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Old 02-10-2011, 11:48 AM   #1
wktf
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The Mighty Reviews 2/10/11

Wktf’s Reviews

Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holms vs. Dracula #4 of 5
DC Comics
Written by: Ian Edginton
Drawn by: Davide Fabbri & Mario Guevara
Cover by: Ryan Sook

Anyone who’s been paying attention to the comic book trade press knows that Dynamite Entertainment will be coming out with a Lone Ranger/Zorro crossover (of sorts) story in March. Stories that combine popular characters from different genres are always fun in my book. I loved The Sever Percent Solution, a movie written by Nicholas Meyer (the same guy who directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn) which teamed Sherlock Holmes with Dr. Sigmund Freud (okay, so, fair enough, Freud’s not a fictional character). Pitting Sherlock Holmes against Dracula is a fantastic concept considering both prowled the streets of London around the same time. However, it’s also not a new concept. If you like fun and easy fiction I recommend the Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula novel written by Loren D. Estleman. It’s surprisingly faithful to Stoker’s novel and places Sherlock Holmes and Watson in the path of the Count and the vampire hunting crew of Dr. Seward, Prof. Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker. This DC comic book is not quite so faithful to Stoker’s story but is a really great read nonetheless.

The first issue of this series belonged to Holmes and Watson as they traced a series of murders that led them to the famous fictional wreck of the Demeter, the ship that carried Dracula from Varga to London. In the second issue Holmes and Watson crossed paths with Van Helsing’s crew and discover each other to be working toward a common purpose, though Holmes and Watson are not as educated about their quarry as their counterparts are. With the third issue everything started hitting the fan and the story ratcheted itself up quite a bit, as Holmes entreated Van Helsing to educate him on all they know, we were taken back to Harker’s horrific experience at Castle Dracula as well as the fate of poor Lucy Westenra. We also learned here that that this story deviates from the Dracula tale we know, but that Dracula’s designs are no less grand: the desire to resume empire building of his vampire nation. With this issue, however, the battle is fully joined between our combined set of heroes and Dracula’s many wives, including poor Lucy. Violence and casualties are the order of the day as Van Helsing becomes more suspicious of Holmes and Holmes more dismissive of the good doctor. However, Dracula’s final tactic is discovered though, Holmes fears, that discovery may well come far too late.

I’m unfamiliar with the creative team here but they’ve woven a first rate Victorian horror, detective and even action story here. The sense of dread and loss is palpable. The art is both well defined and moody. The story, while intricate is not at all confusing and really brings the reader deep into the middle of the unraveling of all the machinations that have led to this harrowing point. And to that last note, the casualties are far too real and the stakes frighteningly high. Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula has been a great read up to this point and this particular issue, as did the last one, certainly gets my pick of the week.

Incredible Hulks #622
Marvel Comics
Written by: Greg Pak
Drawn by: Paul Pelletier
Cover by: Carlo Pagualyan

The Incredible Hulks were a major asset in Hercules’ battle against The Chaos King in The Chaos War event. And, with The Chaos King vanquished, much of the world returned to normal including (yes, fans of Blackest Night can complain) restoring life to many of Marvel’s dead. Hercules’ having been gifted with the powers of an All-Father, Bruce Banner turned to him with a plea to restore his family in the same way others had been restored. Betty still is a psychotically enraged Red She-Hulk, Rick is the grievously injured A-Bomb and Skaar….well, he’s Skaar. But, with Hercules’ loss of his godly power, the Hulk turns to the newly created Mount Olympus to get what he deserves is his: healing for his family. And last issue that put him in the path of, and in direct heated battle with, nearly the entire pantheon of Greek gods. Sure, The Hulk has gone up against the gods’ heaviest hitters in the form of Thor and Hercules. But has he ever taken on a full pantheon? Well, actually, yeah, he has. Way way back in 1968's Tales to Astonish #101 and the subsequent, newly re-titled Incredible Hulk #102,he faced not only all of Asgard but even Odin himself! That said, this issue’s different. Hulk never traded blows with Odin, but that’s exactly what he does against Father Zeus. Is The Hulk really the strongest one there is?

