The theme continuing on from last week – which isn’t necessarily a recommendation as such, is which comics you last read. Thankfully, I think most of us enjoyed the last comic we read. Did you enjoy these titles?…
Aquaman…. Even the name usually brings a snigger out of someone. Since the 60s and the infamous Superfreinds and riding the pink seahorse, comic book writers have been trying to find ways to make the character cool again but have failed. Now we are three years into DC’s “reboot” aka the New 52 in the space of a few pages Geoff Johns does it in the first Justice League volume “Origins”. Aquaman is back! His entrance is spectacular, pounding Darksieds minions out of the water, taking charge and in probably one of the greatest panels of artwork calls three great whites out of the water to decimate them.
Geoff Johns was the perfect guy to reboot the Aquaman series and does an amazing job. This Aquaman is mix of Superman and Batman and then an extra dose of bad ass thrown in. He is a man who wants to find his homeland, trying to reclaim his birth right as ruler of Atlantis and will do anything to find it. It sets up a lot of his back story which I will cover next time until then I can highly recommend it that you read this even if you’re not a fan of DC.
It had been on my ‘to-read next’ shelf for a fair time and I needed a read that felt unique and not cliche. So picking up a title with the name ‘Sex Criminals’ could be deemed a risk. Reading a book that, at first glance, could easily be a prop for one of the biggest cliches in entertainment; sexual excess. Thankfully the story by Matt Fraction plays not upon those frivolous chords sexual abandon. No, his story treats us to a union between Suzie and Jon who discover, through a chance meeting at a party, they share the ability to stop time when they reach orgasm.
As their relationship develops, Susie and Jon devise a plan to rob the bank that is intent on foreclosing on the Library that Suzie works in. And it’s Chip Zdarsky, with his luminescent artwork, who perfect compliments the wonderful story of this first arc in Sex Criminals. The Fat Bottomed Girls scene is a masterstroke of how to involve the reader into the comic writing process while still allowing the characters to develop in fairly comedic moments. Sounds all rather laughable? Well there are some great moments of comedy here but Sex Criminals has so much more to offer.
(I’ve had to read something on purpose for this month, or else you would have had me moaning about Spider-Woman issue one .)
First published in 2005, this five part limited series, by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, was focused on the fundamental beliefs and emotions that shape Lex Luthor’s attitudes towards Superman. Lex Luthor: Man of Steel is one of the finest looks at the mind behind the villainy, the man behind the mask, that I’ve ever read in comics.
Set over the course of several months, we witness Luthor’s relationship with Superman evolve without any huge, Earth shattering confrontations, though things do go boom several times. The comics show how Luthor is in for the long game in terms of showing the world Superman for what Luthor thinks he is and thus orchestrate the Kryptonian’s downfall. There’s also an issue that looks at Luthor’s relationship with Bruce Wayne, in which we find that the two businessmen are that dissimilar.
What’s interesting is how Superman never seems to quite cotton on that Luthor is playing the whole thing like a businessman who is trying to take down a rival in ways that hopefully the Feds won’t realise. It’s one huge PR campaign to Luthor and he doesn’t care how much publicity will cost him, both financially and morally.
If you’ve ever thought that comic book villains are too 2D, then Lex Luthor: Man of Steel is definitely worth a read.
If you’ve seen my other writings on here, you’ll probably guess that I love a good fairytale. From the dark mysteries of Porcelain to the fantasies of Dreams and Shadows, fairy tales continue to resonate with me and I always welcome seeing them in different formats.
When I saw Spider-Man Fairy Tales in the bookshop I couldn’t be more excited. Here was one of my favourite genres with my favourite neighbourhood friendly superhero combined in the same book.
Spider-Man Fairy Tales contains four different tales with four different and distinct styles, starting with a familiar Red-Riding Hood story. The artwork in this is quaint and playful: quite a strong contrast to the next two stories that deal with the mysteries of the spider-god Anansi and Tseuchigumo the Japanese spider spirit. These tales are dark and gritty, and although it can be difficult to detect quite the involvement of the well-loved Spider Man story, they work really well and are presented wonderfully.
