Sunday, November 28, 2010

Preacher: Proud Americans

Title: Preacher: Proud Americans

ISBN: 9781563893278
Price: $14.99
Publisher/Year: Vertigo, 1996
Artist: Steve Dillon
Writer: Garth Ennis
Collects: Preacher #18-26

Rating: 4/5

The beginning of this trade finds Jesse learning about his father in the days of the Vietnam war, and we learn where the "Fuck Communism" Zippo came from. It's interesting to see how much like his father Jesse is. This is a great story before getting into the meat of this trade, which revolves around Jesse going into the heart of the Grail and rescuing Cassidy.

We learn a great deal about both Cassidy and Starr. We see how much punishment and death Cassidy can go through, and still stay alive. With Starr, we get an understanding on how he's changed since his time in San Francisco. And we also get to meet the Grail's Allfather and the progeny of the sacred bloodline. Who knew that inbreeding the holy bloodline would have such dramatic effects on the descendant of Jesus Christ? It also looks like this group of Christians may also have an affection for Buddha. (You'll get this joke once you've read this trade.)

It's really amazing to see what Cassidy can actually live through. Being shot several times, dismembered and blown apart by a grenade and he still lives on. After getting his manhood shot off, I don't think he'd want to live much longer. It's a good thing they didn't decide to just toss him outside at noon.

I shouldn't forget that the Saint of Killers makes an appearance or two in this trade as well. If it weren't for the Saint, Jesse probably wouldn't have survived very long. And he probably wouldn't have learned a ton about Genesis. Oh... did I fail to mention that the Grail actually had Genesis' "father" (who was cast down from Heaven) locked-up in their prison? Guess that must've slipped my mind.

Another great addition to your collection, and a continuation of the Preacher series. As they say about Pokémon, "Gotta catch them all!" Every volume of this series should be a foundation to you graphic novel/trade paperback collection.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Superman: Earth One

Title: Superman: Earth One

ISBN: 9781401224684
Price: $19.99
Publisher/Year: DC, 2010
Artist: Shane Davis
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski

Rating: 3.5/5

From the creative mind that brought us Babylon 5, we have the retelling of the age-old tale of a dying planet, and their one hope for continued existence. A child sent to live away from its family. Born of one world, but raised in another.

With many series reboots over the years that have been successful and not (the new Batman movies, Marvel's Ultimate universe, etc) I guess it was time for a new version of Superman. I do like the idea of Clark Kent being a fresh out of Smallville Junior College, looking for a job in the "big city" of Metropolis. The cover of this trade seems to indicate a power within him, eager to be let out. So many years of having to keep it secret from the world.

The art was good for this story. I wish that the story hadn't been so epic, but I understand why it was. This is the world's introduction to Superman, so it has to be big. How about we throw in a race of aliens from a planet that used to go to war with Krypton? And they want to kill Superman since he's the last remaining Kryptonian. Sounds like a good enough story.

What I like the most is that the classic story is now brought to the modern day. Sure, Clark was still raised on a farm in Smallville, but there are cell phones, digital cameras and the internet. Welcome to the 21st century Superman.

When I saw that Amazon had sold out of this trade only days after the initial release, I decided I had to get a copy and find out if it was worth it. I found that the local Borders had several, so I picked it up and gave it a read. It's not too bad. It's a good start, but I don't know if DC has decided to have Straczynski write more books for this series, or if it's just a one-shot.

Either way, I think it's worth picking-up and reading at least once. It will linger in my collection, and I will probably never read it again... but it was worth the initial read.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Preacher: Until the End of the World

Title: Preacher: Until the End of the World

ISBN: 1563893126
Price: $14.95
Publisher/Year: Vertigo, 1997
Artist: Steve Dillon
Writer: Garth Ennis
Collects: Preacher #8-17

Rating: 4/5

Here we have another installment of the Preacher series. This trade gives you a great deal of insight into Jesse Custer's background. What drove him to become a preacher? What was his childhood like? What about his parents?
It all goes back to a little place called Angelville. Sounds like a nice place, huh? When you first drive up to the large house with the burning crosses out front, then you begin to realize that the name may be a bit of a misnomer. This place is all about religion, but they are hard-line about it. Led by Jesse's Grandmother, Miss Marie L'angell, you have only ever seen a more sick and twisted bunch of people in a Rob Zombie movie.

