Parade with Fireworks #1 (of 2) – Story and Art by Mike Cavallaro, Published by Image Comics.
When I ordered this book I was not sure what to expect. The introduction tells you that this is part of the creator’s oral family history. Just knowing that drew me in a little more. Stories of your family always get a little looser then actual history, but usually we derive a more personal meaning from them knowing our family was involved.
The story is of a young man who grew up in the olive oil business, goes to war in WWI, goes to America to try and start an export business and comes back to an Italy where fascism is on the rise. This is all set-up told in a couple of pages. It imparts the mind set that the young man feels like no where is the home that he remembers. The rest of the story is about how Italy has become a powder keg after WWI and all sides are ready for violence at the drop of a hat.
Cavallaro is not a realistic artist, but while the line work has a cartoon like feel, the detail and depth of emotion he invokes is really well done. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter.
My biggest complaint about this book is I would have preferred it as a one and done book, but then the price point may have hurt sales.
The book is well worth buying and really gives you a feel for the way life was after WWI in Italy. _____________________________________________________
Justice League of America Wedding Special #1 – Writer Dwayne McDuffie, Mike McKone Penciller and Andy Lanning – Inker, published by DC Comics
The Justice League of America is back. They may call this a Wedding Special (side note: #1, Why is this a series that has not been announced? Is Clark dumping Lois for Wonder Woman?, Will Roy marry Kendra?) but it is the new beginning for the JLA. Dwayne even made fun of the way the JLA series started by having Lex Luthor, Joker and the Cheetah going through photos of who they should select for new members. Dwayne has already had more action in this one story then the entire run of the book to date.
I’m glad John Stewart will be the GL for the JLA as he has not had enough screen time elsewhere. I just hope that he doesn’t turn the book into a story about Firestorm and John Stewart. Firestorm has failed a few times as a book on its own merits and I don’t want the JLA to be a book for all the people who don’t have comics. My fears could be unfounded as, Batman. Wonder Woman and Superman all had roles to play in this book. All in all it had some great character moments and enough on the bachelor and bachelorette to justify the Wedding Special tag.
Mike McKone and Andy Lanning did a wonderful job on the artwork, layouts, line work, action, emotion it is all there. Mike McKone is an “A” level artist whose work is getting better. The amount of characters he was being asked to draw would make any artist’s (outside of George Perez) head hurt, but he pulled it off in great fashion. Andy Lanning is a fantastic inker and he seems to really enhance whomever he is inking.
Bottom line the JLA is back in full fighting form and it looks like Dwayne first arc is going to be fantastic. A minor concern I have is after he goes all out with every big villain gun in this sure to be multi-part epic, how will he follow it up?
This is not a Wedding Special this is a JLA special launching the next era of the group.
The Punisher – Max Line Volume 8 – “The Widowmaker” – written by Garth Ennis and art by Lan Medina, published by Marvel Comics
This is one of the few comics I get as a trade only. Garth Ennis owns the Punisher, the Punisher War Journal is sad joke compared to Ennis’ take on the character. Even more impressive the Punisher is a bit player in his own book and yet it still works as all the events that occurred are repercussions from his actions.
First let’s start off with price point. This was a seven issue arc meaning a cover price of $21 and the trade is only $18. Plus as in watching a DVD of TV shows, no ads and no unnecessary distractions, just one long story told well.
Garth’s Punisher is an older man who is hardened by what his life has become. Cold, brutal and yet he has a moral code and lines that he won’t cross. This story is about some of the mob widows he created and how they use Frank’s one weakness against him and try to set him up to be killed. A sister of one of the widows saves Frank and takes on the Punisher role to go after the widows. She is also a widow, but was happy that Frank killed her abusive husband.
Garth also does a great job in making each chapter mean something in and of itself as well as moving the story forward to its ultimate conclusion. It never fells like it is stretched out to reach a certain page count, even though we know it is. These are dark stories and some hard endings, especially in this story.
Ian Medina does a good job of switching from dark to light as the story dictates and I like his artwork on this title. I’m not sure if Garth dictates the layout or Ian, but that is a problem as almost every page is a series of four to six rectangular panel from top to bottom. A little change up in pacing would enhance the book in my opinion.
Bottom line a bargain price for another great Punisher story by Garth Ennis.
Finally a friend sent me this link and you go through questions and say yes or no to them and then rank them in importance (which is a key element) and my candidate came back as Ron Paul. At least it makes me feel like my pick was somewhat informed.