-
STORE NEWS
-
 
-

Review Date: 10/30/2009

As we've finally reached Halloween's doorstep, we wrap-up our recent run of
holiday mood comics with these latest dark offerings:
-
-   -
  -  

Dark Reign: The List-X-Men (One-Shot)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Matt Fraction: Writer
Alan Davis: Pencils
Mark Farmer: Inks
Nathan Fairbairn: Colors

 

 

 
 

        
          Marvel has just published a series of Dark Reign comics under the concept of "The List," in which bad-guy Norman Osborne is working his way down a list of enemies in his attempt to consolidate power within the Dark Reign series.  I was curious to check-out one of these "List" comics, and chose the X-Men title to review.  The comic is written by Matt Fraction with art by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Nathan Fairbairn.

     Osborne's former allies Namor The Submariner and Emma Frost have turned on him at this stage of the Dark Reign storyline, so in this one-shot issue Osborne goes on the revenge offensive, releasing a mutant killer sea monster to kill as many of Namor's undersea Antlantean subjects as possible.  The storyline has two sub-plots.  The main focus is on portraying the many members of the X-Men team each bringing their unique powers to bear in a detailed effort to stop the seemingly unstoppable sea beast from slaughtering countless Atlanteans.  The briefer secondary storyline focuses on Namor trying to balance his enormous ego's desire to deal with the problem alone with the reality that he truly needs to reply upon the entire X-Men team to succeed in saving his people.  The issue concludes with victory for the good guys, along with a foreshadowing that the incident marks just the beginning of an all-out battle between our heroes and the rogue Osborne.

     The comic is entertaining and of high quality in several respects.  Matt Fraction's script is nicely detailed in both portraying the personalities of the various X-Men and giving us an interesting battle that was nicely reminiscent of good storylines prior to the current heavy mega-theme title runs so prevalent right now at both Marvel and D.C.  Fraction also gives us a fresh psychological take on Namor, breaking the mold on the usual overly independent and headstrong King-Of-The-Sea personality.  Here, Namor struggles with his desire for rogue independence, ultimately accepting the assistance and leadership of the X-Men for the sake of saving his people.  There's also a nice underlying touch of humor to Namor in this issue, with my favorite line his remark "Ex-wives.  What can you do?" upon learning that the horrible seamonster is a mutation of his former wife Marrina (yeesh!).

     As a bonus, this issue includes an 11-page second story entitled "Dead Man Walking," created by Matt Fraction and Sam Keith and promoted as a new printing of Fraction's first work at Marvel Comics.  The story is a sidebar tale featuring Wolverine, which consists of a flashback tale of Wolverine and an old fighting buddy.  The story is at times very moving as it packs a lot of emotion into the theme of the meaning of true friendship.  So a solid thumbs-up for all of the good things packed into this slightly over-sized Dark Reign one-shot comic book edition.

 
-   -
-
-   -
  -  

Dark Avengers #10
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Brian Michael Bendis: Writer
Mike Deodato: Art
Rain Beredo: Colors

 

 
 

          
Dark Avengers issue #10 is also on the comic shop new issues shelves this week, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo.  The focus in this dark title has been on the actions of Osborne's "anti-Avenger" team, which he leads in his Iron Man-like guise as The Iron Patriot, with a range of Marvel Universe villains in disguise as the various Avengers.  Former Mighty Avengers Ares and the now-insane Sentry are also part of the team, unaware of their teammates' bad guy secret identities.

     Issue #10 has an interesting plot, as the team investigates a very large number of weird disappearances of travelers passing through the tiny town of Dinosaur, Colorado.  The story opens with the disappearance of the Secretary of State's daughter as she stops at a diner in the Town, then shifts to the Dark Avengers investigating and getting pulled deep into the creepiness of the Town's secret.  There's a sudden and unexpected twist at the end of the issue, culminating in a two-page panel that nicely fits our Halloween creepy theme.

     This issue works effectively in two respects.  First, it gives us a tale worthy of our Halloween inventory, as the Dark Avengers are pulled into the Town's Stephen King-style mystery and creepiness.  The first few pages of the comic, detailing the disappearance of the Secretary of State's college-age daughter and her friend, are worthy of any of the better quality horror-themed episodes of The X-Files television show.

