November 21, 2012

Wonder Woman is Bleeding Cool

Review of Wonder Woman Vol 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello and Jeff Chiang

On June 5, 2012 DC released the first graphic novel of the new Wonder Woman series.  Wonder Woman Volume 1: Blood is written by Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Hellblazer) and drawn by Cliff Chiang (Nightwing, Green Arrow/Black Canary).

 I have read plenty of DC Comics stories in which Wonder Woman plays a significant role, such as Grant Morrison's  run on JLA and Geoff Johns' Final Crisis, but I have never followed this hero's own title and I am not familiar with her character history.  I liked the idea of Wonder Woman's character but her own title always seemed to lack character development. 

Over the last yearDC has rebooted and re-branded their entire line of comics in an attempt to make the stories more accessible to new readers.  What's nice about this reboot is that you can jump right in at the start of a charcter's origin story. 

Now that I have read the first six issues of Azzarellos and Chiang's run I can say that I am hooked on the story and eagerly anticipating the second volume.  The world that Azzarello puts Wonder Woman in is not one of super heroes and villains but of mortals and gods.  Instead of a conflict between super-teams and straightforward villains we have been thrust into the dysfunctional families of gods and monsters.  Internecine warfare and political intrigue abound as the gods jockey for political and cosmic power--in this way Wonder Woman reminds me of Game of Thrones.  In this story arc Wonder Woman's mission is to protect Zeus's love child from assassination.     Azzarello's Wonder Woman is a pop-thrill packed with interesting characters and a variety of exotic and everyday settings that highlight Wonder Woman's outsider status as an outsider hero torn between the world of mortals and the territories of titans . 

 Highest possible recommendation..

October 19, 2012

Daybreak by Brian Ralph

Daybreak is a graphic novel like no other that I have read. It brings the reader into the story as one of the characters. You wake up to find the world a very different place. A mysterious one armed boy greets you and you realize that you and he are some of the last people alive. Everything around you is rubble and ruins. The boy takes you to a safe, underground space where you rest. Later you venture out and find the world overrun by zombies. This post-apocalyptic thriller slowly builds the tension with letting the threat of danger be the driving force rather than actual carnage.

If you like this try:
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire
CHEW by John Layman

October 17, 2012

All-Star Superman!

All Star Superman is a complete stand alone mini series by mad genius Grant Morrisson and his most synergistic creative partner in artist Frank Quitely.   
Across two volumes Moz and Quitely havecreated the best Superman story I have ever read.  The narrative distills all of the best aspects of Superman and puts them into play in a vibrant and dynamic world of adventure and high stakes conflict.  It feels as if all of the best Superman stories and all of the most important and interesting character of established comic history have been reinvigorated and given new pop sensibility and apppeal. 
One of the struggles many writers have with writing Superman is that it is so difficult to deliver challenges for him to face since he is so powerful.  Unlike mortal and non-powered heroes like Batman and Daredevil, Superman is said to be unrelatable--readers fail to empathize with a character who is basically a god. 
Here Morrisson delicately integrates Clark Kent's emotional and personal life with his rolse as a reporter and a superhero.  The degree to which this is done is so effective and beautifully executed that I cannot imagine any Superman story in the future reaching these heights.