This week, yet again, I spent a crap-ton of money on comic books. Was it absolutely necessary? Of course not. Was it worth it? Definitely. This week I got a smorgasbord of comics with a healthy smattering of both mainstream and independent work. Comic of the week? The Royal Historian of Oz by Tommy Kovac and Andy Hirsch. Here we go!
Strange Science Fantasy #5
Story and art: Scott Morse
Unfortunately this month’s issue os SSF is a little less strange than the rest. Here we’ve got a familiar character type, the goon with a heart of gold, and the story follows a very predictable plot. Gone is the quirky madness of the previous four issues’ main characters. We’re left with a boxer who’s a mix between Mr. Fantastic and Ivan Ooze.
Is it enjoyable? Absolutely, and the page layout is still a welcome relief from standard comic thoroughfare. However it just doesn’t quite measure up to the previous books. They were strikingly original, if not in story then in design and appeal, “The Foolish Fling is Goin’ Soft” cozies up to convention and willfully plays to cliche. While still a fun read, you’ll be left wanting more if you’ve read issues one through four.
Story: Robert Kirkman
Art: Ryan Ottley
I’ve always enjoyed Invincible. In this issue, as usual, Ottley’s art is absolutely brutal and Kirkman keeps the story clipping about at a nearly frenetic pace right from the get go. This is it, the Viltrumite War is almost over and I can’t wait to see who survives.
My only qualm would have to be the $5.99 price point. We got 40 or so pages of Invincible and then Science Dog and Tek Jacket backups, neither of which I care about. I just feel a little cheated because when I picked up the book and felt how thick it was I kinda drooled a little (that’s what she said!) thinking about how much ass-kickery was going on inside. Other than that, I really enjoyed this issue.
Green Lantern Corps #53
Story: Tony Bedard
Pencils: Tyler Kirkham
The GL Corps and the Sinestro Corps have formed a truce. Now the green and yellow ring slingers won’t be blowing each other to bits and they’ll have to find a way to get along. Then the Weaponer of Qward comes along looking for Sinestro.
The Weaponer looks very cool and I’m reminded a little of a steampunk Hawkman when I look at him, minus the wings. I trust that Bedard’s taking us in a cool new direction, possibly to the birthplace of fear itself, and that prospect excites me. Kirkham’s pencils, for the most part, look great and some of Kyle’s battle gear looks simply awesome, but occassionally the pencils and the inks get a bit sloppy and where first their were tight blacks it almost looks like someone was outlining with a sharpie. This book continues to entertain and I’m looking forward to what happens next.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger #3
Story: Roger Landridge
Pencils: Christopher Samnee
This is one of the best books coming out of Marvel right now. Roger Landridge and Chris Samnee have struck really struck a chord with their retelling of Thor’s origins here on Earth. There’s no confusing Donald Blake madness, just Thor sans memories strolling about Midgard. It harkens back to a simpler time in comics, and it’s an innocence that Samnee captures on every panel.
This issue Thor meets Giant Man and Wasp, but visions from Loki cloud the Thunderer’s mind and he winds up battling his future teammate, believing him to be a frost giant. Sure the action is fun, but that’s not what makes this book click.
The Mighty Avenger’s indelible charm lies in the interactions between Thor and Jane Foster. It’s her arm locked with his when she takes him shopping for new clothes, it’s her teaching him what a telephone is, or introducing him to the television. With each passing moment you can see the two of them falling, little by little, in love. I really really really like this book. Here the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and everyone goes home happy. Oh, and Samnee gives Thor some priceless facial expressions. Done.
The Claw and Fang
Story: Matias Batla
Art: Mike Kutcher
I don’t see too much new, original material coming out of Bluewater Comics these days, so I couldn’t help but pick this up. Granted, this one isn’t so much new as it actually came out in April… but you know. It’s new to me. Anyway, what I can tell you is that you may be drowned in melodrama upon picking up this book.
The main character works a dead end job only to escape every evening into a fictional, digital, wonderland, what appears to be WoW type MMORPG. Witchcraft and wizardry is involved. Demons hunt the land of the living unbeknownst to most people. Justin, our protagonist is followed by a narrator who speaks in lofty, archaic, epic language that frankly doesn’t quite fit his depressingly humdrum life.
The art is decent but the color palette is incredibly sparse. The only colors that the book contains happen to be black, white, gray, and an ochre color. Nothing really jumps off the page. Then again, this is the 1st issue, but I’m on the fence as to whether or not I want to find the rest. While it seems like this book has a lot of potential, I’m not sure I care enough to find the rest.
Chaos War #3
Story: Greg Pak and Fred VanLente
Pencils: Khoi Pham
This issue’s punching, lightning-ing, lasering, and smashing looks SO good thanks to Khoi Pham. He’s been dropping some seriously wicked pencils in this series and I love it. There’s just something about his line work, it’s brilliant.
So far though we haven’t seen much of Herc or Amadeus. True, the Lion of Olympus did gather the troops and marshall them off into space, or wherever they went, but so far he’s done very little smashing. Here we get to watch Herc cut loose on his dad and some of the other revived gods of the underworld.
What makes this series so much fun is the scope. The God Squad is fighting for the continued existence of the Universe. Even Galactus is getting in on this action! Pak and Vanlente know how to write a fun comic but Herc needs some more action here. Blurb over and done with.
Warriors Three #1
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Neil Edwards
I wasn’t very impressed by this first issue here. Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg are by all accounts three of the most entertaining characters in the Norse Pantheon. While most of the gods of the Aesir are grim and stoic these three (ok not so much Hogun) add a welcome bit of mirth to their world.
Unfortunately, despite a glimmer of fun at the very beginning of the issue, most of the book is a dreary ride. BUT, this series definitely has some serious potential with the inclusion of A.I.M. agents and what appear to be pretty ones at that if the cover for #2 is any indicator. I’m hoping that Willingham has some tricks up his sleeve because if this book continues on it’s current path it’s destined for something much less than greatness.
The Royal Historian of Oz
Story: Tommy Kovac
Art: Andy Hirsch
On to the best comic of the week, yet another book that isn’t technically “new” but shut up, its new to me. Umm… I don’t really know where to start, but how about a quick synopsis? Basically, sometime in the not so distant future, in a world that’s not quite to magical, there’s an authors guild, a society that only allows “good” adaptations of Frank L. Baum’s Oz books to exist.
Unfortunately for our main character, Frank Frizzle, his father Jasper only knows how to write bad Frank L. Baum adaptations and the society is coming for him. The Oz society, creditors, the bank, everyone’s trying to take down his dad. But then Jasper finds a pair of silver slippers, THE silver slippers of the good witch of the east and everything changes.
First things first, this book is funny. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the irony that it itself is yet another adaptation of the Oz mythos is sure to get a few chuckles. But better than that both characters, both father and son, have so much room to grow. The dad is still a kid at heart, apparently unequipped to deal with the real world he escapes into mythical Oz. His son was forced to grow up quick and it seems like he’s been forced into early adulthood because of his father’s childish tendencies.
The art is fantastic! Even though it’s in black and white some panels seem to just jump off the page and the detail, well you’ll definitely want to read this one twice. I guarantee you’ll find something new the second time around. This book begs to be read a couple of times at least and in all honesty I’ll probably be back for fourths by the time this week is up. If you can, get out and find this book. You’ll be glad you did.