I love comics, have done for years, but more and more of late I've been shifting across to trades, they look nicer, they read better, both in terms of story and in actually holding the book in your hands, and above all they are easier to store. There for making the stories easier to re-read. I'll be reviewing trades here at Bad Genious as well as throwing in my two pence into the round tables held here. So here come my first two reviews.Planet Hulk
I think that Planet Hulk is by far one of the best self contained, in continuity year long stories out there. A great mix of both the intelligent, emotional hulk stories and a good old school hulk punch up.
In the time of decompressed writing, and five minute reads, this book shows how to use decompression to your advantage. Yeah this could have been compressed to 6-8 issues, but it wouldn't have shown off the majesty of Pak's writing, or Pagulayna's art, as well as the rest of the guys. The story was amazing, a solid overall arc, or rather three arc in the one bigger picture, the back story was good, the motivation of the characters spot on, the new characters where introduced well, and fleshed out. This was just an over all brilliant read, you can't ask for more.
After reading Jones' Hulk this must have come as a breath of fresh air, it was “Hulk Smash” back to his roots, slam down beat up blood and guts Hulk all over again, but with intelligence. There was no negative consequences to his actions, the more he fought, the more people loved him, it was like he was on the bizzaro earth. As to how he got there, well that is a story unto itself.
The story is basic, it is the Hulk’s eternal struggle for freedom, where as before it was Bruce’s struggle to be free from the Hulk this time it is the slave’s struggle to be free from the overlords of the planet. Yes the over all story is rather basic, and it does play on all the classic archetypes you’d expect in this type of story, but it is just so well crafted that you cannot but enjoy it. You have the band of unlikely companions, the romance between very different people, the rise of the slave and then the fall of his nation. There wasn’t anything “new” here, but the book was lovingly crafted, and the passion the love for the characters and the world could be felt in every word in every brush stroke.
The art was just beautiful, the action was so well portrayed, and the colouring spot on, this book was just all around perfect. From the choice of artists the colouring team, the style of inking and the overall style of art, it fit the story perfectly. Along with beautiful interiors, there where some stunning covers by Jose Ladronn. Though there where a half dozen or so artists used to keep this book on schedule, you can't tell, the book just flows that well. If you haven't read it, go buy this, it will be well worth the money.
Another book I've read and enjoyed recently is the Warhammer 40,000 Damnation Crusade book by Boom Studios. A book that probably flew under the radar of most comic book readers was recently released as a mid sized trade, not the normal size, but a little bit bigger than a digest.
Warhammer 40,000: Damnation Crusade
For those that don’t know much about the Warhammer 40k universe, or those like me, have only a brief understanding of the place, this type of book is perfect. It gives you a broad introduction to the world, or rather many worlds that inhabit this universe, and the various races and cultures that are contained within it.
The human empire within this world is based on a very Christian/Roman model, just many many years in the future. Coupled with future technology that is grounded, for the most part in current tech, the book, and the world generally offers a relatable experience.
This trade is a good introduction into the world, as it touches bases with most the enemies, as well as the main adversaries, it also gives you an understanding of the way in which these armies of Humanity are set up, what they believe, how and why they fight. The Warhammer universe is a very intriguing one, I especially love the way they play the religious aspect of humanity, the xenophobic nature of man.
The book walks you through some major battles, as well as the life of one soldier from recruit to fully fledged brother, we learn about their devotion to the Emperor, and how he honours his most loyal and bravest of soldiers, and what constitutes the afterlife for these men. And they are all men, I don't think there was a single female character in the whole book, be that by design or chance it is something that you pick up on, how male dominated this society is.
The art was very good in places, in fact it was beautiful, but at times it was lackluster which was a shame, as something as epic as this book, really should have had art to match the scope of the story. But for me, above all else, it was the scripting, the dialogue that stood out, if was amazing, the power, the fantasism of these people really came through, you can feel their fervour through the words on the page, and it really made me smile.
Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton have really put together a solid book here, and one that is perfect for new comers to the universe, and I’m sure at the same time it has something therefor those that know the universe well.
I'd say this is a book well worth buying, and I can't wait for Boom to do some more work in this universe.