This here is the $1.00 edition, sadly among the last batch of dirt cheap sampler comics being offered. We've gone from $0.10 to the upcoming $2.00 on these things, and that doubling in price makes them far less of a value worthy of taking the plunge on. It's a sad day when even discounted sampler books have to be budgeted out, but that's their fault, not the readers'.
The Corps! #0
G.I. Joe #0
Project Superpowers: Chapter Two Prelude
Zen Intergalactic Ninja #0
The Corps! #0 (Devil's Due Publishing, 2008, $0.99)
A perfect example of why $1 books are a good idea. I had little interest in anything DDP published before the low-priced Rest #0. I also had no interest in The Corps!, a military toy line from the '80s so crappy, even my ghetto ass never heard of them. Still, I've been trying every cheap comic that's come down the pike recently, looking for something to stick, and this title promises to.
The first thing to grab me was the art of Michael Penick, which does a wonderful job of combining a photo-referenced quality with a more fluid line. Penick has a real skill for facial expression, calling to mind the better JLI artists of days gone by. All of his characters are distinct, even while wearing ski masks, and the heroine Dusk has major sex appeal. This guy is a talent to watch.
Next comes Rick Remender, a writer who always seems to have an eye toward Hollywood adaptation, which limits his willingness to explore wilder storytelling territory. Here, there's a pleasant looseness, even as his script has a momentum far removed from his usual deliberate pacing. I enjoyed him more on these eight pages than in whole graphic novels. The quality carries on to the coloring, which was basic, but allowed the heroic figures to outshine their drab, real world surroundings.
Though all signs indicate this will end up being another G.I. Joe riff, and the covers by Tony Shasteen are really stiff, I had a pleasant experience here. I expect to give the trade paperback a shot, which is another win for DDP in this format.
G.I. Joe #0 (IDW, 2008, $1.00)
On the other hand, this higher rent toy tie-in was a bore. The first six page story excerpt by Chuck Dixon and Robert Atkins felt complete in itself, but was so full or jargon and the expectation of past familiarity that there was little else to offer. At least the art was nice. The second five-pager by Larry Hama and Tom Feister featured that animation cell-type coloring that rarely works, and moreso when applied to rowdy gunplay. Again, the uninitiated need not apply, as without knowing Hawk and Duke beforehand, the story plays as pure conspiratorial cliche. The final five pages by Mike Costa and Christos N. Gage featured the best scripting of the lot, but the least plot, with weak art by Antonio Fuso. IDW picked up the license from DDP, and at least in my opinion, Devil's Due's publishing better product is the best revenge.
Project Superpowers: Chapter Two Prelude (Dynamite, 2008, $1.00)
I gave the last Project Superpowers #0 a passing grade at first, but the more I thought about it, the more the whole premise bugged me. A lone hero managed to trap every other in a "Pandora's Urn," from which they are unleashed in the present, and proceeded to become whiny-ass Marvel characters? Dynamite really needs to release the softcover trade on a light shipping month for me to keep my promise to buy it, is what I'm saying.
The characters featured in the 16 pages of Alex Ross renderings are not nearly so winning as those of the first round, and I'm getting a "Kindome Come" aftertaste from the whole affair. The three page previews for the "Black Terror" and (ack) "Death-Defying 'Devil" mini-series failed to impress, while "Masquerade" was little more than a sketchbook extension. The best part of the package were the three lovely Jazzy John Romita Sr. covers, and they're worth the buck on their own, but my reservations about this project are fast growing.
Zen Intergalactic Ninja #0 (Devil's Due Publishing, 2008, $0.99)
I am so no the target audience for this, having been just grazed by TMNT mania, with no leftover love for "Bucky O'Hare," "Blackbelt Hamsters" and the rest of that lot. Old Zen comics languished in my quarter bins for most of my years retailing, and having Lizzy John rework Jae Lee's cover for the last Zen #0 (with the metallic foil cover!) only heightens my feeling of an unhappy return. Joe Casey and Lee Ferguson are downright embarrassing with their B-List early Image turn on the 8 page sample. The 8-page "Best of Zen" excerpt wasn't much stronger on the story front, but the painted art of Christopher V. Conte was appealing. Finally, there's a three page article devoted to some chump playing the old Super NES video game that looked and read like it had escaped from the fan letter page of "Nintendo Power Magazine." If you don't bring the love in with you on this book, you'll leave feeling like you missed something.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
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