Month: January 2010

Under the Boardwalk & Get Castle

Wolverine: Under the Boardwalk

Wolverine: Under the Boardwalk

These are two issues I read today. I am combining them into one entry because they are both one-shots and therefore outside of any current storylines running through their titles. Surprisingly, I liked both of them quite a bit. I usually hate one-shots because they just steal my money because they can. I read Punisher Max: Get Castle and Wolverine: Under the Boardwalk.

The cover date for Under the Boardwalk is February 2010. I have mentioned several times that I am sick of Wolverine and any one-shots they do with him. Its the over-exposure thing. Plus, I feel like there are so many stories that could be written with other characters but writers just seem to keep hammering Wolverine. Eventually, I believe, the well will run dry, and the character will be ruined. Supersaturation is not a good thing. That being said, I did not buy this issue full price. It was one of the 40% off back issues, but the cover price is $3.99.  I grudgingly bought it because, well, I am a comics nut. I was not excited to read it – assuming it would just be another issue of blood and guts.

The cover is pretty cool, though, right? It was done by Thomas Coker and Daniel Freedman

Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised?!  This one shot has quite a bit less blood and guts compared to all the other one-shots of the previous two years. And, it has a storyline that is readable. Its not just pointless “watch Wolverine slash some dudes!” I really appreciate that. Thank you writer Stuart Moore for a real story!  The ending, i.e. the last three pages, is really good as well. Overall, the story has a noir feel to it, as Wolverine traipses through some old memories peppered by women and gangsters. Nicely done.

4 stars

Get Castle

Punisher: Get Castle

This issue I got as part of my subscription to the regular PunisherMAX title. Immediately, I was put off by the Brit flag in the background. But I do like non-busy covers. This looks like the Punisher in the rain in England? Still, for $4.99 I was somewhat annoyed.

Its a MAX title, so you know there’s gonna be some “stuff” in it. Which is okay. Its the Punisher, remember. (Oh, as an aside, my eye caught somewhere that Marvel has a Punisher Noir miniseries. I would like to check this out. Does it take place in the 1920’s? That tickles me.) Anyway, no doubt there is some “adult” material inside, but its not just for show. There is a storyline! Imagine my joy – two one-shots with characters known for their blood and guts and yet I find actual storytelling! So, Punisher goes to England, and removes some of the corruption in a little town there. Corruption caused by some squad of Britain’s elite fighting force. Throughout, we are reminded that patience and careful reconnaissance are what make the Punisher successful. Also, there is a hint that Castle still understands the symbols and loyalty of a military unit.

At the end, Punisher doesn’t hesitate to do what he’s gotta do. All in all, a worthwhile story. Written by Rob Williams.

4 stars

Black Widow and the Marvel Girls #1 / 4

Black Widow and the Marvel Girls 1

Black Widow and the Marvel Girls #1

From glancing at the shelves in the comic book stores, to the pages in Previews, it seems like Marvel (minimally) has plans for 2010 that involve pushing female culture. Either its an attempt to draw more female customers or to entice the male customer base. Regardless, there seems to be a big focus on churning out the female characters in the Marvel Universe. Some will have larger roles in the main titles, some characters will get their own miniseries, etc. For example, Black Widow already has two current miniseries running. Black Widow: Deadly Origin and Black Widow & The Marvel Girls.

Usually when things like this are done – sudden emphasis on one style/type of character – its done haphazard and ends up being quite clownish. As if its nothing more than obvious pandering to fill some quota or something. I hate when companies do things just to “seem” like they are doing them. Things like this usually have that condescending/patronizing scent to them, as if its all too obvious.  Personally, I am guilty of not caring a whole lot about the female characters in comics. Pepper Potts? Whatever. Spider-Woman? Blah. The only one I enjoy and care about is She-Hulk. Mainly, I have to admit it, because she’s crazy in the same vein as Deadpool. (Just less skeevy!)

