Monthly Archives: October 2010

Looking toward the skies: A view on Superman: Earth One.

Full disclosure as I begin this look at the book.

I am an admitted Superman nerd.

I’ve dressed up as Superman.

I will at least try out anything that involves Superman in a series at some point.

He’s honestly one of my favorite characters in comics.

For me this character is one of my favorites in just the aspect that yes he’s one of the most powerful characters in comics period and yet at his core he likes being human and one with humanity to be with them. The classic Superman is the Mask while the real person is Clark Kent. For that’s a big part as to who he is.

Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way it might come as no surprise to you that I really did enjoy the heck out of this book. I read it and was surprised at to how much I really did like it. I had heard little views here and there and at my own comic shop I’ll get a bit of flack for liking this as much as I did. J. Michael Straczynski is a bit of an controversial person in comics in a way because of well different things over the years. From his Spider-Man work, Thor work, and onwards you either get the you either love it or sweet lord above you hate it. I’ve liked a good bit of his work and hated some of it too but this one really struck me.  The way JMS looks at Superman and Clark Kent are fascinating. He spends the early part of it just giving you the foundation of this character and giving you the history of this organically. Instead of trying to blast it all out in the early pages and cram it he lets it flow. Organically doing an origin story and still letting the story breathe. For there’s a curse with the first books of any series like this is some people are trying to cram in everything under the sun with it and this book doesn’t try and cram it all in at once. It’s a relatively realistic look at the character and his development. What’s interesting is the showing of Clark trying out different job interviews for it got me curious in how JMS had him in different job interviews just trying to see what he could do. For the thing is Clark knows he can do whatever he wants. If he wants to play football he could do it, if he wants to work in a high end corporation he can do it, and yet the one job that always fascinates him and yet eludes him is the Daily Planet. Minor Spoiler but not too big it’ll derail your enjoyment of the book. That’s one thing that struck me in this title.

One part I absolutely adored and I mean adored was the conversations that his parents had with him about his powers and himself.  Being on the outside looking in with his abilities and all he can do is a major part of this. There’s a few other the conversations that I don’t want to spoil for you because they’re so beautifully done. I’m not kidding if they decided to either use this as basis for the live action movie or even an animated movie this would strike me as stuff that should be in there as much as the epic battle scenes in the book. See the one thing about Superman is you get into conversations about how he’s so overpowered and he has no real character. I call pure and simple you just haven’t read enough into him. This book would be one of the books I would show people that Superman has a lot of character if you look into him further. Seriously I would look at it this high as being one of the more interesting modern looks into the character. These sort of Elseworlds stories in which I know it’s not but these alternate world stories can be all over the map but this one really got me. It uses great elements of what I loved in Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek in how to humanize Superman for he is truly human if the right writers get a hold of him and get that. I digressed a little there but I had to put that in.

Now before I forget I have to add in the artwork to this story. I had read a few things on this and I’ve also looked at a great bit of the work that Shane Davis has done and this is probably one of the  best showcases of his work to date. His abilities with this are astonishing. You can see a bit of everything with this book as to what he can do. From the great little character pieces in this title in conversations and just the subtle looks and into the great battle sequences in the  second half he does it all. One segment of the character pieces I enjoyed was the job sequences and also the great last segment that once you see it well I don’t want to spoil the last few pages for you but needless to say it was beautifully done.  All I can say is whatever DC has in store for him next it better be one great follow up since this is one great looking book in addition to being well written.

I’m going to also get into the details of the first full reveal of Superman and how that’s handled. For his fight is against a character named  Tyrell that well I won’t spoil why the fight but needless to say I’ll get into that a little more next paragraph. The whole sequences of his first fight to the last parts of it were handled nicely. There’s one part of their fight that in showing the intensity of it I couldn’t help but be impressed by how it was handled. Then in the homage in the book from Action Comics #1 which you’ll know it when you see it.  The full reveal I mention in the first part of this segment is well just this nicely handled panel to panel reveal of the costume and then that “Oh wow.” moment of Superman shown with all the ships of the invasion of Tyrell’s fleet of Earth is impressive to say the least. There’s more than a few segments I’m dying to mention with the looks at Krypton but the spoilers would be intense and all sin and I’m keeping this to minor spoilers and that’s it.