My favourite story, though, is one that doesn’t really take itself too seriously, which is probably a reason I enjoyed it a lot. It’s a re-imagining of Cinderella, but Peter Parker is the down-and-out Cinders. ( Spiderella?!)
The last story contains all the old-fashion style of the original comics – a Spider Man of the medieval ages – and is fun – a general overview of the main plotlines of Spider-Man, including Gwen Stacey in a Green Goblin tangle and a devastated MJ. The characters, from Norman Osbourne to the Rhino, each have their own suit of armour that matches perfectly to their original costumes, and this is another reason I love it so much.
I really enjoyed Spider-Man Fairy Tales and it would be interesting to see how else superheroes could be rewritten in future comics.
Prometheus is a bad film. In fact it’s a horrible, terrible, aimless, story-less disaster of a film. But what really sucks about Prometheus is that, beneath the nonsensical plot and the even-more-nonsensical characters, it had real potential.
Fire and Stone (which I believe is some kind of AvP crossover comic) is bravely, and perhaps unwisely, taking another shot at that potential. Learning from the film’s mistakes, the comic quickly establishes a crew of characters with clear and understandable motivations, and then doesn’t have them suddenly act out of character for no reason. It’s a novel and radical approach, but it works! Half an issue in I already knew more about our hardened captain, brash security officer, plucky journalist, playful scientist, naive android, and melancholy doctor than I ever learned about anyone in the film.
Likewise, a few pages later, someone tells us what the Black Goo is. They scan it, they learn about it, and they tell each other what they found. Just like absolutely nobody did in the movie. In the second issue the comic intentionally flips the film on its head when, instead of the android infecting an unwitting human with an unknown substance for unknown reasons, a human infects a perfectly willing android with a substance we do understand for reasons that make perfect sense.
The overall effect, of this scene and of the comic in general, is that we wonder “what will this cause?” and “how will this go wrong?” instead of “ what the hell is going on??! ” This comic isn’t even that good, but compared to the film it’s basically a masterpiece.
When I see a new Paul Grist comic, it the equivalent of getting home after a long day at work and seeing some loving family member has left you a cup of a tea and a custard doughnut.
I remember meeting him (Paul Grist) many years back at a Bristol Comic Expo and being introduced into the universe through ‘Jack Staff’ (Britain’s greatest Superhero) and being enamoured quickly to his unique brand of story telling. This volume is no different in this case. The art throughout is Grist’s own ineffable style of organic & cartoony. It complements the thick and grimy nature of Mudman perfectly.
Our titular character is one 15 year old boy called Craig Owens. In a classic story of a boy thrown into a new and dangerous life after accidentally acquiring the legacy powers of Mudman. I had to admit mud may seem like an odd choice of powers, but Grist with his usual creative charm tells a story of real people lives (bullys, single parent families and dealing with friends) and the world of the fantastic.
And it doesn’t get as fantastic as Grist’s Universe. Taking old concepts and making them new and colourful. Which in this case is a glorious muddy brown.
Deadpool one of the strangest heroes I’ve ever seen who isn’t really a character you would see most times on T.V. I haven’t really seen much of this guy except in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. I’ve gathered later on that Deadpool is much more suited to be called an anti-hero since he does things lot differently than most other heroes I’ve normally read in the Marvel Universe.
From what I have read, it Deadpool seems has a strange form of cancer that’s gotten mixed with his healing factor and affected his appearance so he wears that suit instead, (which looks pretty badass to me). Also the part’s where he speaks to two different voices in his head who seem to either question or encourage Deadpool’s action is rather funny.
I’ve acquired the Deadpool Complete Collection by Daniel Way volume 1, which features Deadpool having an interesting role in the Secret Invasion where he tackles the Skrull army in his own wacky way. He takes on Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts and someone from his Dark Avengers is aiming for Deadpool as well. You also get Deadpool getting caught in the middle of a father and son dispute with Wolverine and his son Daken.
So with the mix of Deadpools strange delusions that he has and the things that he says to all the bad guys he face. I’m so far enjoying reading the beginning of Daniel Way’s run on Deadpool and look forward to getting my hands on all the other volumes.