Finally it’s new Comics Wednesday and its time to dive into a whole new random pile of books and see what we come up with. To be honest, this week came with a few hints about what 2012 will look like, well for one company that is. Yes, we are on the cusp of hitting comic book crossover event season. “Hey, wait… Fear Itself and Flashpoint JUST wrapped up” you might say, but you know how it works. Big guys are warming us up for the next one.
DC looks like they might be going for smaller events at the moment. Crossing over a few books and letting the characters meet each other again for the first time in the DCnU. Don’t fool yourself, There is the mystery purple hoodie lady, there is something brewing. Who is she? How does she fit in? Is this a set up to how the new Multiverse set up since the reset? Personally, I really wish last weeks Tiny Titans was the true canonical answer to who the mystery lady is, but Dan DiDio would never let that happen, would he.
The other guys, Marvel that is, have an event they just dropped some details on, oh we’ve already covered it, but I just wanted to chime in here. Avengers Vs X-Men? Come on. This had better be bigger than that. Back a few weeks, Marvel Point One hinted more than just your typical and done to death hero vs hero slug fest. Also, what is Wolverine going to do? He’s on both damn teams! Oh the drama. With any luck, when the Phoenix smacks her/itself into the Earth, maybe Marvel will get is own (imo) much needed reboot.
Ok, so what do we have this week? I bite into another one of those books. You know the one everyone is talking about, one that’s winning awards, one that I probably should have picked up long ago. Also, check in with one of DC’s New 52, one I dropped at issue one and never looked back, even though everyone was talking about great it was and probably going to win awards. Speaking of next years event for Marvel, I grab a book that is supposedly made up of the ‘connective tissue of the Marvel Universe’ so, we should have something to talk about beyond Captain America fighting Cyclops, again. The last one? I prove a point about Alex Ross and marketing ploys.
It’s all up after the jump in the fast and dirty reviews.
CHEW #22 – IMAGE COMICS – Story by John Layman, Art by Rob Guillory, Cover by Rob Guillory
So, this is a book about an FDA Agent who solves crimes by getting psychic impressions by eating things, including people. Hey, if they gave out awards for original ideas that are done in a very good way, well… they would call them Eisner’s Chew has deservedly won.
This issue is the second part of a five issue arc but don’t let that dissuade you. With a handy little prologue, even a Chew virgin such as myself has a clear lead in to what is really one of the best books you’ll read. Honestly. Taking the plot device of the psychic detective with the novel twist of being a cibopath (needing to consume something to get the psychic vibration mumbojumbo) is really just a set up to a amusing and well written book.
The art is fantastic too! Rob Guillory’s twisted cartoonish style sets the mood to Chew perfectly. There is energy here and unsettling yet humorous tones throughout. John Layman’s food centric world and the crimes committed there, the characters with clear voices and personalities. Nothing is stock or what you expect. Sure there are beatings, murders, kidnappings, more beatings and, coffee with the power to kill, but it all works so well together. The characters are full and rich and the whole issue is great, a one and done lead in issue that leaves you at the end already feeling like you ‘know’ this weird world you found yourself reading.
VERDICT: I’m a sucker for great dialogue, and cannibalism, and coffee brewed with malevolence. This book has that and more, it’s comedy, its gore, its weird, its a book you should be reading.
O.M.A.C. #4 – DC COMICS – Written by DAN DIDIO and KEITH GIFFEN Art and cover by KEITH GIFFEN and SCOTT KOBLISH
So four months back when we ran through all of DC’s New 52, OMAC was a title was very excited about and very disappointed by. I love Keith Giffen. Always have, always will, but to me the first issue just seemed half there and schizophrenic. I guess I just didn’t get it because the next day in the comic store and all over the internet all I heard was how it was the sleeper hit of the relaunch. Four issues in and rumor has it that its on the lower end of the sales for DC so I better look at it again before we’re talking about it getting the axe.
To start. Damn Giffen does a great job of mixing his own style but letting us know the images he renders are love letters to Jack Kirby. If anything this is a fun book to look at. For the story? You know, I should have at least gave it a second issue. Now I have to go back and read it anyways because apparently in the new DC continuity Maxwell Lord is again the head of Checkmate, even though each and every event that put him there in the old one no longer counts, I really hope they at least tried to float a weak explanation for that one.