There’s one major thing that if I don’t mention it it will drive me nuts later is the explanation of what happened to Krypton. It’s one of the more different ones and the way it’s retold is pretty cool and I liked it. It was one of the ones that I know some people are going to have fits over it in one way shape or form but I thought it was interesting. You’ll see what I mean when you read this book but it is definitely different. Same conclusion just done in a different fashion. The ship too plays a different part too for there’s a few extra elements that make sense as to why they’re there and how it all works out. I liked the new twists put into the origin story and how it all comes together.

In closing definitely get this book. It is worth every penny. Strangely enough and I was surprised  by this I put it in the tops of my favorite Superman stories. Not number one but definitely at least in the top ten if I was keeping track. So run don’t walk and get this book. It is beyond worth your time.

Manga Adventures: 7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano

In my reading the thing I’m pickiest about is manga. I think it’s because it’s where I first started in my early stages before I got back fully into comics so when I find a manga I like I’m not hesitant at all to tell people I like it. I just finished reading 7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano and it’s inspired by book by Hal Clement called Needle. The best way to put this book to you is you have this anti-social school girl named Hikaru who gets this entity of sorts inside her through means I won’t totally spoil for you named Horizon. Now what Horizon is after is a being named Malestrom. Best way to put Malestrom is it likes to kill. Oh man does it like to kill. When it possesses the body of one student and there’s a few images in the book itself that gave me the creeps. When I read some parts I couldn’t help but say, “Holy s-word!” and just keep going.

The character that you follow being Hikaru and her dealings with Horizon are funny to behold. She just things initially it’s just interference with her Mp3 player but heh heh..she wishes. Tadano has this great art style that is one that appeals to me in a book. It’s a very natural style which I absolutely love. What I mean is that the style isn’t the typical manga style so to speak. It’s a very real sort of world to me in the aspect of seeing this brutality that is to come in this title. It can go from fun school aspects and be great in just showing that aspect to this detailed battle and brutality of this. There’s also a reason why the book is called 7 billion needles but I’ll let you all read the book to get the idea of what that means. It’s pretty under the radar too I had remembered reading about it somewhere on the web and I couldn’t tell you how I stumbled upon the first mention but something about it interested me. I was at the bookstore late last night and saw the one copy and grabbed it. It’s published by Vertical Inc. and I love that they released this sort of book. For it being hard sci-fi it’s also fantastically brutal and fascinating in concept all at the same time. I mean yes possessed kids by different entities of course but the thing is the way it’s handled and how it works out is great. The last couple chapters alone are a thrill ride mixed in with great storytelling.

One other thing to mention too with Hikaru is she is extremely anti-social at one point where Horizon wants to figure out where Malestrom is in the school and in turn Horizon has her *gasp* TALK TO PEOPLE! It freaks her all the hell out. There’s hints that there’s more to her anti-social behaviors than meets the eye though. The way they handle it as it goes through and all the people talking around her and she’s just standing alone in the beginning parts of the book sort of show that talking is not an easy thing and connecting is worse. I can understand that sort of thing and as I was reading it reminded myself of situations in my own right. She’s just standing alone generally perfectly content with her mp3 and headphones yet there’s everyone else just chatting along and hanging together. No one is mean to her or anything of that sort she just is preferring to be alone. I like that the book goes in that direction with that rather than have everyone be mean and all that stupidity. I find that hilariously cliche. I just wanted to add that note in there.

To sum this up for you all. Definitely get this book. It is well worth your time. Bonus? It’s only four books long though I get the feeling I’ll probably want more by the time it’s all done.

The patterns of a comic book fan

This is something I’ve thought about for a long time as a fan of how I decide to grab my books. There are many ways fans do this and many ways fans look at the different books on the stands. We all look at different aspects of the book and see just what catches our eye with it. If it’s an author we know there’s usually a good chance if we like the said author we’re going to grab it or in some cases not grab it if we don’t like the said author. There’s even books from authors I’ve liked that I don’t end up picking up just because something about it isn’t clicking with me. The same goes for authors I generally don’t like but find that one book I like reading of theirs and I’ll read that book and only that book. I’ve always been curious in what gets people to grab a book.  So I’m going to post something to you all either comment here or even on twitter on my name iamcomicaddict. Either way and give me your thoughts on this. Tell your friends if you like and get them involved. I’d love to hear it and I’ll compile the results and see what opinions I get. Let me know. I’d love to hear from everyone all over the place on this one.

