Friday, February 26, 2010

Mutant X #1

Written by: Howard Mackie
Art by: Tom Raney and Andrew Pepoy

Let me start this review by saying a few things about my comic book buying habits. Here are some things I look for in a title from either Marvel or DC:

1) Does the title have a beginning, middle, and ending?
2)Did one person write from issue one to the final issue?
3) Do I need to read any other series to understand what is going on in this title?
4) Is the title set in a alternate reality (non Earth 1 or Earth 616, depending)?
5) Can I make a check list?

So according to this set of rigorous tests Mutant X is a perfect title for me to collect. It's set in an alternate reality - if fact it is the only title to take place in this alternate reality. It consists of 32 issues and 3 annuals, all written by Howard Mackie. When I was collecting this series, I had a checklist (I like checklist more than any sane person should - I keep a spreadsheet of my comics with a pie graph showing publisher distribution). It has a beginning, middle and end. One thing to note about possible flaws in the test - there is no gauge for quality, either in art or story.

So, on to Mutant X #1. It opes with Havok (Alex Summers) falling through a starry background, talking about remembering dying. We then cut to a fight scene between a group called the Six (consisting of Havok, Madelyn Pryor, the Brute, Iceman, the Fallen, and Bloodstorm) and some Sentinels. They fight, the Six gets the upper hand, and one of the Sentinels tries to blow away Madelyn; Havok jumps in the way and takes the blast - this sends him into a river where the two Havoks merge.

Havok awakes, see these twisted versions of his friends and freaks out. The Fallen clock him and we cut to the Six's hideout. A long, drawn out section takes place explaining all the characters. Havok and Madelyn are married and have a son, Scotty. The Brute is Hank McCoy - but a dull witted, reptilian version, as his experiments took another direction on this world. The Fallen is Warren Worthington III, but instead of metal wings, his are now bat-like and he breaths fire. Iceman can't turn off his ice. Bloodstorm is Ororo Munroe who never got over Dracula's bite. Long story short, Havok decides to run with this to see who is behind the tinkering of reality.

We learn that in this world the Six are heroes and mutants and humans live in peace. Nick Fury and SHEILD are fighters for humanity - and have taken Havok and Madelyn's kid hostage at the Statue of Liberty. The team takes off and fight Fury and friends. Madelyn mentions the Goblin Queen (SPOILER) and the team is able to save Scotty. The book ends with Scotty confronting Havok - saying "You're not my real father."

Wow. What an issue; packed with information and very little plot, which is a bit generic, but the characters are the real focal point. Like a fun house mirror. The art is standard fare for marvel in the late 90's - nothing ground breaking, lots of odd poses.

The whole reason I picked up this series is Havok. I hate Cyclops with a passion and a solo book about his underachieving brother is perfect for me. And Scott Summer is dead in this reality. Awesome.

This is a book that appeals to my sweet tooth and I am kind o ashamed to say I love this title. More reviews to come. Until tomorrow - happy reading.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sandman Mystery Theatre #4

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: Guy Davis

The trail that leads to the Tarantula's web gets shorter and shorter; but how many bodies will the Sandman find there?

This issue is the last in this story arc and wraps up the tale quite nicely. Clues lead Wesley to the Goldman residence where he finds Catherine and Celia chained up and at death's door. A veiled figure shows up (who has been making periodic appearances through this arc) and the two fight. The Sandman gases her and she goes down. This turns out to be Al Goldman's wife.

The Tarantula shows up, black hood and all, and our titular hero and his first rival clash. No one really gets an upper hand and the Tarantula is eventually electrocuted by a stray wire. He turns out to be Al Goldman's son, Roger.

Both Celia and Catherine survive their ordeal and the plot is summed up over dinner. Roger was pissed about being written out of the will, the wife was pissed about Al's mistress (Catherine) so they teamed up to try to squeeze daddy for money. Families are fun, aren't they?

Well, that wraps up this issue. Guy Davis has developed a visual style that remains both stunning and haunting on this title - like nothing I've ever seen before. And Matt Wagner can write one hell of a mystery.

