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Archive for December, 2009

CBR Interview- Jeff Parker on Future “Agents of Atlas” projects

December 14, 2009 Leave a comment

In my latest CBR interview I chat with writer Jeff Parker about the various “Agents of Atlas” projects he has planned for Marvel Comics.

Categories: CBR Links

Reads of the week 12/09/09

December 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Soon me and my fellow CBR writers will be submitting our lists for the best comic books of the year. Both of the titles I feature this week will be part of  my list. They were great issues of two of the best books being published

“Invincible Iron Man” #21

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: Salvador Larroca

Tony Stark AKA Iron Man isn’t one of my favorite Marvel Comics’ characters but he’s certainly one of their most fascinating.  He’s a brilliant but fallible man. He struggles to use his intellect to make his world a better place and he often doesn’t make the best decisions.

In Fraction’s recently completed epic 12 part “World’s Most Wanted” he had Tony Stark  go on a journey to try and atone  for some of those mistakes. He atoned by going on the run to protects the secrets of the world’s superheroes from a powerful mad man. Tony succeeded in protecting those secrets, but it cost him his mind.

You didn’t think that was it though, did you? He’s Tony Stark! Of course he has a back-up plan!  In this issue, part two of “Stark Disassembled” Tony’s friends gather to try and implement that plan and get Tony Stark back on his feet.

The elements of Tony’s plan are wild and crazy and that’s part of the fun of the issue. Another is the gathering of heroes that assemble to try and bring Tony back.  Tony Stark hasn’t been popular with many other superheros as of late, so it was good to see them put their feelings aside to try and revive Stark. The scene where Pepper Potts greets Captain America and James Rhodes is especially fun

Fraction also uses Pepper Potts to create a particularly poignant scene where Potts gets her complicated feelings out about what happened to Tony Stark and how it’s unfair that people are willing to sacrifice everything to bring Tony back, while her husband is still dead.

Salvador Larroca’s pencils are particularly stellar in this issue. He expertly captures all the emotions everybody is going through. He also manage to give Captain America an amazing entrance, one that captures the hopeful quality of the character

“The Unwritten” #8

Writer: Mike Carey

Artist: Peter Gross

I’ll just come right out and say it, “The Unwritten” is the best book of 2009. I love Mike Carey’s writing and I was especially fond of “Lucifer”, his previous Vertigo collaboration with Peter Gross, and as good as that was it seems like a warm up for what they’re doing here with “The Unwritten”

“The Unwritten” is a story about stories. It tells the tale of Tom Taylor a young man who shares a moniker with the star of a top selling Harry Potter style series of kids books written by his father, Wilson Taylor. Wilson disappeared and Tom began making a living off his name. That all came crashing down when revelations about Tom’s past (It seems like he lacks one) started to come to light.  He then became a target of  a mysterious conspiracy out to control the world’s storytellers.  The conspiracy framed him for murder and now Tom is trapped in a jail on the Paris-Spain border.  Hope is not lost though. It appears that Wilson Taylor may have been grooming his son as a weapon to use against the conspiracy and that grooming may have given Tom the power to bring fictional characters to life.

“The Unwritten” #8 continues the story of Tom Taylor’s imprisonment but you see things through different eyes: those of the Prison Warden, his wife, and his two kids–who are both huge fans of the Tommy Taylor series of books.  The issue powerfully examines what stories mean for children.  The Warden’s kids are almost pathalogical in their devotion to Tommy, but it doesn’t come off as creepy or scary. It’s a little unsettling but to Carey and Gross’s credits you understand these kids and you sympathize with them.  That fact makes the book’s cliffhanger particularly powerful and shocking.

People who aren’t used to Gross’s style may dismiss it as too cartoony, but once you read one of his book’s those thoughts disappear.  He captures the emotions, mood and tone of every scene perfectly. The pages literally come alive and flow while you read his work. And like Stuart Immonen, Gross can change and adapt his style to suit almost any story perfectly.

So if you aren’t reading “The Unwritten” do yourself a favor and start! It’s a fun and fascinating series that gets better with every issue. The first  collected edition comes out in January.


