trade reviews

Hawaiian Dick: Byrd of Paradise
Image Comics (trade)

B. Clay Moore has written a wonderful noir tale in this first volume of his series. Our protaganist is Byrd, a man living on the islands in an exile of sorts. He’s pals with a local cop and that comes in handy as a detective. This first story we are introduced to the players as we see Byrd on his first case. He is asked to find a woman who has been kidnapped. Sounds easy enough, but the woamn is dead and the people who want her aren’t going to be very happy.
This is pure noir, Hawaiian noir if you will. The artwork form Steven Griffin is absolutely perfect and invokes the fifties wonderfully.
This first collection also has some extras including character sketches and the very first web apperances of Byrd. You need this book.
Also, look for an interview with Mr. Moore in issue 23 of Crimespree shipping in March.

Robin: Teenage Wasteland
DC Comics

Adam Beechen does a fantastic job of writing teenagers. He gets the emotions and the mindset all too well. I’ve always enjoyed Tim Drake as Robin, but this could be my favorite run on the series so far.
It opens with his having been officailly adopted by Bruce Wayne, which comes with it’s own complications, including being kidnapped as Tim Drake. Robin also has an encounter with Klarion the WHich boy that I found to be loads of fun. He’s also dealing with a young wannabe hero named Dodge who ends up messing up, and of course Robin blames himself, even though he shouldn’t. All this and Tim trying dating as well.
This is a great book and really elevates my thoughts of Robin as a stand alone hero.

Welcome to Tranquility
Wildstorm

Collecting 1-6 of the series this is such a great book. Gail Simone really is a hell of a writer, everything she does is gold, and the gold here truly shines.
Tranquility is a peaceful small town. It’s almost a throwback to the fifties in some ways. everyone is happy and nice. Oh, and a lot of the townsfolk are also retired heroes and villans. But not everything is what it seems. A reporter comes to town and wnats to do a piece on the happy village, but before long she sees that not everything is sugar and spice. Murders start to happen, distrust and suspicion creep in and before long there is real trouble. Before it’s all over some ugly secrets come out and push people to their limits.
Not only is Gail Simone’s writing brillant here, add the artistic genius of Neil Googe and it’s alsmost the perfect comic book. I say almost because to be prefect it would be much long and never end….

Creeper: Welcome to Creepsville
DC Comics

Well, eventually someone was going to need to update the Creeper. DC chose to bring in writing phenom Steve Niles to do the job. Known for his, well, creepy writing this was a match made in heaven.
Dark and twitsed Jack Ryder become the Creeper and tries to do some good. A brief run in with Batmanlets him know he is being watched. Ugly experiments are taking place on the behest of a gangster. Things go wrong and the Creeper steps in to set things right.
Wonderf tale, and wonderful art.

The All New Atom: Future/Past
DC Comics

I’ll admit that I have not been reading this title. My first thoughts were that it was just another revamp of a classic character and that I wouldn’t be missing anything.
I was wrong.
Wrong wrong wrong.
Of course the first clue that this would be a great read would be Gail Simone’s name on the book.
This second collection has issue 7-11 and it involves the new Atom, Ryan Choi havinr to go back to Japan and face some unpleasent things from his past, but not before he is taken to the future to help out an old friend of Ray Palmer.
Clever and fun writing and very nicely done art make this book a real pleasure to read. Very classic superhero stories in a modern age.
I won’t be missing any more of these.

Shooting War
Grand Central Publishing

This graphic novel is from one of the big New York houses. It’s a oversized hardcover by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman.
The future, a few years away. The war in the middle east has escalated and gotten even uglier.
In New York a blogger is trying out his new video camera and captures a major event that thrusts him into the spot light and a job with a network. The story floows him on his journey reporting on the war.
Some times humourous, thogh quite dark and nihlistic this is a story that is obviously telling us how horrible war is. But it’s also showing us other things as well about the media and other people and ourselves.
I think this is an important book and a damn good one.