Nevertheless, I am a comics junkie. So, when Black Widow & The Marvel Girls #1 (of 4) went on sale because it was a back issue, I picked it up. For the last year, BW has been somewhat important in both the Iron Man storylines and the Captain America storylines. For $1, I can pick up this issue.

I don’t really like the cover. It looks very “kiddie.” And BW’s boobs are ridiculously odd in this drawing. Sure, in comics, the dudes get shoulders that not even steroids could build and the chicks get boobs that make Dolly Parton seem tiny. Its par for the course, I guess. But this shot is just… wrong. Anyway, thankfully, the cover doesn’t really have anything to do with the interior story – I suspect it represents the miniseries as a whole, instead. The cover was done by Salva Espin and Elizabeth Breitweiser.

The story begins in media res – Black Widow has clearly infiltrated somewhere. She is communicating somehow with her “employer” via some comm link. He’s named Ivan. She is moving through this facility – killing guards in her way and blowing things up. She is after a dude named Gregor. The issue also contains flashback sequences of Natasha’s training in Siberia. This introduces Enchantress into the mix. The Enchantress stuff is okay, not extremely unique, but it works fine.

There are a number of great quotes in this issue. One of them: “I am not AMONG the best agents. I AM the best. Yours or otherwise. Please talk less.”  This is Natasha sounding completely confident and bad-ass. This is cool. This is good stuff. This is the kind of line that would probably not have been said by a female character a couple of decades ago. And suddenly, I am liking Black Widow a little more.

Gregor has a panic room. Ivan tells Natasha to abort the mission. Natasha calmly says: “I do not wait for assignments before beginning the planning. Life has taught me the foolishness of patience.” Another cool quote. BW is shown as a proactive, forward-thinking, self-motivated person. These are good ways to increase the love for your minor characters. The writer, Paul Tobin, deserves two-thumbs up for this issue. Well done. The art is fine, but the writing is what makes this a worthy purchase. Even though… I only bought it… because it was on the back issue sale rack. Because, honestly, its a miniseries about a female character………………………….

4 stars

Merc with a Mouth #6

Merc with a Mouth 6

Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #6

I have admitted it previously – I am stupid happy about Deadpool. Yes, of course, he’s being overexposed everywhere now. *giggles insanely at punny statement* Okay, so Deadpool has a bunch of solo titles and he’s making appearances everywhere. In theory, a movie will be made and released in 2011 starring Deadpool. Of course, they are going to hype him as much as possible until then. But I am okay with this. Why? Well, honestly, because I believe that there are a handful of characters in comics that can be “overexposed” and its still ok. Like Superman. I don’t really like Supes at all. But I can totally understand and accept him being in every DC title and having at least 9 of his own. It doesn’t bother me. Somehow… its just all ok. Now, I’ve said before that to like and appreciate Deadpool is not for everyone. I can sympathize with those who find him repulsive, tedious, and stupid. On the other hand, those who get a kick out of Deadpool are loving the sudden hype of Deadpool everywhere we turn.

This cover of Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #6 was drawn by Arthur Suydam. It is an homage to one of many very famous movie posters, Ridley Scott’s Alien. He’s known for his work with Marvel Zombies. He also did a number of similar horror/alien titles in his career. I really dislike his art. I understand many people love it, but I just hate it. I can’t stand it. Not my cup o’ tea. But this cover? I have to make an exception. Its really good. And that is a major surprise for me! I like everything about this cover. I like the font, the colors, the artwork, the alignment, the style. All of it. See? Deadpool makes everything better!

The story arc in Merc with a Mouth has been running since the first issue. And I will be honest, after reading the first issue, everything’s just a jumble of chaos, anyway. But its fun, too. This issue might be my favorite, so far, of the title. Its got all of the typical Deadpool features – voices, tacos, sarcasm. For example, Deadpool: “Hey, Rednecks, you seen a dimensional gateway deal around here?”  And the supporting characters are fun, too. “Body parts seem to find a way to get airborne whenever you’re around.”

4 stars