Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Comics Capsule Reviews

Recent Comics
Doc Savage #7
Doc Savage #7: Writer Chris Roberson and artist Bilquis Evely continue to impress with their tightly plotted chronicle about the Man of Bronze through the decades. Now in the present day, Doc is doing better than ever. Due to this youth formula, his aging has slowed down, but not stopped. His foundation and staff is bigger than he ever dreamed, and his cell phone technology is helping save lives all over the world. Then tragedy strikes on two fronts; his enemies reveal the existence of his “crime college” (where criminals are reprogrammed to do good) and his cell tech is used to cause users to go violently nuts. Immune to the cell tech, Doc closes what’s left of his staff in his fortress and calculates a strategy to strike back and stop the violence. But has too much damage been done?

Roberson treats readers to a grand ride, done as well or better than the original pulps. Eight issues gives the story room to breathe and grow organically into what Doc Savage’s 1930s ideas might result in today. The only drawback is there are so many new and interesting characters we don’t get to know any of them very well. And I do miss Monk and Ham. But you can’t have everything. An excellent comic, I look forward to the end of the story next month. Hopefully this won’t be the end of the series.

Rating: ****½ out of 5 stars

Ghosted #11
Ghosted #11: Original artist Goran Sudzuka is back and I didn’t realize how much I missed him. With writer Joshua Williamson, they tell the backstory of the female assassin (and total witch) Anderson. Turns out she was never that nice. Raised in a rich family as a spoiled debutante, she turns to killing for fun and profit. But it looks like she’s having just as much fun as profit. When one of her hits goes bad, she is “sold” to Occultist Markus Schrecken, a match made in the seventh circle of Hell. Presumably she works for Schrecken until she gets involved in the caper with Jackson Winters that gets her killed earlier in the series. And today her ghost happily (that’s sarcasm) haunts Ghosted protagonist Winters until his dying day. Don’t despair, Anderson! That day may not be too far off. Outstanding story and art make Ghosted one of the top reads of the month.

Rating: **** out of 5 stars

Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain #1
Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain #1: Cassie Hack is the sole survivor of a serial killer called the Lunch Lady, who turned out to be her own mother. Since then she, her fishnet stockings, nail-embedded baseball bat and monstrous sidekick Vlad have brought fire and hell to countless demons, killers and tailgating rednecks. Now that Vlad is gone, Cassie has given up the life and found a semblance of happiness. But folks like her can never stay happy, and at the earliest provocation she drops her bounty-hunting job and goes back on the trail of the supernatural. If new partner Delroy is as tough as he looks, at least she has someone to watch her back. Delroy approaches her to go after cave god Attan-Soolu, a nasty piece of work. Of course she can’t resist, monster hunting is in her blood now. They invade Attan-Soolu’s subterranean lair, crunch up a bunch of his minions, and save a creepy young man that may or may not have minded being sacrificed.

Although previous partner Vlad was the heart and soul of Hack/Slash, new writers Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley do a good job with Delroy and making us temporarily forget Vlad’s absence. Emilio Laiso does some of the best art to appear in the book in a while. More like this, please.

Rating: **** out of 5 stars


Legendary Star*Lord #1
Legendary Star*Lord #1: The Guardians of the Galaxy movie is out August 1st, and Marvel is trying to have plenty of GOTG product out for the millions of moviegoers that will flock to comic stores looking for comics featuring those heroes (that’s sarcasm). Really, who can blame them for capitalizing on the hoped popularity of the movie? Despite being “product,” Legendary Star*Lord is good. Here, Star*Lord Peter Quill is stretching his wings a bit away from the rest of the Guardians. We join him in medias res in a battle with the nasty alien Badoon (with “bad” in your species name, how could you be anything else? Oh, Marvel writers of the 1970s, how I love thee ... ). Star*Lord steals a valuable artifact from under their noses and sells it for a lot of moola. Then he delivers the cash to an orphanage on Earth that could certainly use it. He’s such a nice thief and grifter! Leaving Earth, he is accosted by the Royal Guard of his father’s home planet Spartax, who apparently want to take him home for a visit. In chains. Oh, and the leader of the group is Captain Victoria, apparently the sister Quill never knew he had.

