Deus ex Comica, Part 8: It’s a Sickness was published over at Field’s Edge today. This installment is a look at the way I purchase comics, and ties back to that whole Type A personality flaw first mentioned in Part 6’s Marvel 1985. So, check out this installment, and let me know if you have any of the same afflictions.
This week in selecting comics to review, I picked books that I would probably not read under normal circumstances. The first book I read was the new Venom mini and I was pleasantly surprised. Next I selected NYX. I had no knowledge of the previous series and had no idea what to expect. Having just finished the first issue, I think I get the general idea. It’s to be about some down on their luck kids with superpowers trying to get by in New York City. And that is where they lost me. I feel fairly certain this book was not written with me as part of its intended demographic; however, it was a professionally done book. Now you’re probably asking yourself if I have to be part of an intended demographic in order to enjoy something. The answer to that is, without a doubt, no. However, based on the way it was written, I’m not sure it’s intended for new readers. There were several times while I was reading that I felt as though the writer was assuming I already felt a connection to these characters, so instead of trying to develop that connection it was glossed over. All the hooks intended to create some kind of connection between reader and story seemed to rely on what has come before. Again, this may have to do with demographics; I’m not a 15-year-old girl living on my own in New York city. The narrator, Kiden, is exactly that. I remember being a 15-year-old boy and thinking 15-year-old girls were great, but now at over twice that age I’m not really that interested in the daily life and culture of the female teen world.
The writer, Marjorie Lui, captured the voice and attitude of a young girl very well, and Kalman Andrasofszky did wonders capturing and showing the body language, facial expressions, and movements of not only of Kiden but all the other people in the story. The way Lui sets up the scenes and moves the plot along is great. The transitions from scene to scene worked well, and there was no point in the story that was bogged down or confusing. Andrasofszky’s art was a high point for me. It was very realistic without going over the top. He didn’t render each hair or fill in every detail, but everything was carefully detailed giving just enough to make everything feel solid and real.
So where does this leave you, the potential reader? Well, if you’re a fan of the previous mini series, pick up this one. I think you’ll be pleased. If you didn’t read the previous series, pick it up only if the premise is interesting to you. However, I would not recommend this book as an impulse buy.
COVERS BY: ALINA URUSOV and JO CHEN
WRITER: MARJORIE LUI
ARTIST: KALMAN ANDRASOFSZKY
COLORS: JOHN RAUCH
EDITOR: JOHN BARBER
Parental Advisory …$3.99
Ezekiel Stane has a grudge. Li’l Zeke blames Tony Stark for the death of his dear old dad, former Iron Man villain Obadiah Stane, aka the Iron Monger. Zeke is making it his life’s mission to bring down Tony Stark as well as the company he has built, and all the while using Tony’s own Iron Man technology to do it. Can Tony stop Ezekiel in time before he destroys Stark Enterprises, as well as bringing down the Iron Man himself?
The hunt for Ezekiel Stane continues in issue four of this explosive new series from writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca. Fraction continues to deliver a pretty solid story. I wasn’t as thrilled with this issue as I was the previous issues, but I still very much enjoyed it. The only problem I had story wise with this issue was that it seemed to slow down considerably compared to the other three. I was looking for more of the explosions, chases and action that made the first three issues a blast. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some really great moments in this issue. I loved the interaction of Tony and Maria Hill. I think Fraction has a really great grasp of both of these characters, especially Maria. And, being a big fan of chess, I loved the opening with Tony and Reed Richards playing chess on five boards simultaneously. Really, really good stuff there!
I would have to say my biggest problem with the book comes from the art. I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing Larroca’s work. I have always enjoyed his stuff in the past, especially when he was on Extreme X-Men. But his stuff in this issue just didn’t really hit with me. I thought his first three issues were much, much stronger. There were some moments with the some of the characters that I thought just didn’t look right to me, especially the scenes with Reed. Overall, it was still a good read. I would have liked a little bit more action, but their were some really great character moments that made up for it. If you haven’t checked this series out yet, it’s definitely worth giving a shot!
