death of archie

The death of Archie!

Archie Andrews is going to die! It’s about time. Welcome to comic books. There’s no drama here, everybody dies and comes back, because we can’t tell a good solid story about a character that involves death. That tragic moment has to be cheapened, re-written, retconed, whatever else. Sometimes it’s completely ignored. This one I’m going to defend however. I haven’t seen the payoff that Michael Uslan promised in this Life With Archie series, but admittedly I stopped reading it, either way this was a giant “What if?”. It was a grown up Archie, moved on after graduation from high school and married to Betty. And Veronica. The series ran two simultaneous stories about the different tracks of Archie’s life. What I liked about it though, is that despite the comfort of any Archie story that you can pick up at anytime, the fact that it’s just a story, nothing changes, nothing happens.. Life With Archie dealt with recurring themes and ramifications. Life went on and people made choices and lived with them. That was nice to see in an Archie context. But they’re done.  Issue #36 will be the death issue and #37 will deal with the grief and be the end of the series.

It’s not the death of Archie. But according to the publisher, it’s the right time and place for him to die. I can’t talk to the time but I’ll borrow those last two issues from my daughter and read them.

Moon Knight #1

Moon Knight #1 – Review

Story by: Warren Ellis                                                                                                         Pencils & Inks by: Declan Shalvey                                                                       Colors by: Jordy Bellaire                                                                                                   Lettering by: Chris Eliopoulos

It bears saying that with anything I post on MCS, I ask you to keep it in the context that I’ve only been reading comics for little more than two years. While I’ve read a healthy amount of books during that time, I’ve still only explored a small amount of the comic space out there.

Along those lines, the only experiences I’ve had with Moon Knight is from what I’ve heard about the character from others, and his handful of appearances in Ultimate Spider-Man. It’s a small sample size from which I have gleaned three things: he’s supposedly Marvel’s attempt at Batman (whatever that means), he enjoys dressing exclusively in white, and he has a split personality disorder.

Moon Knight #1 - Skottie Young Variant

Moon Knight #1 – Skottie Young Variant

Seeing as I love Batman, enjoyed the baptism scene in O’Brother Where Art Thou?, and there’s just something about debilitating psychoses that gets my blood flowing, I figured this book would be perfect for me.

Luckily, Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey (again, people I have no experience with) appear to be accounting for know-nothings like me, and offer a quality toe-in-the-water story to ease us into the world of Moon Knight.

The first two pages of the book offer us a quick-and-dirty introduction to who Marc Spector is; essentially a guy consistently on the edge of a psychotic break who is also an agent of an Egyptian moon god.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Another story about a nuthouse  possessed by an Egyptian lunar deity?”  I know, it’s pretty overdone, but hold on. In a terrific turn of original storytelling, he’s also a special consultant for the NYPD.

So while the premise to the book isn’t all that authentic, it’s the character of Marc Spector which sets it apart.

Though Ellis summarizes Spector’s dark history, he never quite discloses who the current version of Spector is. His mindset is somewhat unknown. We see some classic “eccentric detective” (refer to links above) traits, but it’s when Moon Knight is on his own that the interesting parts of his character come out. He certainly has a “different” way of thinking, but it is procedural, if enigmatic. Ellis gives us a peak at the interesting thought process occurring within the character as he goes about solving the crime at hand, making him that much more interesting.

Moon Knight #1 - Animal Variant by Katie Cook

Moon Knight #1 – Animal Variant by Katie Cook

Shalvey’s art goes a long way in distinguishing Moon Knight from everything else in the issue. This incarnation of Knight wears an all white three-piece suit (complete with a mask and gloves), and it’s a stark white that provides significant contrast with the world around him. He stands out in more ways than one. Speaking of the world around him, New York is portrayed as dim and dingy with a color palette that screams “warm urine,” so it’s pretty truthful to real life NYC.

The comic ends with a scene that brings about more questions of Spector’s iffy past, but it doesn’t overtake the previous 18 or so pages that came before. It didn’t make me feel overwhelmed or lose interest in a character I’m still getting to know. Rather, I simply feel more of an obligation to understand who Marc Spector really is.

Going forward, I plan on waiting for the series’ collected edition, as I am doing with almost all my books now. I came into the issue with high hopes and it did nothing to dissuade me.