Kevin Kho is our OCD stricken hapless working class hero swept up by Brother Eye to become OMAC (One Man Army Corps). He and his satellite pal bicker in ways the silver age Buddy Blank never would have, but this is the issue we see them finally start to find some common ground. It’s heart touching really. What brings them together? Giant radioactive mutant crocodiles with glowing heads of course. Remember those cheap little capsules we played with as kids? The ones you’d put in warm water and they grow to a lame little sponge shaped like something? The baddies here are like that, only less sponge and more kill machine with skulls packed with Kirby crackle. Beyond all the action, there is a really interesting story brewing here. OMAC, I think I get you now.
VERDICT: Defiantly and definitely a good book. Splashes of humor and cosmic oddness that is much needed in mainstream comics. Giffen and Didio are building something here that you should look into.
THE DEFENDERS #1 – MARVEL COMICS – Story by Matt Fraction, Art by Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson, Colors by Sonia Oback, Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, Neal Adams, Paul Mounts & Stuart Immonen
Well, the Defenders are back. Again. Damn will someone give them a break this time? Honestly, how many times has this team been brought together for a comic that struggles to stay on the rack. Will this latest volume be the one where they earn that Avengers level of respect (or at least be on par West-Coast Avengers).
If it is, the book has a long way to go.
Personally, I have always loved the Defenders, I like outsider type teams of characters thrust together to fight the odds rather than the “hey, we are all really powerful… wanna team up and beat up aliens and monsters” groups. That fringe charm is here and there are some dashes of humor in Matt Fraction’s script (Not the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire JLI-esque from the previous volume, but I did smirk my way through it) and the art is great. It’s nice to see Red She-Hulk look more human.
Yes, this is a team building book, the whole way through. Damn there have been a lot of those lately. Defenders #1 runs through the paces and sets up the characters so we know how they all fit (and don’t fit) together. Yes, that means most of the plot settles around getting the team together, with a small hint of whats to come and a cliffhanger ending to ask you to come back next month.
Speaking of hinting at things, wasn’t this book billed as “Everyone’s favorite Marvel characters banding together to solve a mysterious conspiracy deep at the heart of the Marvel Universe!” – Did I miss something? I didn’t get the whole ‘heart of the Marvel blah blah blah’. It really just came across as a standard here’s the team pace by pace book.
VERDICT: Like I said, I have a soft spot in my heart for any team ballsy enough to call themselves The Defenders and try and make a go of it. Plus it has a great creative team and nice line-up. Where else will you see Namor, Doc Strange and the Silver Surfer these days? Plus Iron Fist looks like he could be fun and Red She-Hulk is… um. Red. Give the book a few issues and I am sure it will be worth it.
VOLTRON #1 – DYNAMITE COMICS – Story by Brandon Thomas, Art by Ariel Padilla, Cover by Alex Ross, Sean Chen & Wagner Reis
If you have been following along for the past few months, you might have picked up on my casual distaste of the ‘variant cover’. They are cash grabs and ploys to get you to lay down your money for a book that might not be as pretty as that super rare holographic foil gate fold cover you coveted. The equation works like this, multiply the number of covers offered by how many times the book has been tried before, divide that by how irrelevant the property has become and, if applicable, divide that again by how many of them are done by (the truly amazing and this in no way to discredit him, he just does amazing covers) Alex Ross. Six of the twelve covers for Voltron #1 are by Ross, I think we have to divide by zero now.
Yes, Voltron is a much loved property, and yes I did want this book to be ‘good’ and to be honest, it wasn’t ‘bad’. We have Voltron (thankfully like he should be, and not some lame attempt to update a classic) battling giant alien monsters while smaller monsters fight humans. Buildings crumble and the earth shakes (and by that I mean Earth, strangely this is NOT set on the usual planet of Arus). We get to see the modern day telling of something deep in Voltron’s past, how he/it began maybe? (I think, Obama did call that man Dr. Zarkon…) and it was really what you’d expect.
That was kind of my problem. I spent the whole book wondering why, why is this important? Why am I reading it? Why does it just seem familiar and not much else. I did get a pretty sweet Alex Ross cover of a dynamically posed Voltron out of it though.
VERDICT: Diehard Voltron fans, do not wait, buy this book. The rest of us? Well, if you just saw someone bolt up and run to a comic store, you my friend have spotted the rare diehard Voltron fan.
Thanks again for sticking around for this weeks AotNCW, as always thought comments and titles you think I should check out. Sound off below.