The Haul: Volstagg and the Hitlers

Kato #5Kato #5
Parks, Bernard, Petter
[Dynamite]

First off, Joe Benitez has been doing the main covers for these books. And although they’re pretty much all just Mulan in the Kato uniform posing, I love them. As far as I’m concerned, Benitez can draw Kato forever now. Secondly, actual content: the series is a prequel to the main Green Hornet series that Dynamite is publishing, following the training of the new Kato, who is the daughter of the classic Kato. While I don’t think the writing nor Bernard’s pencils quite measure up to Green Hornet’s, the book is still rather enjoyable, and I found that this issue especially is very quickly paced so it’s not a long read. The action is good, although Mulan diving off the top of a building after the Black Hornet seemed a tad much. Regardless, this was a solid issue. Green Hornet readers wanting more should take a look at this series, but realise it’s not a necessary read.

Bullseye: Perfect Game #1Bullseye: Perfect Game #1 (of 2)
Huston, Martinbrough, Loughbridge
[Marvel]

Another book that’s snuck through with the Marvel Knights tag on it’s cover, Perfect Game is a Bullseye story that uses a storytelling device I really like with certain characters, Bullseye being one of them. While the book is about Bullseye, it is told from someone else’s point of view, which gives the reader some distance from the character and allows him to thrive without rummaging through his narrative boxes and taking away the mystery. The story is told by a guy who seems to be a nobody who likes baseball. He talks about Bullseye and explains his personality, how he wants a challenge, and the book builds up into a challenge involving baseball. Because Bullseye’s job is to kill a guy who is going to be batting. It’s a hugely interesting read, and the pacing and narrative is near perfect. The art does some cool stuff, especially in the earlier parts of the book where there’s some black, white and red pages for some flashback-type things. I honestly didn’t think that two issues would be enough for a good Bullseye story, as there’s just too many aspects to the character. And I don’t quite think Huston really captured all of those aspects. But regardless, this was a great issue.

Warriors Three #1Warriors Three #1 (of 4)
Willingham, Edwards, Hanna, Martin
[Marvel]

With Odin dead and the cycle of Ragnarok broken by Thor, Fenris (also known as Fenrir) the monstrous wolf had no way to free himself, not even with the inevitability of legend. But some AIM agents who so far don’t seem to have too much in the way of motive, travel to Nifelhel and free Fenris, who proceeds to Midgard (Earth) and slaughters a town.  But the Warriors Three, Volstagg, Hogun and Fandral are on the case. Volstagg is probably the highlight, because, like in Fraction’s Thor, he is hilarious, although not quite as much so. Possibly because he didn’t feature as much (which is kind of ridiculous really). We haven’t really seen all that much of Hogun yet, and Fandral got as much of the spotlight as Volstagg. In fact most of the story followed everyone else BUT the Warriors Three. I also found it to be a bit of a slow read, but Willingham has made it interesting enough and I can forgive the story for needing to set up the plot. Hopefully the series picks up a bit in the next issue.

Taskmaster #3Taskmaster #3 (of 4)
Van Lente, Palo, Beaulieu
[Marvel]

Finally, Taskmaster’s origin is revealed. And it’s a pretty good one too. I’m sure there will be people who complain, but I do like how it’s been handled. Outside of that, all I can say about this series is that if you’re not reading it there is something seriously wrong with you. You’ve got great action, an incredible story with fun twists and lots of humor. This issue starts with Taskmaster and Mercedes ending up in a towen where everyone is Hitler. Everyone. Everyone in the town is Hitler. Even the ladies. Even the children. EVERYONE. Awesome. Then you’re presented with a brilliant villain in the form of Red Shirt, the Uber Henchman. And then of course, all of the revelations about Taskmaster. Van Lente has the perfect formula here. You’re an idiot if you don’t read this.

