One Mad Dog

[The Lone Ranger Vol 1 : Now and Forever] – (Brett Matthews, Sergio Cariello, John Cassaday)
July 18, 2010, 5:17 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Brett Matthews, John Cassaday, Lone Ranger, Sergio Cariello

I have never been a big fan of the “Lone Ranger”, my only real experience of the character was the campy TV series I watched as a kid.  I decided to give this TPB a try as I was impressed by Dynamite’s other Western efforts and I wasnt dissapointed. Book 1 collects the first 6 issues of the series where the origins of The Lone Ranger, his sidekick Tonto and his horse Silver are explained.  There is nothing campy about this book and the transformation of  boy John into the Lone ranger is brought about by an extremely violent series of events. The pacing of the book is very good and it builds to a great climax through a series of flashbacks and well fleshed out villains.

The artwork fits the story perfectly and it looks really good on the nice glossy paper. The full page spreads deserve a special mention as they are pleasure to behold.   The extras in the TPB include some great character development pencils and story boards.  It has a similar look and feel to Dynamite’s other westerns but in common with these I don’t think it is good value at $19.99 for 160 pages.  A  good read though. [ISBN-13: 978-1933305400]. 7/10

[Man With No Name Volume 1 – Sinners and Saints] – (Christos Gage, Wellington Dias)
July 18, 2010, 6:58 am
Filed under: 7 stars, Christos Gage, Man With no Name, Wellington Dias

This collected edition is set just after the end of Sergio Leone’s movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” .  The settings and characters are straight out of the “Man With No Name” trilogy.  Book 1 is the story of  the Man with No name and his efforts to protect the Mission that saved his life. I think the artists and writer have done a great job of capturing the feel of the spaghetti western movies in print. The artwork is a pleasure to look at and the story is enjoyable. The extras include a cover gallery but none of the covers are particularly special. Even though the artwork looks vibrant on the good quality paper of this TPB, I feel the cover price is a little expensive for 140 pages. [ISBN-13: 978-1606900123]. 7/10

[Tom Strong Book 1] – (Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, Arthur Adams, Gary Frank, Cam Smith, Dave Gibbons, Jerry Ordway)

Tom Strong is a superhero comic book with a classic feel to it. The characters are almost Victorian in values and although much of the book is set in some strange vision of the future, it also calls upon key events in human history such as WW2.  Tom Strong was born a regular human but became super strong  when his parents kept him in a 5 times gravity chamber until he was 11 and fed him on some strange root from a lost tribe.  He is also super smart and uses his science skills to fight evil. Tom doesn’t fight alone, he is supported by his wife (also from the lost tribe), daughter, a talking ape and a steam powered robot.

The stories in this collected edition are enjoyable and have a pulp fiction weekly comic book style to them. The  artwork is excellent and the color pallet vibrant. Although there are futuristic elements, the book has a bit of a steam punk look to it. I don’t always enjoy Alan Moore’s work but I think this is the type of thing he does best. [ISBN-13: 978-1563896644]. 8/10

[Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Woods] – (Jeff Lemire)
July 17, 2010, 10:00 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth

Jeff Lemire was the author and artist of one of my favorite books of last year,  the excellent “Essex County Trilogy”, and he has a great talent for character development and a unique style of drawing. With “Sweet Tooth” Lemire has managed to recreate the magic but with even better artwork and this time in full color.  “Sweet Tooth” is an engaging story of a post apocalyptic world where children are born as hybrids. The star of the book, Gus, is a deer hybrid and has lived his life in isolation with his father. Once his father dies, Gus ends up being attacked by hunters and rescued by a drifter called Jepperd. Jepperd  is not all that he seems.  Highly reccomended. [ISBN-13: 978-1401226961]. 8/10

[The Complete Robusters] – (Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Chris Stevens, Carlos Pino, Dave Gibbons, Ian Kennedy, Jose Lewis Ferrer, Kevin O,Neil, Kev.F Sutherland, Dave Harwood, Steve Dillon, Bryan Talbot, Joe Eckers, Mike Dorey)