Green Arrow/ Black Canary: For Better or Worse
DC Comics

Green Arrow and Black Canary. Ollie Queen and Dinah Lance. It’s a comic love story almost as good as Lois and Clark, and usually not as melodramtic. This collection chronicles their love through the last 40 odd years written by some of the best writers to leave their mark on the continuity of the pair. Mike Grell, Denny O’Neil, Brad Meltzer, Chuck Dixon and Elliot S! Maggin and even Alan Moore. Spanning from 1969 to 2003 this is a really perfect selection of stories to retell their story. The Mike Grell stuff still gives me chills. Grell really did a great job of rendering this couple.
This is a wonderful lead into all the wedding stuff and a great primer for the Ollie and Dinah of today.

Legion Of Superheroes: An Eye For an Eye
DC Comics

I hope this is the start of a trend, collectiong all the great legion stories that loved. This collection is the first six issue of the relaunched direct sales series from Levitz and Giffen.
The anti legion collection of villains have banded together like never before and are doing some serious damage to the Legion. Beofer it’s all said and done, some one will be dead. Powerful writing and amazing action made this one of the best story arcs of the legion, right up there with the Darkness Saga. This is some of my favorite Legion story telling and I really hope DC does more.

Batman: Death and The City
DC Comics

Paul Dini does Batman like nobodies business. I love his work on Madame Mirage, and I love seeing what he does with one of my favorite characters.
The first half involves a mad bomber in a downtown Gotham office building during an event attended by Bruce Wayne and TIm.Drake, as a terrorist takes over the building the dou must break away and change and affect a Die Hard like rescue of the building, later we see Batman with atanna tying to prevent a crisis in the making. A great tale with flash backs to a young Bruce and Zatanna.
More Dini please.

Danger Girl: Body Shots
Wildstorm

Danger Girl is a really fun over the top spy series with kick ass chicks and really cool bad guys.
Normally the gals are on the hunt to stop bad guys from stealing devices and artifacts and taking over the world. This time the sights are set on them and they have to stop the people out to kill them. Top of the line action and wonderful art make this one of the really fun books out there. Not dark, not twisyted or full of angst, just good guys(gals) and bad gus going at it.

Jonah Hex: Origins
DC Comics

Jonah Hex has been around a long time. Over the years he’s been written well and written rather poorly. This time out the series is kicking ass an taking names.
Jimmy Palmioti has finally given us a full origin to this enigmatic bad ass of the old west. This isn’t for kids, it’s dark and violent, and perfect. It gives depth to character who has always felt a bit two dimensional. No more. This is so good I can almost forgive the whole idea of Jonah in the future in the series Hex.

Green Arrow: Road To Jericho
DC Comics

Judd Winick has written some things I don’t care for. I wasn’t a huge fan of his work with the Outsiders for various reasons.
However Winick can write the Bejeesus out of a Green Arrow story.
Every bad as you can imagine is gunning for Ollie and he calls in all the troops to help out htis time.Even Batman shows up. This whole arc is a long slug fest fighting marathon. And I loved every minute of it. Ollie is a specail guy and he tends to piss people off alot, he also inspires loyalty in his friends and extended family and Winick captures these aspects perfectly.
And this doesn’t really give anything away if you’ve been keeping up, it all ends with Ollie on his knees in front of Dinah.
Perfect. Thanks Jud Winick.

The Brave and The Bold: The Lords Of Luck
DC Comics

One of my very favorite comics growing up, at one point in my life I had every issue that had Batman teaming up with other heroes. SoI was really excited to see the title come back. An it opened with a Batman story. Add to that the team of Mark Wiad and George Perez, well , I had tingles down my spine opening this book.
I was not disappointed. What a great story! Wonderful teamups, outer space, epic tale and great action with just the right amount of humor. It’s a quest for the book of Destiny, and a battle to keep it out of the wrong hands. And how do the Challangers of the Unknown play into it?

If the series stays this good I’ll again be the proud owner of a complete run.

Theres more good stuff coming from all the different companies. Looks like a great year for trade collections in 2008