Book Reviews Comics

#FridayReads – June 10, 2016

This week (and last) I read a ton of trades that I thought were just amazing. So I rounded them all up, and put them here.

Ales Kot and Matt Taylor’s Wolf, Vol. 1: Blood and Magic

(Photo Credit: Goodreads)

I started to read Wolf a while back, but I noticed that it was already several issues in by the time I got into it. So I just decided to collect the trades. That probably wasn’t the smartest move on my part, but I know that I’ll be grateful for it in the long run.

Wolf is the story of Antoine Wolfe, a paranormal detective – or maybe it was a private investigator – who tries to keep the peace between the different supernatural communities within his city. During his investigation of a cult’s mass suicide, Antoine finds himself as the guardian to a young girl who turns out to be the actual anti-Christ. Things just get wilder from there.

Once you get over the guy with the Cthulu tentacles coming out of his face, Wolf is a great book. I love the writing, I love the story, and I love Antoine’s motivations. I love that there is a code between the different communities. I did not like the racism at the beginning, but that person gets what’s coming to them so it works out.

I won’t be following this as an ongoing series, but I intend to pick up the next volume if and when it is released. I know that there is more of Antoine’s story to tell, but I also know that trade paper backs are not a guarantee.

Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, and Frank Martin’s East of West, Vol. 2: We Are All OneĀ 

(Photo Credit: Goodreads)

I don’t know if I’ve talked about East of West before, but it was recommended to me around the same time that I got into Saga. It’s actually from the same publisher as both Wolf and Saga, so I can understand the recommendation.

In East of West, one of the four horsemen, Death, tries to get out of the Apocalypse game and have himself a family. The other horsemen do not like that, and take pains to get Death back in line. This leads to what is possibly one of the most interesting comics since ever.

In this second volume we are exploring some of the minor characters and their motivations. I especially liked seeing the Prince of the Kingdom’s story, although I found Ezra’s story to be particularly mind-blowing. I thought that the other horsemen were possibly capable of compassion, but it just turned out to be the writing, and my sentimental heart, playing me.

I’m so happy to be done with this trade though, because I know that reading the rest is only a matter of borrowing them from my friend. I like having a complete series in my personal library, but not having to buy a new book is always a good thing.

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga, Volume 4 and Volume 5


If you’ve never gotten into Saga, I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your comic book life.

Saga is the story of two soldiers, from opposite sides of a war that has managed to take over the galaxy, finding love and creating a family together. Their child is considered an abomination by both of their governments, so they spend their time on the run.

I like that there is so much family and marital drama going on in the midst of being on the run. Marko and Alanna are so obviously in love with each other, but they both have to face their inner demons. I like that we get to know the personal stories of the bounty hunters, even though we always seem to be losing one every time I open up a trade.

I like the artwork. I think that the images that Fiona Staples has created are beautifully done. It helps that she also did the artwork for the first three issues of the current Archie run with Mark Waid. I also think that Brian K. Vaughan’s writing is very funny. Marko and Alanna are always getting into something, but you can see the love that they have for each other and their child.

Prince Robot IV also seems to be going through a lot, but I don’t want to ruin that one for you.

As I have said before, if you haven’t gotten into Saga yet, you are wasting your comic book life. It is a masterpiece that no one should miss out on. So whether you manage to get your hands on the omnibus, collect all of the trades, or manage to get all of the issues of the ongoing, just make sure that you actually read it. Trust me, it’s worth your time.

Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Paul Pelletier’s War of Kings

(Photo Credit: Goodreads)

I have said this before, and I will say it again, I am not a fan of the Inhumans. It’s not their fault; I think that they’re a perfectly good team, but I refuse to get down with anyone who is supposed to take the place of the X-Men.

Thankfully, this book predates that issue.

War of Kings is a post-Secret Invasion (and technically Civil War) event that deals with the galactic ramifications of the Skrulls’ failed takeover of Earth. When the Inhumans get tired of hiding in the shadows, they turn their sights on the civilization that created them: the Kree Empire. Unfortunately, this also brings the attention of the Shi’ar.

I originally thought that War of Kings was an event that went on during the Abnett and Lanning run of Gaurdians of the Galaxy, but it turns out that this event is actually slightly before it. It’s a very compelling story that makes me really wish that the Gaurdians of the Galaxy series had not been cancelled, if only so that more stories like War of Kings could have come out of it.

I think that War of Kings is a great book, especially if you’re like me and are following the trajectory of all of the Marvel events between Civil War and Seige. I particularly like that it is mostly an Inhumans book, but it does not require a lot of prior reading. The Inhumans’ origin story is covered within a page, and the protagonist, Crystal, is pretty easy to relate to.

That being said, I recommend War of Kings to anyone who has ever cared to like Marvel and wants to see what Inhumans were like before Earth’s wholesale exposure to the Terrigen Mists.

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Shazam!

(Photo Credit: Goodreads)

Last but definitely not least, we come to the Geoff Johns run of Shazam!

Shazam! begins with the wizard looking for a new champion to combat the now released evil that is Black Adam. Billy Batson is a troubled teen that doesn’t seem to want to get close to anyone, but is quick to take up for those who need it. When Billy somehow manages to get Shazam’s powers, he has to make the choice to continue being a loner, or to embrace the secret strength of his newfound powers.

Despite the fact that this seems to be the only trade that seems to be coming from this run of Shazam!, I enjoyed the story for what it was. Black Adam is a vile villain, and I am too ready for The Rock to play him in a movie. I also liked the inclusion of Mary Batson, though I have no idea what is supposed to come of that.

I would have liked to have seen this story go somewhere, but that’s currently not in the card for me. And it might just be that I have to track down the back issues for the rest of the run. But, just from the standpoint of a minor fan, I think that it would have been nice if Shazam! had survived the New 52 culling. If only so that there could have been more current Billy Batson/ Shazam! stories.

So that’s it for this week. I for one am eternally grateful to get yet another stack of trades out of the way. Quite a few of these have been sitting on my dresser for months.

If you would like to keep up with me and my adventures in appreciating the many different types of literature, please be sure to subscribe to this blog. If you just want to chat with me about these particular comics, make sure to hit me up in the comment section.

All images courtesy of DC Comics, Image Comics and Marvel Comics.

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