Tuesday, April 23, 2013

20. RASL Vol. 1: The Drift

Writer:  Jeff Smith
Artist:  Jeff Smith
First Publication:  2009
Challenge:  Graphic Novels Challenge (#7)

Rasl is a top notch thief.  Sounds like a basic action story at this point.  The twist is he has a backpack that enables him to go to different dimensions to steal expensive art, etc.  Due to the nature of the device (which may be connected to Nichola Tesla) he is never quite sure which dimension he has traveled to.  The only way to tell is to examine the new dimension and see if it is the same or different from his home.  Sometimes the differences are very slight.

Jeff Smith has set up the world of Rasl and established the basic premise with this volume.  He drops some tantalizing clues as to where the series will go in the future.

Being a big fan of Smith's previous series (Bone), I was wondering how his art would look on a science fiction adventure series.  I did not need to worry.  It still retains the spirit of the art we saw in Bone but he takes it to a different level in this book.

Highly recommended.  The story is set, now let the action begin.

Monday, April 22, 2013

19. The Fury of Firestorm Vol. 1: The God Particle

Writers:  Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver
Artist:  Yildiray Cinar
First Publication:  2012
Challenge:  Graphic Novel (#6)

From Amazon:

As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics - The New 52 event of September 2011, two high school students worlds apart, Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond, are drawn into a conspiracy of super-science that bonds them forever in a way they can't explain or control. As the two boys become caught in the cross hairs of an international special forces team with orders to capture or kill them, Ronnie and Jason seek to discover the secrets behind what has happened to them. What they find will shed light on the secret history of Firestorm!

Many years ago, I remember picking up the very first issue of Firestorm: the Nuclear Man.  It was created and written by Gerry Conway.  Al Milgrom was the co-creator and artist.  It quickly became a favorite of mine.  In the original story, Firestorm was created by accident.  This particular accident Professor Martin Stein and jock Ronnie Raymond were able to merge and form the super powered Firestorm.

In the current version, Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch form the Nuclear Man.  Firestorm is created due to the God Particle that was designed to create super powered beings to use as weapons.  Ronnie and Jason have to learn how to put aside their differences and work together to defeat the forces that are trying to eliminate them.

The art by Cinar does a good job of conveying the powers at work.  His weakness is in drawing normal people.  They tend to look okay at times and not as good at other times.  

The story by Simone and Van Sciver is a fun action epic.  I miss the interaction of the older Professor with the teen aged student that Conway had in the original series.  If you are looking for a deep Alan Moore/Grant Morrison type story, it is not here.  If you like action filled summer blockbuster movies, I would recommend this comic book series.  I will continue to read furture stories to see where the writers take it next.

Green Arrow: Year One

Writer:  Andy Diggle
Artist:  Jock
First Publication:  2007
Challenge:  Graphic Novel (#5)

One of my guilty pleasures was the CW show “Smallville”.  Was every episode great?  No.  But most shows that last that many years have good and bad episodes.  When it ended CW announced that they were considering a Green Arrow show.  This would be a new continuity.  I had my doubts that it would be another favorite of mine.  It did not take long for me to get hooked on the show.  I enjoy the way the names of various comic creators are used for character names.  And it is always fun to see them work other DC heroes and villains into this story. 

I had missed “Green Arrow Year One” when it was published.  When I attended the recent Comic Geek Speak Super Show, Wild Pig Comics had the collection for 50% off(that is the standard discount they give at the convention).  I heard that various elements from this story were used for the show “Arrow”.  One of the main characters was named for the writer of this story.

Oliver Queen is a young spoiled rich kid whose parents have died.  He lives life on the edge.  Eventually he is betrayed by a friend who casts him over the side of his yacht.  Washing up on the shore of an island, he has to learn how to take care of himself.  Utilizing skills he had learned as a child, he is able to survive.  Then he learns that it is not always good to find that other people are on the island.

Andy Diggle has crafted an exciting island adventure.  He shows how Oliver works to improve his skills.  Due to the challenges he runs in to, he becomes aware that he should put other peoples’ problems ahead of his own.  And in the process he becomes the hero he was always meant to be.

The art by Jock is a perfect fit for Diggle’s story.  He does a great job with both the action scenes and the quieter moments of island life.  Jock’s choices of panel arrangements make the action seem more intense.

If you are looking for a good done in one book story, pick this up.  Highly recommended.