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From the Hoss’ Mouth 06/06/07

What a week for comics!  I spent way more money than I should have, but hey I enjoyed most of what I purchased so it was worth it in the end.  This week I take a shot at New Warriors, The All New Atom, G. I. Joe America’s Elite, Jonah Hex, Omega Flight, and about 20 more titles.  There’s no trade review this week as yet another reviewer has skipped out on me, but don’t fret as the positions already been filled and there will be brand spanking new trade reviews for next week and on. 

Full Review:

New Warriors #1
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Penciler: Paco Medina

This book has an uphill battle ahead of it and I am very pleased to report that if it keeps the level of quality it had in the first issue it should do fine.  It’s written by Kevin Grevioux, a man with a very unique voice who’s most notable writing credit is the very first Underworld movie.  I had the pleasure of listening to a Fanboy Radio podcast with Mr. Grevioux a few months ago, and the first thing that struck me in that interview was that he obviously has a feel for this universe.  He gets Marvel, the street level nature, the common man point of view, the hip modern dialogue; he gets all of it and weaves it together in a story any Marvel zombie should be able to enjoy regardless of their familiarity with the characters.

The main point of a quality opening issue is to provide enough interest and excitement to suck the reader in.  The New Warriors hit the ground running right from the first panel.  One of their members, no name is mentioned, puts the hurt on the Grey Gargoyle.  This scene happens very quickly with a very cool commanding narrative behind it from the mysterious New Warriors leader.  Now I know, some of you might be saying, “busting the Grey Gargoyle ain’t exactly a big deal” well let me be the first to tell you that with Paco Medina behind the pencils it certainly looks like a big deal.   The next scene introduces us to our main protagonist, Sofia Mantega, the former mutant known as Wind Dancer.  X-Fans will recognize her from the new New X-Men/X-Men Academy series.  Sofia’s lost her powers after M-Day and is having dreams about them being returned.  In her new civilian life she’s moved to New York and gotten a job as a waitress.  The next thing you know she’s getting mysterious messages from someone who not only knows who she was, but tells her that she can be made into a hero again.  The rest of the book unfolds from this initial setup with clockwork precision.  Grevioux uses plenty of original and fresh dialogue to draw you in.  It can be a bit cheesecake and even cliché at times but for the most part you’ll be thoroughly entertained with his approach to characterization.  Grevioux also makes excellent use of the “man on the street angle”; he’s got cops, newscasts, and civilians all quietly setting the scene of the story and adjusting it firmly into Marvel’s current continuity without getting in your face about it or trying to force the significance of it down your throat.  It all takes place in the background without being a distraction upon the main plot.  Last but not least the book features the surprise return of two fan favorite characters.  One I won’t spoil, the other… well it’s sure to please fans of Morrison’s New X-Men and the Exiles.  I was always more of a Basilisk fan myself, but hey… you can’t win them all.

As I’ve already mentioned, Paco Medina does a perfect job on this series.  His style is clean, it’s bright, it’s exciting, and it’s chock full of fun details.  Just check out the slogan on Sofia’s t-shirt to see the little touches of personality he leaves on his characters that add tons of depth without being heavy-handed.

Verdict: A solid recommendation for any Marvel Zombie!

Quick Reviews:

The All New Atom #12 – This is one of the finest titles to come out of the “One Year Later” saga and yet it’s one of the lowest selling.  Let me go ahead and spell out why this book is so great: S-I-M-O-N-E.  Ms. Simone is an excellent writer, she seamlessly blends all the wacky ideas of Morrison into a book filled with great humor and fast paced action.  This particular issue sees Ryan return from his ghost busting trip, jet lagged and heart broken, but en route to Ivy Town he runs into a familiar cabby.  Hilarity ensues until he arrives home for even more fun as his collegiate pals and the Head have thrown him a welcome home party complete with Cheese Whiz.  Then, surprisingly, all the old Atom rogues show up for a prompt asskicking.  That’s not all though, as the usual quotable quotes are here as well as funny Ivy Town advertisements, and the return of Dwarfstar.  This issue’s also got a front page that will immediately suck you in.  Once you see it, you won’t be able to resist turning the page; it’s that funny.

