Occupy Avengers #6
This book has Hawkeye in it, so it’s already got a pretty big advantage. Sorry, I guess I’m a little bias. OK, for real though, here’s what I like about Occupy Avengers: it’s basically the A-Team meets the Avengers. A small band of heroes that are setting right some various wrongs. In fact, it makes reference to the A-Team in the introduction of the book, which is a plus.
The story is this (in a nutshell) Hawkeye and his team are in a town full of Skrulls (the cool shape changing people) that is being held hostage by some evil men threatening to kill everyone in town. It’s pretty high stakes here for these folks. In this issue Hawkeye gets in some bow and arrow work (duh, but I’m a sucker for archery), Red Wolf beats some people up, and there is a guy named Wheels Wolinski. Which might just be the most 80s name in comics today. And I love it.
When I opened this book I got a pleasant surprise: David F. Walker is the writer. He also worked on Power Man and Iron Fist, which is a title I enjoyed very much (and I think is over now, if I remember correctly). So I rather liked the writing. This Hawkeye as reminiscent of the Matt Fraction run, which is the best Hawkeye that’s ever been done. A guy who’s in over his head, but is totally owning it. That’s the kind of thing I can run with. The story itself was pretty much just all shooting and fighting, and that set a fast pace.
The art was by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, who sounds and (in terms of art) looks familiar. I really enjoyed looking at this art. It was just outside of the traditional muscle bound super hero comic for me to really enjoy while not throwing off any readers who are used to that. It was complimented well by Jordie Bellaire’s colors, that were subtle and matched the feeling of the story.
Occupy Avengers is a cool, street level style Avengers. I don’t know that it’s been done like that (but let’s be honest, with so much comic book history, I’m sure it has). It’s definitely got a fresh format, and enough action to keep the story moving. Most importantly, I really enjoyed my time reading.
Batman/The Shadow #1
I’ve been looking forward to this title. I am somewhat a sucker for the old-school vigilantes. Plus, it’s always interesting to see how modern comics keep the really, really old stuff alive. Now, all that being said, I know pretty much nothing about the Shadow. He’s got a cool costume and looks like he’ll mesh well with Batman.
This story was written by Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando, both guys that I’ve talked about in previous reviews. They are more than capable of handling a crossover like this. That meaning, a crossover where a lot of people might ask “who the heck is the Shadow?” They set us up with a first issue of Batman doing detective work (a sight I always like) trying to find out just that. Who, or what, is the Shadow? The most interesting thing about this issue, and in fact the entire concept, is that Batman is chasing a shadow. But for so long we have considered him the shadows of the night. They really turn the story of this character in on itself. In fact, in one line, Batman says “Bats live in the shadows.” Which I thought was pretty cool.
Art was done by Riley Rossmo, who I’ve never heard of, but handles the duty well. There was a solid depiction of Batman (but it’s hard to mess him up), and I was impressed with this rendition of the
Shadow. It certainly looks like the classic Shadow, but the art makes it feel so fresh. Like this character had just been created. And, as I said in the first review, they have paired the colors quite nicely. Colors (by Ivan Plascencia) gave a really good feeling of dark and light, and helped to give the story a unique look.
The last thing I’ll say is this: the book brought out Bruce Wayne alter ego Matches Malone. Anytime I get to see Matches is a win if you ask me.
I know in past reviews I’ve said that I really like Eric Powell’s stuff, so it should come as no surprise that I’m giving him some more praise. This issue was all done by Powell himself, and that in itself is a big accomplishment. When I make comics by myself, they’re not even on the same planet as Eric Powell.
If you’ve not read Hillbilly, it’s basically about a wanderer who uses a giant cleaver to kill witches. It’s a cool premise. In this issue, we see the main character, Rondel, captured by a witch, and telling a story from his past. About his part in killing a man. But don’t worry, he’s not the bad guy in that story.
The interesting thing about this series is that it doesn’t have that trademark oddball sense of humor that many of Powell’s stories do. That is not a complaint. In fact, it’s nice to see that he is capable of writing like this. The character of Rondel feels heavy, and you can tell by the way he talks, and even the way he’s drawn. While it’s still clearly a Powell story, by all the elements involved, it’s a far different tone than the Goon. Rondel is a more contemplative soul, far more serious. The story is oddly built on several over the top parts (his KILLING WITHCHES WITH A CLEAVER, and FIGHTING A BEAR), but at the same time feels like a grounded story. I think this is mostly due to the fact that Powell knows what he’s doing. His world building is good enough that he can show us the absurd, and we take it as common place.
As usual for Eric Powell, I loved the art. His unique drawing style fits perfectly with his odd characters and supernatural world. In fact, it probably feels pretty weird to read something he wrote, but didn’t draw. The colors are quite dark. In fact the entire book is basically shades of grey and maybe a green? But it really works. A story like this probably wouldn’t look right if it had a lot of vibrant colors everywhere.
It really is a fresh and exciting read to pick up these books by Powell. This and Spook House really keep my eyes on Albatross (also known as Albatross Funnybooks). I believe that is his own printing company, if I’m not mistaken. Powell does a brand of odd that I fully subscribe to, and my final advice is you should be, too.