Friday, September 10, 2010

Magdalena #3 and Green Hornet Annual #1

Magdalena #3
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Nelson Blake II, Sal Regla, and Dave McCaig
Letters by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow
Review by Lan Pitts
Click here for preview

"The boy's not here. Most of the cult is gone. They just left behind some goons...and that thing. Need a hand?" -- Patience, the Magdalena

I have to be honest here, this issue doesn't really move the plot along as it is a sort of boss battle out of a video game. Kristoff passes as a lost traveler and finds a luxurious manor with a not-so angelic hostess. Though, as you might have guessed it, he was prepared as the mistress of the house, Anichka, shows her true demonic form and pumps several rounds into her. Lucky for him, he is quickly joined by Magdalena. They do their best to make quick work of the situation and still try to get information concerning Kid Anti-Christ, who is already a few steps ahead.

From the first page you'll notice a simplistic layout, but Nelson Blake II's use of sharp angles keeps the story at a nice pace as well as engages the reader. Showing how Magdalena moved around the building a la Batman, was a change of pace and I just wonder how easy it was to creep around with that armor on. Blake's action shots are drawn beautifully with a high impact feel. When somebody is shot, stabbed, or punched, you can sense the impact he was going for. His demonic designs are creative and feel they impose an actual threat, without them being over done. Sal Regla's inking style compliments Blake's pencils exceedingly well. The first six pages of Mags prowling around is evident of that. Dave McCaig's colors are brilliant as always. The use of reds and yellows is still dominant, but he has a chance to work with blues and purples.

Ron Marz is no stranger to the realm of supernatural superheroes having done stints on Thor, and of course the characters at Top Cow for the past five years or so. He's put more than this stamp on these characters, he's breathed new life into them and expanded so much of their world. So, naturally, he excels in telling this sort of story. While Patience has a job and duty to withhold as the Magdalena, she is still having to kill a young boy. Then again, who better to take down Satan's kid than Christ's daughter? The dialog is sharp and Patience has a unique voice that comes across as militant with a feminine edge.

To be truthful if you're not picking up this book or any of the great stuff Top Cow is putting out, you're sorely missing out. Magdalena is no exception.


Green Hornet Annual #1
Written by Phil Hester
Art by Carlos Rafael, Josef Rubenstein, and Carlos Lopez
Letters by Troy Peteri
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Review by Lan Pitts
Click here for preview

"Our war is on crime, Kato, not people." -- the Green Hornet

As a big Green Hornet fan I am, I've been underwhelmed by Dynamite's efforts, save for the Green Hornet: Year One mini-series earlier this year. Nothing has been popping out at me or agreeing with the collective idea of what the Green Hornet is in my mind. Green Hornet Annual #1 fills that void nicely, but not in the way I would have thought.

Green Hornet Annual #1 isn't really a Britt Reid, jr story, nor is it an actual Green Hornet story. While there are flashback sequences featuring the original Green Hornet, Phil Hester really gives you and idea on who Britt is. He's tortured, but not in the same vein as say Batman or Dick Grayson. He decides to become a hero because in his heart, he feels it is the right thing to to do. Though being a hero isn't always the easiest of things, as Britt gets his ass handed to him by friend and mentor "Coach" Pollard. We learn that Britt was an already good fighter, he just lacked the discipline and had a cavalier attitude about life.

Speaking of which, on top of Britt's father being murdered, his home life isn't the best at the moment. His love interest, Julie, has moved out and he's trying to find himself within this shattered world. We know where this is all headed, but still, it's nice to see the beginnings of the new Green Hornet come across like this. We know he'll never be the man his father was, just the hero his father became.

There are two different styles going on here. One being the art used in the flashbacks showing Hornet and Kato with chiseled jaws and Adonis-like physiques. It comes across as classic 60's comic style, even the coloring has the old dotted-look to it. While in the "present", the art is clean and the facial expressions come across precise and proper. Carlos Lopez's colors comes across as too dark at times, but nothing too distracting or awful.

The Green Hornet franchise can be confusing at times for fans of the character, but not quite sure where to begin or even start. If you haven't started, I strongly suggest this issue.

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