One Mad Dog

[Hitman : Volume 1 : A Rage In Arkham] – (Garth Ennis, John McCrea)
July 20, 2010, 10:38 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Garth Ennis, Hitman, John McCrea

This collected edition contains Hitman #1-3, Demon annual #2 and Batman Chronicles #4.  This isn’t just another Punisher variant by Garth Ennis, this book is an all together lighter and more bizarre read.  It is a bit like the love child of Spawn, The Punisher and the Boys.  The “Hitman” is a hired killer with a strong morale code that doesn’t allow him to kill good guys. After an encounter with a Demon he ends up with X-Ray vision and the ability to read minds which improves his hit man abilities to the point where he can take on supervillains and the like. Hitman is set in Gotham city but it isnt your fathers Gotham.  It features classic Batman locations and crime lord style action but mixes in grotesque and at times comical demons .  It took me a little while to warm to the over the top style action but Garth’s witty writing won me over and by the final story, about a hit on the Joker,  I was hooked. John McCea’s comic book style artwork is appropraite and actually gets better as the series progresses. It culminates in some satisfying artwork  in the Arkham story which is also the high point of the book.  Rage In Arkham is printed on standard comic book stock paper so it is nothing special in the presentation department  but the content more than makes up for that.  [ISBN-13: 978-1563893148]. 8/10


[The Man With No Name Vol 2 – Holiday In The Sun] – (Luke Lieberman, Matt Wolpert, Diego Bernhard)
July 18, 2010, 9:03 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Diego Bernhard, Luke Lieberman, Man With no Name, Matt Wolpert

Luke Lieberman and Matt Wolpert have done a fantastic job with this second  “Man With No Name” graphic novel for Dynamite. They have really captured a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western movie feel to “Holiday In The Sun” with  excellent pacing, dialog and action.  It is very faithful to the “Man With No Name” movies even though the characters drawings only hint at their real life counterparts.  The book has great art work by Diego Bernhard and it is printed on good quality glossy paper. There is not much in the way of extras but it is $5 cheaper than volume 1.  This is a great edition to the Graphic novel Western genre that seems to be having a bit of a renaissance  of late.  [ISBN-13: 978-1606901311]. 8/10

[The Lone Ranger Volume 2 : Lines Not Crossed] – (Brett Matthews, Sergio Cariello, Paul Pope, John Cassaday)
July 18, 2010, 7:15 pm
Filed under: 6 Stars, Brett Matthews, John Cassaday, Lone Ranger, Paul Pope, Sergio Cariello

“Lines Not Crossed” continues the story of the Lone Ranger and Tonto from where book 1 left off, collecting issues 6 to 11.  The main threads of this TPB are the fall and rise of the Lone Rangers arch enemy Cavendish and further exploration of the Rangers no kill policy. The Lone Rangers unique brand of justice seems out of step with the western setting and he takes on almost a Batman like persona at times (he even has a cave hideout).  It gets him in trouble in this book when he rescues a Mexican fugitive who is perhaps undeserving of  the rangers brand of justice.  The art is excellent again and the Wolf Sequence from Paul Pope is worth particular mention even if the story that went with it was a little strange.  Not as satisfying as the first TPB in relation to the story but the artwork is as good if not better than the first.  [ISBN-13: 978-1933305660]. 6/10

[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