New Comics Review: 8/17/11 Releases

Welcome to the inaugural posting of Stuff We Like’s look at a handful of the week’s newly released comic books!

The Marvel Universe vs Wolverine #3 of 4 (Marvel Comics)

Written by Jonathan Maberry
Penciled by Laurence Campbell

Jonathan Maberry is relentless in his quest to detail exactly how you kill all of the superheroes we have all grown to love and I cannot get enough!  In this grim prequel to last year’s The Marvel Universe vs The Punisher, Maberry captures the audience with a splendid combination of almost believable science and amazing action scenes. This issue dives deeper into the history set up in the aforementioned Punisher mini-series as heroes fight an uphill battle against a highly contagious virus that turns civil minded people into savage, almost primitive, versions of their forms colleagues.

The action in any comic is only as good as the artistic talent guiding the pencils allows it to be and Laurence Campbell does not slack on the job. Keeping true to the dark nature of the story, Campbell does a near perfect job bringing Maberry’s words to paper. There are some points where I want to see exactly how monstrous this infected Hulk looks but the lighting of the scene does not allow for that.

The Bottom Line: Overall it is a strong book that I had initially overlooked at first. The book does a great job of pointing out the basics of who is who to new comic readers without sacrificing pacing or action.  The only sad thing is that this entire series has been buried under the weight of mega event Fear Itself. If Marvel had given this book just a little press I am sure we would be talking about this like we were talking about the original Marvel Zombies series a few years ago. Go out and buy this book!

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All Nighter #3 of 5 (Image Comics)

Story & Art by David Hahn

When I go to the comic shop I find it is always nice to break up the monotony of men in flashy tights beating up other men in less flashy tights. That is when you can find me balls deep in the indie shelf (or bin) looking for the next black and white adventure that parallels experiences from my own life. So imagine my lack of surprise when I found David Hahn’s All Nighter, a book about a girl named Kit in her twenties dealing with the typical things like roommates, relationships, and spending most of he free time at either parties or at the local 24 hour diner.

Opening up where the last issue left of during a pool party at a ridiculously bug house, David’s writing does a decent job of capturing the recklessness of youth as well as the modern-ish dialog. You almost feel like you really know the dude who is juggling two girls as he tries to find a way to end things with one of them, the poor owner of the diner who has to deal with these characters every night, or even the kleptomaniac who cruises around parties looking for items to “liberate” from their owners. The ending of the book is pretty optimistic despite the downturn that we know is eventually going to come. No matter what age you are there are people portrayed in this series that most of us have had intimate encounters with at one point or another in our lives and I think that part of the appeal is that the personal relation factor of the tale is pretty high up there.

Hahn’s contribution doesn’t just end at the script either; he is also the artist on the book. His style is pretty simple and plain but that is what books like this go for so the fit is perfect. The black and white scale art images have the really indie feel to it and the characters almost look Haspiel-ish in his approach but are uniquely his own. The scenery looks pretty good, I was able to follow along and know what the orientation of the setting was without difficulty even if some smaller panels had no background.

The Bottom Line: This book is without a doubt an escape from my regular pulls. If you are into Woody Allen films or if you are looking for something new then I highly suggest this book. This is something I will more than likely purchase in the collected edition format just so I can lend it to friends.

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The Boys – Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker #2 of 6 (Dynamite Entertainment)

Written by Garth Ennis
Penciled by Darick Robertson

Garth Ennis is a sick man who should be locked away and observed for a bit to make sure he isn’t a mass murderer. There, I finally got that off of my chest after fifteen years of reading this man’s stuff. That said, lets get right to the review, shall we? One of the most badass of badass characters, Butcher is one hell of a Brit to try and mess with. I love how the whole time he is narrating his time at war and beyond to his dead bastard of a father we get the sense that he was fine with never having the man’s love. It’s like he revels in the fact!

In this spinoff mini-series from Butcher’s regular stomping ground on The Boys Ennis has finally delivered the story of how this man got to be such a mofo to begin with.  Like I said before, the whole thing is being narrated to his dead father, whom he has not seen in a very long time, at a wake that nobody else attended. The whole setting reeks of the Ennis-isms that we have all come to love right down to the dialog filled with all of the British terminology you would come to expect from his other titles. The story does jump around a bit but since the whole point is that the main character is telling someone  his history it makes sense that he would skip to the important stuff.

Darick’s art works well with Ennis’ script. These two have been paired off for years now and that partnership translates well to the pages in this issue. Characters are clear and the backgrounds are full. Although the gore does come off a bit comical at times I think that is the way it was meant to be perceived.

The Bottom Line: Pick this up if you are already a fan of The Boys. If you are not already on that series you might enjoy this one but there are many little hints at things mentioned in previous story arcs that you will not fully enjoy.

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The Lightning Round!

Here is a small number of the other books that were released this week and how I quickly rate them. The rating system I will be using will be ranked as:

New Release – This book is the bee’s knees. Buy this comic as soon as the issues arrive in the store!
TPB – It is okay. If you are vaguely interested then wait for the trade paperback or hardcover.
Bargain Bin – Almost a total pass that I would only touch just so i could move it out of the way in the cheap bins.

Generation Hope #10 (Marvel Comics)
Tying directly into this week’s X-Men: Schism, this issue tells almost the same story but from the kid’s point of view. I always love stories where we can see something from a different perspective and this issue does that right. While these are still largely unfamiliar characters I am willing to say that the remainder of the storyline will be worth buying. New Release (for now)

The Walking Dead #88 (Image Comics)
Rick continues to fight the good fight in the never-ending battle of Man vs Nature vs Zombies. This book has decent character moments towards the end with lots of talking beforehand. I feel like something is building though but I have been feeling that since I read the first trade, and while there are moments of intense cover to cover action this issue is not one of them. TPB

Zatanna #16 (DC Comics)
Another of the many final issues DC is releasing before the line-wide relaunch, this issue is a send off to this version of the character. I have tried this series a number of times and just could not get into it, this issue is well done but just not for me right now. TPB

Ultimate Fallout #6 (Marvel Comics)
Three creative teams bringing us three stories in the finale of the mini-series that straddles the line between being an epilogue and a prologue to the Ultimate Universe. One group arrives at a new home while others depart for one, S.H.I.E.L.D. gears up for the next phase, and wait till you see what Nick Fury has to tell Mary Jane. The issue is okay by itself but would read much better in a collected volume. TPB

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Collected Edition Of The Week

Invincible Compendium Vol 1 (Image Comics)
Invincible was for me one of those books that started out just okay but then that slow burn made it something that I HAVE to read as soon as the issues are released. If you have not checked this series out I highly suggest you buy this whopping collection of the first FORTY SEVEN issues. You will see everything from the rise and fall of Omni-Man to Invincible becoming Earth’s premiere hero.

This series was created by Robert Kirkman and came out at the same time his other hit series, The Walking Dead, did so if you are a fan of his or just want an awesome take on old school super-heroics then this is something that you need to have!