After somewhat of a prolonged hiatus Awesome Sauce is back with a vengeance and what a week to come back… From a relaunched Alpha Flight to a new Joe Hill book. There was definitely something this week for everybody.
The “Awesome Sauce” Pile
Generation Hope #8
After only 8 issues the Generation Hope team might lose their first member, not due to any casualty but to custody. Teon’s parents arrive with the hope of taking their son home, their main argument being he’s not in a fit mental state to choose to life with the X-Men. Surprisingly enough for them, and us as the case may be, Teon shows us that he’s not just Hope’s equivalent to Wolverine. His mutant power is much more than anybody could’ve ever expected. Needless to say Teon isn’t going anywhere and he should be on the team for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile the rest of the team are told that it’s time they come up with code-names, a major part of being a hero. Unfortunately their choices are the most inspired. Velocidad, Transonic, Zero, Oya and Primal are a bit strange personally with Primal and Zero being the only 2 that I feel work. One of the most interesting parts of the book is we see yet another spark of the Phoenix Force from Hope and Espin’s art captures it quite nicely. In fact Espin’s art is some of the strongest I’ve seen on a monthly book in some time and it’s refreshing while also being engaging. The final page leaves a cliffhanger for huge developments to be made and it’s clear that Kieron Gillen knows exactly where he’s going. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite writers with both Generation Hope and Journey Into Mystery, he’s one of the most dependable writers for an outstanding story.
Snake Eyes #2
I know next to nothing about G.I. Joe. But I recently seen G.I. Joe Resolute just before the relaunch and it piqued my interest quite a bit. Now the 3 G.I. Joe books are in the middle of Cobra Civil War and despite my lack of knowledge it’s been pretty easy to follow along so far. Snake Eyes is an incredibly interesting character and this is perhaps my favorite of the 3 books so far. It’s amazing how Chuck Dixon can pull off a book centered around a character that just doesn’t speak, at all. He makes up for it by teaming Snake Eyes up with some pretty talkative accomplices. The book works really well with flashbacks to Snake Eyes with Scarlett to Snake Eyes and his crew invading Khalikhan’s mountain base. The scenes in the base show just how much of a badass Snake Eyes is. Robert Atkins’ art is visually stunning, well that is until the last few pages. There’s a noticeably dip in quality and it’s kinda obvious he was rushed for time towards the end. Despite this however, the book is a fantastic read and definitely one to check out if you’ve every been interested in the silent assassin known as Snake Eyes.
Jeff Parker is my favorite writer in the world of comics. I know I’ve said it countless times before but I can’t help but enforce the point. That being said when I heard he was doing an homage to Planet Hulk in the form of Planet Red Hulk I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little worried. Luckily that worry was uncalled for as he masterfully turns that infamous Hulk epic into a 2-parter starring Thunderbolt Ross. The second part of the story continues the homage and there’s quite a number of references to the original story. That is until about 2/3rd’s through the issue when Parker flips it on it’s head leading into a story that has been brewing for a number of months now. This was the moment I knew that Parker made the right call and the series is all the better for it. The most interesting part of these past 2 issues is that Carlo Pagulayan (the original artist for Planet Hulk) comes back for this storyline, and while I miss my monthly fix of Gabriel Hardman, he brings a savagery to the book that it would be silly to complain he’s there. Parker and Pagulayan craft a story so well together that I’ve grown even more fond of old Rulk than ever before, and considering I hated the guy less than a year ago it’s nothing if not impressive.
The Cape: Legacy Edition
Before I start I should point out that this book has nothing to do with that terrible NBC show of the same name. Instead we get a beautifully crafted story from the creator of Locke & Key, Mr. Joe Hill. Some of you may know him because of that wonderful book, others might because of his father, Stephen King. When you get past his famous father, and trust me you’ll get past it, and you’ll realize that Hill is perhaps a better writer than his dad. Now The Cape is based on a prose story Hill wrote and adapted into this wonderful book. Telling the story of Nicky, we meet him as a kid but after a near fatal accident we come back to him as a 20-something year old who’s now disillusioned with life. He’s down and out after being dumped and having to move back into his mother’s house, in the basement no less. He finds his childhood blanket/cape and discovers that it’s magical, allowing him to fly. Without giving too much away he decides to use his power for personal gain. Zach Howard’s gritty art fits this incredibly dark book perfectly and it makes us relate to the somewhat unlikeable Nicky. The Legacy Edition also has the special addition of the original prose story the comic was based on and even if you’ve bought the standard issue when it came out a while back I urge you to go and pick this edition up as well. It’s definitely worth the cover price, if not more. After reading this a number of times it just keeps getting better and it has me incredibly excited for the mini-series starting next month.
The “Meh” Pile
Society for the Remarkable Suicide #2 (of 3)
After being swept away by the great first issue, Society comes back desperate to grab my attention from the more mainstream comics in my pull list. However, unlike the first issue, it’s not as successful. It seems that this issue moves at a much slower pace than the first issue and yet it develops the story immensely in half the pages. A lot more happens this issue with Trevor and Catherine becoming a couple, and we’re left with an interesting cliffhanger. How this story will wrap up and delve a little further into the history of the Society in one issue is beyond me but I have faith that we’ll be left with a satisfying conclusion. The art this issue is, unfortunately, not up to the same standard as the first issue. Cormac Hughes’ art is still eye catching and strong but his collaborator, Robert Carey, seems to have had an off month. His art seems somewhat rushed and because this is such a Carey heavy issue it’s very noticeable. Don’t get me wrong this is a great issue but just falls short of the amazing debut.
