Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dead Mag Walking

The Walking Dead Magazine #1
Contributors: Dan Auty, Stuart Barr, Tara Bennett, Bryan Cairns, Dan Bura & Jay Bonansinga
Editors: Toby Weidmann & Martin Eden
Publisher: Titan Magazines/Skybound Entertainment
Price: $9.99 US/CAN

It’s not often I’m sent review material under embargo, but given the huge success of the Walking Dead TV series, the property has become something of a mass-media powerhouse, and the contents of this magazine were meant to be hush-hush until this week. After perusing its pages, I’m really not sure why there was such an emphasis on secrecy, because this magazine dedicated to The Walking Dead in all its forms (and produced by its co-creator) really doesn’t offer any insight into the stories or the pop-culture phenomenon. It doesn’t feature any spoilers of note for upcoming episodes of the TV show or comic book. Its purpose here seems fairly clear: to continue fuelling the money-making machine by celebrating and spotlighting every single piece of merchandise infected by the zombie-genre success story.

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Leave the Money on the Table (Not at the Store)

Whore original graphic novel
Writer: Jeffrey Kaufman
Artist: Marco Turini
Colors: James Brown
Letters: John Hunt
Cover artists: Felix Serrano & Jeffrey Kaufman (regular)/Michael Golden & Serrano and Alex Saviuk (variants)
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment/Big City Comics Studio
Price: $9.99 US

I’ll give the people at Zenescope and Big City Comics Studio credit for this: they put forth a hell of a promotional effort for this project. For a couple of months, I couldn’t avoid mentions of this project online, notably on my Facebook feed. However, the title of the book and the accompanying image of a guy surrounded by supermodel-type figures didn’t appeal to me, so I didn’t absorb any further information about it. Then a review copy of the graphic novel landed in front of me, and looking for something outside of the comics mainstream super-hero genre to review, I decided to peruse its pages. It turns out the story isn’t about prostitution literally (which I had assumed it was), but rather about a government hitman/cleaner who finds himself forced to freelance in the private sector. I was surprised at the convincing tone of his military-quality skills and his ability to read and manipulate others. But overall, the stiff nature of the artwork and the over-the-top male fantasies passed off as the protagonist’s missions elicited more in the way of eye rolling than a sense of entertainment.

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Quick Critiques – Oct. 11, 2012

VariantAme-Comi Girls Featuring Wonder Woman #1 (DC Comics)
by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Amanda Conner, Tony Akins & Walden Wong

Not in a million year did I ever think I’d take a glance, let alone purchase, one of the comics DC spun off from its gratuitously sexual Ame-Comi statuettes of its iconic female characters, but my local comics retailer pointed out this one was crafted mainly by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner, noting this particular creative team has never delivered a dud. I am a big fan of Conner’s work and of much of the writing team’s efforts, so I found myself caving, picking up a copy of the comic (which I believe was initially published online some months ago). Palmiotti and Gray offer up a distinctly interesting take on Wonder Woman, altering her origin in significant ways to set it apart from versions we’ve seen before. In this spin on the concept, Queen Hippolyta sends a reluctant Diana to America to serve as an ambassador, in part to teach her the value of diplomacy over war. It’s like Odin exiling his son Thor to Midgard to teach him humility. It’s a fun read with several elements that will please traditional Wonder Woman fans, those interested in her new ongoing series and those just interested in something a little different. I was also pleased to find the $4 cover price offers 30 pages of story and art. It’s 50 per cent more content for a 33 per cent hike in price.

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Avengers Nurses X-Men

Uncanny Avengers #1
“New Union”
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: John Cassaday
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover artists: Cassaday/Adi Granov/Daniel Acuna/Skottie Young/Sara Pichelli/Olivier Coipel/Neal Adams/Mark Brooks/J. Scott Campbell/Ryan Stegman/Mark Texeria
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

One could really see this as Avengers Vs. X-Men #13, only retitled to remove the “versus” part. I wasn’t interested in the AvX event, but the promise of a new start for both the Avengers and X-Men franchises, along with art by John Cassaday, was enough to draw me in. It’s also nice to see the new flagship Avengers book in the hands of someone other than Brian Michael Bendis, who had a solid run but has probably been attached to it for too long. Remender’s story boasts some of the more over-the-top, intense elements for which he’s known, but I don’t know they really fit into what is, at its heart, a traditional super-hero team book. Cassaday’s art really only seemed to pop in the nastier, harsher moments of the story, and since I didn’t care for those moments, the art never really grabbed me. Uncanny Avengers seems to fit in nicely with Marvel’s publishing approach in the 21st century, but it remains a short-sighted one that focuses on immediate payoffs rather than long-term sustainability and growth.

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Under the Hood

VariantVariantGrimm Fairy Tales Presents Robyn Hood #1
Writers: Joe Brusha, Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco & Pat Shand
Pencils: Dan Glasl
Colors: Tom Mullin & Jason Embury
Letters: Jim Campbell
Cover artists: Eric Basaldua/Greg Horn/Stjepan Sejic
Editor: Hannah Gorfinkel
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Price: $2.99 US

Though I can’t think of a specific example, I doubt this is the first time we’ve seen the Robin Hood legend go through a gender bender, but there’s no denying it plays right into Zenescope’s wheelhouse. I’ve never been interested in the bad-girl riff that’s the publisher’s bread and butter, but fortunately, this origin story doesn’t incorporate much of that motif (though it’s coming, I’m sure). Zenescope’s spin on the legendary archer hero is well timed, given how archery has resonated strongly in pop culture as of late thanks to Marvel’s The Avengers and The Hunger Games, and curiosity about how the adventure classic has been tweaked here might allow Zenescope to attract some new readers. Robyn Hood doesn’t represent great comics storytelling, but it’s capable and accessible.

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