Thursday, February 21, 2019

Rant-Reviews: Checking in with the Mainstream Publishers

It Has Been a Bit
Hey, I haven't done some rant-reviews for a bit, and I ought to discuss some of those more mainstream titles out there, right? Let's do this.

Reading and Writing (My Thoughts)
Captain America #7
Ta-Nehisi Coates has been giving us a bit of a slow-burn comic with some solid artwork by Leinil Yu but things are starting to finally get a bit more to a boiling point, if I may mix my metaphors. Steve Rogers has been accused of murdering General, "Thunderbolt" Ross because he realizes some nefarious force is looking to slander the name of Captain America--in the end it is about the shield and what it stands for no matter what America is going through. Coates is building-up a fascinating political conspiracy full of twists and turns, even if the pace is a bit slow.
4 out of 5 stars.

Oliver #1
Apparently there have been a number of new takes on the classic Dicken's tale, "Oliver Twist," but this one is just downright weird and only vaguely reminiscent of that classic story. That is probably also why I quite liked it. Image has been putting out a ton of #1 issues lately, probably because enough end-up becoming big hits that a smattering of failures is acceptable. I hope that this book gets a lot of good buzz however, because we have a splendidly odd comic here. It is the future, a bunch of mutant-soldiers live isolated from society, but a young boy named Oliver they adopted once his mother came to the nuclear wasteland and gave birth to him before she died (and he strangely survived) goes around causing mischief. Clearly Oliver is special and will be journeying to parts of the world not destroyed yet, and I am curious to see how the old book will be riffed upon and also quite clearly differ. Another solid debut from Image.
4 out of 5 stars.

Deathstroke #40
Christopher Priest's masterful magnum-opus run on, "Deathstroke," hits issue #40 here, featuring his usual mixture of pathos, purposely-disjointed pacing and time-jumps, and a solid dose of humor. Slade Wilson AKA Deathstroke breaks out of Arkham Asylum finally in this issue but learns some of the hallucinations he suffered from Hugo Strange (who took over the Asylum and let the inmates make a mess within it) may have been all too real (killing his therapist) and others quite fake (thinking he killed Two-Face). Oh, and he fights some space aliens because why not? Just an amazing series, and one I hope isn't impacted by DC's recent announcement of cost-cutting measures which will include reducing their comic-line.
5 out of 5 stars.

Immortal Hulk #13
Speaking of amazing series, albeit one a lot earlier in its run than, "Deathstroke," but no less impressive, here is, "Immortal Hulk." Al Ewing has been making amazing comics for some time now but seemed to not get much recognition. Well, his horror-themed Hulk comic which has now literally taken the character to a form of Hell is getting a whole lot of love thanks to his phenomenal scripting and (usual) artist Joe Bennet's disgusting-yet-incredible illustrations. In this issue the Hulk finally breaks out of the strange Hell but still has a whole lot of questions about the nature of just who/what he is to address. This is arguably the best Marvel comic on stands latley, and the best Hulk comic possibly ever--although Peter David's run a good deal of years ago was extremely solid, and I liked Planet Hulk a good deal too. Still, this is just off-the-charts incredible stuff.
5 out of 5 stars.

Savage Dragon #242
Just thought I'd dip my toe into the long-running and surreal weirdness that is Erik Larsen's comic, "The Savage Dragon." This issue just came out yesterday and it still is a bizarre mixture of heroics, sexy-stuff, politics, and general strangeness, Larsen is doing what he likes all these issues later. That it is delightfully entertaining decades into the series is admirable.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Green Lantern #4
I previously had a big review of the first issue of this Grant Morrison-written and Liam Sharp-illustrated comic. We are now four issues in and the weirdness expressed via the story and artwork has continued without relenting in the slightest. One of my favorite comics ever was written by Morrison and was a very off-the-wall science-fiction mini-series known as, "The Filth," so I clearly like when Morrison ventures into sci-fi stories. That perhaps is why I'm so far really digging his, "Green Lantern," run with its weird mixture of wacky aliens, space-law, and a dash of super-heroics from Hal Jordan and his fellow Lanterns. Morrison and Sharp fill these pages with a lot--a whole bunch of story and mind-bending artwork--but it hasn't been overwhelming yet so much as enthralling in its strangeness. I'm not sure where exactly this book is heading with its countless strange creatures and plots, but I'm eager to see where it eventually ends-up.
4 out of 5 stars.

Check-In Complete
Well, that was a productive post discussing what is going on with some assorted bigger-name publishers. Clearly even if I often am discussing the difficulties and complexities going on Marvel and DC (Image usually ain't having much drama) they still can publish some stellar work when not dealing with big fiascoes or controversies.

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