Monday, April 18, 2005

Three 4/13 Comics That I Read So That You Don't Have To

Same as always...I discuss three books that I have not seen many reviews about (and I am being really strict with my recommendations...I like a lot of books that I would not necessarily recommend to others, so I hope no one is put off if they see a "not recommended," that does NOT mean that I think it is a BAD issue, per se....I will be sure to tell you if I think it is a bad issue, trust me...hehe). Then I ask if anyone can fill me in on books that I missed during the week.

Also, as always, spoilers ahead!

Toxin #1 - I was talking to Tadhg about this earlier, and he had a good line when he said something along the lines of, "You have Peter Milligan and Darick Robertson together on a book, and it has to be a spin-off of Venom vs. Carnage?!?!"

And yes, that probably IS the most notable thing about this series - the sheer oddness of the talent associated with the book.

That being said, you might be pleasantly surprised to know that this comic was pretty good.

Luckily, this series DID chose the most interesting aspect of the awful Venom v. Carnage mini-series, which was the character of Toxin, who is a cop that bonded with the symbiotic offspring of Carnage (as Carnage was the offspring of Venom).

At the end of that terrible series, the cop quit his job and left his family, for fear that he was too unstable (and as he was bonded with an alien symbiote...that was actually fairly thoughtful, when you think of it, no?).

In any event, Darick Robertson (with Rodeny Ramos on inks) is a VAST improvement over Clayton Crain, and helps give Peter Milligan the structure Milligan sometimes desperately needs.

The story itself is a straightforward "new hero" story.

Familiar Marvel villains (King Cobra, Mr. Hyde and Razorfist) are used, but they are approached with care by Milligan. If anyone remembers Milligan's awful Elektra series from awhile back, the most notable aspect of the run were the issues where he spotlighted super-villains. Milligan took established Marvel villains and fleshed out their characters without contradicting anything previous writers had done.

He continues that approach in this issue with King Cobra, Mr. Hyde and, to a lesser extent, Razorfist.

The story also has some nice character moments with the hero and his old partner, who does not understand what his friend is up to, and his theories are obviously far apart from the reality of the situation.

The issue ends with Spider-Man enlisting Toxin's help, by asking him to hunt down an escaped villain that Spider-Man does not have time to handle himself (as you can see on the cover of the issue, this is a New Avengers tie-in...specifically, the prison break), and that is where we leave off, with Toxin preparing to track down Razorfist.

So this was fun, straightforward superhero story that just has a terrible name and an unfortunate pedigree. So while I liked it well enough, I don't think I could honestly recommend it to anyone.

Not recommended!

Batman: Legend of the Dark Knight #190 - J. Torres tries his hand at mainstream DCU work (he is doing a great job on Teen Titans Go for DC's cartoon comics line), and along with David Lopez and Fernando Blanco on art, he does a very able job with this issue.

What we have here is the makings of a good Batman issue.

The only thing I think it was missing was that extra hook.

The art was strong.

The characterizations were down pat (although I don't know how the whole GCPD thing works...aren't they supposed to try to arrest Batman when they see him?).

There was some welcome humor.

So what was missing?

This just did not seem DIFFERENT of a story enough...the hook just isn't there.

There is certainly something to be said for just an entertaining comic book story without any deeper thought...but I think the story needs something more.

This is the type of story Torres writes every month in Teen Titans Go, only in that book..

1. He does not take two issues to tell it


2. The hooks are more readily visible.

So while I think there is a lot to be said for Torres on this title (certainly enough to see what he can do when he is allowed free reign with the story, like if he was an ongoing writer, like say on Gotham Knights...please on Gotham Knights? Pretty please?), there is not enough for me to feel confidant that a random person would like it.

So not recommended!

The Imaginaries #1 - This was a very enjoyable debut issue from a tagteam of Ben Avery and Mike S. Miller on story, and Mike S. Miller and Greg Titus on pencils.

The basic story is one of those high concept ideas, very much like Steve Niles and 30 Days of Night - What happens to imaginary characters when their creators forget about them?

That is the topic of this series, and I am quite impressed with it so far.

Tanner is a little boy whose parents are having a tough time in their marriage, so he retreats to his adopted father figure, a superhero he creates named "Superhero G" (with Tanner being "Hero Boy").

Tanner draws whenever his parents argue, and as they argue a lot, he soon becomes quite adept, but one day, when his parents finally divorce, he decides he is done with kid's games.

And then we pick up at the Imagined Nation, where Superhero G must come to grips with his status in the world now that Tanner no longer believes in him.

Intriguing stuff?

Luckily, there is also enough humor and nice art to really pull this story through.

Definitely recommended!

Okay, as to the books I have not picked up....

Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur #1

Super Manga Blast #50

Tom Strong #32

Armor X #2

Victory Vol. 2 #4

Stray Bullets #37


Blogger Pól Rua said...

I'm with Brian on this one.
Just finished reading 'Toxin' on his recommendation and it really irritates me.
Decent script, good dialogue, interesting story, good characters, excellent visuals... wasted.

This is a dead end character.
An evil twin of an evil twin of an evil twin.
Milligan and Robertson are wasted on this dreck, and it's annoying that they couldn't be doing so well with something good.

4/18/2005 05:13:00 AM  
Anonymous The Eyeball Kid said...

Tom Strong #32 - This is the conclusion of guest writer Michael Moorcock's storyline, which was very enjoyable. Lots of pirates, gorillas, pirate-gorillas, and other dimension-hopping insanity. Although I've never read his novels I can tell that Moorcock has slipped some references into this comic for his fans, but they don't distract from the story at hand. Semantics save the day in a cute twist, and the whole issue has a sense of fun that many other titles are lacking these days. I recommend it.

4/18/2005 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur #1: Busiek and Nord have established a fairly high watermark and Russell's efforts here, while solid, don't quite measure up. Heavy on the exposition, it feels like one of those old Classics Illustrated comics, and visually, Conan just doesn't look terribly intimidating. Meh.

4/18/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Yeah, Guy, I sorta figured, that is why I steered away from the Russell series.

Thanks for the info!

4/18/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ronald Bryan said...

I'll throw in an agreement with Guy on the Conan mini. It's very heavy on exposition, but not in an exciting way, and Busiek has been doing so great on the regular series that this mini feels wasted. And Conan doesn't look like the big, strong barbarian from the regular series.

4/18/2005 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

Wow. I always figured Russell was a perfect fit for Conan. I almost bought the issue, in fact, but decided to wait for the inevitable collection. I may have to take a closer look at it, to see if I agree with you guys or not. That said, the basis of comparison for these stories I have are Howard's pulp stories and a couple of Thomas-Windsor Smith issus, not Busiek and Nord's run, of which I've only read that super cheap one shot.

4/19/2005 03:33:00 PM  
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