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July 4th weekend reviews

Battler Britton

My local comics store put up a display of books by Garth Ennis and this title is one of the few I hadn’t read. I think Ennis is truly gifted and I love his war stories. This one came out 2007.
Battler Britton is the tale of a squadron of Brit flyers in North Africa and their American counterparts. The Brits have been there a while and are supposed to show the Americans the ropes. And of course the pilots from the US think they know it all. What follows is a series of battles in which mistakes are made, heroes are born and the men end up respecting each other. In other words, a perfect war story.
Fans of Ennis and WWII stories will really enjoy this. Colin Wilson also did a nice job with the art, I love his dog fight sequences.

The Flash: The Human Race
DC Comics

Collecting Flash 136-141 is another collection of stories from Grant Morrison and also Mark Millar. The first part of the book is a story which has Wally racing to save the Earth, literally. Beings from another planet pit beings against each other two at a time, and as long as they keep winning, the planet they call home lives. Wally is up against a being that he remembers from his childhood that he thought was imaginary. The second story has the Black Flash gunning for Flash and Black Flash is death for speedsters. Wally escapes his touch, but someone close to him isn’t so lucky.

A timely collection, this has two creators who are at a real high right now and it also ties into current story lines. The Flash has always been a good book, and at times a great book. Morrison’s writing on Flash is a reminder of how much fun writers could have with the Flash.

Hitman: A Rage in Arkham
DC Comics

In the early nineties DC ran a theme through their annuals each year. One of these was Bloodlines and it was meant to introduce new character to the DC Universe. Most didn’t make the cut and I’ll bet most people couldn’t name two. One that struck a chord with fans was the Belfast badass Tommy Monaghan, a bloke who was given powers by an alien parasite. He’s a hitman (obviously) and he’s a riot. He drinks like an Irishman, and he has the attitude to carry a book called Hitman. He’s a character that walks the thin line between good and bad. He won’t kill good guys, but has no problem knocking off bad dudes.
In this book he takes a contract to go after The Joker in Arkham. Along the way he picks up side jobs to get a bunch of other people in the insane asylum as long as he’s there.
What makes Tommy worth reading about is the fact that he’s not a Punisher clone. He’s funny, he has a moral code, a weird one, but he does have it. I think if anyone else but Garth Ennis had written this it would have been ignored. Ennis does what he does best here, a no holds barred humorous send up of what may have been a throw away character but ends up being someone genuinely interesting.

Invincible Volume 10: Who’s The Boss?

I find very little by Robert Kirkman that I don’t enjoy. In fact I can’t think of anything that he’s done that I don’t like, if not love. I came late to the Invincible show starting with trade number 5. Since then I can’t wait to see what Kirkman has instore for Mark each month.
Who’s The Boss is another changing point for Invincible. He’s been following orders and trying to make up for the fact that his Dad wanted to wipe out the Earth. He’s finally had enough and decides he done taking orders from the Global Defense Agency. There is a lot of fighting going on and it’s a real joy to see Ryan Ottley’s art playing them out. And as always Kirkman’s writing is a joy. I love his dialogue. I also love the relationship between Mark and his younger brother.
If for some strange reason you aren’t reading this, you should start, right now.

The Iron Ghost

Another book from 2007, The Iron Ghost is another WWII tale. I tend to enjoy WWII books and movies and was hungry for more after reading Battler Britton. This is totally different. The war is a major part of the book, but it’s a mystery. Two German detectives are investigating a series of murders right at the end of the Reich’s hold on Germany. Gestapo agents over seeing them hinders their progress as does the constant bombardment on the city by the Allies. As they start to unravel the mystery it becomes clear that the killer has a motive that ties all the victims together. And when they finally uncover the truth, will they want to stop him?
Chuck Dixon did a nice job of creating a very well plotted mystery here. His motivation for the killer works, and I really appreciated the way he incorporated the obstacles that would certainly be hampering the investigation.
This is worth tracking down.

Savage Dragon #150 (regular issue, not trade)

This was my biggest disappointment this week. Larson suckered me just like Marvel does so often, and by that I mean he got me to buy what looks like a great book, I get home and find out I just paid 5.99 for a bunch of reprints, one of which is public domain.

The Savage Dragon story that is new is good, I like the Dragon and this is a fun story line. I also like the cover, it looks like one of DC’s 100 page spectaculars. The Vanguard story did nothing for me. And while I understand that other companies can have a character called Thor, why would you? All I could thin while reading the mediocre story was that Larson wanted a laugh at Marvel.

Overall I found this self indulgent and an insult to fans of the book. Thanks for gouging the fans.

She-Hulk: Lady Liberators

She-Hulk has been one of the most consistently enjoyable title marvel has done in the last ten years. Peter David’s writing in the latest collection once again makes me remember why I love this book.
Jennifer (She-Hulk) decides that being a bounty hunter isn’t enough and decides to call a few friends and take on an evil dictator and free some oppressed people. Her friends happen to be Sue Richards, Valkyrie and Thundra. Of course nothing is black and white when politics are involved and things get complicated. To add to the complications add the Winter Guard shows up to stop them.
Loads of fun fight scenes and wry humor make this a thoroughly entertaining read.

Wonder Woman: Amazon Attack
DC Comics

When this mini series first ran a lot of people at my local comics store were bad mouthing Amazons Attack. I have to say that after sitting down and reading the whole book at once I can see why there may have been some disappointment, but honestly it’s not bad at all.

The art by Pete Woods is great, he must have had a ball drawing this. Amazon warriors, monsters, the JLA, Washington DC getting blowed up real good. It seems like a comics artist wet dream.

Is Will Peters, the writer, as good as Rucka or Simone on Wonder Woman? No. But I do think he did a decent job of telling a big story and whole there were some short falls, I think he really nailed some of the characters. He got the JLA right, Diana seemed spot on. I will say I am really done with Circe. Please put her on hiatus for a while. I also think having Wonder Girl and Supergirl attack the President was just lame. I do think the revelations about Grace from the Outsiders was done nicely.
This may not be a fan favorite, but overall not a bad story, and certainly better than some of the Wonder Woman stories of the 70’s and 80’s.

Some of the comics I enjoyed this week were

The Boys #32 from Dynamite. Garth Ennis messing with super heroes again in spectacular fashion. Hughie is having some issues with Butcher, someone takes out female and while down one member the Boys go after a group of supes called Payback.
it also looks like Hughie’s girlfriend has had about enough
of “the seven” and I predict she’ll join the Boys team.

Witchfinder is more supernatural fun in the Hellboy universe from Mike Mignola and Dark Horse.

Batman and Robin #2 with Morrison and Quietly is kicking ass. Love the new dynamic dou and the art rocks.

Irredeemable #4 has Mark Waid revving the story engines even louder and this is really picking up speed. This should be weekly.

Justice League, Cry For Justice by James Robinson was really fun and I love where I think this is going. i also like the added text stuff from Robinson and his explaining why he’s doing what he’s doing. Also, Mauro Cascioli is a superb artist. I’s buy a book with no words just to see his work.

Deadpool by Victor Gischler #1 was a hoot. I’m a big fan of Gischler’s novels so I was really looking forward to see what he would do with this batshit crazy character. So far so good.