Until tomorrow - happy reading.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sandman Mystery Theatre #3

Written by: Matt Moore
Art by: Guy Davis

Terror still stalks the streets as the Tarantula's kidnapping spree continues.

This issue opens with Detective Burke investigating an abandoned warehouse - and who should turn up but the Sandman. They fight; Burke gets gassed and Wesley takes a shot to the head. Back at the Dodd's residence, Dian comes calling in the dead of the night. She and Wes talk - a joke is made and she leave.

Cut to more torture scenes (the art is awesomely gruesome).

Wes finds out the accountant who hid assets for the out of business milk company and interrogates him. He find out that the current owner is the son of none other that known bootlegger and all around not-so-nice guy, Al Goldman. Burke shows up too late - throws down his hat - everyone laughs.

The story then moves into the Goldman house where we see that Al and his daughter, Celia, are more than just father and daughter.

The issue closes with Celia being kidnapped by the Tarantula.

This is another fine chapter in this series. I was thinking on the drive home today about what it was that drew me to this series in the first place. I know right off the bat it had something to o with Matt Wagner. I love his story telling . It's always so tight. This series, so far, has been plotted a lot like a Raymond Chandler novel. Good stuff. Guy Davies continues to add his very distinct style to this title. It feels scratchy, like old film.

Busy at home, sorry I missed a couple days. Wedding bells and all. Well, until next time - happy reading.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sandman Mystery Theatre #2

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: Guy Davis

It's 1938 and a Tarantula still stalks the streets of New York City.

Last issue ended with Dian walking in on our titular hero in the ladies room (he was listening to a conversation between the police chief and the district attorney) - the Sandman spins her around and jumps out the window. Startled, Dian emerges in time to hear her father say that they recovered a body, a victim of the Tarantula. Dian volunteers to ID the body and we cut to the morgue - turns out this isn't her friend Catherine.

Insert torture scene - and Wesley just happens to be outside of the police station to offer Dian a ride home. Cut to scene with Al Goldman (known bootlegger) and his daughter; she says to daddy "You know I only have eyes for you" while rubbing on him. Something isn't right at the Goldman house.

Lt. Burke is looking to question Catherine's cab driver, but on the way up to his apartment Burke notices something outside the window. He opens said window and in pours a cloud of green smoke. Nighty night. The Sandman proceeds to question the cabbie. Burke wakes to find the cabbie passed out.

Dian and Wesley have dinner. Burke finds out that a delivery truck at the kidnap scene belongs to a company that has been out of business for 5 years, meanwhile another woman is kidnapped. The issue ends with some more torture of Catherine.

I enjoyed this issue. Not a lot of action, but the mystery is shaping up. This is one of the more cerebral titles I've read - it keeps the mind sharp. Matt is a very good mystery writer. Guy's art fits perfectly. Has a very real quality to it, like an old photograph pulled from a box in your grandfather's attic.

Lots of questions still to be answered in the first story arc of this title. I know there is a trade out there - so go buy it. Until tomorrow - happy reading.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sandman Mystery Theatre #1

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: Guy Davis

Imagine, if you will, it's 1938 in New York - prohibition was lifted 5 years ago, jazz clubs are everywhere, Action Comics #1 just came out - and a man calling himself the Tarantula is kidnapping young girls. Who will save the city with a blend of wit, sleeping gas and...origami? That's right, the Sandman will.

In this first issue of Sandman Mystery Theatre, the key players in the drama are introduced: Wesley Dodds (a rich, aloof spectacle-wearing introvert), Lawrence Belmont (district attorney) and Dian Belmont (well-off socialite daughter of Lawrence). The issue begins with Dian and her friend Catherine having drinks at a club in Harlem; they stay out all night and share a cab home. What Dian doesn't know is that her father had a rather strange visitor that same night - the Sandman.

Dian and Lawrence head to a library fund raiser and meet up with Wesley, who is newly returned to New york after the death of his father. Dian is intrigued with Wesley's non-interest in her. Before they really have a chance to talk, Lawrence tells Dian they need to leave -Catherine has been kidnapped.

