger, and resorts to means other than physical violence to get his way – these, unfortunately for Eddie’s targets, sometimes have violent outcomes. Raven Gregory taps into contemporary fears and politics, as Eddie brings his prodigious skills and knowledge of the financial world to bear (house foreclosure, for example). He’s still looking for revenge for the death of his brother, and he turns his full attention onto the ex-girlfriend and her family.

Zenescope-GFT-Myths&Legends-13-InternalI really like the way the “Beast” element has been incorporated into the artwork and story. It’s not always literal, and Eddie’s darker side is often portrayed through artistic flourishes and background elements. One particularly popular device is changing Eddie’s shadow (see right).

Overall, this is a very good issue, with a twisted and multi-layered protagonist. I’m look forward to seeing how the series develops in the future – the final two instalments of the Beauty & the Beast arc and also beyond that.

I’ve recently got hold of the first two collected-editions of Myths & Legends (the first is out now, and the second comes out March 20th). I’ll be reviewing them both in the next couple of weeks.

*

Irredeemable #35 (Boom)

Boom-Irredeemable-35

Writer: Mark Waid | Artist: Diego Barreto

THE FALLOUT FROM THE REVELATION OF THE PLUTONIAN’S ORIGIN CONTINUES! As the Plutonian struggles with his past, the world is on the brink of nuclear apocalypse. Is there anything on earth that can save the human race now? Or will that saviour come from… somewhere else?

After discovering what Modeus has done to Bette, Plutonian he seeks his revenge. In his enraged state, he doesn’t care about collateral damage, and there ensues a battle of truly epic proportions (and a bit of a bizarre denouement). Qubit, frustrated with the distraction, attempts to bring Tony back to work on saving the planet’s population from the fast-moving radiation cloud. Meanwhile, other members of the scattered Paradigm search for their own solution to the problem, reaching back into myth and legend.

This is still an interesting series, but I can’t quite figure out where it’s going. The death-toll has risen over the course of the series, and things are really starting to get weird(er). I’m certainly still enjoying it, and the focus on the Plutonian and Modeus’s twisted love for him is an interesting and original take on super-nemeses. Barreto continues to produce some great artwork, too, keeping the series as one of the best-looking with such a distinctive feel.

So, still highly recommended, but I wouldn’t mind having at least an inkling of where it’s going.

*

Supurbia #1 (Boom)

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Writer: Grace Randolph | Artist: Russell Dauterman

What goes down when the capes come off? Meet the “Real Housewives” of Earth’s greatest super-team, the Meta Legion! It’s the egos, the tantrums, and the betrayals of the super set. Find out what happens behind the masks as superhero families are faced with the sordid problems of everyday life – and then some! From rising star writer Grace Randolph (Marvel’s NATION X, HER-OES) and hot new artist Russell Dauterman, this series takes the familiar super-team and turns it on its head with a scandalous, TMZ-fuelled look at what it’s like to live with a superhero!

Anticipations for this series was so high that it sold out of its first printing a week before it was released.

It’s a pretty interesting idea. This first issue is a whirlwind tour of the characters we’re going to be following. It’s a very nicely conceived story, too, taking the suspicions and drama of Desperate Housewives – complete with cheating, neighbour-spying, and sinister goings-on in the background – and  throwing super heroes into the mix. The artwork is nice and clean, not overly-detailed, but still very good.

The characters are very diverse, drawing on most of the super hero archetypes, which adds a lot of varied humour. The cast has a lot of potential. I found the warrior-woman’s family particularly fun – she doesn’t think much of men, despite marrying a very bookish one, and dismisses her son as rather useless, even though he is more interested in learning about combat than the daughter, who supposedly will inherit her mother’s powers. One character, Sovereign, reminded me a little of a taciturn Plutonian from Irredeemable. Sovereign’s girlfriend is a reformed villain, who hasn’t changed her ways over-much, and has instead just relocated them to the suburbs. The newly-wed couple, Robert and Eve White, I think will end up causing some mischief, especially as Eve is rather nosey and a bit of a hero-groupie. Other characters we’re not given much of an introduction to, but there’s still plenty of fertile ground to explore.

It’s a strong start, one that lays out a lot of questions for readers, and ends on a nice, surprising cliff-hanger. I look forward to the second issue.

*

Infestation 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (IDW)

IDW-Infestation2-TMNT-01Writer: Tristan Jones | Artist: Mark Torres

The sewers of NYC have always been home to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... but what else has been nesting in the deep dark? A series of strange occurrences leads the Turtles into long forgotten tunnels. What they find there should have been left alone, for as light fades ands wall narrow — bone chilling terror awaits!

This turned out to be a lot more fun than I was expecting. The artwork’s a little more rough-and-ready than I normally like, quite simplistic and not too detailed, but it actually sort-of-works. The writing’s good, and the story has a good pace that offers mystery and a little tension. It’s quite a dark issue – not least because the power’s out, and the turtles are exploring tunnels that nobody knew about before. What they find there is pretty gribbly, and maybe beyond their abilities to defeat and contain.

The issue ended on quite an emotional cliff-hanger (even though we know they must all survive beyond these two issues). Can’t wait for the next one! These Infestation events are quite a cool idea, actually – each one has a couple of issues focused on one of IDW top franchise comics, wrapped up in Lovecraftian horror, Elder Gods, and monsters. They’re quite (dark) fun. Recommended for anyone who wants to see familiar characters in an unfamiliar genre and out of their collective depths.

Coming up in the Infestation 2 line up: G.I.Joe #1 (Mar.14), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 (Mar.21), G.I.Joe #2 (Mar.28), 30 Days of Night #2 (Apr.4), Infestation 2 #2 (Apr.11)

*

Valen the Outcast #4 (Boom)

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Writer: Michael Alan Nelson | Artist: Matteo Scalera

The King is dead — long live the DEAD KING! King Valen Brand was a just ruler and a great warrior until he was killed in battle by the necromancer Korrus Null and resurrected as one of the walking dead. Now he’s considered an abomination in his own realm, an outcast with only one purpose: to restore his lost soul… The quest continues as Valen has reached the treacherous sea that acts as a border to Korrus Null’s deadly kingdom, Wraithendal. But when one of his companions is abducted by a seedy guild of thieves and murderers, will Valen even make it to the boat alive?

An underground guild of cutthroats and thieves has captured one of Valen’s companions, Cordovan, on past crimes. Against Zjanna’s advice, Valen insists on saving his life, which means coming to an arrangement with the head of the guild. Adding to their troubles (but the readers’ enjoyment), one of Korrus Null’s henchmen arrives and bloody combat ensues! And the final page bodes very well for the next issue.

This is a great series that just keeps getting better. The world is being fleshed out brilliantly, and this is remains one of my favourite comics. The story’s great, the artwork is grim and gritty, and the battle scenes are intense. It’s awesome stuff. Highly recommended for all fans of fantasy.

*

Reviews still to come this week (subject to change): Batman: Detective Comics #7, Fairest #1, Hell Yeah #1, Manhattan Projects #1, Night Force #1, Winter Soldier #3, X-Club #4

1 comment:

  1. The Valen the Outcast series is going on my must read.
    Great mini-reviews.

    ReplyDelete