Beyond the Big 2: Preview Review #2

by Matt

Welcome to the next round of Preview Review! Going through the Previews is one of my favorite things to do each month and I like to try something new almost every month, something that piques my interest that is not published by the "Big 2". After waiting for a bit, some of them have finally shown up and I have finally gotten through them. Will they be as good as I thought they would be? This month's reviews include Modern Masters: John Romita Jr., Warren Ellis's new Avatar series No Hero and a bonus review of the Dark Horse classic X Omnibus Volume 1. Which got my pick for Book of the Month?

By George Khoury and Eric Nolen-Weathington
John Romita Jr. is one of my favorite artists and I was thrilled that he would have his own Modern Master book. These books are absolutely wonderful, they provide fantastic in-depth interviews with a ton of unpublished sketches and art. This volume did not disappoint. It takes you through his whole career and I was surprised to learn a couple of things. Did you know that he was going to quit Marvel after the debacle of Star Brand? Did you know that Jim Lee invited him to be part of Image but he didn't want to leave the Uncanny X-Men and Punisher? Did you know that he felt betrayed by Bob Harras and Kelly Converse because they screwed him out of his second run on Uncanny and almost left comics for good again? If you are a fan of John Romita Jr, I highly recommend getting this book. A+


By Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp
Published by Avatar Press
I'll pick up anything that Ellis pens but some his work with Avatar Press leaves something to be desired. I took a chance on this series because it was so cheap and his last series Black Summer was so awesome. The premise of the book is that back in the 60's, a drug called FX was developed that allowed users to gain super abilities. I really enjoyed this short preview, it gave a fascinating look at how the drug affected the people who took it. There is a sense of wonder and dread in these pages which makes me really look forward to this series. This issue felt real to me, meaning that it was like I was reading a history text instead of a comic. This is what Ellis does best. The art by Black Summer artist Juan Jose Ryp is incredibly detailed and the best I have seen yet of his work. A-

X Omnibus Volume 1
By Various
Published by Dark Horse Comics
I absolutely love what Dark Horse comics have done with this Omnibus line. You get a nice compact book with over 300 pages of full color comics for such a cheap price. Combine that with the fact that I have a fondness with the Dark Horse Heroes line of comics and I have a winner. I will pick up every volume of the Dark Horse Heroes that come out as an Omnibus. This month I am reviewing the first volume of X and I was surprised at how violent and how much I enjoyed it. Basically this is X's one man battle against crime and in Arcadia there is a lot of crime and no one is safe from X. If you cross the line once, he will give you a warning, cross it twice and you have been marked with an 'X' and marked for death. The latter issues were the best of this volume, X battles Lord Alamout where we get some small peaks at who X is behind the mask. The one drawback of this collection is that we only follow the action (and there is a lot of that) but we do not get to know who X is. Apparently there is more to him than just him and his gun and has to be more than human but we don't know it in this volume. I look forward to the next volume of X. This gets a solid B.

Next month I will return with a couple of new reviews. Flash Gordon #1 is on the list and hopefully a few more! I may sneak in a review of X Omnibus Vol 2 or another book that I read that doesn't come from Big 2.

We'll see you in the back of the Previews.

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