Insert scene of impaled girl on fire escape and...

...Wesley heads home, cuts to scenes of a tucked in doll, weird science experiments and then to the police station. Here, Dian waits for her father and any word on her friend Catherine. Some clumsy cop spills coffee on her and she heads to the lady's room where she comes face to face with the Sandman.

To be continued...

I really like this series. Matt Wagner is a great writer; he knows how to build the suspense. That's where the charm of this series comes form. There and Guy Davis's artwork - it's kind of inked sketches. Not polished at all, no huge muscles or big boobs - just realistic people and realistic gore. This is a horror / mystery book dressed as a superhero book; all together a nice blend of the genres.

The first half of this series is really easy to find - it gets a but tougher past issue 36 (that's where my collection ends...for now). More on this series as the days go by. Until tomorrow - happy reading.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tom Strong #12

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Chris Sprouse

So, the end of last issue found Tom Strong and Tom 'Doc' Strange orbiting Terra Obscura. They gawk, open jawed, at an alien monstrosity boring into the surface of the planet. What do the two strongest and smartest men in the ABC universe do?

They call in reinforcements.

'Doc' leases the hypersaucer to save his fellow S.M.A.S.H members get out of the time loop orbit they've stuck in and Tom brings everyone up to speed. The heroes have been in stasis for 30 years and have no clue what is going on. One of their own, the Terror, fell in combat against the alien and Tom has the tough job of letting the Terror's side-kick know about his mentor's death. Here we learn of the Terror's final project: a digitized version of himself contained in hard light projectors.

With a newly revived Terror in tow, S.M.A.S.H heads toward the South Pole to take on the alien. The Terror is able to enter the alien's brain and drive him into the sun.

This is a satisfying ending to a nice story - a bit heavy handed on the secondary characters, but it does give a feel that there is more to come from the world of Terra Obscura. Chris's art is perfect, as usual. Though Tom and 'Doc' look very similar, there isn't a panel where I couldn't tell them apart. And the reappearance of the Terror is one of the best panels on the series.

I think this is a good stopping point for Tom Strong - we'll revisit him again. Who knows what I'll feel like reading tomorrow. Until I decide - happy reading.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tom Strong #11

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Chris Sprouse

After a couple of anthology issues, Tom Strong is back with an issue (or 2) long story about a distant planet that resembles our own - but things there aren't quite the way they should be.

The issue opens with a meteor crash; Tom is on the scene and quickly finds out it's no meteor that crash in the center of Millennium City - it's Tom Strange (Terra Obscura's version of Tom Strong). Tom Strange, or Doc as he likes to be called, ran across the entire Milky Way to reach Earth and Tom Strong because his home is in danger. Apparently, a meteor hit Terra Obscura in its formative years that housed a giant alien being. It attacked Terra Obcura and S.M.A.S.H ( the Society of Major American Science Heroes) was defeated. Doc escaped and ran for 30 years to get help.

Tom and Doc suit up the Hypersaucer and head for Terra Obscura; along the way Tom talks about "ghost particles" and Golden Age comics. They finally reach Doc's world and find the fallen Science Heroes trapped in orbit and the invader mining away at the South Pole.

To be continued...

Now this is a comic book adventure. Alan Moore asks the reader to let him take the reigns and is treated to one heck of a ride. No guns, no anti-heroes, no multi-part, dollar sucking crossovers. Just science fiction pulp at its best. Chris's art is stunning as always. This issue and the one that follows put Tom Strong on my list of all time favorite comic series. This story is like fresh squeezed orange juice - pulpy and refreshing.

Go buy it - until tomorrow, happy reading.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tom Strong #10

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: see below

Three more short adventures in Millennium City with Tom Strong.

Tom Strong and his Phantom Autogyro - Gary Gianni

Tom ventures into the realm of the dead to learn a bit more about his parents - but the past is often better left dead. A good little tale that sheds a bit more light on the relationship between Tom's mother and Father. Gianni's art is wonderfully spectral; his ghosts seem like they are made from ether on the page. Nice little tale that is a nod to the hero's journey in general.

