Home > Reads of the Week, Uncategorized > Reads of the Week for 11/4/09

Reads of the Week for 11/4/09

Another Wednesday has come and gone, which means I’ve read a stack of new comics.  Every week I try to pay homage to one or two books that stick out from the stack as being the best or my favorite. Because of my CBR job and limited budget many of the books I read are Marvel books and this weeks’ Reads of the Weeks are both Marvel books

Honorable mentions: “X-Men Vs. Agents of Atlas #2,  “”Ghost Rider: Heaven’s on Fire #4, “Deadpool Team-up” #899

READS OF THE WEEK

“Assault on New Olympus Prologue

8_assault_on_new_olympus_prologue_one_shot_1 Writers: Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak

Artist: Rodney Buchemi

If you would have said to me 10 years ago that one of my favorite Marvel books would star Hercules I’d say you were crazy. These days though “Incredible Hercules” is one of the best and most enjoyable titles Marvel comics puts out.  Pak and Van Lente have elevated the title character from the drunken idiot  that so many writers were fond of portraying him as.  He’s a fairly smart and charismatic character and he’s easily the most human and identifiable of any of the mythological characters appearing in comics. That’s because Hercules is a screw up who acts rashly. His emotions get him to trouble but his heart’s in the right place and he keeps trying to be a hero

The other strength of Incredible Hercules is that it’s a buddy book featuring Herc’s partner, the teenage super genius Amadeus Cho. Cho is a sarcastic super smart kid but like Herc he’s got a penchant for acting  with his emotions.

Pak and Van Lente load Herc and Amadeus’s adventures with action, humor, and heart. It’s a series that will make you chuckle, cheer, and put a lump in your throat. That continues with “Assault on New Olympus”, a special prologue issue that sets up the titular storyline that kicks off in the next issue of “Incredible Hercules”. In the “Assault” prologue Pak and Van Lente set the stage for an epic confrontation with Herc’s power mad step mother, Hera who’s recently gained control of the Olympian pantheon of Gods. Herc gathers his allies in the New Avengers and a misunderstanding leads to an awesome and hilarious battle between Herc and Spider-Man. That misunderstanding also leads to a dramatic, heartfelt and moving reunion between Herc and his estranged wife, the goddess Hebe.

Rodney Buchemi’s art is also really good and quite nice looking. His character expressions are great and his action scenes dynamic. The splash page of Herc and Hebe rediscovering their love for each other is breath taking

In addition to a fantastic main story, “The Assault on New Olympus” features a back-up story by the stars of another one of Marvel’s most entertaining reads “Agents of Atlas”. Jeff Parker’s story is short but it’s epic. The agents face their most powerful foe yet, a god.  And Gabriel Hardman’s art is amazing as usual. The god that the Agents face is horrific and awe-inspiring.

“Captain America Reborn” #4

phpThumb.php Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artists: Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice

I’m a huge Captain America fan. He’s  a great combination of two classic comic archetypes: the every man and the extraordinary man. He represents the best our country can be. He’s a pretty inspiring and fun character.  So it was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to Cap AKA Steve Rogers when writer Ed Brubaker killed him off in “Captain America” #25. Brubaker did a great job building up Rogers’s replacement though. Bucky Barnes, Rogers’s former partner has been just as interesting and compelling as Cap as Rogers was.

So when it was announced that Steve had not actually died and was coming back in the mini-series “Captain America: Reborn” I was unsure. I’ve grown to really like Bucky. Here we are now though with issue #4 of “Reborn” and I can now say I’m happy to have Steve back.  I’ve missed his unique perspective on the Marvel Universe. So I’m hoping when the series is over that there’s room for both Steve and Bucky in the Marvel U.

In “Reborn” #4 lots of dramatic things happen and they happen on a huge scale. The action sequences and fast pace make for an exciting read. You also really start to feel for Steve Rogers, who  has become unstuck in time and is being forced to relive moments from his past over and over again. And  The villains of the story: The Red Skull, Doctor Doom, Crossbones, and the Skull’s Daughter Sin make their presence felt in a big way.  The issue’s cliff hanger is going to make the wait for “Reborn” #5 a long one.

Brian Hitch’s illustrations and Butch Guice’s inking is fantastic. They help give the story this huge sense of scope and scale. Their villains are sinister and regal and their action scenes are dynamic and powerful.  There’s a scene where Bucky Barners, The Black Widow, and the Avenger Ronin assault  an enemy troop transport in search of a friend that’s just plain cool. And the splash page of Baron Zemo in the rain with a machine gun is both awesome and ominous. The last page is telegraphed by the one before it but Hitch and Guice still manage to make it  a holy crap moment.

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