Here we go. Another weeks worth of comic books have arrived and it’s back to the racks and into the conversations. Now, if you keep up on the events inside the comic book industry you know that lately there has been a lot of legal battles. The big one being Marvel vs Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich over creator rights. Back in 2007 he sued marvel saying that the rights to the character belong with the creator, Marvel counter sued saying the money he made on the convention circuit totting himself as the characters creator was their money. He lost, Marvel won, and it’s not very good.
Creator rights is nothing new, pick a character or a creator and 90% of the time you are going to see some legal battle either happening or possible. Battles for the rights to Superman, Bill Finger being stiffed over everything he did for Batman. Marvel Comics general treatment of legends like Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. Hell, Image comics was created to defeat the work-for-hire model. Like I said it’s a long list.
That’s a different conversation for a different day. Right now I just want to pass something a long. Gary Friedrich is a guy that gave a lot for the love of comics, one of the workhorses, and now he can’t even say he created Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider for crying out loud. As a fan, I’m just bummed out by this. We could go on talking about this and each and every other ugly story like it, but I’m bummed out enough and want to get back to reading the comics I love and thank the creators, writers, artists and all involved.
Steve Niles has set up a fund for Friedrich to help him in this legal battle. If you love comics, help a man who’s getting beat up by the business.
Ok, like I said, we are here because we love comics, right? So let’s read some. This week I’ve purposely passed by any of the Marvel releases. Not out of some moral stance or self-righteous protest, more that with what we already talked about in mind they just seem ugly to me so I give them a miss. For the other big guys, DC Comics, honestly nothing really caught my eye past the ones I regularly read, maybe it’s six month post-new 52 burnout syndrome.
So we got three independents lined up.
A Titty McBoobsalot character from the 90’s gets a redux that is amazing and two beloved sci-fi properties get the comic book treatment with some mixed results.
The rapid fire, in your face, fast and dirty reviews you’ disagree with hit you after the jump.
GLORY #23 – IMAGE COMICS – Story by Joe Keatinge, Art by Ross Campbell, Variant cover by Rob Liefeld
Ok, what the hell. This damn book so hard to find, it seemed like it was sold out at every shop I went to. I know there has been a lot of hype surrounding the relaunch of Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios line, and to be honest back when they started I’d never picked one up. Let’s jump on that band wagon.
Going in, I knew that Glory was kind of a Wonder Woman clone, being a warrior princess from a strange land that fights Nazi’s and demons and all. Well, that was closer to the point on her old incarnation. This new one, while retaining the same basic elements is nothing like her former self of DC’s Amazonian princess.
Ross Campbell does an extremely find job on the art. The action jumps on the page and visually the story keeps a good pace. The new look Campbell gave Glory is great too. She no longer looks like a stock Playboy model, but now looks the part she plays as an asskicker. Her tank like build is offset by an oddly cherubic face that is almost outputting at times.
Story wise, Joe Keatinge, delivers are great start to a renewed series. We get a quick run through on who Glory is by seeing her smash Nazi ass, always a good square one. Keatinge uses his time to build Glory as character as well as flesh out the books cast while getting the draggy bits of bringing the reader up to speed on the history behind them.
VERDICT: Keatinge and Campbell have breathed new life into a character that was lost in the limbo of the long forgotten 90’s characters. This book is a serious contender and has a massive amount of potential to be one of the best books you read this week.
STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI #1 – DARK HORSE COMICS – Writer: John Ostrander, Penciller: Jan Duursema, Inker: Dan Parsons Colorist: Wes Dzioba, Cover Artist: Jan Duursema
Let’s be honest. If you slap the words ‘star’ and ‘wars’ on something in that order, it will sell, regardless of good or bad. With the Star Wars expanded universe there has been some absolutely fantastic uses of the intellectual property and there has also been some disastrous ones. Dawn of the Jedi falls somewhere in between.
What we have is the untold (for a freakin’ reason) tale of the start of the Jedi Order. If you thought the introduction of midichlorians in Episode one was a senseless tacked on McGuffin, well, buckle in because now apparently we have giant floating space pyramids that kidnap and shanghai various aliens to take them to Jedi school.
I’ve usually enjoyed the writing of John Ostrander, but this falls very flat. I get that the introduction of the Jedi order was suppose to be awe inspiring and wondrous and mythical, but it comes off has hokey ill fitting. Maybe my inner Star Wars nerd is showing here but did we really need to know how the mystical and mythical Jedi order started? They are mythical for crying out loud.
As the story plods along it’s first half in narration I found myself wandering off the page and rapidly becoming disinterested. When we brake out of the back story we drop into a split between Master Ketu and his young students on the lush tropical planet of Tatooine (oh a twist) and the infamous Predor Tul’Ka who follows the lead of Xesh, who is a Force Hound, who is hell bent to commit genocide on the indigenous Force sensitives found on Tatooine. There is something there, but not enough to really hook even a diehard Star Wars fan.
Long time Ostrander cohort, Jan Duursema, is on art duties here and does a fantastic job. He does capture the huge galaxy spanning feel the book needs nicely. Hey, the lady knows how to do space operas in comics, she’s been doing it for the better part of two decades.
Yes, this is a beginning, and maybe it can swing back in it’s second issue and deliver since it does have a whole new world to explore, I just can’t shake the feeling that I might have enjoyed it more if it was on its own and not tacked under the Star Wars banner.
VERDICT: I wanted to like this comic and was excited to read it. Maybe I internally over hyped it and had my expectations to high. If you are an absolute die hard Star Wars fan that must have everything, well, of course you’ll buy it. If you are content knowing that there was a time before the Empire Strikes Back and even one after and are comfortable leaving it in the shrouds of mystery, you don’t need this.
PLANET OF THE APES #11 – BOOM STUDIOS – STORY BY Daryl Gregory, ART BY Carlos Magno
On the topic of an expanded universe, wow, what the hell is going on in Planet of the Apes? This was the big surprise of the week for me.
To start, Carlos Magno‘s art is nothing short of amazing. Incredible detail and absolute precision from panel to panel. Visually the book has enough to feel familiar to property it comes from and unique enough to feel as though it is something unto itself.
Story wise, Daryl Gregory has defiantly carved out his on place in the Planet of the Apes universe. Sure it has the same basic plot of humans rebelling against their ape masters in a world gone mad, but there is a deep level of intrigue and politics that he brings in that make it very compelling.
The focus is on two characters, one ape, one human (Sullvian and Alaya respectively) raised together as equals they are now the leaders of their species and are jockeying for control over what was once France. Alaya has been captured by the apes and has just given birth to a child, one that Sullvian plans to use to her own ends. This issue is a little tough as a pick-up since there is a lot going on and clearly we’re in mid arc here but I still really enjoyed it.
VERDICT: Assuming that the franchise is back with the success of the latest movie, this book is wroth a look. Personally, I still love the original movie, it’s sequels and yes, even the old TV show. Expand your comfort zone and look into it, you’ll enjoy what you’ve been missing.