One Mad Dog

[Jonah Hex – Only The Good Die Young] – (Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Phil Noto, Jordi Bernet, David Michael Beck)

Jonah Hex – “Only the Good Die Young” is the 4th TPB in the Jonah Hex series and it collects issues #19 to 24. It includes the following stories:

  • #19 “Texas Money” with art by Phil Noto.
  • #20 “Unfinished Business”  with art by Phil Noto.
  • #21 “Devil’s Paw” with art by Jordi Bernet.
  • #22 “The Current War” with art by Phil Noto.
  • #23 “Who Lives and Who Dies” with art by Jordi Bernet.
  • #24 “All Hallows Eve”  with art by David Michael Beck.

“Texas Money” and “Unfinished Business” cover one story arc and form a pretty average Hex story. I found Phil Noto’s art to be very inconsistent and I didnt warm to it at all. I really don’t like how he draws Hex either.

“The Devils Paw” featured Jordi Bernetts excellent art style that In my opinion  fits Jonah Hex perfectly. It was a classic Hex story of revenge that has a very satisfying conclusion.

“The Current War” was an unusual Hex tale with a bit of a steam punk feel to it. Hex meets up with Thomas Eddison and the story explores Eddisons reputation for stealing other peoples ideas. Although it wasn’t a bad read I found the whole thing a bit unsatisfying.  Noto’s art did nothing to add to the story.

“Who Lives and Who Dies” was the highlight of this collection for me with a really good story told through the eyes of a schoolteacher and blessed with excellent art by Jordi Bernet.  I enjoyed how this story explored moral dilemmas and the end of the Native Americans without any misplaced sentiment.

“All Hallows Eve” featured impressive almost photo realistic art by David Beck.  It was a bit of Horror Genre departure for Hex and I imagine this issue was released around October 31st . I really enjoyed this story and it was my second favorite story in this book.

“Only the Good Die Young” is a nice addition to the ongoing Hex series but with a slightly weaker overall impression than the previous three volumes.  This book should still appeal to Hex fans and it took me a while to find it. ISBN-13: 978-1401216894. 7/10

[52, Vol 2] – (Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen)
July 27, 2011, 11:36 pm
Filed under: 52, 6 Stars, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Keith Giffen, Mark Waid

When I first started reading volume 1 of DC’s “52” I was in a state of confusion. All the characters and names thrown at me were bewildering.  The more I read the more things started to fall into place and the more I began to enjoy the book. By the end of the first volume I couldn’t wait to start book 2. The strange thing is that in volume 2 I am just as bewildered by the characters and and I still find the stories and subplots a bit confusing.  I have to disclose that I do not read superhero books as a rule so I doubt that I am the target audience for book like this.

Just like Volume 1 the special bonus material after each chapter featuring creator comments and breakdown sketches was the highlight of the book for me. These sections really helped me to make some sense of what was going on.

The artwork is pretty good and consistent throughout which is a surprise considering the number of different artists. The art breakdowns of Keith Geffen seem to be the reason behind this consistency. The coloring makes the stories really standout and it fits the over the top superhero universe perfectly.

Artists (pencils):

  • Week 14 : Dale Eaglesham
  • Week 15 : Shawn Moll
  • Week 16 : Joe Bennet
  • Week 17 : Chris Batista
  • Week 18 : Eddy Barrows
  • Week 19 : Patrick Olliffe
  • Week 20 : Chris Batista
  • Week 21 : Joe Bennet
  • Week 22 : Eddy Barrows
  • Week 23 : Drew Jonson
  • Week 24 : Phil Jimenez
  • Week 25 : Joe Bennet, Dale Eaglesham, Phil Jimenez, Patrick Olliffe
  • Week 26 :  Patrick Olliffe

It is hard to recommend this book to non DC universe fans as the widely dispersed story requires some prior knowledge of the bewildering multitude of characters thrown at the reader. I must say that I still found it to be an enjoyable read despite not knowing what was going on for most of the book and having little empathy for the characters. ISBN-13: 978-1401213640. 6/10.