Yeah, okay, where to start? I guess, as Eddie Brock would want, with the truth. I hadn’t intended to read this series. I’m not a fan of Venom. Now I’ve enjoyed his appearances over the years in Spider-Man, but have never picked up any of the series focusing on him. This was going to be no different, to my mind. Of all the titles coming out on August 6th, I’m not even sure why I decided to read this one first, but I did and I’m glad of it. This first issue is not dedicated to the origin of Venom, but rather focuses solely on Eddie Brock. Let me just say this, by the second page I had decided that Brock was waaaayyy more messed up then I ever imagined. I always saw him as a guy who made some bad choices and that his erratic/psychotic behavior was a result of his bond with the symbiote. Evidently this is not even remotely the case. This issue shows Brock’s life from elementary age up to college. We only see little snippets, but they are very telling. Within the first few pages, pages that are previewed here for you, there is an implication that Eddie Brock may have shown some early indications that he was a serial killer in the making. Or perhaps a spree killer.
Zeb Wells does an excellent job of creating interest in a character you thought you already knew. Usually, when reading a comic, or any bit of fiction really, there is the hope for some surprise twist in the story, something you didn’t see coming. The interesting thing about this story is I didn’t see the tone or direction of this story coming. Perhaps I should have, though, because it makes perfect sense. Eddie Brock becomes a much more interesting and compelling character. The question this all raises in my mind concerns the morality that played a fairly important role in Venom’s attitude toward protecting innocents. As I’ve said I’m no Venom scholar, and my recollection is vague, but I always thought his goal was to kill Spider-Man and protect the innocents. Wells may be intending to change things up a bit. I’m very interested to see where he goes from here.
The art on the book was excellent. I’ve always associated Angel Medina with Spawn, a character created by Todd McFarlane, so it seems a natural fit for him to be working on Venom, another McFarlane creation. Well, partially created by McFarlane. Anyway, the art matches the tone of the story wonderfully. It is a very detailed, but strongly cartoon based style with great use of cross-hatching, contrast, angles and perspective. The inker for Medina is Scott Hanna and colorist is Matt Milla. These three work seamlessly together. I would love to see the work at each stage to really get a feel for what each artist added to each page.
Venom: Dark Origin #1 was an interesting read, adding a great deal to a character who’s been around for quite awhile. The great thing about it is you don’t have to be a fan of Venom or Eddie Brock, you don’t have to be reading Spider-Man, or even have any knowledge of either character, really, to enjoy this book. It’s really an excellent introduction to the character. For long time fans, this starts at the beginning before Eddie Brock was Venom, so I think it’s safe to say, you’ll want to read this, too.
Surprisingly, recommended for any fan of Marvel comics.
COVER BY: ANGEL MEDINA
WRITER: ZEB WELLS
PENCILS: ANGEL MEDINA
INKS: SCOTT HANNA
COLORS: MATT MILLA
LETTERS: JOE CARAMAGNA
EDITOR: ALEJANDRO ARBONA
Her first day on her new job and Pasty Walker is already on thin ice. Actually, it’s kinda more like through the ice. After being attacked by a giant squid monster and dragged into icy Alaskan waters at the end of the first issue, Hellcat now finds herself in the company of a group of Shamans who inhabit the Middle World. The Shamans charge Hellcat with the task of finding their heir, who has apparently been kidnapped by the cannibalistic Windigo. Is the feisty Hellcat up to the task? You better believe it!
This series continues to be just a fun, kinetic read! I found this issue to be a little hard to figure out what was going on in certain spots, but it was such a fun story that I was able to look past it. Writer Kathryn Immonen does a great job of delivering a story that is keeping me interested in what’s going to happen next. And David Lafuenta’s art is not too bad either! His style is a perfect fit for this type of book and really adds to the fun, lightheartedness of it.
Hellcat is a character I’ve never been familiar with so this has been my first exposure to her. Immonen has done a great job of getting me interested in this character and wanting to find out more about her. I’m not sure how this version of Hellcat compares to the one that was in the old Avengers series, but I’m definitely going to be looking up some of her old stories! If you haven’t given this book a shot yet, I highly recommend picking it up and giving it a try!