Iron Man Thor #1Iron Man/Thor #1 (of 4)
Abnett, Lanning, Eaton, Mendoza, Gandini
[Marvel]

It’s been a big week from Marvel for me, culminating with a book I wasn’t entirely sure about before buying it, and after reading it, I can’t say much has changed. I read Thor, but not Iron Man, but that didn’t matter. So long as you have familiarity withthe characters and know about Siege, you’re set to read this issue. Except it also chucks a whole bunch of villains at you, and while I of course know Crimson Dynamo, Baron Mordo and the reveal on the final page are villains that I’ve seen far less often, and I fear newer readers would be lost. So far the title characters have split up which kind of spoils the idea of a team-up. Iron Man’s in Russia after Steve Rogers gets word of an accident in the Forbidden Zone, and Thor gets attacked at Asgard. Pretty standard fare sort of stuff. The art looks more suited to the Iron Man side of things, with Volstagg and Thor looking slightly off, although the giant dragon that appears looks excellent. Overall, the issue felt like it invalidated it’s own existence by separating Tony and Thor, but maybe it’ll improve.

Freedom Fighters #3Freedom Fighters #3
Palmiotti, Gray, Moore, Scott
[DC Comics]

In this issue we get the aftermath of Uncle Sam’s ‘death’ which was far too obvious anyway. Spoilers: of course he’s not dead. We also get a huge smack in the face with the way in which the Freedom Fighters dispose of the Renegades, which even the characters point out was stupid of them not to have done already. Then more plot. Honestly, I do enjoy this book, but there’s a lot that seems to be getting in the way. There’s still a fair deal of the clunky dialogue that’s just annoying to read. It’s like every character has to explain everything and always drop character names in case we’ve forgotten. Without Uncle Sam in this issue, it felt a little bit weaker, and I keep forgetting the newest kid’s name (checked: Firebrand) only because I just don’t care. Ironically he’s probably the only character whose name isn’t repeated over and over. I’ve said before that this is a very different superhero comic. I stick by that. It’s also very flawed at the moment, and I hope with a bit of time in will overcome the faults.

Red Hood: the Lost Days #6Red Hood: The Lost Days #6 (of 6)
Winick, Haun, Reber
[DC Comics]

After the amazing fifth issue where everything just worked spectacularly I was expecting big things from this last installment. I was disappointed. The nature of the series meant it was never going to get a real conclusive ending, but the anti-climax we’re given here is even less of an ending than was expected. We have Jason Todd attempt to kill the Joker, back out claiming to want Batman to be there when he does it. Then Todd sleeps with Talia al Ghul for some reason, after a page that was just plain weird. Seriously, Talia just randomly blurts out ‘my father is dead’ in the middle of a conversation and then they have sex. What? I can’t help but feel that this entire issue had no real direction and is just a whole bunch of stuff that happens. Issue #5 was by far the series’ highlight.

Batman and Robin #16Batman and Robin #16
Morrison, Stewart, Irving
[DC Comics]

I don’t really want to spoil this issue. If you’ve been reading Batman and Robin then you don’t want it ruined for you, and if you haven’t then this is the end of Grant Morrison’s run where everything from more than a year of Batman stories comes together. After last issue Bruce is back, they’re fighting Doctor Hurt and stuff goes wrong. Two Batmen and a Robin who is Bruce’s son (which I will point out that he is confused about, which kind of breaks continuity with the Road Home books). Dialogue’s good, Bruce and Dick chatting is well constructed, as is Damian’s speech. The Joker in this is kind of awesome, and that’s all I’ll say on that. The issue features art from both Irving and Stewart, with Irving’s art being mostly in the scenes without Bruce, which may seem jarring or fitting. I thought it worked. And there’s just something about those final Irving splashes that just takes a whole comic to another level. This is the end of the Morrison era on Batman and Robin, and it was amazing. I look forward to Batman Incorporated.

-Brad

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About Brad
I am the Captain of the Starship Lollipants from the planet Buttermonkey, setting off on a wild adventure to discover some stuff and probably receive psychiatric assistance. Oh look, a butterfly made of peanuts. OM NOM NOM.

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