CBR Interview- Kieron Gillen Talks “Thor”

December 12, 2009 Leave a comment

In my latest CBR interview I talk with writer Kieron Gillen about his work on Marvel Comics’ “Thor” series.

Categories: CBR Links

CBR Interview- Daniel Way on “Deadpool”

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

In my latest CBR interview I talk with writer Daniel Way about his work on Marvel Comics “Deadpool” series

Categories: CBR Links

CBR Interview- Mark Waid on Amazing Spider-Man

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

My latest CBR interview is up. I talk with writer Mark Waid about his current arc on Marvel Comics “Amazing Spider-Man” series.

Categories: Uncategorized

Read of the Week 12/3/09

December 5, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been a few weeks since I did one of these pieces so pardon me if I’m a little rusty.  This week because of the Thanksgiving holiday comics came out one day later than they normally did.  I had a short stack of books this week , so there’s only one featured book

Dark Avengers Annual #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Chris Bachalo

Brian Michael Bendis knows how to write an entertaining Marvel Comic. He’s been doing that for a little over 10 years now.  His books may not always make it into the reads of the week and that’s because the bar is set  pretty high for him. I expect huge things from Bendis and he always delivers. So when he does something truly great it’s a guaranteed read of the week, and “Dark Avengers Annual” #1 is truly great.

The book picks up on where  young Kree soldier turned superhero turned renegade Noh-Varr has been since he split from the Dark Avengers.  Varr AKA Marvel Boy quit the team after discovering that the Dark Avengers and his boss Norman Osborn were all criminals and psychopaths. So he fled underground and has been looking for a way to reconnect with humans, his Kree heritage, and the legacy of another Kree hero Captain Marvel.

The story is told from Noh-Varr’s perspective and Bendis manages to make that perspective both alien and identifiable.  You’re rooting for Noh-Varr to figure out exactly how he fits into the Marvel Universe and when he does find a new purpose at the end of the issue, the revelation is incredibly satisfying.

Bendis also does a nice job  with the supporting cast in the tale. Noh-Varr meets a college student named Annie and she’s very charismatic. Her encounter with Noh-Varr changes her and it’s great to watch. Bendis also works in a great scene with Noh-Varr and the Sentry, one that illuminates both their characters in interesting ways.

Said scenes with the Sentry are also fun because their part of a knock down drag out fight between the two characters.  It’s an exciting battle and it’s not a one way fight either. Both characters get some good licks in.

Artist Chris Bachalo also played a huge role in making the fight scenes in “Dark Avengers Annual” #1 so interesting.  His pencils are very dynamic when it comes to action, but it’s not just the action that Bachalo makes look good. He does a great job with the characters as well. Part of the reason the scenes between Annie and Noh-Varr  are so compelling is because Bachalo draws them in an expressive way.

Categories: Reads of the Week

The Missing Link(s)

December 5, 2009 Leave a comment

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks here’s a rundown with links so you can read the pieces I mention:

I talked with writer Jonathan Hickman about his work on Marvel’s “Fantastic Four” series

I talked with writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning about their work on Marvel’s  “Realm of Kings” one-shot and how the “Realm of Kings” event will impact their series “Guardians of the Galaxy

I chatted with writer Dan Slott about his Marvel Comics one-shot “Dark Reign:The List-Amazing Spider-Man” and his upcoming Mysterio story in “Amazing Spider-Man”

I gabbed with writers Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak about Marvel’s awesome “Incredible Hercules” min-series

On Tuesday November 24th word broke about writer Jonathan Hickman’s new ongoing “Shield” series for Marvel. I talked to him that night and the next morning my interview with him about the series was published

I talked with writers Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu about what readers can expect from their Marvel Comics series “Dark Wolverine”

I talked with writer Brian Michael Bendis about his work on Marvel’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” series and the “Ultimate Enemy mini-series which kicks off in January

Bendis and I chatted again about his work on the Marvel Comics one-shot “Siege: The Cabal” which is out this week.

I even manage to do a bit of non comic book related writing.  I recently watched 8 undercover cop movies and wrote about some of the morally ambiguous moments in them. The article appeared on the Mania.com website

Categories: CBR Links