Brain Michael Bendis steps up to the plate for his first Fear Itself tie-in with the every lovin’ blue-eyed Thing is now one of the Worthy and the only Avenger to step up to the plate is the Red Hulk, a member that isn’t exactly the most trusted member of the team. This issue is little more than a 22 page long fight between Ben Grimm in his Worthy form and Red Hulk, broken up by a commentary from the Avengers looking back in retrospect. It’s an interesting idea and works in a strange way. The only thing is that there’s no suspense for any of the other characters as we now know they survive with little to no injuries. Now before I start talking about the art I should mention that John Romita Jr’s art bugs me….A LOT. His clunky style has always annoyed me and I’ve always wondered why he’s so revered in the comic world. After this issue I understand completely now. He has the ability to make these obviously powerful characters convey their power in the brawl. This is how an event tie-in book should tell it’s story. It’s story is unique to the title and yet manages to expand on the main story of the event. While not the greatest issue it’s not the worst, and it’s showing me why I should begin liking Romita Jr.
Invincible Iron Man #505
I, unlike most comic readers, don’t hate event tie-in issues. I’d prefer tie-in’s then the countless mini’s the publisher comes out with (I’m looking at you DC). But it’s always a special treat when the writer of the event is also writing the tie-in issues of a certain series. This happens to be the case here with Matt Fraction and the Fear Itself tie-in to Invincible Iron Man. This makes the story a lot more natural and organic feeling and lingering plot points are developed upon quite nicely. This issue could have easily been an out and out 22 page battle between Iron Man and Grey Gargoyle but Fraction peppers (no pun intended) the story with scenes from Stark Resilient. It grounds the book and develops the rivalry between Pepper and the new member of the team, Cabe. There’s also a nice throwback to earlier issues when Detroit Steel (remember him?) pops up, seemingly to help Tony. Salvador Larroca is on top form as always and brings an eeriness to Grey Gargoyle in his Worthy form. It’s downright creepy. My only real gripe with this book is the erratic pacing which is brought to it’s peak when Tony returns from Paris to Stark Resilient to patch up his suit. It seems a bit strange and kinda messes up the flow of the issue but other than that this is another great Iron Man issue from Fraction and Larroca.
Alpha Flight #1 (of 8)
Alpha Flight have always been a favorite of mine, I don’t know why though. I didn’t grow up in the 80’s during their peak and they’ve pretty much vanished from the comic scene in recent years. That is until their return in the pages of Chaos War. But here they are now, with a 8 issue mini, from 2 of my favorite writers Grek Pak and Fred Van Lente, smack bang in the middle of Fear Itself. Now this worried me, I’m not going to lie, but I thought hey don’t knock it til I try it. Unfortunately this isn’t the world’s great first issue, it just seems that there’s too much going on. From Attuma trying to flood Vancouver, to the Hudson’s trying to get their baby back, to Northstar refusing to be part of the team. It just seems so crammed together. The characters ring through though and it’s obvious Pak and Van Lente have a great grasp on what makes these characters tick. From Sasquatch flirting with Aurora to Marrina’s alien pride it all works fantastically. However, for people unfamiliar with Alpha Flight it might seem a bit over-bearing as the character relationships aren’t really explained, just thrown at us during the flood scene. Dale Eaglesham’s art is pretty good too, not what I’m used to seeing from him but still pretty enough to be eye-catching in places. He conveys the battle quite well and the final page in stunning. However, it is lacking in places and leads to the overall issue being just a bit unremarkable. I still have faith that everybody involved will improve the book ten-fold by the time issue 2 comes out. Still worth a look if you’re an Alpha Flight fan.
The “Plague” Pile
DC Universe Online Legends #10
When issue #1 of DC Universe Online Legends came out I hastily picked it up due to my excitement over the game it was tying into. It was the first comic I read that week and I have to say it was pure and utter dung. I’m not as well versed in the DC Universe as I am in the Marvel one, or even the Ultimate one for that matter, so one of the reasons I picked it up was to get a broad idea of the DC Universe. Alas this isn’t the case, 10 issues in and the only thing that I’ve learned is…well actually I haven’t really learnt anything. I haven’t come to care about these cheap imitations of the main DCU characters and this issue just drove the point home even further. The plot in this book is thinner than Cloverfield, which for those of you who haven’t seen it has next to no plot. This book had such potential in leading people to the game and yet it falls oh so very short in every aspect. The story this issue is hardly worth mentioning it’s so bland, Luthor tricks the world into mistrusting Superman, we’ve seen it thousands of times before and I really wish that this book could come up with something original. After this abysmal attempt of a comic this has lost it’s place on my pull list. Congrats DC Universe Online Legends, you just got dropped.
And now it’s time for the Pick Of The Week. Kind of obvious when you look at the scores but nevertheless this week’s Pick Of The Week is….(imitates drumroll) The Cape: Legacy Edition by Joe Hill & Zach Howard!
Go out and get it now before you miss the awesomeness that is this book. See you all next week!