Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wednesday Pickups 3/7/12

Attempt #207 to get my weekly comic reviews back on track, odds of success: 3720 to 1. So you're saying there's a chance?

First up this week chock-full of inaugural issues, 3 of them including this one coming from Image, is Fairest #1. Spinning out of the pages of Fables, this new ongoing seeks to tell the stories of the universe's fairer maidens but opens with the prince of thieves, Ali Baba, getting into some mischief. Featuring stunning artwork (with pencils by Phil Jimenez, inks by Andy Lanning, and colors by Andrew Dalhouse) and witty dialogue (Bill Willingham on writing duties) this issue is a fun read but might be a bit dense for the first of the series. I leave it at might, because while it seems that a lot of this story was previously set up in Fables, that could just Willingham dropping us a little further in and playing catch up somewhere down the line. Honestly, if you're reading Fables, I'm betting you'll be picking this up and you should since it has the makings of being a fun book. On the other hand, if your a little unfamiliar with the universe (such as myself, only having read the first Cinderella trade) I would recommend checking out Fables first or waiting for this to be collected and getting more of the story in one sitting.

Next up, also hailing from Image, is The Manhattan Projects #1. The Brothers Oppenheimers' lives had led them down very different paths, as one is recruited to the secret government think tank the comic gets it's title from the other suffers through a rather unsavory event. Jonathan Hickman writes a spectacular script to the start of this fictional account of the Manhattan Project, imagining it as dealing with anything supper powered or occult in World War II as well as developing nuclear weapons. Complimenting Hickman's all-encompassing plot, Nick Pitarra's detailed art tells just as much about the characters we meet, and Cris Peter's colors give them a life all their own. While I was a little skeptical going into the book, I immensely enjoyed this first issue and can't recommend it enough to fans of sci-fi and historical fiction. At the very least give it a flip through while browsing at your comic shop of choice, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Concluding this trio of Image first issues is Hell Yeah #1. Perpetual slacker Ben Day seemingly lives in a perfect world, where 20 years ago superheroes showed up and started it on the path towards utopia, that is until a group of super-chicks from another dimension come looking for him. While it may sound like a premise that's been done already, writer Joe Keatinge and illustrator Andre Szymanowicz have put their own spin on it that I can best describe as something of a cross between the movies Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Rebel Without A Cause (or if you're looking for more of a comic comparison, it feels a bit like the first issue of The Strange Talent of Luther Strode.) While the book presents you with an antiquated rebellious teen, or so he seems at first glance, it also doesn't mind laughing at him and giving the reader a few laughs as well. The first issue might not have been enough to draw other readers in, but I'm thoroughly intrigued and will be picking up the next few issues to see where it goes.

Taking a break from this #1-a-thon, I decided to check out Avengers Academy #27; partly due to urging from John over at the Burnt Weiners Podcast and partly due to the Runaways making a guest appearance. In this part 1 of "War With The Runaways", Nico and gang show up looking for help in getting back their dino-member Old Lace, but their understandable problems with authority figures set them on a collision course with the Academy faculty. Yes, hero groups meeting to do battle is nothing new (actually, I'm pretty sure the Runaways did this just last year with the Young Avengers, which is neither here nor there) but I will give writer Christos Gage the benefit of the doubt with it as he at least manages to keep the personalities involved interesting. Art-wise though the book gets less leeway though, as more than a few panels just felt out of proportion to me and don't exactly leave me wanting to look at anymore. That said, I'm going to at least finish out this two part arc, and pay the title a bit more attention when looking at previews, especially now that I know it revived Juston Seyfret from the early 2000's Sentinel series.

Back to the first issue trend, but staying with Marvel, we have Age of Apocalypse #1. Humanity's hope of survival is dwindling fast with their only hope being the de-powered Jean Grey, Sabretooth, and The X-Terminated against Weapon Omega's (formerly this world's Wolverine) mutant domination. While I really enjoy this issue, knew I would like David Lapham's writing but ended up liking Roberto De La Torre's art more than I would have thought, I do think it might put up a barrier to new readers and those that might be jumping back in to the AOA since it's original creation so many years ago. The book expects a reader to be just a bit more familiar with what is going on than I would like in a first issue, similar to my complaint with Fairest #1 from earlier in this post. The good news here though, is that Lapham's writing style will be quick to erase that gap within a few issues, as I feel he often gentle adds a little bit of summary to his books as they go on. On the other hand, if you don't want to wait that long Uncanny X-Force #19.1 is a great introduction to this universe (which I reviewed only a handful of post ago, saying it should be called Age of Apocalypse #0 instead) and was only released in January so it should still be on your local shop's shelf. Definitely looking forward to more though, as I love me some Lapham and this universe really grew on me after being featured in Remender's Uncanny X-Force.

Saving the best for last, from DC comics we have Swamp Thing #7. Every thing Alec Holland has been going through in the first six issues comes to a head here as he must make his final decision on whether or not to once again become the Swamp Thing, that is if it isn't already too late. As usual Scott Snyder (writer) and Yanick Paquette knock it out of the park! Synder (as he has already proven with American Vampire and Severed) can balance themes just as well if not better than anyone else in the business, doing so in this book with the all demanding nature and the ever-present horror. As if that wasn't enough, his dialogue manages to take the characters a step beyond the page; shaping them not just by what they say, but how they say it. That right there is enough for a great book, but Paquette's art brings it up to the amazing ranking. His panel structure is so fluid and pencils so detailed that you just want to hang every page of this book on your wall, unless you have little ones it might give them nightmares. Also, just want to get in a quick mention of the job Nathan Fairbairn does with the colors on this issue; the reds. blacks, and greens all fit together so well not just with the art but with the major themes already being examined and coming up soon. Seriously if you're reading any DC books and this isn't one of them, your doing it wrong.

Well, that is it for this week. Basically a bunch of great books that you should be checking out and one of two that may be a little more niche. Looking forward to this coming week, there is another wave of #1s on the horizon as Saga, Crossed: Badlands, and the Secret History of D.B. Cooper all premiere; plus, as usual with me, a bunch of X-Men books drop that I will be sure to grab. Any thoughts/questions/suggestions, go ahead and leave those down below in the comments, and if not see you back here in 7*.

(*Intentionally left off the measurement for that 7 so I could take as long as I want to write next week's post mwhahahahaha! But seriously, it I'll try and keep it to 7 days.)

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