Sunday, August 28, 2011
Capsule reviews: Comics from 8/24
Mystery Men #4 (of 5) (Marvel, $2.99, David Liss, Patrick Zircher) - Our heroes are finally start to work together, but Nox and the General seem to be a good three steps ahead of them. It doesn't help that our different heroes, quite naturally due to their temperament, don't exactly work well together. Our heroes really do seem to be out of their depth, and with only one more issue to go, it's quite possible not all of them may make it out alive. We also get an origin story for the Revenant, which works well with what we already know of the character, and of the corruption that pervaded the early 30's. Overall, this series continues to entertain, with both Liss and Zircher producing strong work here. Still recommended, and hoping for a strong conclusion to this very enjoyable storyline.
Dark Horse Presents #2 (Dark Horse, $7.99, Dave Gibbons, Robert Love, David Walker, Carla Speed McNeil, Paul Chadwick, Howard Chaykin, Steranko, Patrick Alexander, Richard Corben, Sanford Greene, Chuck Brown, David Chelsea, Neal Adams, Michael T. Gilbert) - This third issue expands from 80 to 104 pages, giving the reader even more bang for the buck. For the most part, it continues to entertain: the ongoing chapters/stories of Love & Walker's Number 13, McNeil's Finder, Chadwick's Concrete, Chaykin's Marked Man, Greene & Brown's Rotten Apple, and Gilbert's Mr. Monster all continue to be enjoyable reads. Patrick Alexander gives us another short yet skewered piece, featuring a superhero called Indecisive Man. Not quite as good is Corben's Murky World, which just sort of plods along, and Adams' Blood, which while a little better than the previous chapters, still continues to show that Adams' is known as for being an artist, not a writer.
This issue also introduced Dave Gibbons' Treatment, a rather cynical take on law enforcement in a near future, where play-by-play sports commentary is provided along with the violence and mayhem. The story is decently well told, but the main selling point here is of course Gibbons' art. The main highlight of the issue, however, is the preview of Steranko's forthcoming Red Tide, which was first published back in the mid-70's. The new version has been completely re-colored, and it looks utterly gorgeous. If you have any interest in noir-ish detective stories, these preview pages should be more than enough to sell you on it.
Overall, a very good issue. This is the anthology series for those looking for good comics outside of superheroes and the Big Two publishers.
Kirby: King Of Comics (Abrams, $40.00 or $12.99, Mark Evanier, Jack Kirby) - A tribute to the most important man in the history of comics (others might try to argue that assertion, but not to my mind convincingly). Mark Evanier's biography of Jack Kirby doesn't really touch on a lot of new ground - most of what is detailed here has been written of elsewhere - but it still makes for an engaging story when collected under one set of covers. Evanier's portrayal of Kirby is sympathetic of course, but not blindly so, and also shows Kirby's' faults and weaknesses along with his strengths and talents.
The main selling point here is, of course, the art. About 2/3 of the book is dedicated to Kirby's art, and the oversized (coffee-table) format really helps to showcase just how dynamic Kirby's art and storytelling abilities really were. For those who only know Kirby as the artist on the bulk of the 60's Marvel titles and the creator of the 'Fourth World' stories at DC, there's enough here for the reader to truly appreciate the breadth and span of Kirby's career.
When this was original published back in 2008, at sold for $40.00. However, recently a 'sale version' was solicited for $12.99, which is pretty much a steal. Either way, it's well worth the money. This is one of those books that any serious comics fan should have as part of their personal library. Highly recommended.