I’ll give you a detailed one on myself to start out. I’ve been reading steadily since I was 16 but read a good bit when I was a kid until about 12 or 13 right around the time I got into Magic the Gathering and all that. As that was fading off I developed my major interest in comics via reading Wizard Magazine and I’ll never forget the issue either. It had the Hulk on the cover and it had this big thing on the Avengers #1. For the reboot of it upcoming around 1997. So I read it and fell head over heels for the concept and then when the issue came out it blew my mind. If you ever wonder why I have a bit of a soft spot for the Avengers this is good reason why. It’s what got me back into comics and reading them again. I just devoured anything I could of Marvel for awhile expanding into Deadpool and the awesome Joe Kelly run. Then it got expanded further when I discovered Battle Chasers which I’m still cranky with Joe Mad about not finishing but hey I still adored that series and it was great for the time period just it so should have been completed. Just saying there kids. I digress.

Over time from there I’ve developed my tastes into so many varied tastes of comics that literally I can’t pigeonhole myself into just one genre of anything. I sort of choose my stuff as to what might catch my eye. Morning Glories was a great example of it for I had read about it online and took a look at it in the store and fell in love. That’s just sometimes how it works. I remember when I first read Exiles and that first issue and couldn’t believe my eyes at just how cool it was. For awhile it made me grab almost anything Judd Winick until I sort of fell out with a few people just because of not as much interest in work and well finances. That’s always a kicker too. Still though for awhile I felt as if I was losing my own love of comics for a period of time too for I remember one period where I took a month off from the comic store and then I came back. I’ve never known really why that one happened but it did and to this day I’ve never had a period that long again of just not going to the store. Outside of having to have major surgery. That’s a story I never fully want to get into on here. *laughing*

So tell me your stories and tell me what you’re all into right now. Keep me posted and let me know! Either comments or twitter name: @iamcomicaddict.

Morning Glories 1-3 or Wow this book is amazing.

Yes you can pretty much get the idea from the title what I’m going to say about this book. I re-read number 1 to refresh myself on the story a bit and read 2 and 3 this morning and this is probably one of the more fascinating books in quite a long time.  Nick Spencer is definitely getting a major push as of late in comics and it’s no secret as to why for he’s just a good writer. Morning Glories in a word if you haven’t heard much about the plot of it is about these students all turning sixteen on the same day  and all being put into this special school. It’s the most twisted prep academy represented in a comic. One of the more twisted ones. I remember when I was first hearing about this series and knew little to nothing about it and saw the first issue and gave it a shot. My mind was blown. These kids just pop out at you as characters as you read through this. From what I almost call the early leader of the group Casey to Jade they all come to life. In what makes a good comic or anything if you like the characters or at least find them interesting you’ll read on. The academy in itself is a character with the faculty and just trying to see what their ultimate goal in in the midst of this series. Just telling you about the sixteen year old aspect is a minor spoiler in itself. The book is filled with stuff happening every issue almost organically.

You just go through the book and the staggering amount of development that you get in each issue is fascinating.  Literally if you just see the cover of the first issue you just see these prep school kids and you’re not exactly sure what you’re getting into but it’s oddly fascinating. I have and note I’m not bragging but a first printing of the book and all you see is these kids just looking cool and Casey (blond girl in the front) handing an apple and you just go, “ she’s handing me an apple to read the book oh why not I’ll just take the apple and see where it leads.” The thing is this book is genuinely freaking creepy.  As you keep reading you just don’t want to put it down as you keep getting into these characters. Of course make note the adults in this book are nightmares. Outside of the first issue you don’t get a single sympathetic adult. They’re fascinating to behold but not sympathetic by any means. Just the third issue alone is a fest of messed up but absolutely fascinating storytelling.

Now before I forget to mention and I’d be remiss to not say anything but the artwork on this book is great.  Joe Eisma is the artist and he’s impressing the hell out of me. He’s one of those artists that can give you amazing character work in just telling the story and giving you the emotions yet can do nicely placed action sequences at the same time. It keeps the book moving brilliantly. The other thing I want to make a point to mention are the covers? Rodin Esquejo  does a great job with the covers of this book. I know even if I didn’t know anything about the series I’d want to pick it up and like I mentioned about the first issue I saw that first cover and just had to take that bite of the apple and see where it takes me.

The best way to put it to you all that read this is literally get this book. It’s amazing. You’ll not regret it and they’re also on the fourth printing of the first issue and the second printing of the second is on the way and the third just came out this week. Honestly if you can find them all do it. You won’t even want to attempt to wait for the trade for this book is a hot book and for good reason. Just go. Find it. Enjoy. You won’t regret a single minute reading this series. It’s got it all.