Verdict: A great book that’s easily overlooked. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

G. I. Joe America’s Elite #24 – Cobra Commander is cold-blooded.  This story is the end of the “Sins of the Mother” arc and it’s got one hell of an ending.  What I find really entertaining about this Joe series is that unlike the 80’s toon, this book is serious and people not only die, but sometimes the Joe’s just straight up get their asses kicked as demonstrated here.  This one’s got double crosses, betrayals, and shady dealings.  It’s like watching one of those old secret spy espionage movies. For issue specifics, the Baroness has finally tracked down the man who kidnapped her child, Cobra Commander.  To make matters worse, the child’s father and Baroness’ lover, Destro, is protecting Cobra Commander from the Baroness because attacking the Commander would only put the child’s life at risk.  The Joe’s show up, get beat down, and that’s when the wheeling and dealing starts.  Oh yeah, if that doesn’t pique your interest, well in this one you get to see Destro unmasked.

Verdict: A great series for not only Joe fans but for anyone who enjoys the nostalgia of the 80’s updated for modern times.

Jonah Hex #20 – Good old Hex.  What I love about this series is that as a reader you know what to expect each and every issue.  Most issues are solid one-shots though occasionally a couple two-parters break out.  You can rest assured, though, that every issue will give you not only a satisfying story but a conclusion as well.   Curious about Hex? Think Batman meets the Punisher in the old west but with a lot more dark and adult humor.  That combination sound good? It is, and this book is comic gold month in and month out.  This particular issue features on Hex getting revenge in the only way that suits him, along the way he gets caught up in a mess with an old friend and has to show the mess makers who’s the real boss in town.  Hex is a tough, mean, uncaring, godless bastard and I absolutely love him for it.

Verdict: Another stand out issue showcasing the talents of the superior writing team of Gray and Palmiotti.

The Loser of the Week:

Omega Flight #3 – I just cannot get into this book.  Even with Beta Ray Bill’s appearance I still find myself wanting more.  There’s a word for this type of storytelling and it rhymes with luster-duck.  It’s not focused, the villains are just running around with out any clear purpose and the organization of the heroes is even more heavy-handed.  Basically there’s no methodology behind anything, instead there’s a lot of forced plotting and dialogue that just make me shake my head.  Also unlike the New Warriors there’s no real plan to set this book in the current goings-on of the rest of the Marvel U, which lends itself into even more mediocrity.  Kolins art is nice, but not nice enough for me to be proud of my purchase.  On the bright side that Annihilation Conquest ad sure is something, too bad it’s also in every other Marvel book this week.

Verdict: Pass.


The Great:

Welcome to Tranquility – How many Gail Simone books can one comic nerd be in love with at any given time? The answer: a lot.

Birds of Prey – Ice is back, she rocks; I love the Birds and the Six so this title gets high marks from me.

Irredeemable Ant-Man – You should all be buying this book, it goes places other comics never dreamed of going.  It’s a brilliant and hilarious work of comic art.

The Average:

Detective Comics – A great setup right until the end twist, which honestly just left me scratching my head.

Countdown – I would have enjoyed this book a lot more had someone bothered to fill me in on when Adam learned his magic word… and changed it.  That’s the sort of continuity derailing that really irks me.

Nightwing – Another ho-hum issue, not particularly bad, but there’s nothing special here either.

Outsiders – One more issue to go in this big crossover.  Lots of action and the Thinker is just awesome.

Superman – Love the Young Gods and Lightray, this arc’s really picking up steam.

Avengers: The Initiative – Some of the characters could use a little better characterization, but that’s my only complaint in what is a great, original series.

Ghost Rider: Trail of Tears – Story’s nothing special, but that Clayton Crain art is so smooth I don’t even care about the plot.

Iron Man – Good Lord does this book have a lot of killing and gore. Me likey!

Loners – I like this little offshoot team, they’ve got some energy to them.

Ms. Marvel – Tied for the Flash with “most turned around title this year”, great issue.

Marvel Zombies vs. AoD – Doom’s pontificating vs. Ash’s name calling makes this book a fun read.

Spawn – The reset is in full effect and so is hell itself.  Great stuff.

Uncanny X-Men – A fun book that is expertly drawn by Salvador Larroca, seriously the guy works magic here.

The Filler:

Supergirl – Three words: Hokey Cop Out

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