It’s here, the last new comics Wednesday of 2011. It’s year end and what a year it has been, we’ve seen a lot happen in the last 365, both on and off the pages. We’ve seen the requisite deaths and resurrections (welcome back Johnny Storm). The Ultimate version of Peter “Spiderman” Paker bit the dust as well, and was replaced with half-black and half-hispanic controversy named Miles Morales. Speaking of deaths, the 20 year run of Wizard Magazine ground to an unceremonious halt, alleged victim of the decline in print media sales. On the upswing, digital comic sales have started the march to becoming the norm. Love the idea or hate it, comics being sold and enjoyed on iPads and other tablets has seen steady growth and now that every major comic book publisher has a Day-and-Date digital initiative in place its now fact more than fad. DC comics flushed the last 25 years of continuity and relaunched their whole main line back at number one, including drawing to an end the 73 year run of Action Comics. Not to be outdone, Marvel ended and relaunched the Uncanny X-Men, a book had a 544 issue run.
All these events and happenings and many other thing led to one unified truth. People were talking about comics again. Be it the ‘bad press’ from the death and recast of Spiderman, the total reboot of DC’s New 52, and yes even Superman loosing his underoo-on-the-outside look, people were talking.
Sales numbers have increased, new and lapsed readers have been brought in, and from my perspective I’d say it’s been a good one for the much loved industry. On a personal note, I know that my monthly spending on comics has taken a huge increase and my enjoyment of the work many of these creators put out on a weekly basis is double that. I guess in short what I am trying to say is a big thanks to all involved in the comic book industry and I look forward to what you bring in 2012. I’d list you off one by one, but that would take awhile.
Now that the fluffy statements are done, we should dig into some books, right? One that I won’t be covering today, but you should really really pick up is the recalled and now finally released DC Comics Elseworlds 80-Page Giant. Originally recalled shortly after its release in 1999 due to ‘questionable content’ involving a baby Superman in a microwave (and really, thank you for protecting us from that. Lord knows had more people seen it we would have gone through endless orphaned alien superbabies being placed in various kitchen appliances, it would have been a nightmare.) A few thousand squeaked out back in ’99 and I was lucky a few years back to pay a sizable chunk of money for one, and now YOU can pick up for too, for a less sizable chunk of scratch. Clocking with a $7.99 price tag, you do get your moneys worth. Talents like Mark Waid, Chuck Dixon, Kyle Baker, my personal favorite Ty Templeton and many many more, DC Comics Elseworlds 80-Page Giant is well worth the money. A hefty handful of stories and more packed in its pages, it gives you the weirdest and funnest view of DC Comics that you’ve seen in a long long while.
Alright, let’s settle in on this weeks books. On the way (and slightly inspired by re-reading Mark Waid’s work above) I find a nice ‘in’ on a deeply storied work that I have been wanting to get into. The DCnU’s wild wild west (or east, since it is in Gotham) swings into its second arc. The Cape proves to be one of the (if not the) most intriguing read I’ve had in a while. Oh, and Deadpool too.
Ready? Then lets begin.
JOE HILL’S THE CAPE #3 (OF 4) – IDW Publishing – Story by Joe Hill & Jason Ciaramella, Art by Zach Howard, Cover by Zach Howard & Nelson Daniel
Starting off this week with my favorite find. The Cape issue 3 is the first time I have ever read anything from Joe Hill, lauded for his work on Locke & Key among many other things, and it was good. Very very good. The short background on the story is a dude (or douche depending on perspective) name Eric, he has a cape, one he had as a child. It actually gives him the power of flight, and he uses that to for his own means. Revenge, vengeance, mass homicide, just being a huge asshole, it all remains to be seen.
This is not the story of a young man that finds power and decides to do good. It is a twisted and sadistic tale of revenge as he systematically murders anyone and everyone that has ever wronged him. Flashbacks to his childhood give little as to why he is doing this, but you do see hints of his deep rooted psychosis.
Zach Howard‘s art sets a moody and realistic mood throughout, you can taste how deranged and tragic the whole tale is and can’t stop turning the pages. There was nothing about this book I didn’t enjoy.
I actually picked it up because I over heard two people talking about it today. When I heard one exclaim “you’re not reading The Cape?!?” My initial thought was it was a book related to the lackluster NBC TV series of the same name. I am very glad I leaned over and investigated further.
VERDICT: Yes, after reading this I immediately went to Comixology and bought the previous two issues and the one-shot that started the whole thing off. If you are looking for something a little different inside whole superhero genre, The Cape is one definitely worth looking into. Yes, it is dark side of the boy inside all of us that ever put on a towel and pretended to fly. Pretend time is over.
