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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Do You Mean They're Not Superheroes?: Sneak Peek Reviews 09/23/2008

Daredevil #111
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Art by: Clay Mann (Guest Artist)

It's honestly hard to think of a book that has been as good as long as Daredevil. And to think that on top of that it has been monthly the whole time. It all starts back with Brian Michael Bendis' run way back in issue 16. So that's 84 issues of really incredible comics (wondering why that math doesn't work out so well? Bob Gale and Phil Winslade had a 5 issue run early on and David Mack wrote and drew a 6 issue run later on). That's 17 trade paperbacks of absolutely phenomenal story-telling. So, when I say that it looks like this is going to be one hell of a story that should hold some weight. This issue is the start of a new story and the introduction of a whole new character whose name might sound familiar. Lady Bullseye is the weapon of an all new threat in the life of Matt Murdock. There are a number of new things going on in the life of the man everyone believes is Daredevil, and none of them seem to be doing much good. So, if you haven't yet caught on to the absolutely amazing stories going on in Daredevil then perhaps it's time you took the plunge.

Back to Brooklyn
Written by: Garth Ennis & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Mihailo Vukelic

Garth Ennis has been working in the comics industry since 1990 and has been one of the preeminent names in comics since 1995. Jimmy Palmiotti started working in the comics industry in 1988 and gained a level of prominence in 1994 and reached perhaps his greatest level of fame when he and his long time artistic partner Joe Quesada launched an upstart imprint at Marvel called Marvel Knights. A while back he stopped just being one of the world's preeminent inkers and became a writer as well, working mostly with co-writer Justin Gray. So when these two guys get together it's time to check out their book. Add to the mix newcomer Mihalio Vukelic and you have a serious must have book. This is a gang story. This is a mob story. This is a story of wise-guys and rats. This is a cop story. And a special agent story. This is a revenge story. This is a family story. This is the kind of story you thought you wouldn't see for quite some time now that Mr. Ennis is no longer working on Punisher. Seriously this is one totally awesome book and it's also an incredibly good deal at $2.99.

Usually I only review books the week that they come out. It's a way of telling you about some of the books that will be on the shelf when you get to the store. The following review is for a book that isn't going to be on the shelf until October the 22nd. We were provided photo-copies of the first two issues of the upcoming Vertigo ongoing series: The Unknown Soldier and I thought you all might be interested to hear how it is well in advance of it's release.

(If what you read here sounds like something you would be interested in then make sure that the Manager of your local store knows that you are going to want it so that they can adjust their orders accordingly before the final cut off date.)

The Unknown Soldier #1
Written by: Joshua Dysart
Art by: Alberto Ponticelli

The Unknown Soldier is a character that was created by Joe Kubert in 1966, since then he has appeared in many different series of varying levels of success. Now as a Vertigo ongoing by Joshua Dysart, most recently of BPRD: 1946 fame but also creator of Violent Messiahs, and artist Alberto Ponticelli, the series takes a whole new spin. Most often the character is shown as an American soldier fighting in a war (most frequently WWII) whose face is covered in bandages after suffering a terrible injury. Here the main character is Lwanga Moses, a Harvard educated doctor who was born in Uganda and raised in America. He and his wife have decided to come back to Africa to help the people of their homeland as best they can. Lwanga is a world famous humanitarian and is doing everything he can to try and encourage a peaceful end to hostilities in Uganda and all over Africa. He believes that in order to really see permanent change that things must change from within. That Africa and Africans cannot expect the USA, the UN, the EU, China or anyone else to force change, that for the betterment of Africa the changes must be demanded by Africans. A peaceful and prosperous Africa is Dr. Moses dream. But not what he dreams of at night. At night he has nightmares. Nightmares that often end with him killing his wife Sera. All in all this book is incredibly good. It manages to be about Africa and the horrors that go on their without feeling single faceted. It is also about a marriage, and a great desire to do good. Ultimately I think that this book will have a great deal of appeal to fans of Sandman Mystery Theatre, as the main character manages to remind me a great deal of Wesley Dodds and his relationship with his wife in turn reminds me a great deal of the relationship between Wesley and Dian Belmont. I think that Joshua Dysart has crafted a great sense of narrative and has a great feel for story-telling. Also Alberto Ponticelli is a fantastic artist who has a similar feel, but not style, to Riccardo Burchielli (DMZ). The pages are filled with detail and the characters are very distinct and very well drawn. Ultimately he has a very "Vertigo" style so don't expect to get the kind of look for The Unknown Soldier that you might have gotten from Joe Kubert, and if you are exclusively a fan of typical super-hero style art then this book may not be for you but I think that if you are looking for something new to try out that you certainly won't be at all disappointed. Issue #2 is no less amazing and introduces an incredible concept to the story. I don't want to say to much as I fear I would spoil what was a really incredible bit of story-telling. Dysart seems to have really done his research not only about Africa but also about combat tactics and strategy. I was honestly lukewarm about the prospects of this book when it was announced but now I can say without reservation that both of the first two issues will be coming home with me when they come out and that I cannot wait to re-read them in color, not only to see the pages in color but because they are both very good and will make for interesting second readings. I hope you all check them out!

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