Monday, August 27, 2012

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 8/22

Lobster Johnson: The Prayer of Neferu
Story: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Art: Wilfredo Torres

The world of Hellboy has always been tinged with the spirit of classic pulps, and never moreso than in the adventures of Lobster Johnson, the 30s & 40s era man of mystery and crimebuster. Johnson's adventures are usually high action, with bullets flying and mobster and monsters dying, and this new one shot does not disappoint in the action department. The Lobster is tracking down a stolen mummy when he stumbles onto a ceremony featuring recurring Hellboy series cult, the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra. But the Brotherhood's priestess, calling herself Neferu, after the priestess of Anubis, has been stealing the mummy's for a more sinister purpose than entertaining the rich members of the Brotherhood. Johnson must battle his way through a hulking henchman and resurrected Egyptian mummies. This isn't heavy comics with lots to make you think, it's just a fun, pulpy action piece, something that the team of Mignola and Arcudi have been doing really well with their Lobster Johnson stories. Artist Wilfredo Torres is new to the Hellboy universe, but his work fits very well here, giving the book a pulpy look. This is one of those great one-shots that will serve as an excellent introduction to a character and a world, so if you've never tried out any of the adventures of The Lobster's Claw, this would be a great place to start.

Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1
Story: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee

From one heavily pulp influenced series to another. I'm a fan of the original Dave Stevens Rocketeer comics, and I was a little worried when IDW began publishing it's Rocketeer Adventures mini-series, featuring other creators telling short Rocketeer stories, but was pleased to see all of them fit very well in Stevens' world, and even if they didn't look like Stevens, they felt like him. But an actual, full on mini-series with one story featuring the character? That was another proposition. Fortunately, I was wrong to worry. Current Daredevil creative team Mark Waid and Chris Samnee pull off a great Rocketeer story here. Every character rings true, with Cliff "The Rocketeer" Secord still a hot head, his long suffering partner/mentor Peevy still gives Cliff good advice and an earful when he needs it, and Cliff's gal, Betty, won't cut him any slack. We also get to meet a new character, Sally, Peevys's niece and a mechanic in her own right, with her eyes on Cliff, who still only has eyes for Betty. The issue has some great action scenes of the Rocketeer in flight, but it's mostly a character piece, setting up the action without feeling like a set-up issue heavy with exposition. We also see a ship with the series villains arrive, meeting The Master, their mysterious boss, who clearly has some backstory with the Rocketeer, although I think that is stuff created for this series, and not anything that exists in the previous canon. There's also a reference to something from Skull Island, and if you're at all familiar with classic cinema, you know that name, and I hope it means a certain eighth wonder of the world might be the titular cargo of doom. If you known the Rocketeer from the classic comics, from the under-rated 90s film, or just think that his costume looks awesome (which is does), this is a great comic, and well worth picking up.

Super Dinosaur #13
Story: Robert Kirkman
Art: Jason Howard

While Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard's all ages action comics, Super Dinosaur, might not be as pulpy as The Rocketeer or Lobster Johnson, you can still see some of the same influences here: lost civilizations, world's at the center of the Earth, and a scrappy band of kids were all staples of the classic pulps. Only one of these scrappy kids happens to be a young T-Rex in battle armor. Never saw anything like that in Doc Savage. Super Dinosaur is the story of a boy and his T-Rex, who fight crime and monsters. As the "Escape from Inner Earth" storyline continues, young super genius Derek Dynamo gets to see more of the Reptiloid Empire, and we see that the villainous Exile might not be quite as villainous as originally thought. Meanwhile, Super Dinosaur, Derek's best friend who happens to be an intelligent Tyrannosaurus Rex, travels with a group of Derek's friends into the hidden world of Inner Earth, full of dinosaurs and other perils, trying to rescue Derek. Super Dinosaur is a book full of action and wonder, a comic that really works for all ages. This issue deepens some of the series mysteries, but also begins to give us answers about the Reptiloids that have been part of the book since the first appearance of the Exile. And hey, there are lots of Triceratops. And any comic with a herd of Triceratops gets my recommendation.

And here are a couple notes:

- The announcement of the new, Geoff Johns/David Finch Justice League of America has me pretty excited. Glad to see Stargirl back in a New 52 title, and thrilled to see Martian Manhunter on a Justice League again!

- Tomorrow is Read Comics in Public Day, so everyone should go out and read a comic in public. Since tomorrow would have been the 95th birthday of Jack "The King" Kirby, I think it's time to start reading Fourth World Omnibus Volume 1, so I will sit out at one of the local parks and dig into some Kirby goodness. And if you happen to be of the womanly persuasion, head over to DC Women Kicking Ass to read about Women Read Comics in Public, Again!

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