Its been awhile since i’ve reviewed a comic, but it’s also been awhile since i purchased a comic and it did something more than sit in my bookbag until it transitioned to sitting near my toilet on my “Books to read if my cellphone ever dies” stack. The comics i’ve mostly been reading have been what i buy at Koch Comics down in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Come with me sometime, buy a whole lot of dope old shit, and leave satisfied. Unlike some of the comics i read today.
I will be reviewing Iron Man #1 relaunch (???), Secret Wars – Planet Hulk #5, Secret Wars #6 and Kaijumax. Of these three comics, only one of them actually served more turkey than stuffing.
Iron Man #1 – Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez
Honestly purchased this comic cause it comes with a removable cover that is a cool print. I am not so much a fan of Iron Man as i am a fan of Iron Man Costumes. Anytime they release a new series, i buy the new issue to check out the new design. So mad props because i dig the new streamlined costume which is a big departure from previous designs. It is smooth, but with sharp angles. Compare to the Bleeding Edge Iron Man, which was just like poured baby oil on Tony Stark’s smooth balls. Not a fan.
I’ve also never been a fan of Bendis’ writing. Not on anything, but he’s hard to avoid in the Marvel Universe, even though his writing style is really only suited to stories taking place in a very limited quasi-whedon-esque section of Queens, somehow he ends up on across the Marvel Universe, resulting in a universe that sounds like a small section of Queens. When it comes to dialogue, its something that he can handle with ease, but if you want anything, like say a character who’s primary appeal his cutting edge science fiction and big robot action, you will have to be satisfied with about three pages of that. For a relaunch, its a failure. There’s maybe one line about this new armor and why it (and this series) is different than any previous take. It somehow (remains unexplained) able to replicate the capabilities of any other previous iron man armor ever made. How this machine is now any different than magic actually serves to weaken the introduction of the new armor, as science fiction works best with how a writer introduces rules to his world and then works within them to provide unexpected stories.
There’s something happening with Madame Masque, and you can’t bring yourself to care about it, because Bendis treats a relaunch like an extended teaser trailer. There would be more character development if it had some Nolan BRRAAAAAHM noises over a feverish montage.
The bulk of the issue takes place on a date where a woman calls Tony Stark a ‘horn dog’, and he acts surprised. The sheer lack of self awareness that Tony Stark would have to have to be surprised at this, reminded me that Bendis is best when writing teenagers, not grown ass men who live in an age of social media and celebrity gossip. Overall, the writing fell flat, although the art was clean and served to tell the story well – there wasn’t much in this relaunch, and I have no confidence that Bendis could bring any new or interesting ideas about robotics or cybernetics into this series.
Secret Wars #6 & Secret Wars – Planet Hulk #5, – Jonathan Hickman & Esad Ribic, Sam Humphries & Marc Laming
Secret Wars should be right up my alley. As a kid, i read more “What If?” comics than the actual canon. I love seeing new takes on familiar characters, and for the most part, it is fun to see the different varieties and costumes of a character side by side. Nostalgia is effective, and this parallel universes allows one to indulge in nostalgia while also satisfying that fan-fiction impulse to remix.
But its hard to derive anything more than that from these series, as besides an almost impenetrable plot, none of these characters seem to matter at all. They are the literal left overs of destroyed universes, and you can’t make a meal out of scraps. Like, i guess you could, but Marvel is building their house of ideas into an actual house (BattleWorld is where all these characters from all of the marvel multiverse are …battling live), but you need more than just “Look at this Evil Hulk, its actually Evil Steve Rogers, WHOA!” as the emotional climax of your issue. In Secret Wars #6, most of the drama is derived from the fact that Evil Dr. Doom is leader of the Fantastic Four, and Good Guy Reed Richards seems to have an evil-lish Reed Richards partner. I shouldn’t have to read that trope three times in two issues.
I’d say Planet Hulk’s was a brisker read, but compared to its name-sake, The Original Planet Hulk was much more compelling and engaging, with actual Hulk still feeling hulkish in a world where he can be hurt. In this world, Steve Rogers can easily kill a Hulk in one axe swipe. Secret Wars #6 is such a drag. That shit feels like you woke up in the middle of a lecture and your professor is just staring at you mad offended that you don’t get what their talking about. I’m sorry, all three of these Marvel comics are obstensibly action/adventure stories, but there is way too little of any action, and these writers are not bringing any kind of real ideas to justify having these great artist draw a lot of biceps not lifting shit. Imagine if that next Ip Man movie with Mike Tyson has them just having a nice conversation, how disappointing would that be. These comics are trading on the excitement of a PLANET of HULKS, a WAR that is SECRET, and a MAN of IRON. We get a convo with Hulks, a convo that is secret, a convo about making iron man suits. Stop talking, start showing. None of these I would say are poorly written, but it often feels like they forget what they are writing.
These were three issues, one at the beginning of a new story, one in the middle, and one the final issue – none of them felt like anything more than just a few ideas tied together that amounted to “So, this happened.”
Esad Ribic paints some beautiful scenes, and his landscapes and otherwordly locations make me wish the script could keep up. There are some interesting ideas, like a school of leviathans in a massive ocean, or a lonely island fortress housing a holographic head of Dr.Strange, and the art makes it worthwhile to visit them. But that’s all you do, I wish the story did more than jump from cool little idea to another. I can’t say much about Planet Hulk’s artist, because on page one there’s a glaring anatomy error where the left arm of Bucky has a hand that is facing the wrong way. Worse – Captain America is holding hands with this hand. The rest of the art was fine, but i couldn’t see how that got past an editor.
Kaijumax by Zander Cannon
Some people told me about this comic, and for awhile, I avoided it. I draw a comic called GAMMA, and its a parody of many elements from the tokusatsu genre, so I try to keep away from things I feel like could influence what I wanna make. I gotta go back and get the earlier issues. I had no idea this was such a funny book. Great idea of putting giant monsters on a giant island prison, and playing it like an actual prison drama. Its pretty twisted and silly and all the parts work together. The art is loose and very cartoony, and it rings really true for a fan of Kaiju monster movies. This was my favorite read of the comics I recently purchased, and I can’t wait to read more. Also, I wish i had this idea, which is the biggest compliment you can give someone.
Now i’ll just steal this idea, even bigger compliment right?
That’s my review for Thanksgiving. Hope you liked it.