     Secondly, writer Bendis continues to nicely portray the ongoing theme in this title of a pack of superpowered psychopaths who can just barely hold their twisted emotions together to function in disguise as a team of do-gooders.  I love the way Bendis writes the dialogue between the Dark Avengers as they verbally stalk each other like a pack of starved hyenas, testing each other in an attempt to cull-out the weakest of the herd.  These temporary good guys just can't help it; they can't ignore their base instincts to prey on someone within reach, and in this case its each other as Osborne forces them into the close quarters of good guy teamwork.  I can't wait for the inevitable issue in which these crackpots finally expode in a bloodbath on each other.  If Bendis and team can keep the tension building for another year, it would make a fantastic "Halloween Of 2010" comic book issue.

 
-   -
--
-   -
  -  

Azrael #1
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Fabian Nicieza: Writer
Ramon Bachs: Pencils
John Stanisci: Inks
J.D. Smith: Colors

 

 

 
 

          
    DC has just released issue #1 of the new Gotham City-based Azrael comic book.  The series is scripted by Fabian Nicieza with art by Ramon Bachs, John Stanisci and J.D. Smith.  DC had a previously long-running Azrael comic series beginning in the mid-1990's and starring the character John-Paul Valley as the religious order hero.  The current Azrael is ex-cop Michael Lane, who wears the Azrael costume and wields supernatural swords as the symbolic angel of death in fighting for justice.

     Issue #1 alternates flashing back and forth between two sub-plots occuring six months apart in Gotham City.  The overall storyline is a murder mystery, as Azrael comes to realize that the serial murderer he is tracking is part of a wider plot to avenge participants in a church-related child abuse incident from years earlier.  The issue ends in a cliffhanger that seems to confirm that Azrael is killed at the conclusion of confronting the killer and solving the murder mystery.  Whether he's really dead and we have a series that continues with flashbacks or a new Azrael, or whether its a first-issue story ploy will only be revealed by reading upcoming issues of this new series.

     This was an interesting comic to read in that it shows a rarely seen, non-Batman side of Gotham City.  Batman does briefly surface in the story at an appropriate time, a pattern which I hope continues in future issues to strengthen the connection between this new storyline and the Batman Universe.  While I've never read an Azrael comic book before, I was impressed with the creative team's skill in using dialogue to subtly but effectively fill-in the newcomer reader to the background of this character and his DC world.  By issue's end, I felt that I had read an enjoyable murder mystery comic book that nicely blended elements of the Batman/Gotham City setting with the Catholic Church fiction mystery atmosphere of author Dan Brown's novels such as The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons.

     So while this isn't a Halloween-themed comic book per se, the noirish Gotham City crimefighting setting makes this title appropriately eligible as the final entry on our list of recommended Halloween holiday comic book reading.

 
-   -

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

     Our latest contest was for you to submit to us your favorite science fiction, fantasy and/or comic genre-type television show and tell us why we shouldn't be missing this show.  And our Bongo Congo contest co-winners are (drumroll, please)...Colan Solan and Mike Dooley. 

     Colin nominates the Nickelodeon anime show "Avatar: The Last Airbender" for favorite show, mentioning that "the animation is fantastic and the storyline complex with fully developed characters...depicted violence always has consequences...themes include environmentalism and female empowerment."  Colin adds that while one unnamed That's Entertainment employee calls him a 14-year-old girl for enjoying it (you know who you are, unnamed employee!), "Avatar is the perfect t.v. show for which I had always hoped."

     Mike Dooley pitches to us the current season of NBC's Heroes, writing that "die hards out there still watching are being rewarded by viewing the Heroes version of the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime.  Unlike the Marvel Universe, where this group is a pushover for the hero, the villains are the most interesting group to hit this series...any group that features Darth Maul in their membership is worth looking at."

     Two excellent contest submittals, guys, of two shows both different from each other and worth watching.  Congratulations to our winners, who each receive a $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment.

That's it for our Halloween week comic book reviews and contest. Good King Leonardo says
have a happy and safe holiday, and see you again next week Here In Bongo Congo!

 
-
 
-


© 2011 - 2015, 2016 All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced without express permission from the author.