Join Super-Fly’s new guy, L.S. Goins, as he traverses and reviews the seedy underbelly of the biz we all know and love! This week L.S. reviews the first Before Watchmen book: Minutemen #1, BOOM! Studio’s Extermination #1, and AVX Round 5!
BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #1
Story and Art: Darwyn Cooke
Colors: Phil Noto
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics
The controversy surrounding DC’s run of pre-Watchmen titles is bound to be met with hostility from diehard naysayers. This is not an Alan Moore story, and it never will be. It is a Darwyn Cooke story.
Cooke introduces the rouges gallery of the Minutemen with his usual panache. His art style is reminiscent of those Golden Age stories that helped to establish comic books as the mainstay that they have become. What sets Minutemen apart is Cooke’s interpretation of Moore’s initial work and the driving forces behind the characters. The world of Minutemen is not a pretty one and Cooke approaches the grit and grime with apprehension. All the while developing the aesthetic value of New York with shadow and violence. The Minutemen’s world is one filled with ulterior motives and old hatreds which help to bring out the heroes’ motivations.
Each of the Minutemen are driven, in some way, by these factors. If anything the national climate that Cooke depicts is one colored by it’s inhabitants reactions and actions. The Silk Specter is described as a PR juggernaut willing to falsify heroics to pay the bills. Nite Owl is just trying to do what he knows how to do. The Comedian is a youth infected with rage and hell bent on notions of gratitude. Silhouette is pushed to heroics because of a past she is trying to confront and memories that she is trying to escape.
If Watchmen was nowhere on the cover of this book and Cooke used new heroes to tell this tale it would be a slightly disappointing first issue. The characters themselves aren’t that well done. Each of their first appearances are more splashy than anything of substance. Cooke seems to rely on the popularity of the previous work which they appeared.
All told Minutemen #1 really confuses the reader with it’s use of narration and what is alleged pre-existing familiarity with characters which Moore himself didn’t bother to flesh out. Cooke does have an adept hand at envisioning story so, where Minutemen is headed is in decidedly competent hands. What Minutemen will become remains to be seen and where Cooke is willing to take these characters will be something to watch for.
Story: Simon Spurrier
Art: Jeffrey Edwards
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Extermination #1’s Simon Spurrier gives the reader a meditation on heroics and what those conventions become when the very world that contains them change for the worse. Jeffrey Edwards portrays this world in a very interesting way. There are really two parallel stories: one, pre-crisis and two, post-crisis. Both stories are inhabited by Nox “Nocturnal Knight of Righteousness Redemption. The good guy,” and The Red Reaper “Mincing Megalomaniacal Science-Tyrant. EEEvil.”
With these two very excellent stories the reader is presented with a world gone to pot. The protagonists are pushed into am unexplained and unexpected team-up. Nox, the Batman-esque superhero, is thrown into the same company as his mortal enemy The Red Reaper, a true grit villain who presents his moral code under the guise of elocution and tactful words. Some of the best panels are when Reaper’s tact breaks down and the reader is presented with the true verve of his evil.
Edwards’ art illustrates both of these distinct stories with similar themes and allusions to each other. All the while Spurrier brings these two very different men into focus and how their very different worldviews become one due to the new world in which they find themselves.
BOOM! Studios has pushed Extermination to the forefront with a fist full of variant covers and a $1.00 price tag. If for nothing than thriftiness (it’s only a buck!) this book is well worth the buy. The story flows smoothly and the art portrays an exceptionally vivid world of loss and doubt. Check this book out…do it!
A vs. X: Round 5
Script: Matt Fraction
Art: John Romita Jr.
Color: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Avs.X begins with a bang. Wolverine and Hope Summers have made it to the blue area of the moon only to find the Avengers and the X-Men there waiting for them. And sure enough, with the Phoenix Force fast approaching all hell breaks loose.
Matt Fraction weaves the fifth installment of Marvel’s big summer event and it doesn’t disappoint. Characters’ motivations are called into question as well as Hope’s role within the story. John Romita Jr. does a fantastic job at keeping those pages turning with vibrant, beautiful panels depicting the initial consequences of the two teams’ decisions on the moon and those heroes left to duke it out on Earth.
This round leaves the reader wondering “What the f&@# happens now?” Which is always good. Fraction really lets the reader know that this is nowhere near the end and plenty of awesomeness is in store.
It’s hard to tell where Marvel will leave this event, but if the first few rounds are any indication now coupled with Round 5, you won’t want to miss anything coming out of Marvel this summer.