As mentioned before, it seems that lately I've tailed off in the blogging/posting something cool/whatever department. As my blogging has become scarce, so it seems has the attention paid to this little corner of the WWW. So, in the spirit of re-invigoration, and (temporary) inspiration, I've decided to premiere a new feature here on the Brew Stew. Its called the Weekly Comic Brew, wherein I talk about a single comic or collected edition once a week. Now it could be more than one comic or trade I talk about, and I very well could post more than once a week, but for now, I'm keeping the expectations modest, and thinking at least hit a comic I've read every week.
Most likely the comic talked about will be a book I enjoyed, but even if I didn't like it, I'll have something to say, and anyone who's listened to the Meltcast knows I can't keep my mouth shut when it comes to certain books.
So here's the first taste of the stew, and since its the opening salvo, I decided to lead off with not one, not two, but yes, you guessed it, THREE books. Call it the triple play. Actually call it what you want, here it is.
OUR LOVE IS REAL (One-Shot, independent)
Writer: Sam (Hammertime) Humphries (CBGB, Fraggle Rock, Best Hair on the Meltcast 2 yrs running)
Artist: Steven Sanders (S.W.O.R.D, Uncanny X-Men, Five Fists of Science)
So yes, the best of the bunch without a doubt was a 26 page gem by certain somebody who also made his feelings known on the Meltcast. He sat beside me and alliances were made and broken in the time together, but he was always my comrade-in-arms.
He was and is, The Hammer.
Now before everybody who isn't aware of the situation just rolls their eyes because we did a podcast together and HOW COULD I SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT SOMETHING THE MAN DID! just know, anyone who listened to the show knows that we disagreed frequently (not on the same level as the Rosa Rage, or Caleb even, but we did disagree fairly often). But also, I hadn't really read much of anything that really gave me a sense of what kind of writer he was. Sure, I read his Fraggle Rock story, and it was cute, but to me it was fun fluff about a property I really didn't know much or care about. His CBGB story was cool, but it was a quickie, and so I came into this book not knowing what to think. In fact, after hearing the vague plot of a futuristic sci-fi story where the masses made widespread love to plants and rocks (not to mention man's best friend), I was even more unsure of what to think.
My love is real. For this book.
Note: Our Love Is Real is available digitally at their site, and apparently, as Bleeding Cool reports, extremely hard to find in print. So they're putting a second print out. For you.
ULTIMATE DOOMSDAY (Marvel Comics, Ultimate)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
What a foul taste that left.
And I didn't even finish the series.
It was the comic that made me swear off Jeph Loab written comics (a trend that had started with The Ultimates 3), but for all its bad plotting, hackneyed storytelling, and cheap deaths, Ultimatum did accomplish one thing.
It shook things up.
The result was that after the event, we didn't really have the X-Men, the FF had broken up (or something, like I said, I didn't finish the series), most of New York had been destroyed, plus heavy hitters like Wolverine, Magneto, Doctor Doom and Professor X were all KIA.
Picking up some of these story threads, Brian Bendis wrote a trilogy of 4 issue minis entitled Enemy, Mystery, and Doom. I won't spoil the story for those of you who haven't read it, but there is a familiar character who ends up becoming the Ultimate Big Bad, and our heroes must stop impending world destruction by said Big Bad.
This book was filled to the brim with a wide cast of the remaining heroes including members of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, and with Bendis writing in a universe he helped create, the proceedings were comfortably fast-paced, characterization was spot on (except for the one gripe I have later), and there were some character twists that I felt were interesting in the context of this universe (such as Ben Grimm and Sue Storm's relationship, among others).
But overall, if you like Bendis, and especially if you like Bendis writing the Ultimate universe (at the heart this is a Fantastic Four story, but it also skews closely to his U. Spidey work), than you'll probably really enjoy this book. It has big action, good characterization, and some interesting twists, and while its not perfect, its worth checking out for the reasons mentioned.
DOOMWAR (Marvel Comics)
Writer: Jonathan Mayberry
Artist: Scott Eaton
Since its currently 2:45 in the AM as I write this, I'll keep it short, but this series was a fairly recent attempt by Marvel to have "small" events in seemingly ever corner of the universe during the Heroic Age. This particular series happened to take place in Black Panther's said corner of the world, with plenty of guest stars.
It spun out of the Panther ongoing series in which T'Challa had stepped down off the throne of Wakanda, and his sister had taken the mantle of the Black Panther. In this story though, Doctor Doom engineered a scheme to steal the stockpile of vibranium Wakanda holds (which is key to it's status as a world power) and hijinks ensue, with plenty of guest stars (oops, already mentioned that).
Since Doom is the villain, of course the FF show up (Reed and T'Challa combine to heat up the room with some serious brainpower), and initially things start off pretty slow, with a political overtone that permeates things, Doom being the monarch of Latvaria, with T'Challa opposing him as rival head of state.
The story ran 6 issues, and I thought it could of been told pretty well in 4. Some of the middle chapters contained fight scenes that seemed to exist for the sole purpose of so they could have a fight scene (to be fair, it kinda does serve the plot, but could just of easily been trimmed), and it also committed the crime of having random characters show up for no good reason (did we really need Deadpool showing up... what did he do in this story again, besides crack bad jokes about the Wakandan women?)
On the plus side, the art was pretty solid. Scott Eaton (who interestingly, was teamed with inker Andy Lanning) changed his style from the clean figures in X-Men: Legacy to a more gritty shadowed look (I suppose Lanning had a lot to do with the change) in this story. The problem was, writer Jon Mayberry, who apparently only recently started writing comics, sometimes packed too much information in each page and panel, making the proceedings cramped somewhat.
I felt like the story never had a real chance to breathe, and while having said that, could of been told in a shorter span of issues. There were some cool moments (Doom's test before the Panther God was awesome, and probably stood out as the shining moment of the series), but I felt overall it missed an opportunity to be a really good story starring two of the smartest and most powerful men on the planet, in Doom and T'Challa.
If you run across the trade in the bargain bins, by all means check it out, but unless you're a huge fan of the good Doctor Doom and rival monarch T'Challa, you're ok skipping it.
The next one of these will be shorter, I promise you that.