Thursday, March 1, 2012


I hadn’t been out to the local comic shop in a while as I’ve been obsessed with reading Marvel Masterworks and DC Archives lately. So here are a few comics I picked up this week and some reviews for your consideration:

Conan the Barbarian #1 was a very enjoyable read. Written by Brian Wood, art by Becky Cloonan. We are reintroduced to a Conan who is portrayed by Wood and Cloonan as a fearless, cocky thief who boards the trade ship Argus to avoid being captured by the local authorities of Argos. Conan is an endearing rogue and quickly captivates the crew with tales of his adventures.

Realizing that, through his carelessness, he has put the lives of the crew at stake, Conan vows to protect them all to his dying breath. Conan is taken up on his offer as the Captain tells Conan of Belit, the Queen of the Black Coast and captain of the Tigress. Belit’s piracy has left a path of destruction and misery. Conan is intrigued by tales of the pale skinned, half naked pirate queen as was I thanks to Wood’s engaging storytelling.

I’m not the biggest fan of Cloonan but Conan seems to be a good fit for her.  Her Conan reminds me of Barry Windsor Smith's early Conan art during his legendary run on the character at Marvel in the early 70s. Less muscle bound, leaner, more athletic than he was later portrayed. Very well done. Can’t wait to read the next issue.

The Bionic Man #7 continues to be a very entertaining story filled with exciting confrontations. Having barely survived the encounter with Steve Austin’s homicidal bionic predecessor “Hull”, Steve finally goes to see Jaimie who believes Steve is dead. This was a nice scene as Steve, worried about being rejected because of his bionics, reveals the truth to Jaimie about what happened to him after the crash. We also find out more about Hull, and how the horrifying side effects of his bionics turned him into the monster he is.
Steve also has a confrontation with Oscar Goldman’s boss Margaret who lets Steve know in no uncertain terms that he is no longer his own man. This continues to be a very entertaining story. Writers Kevin Smith and Phil Hester keep the writing crisp and the pacing quick. Jonathan Lau does a great job with character reactions and keeping the visuals attractively dynamic. I’ve been sold on this title since issue 1. Very entertaining.

The Avengers #23 continues the battle between The Avengers and Norman Osborne’s HAMMER as Norman has Madam Hydra offer his terms to the Secretary of State and the President with a captured Captain America telling the President not to negotiate. Meanwhile, with the help of new addition to the team Quake, Iron Man and Spiderwoman escape their personal prisons and start working on finding and freeing the rest of the team. But they still have to get past Norman.

I’m loving Acuna’s art on this series. While I’ve enjoyed Bendis’ series “Powers”, he has never been my favorite Avengers scribe. It’s Acuna’s unique style that has me reading this series. Acuna’s characters facial reactions and composition are terrific. Whenever I read a comic drawn by Acuna I feel like I’m at a movie. His unmistakably unique style just looks very cinematic.

Justice League #6 wraps up the Darkseid story arc. Batman is trying to rescue Superman and escape from Apokolips as the rest of the team continues to battle Darkseid on earth. Superman is a bit shaken up from being tortured by Desaad but eventually confronts Darkseid. But it’s Cyborg who ends up being the key to ending the battle. There’s a fun scene at the end with the team being commended by the mayor and cheered by the citizens while the heroes quietly bicker with each other about how they aren’t a team. This was a pretty good first story arc by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.

There is an epilogue that has a confrontation with the Phantom Stranger and the mysterious “Pandora” that sets up a future confrontation with the Justice League that is somewhat revealing. Of the new 52 this was one of the better titles. But by issue 5 I was starting to get a bit tired of it all. It’s not a bad story and Lee’s art is definitely detailed and attractive. I’m just not sure if this has what it takes to keep my interest in the long term.

So one from Marvel, one from DC, one from Dark Horse and one from Dynamite. A nice little sampler for this week. Over all an enjoyable weeks reading. Conan and Bionic Man were the stand outs for me. Those are two stories that I will definitely keep up with. Acuna is the main reason I’m reading Avengers (that and the Avengers fever I have from watching all those great Avengers movie trailers) and Justice League did a decent job of wrapping up their first story arc. Until next time!

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