We’re back to the high point of the week (for comic nerds that is), it’s another new comics Wednesday. If it’s a high point, why are so many people so low?
Yes, there are a lot of things we could talk about to open up AotNCW this week, such as Image Comics celebrating its 20th anniversary, happy b’day you plucky little upstart, keep fighting for the creative types, down with the suits! However, I can’t stop it, we have to address the giant blue naked dude in the room.
When the news hit this morning it wasn’t a surprise (Bleeding Cool broke and rebroke this story months ago), but it did slowly settle in some shock. They are really going to try this? They are going to muddle with The Watchmen? It’s the damn holy bible of comics, it is untouchable, may their faces melt of like that one Nazi’s at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Around my third cup of coffee my rage starts to subside a little. oh sure I kept up with what people were saying on twitter on the matter, if you don’t want to scan through a days worth of tweets here’s a summary. No one thinks its a good idea, everyone hates it. When I finally made it to my local comic store, I ducked in quick and grabbed some books and got out, the heated discussion about how it is the worst thing ever was there too.
Is it really that bad? Yes, my apathy started to set in a little and I got to thinking. Yes, The Watchmen was a damn special little book filled with some wonderfully flawed characters and a mind blowing story. Yes, it can probably take credit for giving the industry a level of respect it hadn’t seen in a long time (if ever). Is it really untouchable though? Every other damn character in comics has been done, redone, flipped over, butchered, remade and recycled. Hell, the Watchmen are retreads of Charlton Comics characters themselves. For crying out loud, Alan Moore has made a habit taking ‘classic’ characters and telling new stories about them (Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Wendy from Peter Pan, and Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Lost Girls and everyone in every edition of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) What makes the Watchmen so special that they can’t be run around a bit and explored.
There is a chance a couple of good stories out if. If it’s not good, don’t buy it? Yes, this could be the biggest stink burger of a book DC (or any one for that matter) has ever put out or it could turn out to be a nice little addition to this slice of comicdom. The nice thing about comic books is the story doesn’t have to end, it can grow and evolve and continue. Let’s see what the various creative teams have to offer before we ride them out on a rail.
I could go on, but we do have some books to get to this week, don’t we. Like I said, I did’t spend much time before the racks today, luckily I knew what I was getting. Bucky is back and all Mission Impossible in his new book, so we have that. The newest incarnation of the Justice League International wraps up its first arc and, since it’s their birthday, I check out Images book about killer ladies in the 80’s
Your rapid fire and possible spoiler filled reviews start after the jump.
ALPHA GIRL #1 – IMAGE COMICS – Story by Jean-Paul Bonjour & Jeff Roenning, Art by Robert Love, Dana Shukartsi, & Diego Simone, Cover by Robert Love
When I read the solicit for Alpha Girl, well I knew it was the start of something magical. It takes place in the mid-80’s and involves a science gone wrong set up that sends women into a blood filled rage, turns them into literal man-eaters. Our hero is a 17 year old named Judith who described as a girl who ‘chain smokes, cuts class, sells her tampons to perverts, and she just might be the last sane woman left on the planet.‘ (reminds me of an old flame to be completely honest)
What we get in the pages is set up and back story. We see the blundering cosmetic company in all their 80’s money loving glory doom our planet to this estrogen laced zombie apocalypse, we see that Judith comes from a desolate and broken childhood, we see… well, that’s really all we see to be honest. At the end I had to admit that the solicit was more exciting than the issue itself. At times it started to feel less like a comic and more like a pitch for a flashy zom-com movie set to pictures.
Jean-Paul Bonjour and Jeff Roenning have to ease us into their world apparently because other than some quick flashes of action from gore hungry focus group, the zombie ass kicking we were promised must be coming in issue two. Hell, we only see the 17 year old Judith when she sets up the flashback to her childhood.
The art team of Robert Love, Dana Shukartsi, and Diego Simone have cranked out a good looking book here, I’ll say that much. Love has a mastery over that almost sorta cartoony but not indie style, I do enjoy. I am leaving out the very obvious Tank Girl similarities and chalking them up to more homage than anything else.
