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Archive for the ‘Comics’ Category

Okay, so speaking of trade paperbacks that are coming out…  If you went to some place that happens to sell comic books today, you probably saw the hardcover for Mark Millar’s much-ballyhooed Kick-Ass prominently displayed on the shelves.  The book, which in full disclosure I have never read a single frame of, has become something of a phenomenon.  Millar’s work has always been on the flashier side.  His work in Marvel’s Civil War, Wanted, Ultimate X-Men, and Old Man Logan were all pretty much “event” series that demanded the attention of even casual fans, so perhaps it was only a natural that this latest series practically left fans foaming at the mouth.  In fact, the book even spawned a film adaptation before the first volume was even finished from underrated director Matthew Vaughn (who you might have noticed previously adapted Neil Gaiman’s Stardust).

The series, which features art from John Romita Jr, is supposedly a Millar book through-and-through, as it combines hyper-violent action pieces with more everyday characters and some wickedly profane humor.  If you somehow, like me, haven’t read it yet… well, it’s basically almost mandatory that you go out and do so.  The book is now available in hardcover volume one form everywhere.  If you would like to find out a little more beyond what I’ve told you, the best places for such investigation are Mark Millar’s official website, or the official website for the book’s publisher Icon, which is a division of Marvel.  Oh yeah, and in case you haven’t seen it yet (and don’t mind some minor spoilers), below is the trailer for the upcoming Kick-Ass film.  Enjoy both.

UPDATE: Perhaps after I’ve read the trade I bought today, I’ll post some thoughts in the comments section.

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Garth Ennis has made an entire career out of pushing the envelope when it comes to his story-choices.  Hell, Preacher alone was both awesome and risque enough all in itself to list Ennis as an all time great comic writer. Ennis own twisted and particularly take on the zombie-genre, Crossed, has been around for a while now, but it has been steadily good since the very first issue.  His sheer willingness to push the perverse violence to the very edge of reason (perhaps even beyond) may turn off some more narrow-minded critics, but has also served to great a more terrifying and disturbing read than anything that I have ever seen printed.

You may be asking yourself why I’m choosing to highlight this now, considering that the series is about to roll into the eighth issue later this month.  Good question, two answers.  Answer one, another oversight on my part.  I kept meaning to throw something up, but just would continue to forgot or be way too lazy.  Answer two, the trade paperback for volume one is coming out soon, the cover art for which you can find by going to the books’ publisher’s website at Avatar Press.  Perhaps what has me most excited about all of this is despite the fact that I’m pretty positive that I read numerous times that Crossed was going to be an eight issue limited run, the trade is being called Volume 1, which would lead me to believe there will be more issues on the way.

If you haven’t checked Crossed out yet, the trade due out sometime in April is a wonderful time to do so.  Should you find it’s your cup of tea, and somehow you haven’t read Garth Ennis work before, than you might want to track down titles like Preacher, Battlefields, and The Boys while you’re at it.  There’s also an “official” website kicking around, though it doesn’t look like it has been updated since November of 2007.  Just in case, here’s that for your viewing pleasure as well.

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The question: Is there any better writer in the comic universe than Ed Brubaker right now?  The answer: No.  I’ve made no qualms about the fact that HItV has been something of an Brubaker unabashed cheerleader in 2009.  But in all fairness, it has been completely observed.  The latest source of my adulation?  His flagship work for Marvel’s 70th anniversary celebration, The Marvels Project.

The story takes place around the time of World War II and centers on the creation of the Original Human Torch and his interactions with a motley crew of familiar faces (including Namor, Captain America, Two Gun Kid, Nick Fury, etc.) as they all try to make their way in late 1940’s America.  Now, it may have been Brian Michael Bendis who was put in the driver’s seat of the Marvel universe, but it has been Brubaker that has been making the most noise.  From his fabulous work with Daredevil, to everything Captain America, and onto this great series, the man has been in some kind of zone.  Most impressive is how Brubaker was able to take some of his darker and grittier tendencies and mix them so seamlessly with the lighter and more serialized spirit of the Marvel universe of sixty years ago.  It hasn’t just been a piece of storytelling that stands comfortably side-by-side with the best of todays books, but it fights right into a lineup of work from yesteryear as well.

I haven’t had the opportunity to dig into this weeks fourth issue yet, but (without giving anything away) if you’re going to judge a book by its cover, than I am in for quite a treat.  If this post has wet your appetite at all, and you crave some more information, head on over to Marvel’s official website or, even better yet, Ed Brubaker’s official site for more details.

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Sinner

Typically I try to post about the same topic twice in a row, but this time I couldn’t really help myself.  So it’s twice the geek for half the price today, kids!  I just tore through the first issue of Void favorite Ed Brubaker’s latest entry into his Criminal series entitled The Sinners, and let me tell you, part one is awesome.

