COMICS: John’s Wednesday Winners for 4/15/09

So … tired ….

Incognito #3

Incognito #3

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips continue to show the world how a villain-as-hero comic should be done with Incognito #3, wherein the following things happen:  Tarantino-esque villainess Ava Destruction makes a commanding entrance, Zack stresses about what to do with his blackmailing best friend, a few of his old ciminal pals show up, and all manner of Hell breaks loose at the local mall.  The first half of this issue is very character-heavy, which serves as a fantastic lead-up to the explosive action of the second half.  Every one of Brubaker’s characters bleeds personality, and Phillips’s gorgeous artwork (ably assisted by colorist Val Staples, who injects vibrant life into what would otherwise be grim ‘n gritty b&w fare) complements the writing perfectly.  This team has a synergy that helps pack more story into each panel than many rivals have per issue.  The back-up feature about pulp hero The Spider is a welcome addition as well, a wonderful piece of info-tainment.

Johnny Monster #3

Johnny Monster #3

The loving homage to John Romita on the cover of Johnny Monster #3 is just the first of many awesome action shots on display in the issue.  Joshua Williamson and J.C. Grande continue to tell a story that’s light on drama and heavy on action, as Johnny and the monsters (THAT should be the name of the band!) defend their home from Rawke and his gang of psychotic poachers.  It’s Saturday morning cartoon action at its finest, with plenty of fantastic shots  of Johnny and gang knocking the stuffing out of their enemies, and another massive battle amid the skyscrapers of midtown for the finale.  I really hope that this property gets picked up as an all-ages ongoing story of some sort, be it in traditional animation, web animation, or just an ongoing comic.  It has all the hallmarks of a great franchise, if only someone would have the good sense to capitalize on it.

The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft #1

The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft #1

While I will admit that I’ve never read a book by H.P. Lovecraft, I have been exposed to plenty of homages or connections to his work (everything from the Call of Cthulhu RPG to Dark Corners of the Earth for the PC, movies like Dagon and In the Mouth of Madness, and comic properties like Hellboy and Fall of Cthulhu.)  Therefore, it was with an open mind and a less-than-developed knowledge of the source material that I picked up Image’s The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft #1, by Mac Carter and Tony Salmons.  A story within a story, this series imagines that the stuff of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories was not merely something the writer researched in libraries and exaggerated on the written page, but a chronicling of his real experiences with the Necronomicon and the Old Ones.  The characters are about as standard as generic 1920s horror archetypes can be, though the writers supposedly based many of the details on Lovecraft’s actual life (supernatural elements notwithstanding.)  Carter’s story is unimpressive thus far, but seeds may be sowing toward something truly great and terrifying.  Salmons’s art is impressive, but it does seem to be a bit of an awkward fit for such a title.  There is almost too much life and hope and vibrance on each page, putting the visual element in contrast to the story it is attempting to illustrate.  While I’m glad the color palette isn’t so dark that one must read it with a flashlight (even in a bright room) and the characters are defined enough to tell them apart from one another, it does have a remarkably different aesthetic about it than any of BOOM! Studios’ Cthulhu-related books.  It’s too early to tell whether or not this series will satisfy, but for now I will advise you, dear reader, to wait for the collected edition.

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #10

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #10

Shane McCarthy and Guido Guidi have yet to put out a less-than-satisfying issue of Transformers: All Hail Megatron, and this week’s #10 has perhaps the best 2-page action splash of the series.  Megatron’s control proves not quite as absolute as he believes, and the Autobots receive some unexpected – but much appreciated – help battling the Swarm and escaping from Cybertron (Hint: If the bad guys have Devastator, the good guys need someone who can fight him!)  My only complaint is that Prime’s miraculous return is not explained in any further detail in this issue (a friend and I had theorized that he hadn’t returned at all, and that Hound was projecting a hologram of him to rally the troops,)  and there are still many unanswered questions when it comes to Perceptor’s change in attitude and behavior.  But these are small quibbles that don’t detract from the book’s enjoyability, and I suspect they will be addressed in future issues anyway.  Buckle your seatbelts now, TFans, because the finale of this series is going to be one heck of a ride!

Wolverine Noir #1

Wolverine Noir #1

While Wolverine Noir #1 may be the worst of the Marvel Noir issues so far, that does not make it a bad book by any means.  It is still entertaining to see Logan and Dog as private detectives in the Bowery of days gone by, and the retelling of their origin in a more sensible and realistic manner.  It’s too bad the rest of the story is entirely too generic and boring to hold much interest.  Unless there are some serious twists and turns yet to be revealed, this series will just be a by-the-numbers retelling of every Sam Spade noir story with Wolverine playing the lead.  I would say skip it for now, and pick up the back issues or the collection if it eventually proves to have more depth.

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