Thursday, October 2, 2014

Review- CAPTAIN AMERICA: MAN & WOLF


CAPTAIN AMERICA: MAN & WOLF (Marvel, 2011; Softcover)
Collects selections from Captain America #402-408 (cover dates Early July, 1992- October, 1992)
Writer: Mark Gruenwald
Artists: Rik Levins with Inking by Danny Bulandi, Steve Akexandrov, Don Hudson, and Ray Kryssing.

Captain America stumbles upon some Druid cult that turns a town into werewolves. Doctor Druid is now not only alive, but younger, more fit, and even has that '90s longhair ponytail that every character seemed to have at that time. So Doctor Druid's male pattern baldness was cured and he also lost his paunch. Add in some occult gobbledygook where Dredmund Druid takes John Jameson's Man-Wolf Moonstone and uses it to become the Starwolf and you have a fun read that sounds really, really dumb on paper. Werewolf By Night guest stars, and so does Wolverine for a minute. I have grown to really hate Wolverine, so just the sight of him loses this book a point.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.25 out of 5.

http://www.instocktrades.com/TP/Marvel/CAPTAIN-AMERICA-MAN-WOLF-TP/NOV100659

The OCD zone- I already know that I will be repurchasing this material when the Epic line gobbles this run up. I will give this book to my son at that time. I read it to him for his bedtime story over a few nights and he loved it.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: None.
Linework and Color: Things look really good. I'm happy.
Paper stock: The same stock that Marvel uses on their softcover Masterworks, Classic, and Epic lines. Medium weight coated stock with almost no sheen. I love it.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Thick waxlike lamination. My favorite. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review- CROSSED VOL. 9


CROSSED VOL. 9 (Avatar Press, 2014; Hardcover)
Collects Crossed: Badlands Nos. 44-49 and Crossed 2013 Special (cover dates August, 2013- February, 2014)
Writers: Daniel Way and Simon Spurrier
Artists: Emiliano Urdinola and Gabriel Andrade
Colorist: Digikore Studios

Weep for my humanity, for it is truly dead. I consider myself a compassionate, empathetic human being, I really do. Then why am I no longer shocked or even remotely repulsed by the Crossed? Why am I no longer wincing as their fornicating, entrails unraveling antics play out across the printed page? I must have become desensitized to the mayhem and gore, although there is admittedly less of it going on this time out. There are attempts at characterization and commentary on the human condition in the aftermath of the Crossed.

The 2013 Special saved the day as far as this book is concerned. I was fairly underwhelmed by the first six issues collected in this book, especially the artwork. Crossed needs beautiful artwork to serve as a contrast to the gore. It should make you want to stop and stare when you know that you shouldn't. That was the hook for me when this series started several years ago.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.

http://www.instocktrades.com/TP/Avatar-Press/CROSSED-HC-VOL-09-(MR)/APR140893

http://www.instocktrades.com/TP/Avatar-Press/CROSSED-TP-VOL-09-(MR)/APR140892

The OCD zone- These Avatar Press hardcovers are all Direct Market exclusives.
There are so many variant covers left uncollected. I would like to see a Crossed: The Covers book with all of them in it. That would be cool.
Please note that the cover image provided in this post isn't entirely accurate- the actual cover has brown trim on it. I could not find an image of it anywhere on the Internet. While I have scanned the covers of the past few Crossed hardcovers myself I am too lazy to walk downstairs and fire up my scanner right now, so you get this crappy inaccurate stock cover image.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: #44 Torture cover variant. (1 page)
#45 Torture cover variant. (1 page)
#47 Torture cover variant. (1 page)
#48 Torture cover variant. (1 page)
Crossed 2013 Special Heads cover variant. (1 page)
#44 wraparound cover variant. (2 pages)
#45 wraparound cover variant. (2 pages)
#47 wraparound cover variant. (2 pages)
#48 wraparound cover variant. (2 pages)
Crossed 2013 Special wraparound cover variant. (2 pages)
Crossed 2013 Special Torture cover variant. (1 page)
Paper stock: Thick glossy coated stock.
Binding: Perfect bound hardcover.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image is printed on the casewrap, which has the thickest lamination out of any comic publisher. The world would be a better place if all hardcovers without dustjackets used this type of lamination, as it is highly durable and resistant to scuffing. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Review- WAR AGAINST CRIME ANNUAL VOL. 2


WAR AGAINST CRIME ANNUAL VOL. 2 (Gemstone, 2000; Softcover)
Collects War Against Crime Nos. 6-11 (cover dates April/May, 1949- February/March, 1950)
Writers: Al Feldstein, Harry Harrison*, and other unidentified writers.
Artists: Johnny Craig, Ed Waldman, Al Feldstein, H.C. Kiefer, Graham Ingels, Rudy Palais, John Alton, Fred Peters, Harry Harrison*, and George Roussos.
*Maybe. See GCD for #11 for details.

I love old school crime comics. The gangsters, the Tommy guns and the slang and fashions of the day are way cool. Old school criminals were snappy dressers. No pants around their knees, no sir. 
Beginning with issue #10 EC began inserting The Vault Of Horror, and within a few months the fortunes of EC Comics would change. History was about to be made. While EC was not the first to the Horror comics party, they were the best. They are still the best in my opinion.
 It's hard to pick favorites in this book because I enjoyed all of the stories equally. War Against Crime is a well written, well drawn comic book which make so many modern comics laughable by comparison.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

http://www.instocktrades.com/search/ec

The OCD zone- If you do not know what an EC Annual is, then pull up a chair and I'll give you the skinny on these great books. Gemstone overprinted their single issue reprints in the '90s with an eye toward selling their own back issues. They re-purposed this overstock by trimming and gluing 5 entire issues into a cardstock cover. While this is not technically a trade paperback (it has no ISBN), it is squarebound and has the title on the spine. Close enough for Rock and Roll in my book.

DVD-style Extras included in this book: None.
Linework and Color: All linework is superb except for Rise And Fall Of Blackie Archer in #8. That one had some linework work done to it, which means that this one is one of only a handful of EC stories where there was no access to original artwork. While it is a serviceable restoration it could be better.
The color palette is faithful to the original issues with the exceptions of the occasional horrid gradient shade and the covers. Marie Severin recolored the covers all for the EC Library sets, and those same versions are found here. The handful of gradients toward the end of the book were due to the fact that the reprint line was winding down and it was cheaper and easier than doing it right. There aren't many, but man can my trained eye spot that crap. Unfaithful gradient shades are -10% enjoyment on The OCD scale.
Paper stock: Mando paper, which is basically glorified pulp paper. Pro- It feels like real comic book paper, because it is. Con- It makes me lay awake at night counting ceiling fan rotations because I am afraid that I can hear it disintegrating.
Binding: Perfect bound. The glue is creaky on this one, and I may have to apply some library binding glue to my copy since the cover separated from the top of the book a little. Remember kids, always use acid free library glue. Ask a parent for permission before starting.
Cardstock cover notes: Decent thickness to the cardboard, minimal coating.