The story catches up with the character Tracy Lawless (whom you should remember from the Lawless segment of Criminal), and it turns out Lawless is having a little trouble adjusting to his new life as a mobbed up hitman.  Now, since it’s noir and it’s Brubaker, there are plenty of crooked cops, tough thugs, and seductive mistresses to be had.  Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now, if it seems like there’s precious little crime fiction out there, that’s because, frankly, most of it is complete shit.  However, there are a few names whose work I will read unconditionally when I cross pass with it; there’s James Ellroy, there’s Richard Price, there’s Dennis Lehane, and there’s Ed Brubaker.  If you don’t already know why his name is on that list, I suggest you pick up part one of Criminal: The Sinners and find out for yourself.  While you’re at it, you may as well grab all of the other Criminal books, his Sleeper series, and his recently finished (first chapter at least) Incognito series.  Head over to Ed’s official site and the site for the book’s publisher Icon to find out more.

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Absolution

I was fortunate enough to pick up the third issue of Christos Gage’s new series Absolution today and allow me to say “wow.”   Now there’s a book that’s just starting to hit its stride.  Gage’s series takes a few pulpy cop cliches and injects new life into them with sharp writing and great art from Roberto Viacava.  The story is centered around John Dusk, a masked superhero for whom everything looks normal and perfect from the outside looking in.  He works closely with the police, he’s on a team of legally sanctioned and registered superheroes, he takes the stand against the criminals he catches, and he goes back to his apartment to live with his cop girlfriend when he’s done.  The American dream (or the comic book variation of it, at least).  However, John’s got a taste for vengeance that he can’t quite quench through legal means.   He sees criminals getting away with heinous acts that the law can’t touch, and the only thing that can satisfy his anger and disgust is blood (just think of it as the superhero equivalent of Dexter).

Now both the zero and number one issues have been good, but the issue I picked up today really starts to raise the stakes.  The walls are slowly closing in and, like most stories about characters who lead double lives, John’s finding it harder and harder to satisfy his hunger for justice and still keep his secret from the people he cares about.  It’s really good stuff and I suggest that you head to your nearest store and buy all three issues immediately if you haven’t already been reading this awesome book.  While you do that, though, jump on over to the book’s publisher, Avatar Press, and Christos Gage’s official site to check up on past issues and some of Gage’s other work (including the vastly underrated movie “The Breed”).  You won’t regret that you did.

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Irredeemable

What if Superman turned out to be a complete jerk?  Now, what if he turned out to be a homicidal maniac hiding in a hero’s clothing?  That’s essentially the concept that Mark Waid is running with in his latest series, “Irredeemable”.  While the title itself might not be the most fan friendly thing in the world, the book itself is anything but clunky.  The story centers around a world populated by superheroes, but where the most powerful superhero of all goes bad, and he starts taking the good guys with him.

This is a pretty dark turn for Waid, who if you’re familiar with his work it’s probably because you’ve read his epic series “Kingdom Come” which followed the characters of the DC universe into their waning years.  As you might be able to manage, some of the stuff is pretty morbid, the third issue was just released this week and the bad guy has already ripped some of the other characters to shreds.  The series reminds me a bit of the early days of Robert Kirkman’s “Invincible”, except less whimsical and with the villain possessing a much meaner streak.

The book thus far has really managed to not only capture the dark and grim feel that is so popular in graphic novels and film today, but it has managed to do it in an entertaining manner without ever losing sight of character and story.  It seems all too often the craft of actual storytelling is overlooked in favor of being “mature” and “dark” these days.  Fortunately, this is not the case with Waid.  For those who would like to check this out a little further, the publisher is Boom! and I would suggest either going to their official website, or heading on over to Mark Waid’s blog and seeing what you can see.  Also, there’s the official trailer for the series below.

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wolverine

The new Wolverine movie is opening this weekend, and by all accounts, it’s pretty atrocious.  I will promise you that won’t stop it from making a minimum of eighty million dollars in its opening few days, though.  You have to love the American moviegoer, they have no interest in being told what’s good or what’s bad.

With all that hype (or anti-hype) and discussion of the new movie, I couldn’t resist checking this out.  If you head over to the Slate website you’ll find this article entitled “I Heart Wolverine” by Grady Hendrix.  On the main page, though, the link for the article reads “Short.  Angry.  Hairy.  Canadian.  Is Wolverine the Worst Superhero Ever?”  Love it!   The article is essentially about how strange it is that a misfit character like Wolverine should go on to become one of the most popular across the comic universe.  As Hendrix points out, the man is from Canada for God’s sakes!

While I’ve never really been all too sucked up by the Wolverine phenomenon, I can certainly understand why so many people think the character is cool.  He represents the ultimate throwback tough, loner, outdoorsman and he doesn’t take sass from anybody.  His origins are (I guess a spoiler here if you haven’t seen the movie or ever read any of the comics) black-ops, super highly-funded and secretive military experiments.  He’s always chomping on a cigar.  In short, he’s the personification of the coolest possible parts of the Great North, like Alex Trebek with claws.  Personally, I think that’s something that both Americans and Canadians alike can enjoy.

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