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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Latest Comic Book Reviews (06.02.2011) - The Walking Dead # 85; Daken: Dark Wolverine 9.1 & Wolverine (vol. 4) #9

Alright time for the occasional comic book review folks.

We got two nice gems from the "House of Ideas" featuring both the adamantium-clawed Wolverine and his son Daken in their own comic book series.

What? Wolverine has a son? 

Yes, the guy had sex with tons of women in his lifetime. Chicks dig him. It's his curse.

All my reviews after the cut.

Wolverine (v4) #9
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Daniel Acuña
Cover by Jae Lee and Michael Ryan
Published by Marvel Comics

To tell you the truth, this is the first time that I have read a single Wolverine series. But that didn't make it any hard for me to pick up because Marvel has kept me updated thru their "Previously..." section where they summarize what transpired the past couple of issues. 

Its very helpful for new readers. I wonder why DC can't do that in all of their books.

Ok so let's cut to the chase: Wolverine was sent to hell by an unknown figure(s) last issue. Possessed by a powerful demon, he was only saved from the entity by the female members of the X-Men by getting into his mind thru some psychic hoopla. Of course, Wolvie is pissed off and now is on a mission to get revenge on the ones who put him thru that debacle - starting with the shape-shifting Mystique

Aaron introduces a very interesting character in Lord Deathstrike, a super-powered assassin who has the ability to fire bullets from far away places like Argentina and still kill his target somewhere in China. He's got some serious firepower, tech and some kind of mystic hokus-pocus that makes him a tough opponent even for Mystique and Wolverine. 

Deathstrike actually sets up the whole high-octane, cat-and-mouse threesome action in this issue, but he would have been more effective if some of his origins and motives were explained a bit. Hopefully Aaron will shed some light on this later.

I don't like Acuña's art style, but his dynamic storytelling and using just the right amount of gore and blood was impressive. His cinematic sequencing is easy to understand and stands out on its own even without any narratives and speech-balloons.

The only one treat with this is Jae Lee's beautiful cover. Seeing Wolverine and Mystique nose-to-nose is fantastic. But don't be fooled, that doesn't happen in the story. Its way opposite of that flirty cover page - as always.

Overall, this issue isn't that great  unlike many comic book reviews say, but it would definitely keep any reader interested and coming back for the next installment. 


Daken: Dark Wolverine 9.1
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Ron Garney
Published by Marvel Comics

Wolverine's prodigal son Daken. Same adamantium claws, same healing factor, same- sniff sniff" abilities that works like Spidey's own spider-sense. 

But one thing that makes Daken very much different from his father is his empty and hollow personality that makes him pretty much... uninteresting. And Rob Williams writing in this issue doesn't even rectify that problem or help the character in any way.

Melodramatic narratives can only do so much when it comes to superhero comic books. You don't expect readers to appreciate a lot of incessant blabbering within the lines of "Okay. I'm gonna stop imitating my dad and be my own man and hopefully people will like me. Time to move to freaking Los Angeles and probably cheer for the Lakers on the next NBA season!"

You just actually read the whole premise of this issue. Well, except for the Lakers thingy. But he does move to LA just to show everybody that he can do something noteworthy of our attention.

Daken does spit a lot of those boring lines and I can't help but think why Williams can't just give this character something to do other than distracting the Avengers in their own turf just to say goodbye to his dad (Wolverine). This "dark Wolverine" is such an interesting villain that he could actually be a main foil to his father's heroics - and the whole superhero community for that matter - but yet, writers can't seem to get him for some reason.

Garney's art is just okay.  Nothing special or anything that catches the eye when it comes to delivering the right emotion and facial twitches necessary for the script. He does have a good sense of style in his penciling though, but sadly wasted. More like the main character itself.

Everything on this issue is so-so. And based on the reviews I have read for past issues of this series, It seems to me that I'm not the only one who's disappointed.  

Marvel would be better off cancelling this series if their creative team won't be able to pick things up for Daken as soon as possible.


The Walking Dead #85
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard
Published by Image Comics

After the zombie-chopping events in issue #84, Robert Kirkman comes back with a more "silent" approach that speaks a lot about the direction this comic book is going to take.

Our guys are back to the drawing board once more after all the dead zombies, planning carefully for their next steps for a safer community.

This main story thread is mixed with smaller individual character developments - like the falling-out of Abraham and Rosita's relationship (after the latter found out that Abe was screwing Holly), Maggie and Glenn's optimistic hopes for the future, and last but not the least - Rick's monologue - which made me guess whether he is actually starting to collect himself again, or teetering at the edge of his remaining sanity. Character development was something missing the past issues, and Kirkman was quick to address that in his latest installment.

These developments were nicely depicted by Adlard, his panels and illustrations more vivid. His washed inks are better than the last, and his sequencing of events worked well for the story.

Probably not as exciting as the previous issue, but Walking Dead #85 still presents a very interesting peek towards the future. With a half-faced and seemingly dying Carl showing some "life" at the last panel, Kirkman seems to have got his creative juices flowing again, and maybe he will treat us for a big shocker sooner or later.

Will Carl die or live for another day? That's the big question right now, and as much as Carl fans hate it (based on the tons of hate fan mail) - his ultimate fate is going to be decided eventually by Kirkman's hands.


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