Legendary Star*Lord is quick moving, fun adventure storytelling whose quality was a pleasant surprise. I’ll be back next issue to see where this goes.

Rating: ***½ out of 5 stars

Weird Love #2
BOOK OF THE WEEK: Weird Love #2: Craig Yoe is a demon who invades my mind to find out exactly the kind of comics I love to read, even if I don’t know myself. How else do you explain books like Haunted Horror and Weird Love? Presented here are more twisted, insane and just plain wrong stories from old Romance comics. From the sublime cover to the t-shirt ads in the back (have to get me one), issue #2 is even better than #1, which I totally loved. Let’s look at this newest set of gems:

- Yes, I Was An Escort Girl (True Life Secrets #12, 1953): Yup, just like it sounds. Of course there was no on-camera hanky-panky, but you can easily read between the panels, if you know what I mean. Vivian is a nice girl who just wanted to be a model. Unfortunately, she’s just not hot enough. So she gets involved with an Escort Service as a “companion” to older, horny uh, business men. She “dates” lots of guys, but rich guy Jerry has a special place in her heart. I’m sure she loves him for his personality. When Jerry proposes, her jealous boss Mike convinces him she’s a gold digger (duh) and queers the deal. Fortunately, Mike’s jealous wife shoots him and Jerry turns out to be... oh, just read it for yourself. They published this in 1953? In a romance book? This is the story of the month, if not the year.

- Too Fat for Love (Darling Love #7, 1950): Mona is a fat pig. Lots of kids in high school make fun of her for being a fat pig. Tony Cleaver likes pork, but she rebuffs his advances, because ... why exactly? I guess she thinks no one could really like fat pigs. Mona is so fat that her dad sets up someone from his office as a partner if he will marry her. When she finds out, her heart is broken, and she softens the blow with french fries dipped in chocolate. Okay, I made that up, but it could have happened! She really uses Snickers bars dipped in ice cream. Kidding again! She really goes on a broken heart starvation diet and loses just enough weight to believe Tony is still attracted to her. As they ride off on their honeymoon, the taxi dips a little to one side. I’m sure they lived happily ever after. Until her stroke.

- Mini Must Go! (Love and Romance #6, 1972) Mr. Childers has a stick so far up his rear they couldn’t find it with an electron microscope. He is so offended by miniskirts that he bans them from the office. Since all of the office girls are smokin’ hot and wear miniskirts, the men in the office first just hate him a lot, then start transferring to other offices where they can get their miniskirt fix. Then the women get angry that some uptight jerkwad is telling them how to dress. Tell ‘em, ladies! Turns out Mr. Childers is so attracted to microskirt wearing Miss Tait that he doesn’t want anyone else to gawk at her. Once she awakens him to this fact, all anti-miniskirt memos are collected, reversed and shredded. Yay for Women’s Lib! Today Mr. Childers is married to his high school gym teacher, Mr. Percy.

- Finally, Beautiful One! (Radiant Love #6, 1954): Navy man Lt. Jon Spears is stationed on a South Pacific island where he meets and falls in love with local island girl Lanu. Lanu is afraid it’s just the South Pacific sun making him loopy. She tells him to go home for a year, date other girls, and if he is still interested, come back and they can work out a dowry or something. Jon spends the next year at the Playboy mansion, dating Hugh’s castoffs. Blondes, brunettes, redheads, each one more ready and willing than the last. He rebuffs them all with constant thoughts of Lanu in his head. 365 days later, he’s back on the island, pledging his undying love. I guess he works things out with her dad, because the last panel reveals why Lanu wanted to test his devotion. In this Twilight Zone-worthy twist, her shadowed face is revealed. She looks like a cross between Alfred E. Newman, Ernest Borgnine and a Decepticon. The artist really knocked himself out on this one. Ugh, that panel will give me nightmares!

Hats off to you, Craig Yoe, Clizia Gussoni and the rest of the Yoe Books! crew. Thanks for making my week with Weird Love #2! Bring on #3!

Rating: ***** out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment