I thought about skipping this since I wrote 3000 words about the DC relaunch earlier this week, but I do read comics that aren’t from DC, and some that I’ve read recently are really, really good. So more comic reviews.
John Carter, A Princess of Mars 1 (of 5).
Written by Roger Langridge. Art by Filipe Andrade.
I have been on something of an E.R. Burroughs kick lately, so when I heard that Marvel was doing an adaptation, written by Roger Langridge of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, I knew I had to check it out. (I know about Dynamite’s series, but the covers are a little too porn-y for my tastes.) This first issue was anything but a disappointment.
Langridge is doing an adaptation, so the base of the story is already laid down for him. He does change the opening up to get to the action more quickly, and it works. Much of the explanation of Martian life in the novel is no longer necessary with the accompanying art. Right away John Carter is established as a good man, if he is more sarcastic than in the books.
Andrade’s art is where the book really shines. His Mars really looks alien, perfectly capturing the dying world look of this Barsoom (as Mars is called in the books.) His characters are sketchy and bendy and fluid. It is really just a joy to look at.
This series seems to be avoiding the Dynamite one’s problems of porny-ness but eliminating the conceit that no one on Mars wears clothes, something that almost has to be done for a visual take on the book to not seem lurid. This is just a very good comic. [****]
Bonnie Lass 1 (of 4).
Written by Michael Mayne and Tyler Fluharty. Art by Michael Mayne.
Nothing I’ve read recently touches Bonnie Lass for sheer energy. It is a pirate western mash-up that at its best feels like Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky. The art is cartoony and colorful and, like the rest of the book, full of energy. There is some definite and fitting manga/anime influence. It is exciting. The story sets the stage for what promises to be a grand adventure. The titular Bonnie and her crew, consisting of her brother and one other buddy, get their hands on a treasure map and when the people who had sought to buy don’t come through with the cash they decide to search out the treasure for themselves. But first, they must escape the town because they have recently become wanted men. Action packed doesn’t tell the half of it, but it is almost a weakness. At times, like the brawl on their deck and the ship chase at the end, the action is almost perfect, but there is little downtime between action scenes, giving the book a bit of a hectic feel at time. Still, the seeds are laid for a great adventure, even if the characters haven’t been fully fleshed out yet. I’d rather this err on the side of too much action than too little. The problems with this book are slight enough that I can whole-heartedly recommend it to everybody. [****½]
Below the break are some quick reviews:
Kirby Genesis 3.
Written by Kurt Busiek. Art by Alex Ross and Jack Herbert.
Things are starting to come together and all the characters are starting to get more fleshed out, but nothing really outrageous or phenomenal happens in this issue. [***]
American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest 4 (of 5).
Written by Scott Snyder. Art by Sean Murphy.
This mini-series is rapidly approaching its conclusion, and it has certainly been fun. I don’t know what else to say about this near perfect spy/horror/action comic about Nazi Vampires. This issue is just as excellent as the previous ones. [****½]
Mega Man 5.
Written by Ian Flynn. Art by Chad Thomas and Gary Martin.
This issue is a bit of a step down from the previous ones. Losing Spaz on art was a big blow, though Thomas does decent enough. The plot also lacks the verve of the introductory arc, though it nearly makes up for it with some fun character stuff. [**1/2]
Mystic 2 (of 4).
Written by G. Willow Wilson. Art by David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez.
Another really good issue about this female steampunk Harry Potter. It balances the fates of both of its young protagonists perfectly, giving the feeling of an inevitable tragedy. [****]
Written by Mark Waid. Art by Paolo Rivera and Joe Rivera.
Just a really good, solid superhero book. Waid’s script is good to great and Paolo Rivera knocks the art right out of the park. The way Matt’s ‘sight’ is portrayed is still amazing. This feels like the courtroom side is wrapped up a bit too easily, but that is a minor, minor complaint. [****½]
Fear Itself: The Monkey King 1.
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov. Art by Juan Doe.
I’m not interested at all in Marvel’s Fear Itself Event, but I have heard good things about Fialkov and wanted to try something he’d written. This character sounded interesting. I was disappointed. Fialkov goes for a fun, joke-y vibe and it just falls flat. It seems juvenile but isn’t at all amusing. I hope this was a bad example of Fialkov’s work. [*½]
Spider Island: The Avengers 1.
Written by Chris Yost. Art by Mike McKone.
This goes for the same funny vibe as The Monkey King, but it works much better. It also looks better. From Hawkeye’s inability to deal with his new spider powers to Frog Man’s incompetence, this was an amusing superhero comic. Nothing grand or groundbreaking, but fun. [**1/2]
Herc 7, Spider Island.
Written Greg Pak and Fred van Lente. Art by June Brigman and Roy Richardson.
Herc is a fun character. Seeing him, currently depowered, gain spider powers is fun. Herc giving a Spider-Man like soliloquy only to be interrupted by the discovery of beer is great. This series hasn’t been as good as the one that preceded it, but this was a good issue. [***]