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Jordan's Picks of the Week!! 6/13/17

Posted by Packrat Comics on

The Damned #2
    Oni Press really knew how to draw my attention with this one. A menacing, well dressed demon smoking a cigar in the dark woods? I had to see what’s going on with this issue. Plus, the title. Simply called the Damned. I’m sold.
    Like many good stories, this one features demons. They seem pretty common place, too. I’m not sure if the demon on the front is supposed to be Satan (they only refer to him as Big Al, but he looks like the Devil), but he’s an angry gangster. And he’s a bad man. This story  deals with Big Al, and several other parties, looking for a man who has a powerful artifact not meant to be in the hands of mortals. Honestly, I’m not sure what’s going on here just yet, but this issue does a nice job in setting up the intrigue.
    The story is written by Cullen Bunn. I always like it when I see people who work for the big two with work elsewhere. He’s given us enough to care about in this story, and makes us wonder what will happen, that we keep reading. His characters all feel pretty real. Big Al is intimidating, and Eddie, our protagonist, is a man who can handle himself, even with demons. The story is set sometime in the past. I would guess sometime between the 20s and 40s. So Bunn has room to play with things from the past, and can highlight the glamor of days gone by compared to, well, monsters and demons.
    The art Was done by Brian Hurtt, and works very well. The demons are depicted realistically, but still have a hint of the otherworldly. This is due to Hurtt’s style not being overly realistic. It’s a unique look that gives the non-human characters a human feel, while still reminding us just what they are.
    Also, this book was lettered by someone called Crank! I didn’t add the exclamation point. That’s there.
    Anyway, I’m interested to see what will happen in this demon meets organized crime drama.   

The Defenders #1
    Ushering in the upcoming Netflix show, Marvel has started a new Defenders series (featuring the people who will be in the show). I was excited to hear it, and excited to read it. Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil are some of the greatest street level heroes ever created, and here they are all together in one place. And they’re coming together to fight the one and only Diamondback. Who, I might add, seems to have become one tough customer. The story picks up right after the Free Comic Book Day preview, and follows the team as they officially come together.
    One of the best things about this book is, as I said above, it’s street level heroes. So it feels a little more real than something like the Avengers. While Avengers fight aliens and gods, the Defenders fight gangsters and psychopaths. It really gives the reader something to grab on to.
    The new series is in the capable hands of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. Bendis knows how to use these heroes, having written most, if not all of them before (and even creating Jessica Jones). So reading this book, the characters felt like they were home. Marquez offers sleek art, but not overly glamorous like other hero books. That works here due to the very nature of the Defenders.
    There was also another very neat feature in this book involving the introduction of the heroes. As each member of the team was introduced, they got a bigger panel where they stood in the front, and then several images from their past were shown in the background. It set up the origin of each character, without taking up any extra room. I’ve never seen this done before, and I thought it was a really excellent way to hit the highlights of each individual character.
    I’m looking forward to the Defenders. There are a lot of super hero team books right now, but I’ve always been a sucker for teams like this. Teams a little off the beaten path. I can’t wait to see what the Defenders will do in this run.

Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny #1
    I know that I’ve been picking some strange choices for DC lately, but I can’t help it. I like the weird stuff. And this just looked too odd to pass up. Kind of like when I read Flintstones/Booster Gold. Only this store was a lot more cartoonish. That’s not a bad thing though. Remember how much I liked that Hong Kong Phooey/Scooby Doo team up?
    This starts off as a pretty standard Legion story. They need Superboy’s help, so they send someone back to the past to go get him. However, right away I had to laugh. Writer Sam Humphries really plays up the teenage aspects of the heroes. Mentioning their incredible angst multiple times, even giving the group a team angst attack. I always thought it was funny how the Legion of Super-Heroes never really acted like teenagers, and here they do. Humphries also nails the Bugs Bunny character. Clearly he’s a fan. There are several times Bugs makes a joke while, I’m positive about this, looking right at the camera, like he does in cartoons.
    The story is aided greatly by Tom Grummett on pencil duty. He has done an excellent job of reproducing a very silver age feeling for the story. Which is exactly what it is. The heroes have a lot of thought bubbles, and there are a lot of notes from the editor. Actually, the editor bit is a pretty funny running joke.
    This issue also features a back-up story by Juan Manuel Ortiz. This one looks more like a Golden age story in the art style. In fact, it’s only the coloring that makes it look so modern. I was a little confused by this story, because it was pretty much the main one. But I started to wonder if the little changes were a reference to how the Legion of Super-Heroes has multiple continuities. If so, it’s a pretty subtle joke. Or, it could just be the comic book version of the “real story” that happened. Either way, I’m positive it has a deeper meaning!
    I like this effort from DC. These strange cross overs, even though they are goofy, help them stand out from the crowd. I hope to see more unique properties in the future.

Review by Jordan Kirian

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