Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Four-Color Fiend: Zombies, The Doctor & The Twelve

Just a few comments on some of the non-DC books I picked up last Friday. I’m recommending all these books, so you might want to check them out if they interest you. Not many but there will be a few….


Marvel Zombies 2 #5 ends the second mini-series about these former heroes turned undead. The ‘evil’ Zombies, led by Giantman discovers that they have been cured of the hunger, which drove them. At this point, they realize what they have done and decide to try to make amends as best they can. Unfortunately, Hulk already enraged doesn’t grasp the change and begins fighting the others in the belief that they are keeping him from feeding. The Hulk puts a final end to several of the zombies, before reverting back to Bruce Banner, and immediately realizes what he has done and may do again. Teaming with the zombified Black Panther and his allies, the remaining heroes begin rebuilding the homes of the last remaining humans. Meanwhile, Malcolm, son of Magneto, still harbors resentment and feels that he should be the rightful ruler of the town’s inhabitants. He double-crosses the heroes, sending them via Reed Richard’s transporter off into some other universe. Not really, a ‘successful conclusion’ but these are zombies after all. Besides, this sets up any possible third mini or one-shots the team of writer Robert Kirkman and artist Sean Phillips may wish to produce at some future date. Considering how well these books and the characters have been received, I don’t think it will be very long at all.

J. Michael Straczynski’s The Twelve #3 (of 12) shows us how some of the revived team members cope or try to in the new age. The tale is primarily being told from the viewpoint of Richard Jones, the former Phantom Reporter, who having left no family behind wonders what he can offer. He is approached by the Daily Bugle, which offers him a chance to return to journalism, although as strictly a columnist. Others, like Captain Wonder and Mister E. discover that life went on without them for their families, but with very different results. Dynamic Man seems to be fitting in quite well and the Black Widow finds that some things cannot be left in the past, while the hero known only as Rockman seems doomed no matter where he may be. A flash-forward in the first issue indicated that even more of these heroes might find an unhappy ending. I’m really enjoying this book, although it is a bit darker than I had thought it would be. The art by Chris Weston (inked by Garry Leach) reminds me more of the art in the Silver Age ‘suspense’ comics from Charlton and ACG than your typical super-hero book. Very moody, but perfect for the story.

Quickly, I want to recommend both DOCTOR WHO titles from IDW. DOCTOR WHO has new stories featuring the Tenth Doctor (actor David Tennant) and his companion, Martha Jones (played by Freema Agyeman). The first issue features a done-in-one tale of the search for the perfect chocolate milkshake and the last survivors of various alien races. Writer Gary Russel does a good job capturing the humor of the character and the sense of justice all the Doctors have shown. The art by Nick Roche may be a bit too cartoony for some folks, but I think it fits the nature of the Russel script. If you know the show, you’ll instantly see that he captures both actors’ likenesses. It was enough to make me want to pick up the next issue, especially with the usual DW teaser in the last couple of pages.

I’ve already picked up three of the first four issues of DOCTOR WHO CLASSICS, since Nuclear was out of the first issue when I began shopping there. (Something to pick up at San Diego, if not before!). This series reprints the stories originally done for the DW Weekly, published in England by Marvel Comics from 1979-1980. Some of the writers and artists involved, like Pat Mills, John Wagner, Dez Skinn, Dave Gibbons and Paul Neary have become very well-known here in the U.S. since then. Even twenty plus years ago you could tell they were doing good work, and it still holds up. The stories of course feature the Fourth Doctor (played brilliantly by Tom Baker), although in #4 an alien creature in one story causes him to revert briefly into his three earlier incarnations (all the actors are recognizable). If my memory serves, some of these were also reprinted in the U.S. DW series from Marvel. This book reminds you how much fun that series is/was and especially how wonderful Baker was back then.
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