If you’e listened to this week’s episode of Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie, you’ll know I had about $300 in credit at www.mycomicshop.com to play with over the holidays, and spend it I did! In addition to buying an assload of Extreme Studios comics from the early 90’s, I also raked in a couple of trade paperbacks. As if that wasn’t enough, I hit up some comic shops over the holidays as well and picked up some more trades! After the jump, check out my bite-sized reviews of a couple of my recent purchases, including:
- The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck
- X-Force, Vol. I: Angels and Demons
The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck
Absolute brilliance. This new, beautiful hardcover from Boom! Studios collects the first half of Don Rosa’s epic re-telling of the life of the richest duck of Duckburg, originally released in 1995 in the United States in issues of the Uncle Scrooge comic. I honestly thought the comics were actually older, and was shocked that they were only 15 years old, partly because the tales told here are told in a very classic Disney-comic style, reminiscent of a lot of the Disney comics and reprints I read as a little Paul.
Don Rosa did an EXTREME amount of research to tell this tale – almost Alan Moore-level. Yes, in a Scrooge McDuck comic book. Not only did Don Rosa research every instance of Scrooge’s past from Carl Barks run on the title, but also coordinated it with real events in American history. This book includes the original tales, beautifully rendered, but also includes Rosa’s commentary on each tale, describing hidden gags, and how the tale fits in with both Scrooge’s history, and American history. This book won an Eisner Award during it’s initial 1995 release, and it’s well deserved. Follow Scrooge as a penniless young boy to his rise to wealth (which comes in Vol. II). This book, quite simply, is one of the best comics I have EVER read.
Next up is something from the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the blood and guts mature X-Force title. Angels and Demons collects the first six issues of the title, which began shortly after the X-crossover Messiah Complex. Cyclops has decided that he’s tired of screwing around and decides to put together a black ops team that will be more proactive, rather than reactive. In fact, instead of stopping the baddies, they’re going to go out, find anti-mutant villains, and kill them as violently as possible.
First on the list is Bastion – who’s using an old X-Men villain to rebuild mutant haters into cyborgs who will help him take out the remaining mutant populace, now just under 200. X-Force comes to use from the writing team of Chris Yost and Craig Kyle, featuring computer painted art by Clayton Crain. X-Force really is a good read, but it falters a bit because there’s just not enough exposition to explain who the characters are. While the X-Force characters are all explained well enough, the baddies had me a little lost, as I got the impression I was supposed to know who they were, but I certainly didn’t, and some of the grand reveals had little to no impact on me, save for Crain’s beautiful visuals. He’s definitely an acquired taste, and his art is DARK – to the point that this is definitely not bedside reading because, unless you have a particularly bright lamp, you’re likely not to make out some of the panels.
While I can’t whole-heartedly recommend X-Force to new readers, it’s definitely worth picking up if you have a passing familiarity in the X-Universe. But it’s definitely going to be enjoyed more by those familiar with the villains of the book, and with an understanding of the characters. This is most definitely a book made for Wolverine, and I kind of wish it was the sole team book to feature the character, as no other team book seems to capture his essence as perfectly as this one.
Incognito is Ed Brubaker and Sean Phllips’ pulp noir supervillain comic that had everybody talking and comic shops quickly selling out upon its release, and with good reason. Incognito is absolutely fantastic. Zach used to be known as Zach Overkill but, after ratting out the badguys to the government, is put into witness protection. But after years of being a file clerk, Zach wants to do something more – to get a taste of his old life. So he stops taking the superpower-inhibiting drugs the government is giving him and, instead of causing crimes, he starts stopping them!
Incognito is mature, hard hitting, intense, and just a damn good read. This book is definitely the type of book people looking for more adult-oriented superhero action should look into. This isn’t some generic adult superhero book with sex for sex sake, or an overly stupid amount of violence. It’s smartly written, excellently drawn, and something every superhero fan should check out.