The 2 primary antagonists from Custer's past are Jody and T.C. Jody seems to be the sadist of the two, beating the hell out of Jesse at every turn, and afraid to not kill. There's even a scene where a young Jesse Custer tries to fight Jody, only to get his ass handed to him, his arm broken, and then punished for being vulgar by being trapped in a coffin underwater for two weeks. T.C. seems to be a product of inbreeding with farm animals. He enjoys the carnal company of various things, including a little "romantic" interlude with a chicken in the barn. This trade has prooved to me that Garth Ennis has a sick mind.

Through all the strangeness and horrible acts of violence and cruelty, God actually seems to make an appearance in this trade. You'll be surprised why he makes his appearance and the impression he leaves behind.

The next part of this trade brings Jesse and Tulip back to Cassidy in San Francisco. Good times until they find out that Cassidy's girlfriend died of a drug overdose and they all go to find the pricks that gave her the heroin. Enter Jésus DeSade and the Grail... separately, of course. The Grail is looking for Jesse, and the drugs lead directly to Jésus. Just to give you an idea, Jésus is the leader of a group called the Gomorrah People. Needless to say, there is debauchery all over the end part of this trade.

Add this trade to you collection, and keep reading this series. I look forward to going through the next several volumes of this series, and I'll be sad when it's over.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

1 year & growing!

Zanziber's 1st Year
2009 - 2010

I wanted to thank everyone who has been reading my reviews and those that have giving me support over the past year. I'm currently having ideas of expanding this out to other avenues. I will still be writing my reviews of trade paperbacks, but I would like to broaden the scope of people who have been seeing them. I have been posting many of my reviews on ComicCollectorLive, but I'm also looking at a few other established websites to promote/publish my reviews on.

The next big item on my list of year 2 is a sponsor. As I have noted, these reviews were based on 2 criteria; my collection and reader's suggestions. The number of trades that I haven't reviewed that are in my collection is slowly diminishing. I have been in contact with one of my LCS, and will be bringing the idea back to their attention soon. I do not get paid for these reviews. I do these reviews as a creative outlet. If I could possibly land a paying gig writing my reviews on a weekly basis, that would help support the whole process. The more disposable income I have, the better my ability to purchase more trades to add to the collection and more trades to review for the future.

As always, I am open for suggestions and enjoy receiving feedback. You keep reading here, I'll keep writing.

Identity Crisis

Title: Identity Crisis

ISBN: 9781401204587
Price: $14.99
Publisher/Year: DC, 2005
Artist: Rags Morales
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Collects: Identity Crisis #1-7

Rating: 4/5
Comic books have really evolved since the golden age. Does anyone remember the Comics Code Authority (CCA)? Back in the days when violence and sexual innuendo was restricted, this story would have never been published. Then again, I think the same could be said for about 90% of the comics currently being published.

This was my introduction to Brad Meltzer's writing. To say the least, I am a fan. He lured me into the DC Universe, got me up-to-speed, and fascinated me with this storyline. The big question this trade poses is "What happens when the 'bad guys' learn the secret identities of the 'good guys' and start taking it out on their families?" Another good question Brad poses is "Where do superheroes draw the line?"

This trade is an excellent read of fiction, and an interesting study in psychology. How far do superheroes allow ethics and morality to be bent before they become the very villains they combat? Where is the line drawn? For people like Batman, there has always been a large gray area of morality. On the other hand, Superman fights for "truth, justice, and the American way." What happens when a small group of heroes from the Justice League cross the line and keep it secret from the rest? What usually happens when anyone tells a lie? Sooner or later, the lie is discovered.

The entire superhero community is so focused to find the person who committed a horrible act of murder against one of their own; they don't think to look to themselves as possible suspects. They act well as a team, but they don't think well together. It doesn't help that those who are covering their secret help to form the teams to hunt down suspects. The end of this story and the reveal of the real culprit will shock you.

As I said, this is a great work of fiction and psychology. Meltzer did his homework before he wrote this fine piece of work. Rags Morales' art is a fine compliment to Meltzer's writing to combine and create one hell of a trade. Add this one to your expanding collection as I have. I have already read this trade twice, and it has been a great read each time without any disappointment.