Written by Arvid Nelson
Art by Will Conrad
Dark Horse, 2008
Since I’m a giant geek you’d be safe to assume that I’m a giant Conan the Barbarian fan — but I’m not. I barely remember the Schwarzenegger movie that launched a million Schwarzenegger movies. I think I watched it as a child, but I can’t really be certain. Point is, I know nothing about Conan or Kull (who I gather lives in the same universe). I’d even forgotten there was a Kull movie starring Kevin Sorbo. I’d also forgotten about Kevin Sorbo.
Anyway, what I gather from this book is that Kull is badass with a sword and has taken the throne of Valusia even though he is Atlantian. Dudes and ladies hate Atlantians in Valusia, but accept Kull because he is sexy and has a big sword. Stéphane Dion should think about bulking up and carrying a sword if he’s going to lead this coalition government.
As a new king, Kull has some very important things to get to: namely, marrying virgins and figuring out who he’ll have to kill to stay in power. Thankfully, Kull has a violent temper and an inferiority complex that makes this all very entertaining.
Well, for boys. This book is strictly Boystown. The longest piece of dialogue from a women in this comic is, “What a man! Look at his arms, his shoulders!” It’s a little embarrassing.
I know Will Conrad’s previous work on the uneven Serenity comics because, as I mentioned before, I’m a giant nerd. Here he works a lot better because he doesn’t have to live up to actor-likeness nit-picks. He’s good at creating unique-looking characters on his own. My only critique of his work is that while his characters look amazing in close up, Conrad struggles on wide shots. It’s a hard balance to achieve, but from far away some of his faces look flat and lack detail. Not that I could do any better.
Criticisms aside, if you’re a fan of the Robert E. Howard sword and sorcery universe, you’ll probably like this comic. It has lots of male posturing, power grabs, magic, and scantily clad women. I find it silly and male chauvinist, but that’s just me.
Vixen: Return of the Lion #3 (of 6)
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Cafu
DC Comics, 2008
I’m not really a fan of Vixen, but her writer in this comic understands why. In referring to the other Justice Leaguers, Vixen says, “They’ve been doing this for so long — sometimes I feel like I’m just a third wheel… sometimes I feel like my life has been swallowed by the League, but at the same time I don’t really feel part of it.” I’ve never really been given a chance to love Vixen, there hasn’t really been any time spent with her beyond her worrying about her powers. True, I could go buy some Justice League Detroit, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion that wouldn’t help our relationship at all.
The confusion over her powers seems to have been resolved; she’s operating at peak Animal Man levels here, and that is the best way to go about it for her own mini-series. Let’s see what Vixen can do.
Unfortunately most of what she can do in this issue is heal — she was hurt pretty badly in the previous issue so she’s mostly busy being reflective and hanging around with a wise old guy. That’s redundant; if he’s old then of course he’s wise. Like when he swipes Vixen’s totem that helps her control her powers, to teach her she doesn’t need it. How about you let her land before showing her your little confidence booster? That way she doesn’t get freaked out and take a 20 ft. spill from the air. Also, wise old guy, if she’s heading out to fight the guy who trounced her last issue, there’s no need to insist on her going without the totem this time. Maybe she can learn to ditch the crutch after the danger’s over.
To contrast, Yoda will tell Luke that “Your weapons, you will not need them.” But if Luke wants to take them, that’s his business. Also, the cave on Dagobah would have been less dangerous without the weapons. Not having the totem doesn’t mean Vixen is playing on easy mode over here.
Sorry, that wise old guy kind of bugged me.
Another thing that bugged me: while trying to stealthily enter an enemies base, Black Lightning sneaks up to a guy, and then BAM hits him with lightning shooting out of his hands. Is it really that important to show off that you can shoot lightning, Black Lightning? You could have karate chopped him as easily as the next person. Also, that was a lot of lightning — is that human guard okay? He was just doing his job and guarding a secret base; for that you fry him?
The art is beautiful, though Red Arrow always looks like a rush job for some reason, and there’s a strange sense of plainness to it. I’ve really got to change the page, because I’m just looking at this League —Superman, Batman, Black Canary, Black Lightning, and Red Arrow — and I’m seriously missing Plastic Man and Martian Manhunter.