Friday, January 11, 2008
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artists: Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines
Publisher: Marvel Comics
On My Pull List? Yes
Hulk #1 skillfully carries on the momentum that World War Hulk started. Though no actual real-time Hulk action is depicted in this issue (making it interestingly similar in that regard to the Spider-Man-less Amazing Spiderman #546 & the Captain America-less current Cap run), his massive footprints (and, apparently, fingerprints) are everywhere in evidence.
Spoilers: Classic villain Abomination is apparently killed by the Hulk. With a gun. Meanwhile, a half-naked Rick Jones, who, despite the end of "WWH," is quite alive, roams the Russian countryside in a daze. Is he this mysterious "Red Hulk?" And the Winter Guard make an appearance, much to my boyfriend's delight (he loves those "global" teams).
I admit that I was very turned off by Jeph Loeb's recent writing for DC, but his work in Hulk #1 is both fast-paced and engaging. Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines's art is appropriately massive, and Loeb provides the sort of wide, open storytelling that plays that art to its biggest advantage. There are spreads so massive in this book you'll feel as if you're reading one of those old treasury editions.
A great start; I hope they keep it up.
Writer: Pete Tomasi
Artists: Rags Morales & Michael Bair
Publisher: DC Comics
On My Pull List? I will give it one more issue before deciding.
Nightwing enters a whole new phase with issue #140 and the new creative team of Tomasi, Morales, and Bair. With a story that takes place mostly in New York City instead of the familiar haunts of Gotham or Bludhaven and a far more realistic art style than I'm used to for this character, it certainly does feel like Dick Grayson's own "Brand New Day."
Tomasi's writing does not lack feeling for the characters or a penchant for manly action scenes (indeed, Dick's skydive at the beginning of the issue seemed more at home with a James Bond novel). However, the copious use of dialogue and narrative captions denotes more of a prose approach to a graphic medium. For example, the scene with Robin & Nightwing at the end of the issue -- there are a tremendous amount of words on those two pages.
It is really the art of Morales & Bair that are the showstoppers here. If ever there was a comic most likely to appeal to females based on the sexiness of the male superhero alone, it is Nightwing. If there ever was a male character in the DC roster in danger of being exploited for his good looks alone, it is Dick Grayson. The sheer number of gratuitous shower scenes featuring Mr. Grayson through the years testifies to that.
Simply put, the Dick Grayson (and Tim Drake, assuming he's of legal age) of Nightwing #140 is incredibly good-looking. It makes me wish Devin Grayson was still writing the book.
Teen Titans Lost Annual
Writer: Bob Haney
Artists: Jay Stephens & Mike Allred
Publisher: DC Comics
I watched this book grow from its inception while I was an assistant to its original editor, Dan Raspler; so it might be more valuable to my blog readers to give you some background to it in in addition to just a review.
If my memory serves me correctly, Bob Haney, a classic writer of Silver Age DC material, wrote the script for Teen Titans Lost Annual on a manual type writer, all in caps. Almost every other line ended with a double hyphen & double exclamation point. We stood around the office just looking in awe at the thing. And yet, it was the perfect vehicle for Jay Stephens & Mike Allred to express their love of that time period.
Titans Lost Annual was shelved before publication because it was considered "weird." A new Teen Titans title was launching, and it was believed the one-shot would confuse branding.
The thing is -- the book is weird. It features hippie cavemen going up against mod aliens in Beatles haircuts. And John F. Kennedy.
But, like last year's The Last Fantastic Four Story by Stan Lee, the book is a love-letter to a kinder, gentler period in comic book history. It was written by someone who wasn't trying to be ironic, but just wanted to tell an action-packed, fun story. On those merits, the book can be enjoyed.
But, the biggest draw is the art by Jay Stephens & Mike Allred. It is spot-on perfect. Plus, you get a cover & "sketchbook" by original Titans cover artist Nick Cardy. I would almost recommend that you get this for a child and let them enjoy the wonder of the early Titans stuff, if it wasn't for the inherent bizarreness & occasional deaths in the book.
But, would today's kids enjoy the 60s version of the Teen Titans, or the current "in continuity" comic, or Titans Year One, or even the upcoming Tiny Titans?
These are some damn sophisticated kids. I think it's Teen Titans Go! all the way.