Welcome to this week's installment of Quick Comic Reviews. For those of you just joining us, let me give you the run-down: each week, I'll review several comic books that you should check out. Last week, I mentioned that I didn't get any comics due to the shop being closed for inventory. I made up for it this week by getting TWO weeks' worth. Woo hoo! Grab a Yoo-Hoo and let's get going!
The Thing (Marvel): When I heard that Marvel was going to launch a solo series for the ever-loving, blue-eyed Thing, I was a bit skeptical, but went ahead and picked up issue one anyway. I thought it was good, so I came back for issue two. I really liked it, so I picked up three, and you know what? It was pretty good too. I'm adding it to my pull list. Anyway, The Thing finds himself transported to one of Arcade's Murderworlds, and he must work with Tony Stark to find a way out. I don't read the regular Fantastic Four title, so I wasn't aware of the character's current 'status quo,' a millionaire, or he and Alicia Masters separated. I admit that last one took me back a bit, as their relationship had been a hallmark of The Thing's character for years, but it's nice to shake things up. Besides, it's strongly hinted that she still loves Ben, so they may wind up getting back together.
Blackgas (Avatar): I mentioned last week that Warren Ellis is one of my favorite writers. His work can more or less be grouped into two categories: his superhero, work-for-hire material, like the Ultimate Galactus trilogy and Nextwave (see below); and then there's his creator-owned material. Blackgas falls into the latter category. At the core, it's a zombie comic, only this time the zombies are created by a mysterious gas that is released during seismic activity on an island. Two lovers, home from college, are the only ones not affected, and now must fight their way out. This was only the first issue, so it's a bit hard to tell how this mini-series will turn out, but if this issue is any indicator, it will be decent, but nothing great.
Nextwave (Marvel): You have to love a comic whose catchphrase is "Healing America by Beating People Up." Nextwave is the name of a team comprised of C-list Marvel characters like Photon, Elsa Bloodstone, Boom Boom and Machine Man. They're agents of H.A.T.E. (Highest Anti Terrorism Effort) and, at issue's end, find themselves face-to-face with Fin Fang Foom, a Chinese dragon who wears purple underpants. Yes, you read that right. The art is by Stuart Immonen, whom I've been a fan of for quite a while now. The story doesn't take itself too seriously, and if they keep the emphasis on the over the top aspects of it, they'll have a winner on their hands.
Hellblazer (DC/Vertigo): If you saw the movie Constantine, then you saw an Americanized version of this character. In reality, John Constantine (Hellblazer) is a working-class magician from England who gets by on his wits more than his magic. This issue marked the debut of new writer Denise Mina, a Scottish crime novelist. This makes Mina the first woman to be the title's regular writer. Different writers have brought different interpretations to the character--some focus more on the magical/occult aspects of the character, while others go for a more personal level. Mina seems to be taking a middle road. The story begins with a desperate man coming to Constantine to have him undo a curse. It sounds simple enough, but in Constantine's world, nothing is.
All-Star Superman (DC): The premise behind DC's All Star line is to allow top-tier creators to bring their own interpretation to classic characters, and not be fettered by years of continuity. The first offering was the train wreck known as All Star Batman. Folks, avoid that book at all costs. It's horrible. However, the line's second book, All Star Superman, is nothing short of amazing. Writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quietly give us a fresh take on the Superman mythos from Superman robots to the Fortress of Solitude, and at the same time make it feel totally contemporary. In issue one, Superman was exposed to a heavy dose of sunlight (from which he draws his powers) and is now dying. He begins putting his affairs in order, starting by revealing his secret identity to Lois Lane. Issue two begins with Superman taking Lois to the Fortress and revealing his plans for her--to give her an outfit that will make her, for one day, Superwoman!
Don't tell Shaun Corley what he can't do!