Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Iron Man: Noir #1 & Angelus #3

Angelus #3
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Stjepan Sejic
Letters by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow
Review by Lan Pitts

"See, that's where you're wrong. I don't have any friends...just victims." -- Jackie Estacado, the Darkness

We're half way through the Angelus mini series that explores Dani Baptiste's role as the embodiment of light, and things are picking up down in 'Nawlins when Jackie Estacado shows up with murder on his mind. Then again, he is a hitman, so that's probably nothing out of the ordinary. Now, I love the Witchblade/Angelus/Darkness chemistry, especially since Ron Marz has enhanced each of the titles without it feeling like a crossover. The books complete each other, yet still remain their own separate entity.

Angelus #3 touches on a few things that really showcase Marz's ability to engross you in the characters as well Sejic's art having some subtle moments that he's had problems with in the past, but really nails these exquisitely. Sejic also displayed great skill in color dynamics when Jackie and Dani face off whilst in their supernatural alter-egos. The dichotomy of the Darkness and the Angelus is shown well in the last few pages, really allowing for some gripping panels and great action scenes.

There's the continuation of romance that happens to be between two females, but it isn't heavy-handed and handled like any budding romance. Dani and her girlfriend, Finch, are taking it slow and their moment with Dani's father was the best part of the book because it seemed so real and human. The action scenes are wonderful as I noted, but really take backstage to the character development that is unfolding here.

Angelus continues to deliver on what comics should be like. Though you shouldn't feel discouraged or intimidated from feeling lost since it's the third issue. There is a recap page that breaks it down right as you crack the book open. It's wonderful story-telling without having to rely on shock factors with beautiful art that makes you pore over every panel, so sit back and enjoy a great read.


Iron Man: Noir #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Pencils by Manuel Garcia
Inks by Lorenzo Ruggerio
Colors by Marta Martinez
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover: Mike Fyles
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Lan Pitts

"No the bottom line is I like adventures, Jarvis, and the rest of the country likes adventures, too. Times are dark. Depression, war on the horizon. People want stories they can escape to." -- Tony Stark

I have to admit, this might be my favorite Iron Man story ever. I also realize that this is the first issue of a mini-series so this reaction may be a bit premature, but I had so much fun with it, mainly because I didn't know what to expect. I've been digging this "Noir" line from Marvel since it debuted, though it's had it's hits and misses, Iron Man: Noir is more like a slam dunk, home run, and touchdown rolled into one. I'm not familiar with any creators involved in the project, but this makes me want to see other work from them.

How Snyder takes Stark and sort of transforms him into an Indiana Jones-with-money-like adventurer is enjoyable and when you think about it, not that far from what you would envision Stark in the 1930's to act like. He's charming, funny, adventurous and of course, has a heart defect. Other characters from the Iron Man universe make an appearance here, including an interesting twist on Pepper Potts that I really enjoyed. Snyder captures the world of yesteryear quite well with the analogies to comics and Stark's magazine, and just the "feel" of the world.

The art team is just as fabulous here. Going from deep jungles to metropolitan scenes, all the while keeping a steady pace the action heavy. Solid panel construction, lush environments, and great figure construction gives the book a first-rate look that I hope doesn't stop here. I like the design of the suit, and reflects the imagination of the decade and looks like something out of a sci-fi serial.

With the Iron Man movie coming out in less than a month, I'm sure Ol' Shellhead won't have a hard time selling books, but be sure to check this one out.

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