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From the Hoss’ Mouth 11/29/06

Due to a pile of "real world" work that I have to do, you’ll all be reading the abridged version of this week’s column.  I cover Iron Fist, Superman/Batman, and the Punisher’s X-Mas Special plus a whole lot more. 

Full Reviews:

The Immortal Iron Fist #1:
Writer: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja

Just how many books can Brubaker churn out a month?  Not enough in my opinion.  If he was handed half of the Marvel Universe I’d be fine with it.  This is another in his long list of titles and it works very well as an opening shot.

The story itself jumps around to cover Iron Fist(s) through the ages as well as to provide the origin story for any unfamiliar with Danny.   Concurrent with the past storyline, the present sees Mr. Rand dealing with Hydra both in the boardroom and out.  Here’s where things got shaky for me.  The present storyline was just so much more interesting than the past one.  Not to mention the awkward transitions really left me wanting.  So essentially the book is overambitious for a first issue, but barring that I found that I enjoyed the Iron Fist vs. Hydra plot enough to warrant me giving this book a solid thumbs-up.  Being a number one it’s also a perfect chance to jump on while Brubaker finds his footing, which if his other books are any indication shouldn’t take long at all.

The art looks similar to Daredevil which also greatly reminds me of Captain America (well in Caps case it’s more the darker coloring style as opposed to the pencils).  Does every Brubaker book have to be done in this style?  Makes me wonder.  Nevertheless if it worked for the two aforementioned titles it will work for this one and what do you know… it does.

Verdict: Wanna know why Burbaker is allowed to write so many books at the same time? Then pick up Iron Fist and Captain America #24 this week and all will be revealed.

Quick Reviews:

Superman/Batman #30: This murky story finally develops some clarity yet the tiny revelations still don’t make up for this jumbled mess of a plot.  We’re still in the dark but at least we know in which general direction to point our little fingers.  As for the specifics, Plas makes an appearance as he and Bats (under Luthor’s direction mind you) take off to the Fortress of Solitude to recover something Superman locked away.  This little secret is what’s responsible for all the weird going on’s with the Alien and Power Ring types.  Art is smoothly handled for the most part which is a lot more than I can say for the story up to this point.

Verdict: You’re better off waiting until this arc’s done. 

The Punisher X-Mas Special: Frank’s making a naughty list…literally.  If you’ve ever read a Punisher story than you’ll be on familiar ground here as this one unfolds in classic Castle fashion.  It’s the holidays and Frank finds all the big targets are surrounded by friends and family making them a bit undesirable for now.  This does afford him some time to fish in the shallow end of the pond as he takes a shot at a smaller goon trying to become a big one.  Preventative maintenance, Frank says, as he also tries to bring some holiday vengeance for the mother of a murdered child.  There’s a cruel little twist at the end as well as ample violence.

Verdict: I’m just glad it came out in November as this book will manage to leech all the holiday spirit right out of you.  That being said, this book’s a solid and fun one-shot showcasing exactly why Frank is…well Frank.

The Rundown:

Notable notables a.k.a. the “Must Buys” for this week:

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14: PAD finds an ingenious little way around the whole secret identity mishap Pete made allowing Spider-Man to regain a foothold in his career.

Teen Titans #41: The new team is all assembled and it’s a solid mix of young and old.  I simply love this book and can’t wait for the upcoming Titans East storyline.  Now if only it didn’t come with 5 billions pages of gimmicky adverts…

Captain America #24: The biggest advances here all happen with Sharon and just in case last issue didn’t tip you off her full CW role is revealed here.  Oh yeah, there’s also a pretty good Hydra battle and the return of a twisted mad scientist.


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