Okay, some of you automatically think the storytelling medium of comic books are lame. So go ahead and stop reading. For those of you who love story in all its forms, and understand the marriage of art and narrative, enjoy these reviews.
Fantastic Four, the Jonathon Hickman Run
High science fiction. Layered, multiple civilizations, deep roots in the Marvel Universe, deep roots in Fantastic Four’s history. But if you had been reading Fantastic Four through Millar/Hitch’s run, and came upon this, you were in for a treat. This is the best Fantastic Four run I have ever read.
FF by Jonathon Hickman
Part of Hickman’s incredible Fantastic Four run, the FF really dealt with the Future Foundation. Basically, Reed’s kids and their supergenuis friends. Wonky art. But the first two story arcs are solid.
Secret Wars by Jonathon Hickman
Again, Hickman is a world builder. This special event (also spilling into the Battlezone books) is one of the best Marvel’s put out in a long time. Hickman gets Reed and Doom. And the players he gets into this crazy alternate universe is creative, fun, surprising, and high stakes. To really feel the punch of this event, having read Hickman’s run on New Avengers and Avengers is helpful.
Thors: Battleworld by Jason Aaron
Here’s the pitch. A police procedural a la CSI. All of it. The overbearing captain who is always screaming. The rookie. The mystery. It all takes place under the banner of Marvel’s “Battleworld” event. If you like superhero stuff and police procedurals, this is something you will enjoy. The universe is chaos, and the universe poilce are all Thors. It’s a riot.
Weirdworld by Jason Aaron
Another comic under Marvel’s Battleworld event. This feels like an old 80’s fantasy film. Imagine Labrynth meets Conan the Barbarian. Absolutely crazy. Unbelievable trippy art. And as always, Jason Aaron delivers the writing goods.
The Fifth Beatle by Vivek Tiwary
This graphic novel is about Brian Epting, who is lovingly called the 5th Beatle. This again had alot of music history, although very narrow musical history. They don’t paint a good picture of Elvis’ manager. Watching the rise of the Beatles from the backseat was something to see. The main character is quite the sad case study. Alone, always trying to win the favor of some unknown force. He died trying to earn it. And died never holding it in hands. That is tragedy.
Moon Knight by Warren Ellis
This six issue series is a collection of one shots with a very loose narrative connecting them all. There is an amazing tour de force in chapter 5 where the story is told without text. It is purely told through artwork. Our hero makes his way floor by floor up an abandoned building to save a little girl. It is one of my favorite single issues of the last few years.
Criminal Series by Ed Brubaker
This is getting away from the comic book genre. This is examining crime and criminals. Brubaker is at home examining these social outcasts, this subculture of criminals. Brubaker is a good writer. And he captures a feeling. But it is a bleak look on reality. Just a dark examination of the world we live in.
The Punisher Max Vol 1 by Garth Ennis
This is a brutal comic. This is a comic idea taken to the real world. What would a guy like the Punisher really be? He would be a sociopath. A demented killer. An anti-hero. The book is not for the faint of heart. But there is a real incredible examination of divorce right in the middle that truly broke my heart.
Four Eyes Volume 1: Forged in Fire by Joe Kelly
Old timey New York. The Mafia. Only with dragons. Nuff said.
Locke and Key Series by Joe Hill
Stephen King’s son wrote this horror comic. And it is the best thing I have ever read by him. It gets high school right. It gets family dynamics right. It gets being a kid right. And it is truly a creative and original story. I have heard rumors of this becoming a TV show… it could be a great adaptation.
The Cape by Joe Hill
This story is a miss for me. It’s about a self centered jerk of a character who sees himself as a perpetual victim. And he’s sees himself as the victim even with a good mom who loves him. Even with a good brother watching out for him. Even with a good girl who believes in him. But he doesn’t know how not to cast himself in that victim role. I don’t like these people in real life. And I don’t like them in literature.
Jupiter’s Circle Part 1 by Mark Millar
Mark Millar started out a shock jock. And I didn’t like his stuff. It was always tongue in cheek and a little mean spirited. But all the sudden, Millar has started righting some heart felt material. Jupiter’s Circle is part of this renaissance. The is a prequel to Jupiter’s Legacy, and examines a group of friends who receive super powers in a world where there are no super powers. It takes place in the 60’s, and you watch the world react to ultra powerful human beings. There is some real heart and a real understanding of what it means to be human. Good storytelling. Good characters. I am looking forward to seeing where this world goes.