This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #17, Sisters of Sorrow #1, Dark Days: The Casting #1, New Super-Man #13, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #9, Angel Season 11 #7, Kill All Monsters! Omnibus Volume 1, The Guild Library Edition, and Dept. H #16… be warned, there may be spoilers…
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are on the comeback trail. If it’s not rumors of Gail Simone writing the next movie sequel, it’s people telling me how good that new movie is. Now, while I haven’t seen said movie, yet, I did kind of dig the latest annual, so I decided to give the newest issue of the regular series from Boom! Studios a shot. I was not so surprised after the annual to find a new take, a new vision in the comic book version of the television and now film heroes.
We open on a video podcast, Ranger Station, hosted by Bulk and Skull focusing on the recent doings of the Rangers in a post-final-conflict world, in the aftermath of saving the planet from Rita Repulsa and her giant monsters, perhaps even a continuation of the movie continuity. This is an eye-opening and intriguing take. Slowly we get to know the world, the characters and their mission to return Zordon to this dimension. I am interested, and considering this is a property I had no interest in, that’s saying something. Worth looking at.
Sisters of Sorrow
Kurt Sutter seemed to have been taking the failure of The Bastard Executioner pretty hard as he has of late turned away from TV to comic books. First there’s the prequel to Sons of Anarchy that I reviewed here, and a comic called Lucas Stand that was originally written for television, and now this – the bad ass nuns with guns of Sisters of Sorrow. It’s cinematic, it’s hyper-violent, and it’s compelling. If you like Tarantino, Rodriguez, and of course Sutter, you’ll dig this graphic action packed comic.
I liked the read of Dark Days: The Casting, smooth if incomprehensible. I loved seeing characters I miss like Hawkman and Hawkwoman, the Blackhawks, the Challengers of the Unknown. I get the sense of building something, moving toward a big payoff, another Crisis… and how I tire of it. Why does everything have to be a big event? Why not just tell good stories? The tale begun in The Forge continues here, but again, there don’t seem to be any answers.
From Green Lantern encountering the Joker, who seems more and more like Loki every day, in the Batcave, to Batman delving into a mystery of the gods, the story seems entrenched in new elements of Hawkman’s nth metal. Tied into the equation are Shazam, Lazarus Pits, the Court of Owls, the gods of myth, the Cadmus Project, and maybe even Despero. I liked the art, some of the words, but my dislike of crossover events might prevent me from following the rest of the story into Metal. I can’t help but give another half-hearted recommendation, your mileage may vary.
I’ve talked about this title before, and how it offers a blank slate free of continuity to build on, and create new adventures of new characters. Now with the Justice League of China joining the New Super-Man in some of his exploits, it has become even more exciting. The odds are high, the danger intense, and the situations catastrophic, but this comic comes off nowhere near as dark and grim as Dark Days. Somehow, Super-Man maintains its bright old school superhero feel. It’s a damn shame when the Justice League of China is a better version of the Justice League than the Justice League. Recommended.
Buffy and Angel
Dark Horse continues the adventures of both Buffy and Angel in special Season 9 adventures, as if the television series had continued on. Now here is where I have to make a confession. I was never a Buffy guy, and by connection, an Angel guy either. I had only seen a handful of episodes by folks who wanted to indoctrinate me, to no avail. I can only say I dug the musical episode, but it wasn’t enough to get me to watch any more. Here with the comics, I have to say it’s a similar situation.
Both comics continue ongoing storylines, and similarly envision things that would have been difficult to do on television. It’s competent, we’ll rendered, but unlike Power Rangers above, could not grab my attention to get me to read more. I will say that I liked the art more than the story in Angel, but the story better than the art in Buffy. Again, your mileage may vary, especially for the Buffy fans, of which I am not. Anyone have a good point to start if I wanted to become one?
Monsters and Guilds
Two of my biggest vices are giant monsters and tabletop role-playing games, and this week Dark Horse has released two terrific collections that feed off those two things. The first volume of the Kill All Monsters! omnibus conjures memories of older comics like Daikazu, Marvel’s Godzilla and Shogun Warriors, as well as the great daikaiju movies and television of the past like Ultra Man and Johnny Sokko. There’s a realistic and violent edge to these black and white comics, but I still love them, and can’t recommend this one enough.
Then there’s The Guild, one of my favorite online web series about the misadventures of a roleplaying group starring Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton among others. The great ensemble responsible for the live-action series are here doing the writing as well. If you dug the show, you’ll dig the comic, and heck, if you’ve ever gamed, you’ll love the comic, recommended.
Confession time again, I did not realize the title of this comic was Dept. H and not Depth until I tried to Google it looking for info. I haven’t felt this stupid since I tried to find that (then) new band INXS in the record store. Like the TV series 24, this comic by Matt and Sharlene Kindt, is told in near-real time, with each issue taking place over a twenty-four hour period. As the story is about an underwater lab slowly flooding, time is running out. It’s a great concept, and a great comic. Again, recommended, and one I will have to hunt down past issues of – I really dug this.