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Trade Reviews Sept 14

DC Comics:

Brave and The Bold : The Book of Destiny Volume 2
DC Comics

Mark Waid and George Perez finish off the first story arc of this new run on a classic DC title. The Brave and the Bold was always one of my favorites going back to when I would buy them at the drug store after haircuts and pick up adventures of Batman and a myriad of guest stars. The new run embraces the team up aspect and pairs together some really great heroes.
This first story arc has the Challengers of the unknown at the center trying to discover the secrets to the book of destiny and to keep it from the wrong hands. A new bad villain called Megistus is time traveling stealing people and strange objects. His motives are unclear and the Challengers use the book to try and unravel the mystery. Along with Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Metamorpho and a bunch of other heroes they are out to stop this unknown entity.
Waid and Perez have put everything I love about comics into this. Massive super heroes, a story that inter-connects, art work that jumps off the page and a real epic feel to the whole thing. This book brings back the magic I felt as a kid and does in a smart way that kept me guessing.
Thanks for this book.

The Flash: The Wild Wests
DC Comics

Wally West is back in the regular DC universe, along with his wife and two kids. I’ve always been a fan of Wally, I liked Barry Allan and still do. Bart was a nice addition to the Flash crowd, but for me Wally has been my favorite. I great up with Barry and when he was taken off the board in the Crisis I was shocked, and I was also very unsure what I would think of Wally. He grew into a great hero and did the legacy of Flash proud. And then a couple years ago he was gone.
And now he’s back.
The Wild Wests sees Wally trying to adjust to his new life as a family man. The added dimension of having kids growing older faster than they should because they have super powers adds a very interesting twist. His wife Linda has embraced the fact that she’s in a family of people with powers and is there to help them. Wally is training his kids to use their powers, and as typical teenaged kids would, they want to get out there and use their powers. Wally is also trying to find a way to discover how to slow down the kids aging so they can be, if not normal, at least more normal.
Mark Waid has a lot of love for this character and it shows in his writing. This is so much more than the Flash fighting the Rogues. This will be remembered as an epic period in the history of the Flash .I also really love the art by Daniel Acuna. It’s crisp and clean and he is so expressive with the way he draws people, from the way their body language says volumes to the way he fills every inch of the action scenes.

Hellblazer : The Laughing Magician

Andy Diggle continues his run with Constantine in this collection with art from Leonardo Manco and Danijel Zezelj. The first story is a tale of a secret part of London and the power that places have over those inside and what they think and believe. It’s a great story further building on John’s ties with old magics. The second tale see someone gunning for John. A village in Africa is destroyed while a madman looks for magic. The magic has been hidden in an object and eventually finds its way to London which brings a world of hurt towards Constantine.
This is classic Constantine and I look forward to more of Diggle’s work.

Metal Men
DC Comics

Duncan Rouleau wrote and illustrated this and he has a style that is both fun and expressive. I’ve not seen the Metal Men done with such emotion in years.
The tale in this collection re introduces the origin story playing on the relationship with Doc Magnus’s mentor T.O Morrow. We get more insight into the good doctor and we also get a better idea of what the Metal men are really all about and how they came to be. Along the way we get glimpses to the past, a ride to the future and some great fights with classic bad guys. We learn some secrets previously unknown including ties to an ages old group of alchemists.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have gone back just to take in the artwork.

Simon Dark: What Simon Does
DC Comics

Steve Niles gives DC a different kind of hero. Niles background with horror lends itself perfectly to this bizarre character Simon Dark. Simon is in Gotham City and hiding. He steps out of the shadows when he sees something wrong being done. Protecting the neighborhood he lives in seems natural, but Simon knows almost nothing about who he is and why he is scarred. Dark Magic forces are using the neighborhood to battle and Simon needs to stop them. He has a few friends who want to help him discover who he is and where he’s from.
This is a fun series with a nice creepy dark overtone. Niles along with artist Scott Hampton are creating a piece of art that stays burned in your retinas even after you close your eyes.

Supergirl: Beyond Good and Evil
DC Comics

Supergirl for decades has been seen as a lighter version of Superman, and while there were some fun stories and great art along the way it always seemed that she the B-team. In ’85 the character stepped into the role of a real hero and it eventually killed her. Over the convening years various supergirls appeared and the character still felt like a back up story even with the great writers who worked on various versions. Recently she was brought back again and it was made clear from the get-go that she was indeed Superman’s cousin and that she wasn’t the Supergirl we knew. This version kicks ass and asks no quarter.
This trade collection sees Kara on a personal quest to find her own way and Kelley Puckett has done a great job with the character. She’s a teenager who doesn’t want to be treated like a little sister, she wants to find her place in her new home and this story shows that journey.
Drew Johnson has done some great work here and it comes across as both powerful and bright. He takes all the emotion of the writing and conveys it perfectly.
This is not your parent’s Supergirl, and I for one am loving it.


The Immortal Iron Fist:
The Seven Capitol Cities of Heaven
Marvel Comics

Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker have taken a character I’ve always enjoyed but thought was underused and really made him a contender.
Iron Fist always seemed to be just another martial arts dude with a weird power. This new run sees a full and lush back story and peril on a global level. Keeping all the elements that made it good reading in the past and adding a whole new set of layers to the character this series is really one of the must reads of my comics stack each month.
A tournament in K’un Lun has Danny Rand fighting in an event that takes place every 88 years. The consequences are deadly serious on a lot of levels. The future of K”un Lun, Danny’s friends being held and attacked by Hydra and hidden secrets are all part of this intricate tapestry that Fraction and Brubaker have weaved. This is a great story.

Terror Inc
Marvel Max

Terror was kind of a throw away character back in the day. A bit silly and not really worth collecting.
This revitalized version is great. He’s an immortal kept alive by some strange magic and a curse working freelance doing jobs other people don’t want with his PI firm. He needs to replace body parts to stay alive and has a network set up to help him with both this and his business.
He is hired to do a job that becomes an obvious set up fast. His normal avenues of help and his resources are taken and he is fighting for is life against a foe he least expects.
David Lapham did a great job with this. Terror is totally likable as a bad ass PI. He’s slick, smart and funny. He also has a warrior’s spirit and sense of honor. Add art from Patrick Zircher and you’ve got a masterpiece in your hands.
I hope that Mr. Lapham and Mr. Zircher team up for more. This is adventure at it’s best. Fan’s of Cal McDonald will love it.