Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Legendary Talespinners #2

Legendary Talespinners #2
Written by James Kuhoric
Art by Grant Bond
Letters by Bill Tortolini
Covers by Nick Bradshaw and Grant Bond
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Review by Lan Pitts

"You don't know what you're talking about. I'm not a legendary anything. I'm just a student who is apparently having freaky hallucinations."

Having really enjoyed the first installment of Legendary Talespinners, I eagerly waited the next chapter and it continues to "spin" a pretty wonderful story. When we last saw our protagonist, Abby, she was falling into a magic mirror with the unknown on the other side. We see that on the other side is a fairy tale kingdom that has gone to ruin. The legendary Baron von M√ľnchhausen, along with Tinkerbelle (who looks like her best friend Tina) and one of Snow White's dwarves explain to Abby what has happened to their homeland. From there the adventure goes on and ends on quite the cliffhanger much like the previous issue.

This story touches on principles about losing a childhood, regaining your imagination, and having that place in your heart for such stories on many levels. While Abby faces the difficult reality of her being washed away to a make-believe land, it's up to her on whether that realm withers away, much like how most stories disappear if not passed on to a younger generation. A good message to send in such a format that could be given to young readers since this book is a fantastic middle road between Tiny Titans and X-Men.

Again, Grant Bond's art compliments the story and fits with James Kuhoric's imaginative world. Fans of Stuff of Legend, Fables, and The 10th Kingdom (does anybody else remember that?) are sure to be delighted by this tale. My one complaint is that this is the second part of three issues, so I still have this lingering annoyance that it's almost over, but hopefully the creative team would come back to this world if given the chance. There should always be room on the shelves for these sort of books.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dick Giordano: 1932-2010

News has spread fast that legendary inker, artist, and editor Dick Giordano has passed away at the age of 77. When one thinks of legendary personalities in this business, Giordano quickly pops up in the top three. Hired by Carmine Infantino in the late 60’s as an editor and if not for him, we would not have had the Charlton Comics characters over at DC, and some may theorize without that, we may never have had Watchmen since Giordano also had a helping hand in creating the Vertigo imprint.

His style defined the Bronze Age of comics and served as mentor to some of the greats we have today such as Terry Austin and Bob Layton. His team ups with Neal Adams are stuff of legend and, to some, helped create the definitive Batman of that time.

I had the pleasure to have met Giordano on a handful of occasions at several conventions in Florida. And honestly, could not have been nicer.

Rest in peace, sir.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Green Hornet: Year One #1

Green Hornet: Year One
Written by Matt Wagner
Art by Aaron Campbell
Colors by Francesco Francavilla
Letters by Simon Bowland
Covers by Alex Ross, Matt Wagner, John Cassaday, Stephen Segovia
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Review by Lan Pitts

"Oh. Well, uh...that is a rather unique and aggressive African species. Trust me, Britt, what I just told you is true! But...if you ever encounter one of those...you'd be wisest to run in the opposite direction!" -- Daniel Reid

Having read Kevin Smith's Green Hornet and finding myself not wholeheartedly given a great first impression, this book here took the sting off a bit. This is the Green Hornet book I was expecting and will more than likely get more of. It's the character that pops out of Hornet fans' collective memory that seems to come alive once again through Matt Wagner's voice and Aaron Campbell's eyes. Needless to say, you won't find any racial epithets or jokes concerning male genitalia here.

I like how Wagner pulled a sort of "Godfather Part II" here, going back and forth between events in Britt's life that showed him walking the path that would eventually lead him wearing the fabled (and redesigned) mask. Wagner also uses the same technique with Kato's early life and decisions that are somewhat different from what I had expected and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

All the characters seem to be in great care with Wagner, from the Hornet, to his father, to even the thugs that are taken down. Nothing seems out of place. Wagner is aided with Aaron Campbell's very noir-ish style that fits the tone of the book perfectly. He's taken his style that he had from the Trial of Sherlock Holmes and just ran with it. It's not over rendered or over simplified, and elevates the story that much higher.

One of my first comics I read as a kid was NOW Comics' version of the Hornet, which led to my obsession with Zorro and Batman that continues today. Matt Wagner seemed like an almost too perfect choice for handling this character and his world. Any Hornet fan would seriously miss out on a fantastic read, should they not get this. The stage has been set for a great adventure ahead, and you'll find me going along for the ride.

My mind is slipping. I forgot to share these.

So for a sort of payment and thanking me for letting him stay at my place, my buddy Chris gave me these. It's Nick Bradshaw doing what he does best. They are a weird shape, but unique and very cool. It's a news strip style, but how it's presented like a personal autograph was a nice touch. Thanks, guys! And Chris, you know you're welcome back anytime, my friend.

Making Magic with Stephane Roux AND some new pieces.

Stephane Roux might not be a house hold name, but is a star defintely on the rise. Having done primiarly covers in his career, he's finally in his first ongoing series with Paul Dini, Zatanna!

Earlier last week, Newsarama talked to writer Paul Dini about the upcoming Zatanna series. This past weekend at MegaCon, we had a chance to talk to the famed artist about the project, his insights, and what lies ahead for DC's Mistress of Magic.

Newsarama: Who approached you first about doing the Zatanna series? How did you get involved?

Stephane Roux: I was at a convention, I can't remember which one, but I was talking to Dan [Didio] and he was approaching me about another project they had at the time and later he had said "you know we have Zatanna" and I just jumped for it.

