Friday, January 29, 2010

The Death of Captain America

Title: The Death of Captain America

ISBN: 9780785128496
Price: $19.99
Publisher/Year: Marvel, 2007
Artist: Steve Epting, Mike Perkins
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Collects: Captain America #'s 25 - 30

Rating: 4/5

I have never been a fan of Captain America, but after I read Civil War and hear that he was killed, I was interested. Just like when they over-publicized the "death" of Superman so many years ago. I was on that bandwagon too. Even got #500 that year as a Christmas present from my parents. This trade took me a little longer to get to read.

It was well worth the wait, but I wish I didn't already know that he had already returned in some way or another. I was disappointed when and how they brought back Superman, so I'm not going to be reading anything about Captain America: Reborn. This trade made it well worth a little ignorance.

I can see why Ed Brubaker won an Eisner for his writing. This trade kept be glued and I didn't want to turn away. Brubaker brought me into the world of Captain America and made sure I didn't leave until the show was over. This story enthralled me enough that I purchased Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America to read. I know that Brubaker didn't write it, but I want to know what happened to other Marvel Universe superheroes because of these events. I hope that Jeph Loeb doesn't let me down. Since I have been a fan of Heroes, I doubt that I will be let down.

The art for this trade was well done. I had no problems discerning who was who, and it never felt too cartoonish like other trades I have read. The art flowed well, and I didn't notice if there were more than just a single person actually illustrating this story.

If you're a Captain America fan, you probably already have this trade in your collection. If the end of Civil War made you curious as to what happened next, this is well worth picking-up. If you're looking for another good read, I would definitely recommend this trade.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Batman R.I.P.

Title: Batman R.I.P.

ISBN: 9781401220907
Price: $24.99
Publisher/Year: DC, 2009
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Writer: Grant Morrison
Collects: DC Universe #0, Batman #'s 676 - 683

Rating: 4.5/5

I'll admit that I am an on-again/off-again Batman fan. I loved the original TV series with Adam West and Burt Ward as a kid. I also enjoyed watching the Super Friends cartoon. When Tim Burton made the Batman movies, I was enthralled. When Joel Schumacher took the reins of the movies, I lost interest, as many other did.

When DC announced that Batman was going to have his back broken by Bane, I was drawn to reading the comics. By then, I was watching the animated series, so this was an easy transition. I collected the entire Knightfall, Knightquest: The Crusade, Knightquest: The Search and KnightsEnd. After the end, I lost interest again. I would occasionally find an interesting issue and pick it up to read, but I never really got back into reading the series full time.

I guess what kept me from seriously collecting Batman is the same reason why I never readily collected Superman: Too many titles to try to collect and read without enough interesting storylines to keep me interested. This is another reason why I enjoy collecting and reading trade paperbacks and graphic novels. Everything is all in one spot and I don't have to make sure I collect every issue of a crossover I would like to read that spans over multiple titles. (i.e. Civil War, Final Crisis, etc.)

Then I read somewhere that Batman had actually died. This caught my interest just like my interest was peaked when Superman and Captain America "died". I decided that I had to read this story. So, I picked up this trade writen by the fantastic storyteller Grant Morrison.

This story is like no Batman story I've ever read in my life. Batman becomes so seriously f-ed up that his backup plan... a subconscious new identity known as "The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh"... thanks to "The Black Glove". This story kept me riveted from front to back, so much that I started collecting the "Battle for the Cowl" crossover and the new Azrael series.

Tony Daniel makes the Batman universe come to life. When I watched "The Dark Knight" for the first time, Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker frightened me. When I read this trade, Daniel's version of this classic character had me glued. This wasn't Jack Nicholson or Cesar Romero, but an even darker version of what Ledger's performance brought to Batman fans. After reading this trade, I ran out and picked-up Brian Azzarello's "Joker" trade... which I am eagerly waiting for my pile of books to dwindle to where this little beauty lies so I can finally read it.