Funnyland! - Chris Sprouse

Tom invents a searchboard that allows him to jump between parallel universes; he ends up in a forest full of talking animals. There Tom is confronted by Warren Strong - a anthropomorphous rabbit version of himself. Together they save Patience ( a rabbit version of Dhula) from the evil clutches of the fox faced Basil Saveen.

This was a particularly enjoyable story - Chris's art was a nice change in style (fuzzy animals and all) and the script was full of comedy. Good read.

Too Many Teslas? - Chris Sprouse

Tesla steals her Dad's searchboard and opens up a portal to an alternate reality; what come through the portal is the real surprise. A nice romp through alternate realities (or should I say genres) and a variety of nice reimaginings of both Tesla and Tom. I liked the nods to Crisis type Earth naming. Another fine story from the Moore & Sprouse camp.

This has probably been my favorite issue so far. But tomorrow is another day - Happy reading.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tom Strong #9

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: see below

The anthology format continues in this issue featuring Millennium City's favorite science-hero, Tom Strong.

Terror Temple of Tayasal - Paul Chadwick

On his way to Attabar Teru, Tom is sidetracked by a group of archaeologists in South America. They seem to have stumbled upon a rather large carapace that's really old. Tom takes off into the jungle looking for clues and stumbles upon an ancient temple and its lone inhabitant - a piece of a biological spacecraft.

This is a nice story - good twist in the plot, nice characterization. Paul Chadwick's art is probably the best take on Tom Strong I've seen from an artist other than Chris Sprouse. Good stuff.

Volcano Dreams - Chris Sprouse

This is a tale of Dhula and her vision quest. It's okay - but it feels unnecessary. Nice ending. Chris's art is on par with everything I've seen from him on this title. The whole story seems almost too formulaic.

Flip Additude - Chris Sprouse

Tesla and Solomon fight a girl who can shift the center of gravity, making the world tip over on its side. Tesla find out the girl is the daughter of a former foe of Tom's and they fight. Solomon points out how the boots that tip the world are a physical impossibility, and Tesla retorts with "They're magic boots." Laughs the whole story through. Chris, again, is almost flawless on his execution here. Well written, well drawn.

All around good issue; kind of wish this series had more single story issues. But what can I do about it. Until tomorrow - happy reading.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tom Strong #8

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: see below

This is first issue of Tom Ttrong in an anthology format - it tells 3 different stories.

Rides of the Lost Mesa - Alan Weiss

Tom and Solomon ride into a desert town set on top of a mesa; the inhabitants have 3 eyes, herd squid like creatures, and think it's the year 1850. Tom Strong shows up to put an end to this. I like the blend of western and sci-fi elements in this story. All around, it's a good read - Alan Weiss' art is a little to muscular for me. I prefer Sprouse's angular bulk to the defined muscular look Alan Weiss give him.

The Old Skool - Chris Sprouse

I hate this story. It centers on the Strongmen of America and I find it to be hard to read and pointless in general. I understand what Alan Moore is trying to do with these characters - add a sense of Golden Age innocence, but it just comes off as forced. The art is very nice, especially the giant robots.

Sparks - Chris Sprouse

This is a solo Tesla story - it's okay. She goes into an active volcano in her gem suit (think clear suit of armor) to see what is causing all the shaking. There she encounter 3 fire men spirit things who attack her. Their boss shows up and chases them off and plants a kiss on Tesla's cheek. A bit sappy, but Valentine's Day is right around the corner. The art is very well done - but the story is mediocre.

All in all this isn't a bad issue, just not up to par with the ones that came before it in this series.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tom Strong #7

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Chris Sprouse and Gary Frank

At the end of last issue, we were introduced to Tom and Ingrid's son, Albrecht. Ingrid stole some of Tom's genetic material during their first meeting and had Albrecht, who she raised as a Nazi.

Now, Tom and Albrecht are introduced; Tom tells Albrecht there is a better way of thinking and Albrecht punches him in the face. They scrap and Tom decides to try another route. The look into the Time Viewer...

