Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review- THE TWELVE VOL. 1 and VOL. 2

THE TWELVE VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2008; Hardcover)
Collects The Twelve Nos. 1-6 (cover dates January- August, 2008)
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Chris Weston
Colorist: Chris Chuckry
It had been so long since this book came out that I had to re-read it before diving in to Volume 2. I was pleasantly surprised at how great this is. I remember really enjoying this the first time, but was blown away by the quality of the writing and especially Chris Weston's artwork this time out. The computer coloring here is a perfect example of how, when done right, it is infinitely superior to the old flat four color printing process. It's incredibly rich and tasteful, making each and every panel pop. 
The Twelve are a hodgepodge group of Timely's Golden Age superheroes. I was familiar with most of them because I buy all of the Golden Age Marvel Masterworks. Staczynski employs a deconstruction approach similar to Watchmen, and re-reading this series makes it abundantly clear that he was a perfect choice for the Before Watchmen prequels currently being unleashed upon an unsuspecting, unwilling world. I look forward to reading his take on those characters.
I remembered how disappointed I was when this series became mothballed because JMS had better things to do than honor his obligations to Marvel and the fans. This series was set to a boil, everything was ready to explode, and then...nothing. Issues 7 and 8 were out, and then nothing for years. No class.
The OCD zone- Standard Marvel Premiere Edition hardcover, with the same nice paper and glued binding. 
THE TWELVE VOL. 2 (Marvel, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects The Twelve Nos. 7-12 and The Twelve: Spearhead (cover dates October, 2008- June, 2012)
Writers: J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston (TT:S one-shot)
Artist: Chris Weston
Colorist: Chris Chuckry
Things rapidly fall apart for our cast of characters, as they are faced with the realities of the 21st century with 1940s values. So many things have changed for the worse, while some are obviously better. There is a killer among them, and it becomes a whodunit. J. Michael Straczynski is a very clever writer, making this a can't-put-it-down page turner. I plowed through both of these hardcovers in two days. 
I honestly did not figure out who the real murderer was, by the way. I love the fate of Rockman. Questions are better than answers. I would be interested in seeing more stories with these characters in the future, particularly by the same creative team. I know that will likely never happen due to J. Michael Straczynski's falling out with Marvel, but a guy can dream, right?
The OCD zone- Standard Marvel Premiere Edition hardcover, with the same nice paper and glued binding.

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