Posted by: Joe McCulloch on September 10, 2007
I’ll start with what’s by far the most fashion-forward comic of the week, keeping in mind that I didn’t buy The Black Canary Wedding Planner…
Wolverine #57: Howard Chaykin almost stopped my heart this issue; for a split second, I seriously thought he had Wolverine looking for trouble on the mean streets of Iraq in a mesh t-shirt. That may sound unbelievable, but when you realize that Chaykin has also clothed Logan’s Atlantean lover/partner Amir in a battle ensemble that’s mainly composed of leather straps, and has decked out the henchmen of new villainous organization Scimitar in Phantom Blot body stockings with thigh-high red chrome boots and knobs on their ears, clearly anything is possible. Sadly, it soon becomes clear that it’s only Captain American chainmail stuff on Our Hero.
Still, I love it. It’s the same sort of character detail verve that made Blade, in its best pages, seem truly plugged-in to the patchwork totality of the Marvel U, perfectly capable of handling vampire capes and S.H.I.E.L.D. jumpsuits and Spider-Man and everything.
Writer Marc Guggenheim is also back from Blade, although he’s really following up a bit on his Wolverine Civil War tie-in from a ways back. It’s a jumpy setup story – I presume the extended WWI flashback that kicks off this issue will work better when all the chapters are in, but that Iraq business seems mainly present to goose up the violence before sending Logan off to save Tony Stark from assassination, a misadventure which then serves to set up what I presume is the real plot, of which we’ll not hear of until next month. Kind of annoying in its wheel-spinning, but Guggenheim does show a little bit of the nonsense energy that enlivened Blade by having Wolverine save travel time to a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier by clinging to the bottom of the X-Jet instead of riding inside.
OKAY for now, but mostly because Chaykin can draw a mean horde of gas masks.
Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus #1 (of 5): Be aware that the inside front cover bears the telltale “NUMBER 1 IN A SERIES” note, demonstrating that Dark Horse may be interested in turning this miniseries into one of the Hellboy universe’s patented ongoing series disguised as a set of miniseries.
For as deliberate an artist as he used to be on Hellboy, creator Mike Mignola has become a fairly prolific writer; this is the third concurrently-running Hellboy title of the moment, and Migola at least co-writes all of them (B.P.R.D. is written with John Arcudi). Here, he presents a solo outing for the popular black-clad brute of his extended landscape, Lobster Johnson. I never doubted that Mignola could give this character his own series, despite Johnson’s being little more than a scowling symbol of harsh-but-devout justice in his prior appearances; the premise is a little too rich with possibility for the weird adventures Mignola loves.
And so it goes. Artist Jason Armstrong is a nice choice, his style appropriately blending the scratched approach of B.P.R.D.’s Guy Davis with a little of Darwyn Cooke’s mid-century design flavor. He’ll be fine for what looks to be a kind of pulp hero lark, filled with Johnson leaving his Phantom-like doom insignia on the heads of the wicked and screaming “HERE IS THE CLAW” through gunfire, and an apparent yellow peril type villain teaming with Nazis to seize the power of Vril for war or something.
Entertaining and well-crafted enough, but extremely lightweight for this first issue; this probably won’t stay fresh for long, and it does suffer a bit in comparison with its sibling and parent title, both of which manage to meld their own individually joyous history-of-oddness approaches with broader, affecting themes (B.P.R.D. has gotten especially good at this). Still, perfectly GOOD for a start.