Single Combat 7/13/10

Posted on July 13, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger

It’s been a big week for my pull list, both in quantity and quality, so let’s get started!  As always, I pick up my comics at Comics and Paperbacks Plus in Palmyra, PA.  You can find them on Facebook here or here, or you can stop in if you find yourself in Central Pennsylvania. You can also follow me on Twitter, just to see what I think of my books as I read them!  Here’s what I got:

Hellboy: The Storm #1
Batman and Robin #13
Brightest Day #5
Batman Odyssey #1
Red Hood: The Lost Days #2
Red Robin #14
The Great Ten #9
Jonah Hex #57
iZombie #3
The Boys #44
Fantastic Four Annual #32
Amazing Spider-Man #636
Shadowland #1
Hawkeye and Mockingbird #2
Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #1
Thor and the Warriors Four #4
Tails of the Pet Avengers: The Dogs of Summer #1
Young Allies #2
Scarlet #1

Check out what I thought after the jump!

Thor and the Warriors Four #4

Marvel Comics, $2.99

Alex Zalben, Gurihiru, Colleen Coover

Thor and the Warriors Four has been surprising for me, especially considering I only started buying it because of the cover for issue 2.  It’s a rare all ages comic that doesn’t have the characters in it consistently spouting life lessons, but allows them to learn things in a more natural manner.  In this, the final issue, Loki’s plan has come to fruition, and things are not looking very good for Thor or the Power Pack.  Zalben writes a perfectly conniving Loki, who monologues about his plan in classic supervillain fashion.

Things fall apart as the success of Loki’s plan brings Jormungand, the serpent who’s destined to kill Thor as part of Ragnarok, to Asgard to do just that.  The appearance of Jormungand provides a great opportunity for Alex Power to prove himself, though, and what follows is a great moment, one of the best I’ve read like it.  The story comes to a natural, happy conclusion, which is always nice to read in comics.  Even the Hercules backup story has a good message and is well executed by Coover throughout the four issues.  I’d recommend this book based on story alone.

The art deserves special mention as well.  Gurihiru, as I’ve mentioned in prior reviews, draws an adorable baby Asgardian, and that’s still true for teen Thor and Beta Ray Bill(Who gets the BEST AFRO EVER), as well as baby Loki and Enchantress.  As before, Thor and the Warriors Four will get a rating of:

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Batman Odyssey #1

DC Comics, $3.99

Neal Adams

Batman Odyssey was a title I was a little wary of picking up.  I know Neal Adams is something of an industry legend, but it takes a special creator to make me commit to a twelve issue mini, and something even more special to get me to get behind a writer/artist.  Neal Adams has that something.  The story starts off as a tale of Batman’s early career, going back far enough in his history to when he carried a gun.  As Bruce relates the story of that early adventure and the advice he received from an ally, it becomes clear that he’s telling a story of the past.  When the story switches into the present, Adams has Batman and Robin moving to intercept a heist by the Riddler, which is pretty standard Batman fare, I guess.  Adams also does a great job conveying Batman’s use of gadgetry, maybe even more than I’ve seen in any recent Batman story.  There’s also enough loose plot threads to make the events intriguing enough to make the next issue a lock for my pull list.

Being largely unfamiliar with Adams’ art, it’s almost jarring at first.  Everything seems just a little bit off on first glance, but as you look closer, layers of detail begin to emerge from the panels.  It’s interesting to see the crumpled points on Batman’s first cowl, the attention to detail on characters faces, and how every line in the art seems to serve a purpose.  There’s not a single unclear panel in the entire issue between writing and art, and for that, Adams has just earned himself a fan for life.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Scarlet #1

Marvel/Icon, $3.95

Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev

I told myself I wasn’t going to get this one, and I meant it too, but with all the hype surrounding it(mostly from Bendis himself on Twitter), I just couldn’t resist.  It’s wordy, but at this point you should be able to figure that part out just from the name of the writer.  They should add “Bendis” to the dictionary, with a definition that reads “Huge walls of text.”  I may be exaggerating on this one.  The story is presented in such a fashion that you can really get behind the main character and understand her motivations, even as you realize that there’s likely something wrong with her.  The story and the tragic twist to it is presented in such a fashion as to be different from anything similar you might have read before, and that makes it all the better.  Bendis makes you love Scarlet for her frankness, and makes you understand why she thinks the actions she takes at the beginning of the book are necessary

