Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reviews: G.I. Joe Special Missions Vol. 1; H20; Kiss Kompendium

G.I. JOE SPECIAL MISSIONS VOL. 1 (IDW, 2010; softcover)
Collects G. I. Joe Special Missions Nos. 1-7 and selections from G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero No. 50 (cover dates August, 1986- August, 1987).
This was the more realistic offshoot of G.I. Joe, devoid of the sillier aspects that had started creeping into the main series and TV shows at this time. The Joes combat terrorists and go on covert operations. There is more violence, and people actually get killed, unlike the main series where a vehicle can explode and the driver survived the wreckage unharmed. I am not criticizing that aspect of the comic or cartoon since they were intended for small children, just noting the more "adult" tone of this particular series.
Larry Hama's scripts are quite a bit different than on G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero. Herb Trimpe turns his typically fine artwork, which is marred here by IDW's lackluster restoration. There are pages that look fine, others where the lines look like one of the Joes used a bazooka to obliterate them. Some of the re-coloring has a gradient shading to it not found in the original issues, which is highly annoying to me. 
H20 (Liquid/ Dynamite, 2010; softcover original graphic novel)
I saw an ad for this in the back of Untouchable Vol. 1 and decided to give it a go. The story deals with Earth in 2250, where after a decade of droughts and man's intervention, water becomes the world's most precious commodity. Wars are fought for it, etc. It's interesting and plausible, and makes for an entertaining read. I guess that's all that you can ask for when reading a comic book, right? I'm not exactly shouting from the rooftops for everyone to buy this, though.
The whole thing basically reads like a storyboard for a movie that I wouldn't spend $9.00 to watch. It's almost like the creators made this as an elaborate pitch to Hollywood so that they could option it for a movie.

KISS KOMPENDIUM (Harper Collins, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Marvel Super Special Nos. 1, 5, Kissnation, Kiss: Psycho Circus Nos. 1-31, Kiss Nos. 1-13 and selections from Kisstory (cover dates September, 1977- September, 2003).
In the world of Kiss, bigger is always better. Going with that logic, the Kiss Kompendium is easily the best there is. This book is a monster, clocking in at 1,280 pages, being as tall as a DC Absolute Edition or EC Library Edition, with superb paper and sewn binding. If production values alone made a book great, then this would be the greatest book ever made. Unfortunately for Kiss, this is not the case. These are the worst comic books that I have read in a long time. There are moments where it's enjoyable (the dated but lovable Bronze Age goodness of the Marvel Super Specials, Clayton Crain's early artwork on the later issues of Kiss: Psycho Circus), but most of this book was such a chore to read. It took several months of on again, off again reading for me to make it to the end. I take no joy in writing this because I am a lifelong Kiss fan, but these comics are for masochists only. This book reprints all of the Marvel, Dark Horse, and Image Kiss comic books in one "handy" package.

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