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Trade Reviews for end of August

Here’s a sampling of some trades I enjoyed this month.

GHOST RIDER: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
Marvel Comics

I’ve been a fan of Jason Aaron since I read THE OTHER SIDE, his comic about Viet Nam. He just keeps getting better. SCALPED is a terrific series and nicely dark and is really great crime fiction.
Over the years I’ve been an on and off fan of Ghost Rider. I picked up a couple trades because Aaron’s name was on them. I have to say this was a lot of fun. He writes a large feeling story and the first part is a cool redneck noir-ish tale which adds to the Ghost Rider Mythos and sets up for future tales. The Caretaker has been replaced and the new one is his Granddaughter. Meanwhile Blaze is taking on some wacked folks which are brought to the page by Tony Moore’s perfect artwork. The Highwayman and Skinbender are perfect foils for Ghost Rider and bring a nice creepy horror to the book.
The are two other tales in the trade. From Annual #2 by Simon Spurrier and Mark Robinson we have a story from before the fall of Zadkiel which is fun and there is a reprint from an older Ghost Rider written and layed out by Jim Starlin in which Ghost Rider races Death.

DC COMICS CLASSIC LIBRARY: Justice League of America by George Perez (Vol 1)
DC Comics

I’ve been a comics fan going on almost forty years, and in that time there are a number of artists that became early favorites. George Perez is one of them. I will pick up anything he is involved in. It was with great joy that I read this as it contains early work of Perez doing what he does best, draw huge groups of heroes all together. Gerry Conway was the writer at the time and the stories are while of their time, still great reading. Conway had a nice way of keeping the characterization while making the scope of the stories large. Kicking off with a Darkseid story line it then moves to the Red Tornado and a tale of his origins, Shaggy man and some great magic action.
This is a must have for fans of Perez and the JLA.

WALKING DEAD Volume 10, WHAT WE BECOME
Image

It’s no secret that Robert Kirkman is a rising star in comics. Invincible is a great book that looks at Superheroes in a fresh way, which these days is not all that easy to do.
Walking Dead is the book that really shows off his skill. While first impressions lead you to believe this is yet another zombie book, it is anything but. This is a book about people in extreme circumstances and what they can endure.
Volume 10 has our band of survivors on the road after loosing the prison they were calling home. Rick is starting to see things and have bizarre dreams. Dealing with all the lose looks to be catching up with him. As they road trip towards the east coast they swing by Rick’s old home town and find one of his neighbors still alive, though a bit crazy. It also looks like some of the fellow travelers are about done with moving. The zombies are also starting to behave a bit differently.
The action is interspersed with scenes which give us a look at the characters and their ever changing moods making for a real nice combination which makes for some damn fine reading.

As much as I love this series though, I think it would be hard for people to just jump in with any thing but the first trade. You may pick up on what’s going on, but it really should be read sequentially.

NIGHTWING: THE GREAT LEAP
DC Comics

This is the last of the Nightwing trades, as Dick Grayson has now taken over as Batman. Peter J Tomasi does a nice job with Nightwing’s exit.
With Batman gone Dick is tryinghis best to keep Gotham safe from the latest rampage of Two Fae, this includes keeping a witness safe. Major fight scenes and some clever plotting make it a lot of fun. As the book plays out we see Dick move back to Wayne Manor and prepare for what will eventually become his run as Batman.
Nightwing I would imagine is a tough character to write. Obviously he is Batman’s protege, but he is also definitely his own man. Smart, resourceful and less brooding it’s a combination that hasn’t always been done as well as it could be. Tomasi seems to have all the pieces of the puzzle that is Dick Grayson in just the right places.

ROBIN: SEARCH FOR A HERO
DC Comics

As with Nightwing, Tim Drake’s life has changed with Batman gone. Unlike Nightwing, Tim doesn’t believe whole heatedly that Batman is gone for good. While time will tell which of them is right, post Batman Tim is trying to do what he can to hold Gotham together. Gangwar looming, Spoiler back from the dead (actually Africa) and a number of mysteries to solve are keeping Robin a busy young man.

This is a nice exit for Robin, as he will become Red Robin and go on a quest to find Bruce Wayne after thsi is done. We see Dick and Tim waiting for Bruce to recover his edge post final crisis by fighting crime around various parts of the globe, and then with Bruce back but going nuts Tim tries to get to the bottom of what is happening by looking into Batman’s past. Along the way he is fighting street gangs, someone dressed up as Red Robin, Jason Todd, and Anarchy and Shiva.

Action packed and a nice look into what drives Tim Drake this was a damn fine read.