... and the year is 2050; Tom is in stasis recovery and Albrecht shows up to menace Millennium City. Tesla, Tom's daughter, goes out to take care of her half-brother. They fight and the match is a draw until Tom shows up- and he's pissed. Tom and Albrecht fight and the Strongmen of America come to Tom's aid. Something is said about Saveen being dead for 80 years and Tom takes Albrecht back to the Stronghold to be rehabilitated...

... and in the present it's revealed that Saveen is really dead and the man in front of Tom is Denby Jilks, master of disguise! Ingrid gets pissed, takes her son and is about to leave when who should show up but Dhula - and she's pissed. She beats the stuffing out of Ingrid and tells her never to show her face in Millennium City again.

Story ends with Tom's 100th birthday celebration.

I really enjoyed the way these last couple of issues were set up. The story in a story plotting was done very well. Added a lot of dimension and history to a kind of young (in terms of number of issues) character. Chris' art is great as usual and Gary Frank draws some wicked left hooks. All around nice ending to the first multi issues arc.

Buy it here - and happy readings.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tom Strong #6

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Chris Sprouse and Dave Gibbons

Well, the last issue ended with a gloved hand running across a tabletop and Tom's face in shock. We find out in this issue that the hand belongs to none other than Paul Saveen - Tom's oldest and most deadly foe.

Of course, the room is booby trapped and begins to fill with water. Tom quickly dons his custom breather and floats to safety - only to find himself in a room filled with statues of his old foes. A flash back occurs...

... We see a young Tom Strong being called on by Pneuman (Tom's steam powered sidekick) who tells him that a reporter by the name of Greta has gone missing. Tom rushes out and finds her in the clutched of Paul Saveen, who is about to unleash his phlogisten (the liquid form of heat) upon an unsuspecting Millennium City. Tom breaks out, kicks some ass and Paul falls into a vat of the liquid heat...

Back in the present, the statue of Ingrid Weiss comes to life, she and Tom exchange blows and end up in a room with Saveen in a high back char on a stage. Ingrid stops the fight and tells Tom she has a surprise for him. She walks up to the stage and a young boy emerges; Saveen says "Some one is here to see you," - and that's the end.

Nice cliffhanger for an all around nicely paced multi issue story.

As always, Sprouse had a handle on these characters (he did co-create Tom) - every panel is just perfect. Gibbon's art is okay; nothing really memorable in either the good or bad sense.

We'll find out tomorrow who this young boy is and what kind of role he plays in Tom's life tomorrow. If you want to pick this issue up, get it from MyComicShop.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tom Strong #5

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Chris Sprouse and Jerry Ordway

After the shocker ending of the last issue, out heroic Tom Strong finds himself transported back to the early days of Earth - and its sole continent, Pangaea.

The issue opens with Tom roaming an alien looking landscape and taping his thoughts. He recalls another adventure that took place with the same scenery. We are treated with an 8 page short abut Tom and Dhula's adventure in time; how they end up on primal Earth and how they meet up with a hostile intelligent mold. The mold can imitate anything really, and pretends to be Dhula (after capturing her) to lure Tom into a fight. The brawl and thing look grim, when Tom and Dhula are saved by the clock on their time machine.

Now, Tom is here again and the mold - now calling itself the Pangeaen is still holding a grudge. He's pretty pissed about his fall dominant species on Earth and wants to take it out on Tom; but before he does, the Pangeaen tells Tom about his association with Ingrid Weiss (from last issue) and the location of a time machine left behind by Ingrid. The fight and Tom ends up in the time machine and the Pangeaen is killed by a meteor shower.

Tom materializes in a room with a replica of a city bearing Swastikas and we are shown a white gloved hand running a finger across a table top. To be continued.

Now, this issue is alright. A bit too wordy on the whole parallel between Tom and Dhula and Adam and Eve. The idea of a species fighting for dominance on a very young Earth is something I had never really spent the time to wrap my brain around. I guess mold could be intelligent. Chris's art is right on par with this character, and he does a fine job with all the creeping horror of the Pangeaen. The flashback's art, by Jerry Ordway, is a nice change of pace - the essence of the characters is there, but they are rendered in a much more playful way.

