Tuesday, May 28, 2013

recent reads; comic capsules

Thanks to the iPad, I've been tearing through comics lately.  In addition to many single issues (some of which have added series to my wishlist, some which have not) I've read a few collected arcs.
Superman Beyond: Man of Tomorrow
Superman Beyond is new digital exclusive title from DC, though this collected edition was available in trade paperback (which is how I read it.)  Set in the Batman Beyond universe/timeline, the focus here is on an older Superman in the future.  He has recently come out of "retirement," and must face a new era without the friends and family who used to keep him centered.  Battling Lex Luthor (and Luthor's post-death plans,) future super-cops gone rogue and alien oppressors, Superman squares off against the future and his own misgivings & doubts.  I think there was a lot of good going on here, and I plan to continue on with the series - as well as adding Justice League Beyond and Batman Beyond to my wishlist, too.
Welcome to a world where dinosaurs never died out.  Mankind live in fortress-cities reminiscent of feudal Japan.  When the big, hungry lizards come calling, it's time to call out the Predator Defense League - experts in ways to kill T-Rexs and other nasties.  This wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it is still an enjoyable dino romp with politics and religion in the mix.  One complaint is the art-style which is fine but occasionally I felt faces looked too much alike and I lost context a few times on close-ups.  Red 5 Comics just started up a 4-issue sequel, which I will probably be reading in the future.

Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand
Hellboy is a hero, but what heroes inspired Hellboy?  Well, Lobster Johnson was one.  A pulp/noir fighter of crime & evil, Lobster dispatched the baddies with a claw-mark burned in their foreheads.  When mobsters playing Indian (Native American) ghosts try to stir up New York City, Johnson is determined to get to the bottom of things.  But, the occult trappings might be more than trappings, as mobster-fighting leads to deeper, darker things.  This is great, fun stuff.  If you like Hellboy and/or pulp adventures, this will satisfy.
King Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword
While Dark Horse uncoupled from the faithful Conan adaptation wagon with their (IMHO) horrible and loose Conan the Barbarian main title, it seems maybe they were hedging their bets by producing some excellent King Conan titles.  The Phoenix on the Sword was the second tale directly adapted from Robert E. Howard under Dark Horse's own King Conan series (as opposed to Marvel reprints.)  (The Scarlet Citadel was first, and The Hour of the Dragon starts soon.)

This is truly excellent.  The adaptation is faithful, though bookends have been added.  The artwork pops off every page.  It is as detailed as the old black-&-white The Savage Sword of Conan, but in full, glorious color.

Stunning artwork.  Faithful adaptation of Robert E. Howard's original story.  Couldn't ask for anything more!

note: I believe all these titles are available in trades (Neozoic was recently reprinted,) or digital through Comixology and/or Dark Horse.

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