INCORRUPTIBLE #25 – BOOM Studios – Story by Mark Waid, Art by Marcio Takara, Cover by Garry Brown & Matteo Scalera
I make no secret that Mark Waid is and always will be one of my favorite writers. Why has it taken me this long to pick up Irredeemable/Incorruptible? Well, the interweaving tales of Max Damage and The Plutonian have never given me an ‘in’ really. The crossed tales of a superhero gone bad, and a superpowered thug gone good are intriguing, but jumping in felt daunting this late in the game. I know that sounds like a lame excuse, but its the best I have. I’ve been told the two books are a must read and epic. I guess with Incorruptible #25 I lucked out, because it let me in nicely on both the characters, well leaning a little more to Max Damage, but anyway.
Largely told through flashbacks in letters to his childhood friend Katie, it is an exposition on the characters motives and the events that lead him to be who he is, and also tell us just how far back the feud between him and the Plutonian goes.
Marcio Takara is a great artist, plain and simple. You can see and feel the emotions on the characters faces and the art is nothing short of dynamic. For a late comer to this building epic battle, I had no problems settling in.
VERDICT: Obviously I am missing a lot here, but this issue gave me all I need to continue on reading. Yes, that also means picking up the other side in Irredeemable. Will I go back and read more? Probably, but the nice thing is I don’t have to. If you are in the market for a nicely done two fisted two sided tail of two superpowered beings destined to battle. Read this.
ALL-STAR WESTERN #4 – DC COMICS – Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI, Art by MORITAT and PHIL WINSLADE, Cover by LADRONN
It is a whole new arc in the newly relauched Jonah Hex vehicle All-Star Western and while I had intended to keep up with this book since #1, I must confess, issues 2 and 3 still sit here unread. No fault to the creative team or the character mind you, I’m a huge Hex fan (even when he was tooling around the post-apocalyptic wastelands in the 80’s, remember that?)
I understand the editorial motives here. DC wants everything they publish to mesh nicely so that’s why we have Jonah Hex running around a gas-light Gotham. What I don’t get is why writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti are trying to force down our throats that he is some kind of six-gun Batman. The narration by Amadeus Arkham continuously refrences (in a very ham handed way) Hex’s detective skills, to the point of distraction and annoyance. Couple that with the fact that, yes it is Amadeus Arkham, the dude that will go on to make the insane asylum built to house the most nutty of the nutcases, it’s clear to see history we are being told here. I just don’t know if I am into it just yet.
I understand the need to tie everything together, but at the cost of the character himself? I have been reading Jonah Hex ever since I used to steal my older brothers Weird Western Tales back many many years ago. Never once was he the West’s (even though this is happening on the east coast) greatest detective. He was a gritty bounty hunter, a bad ass in his own right and very capable at what he did. Honestly, forcing this book into being nothing more than back story to the city that will one day be Batman’s makes me like it less.
VERDICT: If you are a huge Batman fan that must know each and every tiny little thing about Batman, then you are why this book is being written. If you are a Jonah Hex fan like myself, mmmm, it’s not bad? But I can lend you some books that have him riding a horse taking down haunted cattle rustlers or other ones where he rides a motorcycle taking down mutants that are much more enjoyable.
DEADPOOL #48 – MARVEL Comics – Story by Daniel Way, Art by Salva Espin, Colors by Guru-eFX, Letters by Joe Sabino, Cover by Nick Bradshaw & Frank Martin
Oh Deadpool, I wish I could quit you. To this date, I have never bought a Deadpool comic on a month to month basis, but I can’t say I don’t like the character. In fact, for the most part I’d say I love the dude. He’s one of the few in comics that are either done really well and make a great read, or are mishandled to such an offensive way you wonder why he’s even still around.
That being said, it’s been awhile since I have ran across a Deadpool book I really enjoyed. When I picked this one up, purely due to the look on Captain America’s face, I knew I would enjoy it.
So here’s the rub, someone has gone and made ‘Evil Deadpool’, a cast off clone made up of randomly discarded body parts from our hero, and he’s hell bent on causing mayhem and chaos. Evil Deadpool has kidnapped the New York City Police Commissioner’s children in a weird attempt to teach Deadpool what people really think about him and Deadpool, taking the only logical course of action, kidnaps some random kid to show Evil Deadpool… something? Mix in that Captain America thinks that the two Deadpools are in cahoots and let the chaos unfold.
VERDICT: How can you not love Deadpool, really. He is one of the better randomly created characters of the past 20 years. While this book could have used some Deadpool on Evil Deadpool action, I understand that they have to keep something in the back pocket to get me to buy the next issue, and I just might.
That, my friends is a wrap. Thanks for reading and stick around, I am sure 2012 will be a big year in comics, so let’s enjoy it together. As always, if you have a book you’ve been loving and think I should check out, I’d be more than happy to give my local comic store the money, so let me know.
Cheers and keep reading!