Saturday, July 30, 2011

Catching Up on Comics-Adventures in Canada and on Other Worlds

I am planning on putting up short reviews of the comic books I read each week.  Sometimes the comics will be new ones and other times they will be ones that have been on my "to be read" stack.  This week's reviews include...

Alpha Flight #.1
Hulk #34

The picture to the left is promotional art of Alpha Flight by John Byrne.

Alpha Flight .1
Marvel Comics
Writers:  Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Artists:  Ben Oliver & Dan Green
Colorist:  Frank Martin

1979.  I was in college and it was a great time to be  an X-Men fan.  The legendary Chris Claremont/John Byrne run was in full swing.  In issue #120 a new team was introduced.  That team was Alpha Flight.  It was created to be similar to Canada's answer to the Avengers.  After the traditional battle between the X-Men and Alpha Flight, fans clamored for more.  Marvel complied and asked John Byrne to write and draw the book.  The only problem was that the characters were created to only appear in the one story.  Byrne did a great job of filling in the background on the fly.  Many of the members ended up dying over the years but they returned in a recent Marvel event book.  This is the introduction to the latest version of Alpha Flight.  The advantage it has is that the original members are in this version.  

The art is solid but suffers from looking like the characters pose for each shot.  I prefer the more traditional comic art that favors movement over the photo realistic shots.  

The story by Pak and Van Lente is the main selling point of this issue.  They do a solid job of showing the team in action, catching you up on the characters without slowing the story down, and introducing the opposition for the first arc.  I call it "opposition" instead of enemy because their opponents appear to be opposed to the political direction that Canada is heading.  And they consist of former trainees from Beta Flight (the minor league version of Alpha Flight).  While it is not a classic, I would recommend giving this title a shot.

Hulk #34
Marvel Comics
Writer:  Jeff Parker
Artist:  Carlo Pagulayan
Inker:  Danny Miki
Colorist:  Jesus Aburtov

Bruce Banner appears to have set events in motion that strand the Red Hulk on an alien world.  He is captured, brain controlled through an alien plant, and put into an arena battle to the death.  This is a retelling of the excellent "Planet Hulk" story with the Red Hulk in the lead role.  The original story featured the green Hulk.  

Parker does a good job of making the Red Hulk relive this adventure without making it an exact copy.  The red Hulk has been one of the best books on the market since Parker became the writer.  This continues to build his reputation as one of the best Hulk writers.

Pagulayan and Miki make a fantastic art team.  I hope that Marvel puts them together on a future project.  Pagulayan was the artist on the "Planet Hulk" story and uses similar designs for this story.  He invokes the feel of the original.  Pagulayan draws in a more traditional classic comic style.  He is one of the best in the field today.  You feel the power and movement in his drawings.  

Highly recommended.

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