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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What Do You Mean They're Not Superheroes?: Sneak Peek Reviews 9/3/2008

Secret Six #1
Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Nicola Scott

It's finally here. It all started back before Infinite Crisis. The Villains United mini-series was written by Gail Simone with art by Dale Eaglesham. When the Villains of the DCU decided to unite under one cause, to make sure that heroes could never again alter the minds of the villains, the way they had with Doctor Light, The Top, and Catwoman. Many didn't want to unite no matter the circumstance, most were cowed by the strength of the society, some were outright killed. Six were strong enough to stand against the new Secret Society. Catman, Scandal Savage, Deadshot, Ragdoll, Cheshire, and Parademon. Parademon didn't survive, and Cheshire turned traitor but ultimately the alliance that had formed remained intact, and the group decided to sort of straddle the line, to be mercenaries, to work for the all-mighty dollar, to ... sometimes do good. The popularity of the characters resulted in a follow up mini-series called The Secret Six which was also written by Gail Simone but this time around with art by Brad Walker. The group added two members, Mad Hatter and Knockout, to once again become 6. They went toe to toe with Scandal's father Vandal Savage and survived mostly intact, Ragdoll did however do his best to dispatch The Mad Hatter (though Hatter managed to survive and may someday return to exact his revenge) because there was really only room for one clinically insane individual in the group. The Six returned again in the pages of Birds of Prey where the group was rounded out to 6 once again with the addition of Harley Quinn. This time out they were going after the same item in Russia as the Birds ... by the end of the story the group was once again reduced in numbers ... Harley had left and Knockout fell to the hands of the mysterious assassin who had been hunting all of the New Gods from Apokolips and New Genesis. Now their back ... and they've once again filled back out to six. This was a totally fantastic first issue and it seems like it might just be one of the most entertaining books of the fall and I hope you all take the chance on the most unlikely team book in the DCU.

Dead of Night: Devil Slayer #1
Written by: Brian Keene
Art by: Chris Samnee

So, a while back Marvel made two interesting decisions, 1. Aside from Punisher there wouldn't be any ongoing Marvel MAX series. 2. Marvel Knights would no longer have any ongoing series, it would only be an imprint for mini-series stories that would take place outside the current continuity of Marvel Comics. So a new imprint has become a part of the Marvel MAX line: Dead of Night, which is devoted to telling horror stories with some of the many Marvel horror characters that have been languishing in some state of disuse or another. First up was Man-Thing as penned by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Devil Slayer marks the second mini-series of the new line and is a horror story set in a modern Iraq set against the backdrop of the war that is currently going on there, civillian mercenary groups and all. The series feels a little like Generation: Kill mixed with some Demons. It is written by horror novelist Brian Keene and drawn by Saint Louis' own Chris Samnee. The characters are rather well written and really well rendered. I hope that the rest of the series lives up to the promise of the first issue. I have become really fascinated with the current spate of horror titles as they have held a lot more promise and quality than those of recent years, and this is an example of the kind of series that I have really appreciated lately. So check it out for good writing from an established novelist and perhaps more importantly great art by a local artist.

Submariner: The Depths #1
Written by: Peter Milligan
Art by: Esad Ribic

So, as I mentioned in the previous review Marvel Knights has gone from imprint for ongoing series to mini-series where writers can tell stories from unexplored periods of major characters lives. So far we've seen the end of Spider-Man's career in Spider-Man: Reign, the beginning of Spider-Man's career with Spider-Man: With Great Power, the end of Silver Surfer's life with Silver Surfer: Requiem, the beginning of Daredevil's misery with Daredevil: Battlin' Jack Murdock, and also the end of Captain America's life with Captain America: The Chosen. Now we find ourselves in the midst of an untold Namor story set in an ambiguous time that could easily be between WW2 and his reappearance in the sixties or it could be a far flung story of the future. We see a man of science in search of Atlantis, perhaps more accurately he searches to disprove the existence of Atlantis. Our main character finds himself surrounded by Submariners of a different kind. Men of the sea, men of the deep, men who spend most of their lives on a submarine. Deep down in that black you start to believe all kinds of unscientific things. And so the men begin to butt heads ... in the one place where there is no opportunity to go out for a breath of fresh air and allow cooler heads to prevail. There is nothing quite so fun as a dark drama set in a place so claustrophobic. Esad Ribic's artwork is fantastic and Milligan's storytelling is at the top of his game. I assure you that this is not your father's Namor story.

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