If you want to read this or any other books I've posted about, MyComicShop has a large selection of back issues.

A nice issue, fun and thought provoking.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tom Strong #4

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Chris Sprouse and Arthur Adams

It's a sleepy morning in the Stronghold when Tom Strong receives a mysterious package saying something about an anniversary. He looks to Dhula and wonders "is today our anniversary?" The still of the morning is interrupted by machine gun fire from incoming biplanes. And this is one reason I love Tom Strong - such unbelievable events are common place, mundane, and happen everyday. No one is surprised the Stronghold is under attack; Tom just springs into action.

As the story moves along, we learn of an adversary of Tom's that was thought to be dead a long time ago - Ingrid Weiss. A flashback ensues, telling the tale of Tom's fist meeting with Ingrid during WWII (illustrated by Arthur Adams - who is one of my favorite comic artists). Flash forward to the present - Tom is hanging out of one of the biplanes, tailing the other one back to Ingrid's liar. Ingrid is there, she and Tom exchange words, the floor opens, tachyons, "So long, Tom Strong."

I love a good cliffhanger. This issue is further proof of the genius of Tom Strong. Brilliant use of flashback makes Ingrid feel like a fully developed character. Kicking female Nazi ass is almost as good as kicking Nazi raptor ass. Chris' art is, once again, top notch. But Arthur Adam's is better. He'll turn up again on Four Color Crusader.

Tom Strong is a refreshing return to form for Alan Moore and friends. No complicated, multi part mega crossovers; just a good clean science fiction / adventure book. Like a breath of fresh air.

I highly recommend this title to anyone sick of Blackest Night or Dark Reign / Siege; get it from MyComicShop.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tom Strong #3

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Chris Sprouse

Tom's adventures continue as he fights Aztecs from a parallel universe bent on conqueror - and their digital deity Quetzalcoatl-9.

Golden ziggurats start popping up all over Millennium City and Tom is the first to investigate. Upon entry, he is assaulted by Aztecs on hover disks with energy weapons (that fight scene is pretty awesome by the way) who subdue him. Tom wakes to find himself strapped to a table about to be "sacrificed " to Quetzalcoatl-9.

A cunning rouse takes place and Tom (with Quetzalcoatl-9's help) is able to escape and free the Digital Deity from the confines of his worshipers. Then all hell breaks lose.

This is a phenomenal story. On a deeper note, this story questions the symbiotic nature of deity and worshiper and calls into question the morality of the things we call divine. Also, there is some pretty good action and a nice face melting scene. I love Chris' art, so detailed. Tom always looks just right - shoulders wide, jaw stern. Like he could take on an army.

Ends with a touching scene between father and daughter.

Millennium City just keeps getting richer and richer with every issue; and the villains are always so inventive and fresh. An Aztec nation that crosses 2000+ parallel Earths. Awesome.

You really should read this issue - get it here.

Well, until tomorrow - happy reading.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tom Strong #2

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: Chris Sprouse

This second issues tells the tale of the return of the Modular Man, a villain Tom fought in the 80's, who is capable of regenerating himself through just a single tiny robot. Tom's on Venus, so Tesla ends up dealing with him after some enthusiastic science minded children download his schematics off the Internet. The fist piece they build, builds another then those 2 build 2 more and it keeps going like this until they take up a whole street block.

Then the "Ego" nodes switch on and the Modular Man is capable of speech (he's really a mouth on the side of a high rise). Tesla and company are unable to due anything, so Tom comes back to save the day as only he knows how. He dives into the mouth of the beast, where is poses a novel solution.

I love the ending to this story; a nice comment on beauty in general. The at is fantastic - Chris really does a fine job with these characters. I think Tom is a nice refreshing version of what a science hero should be. Brains always win out over fists.