Pak and Pelletier team up for two issues of slobberknockin’ fun coupled with some righteous anger and anguish on The Hulk’s part. Though “GodSmash” is only a two issue interlude between Chaos War and the upcoming Savage Land story (drawn by Dale Eaglesham!) , it provides plenty of power and even pathos. Hera is back to her old, nasty, manipulative ways. And Zeus is as angry and volatile, borderline school yard bully, as he ever was. Pelletier seriously cuts loose on the art with this and the prior issue and gives us one hell of a battle where even the Olympian All-Father is knocked on his regal behind! And the torment inflicted on The Hulk, between Zeus and Hephaestus, is seriously nasty. The Hulk is a character who always seemed at his best when he was alone. It just doesn’t make sense to me that his title has gone plural and that he’s now surrounded by a family. Same is true of Batman; however, the Bat’s extended family has worked not only for him over the decades but for DC Comics as well. I’m not completely sold this makes sense for the Hulk, or if revisiting one of Pak’s greatest successes (as he seems to be at the end of this issue) is either. Still, for some angry gamma smashing action against a foe who can take it and clearly dish it out, this two parter’s a real treat.

New Avengers #9
Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Drawn by: Mike Deodato & Howard Chaykin

Last issue’s more or less one-and-done Cage/Jessica story was practically poetry in motion in terms of highlighting a great and interesting relationship, expert word-sparring and even action that integrated with the whole Cage/Jessica conversation. This issue takes us down a completely different trail, though, and at the end feels a bit like a cop out (but, at this point, it’s still too soon to tell). We have two stories running at the same time. One, a tale decades old and drawn beautifully by the master Howard Chaykin, of Nick Fury hunting down escaped Nazis. The other, present day drawn by Deodato (why not the regular Stuart Immonen?), has our team on a stake out against a new, deadly and uber-sexy villainous. Versus the consistency of Mr. Chaykin’s flashbacks, Deodato’s art is a bit spotty, especially where he draws Bashful Benjy. The first shot of him just looks sloppy whereas the closeup of his rocky head is just a thing (no pun intended) of beauty. Taking his time, Deodeato can draw The Thing as well or better than most, it turns out. And I’m sorry, anyone remember the classic FF #24 -25 when The Thing fought The Hulk and Ben wished he could jump like old Greenjeans? What were Bendis and Deodato thinking having Ben leap like this? It’s totally out of character and beyond his capabilities!

Anyway, the two running stories don’t really come together, adding to the disjointed nature of this comic. The new villain, who basically does nothing interesting beyond get out of her car and enter a building, doesn’t help matters. Of course, both stories end on cliffhangers of sorts. One pretty desperate and the other, if you’re thinking as I am that Bendis got direction to tie his story into Marvel’s movie properties, is more of an eye-roller. I seriously hope Marvel’s not planning to retro-rewrite Avengers history with this arc. I guess we’ll find out. Anyway, while this issue had plenty of action and intrigue, and some pretty stellar art, it just doesn’t hold together. It may benefit from whatever happens next issue to help it make sense.
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Gene Colan Dracula? In Hand!!
And The Monster of Frankenstein? In Hand!!
Next? Will we ever see Werewolf by Night?!

Last edited by wktf; 02-10-2011 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Added the year for Tales of Astonish #101 & Incredible Hulk #102
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:02 PM   #2
kal-el
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Joe:
Post the spoilers. Since I don't read Marvel books anymore which dead heroes are now back among the living?
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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Kal, unfortunately, I don't know the full list of returning-from-the-dead characters. I know for sure that both Zeus and Hera, who'd previously been killed in Incredible Hercules, are back among the living. But there are a host of other characters who supposedly are alive now, too. Some of them, I believe, can be seen at the end of Chaos War #5, but I'm at work now and don't have that issue handy.

This link...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_War_%28comics%29

...will tell you who was resurrected during Chaos War but, again, I'm not sure beyond Zeus and Hera who's still with us now. Unless they all are.
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Gene Colan Dracula? In Hand!!
And The Monster of Frankenstein? In Hand!!
Next? Will we ever see Werewolf by Night?!
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
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The Wiki review wasn't much help. I know many were brought back but are they still here. Mainly Alpha Flight are they still around? Any other Avengers or X-Men make the cut? Anyone ?
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:51 AM   #5
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Just not sure beyond Zeus and Hera, myself...
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Gene Colan Dracula? In Hand!!
And The Monster of Frankenstein? In Hand!!
Next? Will we ever see Werewolf by Night?!
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kal-el View Post
The Wiki review wasn't much help. I know many were brought back but are they still here. Mainly Alpha Flight are they still around? Any other Avengers or X-Men make the cut? Anyone ?
Alpha Flight is back and maybe Ares.
Truth be told anyone can be back if the door to death is left open any number of people could have went through it.
It's going to be great to have Abomination back but Sentry not so much.
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