Overlook #1 (of 3)
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Alejandro Aragon
Shadowline/Image Comics, 2009
The cover of my random comic had furry anime girls wearing bikinis in a hot tub. I couldn’t bring myself to bring it up to the counter: “It’s for a review.” “Right.” So I went looking for something with a cool cover that could use exposure, and here is that review.
Overlook has an amazing first page. It’s a splash page on a guy getting punched in the face: “This is my ‘getting my ass kicked’ face. The name’s Mickey ‘the Nickel’ Nicholson… And I’ll do just about anything for a buck.” That’s the kind of page that makes me say “sold” and want to turn to the next page.
Soon Mickey, a former crooked cop and now small-time prize fighter, gets involved with Mr. Corletti, a former mob boss that has claims to have gone legit. Well, kinda legit. Corletti reaches out to Mickey to kill his unfaithful wife in exchange for the murder of anyone Mickey wishes.
There are a few scenes that aren’t needed and show Williamson to be a new writer. Most of them are pretty forgivable, even the final page where the mob boss is like, “hopefully Mickey won’t notice that not everything is as it seems.” Duh, come on Williamson, the mob boss lied? That’s not a cliffhanger. I already knew he lied because I have seen a gangster movie before.
But, other than a few scenes like that, the book is smartly self-aware. Williamson acknowledges his plot is lifted from Strangers on a Train and makes a nice, in-character joke with it.
The art is generally excellent, with a couple of funny looking panels here and there. Aragon works well in the genre and renders shadows well.
In all, it’s a great book and you should pick it up if you’re a fan of crime stories.
Oracle: The Cure #2 (of 3)
Written by Kevin VanHook
Pencilled by Julian Lopez and Fernando Pasarin
Inked by Bit and Norm Rapmund
Cover by Guillem March
DC Comics, 2009
For whatever reason, I don’t often list the inker of these books I review, or the cover artist, for that matter. Sometimes it’s because that information is redundant (with the regular penciller or even the writer pulling double- or triple-duty), or because I don’t have anything I want to say about those creators, and don’t want to give up my precious, precious word-count to include them in the credits.
I have to mention these guys today, however, because March’s cover is gorgeous (if oddly provocative) and Norm Rapmund is the guy who inks all of Dan Jurgens stuff over in Booster Gold, which makes that book look amazing — and who doesn’t want me to give a shout out to Booster Gold in every random review?
It’s very odd to see Barbara Gordon going around outside of her clock tower or other sequestered high-tech location; it’s like we’ve gone back in time ten plus years to when she couldn’t just click a button to get all the information required. This isn’t just change for the sake of change either, and it seems to incorporate current DC comics’ events: specifically Final Crisis laying waste the world’s internet. At least I think that’s what’s happened, but then again Darksied doesn’t seem like he’d care to destroy the internet.
Regardless of the why, Barbara Gordon is hitting the town, doing some investigating and fighting and whatnot. It’s impressive the strength and vulnerability portrayed simultaneously within Gordon. I’m not really surprised, she’s a great character, but I never get to see her be a great character. Usually she’s utilized as a deus ex machina to help out other characters. True, I could go buy Birds of Prey trades to see her doing well. Fine, I will.
It’s cool that they have a section of the story take place in an online videogame world and an ambiguously virtual reality cyber-world. It’s like they travel to World of Warcraft and take a side trip to the Neuromancer world. The incorporation of both those ideas in one place is something I’ve never really seen before, but it’s interesting because of how much more “true to life” the story becomes as a result.
Titled as a “Battle for the Cowl” tie-in, the story really doesn’t have much to do with that at all. I mentioned already how it utilizes the fallout from Final Crisis, but it also talks about Wendy, the Calculator’s daughter, who is in a coma after an attack over in the Teen Titans’ book. It helps that I keep up with the Titans (for now) but it may be a bit of a surprise for other readers.
A cool comic, but it’s all building up to the showdown in Issue Three, so now I’m stuck picking up that issue. And I guess I have to go back to get issue one as well. I’m trapped!
Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #10
Written by Todd Dezago
Art by Derec Donovan, Scott Koblish & Vicente Cifventes
Marvel Comics, 2009
I’ve been hearing about the wonders of the Marvel Adventures line for quite some time now. Many people have been raving about how the all-ages stories featured in these books are great for, well, all ages including adults. I’ve heard that these kid-friendly stories are filled with more creativity, fun, and awesomeness than many of the more “adult” Marvel comics. Luck must not have been on my side, because I wasn’t all that impressed with the one I got.
That’s not to say it’s bad. By no stretch of the imagination was it a bad comic, I just think that the comic I read was strictly for the kiddies. It’s a cute little story about Ant-man taking on Sandman. Get it? Ants dig in sand? It’s totally the kind of thing I would have been into as a wee lad. But now? Not so much. Now it gets more of a light smirk and a nod and then it’s forgotten a couple of minutes later. So yeah, the art is fine, the writing is fine, just don’t buy it unless you have a kid to give it to.
Oh, but that cover is awesome.