One Mad Dog

[Hitman Vol. 5: Who Dares Wins] – (Garth Ennis, John McCrea)
January 31, 2011, 8:28 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Garth Ennis, Hitman, John McCrea

Volume 5 “Who Dares Wins” collects #23 to #28 of the DC Hitman series written by Garth Ennis and Illustrated by John McCrea.  “Who Dares Wins” has Tommy Monaghan as the subject of two hits, one by the British SAS  as retaliation for a friendly fire incident and one by Mafia don “Men’s Room Louie”.  There are no demons or guest superheroes in this book but that doesn’t mean it is any less violent.  This is a very focussed story that concentrates on the four SAS guys trying to kill Tommy and everyone else who gets in their way. Ennis tries to flesh out the character of the SAS guys by the use of slang and accents but it doesn’t work well. I found that the slang and accents  made the story hard to read at times which spoiled the flow a little.

The art is in the same style as the other books in the series and as such it is nothing special.  I Found some of the gunfight scenes to be a little confusing and had to reread them a few times before I finally figured out who was killing who.  I also found that a lot of the characters looked very similar to each other which had me flicking back through the pages a few times. The paper stock is typical cheap comic book fare and a doesn’t really do the presentation any favors but it suits the art style.

I really enjoyed the story and it tears along at an action filled pace but the art and paper stock hold this book back from a higher score. I also thought the epilogue was a bit out of character with the rest of the “Hitman” series.  A solid read that may not appeal to all “Hitman” fans due to its focus on the SAS guys rather than Tommy. [ISBN-13: 978-1563897184]. 8/10

[Hitman Vol. 4: The Ace of Killers] – (Garth Ennis, John McCrea)
January 28, 2011, 9:28 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Garth Ennis, Hitman, John McCrea

This 4th trade in Garth Ennis’s “Hitman” series collects  issues #15 through #22 of Hitman. It sees a return to its demonic beginnings with Tommy Monaghann fighting a hit put on him by his old adversaries the Lords of the Gun. It also features a rather voluptuous Catwoman and the most insane group of superhero misfits ever “Section Eight”. This is a great story and my favorite book in the series so far. It is action packed and full of satire and comedic elements most of which are aimed at the regular superhero universe.  From the well written and well paced fight with the demon Mawzir to the funny hit on Santa Clause this was a book I found hard to put down.

The art is very much in the same style as the other books in the series and fits the story well. Either I am getting more used to McCrea ‘s art style or he is getting better as the series progresses. The paper stock is typical cheap comic book fare but the page count is healthy at close to 190 pages and as such it represents pretty good value.

If you liked the other Hitman books or Ennis’s run on “The Punisher” you should enjoy this book.  [ISBN-13: 978-1563896149]. 8/10

[Hitman Vol 3. : Local Heroes] – (Garth Ennis, John McCrea)
January 11, 2011, 5:32 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Garth Ennis, Hitman, John McCrea

“Local Heroes” is the third trade paperback in the Hitman series and it collects issues #9-14. There are two main story arcs contained within the book, “Local Heroes”  and “Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium”. Both stories follow the same format as the second Hitman trade, being a sort of a cross between “The Boys” and “The Punisher” , but leaning more towards the comedic elements of  “The Boys”.  There is violence a plenty but it doesn’t have the profanity or nudity of Ennis’s other work and definitely doesnt need a “MAX” label.

Out of the two stories I enjoyed “Local Heroes” the most and it  really progressed the Hitman story and supporting character development forward.  “Local Heroes” deals with corruption in both the police force and the government and features an appearance of the Green Lantern as a rather bumbling unwilling team up.  I have never read a “Green Lantern” story so I dont know if his inclusion would upset fans of that series or not.

“Zombie Night” is a much less serious story that draws upon cult movies for its inspiration. There are elements of  the Living Dead, Jaws, Army of Darkness and other classics a plenty.  It isn’t very Greenpeace friendly and doesn’t do anything to progress the story but it is an enjoyable romp.

John McCrea’s artwork is good but quite simplistic which fits nicely with the pulp fiction style of this series. It uses a standard “four color” comic palette and is printed on standard comic paper stock so it is nothing special in the presentation department.

If you enjoy Garth Ennis’s other work you should also enjoy this book. [ISBN-13: 978-1401228934]. 8/10

[Jonah Hex: Origins] – (Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Jordi Bernet, Phil Noto, Val Semieks)
January 7, 2011, 7:49 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jonah Hex, Jordi Bernet, Justin Gray, Phil Noto, Val Semieks

“Origins” collects issues #13 to #18 of the DC western series starring the disfigured bounty hunter Jonah Hex.  There are 3 main arcs collected in this TPB and they are all written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray:

  • “Retribution” with art by Jordi Bernet.
  • “The Ballad of Tallulah Black” with art by Phil Noto
  • “I Walk Alone” with art by  Val Semieks

The “Origins” in the title of this TPB references the story “Retribution” which gives a back story as to how Jonah hex became like he is. The artwork starts off very simplistic but seems to improve significantly as the story progresses. I am not sure if this is deliberate or that Jordi Bernet just became more comfortable with drawing Hex.

The second arc “”The Ballad of Tallulah Black”  is a great story featuring a woman who has been badly wronged and seeks out Jonah to help her get her revenge.  The art features the unique style and color pallete of Phil Noto which although quite simplistic still packs a visual punch. I am beginning to warm to Noto’s style of art but it still looks slightly out of place in Hex.

The final story is a gem on two accounts. Firstly the story is well crafted and packs a real shocker of a conclusion  and secondly it features the excellent art work of Val Semeiks who is my favorite Jonah Hex artist so far.   This story rounds off nicely the third Jonah Hex collected edition  which is a series that is showing no signs of losing its mojo.

Jonah Hex origins is strongly recommended for fans of the series and fans of the western genre. [ISBN-13: 978-1401214906] . 8/10

[Jonah Hex : Guns of Vengeance] – (Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Luke Ross, Dylan Teague, Val Semieks, Tony Dezuniga, Phil Noto, David Michael Beck, Paul Gulacy)

“Guns of Vegeneance” collects issues #7 to #12 of the ongoing DC Jonah hex Western series. All the stories are written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin gray.

  • “One wedding and fifty funerals”  illustrated by Luke Ross.
  • “Never turn a blind eye” illustrated by Dylan Teague and Val Semieks.
  • “Getting un-haunted” illustrated by Tony Dezuniga.
  • “Gator bait” illustrated by Phil Noto.
  • “The Hanging Tree” illustrated by David Michael Beck.
  • “Bloodstained Snow” illustrated by Paul Gulacy.

This second collected edition of the disfigured bounty hunter Jonah Hex continues on with the high standards set in the first volume.  If you liked the first book or you like westerns  you will like this one.  I really enjoyed every story with the exception of “Getting un-haunted” which in my opinion was overly complex and quite hard to follow. It was still a good story with a satisfying ending but a bit more Twilight Zone than classic western.

The art in “Jonah Hex” is a real treat for the eyes and absolutely spot on for the Western genre. The art is of a very high standard throughout with Tony Dezuniga and Phil Noto being the weakest links. This is not to say that their work was poor it is just that their styles appealed to me less.  I am not a huge fan of  Tony DeZuniga’s scratch art style and I am not sure if that had some bearing in “Getting un-haunted” being my least favorite story in the book. Special mention should go to Val Semieks, who’s art style I really enjoyed, and Paul Gulacy for his incredibly detailed renditions.

Jonah Hex volume 2 has some fantastic art, great western stories and is printed on good quality paper. I can really reccomend it to fans of the western genre. [ISBN-13: 978-1401212490]. 8/10