Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Talon #0 - Review

What a fantastic idea for a new comic book series as well as a new character in the DC Universe. DC's new on-going comic "Talon," beginning in their Zero Month promotion, follows Calvin Rose. Calvin is a new face that fits snugly into the brilliant mythology Scott Snyder created with his massive, eleven-issue story arc about the harrowing Court of Owls that kick-started The New 52's Batman. Scott Snyder is back to help co-plot this new book with writer James Tynion IV, and I have to say, what a brilliant first issue.

Talon #0 gives us a very compelling and intriguing origin for Calvin Rose. He is a kid who ran away from an abusive father (a fact revealed to us in a rather brutal opener), eventually picked up by the Court of Owls, whom are impressed by the escape-art skills he has amassed since he left his home. They have him killing innocent people; evil acts they hide as just the opposite. In an effective panel revealing a particular assassin target, he decides that he must fight against, and separate himself from, the Court. We have our set-up.

Tynion and Snyder very smartly interlock all of the pieces of Rose's character. His upbringing, his indoctrination into the Court, even the very skills that the Court chose him for, boil down to one action - escaping. It's awesome. He's a clearly defined character and an easy one to get behind; a man trapped doing things he learns is vile, using the very skills they employed him for to escape the evil and attempt to stop it. I like Calvin.

The artwork isn't incredibly memorable, but it's not really a problem. Guillem March's scribbles tell the story well, with appropriate expression and detail. It puts the focus on the writing and the narrative, which is fine.

I had a lot of fun with Talon #0. Calvin Rose is a very cool character that I really want to keep my eye on. His origin is very concise and focused, and if future issues have that same approach, we'll have a really compelling book on our hands. This issue, at least, is quite rad.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Frankenstein: Agent of Shade #0 - Review

Frankenstein: Agent of Shade was one of those books that I almost picked up out of curiosity when The New 52 launched but didn't due to a lack of cash and a wealth of other compelling comics. Now that Zero Month has arrived and I'm a bigger boy making minimum wage, I decided to tap away three dollars while I was hanging out with my iPad this evening. It was a smart move, as Frankenstein: Agent of Shade #0 is a badass origin story for The New 52's Frankenstein.

This comic shows us the creation of the DCU's Frankenstein and the monster's progression into becoming an agent of Shade, protecting people from supernatural and monstrous threats. It clearly shows us who this character is and why he's so freaking cool. He's not bogged down by human-like emotional attachment, and accepts that he has the power to help people and that he is obligated to do so. We see this through a stylish battle with his mad-scientist creator as well as montage panels towards the end. It looks fantastic - oh-so very good coloring - and feels good, due to its excellent writing and staging.

This comic is really great. I'd say it's a pretty safe bet if you want a fun supernatural/fantasy book.

Wonder Woman #0 - Review

Wonder Woman isn't a series that I read month-to-month but its Zero issue is one that I decided to pick up. Brian Azzarello promised something a bit abstract with this issue in comparison to what the other creative teams are doing with DC's Zero Month, and Wonder Woman is a pretty sweet super hero, so it seemed like a fun way to drop three bucks. And it certainly proved to be: Wonder Woman #0 is tons of fun and easily one if the best Zero issues I've read so far. 

This issue takes a tongue-in-cheek, old-school approach, filling the pages with lengthy narration and frequent thought bubbles. This retro style is a fitting way to tell this book's simple and fun story from Diana's teen years in Paradise Island. She fights stereotypical mythological monsters and clashes characters with stereotypical mythological motivations, but it's really a joy to read. It's a bit humorous because of how self-aware it is and it's so well-written that the story itself is actually quite compelling. It's a good origin story that aggrandizes Diana appropriately. And it must be said that the colorful and expressive art is entirely pleasurable and fits well with the retro story-telling. 

I loved this issue. Zero Month's halt on my favorite stories hurt me a bit, but it's hard to complain when we're getting fun books like this.