VERDICT: It’s a set up issue, that’s for sure. While I didn’t really feel its hooks dig into my just yet I am willing to tag a long for another issue.
WINTER SOLDIER #1 -MARVEL COMICS – Story by Ed Brubaker, Art by Butch Guice, Cover by Lee Bermejo, Gabriele Dell’otto, & Joe Kubert
Bucky, Bucky, Bucky. The long dead sidekick to Captain America turned Soviet Super Spy, turned Captain America turned… whatever he his now. Mix in a couple of deaths and you have a character that has really been kicked around for the past few years.
Back as The Winter Soldier and teaming up with lover the Black Widow we see Bucky back to two fisted battles with Soviets. Well, former Soviets, but clearly this book wants you to recapture a little of the cold war in places. Packed with action movie styled espionage (I found myself humming the Mission Impossible theme more than once) it runs through the who’s who of secret spies in the Marvel U, S.H.I.E.L.D., A.I.M., R.A.I.D. its an acronym bonanza.
Ed Brubaker is clearly crafting a high spy story hear and keeping the superheroics to a minimum, which is nice. For this book to work I think it should play on its strengths there rather than risk turning into a poor mans Captain America. Butch Guice is stunning in places and overwhelming in others but over all I tip my hat to the creative team. Well, I also shake my finger. The story makes multiple cold war references and Bucky and Black Widow being involved in the cold war shenanigans together. In the 1950s. Not to be a stickler, but that started to bug me. I know comics have to blur time a little to make it all fit and work, but that bugged me a little.
We also see Bucky starting to wrap his head around his own convoluted troubled past which hints and a deeper vein in the story that should be enjoyable.
It’s action packed and it looks like the book has a future, one that will hopefully treat Bucky right. Plus, any book that has a Russian-speaking, machine gun-wielding gorilla at the end, well… come on. Russian-speaking, machine gun-wielding gorilla!
VERDICT: Like I said, I hope Bucky gets a good run here, personally I really enjoyed his time as Captain America and I think the character deserves some time to shine. It’s a good one, I’ll be one for a 2nd.
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #6 – DC COMICS – Written by DAN JURGENS, Art by MARCO CASTIELLO, Cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
As the new 52 hit their 6 month mark, with creative teams being shuffled and some books getting the axe entirely, I’ve started to wonder about JLI v2. The first 5 issues were good, but convoluted. The team wasn’t so much a team really (yes, I am aware that was Dan Jurgens intention, but it wore thin in places) and big bad alien blowing up the world plot seemed basic and bland to me.
So, Booster Gold et al. have banished Peraxxus and taken down the Signal Men, saving the earth from total destruction. All good right? Nope. Those damn suits at the UN didn’t like how the team performed and are already talking about revoking its charter after only one mission. Sounds exciting, right? It actually is! Well, more redeeming I suppose. By the time it’s all said and done you know the characters that much more, feel closer to them, and want to high five Booster for standing up against those damn suits.
While in previous issue some of the story felt a little grindy at times and even the big team coming together at last to take out the bad guy from last issue felt a little forced. All is forgiven in this issue, the team feels and acts like a team with true organic chemistry and camaraderie. I’ll admit, I’ll stick to this book till the end (I’m probably the biggest Booster Gold fan on the planet) but not I really see its potential, it’s starting to take form and show it can really preform. Characters that I previously could care less about (Godiva, Vixen August General in Iron) are coming into their own. Granted, apparently Dan Jurgens is flipping the switch and changing things up next issue, it’s ok, I trust you Dan and after this issue I believe in where you’re going.
VERDICT: Yes, I did reveal my fanboy love above, but beyond that this is a book that’s got some heart to it and is a very enjoyable read. When the main focal point of a story is a conversation with the bosses and it comes off as this satisfying, it’s solid. They may not be the heavy hitters, but the JLI still packs a punch where it counts.