Conan: The Phantoms of the Black Coast

Written by: Victor Gischler                                                                                                Art by: Attila Futaki                                                                                                         Colors by: Jok Coglitore and J. Blanco                                                               Lettering by: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy  Betancourt Collecting: Conan: The Phantoms of the Black Coast #1 – 5                        Retail price: $19.99 (Trade Paperback), Dark Horse Comics

Conan: Phantoms of the Black Coast  trade paperback

Conan: Phantoms of the Black Coast trade paperback

Set in the later part of Conan’s life, this should have been titled King Conan, otherwise it was a credible job by Victor. It’s a good Conan story, not great, and it is a great story for someone new who just wants to see what it’s about. Everything the reader needs is provided here and as opposed to dangling plot threads found in a monthly book. Unfortunately, travel, betrayal, moodiness, bloody gruesome war, witches and wizards… it all feels like a connect-the-dots, or paint-by-numbers story in which was given the Conan formula and as such lacked any depth or feeling.

Attila’s art was good enough but unfortunately, he too had a few issues as some of his panels were difficult to understand as far as content. Sometimes to the degree that made me wonder why they were there at all, and they ended up detracting from the story.

Overall, it was a good Conan story. A short, quick read that fills in just one more chapter in the life of Conan the Barbarian.

Son of Batman

If you are a fan of the DC Comics Animated movies, this is for you. Below is a scene from “Son of Batman”, the newest entry in the highly successful string of releases. Also contained here is an interview with Jason O’Mara, who lends his vocal prowess to the role of Batman. “Son of Batman” is based on Mr. Grant Morrison’s storyline that brought Damian Wayne into Batman/Bruce Wayne’s life. “Son of Batman” will be released May 6th, 2014 on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital Download.

Enjoy!

Credit: DC All Access

 

 

mfraction

The Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection

  Written by: Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker                                                     Art by: David Aja, Travel Foreman, Matt Hollingsworth, &                  Various*                                                                                                                            Collecting: Immortal Iron Fist #1 – 16 and Annual #1, Immortal  Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death #1, Immortal  Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand #1, and Civil War: Choosing  Sides #1                                                                                                                                        Retail price: $39.99 (Trade Paperback), Marvel Comics

The Immortal Iron Fist complete collection trade paperback

The Immortal Iron Fist complete collection trade paperback

Before I get started, I want to thank Nick for suggesting this new review format. I’ve done a handful of reviews lately that have had numerous credits like this one and trying to give all of those people credit in a sentence would just be woefully droning. I feel it’s very important that everyone is given their due credit for the work they’ve done, but at least you’re not obligated to read every name and/or worry about skipping the wrong line, which is why I have the full laundry list of artists who had a hand on this book down at the end of the review.

There are two things pertinent to this review, which I’d like to comment on right away. First: I know who Danny Rand is, but I know next to nothing about him and have never really been a fan. He’s always been a minor character in big events, or I see him guest star in New Avengers or Marvel Team-Up. I just never really got into the character or cared about him. Second and probably more inflammatory, I’m not a fan of Matt Fraction’s writing. I’ve not been blown away by what I’ve read by him in the past. Truthfully I think it’s all mostly forgettable. I read this book because it’s co-written by Ed Brubaker and another recent review had me thinking about authors I do like.

Now as easy as all of that is to write, I also need to admit that it took nearly no time at all to get into the story. I didn’t have to know a whole lot about Daniel Rand or Iron Fist to enjoy this. There was no clear delineation between the writers, either. Unfortunately, the story was both stronger than I expected but weaker than I had hoped. The good news is, as the first arc closed, uncompleted, the second arc amped up even more. I suddenly found myself staying up later than I would have liked due to page turning, and I went through it in one sitting.

Then the down side reared its ugly head again; whether because I had stayed up longer than intended and I was tired or because the story itself was finished, the last few issues of this book I just didn’t read. I found myself uninterested. The main story was done and I just didn’t care to follow those last little chapters. Even upon waking this morning I had a sense of closure and was ready to move onto the next book.

The art was mostly good, the only complaint I have is my not being a fan of Mike Allred but I can’t fault him that, it’s just my objective opinion.

I don’t know if I think the story was worth forty dollars but it was definitely worth the time to read it.

 

*Derek Friedolfs, John Severin, Russ Heath, Sal Buscema, Tom Palmer, Roy Allan Martinez, Scott Koblish, Kano, Javier Pulido, Tonci Zonjic, Dean White, Luara Martin, June Chung, Paul Mounts, Leandro Fernandez, Francisco Paronzini, Khari Evans, Victor Olazaba, Dan Brown, Howard Chaykin, Dan Brereton, Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic, Edgar Delgado, Nick Dragotta, Mike Allred, Lewis LaRosa, Stephano Guadiano, Mitch Breitweiser, and Laura Allred

iron fist 3

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