The story and art combine to make this trade one of my all-time favorites. It re-kindled my interest in the Dark Knight. I recommend picking this one up for a good read and a great addition to your collection.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ghost: Nocturnes

Title: Ghost: Nocturnes

ISBN: 156971150x
Price: $9.95
Publisher/Year: Dark Horse, 1996
Artist: Adam Hughes
Writer: Eric Luke
Collects: Ghost #'s 1-3 & 5

Rating: 3/5

"All Elisa Cameron wanted was a decent job, a nice apartment -- in short, a normal life. What she got was a paranormal life! Elisa Cameron is Ghost, the star of Dark Horse's wildly popular series and host of her second collection of stories. Ghost: Nocturnes does what its title implies -- evokes the thoughts and feelings of the night." (Source:

In the 90's, Dark Horse published a series of comics collectively known as "Comics Greatest World". There were 4 areas that encompassed this series: Arcadia, Golden City, Steel Harbor and The Vortex. Out of this series, most of the titles had a short run as full series away from the original. Of all the titles given a chance to live on their own, I believe that Ghost was the title that lasted the longest.

Eric Luke has a good sense of style in his writing. Elisa Cameron (the main character) is believable in that I could easily see someone in her situation doing exactly what she is set on doing. Protection and revenge. I'm not sure that I enjoyed the Predator crossover, but Dark Horse has to throw him in to every title now and then, don't they?

The prime reason I enjoyed this book is the artwork. I have always been a HUGE fan of the art by Adam Hughes. I feel that he is one of the best artists of the female body. Unlike with many of his other characters and covers, Hughes doesn't make the breasts on Elisa look huge. I respect that he decided that this character would have less than DD's. This made her seem more true to life than, let's say, Wonder Woman, Catwoman or Lara Croft. I just appreciate that Hughes toned it down for this title. Don't get me wrong... I am also a fan of breasts. One of my favorite covers is from Catwoman #51.

I also liked the fact that instead of publishing the trades a "Volume 1" and such, Dark Horse decided to title them with the storylines: "Nocturnes", "Ghost Stories". I have both of these trades because I was a fan of this series in the early days. As I recall, I feel that my interest started to lessen after issue #5 with the Predator crossover. The original series only lasted for 58 issues, but you will occasionally see Elisa make a cameo in other titles such as Hellboy and Batgirl. Just like a real ghost, this title and main character come in and out when you least expect it.

I would recommend picking up a copy of this trade and giving it at least one good read. I took my copy to the Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle, WA to have Adam Hughes sign it. He is a nice guy to chat with, and I also recommend taking the opportunity to meet him in person.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Angel: After the Fall Volume 1

Title: Angel: After the Fall Volume 1

ISBN: 9781600101816
Price: $24.99
Publisher/Year: IDW, 2008
Artist: Franco Urru
Writer: Joss Whedon, Brian Lynch
Collects: Angel: After the Fall #'s 1-5

Rating: 4/5

Just as I have mentioned when reviewing Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, I am a big fan of Joss Whedon. IDW started this series to begin shortly after the final TV episode of Angel. Wolfram & Hart has fallen, and all Hell has literally broken loose on the world.

Brian Lynch has brought the feel of the TV series to this printed series. He and Whedon worked well together to plot this series. The writing hooked me back in to the "Whedonverse" of Angel just as Whedon's writing on Buffy did. Lynch has a firm grasp of who the characters are and where they come from. More importantly, he also has a great understanding of what they're going through. It was as though there wasn't a 4 year hiatus for the series. Lynch really puts it all back together from where Whedon originally left it off.

Franco Urro has a very interesting art style. The background characters lack definition, but I think that is intentional so they don't interfere with the main focus of the panels. His work makes me somewhat believe that David Boreanaz, J. August Richards and Amy Acker may have come to his studio to model for him.

This trade was one of the first series of hardbacks I have ever picked-up for my collection. I have to admit, I much prefer it over the traditional perfect bound trades. Sure, you will spend an extra $5 for the hardcover, but I think it's worth it to keep this trade in your collection. Being a book collector as well as a comic collector, I have found that it's easier to maintain the quality of a hardcover of that of a paperback any day.

Again, if you were a fan of the TV series, pick this trade up. I have the entire series up-to-date, and I look forward to bringing you continued reviews for the rest of it.