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Bold Trio

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Comic books are a collaborative medium. Everyone knows that. You need a writer, an artist, a colorist and a letterer. You also need a character or group of characters for them to work on, and a concept so great that the audience gains an emotional involvement.

We all have our favorites when it comes to creators and characters. Often times, our favorites do not meet. You’ll have a writer you love paired with an artist you hate, or vice versa. Or our favorite characters will be shackled with a creative team that is lackluster at best.

But, on the rare occasion where a project combines all your favorites into one package, you have something truly magic. For me, that magic event happens this week with Logan #1.

It seems a bit awkward to talk so wistfully about a book featuring everyone’s razor-sharp clawed mutant. I wouldn’t say that Wolverine is my favorite Marvel character, but he is a great character when done right. And he is certainly in good hands this time.

Brian K. Vaughan became a superstar writer on his own terms. He didn’t take over a flailing B-grade character like Alan Moore did with Swamp Thing, completely reinterpret an existing property like Neil Gaiman did with Sandman, or take the reigns of an already successful series like Geoff Johns did with JSA. No, Vaughan made a name for himself with three original titles, Y: The Last Man, Runaways, and Ex Machina.

On paper, those three concepts could be duds under other writers. Tales of the last male on Earth? Another writer could have made that clichéd science fiction. A bunch of teenagers on the run? That could have been an afterschool special in someone else’s hands. An ex-superhero who has become mayor of New York City? That could have been boring written by another creator. But Vaughan hit just the right style and tone with each of them. They each were fresh, unique and original.

This is not to say that Vaughan can’t do other people’s creations. Doctor Strange is one of Marvel’s best characters, but one almost impossible to get right. After reading Vaughan’s Doctor Strange: the Oath, I wished that Marvel locked him up to write a Doctor Strange ongoing. I can’t wait to see what he brings to Wolverine.

While Vaughan might be the marquee name of Logan’s creative tandem, his artistic partner is no slouch. He might not be a superstar the level of Michael Turner, Jim Lee or Bryan Hitch, but Eduardo Risso is one of the best artists working in comics today. Period. Perhaps he doesn’t get enough mainstream credit because most of his 27 year career was spend in the Argentine and European markets, and his main American work has been on Vertigo’s 100 Bullets, but he deserves more accolades than he has.

Some artists are demeaned as being “all style, no substance”. Risso is style AND substance. He is not just good for what he draws, but also for what he doesn’t draw. His use of blacks is unparalleled and he is an expert at using shadow and silhouette to create mood. But he is also one of the best storytellers in the business. Even without reading the dialogue of 100 Bullets, you can always tell the plot by looking at Risso’s pictures.

So, needless to say, I am psyched about this series from Marvel’s Marvel Knights imprint. The fact that it is a MK book means that the tale is not in mainstream Marvel continuity. I believe it was at one time supposed to be—the plot ties directly into Wolvie getting his memories back in House of M—but the series has been delayed by a year if not more. Joe Quesada said in his 2006 year end wrap up at Newsarama that this series was one of the series he was most looking forward to in 2007.

But I believe this is a classic case of “better late than never”. There are a lot of Wolverine books on the market. As a matter of fact, Logan is the first of two starting in March. But if you want the best investment for your Canadian mutant spending dollar, this is the series you should pick up. Judging on the creators involved, you are almost guaranteed that this one will be the best.

Also out this week:

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #1:

Marvel’s partnership with Stephen King was a smashing success on a wide variety of levels. The Gunslinger Born did well in terms of sales, gave Marvel a footing in the bookstores, garnered mainstream press attention and was a critical favorite. It having a sequel was a fait accompli. And now, here comes the follow up.

The entire creative team is back, and the story picks up right where it left off. Susan Delgado is dead and Roland and his ka-tet, Cuthbert and Alain, are on the run. The Big Coffin Hunters are hot on their trail and aim to do to our heroes what they did to Susan. Why doesn’t Roland stop and fight? Simple. He is in a coma.  

Robin Furth & Peter David (W), Jae Lee & Richard Isanove (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99.   Five-Issue Miniseries

Justice League: The New Frontier Special:

DC really likes Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier. They have given it the Absolute treatment, created a toy line from it and the story became the second DCU property to be adapted into an animated film for DC’S new DVD series. To celebrate the story’s transition to celluloid, DC gives us a brand new special.