Maleev’s art is also worth special mention.  The book has a dark quality to it in the present segments, which is good as the character’s outlook is much different in the present as opposed to the past.  The past sections, however, maintain a certain darkness that’s really essential to getting the point across, and everyone just looks fantastic, as far as the figure work is concerned.  I think I did right in breaking down and buying this book, and I think you could do a lot worse in your comics purchases.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Hellboy: The Storm #1

Dark Horse Comics, $2.99

Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo

Mike Mignola continues the Hellboy story almost exactly where he left off with The Wild Hunt.  Hellboy is still in possession of the sword that makes him the rightful King of England, and is still traveling with Alice.  The book opens with Hellboy looking into the disappearance of the remains of three knights from their resting place in a church, and Mignola reminds us of the prophecy that the noble dead of England would rise to serve their King.  Mignola does a fair amount of recap for those readers who are just jumping into the Hellboy universe, which is always nice for a writer to do, but he also manages to throw in just enough to keep the people who have been reading Hellboy all along interested.  There are some things that I am looking forward to reading more about, specifically the pig creature and who he’s talking to at the end of the book, and overall it’s going to be interesting to see where Mignola takes the story.

Fegredo’s art is a perfect complement to the story.  It’s just enough like Mignola’s original art that it just matches, and just unique enough to be different.  The simplistic quality that comes across is a benefit to the storytelling, and even though it’s simplistic, it maintains a level of detail that gets everything across.  This book feels like the epilogue to the Wild Hunt, but it promises to progress the Hellboy story to the next chapter, so it’s a must read for any Hellboy or Mignola fans(and yes, I realize those things are likely the same.)

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

Shadowland #1

Marvel Comics, $3.99

Andy Diggle, Billy Tan, Batt, Christina Strain

Shadowland is the second of Marvel’s character-driven event stories, after World War Hulks, and something Diggle’s been working towards since taking over the Daredevil title a few months back.  While Matt Murdock’s been in Japan trying to unify the various sections of the Hand, construction of a New York-based Shadowland complex has been completed, and will serve as Daredevil’s base of operations.  This issue sees Bullseye(naturally) escaping incarceration to go after Daredevil.  The ensuing fight and the conclusion to that fight show just how far Matt Murdock has come, and it’s quite shocking for anyone with any familiarity with the character.

One of the things I enjoy about the story thus far is how Diggle involves the other characters in the Marvel universe, and not just the other street-level heroes that are pictured on the book, but big players like The Avengers as well.  It’s going to be interesting to see where this story goes, as it promises a huge cast of characters including all the ones shown on the cover, as well as the big three of the Avengers in this issue, and Kingpin, Lady Bullseye, and even Elektra are set to be making appearances in this story.

Tan’s art is always good, and I have to say, I love Daredevil’s new costume design, it seems sinister and fitting for a leader of the Hand to wear.  Keep an eye out for this title folks, I have a feeling it’s going to be big.

Volstagg’s Beard 4/5

Jonah Hex #57

DC Comics, $2.99

Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jordi Bernet

Gray and Palmiotti consistently do a great job with Jonah Hex.  One of the strengths of the title is that it’s not tied directly to the rest of the DC Universe, and as such can maintain it’s own continuity without having to worry about what’s going on in the rest of the books out that week.  Gray and Palmiotti work well in that framework, turning Jonah Hex into a series of standalone stories(at least what I’ve read so far has been standalone)that showcase the larger-than-life figure of the titular bounty hunter.

What’s interesting about this story is that you see Hex through the eyes of two children who look up to him as a western legend, and Gray and Palmiotti manage to squeeze in just about every DC western character I’ve heard of, and even a few that I haven’t.  Following the boys as they get caught in the action between Hex and his quarry is makes for an incredible read.

The artwork for each issue of Hex that I’ve seen seems to be different, but that’s part of the charm of the book, I guess.  This particular issue uses a somewhat cartoony art style that’s a little jarring given the subject matter and overall story, but you get used to it as the book goes on.

Ollie’s Beard 3/5

And that’s it for this week!  Be sure to check back this Thursday and Sunday for more!

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3 Responses to “Single Combat 7/13/10”

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I don’t understand how the regular ol’ Punisher is involved with Shadowland. Isn’t he FrankenCastle now? Maybe he got better…?

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erik Lewis, Erik Lewis. Erik Lewis said: Shadowland, Thor and the Warriors Four, and more in this week's Single Combat 7/13/10: […]

[…] By Odin’s Beard gave the issue four out of five beards, and calls out one moment in particular, saying, “The appearance of Jormungand provides a […]

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