Reviews for 3-14-05

Blood of the Demon #1
Publisher: DC Comics
Plotter/Pencils: John Byrne
Dialog: Will Pfeifer
Inker: Nekros
Ok I’ll admit it one of my guilty pleasures in the 90s was the Demon series put out by DC comics. While I know it wasn’t really true to the characters origins, I still enjoyed it. When I heard that Etrigan was coming back, I thought it was a good idea, but when I heard how, I got kind of excited about it. John Byrne was to do the plots and the pencils on the issues while Will Pfeifer was to do the dialog. Having enjoyed Byrne since I started collecting and truly enjoyed the work of Will Pfeifer (Aquaman, Swamp Thing, H.E.R.O.), I thought this couldn’t miss. This first issue of the series gives the reader a good background and brief history of the Demon, Etrigan and his ties to Camelot. In Gotham City, Jason Blood (the demon’s human shell) is being tortured, and his tormentors are demanding to know where Etrigan is. They do not know about the special tie between Blood and the demon. When Blood finally agrees to give them the information the loosen his ties and they are about to find out where the demon resides, but as the transformation begins to take place, one of the minions “kills” Blood and his body is disposed of. They are unaware of the change that was taking place or that Blood may not in fact be dead. In the morgue the body awakes and makes his way back to his friends Randu and Anjeli to help find out what is going on. It seems that Blood did not die only because he was in mid transformation and appears to be stuck that way. Shortly Jason reverts to his normal form and vows to take the fight to his tormentors. There is a lot of action in this book, but the downside is there are also a lot of words to tell you what you’ve just seen. Granted it is the first issue of the series, and hopefully as things begin to move forward there won’t be so much repetition. It’s not that the story or dialog is bad, it just seems redundant in places. I’m sure that as this team finds their feet, the chunkiness of this will smooth out. It will be interesting to see how this team evolves as story tellers.

Bloodhound #9

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jolley
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Robin Riggs
Since this issue is set to end with the next issue, I’m going to talk it up and make you all feel like you’ve missed something. This was a series that I picked up randomly, I think it may have been the Leonard Kirk art from the first issue (I likes his JSA stuff), and I’ve been reading it since, but much like my other doomed favorite, Fallen Angel, this title has never really caught on. Which is too bad; Dan Jolley has done a wonderful job throughout this series, giving the reader just enough background of Travis Clevenger and those around him each outing to both add to their depths but not slow the story down any. He does a great job with that balancing act. The art has been outstanding through out the entire run with Eddy Barrows, standing in for Kirk this issue, but by the time I got half way through, I hardly noticed. This book has been a treat each month. Clevenger is in the south facing off against, a usual Batman foe, Zeiss. He was brought to the town by a rash of mysterious fires, where some people in the town think it’s the work of the devil while others believe there is something else at hand. Meanwhile there is a third party racing to find the cause of the fires and you know that Clevenger is going to get in his way. Granted, the sales on this title have not been good enough to keep it going, but I do hope that somewhere down the road DC sees fit to collect the entire story into a trade for those who missed it. I also hope that Travis can find his way into the mainstream DC universe somehow. There must be a place for him somewhere.


Mary Jane: Homecoming #1

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Sean McKeever
Art: Takeshi Miyazawa
What could be a bigger problem for a girl than to figure out what to wear for homecoming? Could it be the strong armed father that thinks his son has been spending too much time with his girlfriend, letting his grades slip, giving his father ample reason to bar him from joining her at homecoming? Could it be something as sinister as a plot hatched by her boyfriend to cheat his way to acing the next physics exam, so they will be able to go? Could it even be the rift that seems to have formed between her and her best friend over jealousy and misunderstanding? Could it…Ok I’m done with that for now. All these are topics touched upon in the latest incarnation of the Mary Jane series. I was glad when Marvel announced it would return as a mini-series with the same creative team. Now this is definitely not a super hero book, which suits me fine. Nor is it aimed at my demographic, but I do think it could be an important book for Marvel and that they should produce more just like it. It seems that the people reading your typical super hero books are aging and not a lot of new readers are coming in. Too much history to follow, or not engaging enough, whatever the reason may be, the new readers are not looking to spandex for their “fix”. More and more, manga is where they are looking, either because of the more stories for their dollar spent or a tendency for the titles to deal with things that relate to them more; “real people in real situations”. Yes, I know that none of this is real, but this is the kind of thing that can hook a new reader. Give them something they can relate to, and what bigger untapped pool of readers (I know girls read the funny books also, but not nearly in the numbers as men) is out there? Present them with something that they can relate with and if you want to interject a little bit of the costume world in there for cross-over then do it, but keep it to a minimum, which is what this book does well. There is no mistaking where the book takes place and what ties it has to the “costumes”, but that is not its focus and that to me is its strength; making it a book that I would gladly hand off to a new reader and not have to worry about explaining a lot. They can just read and enjoy, and I hope it’s something that I hope Marvel continues to do. The only thing that I kind of have issues with is the price point of the title. If you are truly interested in getting new people to come on board, why not see if you can keep it around $2.25 an issue. Parents are more likely to go for that and give it a chance if it’s up against a bunch of $2.99 books. Granted this isn’t much of a review on the issue, just more of a review of what it could stand for. I enjoy reading the book and the art is inviting enough, it’s not what you would think to pick up and enjoy (coming from a collector of 20 years), but it’s fresh and I truly like what it stands for. Hopefully it works.

Samurai: Heaven and Earth #3

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Ron Marz
Art: Luke Ross
I don’t typically read books about Samurais and such, so it was on a whim that I picked up the first issue of this mini series. Apparently I liked it enough that I kept picking it up and now we are into the third issue. The story follows the Shiro as he is looking for his love, the lady Yoshiko, who was kidnapped and sold to a slave trader (this is the set up in issues one and two). He follows her trail which leads him to France where he is confronted with this strange society, at least to him and three of the king’s Musketeers. After finally being bested by the trio, he is captured and imprisoned where he will undoubtedly be left to rot, until an offer is made to him. It seems that an envoy from Spain, not one of the most favored placed in France’s eyes, needs a body guard and he was impressed enough with what he heard about the altercation that he has made an offer to our Shiro, his freedom in exchange for his services, since the French don’t seem to care whether Shiro lines or dies, they allow this to take place. They aren’t going to waste one of the king’s own guards on the likes of a Spaniard. An agreement is struck and as it would turn out, the Shiro’s new master comes to meet the slave trader and is interested in Yoshiko, but she has already been promised to the king himself, thus setting up the next issue and the possibility that Shiro may come up against more than just the Musketeers. The story is very methodological and predictably paced, there aren’t any real surprises that you can’t see coming, so it reads rather easily. The thing that has kept me hooked was the art by Luke Ross. It’s very crisp and clean and easy to tell who is who. Nice and simple but with plenty of detail, I know it sounds contradictory, but there isn’t a lot of unnecessary “clutter” in the panels that take away from the art. All told, it’s a very easy to follow story that people who do not usually read this kind of stuff can pick up easily and not have to worry about being overwhelmed by the whole mythos of the samurai, since most of this story involves situations outside of those mythos.

Al n' Ann's Collectibles

Store Hours:
11:00am - 7:00pm
11:00am - 7:00pm
10:00am - 5:00pm

3819 W. Main St.
McHenry,IL 60050


© Al n' Anns Collectibles All Rights Reserved