The one-shot is a compilation of stories set in the New Frontier universe, including a “lost chapter” to the original miniseries written and drawn by Cooke himself. In addition, we get back-up stories featuring Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Sgt. Rock and others and some exclusive bonus material from the film. Being that this is a companion to both the series and the movie, how can a New Frontier fan resist?

Darwyn Cooke (W), Various (A), DC Comics, $4.99. One-Shot.

Dead Space #1:

Few genres go together like science-fiction and horror. Sci-fi’s stock and trade is exploring the unknown (the future, outer space). And one of the benchmarks of horror is fear of the unknown. So the combining of these two styles is a completely natural fit.

Another thing that recently has meshed together well is comics and video games. The similarity in audience demographics means more video games are being adapted into comics and vice versa. This series is an example of both combinations. It acts as a prequel to a videogame of the same name, which will be released from Electronic Arts in October.

Deep space mining is dangerous. One example is when a mining colony hits an unexpected snag in its latest expedition. Instead of ores and minerals, they pull an ancient and deadly life force out of the planetoid. Their dangerous job quickly turns into a fight for survival.

AntonyJohnston (W), Ben Templesmith (A), Image Comics, $2.99. Six-Issue Miniseries.

DC Special: Raven #1:

Raven is one of DC’s most interesting characters. A goth girl before being a goth girl was cool, she was an instrumental part of the New Teen Titans. She has been good and evil, dead and reborn. Now, she is getting a new miniseries of her own, and the man who created her almost 30 years ago, Marv Wolfman, returns to write it.

Raven is an empath. She feels and is affected by all the emotions around her. So, the most deadly enemy she could face would be a person who can control emotions. Enter the Medusa Mask, the gold-plated facewear that allowed the Psycho Pirate do just that. The mask’s reappearance is tied to a spate of killings at a local high school. Raven must face what she fears the most or else more lives will be lost.  

Marv Wolfman (W), Damian Scott (A), DC Comics, $2.99. Five-Issue Miniseries.

New Dynamix #1:

Lady Love lives in a world where a whole generation of heroes has disappeared. Where did they go?Are they missing? Retired? Dead? Hiding? No one knows for sure. She uses her job as a radio DJ to ask questions to get to the truth.

But Lady Love is also the superhero known as The Love Rocket. She is part of a new breed of heroes trying to keep life safe until the old heroes come back. But some of her cohorts are not up to the task. One wrong move by one of the new heroes during a hostage situation almost results in a child’s death. This catches the attention of the most powerful member of the old guard. Oh, he is coming back, and Lady Love just might be sorry when she gets what she asks for.

Allen Warner (W), J.J. Kirby (A), DC/Wildstorm Comics, $2.99. Five-Issue Miniseries.

Cable #1:

From the ashes of Cable & Deadpool and the Messiah CompleX crossover, everyone’s favorite one-eyed, telepathic X-Man from the future returns in a comic all of his own. No more sharing here! And, better yet, he has a new mission—one that is essential to the survival of all mutantkind.

Cable has been entrusted with protecting the first mutant born since M-day. This young tyke could ensure the future of mutants. However, Cable’s former ally, Bishop, knows the baby as the person who causes the post-apocalyptic future he comes from. He’s out to kill the baby at all costs. Now, a cat and mouse game throughout time starts.

How is Cable adjusting to bodyguard duty? Not well, judging by the cover. He’s tucked the baby haphazardly into his bandolier strap, right behind a big red X that even a blind assassin could use as a target. Perhaps “protect” has a different meaning in Cable’s future.

Duane Swierczynski (W), Ariel Olivetti (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99.  Ongoing Series.

All-New Atom #21:

When DC announced that Gail Simone was leaving this series, I’m sure a lot of people called their local comic shop and promptly removed the series from their pull list. After all, Simone crystallized Grant Morrison’s wacky ideas for the series, added her unique sense of humor to the mix, and created one of the best books on the market. If Gail is gone, why stick around?

But when Rick Remender was announced as her replacement, I’m sure many of those people who jumped off jumped back on. He, like Simone, excels at both humor and all-out action. He seems to be the perfect replacement and the right guy to keep with the weird and wacky vibe Morrison intended for the series.  

Rick Remender (W), Pat Olliffe (A), DC Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series

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William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer. He also writes periodic comic reviews for PopMatters, is a weekly contributor to Film Buff Online and writes title descriptions for Human Computing’s Comicbase collection management software. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

 

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