In yet another example of how I procrastinate in reading my own comics, I’ve recently been picking up comics at my local shop for a friend at work and reading them before reading mine. He’s gotten into comics lately again, after not having read them for years, and he’s interested in a few properties and characters in particular. I talked him into getting a couple books as pulls at my favorite of the local shops, and because he doesn’t get there as regularly as I do, he’s had me pick his books up for him. Since I get a discount on the books I buy, well, I figure when he pays me the cover price, that extra amount of dough I get from him is a shipping and handling fee. Even though I’m reading them as well! Don’t judge me!
So, because of that, I’m reading He-Man/Thundercats and Infamous Iron Man. I’ll talk about the two series below.
He-Man/Thundercats (written by Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine, art and cover by Freddie E. Williams II, colors by Jeremy Colwell, letters by Deron Bennett, edits by Jessica Chen, Kristy Quinn, and Jim Chadwick) should be a book I enjoy more, as I watched both shows as a kid, and had toys and stuff from them. In fact, I still use a Thundercats cup thing/bank to hold some of my loose change. I must have gotten some of that crap at a birthday party, because I don’t think we would have normally gone to Burger King that often to get that much stuff (Thundercats rings with a secret slot and Snarf straw holders, as well).
And He-Man, I’ve got a ton of those toys around, as well as a lot of the mini comics that came with the figures.
But this book doesn’t really do much for me. I watched the show, but I don’t really remember much about either one. The good guys fight bad guys, they all have punny names, good triumphs over evil, all that happy crap. But the details of all the relationships elude me. I didn’t remember how much Prince Adam was He-Man’s Clark Kent, for instance.
But the series so far, in the first 2 issues, is fairly fun if mindless stuff. There have been a couple of “oh shit!” moments (that’s…in a good way), the narrator of each issue so far hasn’t been revealed until the end, which is neat, and some of the fight stuff has been fun, particularly issue 2’s big He-Man versus all the villains, with fun sound effects (like “Concuss!”).
Art-wise, it’s decent. There’s a layer of grime and grittiness to the art despite colorful coloring. Colwell uses a lot of purple on this book.
Also, my shop guy got my friend the coloring book variant for issue 1, which was a B&W wraparound cover of the 2 regular covers (that first He-Man/Thundercats image above), printed on thicker paper. Looked pretty cool!
Infamous Iron Man (written by Brian Michael Bendis, art and cover by Alex Maleev, color by Matt Hollingsworth, letters and production by VC’s Clayton Cowles, edits by Alanna Smith and Tom Brevoort) is a story that takes place after the end of Civil War II (so Bendis presumably knows the end of that book, even though it’s not finished yet), and it has Victor Von Doom taking over the Iron Man mantle, while putting his own spin on things. Doom is trying to atone for the things he’s done over the years, and decides that since Tony’s gone, he’ll use Iron Man as a way of doing so.
Overall, I’m not particularly interested in this. The villains have changed over the years enough that I no longer know their motivations or why or when their relationships have changed. In issue 1, Diablo has kidnapped Maria Hill, the director of SHIELD, and apparently in the past, he’s crossed Doom. But without an editorial note telling us when or where this happened, it’s utterly meaningless to the casual reader like myself. In issue 2, Doom fights the Mad Thinker, and Doom also easily defeats this supervillain that gave the Fantastic Four plenty of trouble. Also, Doom calls him Julius, even though the Wikipedia that the kids all like say his real identity has never been revealed. Is that the Bendis continuity I tend to hear about?
We also get Ben Grimm as an agent of SHIELD, but also as a real asshole. The people at the Latverian Embassy apparently won’t tell Benji where Doom has gone, so he starts smashing all their shit. Um, Ben, maybe they don’t know? Dick.
And there’s a mysterious woman (who probably has been featured in the Iron Man book before this, granted) that Doom is interested in-slash-stalking, Dr. Amara Perera.
I’m not a fan of Maleev’s art style. There is too much re-use of images (in issue 1, we get the surprise on Dr. Amara’s face twice!), some ugly images (in issue 2, are the necks of those kids broken?), and too little panel to panel continuity (in issue 1, when Doom rescues Maria Hill, the pink sticky restraint goo she was covered in [ahem] disappears when Doom shows up, and in issue 2, Dr. Amara turns and shoots Doom with a gun that appears out of nowhere, to say nothing of shooting first just because someone calls your name).
There are the usual Bendis conversational tics (a bit different than some I’ve seen, but still highly stylized dialogue), Maleev’s art turns me off, and the premise of the book does nothing for me. Other than learning that “Kremorga!” is a Latverian swear word, the best part of the book is Hollingsworth’s use of greens and purples in the fight scenes. They really light the scenes moodily and work to show the villainous nature of the characters.
So, if I wasn’t getting to read these books for free (and honestly, I’m even making a little bit of money on them!), I wouldn’t bother. They’re entertaining enough, but overall, He-Man/Thundercats and Infamous Iron Man are workmanlike books.
Hey, I’d also like to remind you that the Cerebus Archive 6 Kickstarter is ongoing, until Saturday evening. I’ve pledged myself!
Also, our old pal Buttler is on the Splathouse Podcast. It’s about the movie Red Rock West, (and feel free to look at Amazon for it with that link!), and if you want to listen to just the Buttler part, it’s about 25 minutes in, if I remember right. I wrote it down somewhere, I thought! I would have guessed he sounded more like Kevin Murphy from MST3K, but I suppose it’s a fitting voice!
Until next time!