Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Kids Are All Might

Jupiter’s Legacy #1
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Frank Quitely
Colors/Letters: Peter Doherty
Cover artists: Quitely/Bryan Hitch/Dave Johnson/Phil Noto/J. Scott Campbell/Christian Ward
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99 US

While still boasting an over-the-top approach, Jupiter’s Legacy mercifully seems a bit more toned down in its more extreme approach to the super-hero genre than Millar’s other more recent super-hero satire/deconstruction projects, such as Kick-Ass and Nemesis. There’s a lot more subtext to be found here, as Millar isn’t really telling a super-hero story. The intent is clearly of a cultural and socio-political commentary on the state of America in the 21st century. There’s an interesting balance of hope and cynicism to be found here that allows Jupiter’s Legacy to stand apart from other “Millarworld” fare. Mind you, while the themes and ideas are engaging and thought-provoking, what the storytelling boasts in the way of subtext, it lacks in terms of subtlety. But that’s OK… who’s expecting subtlety from a Millar script? Also coming as no surprise is the strength of Frank Quitely’s linework. Though I wish his character designs included a more diverse array of body types, he imbues the cast with powerful presences and intensity.

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Odder Couple

Buddy Cops one-shot
Writer: Nate Cosby
Artist/Cover artist: Evan Shaner
Letters: Rus Wooton
Editor: Jim Gibbons
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $2.99 US

This one-shot collects three short stories that ran in Dark Horse Presents #s 14-16, and apparently, I’ve been missing out since I stopped following that title. I stopped reading it regularly because like most anthologies, it tended to be a mixed bag. But apparently, the best features in DHP aren’t just good, they’re great, if these comedic strips are any indication. This over-the-top satire of the buddy-cop genre is peppered with sci-fi elements, making for an experience as surreal as it is silly. And yes, I mean that in a good way. The only truly disappointing thing about this weird and wonderful comic book is a hyphenated term on the cover: “one-shot.” I desperately hope this isn’t the last we see of these oddball, genre cop characters. The dialogue and juxtaposition of so many ludicrous, over-the-top story elements and designs are unrelentingly hilarious. This reprint comic is bound to fly under the radar for many readers, but it’s well worth the effort to seek out a copy. I owe my local comics retailer a big thank you for putting one in my hands.

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Agents of Shield

New Crusaders, Book 1: Rise of the Heroes trade paperback
Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Ben Bates & Alitha Martinez
Inks: Gary Martin
Colors: Matt Herms & Steve Downer
Letters: John Workman
Editor: Paul Kaminski
Publisher: Archie Comics/Red Circle Comics
Price: $14.99 US/$17.99 CAN

I don’t have any particular affection for the Red Circle super-hero characters. I have few examples of past iterations of these characters and comics in my collection, though there’s no denying the long life and staying power of the properties. Writer Ian Flynn (and an editorial committee, judging from the credit given to a “Red Circle braintrust” here) has opted to take a legacy approach to the Crusaders, distinguishing more familiar incarnations of the heroes as a Golden/Silver Age generation and introducing a new group of young heroes who find themselves forced to carry on their parents’/mentors’ mission. Flynn is hardly breaking new ground here, but fans of such heroic legacy stories (once the domain of DC’s Justice Society stories, before its New 52 relaunch) might enjoy what they find here. The overly conventional and familiar tone of the plot and characters, though, combined with a conflict between the visual tone of the storytelling and slightly harsh elements in the plot, left me with kind of a middling feeling, not only once I was finished reading the book but as I made my way from page to page, chapter to chapter.

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