Nrama: What drew you to her? I mean, she doesn't have a lot of merchandise and is relatively unknown to most non-comic fans, why her?

Roux: First of all, she's not one of the prominent characters, but there's something cool about a magician that is also a superhero. I always felt the character was a bit underexposed. Now, I'm not saying this character would have a long of run as say Wonder Woman has, but every character at DC should have that sort of chance to be put in the spotlight for a while. I also think the character has the potential to be the next Dr. Strange for all I know [laughs].

Nrama: What exactly will the series showcase? What's in store?
Roux: So far with the issues I've worked on, she's dealing with mystical forces with something that anchors through the real world because some of the bad guys are trying to take over, and there will be new characters and villains, and she's there to stop them from doing so. She's not alone, there will be a cop that goes to her because they have a case where mystical forces are involved. So that's how the book starts.

Nrama: What is it like working with Paul Dini, who is such a Zatanna enthusiast?

Roux: I actually just met him a few days ago, before then we had been exchanging emails. First of all, let me just say I'm a huge Paul Dini fan, you know, the Batman animated series and everything. Coming from animation, it was a shock to me what he had written and a few years later I'm working on a book with this guy and on his favorite character, it's just great. He's a guy that is very exciting to work with and I hope I can be as efficient and inspiring as he is with the scripts.

Nrama: What's it like going from a cover artist to constructing panels and pages, is there a different mentality?

Roux: Oh, there's definetly a different mentality. You know coming from animation and doing a lot of storyboards and just warming up so many times on personal projects over in France, so the storytelling aspect is not new or strange to me, it's just now we are doing it for a purpose. Working on pages is a different process because you have different filters to make sure you get it right, but it's not just my story to tell. I will say working on covers is something exciting to do because you get to tell a story and sometimes it's just your own. Pencils, inks, colors, etc.

Nrama: You have a great inker on the Zatanna team: Karl Story. You have to admit, he makes everybody look good.

Roux: Oh yeah, definetely. I'm so happy to have him on board. When it was asked who I would like as an inker, his name came first and they told me I can have him. He does justice to the pencils and I'm more than happy with his work.

Nrama: You've only got three issues planned so far, has there been ideas been tossed around for the future? Or are you taking your time because you do feel new to page construction?

Roux: Exactly, just taking it one step at a time. I need to talk to Paul about the villain we are introducing in the first arc, but will come back sometime later and it's a very exciting thing. It's all in the process of creation right now, but it's only going to get bigger and better.


I've been waiting for this piece for a while. Since like, November. Finally got a scan and will hopefully will be sent here soon. Matthew Dow Smith, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

(My fantasy) Avengers Assemble! Fourth reveal!

"Gamma is a girl's best friend"

- Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk

Talk about brains and brawn in the right package. Not many people have been a part of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, SHIELD, Fantastic Force, Heroes for Hire, AND Lady Liberators. Oh, on top of that, a lawyer with a degree from UCLA.

Given her powers from a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, Jennifer came to appreciate the confidence and assertiveness that had come with being She-Hulk. For a long time, she felt more comfortable in her form as She-Hulk than in her "normal" form as Jennifer. She eventually became comfortable in both forms, and realized that she has much to offer the world in both her forms and went off to become a hero in her own name.

I know I have Thor on the team, but you need more than one muscle-bound hero and She-Hulk fits that bill. She doesn't have the cosmic powers or the magic that Genis-Vell and Thor possess, but what she lacks in those fields, she more than makes up in wit, intelligence, and charisma.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gotham City Sirens #9

Gotham City Sirens #9
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Guillem March
Colors by Tomeu Morey
Letters by Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics
Review by Lan Pitts

"For you Selina? Anything.." -- Edward Nygma, The Riddler

You know nothing makes being the Riddler more difficult than coming to your office and seeing some old friends and your secretary tied up with vines...then asking for your help. Cest la vie, Eddie.

The Sirens show up and play a game of catch up with Riddler which also acts as a sort of recap of what's been going in the lives of the women (Ivy becoming a legit scientist for S.T.A.R. labs, what happened to Selina with Hush, and Harley being Harley). They recruit Riddler to help them find out who murdered this girl that has all signs pointing to them. It is too bad something is going on inside Riddler's head that is a puzzle of its own. Riddler actually takes center stage in this issue, which I enjoyed being a huge fan of the underutilized character. I wouldn't actually mind Eddie boy joining the book and it turning into a Charlie's Angel-type of series. However, like I said, something is amiss in the Riddler's psyche.

I feel as though I've misjudged this book. I had read a previous issue where the Joker had returned, but it was in fact an old henchman looking for revenge. Don't get me wrong, I think Dini does a wonderful job here with the characters, I just haven't read anything that has ignited immense interest for me to buy it monthly, though I may have to start now. It wasn't just the story-telling that repelled me (though repel is such a strong word, so let's say, turned me off) Guillem March's artwork was a tad too cheesecake for my tastes, but in this issue he's really more expressive than what I've seen in the past, almost as if he's channeling ole Kevin Maguire in some instances. There's a scene in which Selina explains how she went in for some "physical therapy", and by that she means "hits the gym"...with Ted Grant, aka Wildcat. It's a two-page spread that is flawless on all accounts.

Dini has me intrigued with this issue and I'll follow up to see where this leads. It satiated my Batman need for now and proved that a female-centric cast shouldn't be so easily discarded by male fans, as I had done previously with this series. If you were like me and previously ignored this series, thanks to the recap this issue is a good time to give it another shot.