Sunday, July 11, 2010

This Week's Comic Stack 7/8/10

The Good:
  • Brightest Day: The Atom Special #1- This was a longshot. I hadn't really read anything done by either of the creators, Jeff Lemire and Mahmud Asrar, so I didn't know what to expect. I liked the art and loved how Lemire treated and wrote Ray as both the Atom and Ray Plamer. This was a perfect comic for those unfamiliar with the character as not only did Lemire set up the new direction for the Atom, but also retold his origin. There was some retconning of his backstory done for the current arc. However, that is intriguing and not too drastic. I look forward to the Atom feature in Adventure Comics.
  • Brightest Day #5- This issue had some revelations. Aquaman found out something that Mera had been hiding since her arrival and that ties into the strange group that has been raiding the surface from the oceans. Hawk and Dove (mostly Hawk) tried to get Deadman to resurrect Don Hall. The hawks found themselves in a strange world of half men half animal beings ominously called Hawkworld. The weakest story arc in this book continues to be the Hawkman and Hawkgirl one. It seems that once again they are trying to "fix" the Hawkman continuity. Something that I thought Johns did expertly in JSA and the early Hawkman series. It just seems like every writer has their own take on the origins of the Hawks, so the disparate versions need to keep getting reconciled with each other. The writing just seems so forced compared to the other arcs.
  • Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #1- I really enjoyed this book. If just to see Steve in action (not that he hasn't or won't be in Secret Avengers) again instead of behind the desk. It was a little strange for him to have been so secret agent like. Cool, but strange. It's not as if that hasn't been part of the character before, but it hasn't been part of the character for a long time. Brubaker knows Steve pretty well and came up with an interesting story involving the legacy of the Super Soldier project. It was such a thrill to see Eaglesham's art have something to do. It's been languishing on the FF. It was also cool that Cap's original 1941 origin was reprinted at the end.
  • X-Force #13- The issue started off with the sacrifice of a character to return the team that was in the future to the present. (he's been dead several times before, so I don't see this being too big a deal) Bastion stood ready to eliminate them exhausted X-Men to get to the first new mutant, Hope whose powers finally awoke. They seemed to be reminiscent of a certain fiery entity. She disappeared into a flaming column as she unleashed her full power against Bastion. The story concludes next week in Second Coming #2.
  • Secret Six #23- This was a great fill-in issue written by John Ostrander. A "Most Dangerous Game" type story the Six are selected as prey, but turn the tables on their pursuers quite easily. Not groundbreaking, but fun. The art could have been a bit better but was quite good.
  • The Stand: Hardcases #2- Aguirre-Sacasa and Perkins showed the society that Randall Flag has built in Vegas and the troubled Nadine nearing Boulder and Mother Abigail. Another consistently good issue.

The Alright:

  • The Red Hood: Lost Days #2- This just didn't seem as good as last issue. Perhaps that's because the novelty has worn off. I realized that the missing days of Jason Todd could be told in a extra sized one-shot or a two issue mini and that in all likelyhood this will be a drawn out story to fit into six issues.


I took advantage of something that it seems a lot of comic stores are doing now and bought a whole run of a comic. [It looks like stores are trying to get rid of inventory] So, what did I buy?....The great mystical martial arts title from the long gone Crossgen Comics, The Way Of The Rat.

Written by Chuck Dixon and set in an analog of ancient China, it's about a thief who comes to possess a mystical ring that allows the wearer to become a master of the staff. The story follows the thief's journey takes him from being a criminal whose luck is as good as getting him into bad situations as it is getting him out of them to a hero. He is guided along the way by talking monkey and watched over by a mysterious figure in white known as the Silken Ghost. Central to the plot are the several other rings that bestow mastery of weapons upon the bearer as well as a scroll that is a gateway to hell and a mystical gem. The hero encounters "mongols", ghosts, dragons and a corrupt empire all very much in keeping with the Asian martial arts/mystical epic feel.

Unfortunately, the series was canceled, but never got the relaunch that was teased because CG went bankrupt. The art was (as the rule with CG) top notch, with most of the series drawn by Jeff Johnson [where is he now?] and fill-ins by Luke Ross and Mike Perkins (both would go on to Captain America).

CrossGen is one of the saddest stories of failed comic book publishers because every book had such high quality art and writing. Many of today's top artists worked there. Not only did they work there, they became better artists because of the quality demanded of them. The diverse genres that they played with was cool..50's B-movie horror, pirates, Sci-Fi, epic fantasy, Victorian detectives, samurai, the list goes on.

Well I've gone on enough... Maybe I'll write more about CG in a future blog.

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