The Monthly UK Comic book Starlord was a huge thing for me when I was a kid. It was unlike any other comic I had ever read and I instantly became hooked. I still vividly remember the first issue that my mum bought me to read on a train trip to visit my grandparents. One of my favourite story lines in Starlord was “Robusters” and it is great to finally see it collected in one large TPB. The good news is that the adventures of Rojaws and Hammerstein are as good as I remember them to be. The bad news is that the book is just Black and White and I seem to remember some of the stories were originally in Colour. The other bad thing is that the book looks like it was made by photocopying the original comics. Some of the pages have blurry bands running down the middle and occasionally information is cropped off the top of the page.
Robusters is sort of like Thunderbirds but with ill behaved Robots and tyranical human bosses. It has that typical Pat Mills feel to it where every story has a not so hidden undercurrent that pokes fun at the class system, politics, the publishers or other social issues. The writing is witty and the artwork excellent for a comic series.

My favorite story is the “Terra-Meks” that features the writing of Pat Mills and the artwork of Dave Gibbons.  A true British Comic classic. [ISBN-13: 978-1905437825]. 8/10

[Human Target: Chance Meetings] – (Peter Milligan, Edvin Biukovic, Javier Pulido)
July 13, 2010, 4:34 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Edvin Biukovic, Javier Pulido, Peter Milligan

Human target is based upon the exploits of Christopher Chance, a man who isnt a superhero but who has an incredible talent for taking on someone elses persona both mentally and physically. He puts his gift to use as a doppleganger for hire, especially for people in risk of assasination. Human Target had me hooked from the first page and it has a really compelling story line that keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat. The dialogue and inner monolgues are well written and the action moves on a great pace. It is violent at times but certainly not to the level of books like “the  Punisher” or “100 bullets”.
The artwork does a good job of conveying the action but it suffers a little from a muddy and grainy pallette which seems common to most “Vertigo” books. Recommended for readers who like gritty crime dramas with a twist. If you enjoyed “100 bullets” you will probably enjoy this. [ISBN-13: 978-1401226664]. 7/10

[Army of Darkness Omnibus 1] – (John Bolton, Andy Hartnell, Nick Bradshaw, James Kuhoric, Sanford Greene, Kevin Sharpe, Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Filip Sablick, Shawn Spurlock, Robert Place Napton, Michael O’Hare, Paul Azaceta, Nick Acs)

This Omnibus collects A movie adaption by “John Bolton” and four story arcs from the ongoing series – “Ashes to Ashes”, “Shop till You Drop (Dead)”, “Ash vs. Re-Animator” and “Old School”. It also contains the shorts stories presented in “Tales of the Army of Darkness” and a complete cover gallery.

The movie adaptation does a good pretty good Job of capturing the story of the “Army of Darkness Movie” but the art is a little uninspiring and if you have seen the movie many times, like I have, it is a bit too familiar to make the read that interesting.

“Army of Darkness Ashes to Ashes” Follows on from the end of the first book (Movie) with an altogether more interesting art style. It is quite cartoony and reminiscent of the “Metal Slug” video games or scooby Doo but it fits perfectly with the slap stick nature of Ash’s exploits. The story follows the same formula as the movie and is full of the corny one lines Bruce Campbell is so famous for. “Army of Darkness Shop till you drop dead” and “Army of Darknessvs Re-animator” follow the same formula with what seems to be progressively insaner plots including time travel and crazy monsters. “Army of Darkness Old School” has a bit of change in art direction to a more serious dark and grainy style. The story isnt quite as zany as the other installments and it harks back more to the Living Dead era. The art style is a lot closer to what you would expect in a Horror Graphic novel rather than the comic style elsewhere in this omnibus. Definitely ‘Old School”
“Tales from The Army of Darkness” is a bit of a mixed bag both in terms of content and artistic style but there is something in there that will appeal to most people. I particularily enjoyed the artwork of “Filip Sablick” and “Michael O’Hare”. One of my favorite comic book authors “Robert Kirkman” pens one of the stories and it is pretty good too.

The full selection of covers at the end are a very nice bonus and feature some fantastic artwork.  [ISBN-13: 978-1606901007] . 6/10.