Monday, February 7, 2011

Mega-Monday Floppy Reviews: Magus #1, Secret Warriors #24, and Heroes for Hire #3!

A bit late in posting this, but let's see how the floppies did!

Magus #1 Writer: Jon Price Artist: Rebekah Isaacs

Kicking off our reviews, we have Magus, written by Jon Price and illustrated by girlfriend Rebekah Isaacs.  Being the debut issue, the issue needs to give readers a strong hook to bring the readers back, and hook you in it does.  "Where were you when the magic came back?" is a great hook and one that is capitalized on greatly here.  The story starts as a mysterious young woman uses her wits and a unnatural ability to control fire to escape a mental asylum (where she was being sexually abused by guard.  I think I'd want to get out of there too.).  After escaping she stumbles into a local church's storage shed.  There she's discovered by our protagonist, Darius, a man who enjoys dissecting the sexuality of Star Wars characters with his friends.  Darius is a likable lead, being equal parts odd and strong-willed.  He's also quite curious as to what's going on after he brings the girl to Father Swain, a man who knows far more than he lets on about magic's return to our world.  Indeed, Swain and his unidentified companion believe this girl to be the one letting magic back into the world, and go to great lengths to attempt to neutralize her.  Darius can't abide this and through a bit of amusing trickery, helps the girl escape.  The story here is pretty interesting, but it's the ending sequence that really makes you want to come back for more next month (Note: At time of article being written, Issue 2 is released, but was unavailable for review at this time).  Here, Isaacs' artistic ability is really allowed to rip loose as she shows the effects of magic re-entering our world that inspires a child-like sense of awe juxtaposed against the mundane settings of a shopping mall or  a public fountain.  Price also throws in a last minute swerve that, while I won't spoil it here, is a satisfying twist that does an excellent job of drawing you into the narrative.  All in all, strong art and great opening hook make me give this issue a...
Isaacs' art is standout in this series
Secret Warriors #24 Writer: Jonathan Hickman  Artists: Alessandro Vitti/David Marquez

Before reviewing the latest issue of Hickman's magnum opus, I have a confession to make.  I am a massive Secret Warriors and Hickman fanboy.  If I ever get to meet Mr. Hickman at a con or signing, I'd probably stutter like a virgin basement-dweller trying to ask out Yvonne Strahovski.  That's why issues like this are so frustrating.  Here, Hickman finally gives us a proper introduction for Mikel Fury's (son of Nick) team of Caterpillars that he assembles for his Dad.  Throughout the series, Hickman has been dropping tidbits of info here and there about these other teams, so to see them assembled and finally in action is a real treat.  A treat that is until you hit the three-quarter mark and the team is abruptly killed off, going down fighting against the mysterious Hive, presumably taking the HYDRA figurehead with them.  The effect on Fury is perfect and leads to an intriguing final sequence, but you have to wonder what could have been.  It's pretty well publicized that Hickman had an initial 60-issue run planned out for this series, but it has since been edited down to a mere 27 (30 if you count event tie-ins).  Indeed, this issue presented one, if not multiple arcs worth of potential storylines. Even within this one issue,  the snippets of powers and personality exhibited by the team members makes them very intriguing additions to the series, making their demise that much more heartbreaking, disappointing, and for the very intrigued frustrating.  The fanboy in me is hoping against hope we'll see a mini down the line that explores these characters further, but we'll see if that ever comes to pass.  However, enough ranting, time to appreciate Marquez' fantastic art.  A far more capable fill-in than Colak ever was, Marquez gives his characters a clean, Jamie McKelvie-like look about them that draws you in and makes each of the new characters visually appealing immediately upon meeting them.  I'm going to be keeping an eye on Marquez and definitely hope he gets some higher-profile work soon as this guy is going places.  So, great Marquez art helps to balance out a truncated, yet still satisfying Hickman script making this a bittersweet reading experience.  Oh, you wanted a score...?

She's dead now.
Heroes For Hire #3 Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Artist: Brad Walker

DnA continue their first post-cosmic ongoing in fine fashion, deepening the mystery of Puppet Master's true motives for cleaning up the streets while continuing to deliver engaging one and done adventures with the rotating cast of heroes "for hire."  Quotes are necessary as, more often than not, Misty hires our heroes through either exchange of information or other personal favors rather than with money.  Indeed, it's part of the fun to open each issue and see who DnA got to guest star this issue and just how Misty wrangled them into service (Ghost Rider was pretty fun last issue).  Anyways, the self-contained part of this issue is given a bit less room this issue, but is easily the more entertaining story, if not for the sheer, delicious absurdity of it all.  Here, Moon Knight is tasked with stopping human traffickers from bringing in girls from the Savage Land to be used as sex slaves in "Flintstones-themed" nightclubs.  I realize this is the Marvel Universe, but damn, some people are super dedicated to their fetishes.  Kinda wonder if there are any "monster-themed" nightclubs and just who they traffic in for that.  But that's a bad line of thought, so let's not go there.  Moonie eventually frees the girls and survives a surprise dinosaur! attack to put an end to the operation in rather spectacular fashion.  Over in the Puppet Master storyline, Paladin continues to try and find the truth behind Misty's disappearance, running into a brokenhearted Iron Fist along the way.  I could have done without the old "First we fight, then we team-up" trope that wastes page space, but it leads to a great and dangerously cheesy final page that sets the stage for this the back half of this arc.  Heading up the art end of the spectrum, Walker is a bit of a mixed bag unfortunately.  Some pages, such as the surprise! dinosaur scenes, are wonderfully drawn, filled with careful detail and a great sense of motion.  Others, such as the Iron Fist/Paladin showdown lack perspective and the motion is a bit hard to follow.  If Walker can clean up these messy pages, and DnA can avoid a little bit of the cheese, this series can really soar on all fronts.  Until then, I'll give this issue "only" an...
Gotta say, I kinda wish the raptor
had actually talked now

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