Thursday, September 29, 2011

CanadianSimon is back with Week 4 Guest Reviews! (All Star Western, Justice League Dark and Firestorm)

CanadianSimon is back with another round-up!  I have not yet read Simon's picks below (MythBusters season premier was on, people), but once again there's some cross-over here.  I did pick-up All Star Western and Firestorm

Let's see what our friend from the Great White North had to say...

After taking last week off where I didn't bother to review Blue Beetle which did not elicit positive or negative feelings I'm back picking up another three floppies.

All Star Western #1
written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
pencils by Moritat

I did not collect the previous Johan Hex series by Palmiotti and Gray but I was interested in this book. The idea of Jonah Hex being let loose in Gotham City was very appealing. Add on top of that the character of Amadeus Arkham, the guy who goes on to build the lunatic asylum where all of Batman's foes end up, gives this book a dark psychological bent.

The two are brought together to investigate a series of murders. The pairing seems to be odd homage to Holmes and Watson. As they begin to investigate they discover an even greater conspiracy. This mystery really helps to pull the reader into the book. Moritat's moody pencils also contribute to the creepy mood of this book.

In this book Hex's character seems to be pure Id. All he does is drink, fight and generally tick folks off. But, upon further reflection's on Hex you can see that he is actually being driven by his ego as what appears as uncoordinated instinct is actually very organized and calculating as he attempts to uncover the killer.

On the other hand Amadeus Arkham is the super-ego. He is critically analyzing everything that Hex does and this thoughts are shared with us through captioning. Also, Arkham gives off this incredibly creepy Norman Bates vibe which I expect to pay off in future issues.

I can't help but to cynically wonder if the name change from Johan Hex to All Star Western was partially to pay homage to the series from the 1950's but also to distance itself from that horrible, horrible Johan Hex movie that was released last year.

Even though this book is $3.99 it weighs in at 28 extremely well written and drawn pages. I'll be back at my LCS for this next month.

Justice League Dark #1
written by Peter Milligan
pencils by Mikel Janin

This is a book that I was hoping to love and I can't say it completely delivered. It wasn't a perfect issue but it was good enough to leave me wanting to come back next month.

Basically it is a "getting the band together" issue where a new type of Justice League is being formed to combat mystical threats since the main Justice Leaguers like Superman and Cyborg are woefully out of their depths confronting magic.

One of my favourite characters, Madame Xanadu, is pulling together Deadman, Zantana, Shade the Changing Man and John Constantine to be the Justice League Dark (still a dumb name). Sadly, we don't get to see all of the characters together but we can see how all the threads are being intertwined. The big bad in the Enchantress is setup and we are introduced to all of the characters, albiet briefly.

I'm a little disappointed that the JLD doesn't have 7 members as that would be the perfect amount for a mystical super team a la Seven Soldiers.

The Fury of Firestorm #1
written by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone
pencils by Yildiray Cinar

I really love Gail Simone so I really wanted to love this book even though I can honestly say I've never bought a Firestorm book in my life before. Sad to say this will probably be the last Firestorm book I buy.

I know this book is being co-written with Ethan Van Sciver so supposedly we have one conservative and one liberal writer trying to given Ronny and Jason different voices. Sadly the conflict between the two seemed really forced to me and really paint by the numbers. Maybe I don't understand the jock vs geek mentality as that wasn't part of my high school experience.

As well the amount of violence in this book seemed to turn me off a bit. I know this book is rated teen but SPOILERS having a kill crew off an entire family and a bunch of high schoolers just seems excessive END SPOILERS but I guess this is the way a lot of the new DCnU books are.

I wasn't really familiar with Yildiray Cinar but I did really like his art on this book. So while I can say this book isn't for me it might just be for you.


Simon MacDonald said...

Boy, I hope I didn't go too Canadian with this review. I noticed I used some French.

The League said...

While every word that comes from a Canadian mouth, pen or keyboard sounds like some odd backwater French to us red-blooded Americans, I think the pictures help and we struggled through your bizarre internationally-flavored patois.