Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Savage Hawkman 1

Hawkman has been many things over the years.  He was the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince, an alien policeman, and everything in between.  

Tony Daniel chose to focus on Hawkman as an archaeologist.  This ties into the secret identity of the pre-"New DC" Hawkman.  Daniel introduces a team that is salvaging an alien spaceship from the bottom of the ocean.  It comes across as a mixture of Indiana Jones and Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt.  Unfortunately the rest of the story does not hold up as well.  The villain of the story appears to be a Venom rip off.  Hopefully, Daniel fleshes out the background and characterization of the villain to make it seem different from Marvel's Venom.

This is a book that has potential.  I will stick around for a few issues to see if the creative team can develop it into a good book.  The pulp aspects of the archaeology story give it a solid foundation.

Friday, November 11, 2011

All Star Western #1

All Star Western #1 is a combination of various classic pulp themes.  

First off we have the continuing adventures of Jonah Hex, gun for hire.  Palmiotti and Gray keep the characterization consistent with the previous Jonah Hex series.  If you want to read one of the best western comics hunt down the Jonah Hex series that ran until DC introduced the New DC 52.  The twist in this series is that Jonah will be working, at least for now, in Gotham City (home of the Batman only this story takes place in the past).  They work various ancestors of well known Batman family characters into the new story.

Moritat brings an appropriately gritty feel to the story.  The previous series had a rotating stable of artists but it appears that Moritat will be the sole artist on the Jonah Hex stories.  The combination of Moritat's style and Gabriel Bautista's colors give the book the feel of the old west.

So far I have only talked about the western aspect of this pulp story.  The other pulp tradition that is introduced is the mystery/detective story.  It seems like Gotham has it's own version of Jack the Ripper called the Gotham Butcher.

The teaming up of Hex with Doctor Arkham is a good one.  Arkham brings the Sherlock Holmes aspect into play.  He is trying to solve the mystery of both the Butcher and Jonah Hex.  He wants to understand why Hex acts the way he does.  I liked this mixture of genres.

If you are looking for a good western/mystery story, pick up All Star Western #1.  You will be glad you did.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mystery Men #2

David Liss and Patrick Zircher continue to channel the spirit of the classic pulps with this Marvel Comics series.

The lead character, The Operative, is on the run from the police.  He has been framed for murder.  Now he has to team up with Sarah Starr and the ghostly avenger-The Revenant.  The team ends up confronting the villain of the story, The General, in his home.  Like all good criminal masterminds, The General is prepared for our heroes.  They are led right into his trap.

The Operative was created in the mode of The Spirit and the Green Hornet.  The Revenant uses illusions to create a ghostly persona.  And Sarah Starr is revealed to be similar to The Rocketeer.  Put them all together against an overwhelming foe and you have this new classic pulp series.  I would say that fans of the Green Hornet will love this series.

Over at the "Pulped" podcast, episode 11, David Liss is interviewed.  He talks about "The Mystery Men" and his upcoming "The Spider" mini-series.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mystery Men #1

Marvel Comics approached writer David Liss about creating a pulp era background for their universe.  Liss set the story in the 1930s.  Instead of the usual Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, etc. they wanted a new generation of pulp heroes to populate this era.  Liss could not pass up the chance to create a pulp universe with the Marvel sensibilities.

Among the new "mystery men" are The Operative and The Revenant.  The Operative is framed for the murder of his girlfriend and has to go on the run from the police as he tries to solve the crime.  He is a very down to earth type masked detective.  When things look hopeless, fog surrounds his enemies and The Revenant comes out of the mists.  Who is he and what is he after?  Like the classic Saturday afternoon serials, you will have to read the next issue to find out.

Liss did a solid job of setting up this world.  The art of Patrick Zircher helps bring it to life.  Zircher is an artist who tells the story with his art.  Many of today's artists are more worried about doing splash pages instead of using the graphic storytelling tools that are available.  Zircher does  a great job of leading the reader through the story.  And his use of shadows fit the story perfectly.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this mini-series.