Buck Rogers #0 (ComiXology App)
Written by Scott Beatty
Art by Carlos Rafael
Published by Dynamite, this is a short prologue that introduced the new ongoing series starring Buck Rogers, the popular sci-fi hero that is one of the earliest examples of the space adventurer archetype.
The comic starts with an older and more experienced Buck Rogers facing off against n alien race of gigantic single-cell organisms that are threatening to invade and absorb Earth.
The aliens are suitably creepy, and an interesting take on the concept, though I am left wondering how they constructed all the spaceships they travel in, since they are giant single cell bacteria-like creatures?
Despite having considerable support, and an army to defend themselves, Earth still trusts Buck Rogers as it’s most critical line of defense. In the end he does his job, but to do so he must sacrifice his life. It’s a pretty cool scene.
The comic seems to hint that Buck’s two children will take up his mantle. It’s an interesting direction to take, and a pretty good hook for a new series.
Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #1 (Marvel App)
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Terry Dodson
The debut issue of the Marvel Knigths: Spider-Man series was an interesting experiment at its time. With a creative team like Mark Millar and Terry Dodson, it was quite popular at first, but then sales dipped quite a lot towards it’s one-year mark.
I had read this before, and remember enjoying it at the time, so it was good to revisit it. The first thing I notice is how dated the opening scene becomes (with two people discussing switching from VHS to DVD’s) even though it’s only 5 years old.
Spider-Man battles the Green Goblin in a rather brutal fight, where the two opponents end up badly injured. Meanwhile, Aunt May is preparing to move into the city.
Someone has learned that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and prepares a series of taunts to draw him out, including defacing Uncle Ben’s grave, and finally kidnapping Aunt May.
There is a scene where Peter, in his civilian clothes, starts swinging through the city in order to reach Aunt May in time. I understand what it was going for, that sheer desperation that causes someone to throw caution into the wind, but it felt fake to me.
Dodson’s art is the best thing about this issue. Clean lines, incredible storytelling, and a distinctive style that is both recognizably his and reminiscent of the yesteryear of comics.
Skaar: Son of Hulk #7 (Marvel App)
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Butch Guice
The second arc of Skaar: Son of Hulk begins here, which itself followed the events of Planet Hulk. I read the first couple of issues of this series, but they did not capture me like Planet Hulk did.
Skaar has fully inherited the Old Power from her dead mother, and is now a tremendous force to be reckoned. He can control the planet itself to do its bidding. The quest to get there has been long and hard.
Skaar plans to get revenge on the Red King, who made his life miserable since he was a kid. He plans to storm his fortress, pretty much destroying everything around it, when a stranger interrupts him.
The stranger in question is the Silver Surfer, who has found Sakaar (that’s the name of the planet) because of the powerful energies that lie inside of it’s core and could feed Galactus. The feast would satiate Galactus’ hunger for thousands of years. It’s an interesting concept thrown out there by Pak.
The ending is a nice callback to a previous storyline in Planet Hulk, where the Silver Surfer finds himself once again fitted with an obedience disk.
Thor #14 (Marvel App)
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Mike McKone
Kind of a strange comic to upload, if you ask me. This is from the mid-to-late 90’s series of Thor comics, after the Heroes Reborn event. The main story revolves around Thor teaming up with Iron Man.
Did you know that for a while there, Thor’s alter ego wasn’t Don Blake, but instead some ER named Jake Olson? Yeah, me neither, but it is that way in this comic.
At the start of the comic, this alter ego of Thor has suffered a heart attack, and Iron Man has brought him to a hospital to get him some help. The rest of the story is revealed through flashbacks, where Iron Man retells how this happened.
There are some intriguing ideas here, such as Thor’s hammer not coming back like it always does, which is actually explained later.
Thor and Iron Man team up together to battle Absorbing Man and Titania. I don’t know about everyone else, but Absorbing Man stories always bore me to tears. Just a character that does not interest me at all.
The art by Mike McKone is quite interesting to compare with his current output in Avengers Academy. It’s familiar enough, but not as good with facial shapes and shadows.
World of Warcraft #0 (ComiXology/DC App)
Written by Walt Simonson
Art by Ludo Lullabi
Another prologue issue to an ongoing series. This series supposedly sells quite well outside of the Direct Market, and it's published by WildStorm.
Years completely avoiding anything related to World of Warcraft thrown out the window! I was kind of interested to read this, because it was written by the legendary Walt Simonson.
Can’t really say I care much about World of Warcraft, even after reading this. There is a whole lot of clunky exposition and not a whole lot of action going here.
The story centers around an old orc that used to be a gladiator warrior, but now trains other younger orcs to become gladiators. His prize pupil was recently poisoned and murdered. That means that two other students must fill in for him.
Art-wise, I can’t say I enjoyed this very much. It’s not a style I enjoy, as it is very angular and lacking depth. It’s also not very similar to the design and art in the actual game, so the art direction for this is kind of confusing.
That's it for this week's column! Any ideas, tips, or advice are welcome. Remember that you can always read the comics in the ComiXology web reader (with the exception of the Marvel ones). We always try to improve our content based on your suggestions, and with a new column, it's good to hear back from the readers. So, comment away!