[The Goon Volume 6: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker] – (Eric Powell)
July 14, 2011, 6:03 pm
Filed under: 9 stars, Eric Powell, The Goon

Volume 6 is a departure for the Goon series as it takes on an all together more serious tone. Eric explores the Goon’s early history from his time in the circus to his fledgling steps as a gang leader. The Goon’s loves, betrayals and friendship with Frankie are all fleshed out so that the reader finally understands what made the Goon the man he is today.  On top of the great back stories there is also an impressive adversary in the form of the mysterious Mr. wicker driving through the narrative. Going all deep and serious on a comic series that is normally light hearted and funny could have been a disaster for Eric Powell but instead he created a masterpeice. 

The artwork in “Chinatown” is gorgeous and it captures the moods and emotions of the story perfectly.  Eric chose to use different color washes to illustrate the different time periods of the story and this works really well.  Every page is a pleasure to the eye and I found myself going back just to look at the pictures several times after finishing the story.

Not only does this book have great art and great story but there are some great extras too.  This is a Goon book that people who are not fans of the series could pick up and read as a standalone novel and still enjoy.  I consider this to be the best book in the Goon series so far and it really does pack an emotional punch. ISBN-13: 978-1595824066. 9/10

[Kingdom: The Promised Land] – (Dan Abnett, Richard Elson)
July 12, 2011, 10:42 pm
Filed under: 2000AD, 9 stars, Dan Abnett, Richard Elson

This trade paper back contains two story arcs from the 2000AD comic book series Kingdom.

  • “Kingdom” originally published in 2000AD progs #1518 to #1525
  • “The Promised Land” originally published in 2000AD progs #1567 to #1576.

“Kingdom” is the story of  “Gene the Hackman” who is a lifeform derived from a genetically modified dog soldier. In an apocalyptic future world, Gene and his kind patrol the lands of Antarctica  trying to eliminate the “Them” who are a virulent species of evolved insects that have all but wiped out all other life on the planet.

“Kingdom” is full of action and bloody battles but it also has an interesting back story on the nature of the  demise of the masters (mankind) and hence civilization. The characters are developed nicely and the story has excellent pacing which reads very well in trade format. Richard Elson’s art is good and has a typical 2000AD feel to it. The art fits the story well although the color pallete is a bit dour.

“Promised Land”  follows Gene’s adventures after he crosses the land bridge and he finds a human colony known as the promised land.  This is an absolutely cracking story with really good art and a fantastic twist. Elson’s art and coloring is exponentially better than the first story and helps define this as a true 2000AD classic.

ISBN-13: 978-1907519871. 9/10

[Bomb Queen Omnibust Volume 1 – HC] – (Jimmie Robinson)
July 11, 2011, 8:58 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Jimmie Robinson

The deluxe, OVERSIZED hardcover collects Bomb Queen #1-4, Bomb Queen II #1-3, and Bomb Queen III #1-4 plus a boat load of extras. This isnt a book for everyone as it contains lots of nudity, violence, bad language, rape, Incest, torture and many other forms of disturbing moral deviency. You wouldnt want to read this book on a train full of church folk for example.

 The hero of the story “Bomb Queen” is a villain that runs a city fit for the dregs of society with every type of sordid crime perfectly acceptable inside her designated crime zones. She is aided by a strange cat, a stolen super computer and what is quite frankly one of the most ludicrously low cut costumes I have ever seen. There is little in the way of any realism in the portrayal of the female characters in this book and it in no way should it be taken seriously. The common plot theme running throughout the three volumes is the attempts of the shadow goverment to unseat Bomb Queen from her postion of power.

 Although the stories are very adult in nature there isnt really much depth or consequence so the whole experience feels pretty light hearted. I found it difficult to have a lot of empathy for Bomb Queen but as her supporting characters were even more loathsome you end up routing for her. Out of the 3 stories I enjoyed the second the most and this story really stood out for me. It managed to convey some vunerablility to the Queen which is in my opinion is a quality often lacking with superhero books. The third book was a little too “Superheroey” for me but it rounded off the collected edition nicely.

The artwork is really nicely done with great use of color to lighten the tone of the graphic violence. I really enjoyed the art and not just for the obvious reasons. If you take time to study the backgrounds there are some truly nasty things going on. The sort of things that make you say out loud “I cant believe they put that in a comic book”. The included extras were a welcome addition including some great art concepts and interesting insights into the mind of the creator. Omnibust is a nicely presented book that is a pleasure to look at and an easy read if you are not easily offended. 8/10. ISBN-13: 978-1607061304.