This is a good jumping on point for new readers as we haven't gotten that far into this series - Tom's rogue's galley is kind of sparse. Get it here and enjoy it. Until tomorrow, happy reading.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tom Strong #1

Written by: Alan Moore
Art by : Chris Sprouse

After a 11 issue binge of Grendel, I felt I needed to read something to balance out all that anti-hero awesomeness. Tom Strong is just the title to do that. Were Grendel reflects a morally ambivalent trend in comics, this book seems to long for a time when right was right and the bad guys always wore black.

This issue is an origin story told in a different sort of way. The book opens as young Timmy Turbo gets a piece of mail - his official Strongmen of America introduction pack. Included in this pack is a comic entitled How Tom Strong Got Started. Tom's origin unfolds as Timmy reads his comic on the way to school. We see the fateful crash that strands Tom's mother and father on the mystical island of Attabar Teru, Tom's birth, the loss of his parents, his first adventures in Millennium City and his marriage to Dahlua.

Timmy sits, too engrossed in the story to realize that his cable car is under attack by the Blimp Bandits and that his hero, Tom Strong, is fighting them off. Timmy never even notices until he gets off the car and walks past Tom who welcomes him to the Strongmen of America.

Chris' art is fantastic. Just the right blend of old and new styles that give this book an almost futuristic retro look. Moore's script is great - the comic inside a comic idea is still awesome. This is a good opening to one of the overlooked gems in modern comic book history.

If you like your heroes extra pulpy, or are a fan of Alan Moore this is a title you can't miss - Get it from MyComicShop.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grendel: Red, White and Black #4

Written by: Matt Wagner
Art by: see below

The final issue of this anthology goes out whit a bang. These are some of the best Hunter Rose Grendel stories I have ever read. Just wish that Matt Wagner had drawn one for this issue, but this series and its predecessor were founded on the spirit of collaboration and a love for the character. Besides, Matt just finished up a 8-part series last year on this character - that was both written and drawn by him. We'll get to that one, but I need a break from the Hunter Rose stories. They are fun, and a good read, but I like the Comico run a bit better. Less noir - more sci-fi; you'll see what I mean. Now to the issue at hand:

Evidence of the Devil - Cliff Chang

A detective walks in on one of Grendel's first hits for Teddy Ciccone. All the action takes place in flash backs, and the reader is left with the bloody aftermath. Good story - simple, clean, perfect for the eight pages allotted. I liked the art, especially the use of the red background for the flashbacks. Good way to open this issue.

Devil's Retribution - Farel Dalrymple

This story deals with what happened to Stacy after Grendel and Argent's first fight in her uncle's garden. She was kidnapped by a pervert, and Grendel comes to her rescue. I liked this story, but felt it was a bit unnecessary. All this is covered in Devil By the Deed; do we really need to hear what transpired? I'm not complaining, as it is a good story, I'm just saying that it feels like old territory.

Rat on the Devil - Darick Robertson

A stollie is dropped into the hands of Argent in the gruesome story. We get a glimpse of just how ruthless the Wolf can be (he bites off two of the dude's fingers). And the story pays off in a big way in the end. The art is a bit muddled, but I can see way as this story takes place in an alley even rats wouldn't call home. Good stuff.

Devil's Sentence - John K. Snyder III

Grendel's crew pulls off a heist using an outside source - who turns out to be not quite what he seems. Need less to say, lying to the Devil is not a good idea. Cleanest art I've seen in this title - John Snyder's Grendel is perfect. Another really enjoyable read..

Devil's Eulogy - Michael Zulli

Now this is what an ending should be like; we finally get a glimpse of Hunter's death after it is so briefly passed over in Devil By the Deed. Hunter, to the last breath, taunts the now paralysed Argent, telling him "Because of desire, there was Grendel. Because of myself he was majestic. Because of you, he was transcendent." That cuts deep. This is a story that crowns this anthology in greatness. Best in the book, if not the whole series. (I love me some tragedy)

Buy this book - it's awesome. Get it here.

Well, that wraps up another anthology series from Matt Wagner and friends starring Hunter Rose as Grendel. I think it's time I put this character to bed, as my long boxes houses many other gems. Until I decide what to read tomorrow, happy reading.