I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
More one shots. . .YAY! I love 'em.
OUR ARMY AT WAR Featuring Sergeant Rock (DC 2010)
Sergeant Rock is one of my favorite characters. As a Marine Corps veteran, I can appreciate how Rock is actually one of the greatest ANTI war characters ever created. This modern take on Rock is one of the strongest comics I've read in a LONG time.
It is written to perfection with the story flashing back and forth between WWII and either Afghanistan or Iraq (not made clear), with the characters finishing each other's dialogue across time, showing the old soldier's adage "The more things change, the more they stay the same." to be true. The ending of the story, when we find out why the modern character fights, is an emotional punch to the gut, and comes out of nowhere. I won't spoil it, but it's the kind of ending that puts everything before it in a whole new perspective. . .
The art is superb in every way, from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, to the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers, the whole issue is rendered in incredible detail. And then there's that fantastic cover by the legendary Joe Kubert. . .
From the cover to the last page, this one shot delivers on every single panel. Highly suggested.
GIANT-SIZE WOLVERINE (Marvel, 2006)
This is a nice, hefty book. Unfortunately, 75% of it is reprint material (X-Men vol 2 #6-7). Let's look at the parts separately. . .
HOUSE OF BLOOD AND SORROW: I'm not the biggest Wolverine fan, but I really liked this story. The art by Aja perfectly suits the "Backwoods Chtulu" horror of this story, and the colors in sickly shades of brown and green really bring it home. This is now officially one of my favorite Wolverine stories. It's straight up gory horror with Wolvie in "Logan" mode. A real hidden gem!
X-MEN (vol 2) 6-7: Where the first part of this one shot was dark, moody, and gruesome, the back 3/4 of the book is brightly-colored 90's superhero cliche to the hilt, with a giant cast of characters shouting exposition to each other (explaining their powers in the middle of a brawl. . .WTF, 90's?) I found it a bit hard to get through, as it just sort of drops you into the middle of the continuity-dense X-Men saga. I don't understand why they reprinted an X-Men story in a Wolverine special. Couldn't they have found a Wolverine story? I'm confused.
The Jim Lee art is fine, if a bit gaudily-colored, so the reprint isn't entirely bad. Just a bit out of place. It feels like padding to justify doubling up on the price.
All in all, this one shot was half and half. A dark Wolverine story that is superb in every way, and a gaudy, wordy, 90's X-Men reprint. If it was JUST the first story, this would be a 5 star review. But good with bad brings it down to 3. I'd still suggest it just for the first story alone.
STAR WARS ANNUAL 1 (MARVEL vol. 4 2015)
I really like this story, which sets apart from the regular Star Wars title as a stand-alone tale.
While the art is generally good, and even has a few really great moments (the first page shot of Imperial Coruscant comes to mind), what elevates this story is that it completely flips the script and defies expectation in that not only is the hero unsuccessful in his mission, but he is played like such a chump by The Emperor, that his mistakes are devastating to the Rebellion.
I know, I know. . .the heroes are supposed to win against the odds. But there's a reason that Empire Strikes Back is regarded as the best Star Wars movie. The writer of this One Shot remembered why that is. Sometimes the bad guys win too. Very nicely done. Highly suggested.
WONDER WOMAN ANNUAL 6 (DC vol. 2 1997)
There for a while, DC was doing "themed" annuals. . .Year One, Elseworlds, etc.
This one was from one of the more forgettable years. "Pulp Heroes". To tell the truth, I see very little "Pulp" in this annual (compared to some of the others) and more "Two pretty standard stand-alone Wonder Woman stories" Let's look at them separately. . .
NECROPOLIS: The first story is a tale of Wonder Woman as a young teenager on Themyscira discovering death and madness in Paradise as she accidentally causes the death of a friend, then descends to the "City of The Dead" to try and rescue her.
The story was a little light, with decent artwork. I did like that they decided to set the story in Wonder Woman's past, and that the villain was unexpectedly sympathetic. All in all, a pretty good story.
FROM SHE CAME: The second story features Artemis (AKA Angry Substitute Wonder Woman) going to Hades to lead a failed rebellion, then tricking Hades in order to escape again.
This one was full on 90's style "Bad Girl" violent cheesecake. The story was light and tacked on as an excuse for the fighting. The twist at the end was predictable, and once again. . .there was nothing "Pulp Hero" about it. That said, for what it is, it's okay.
All in all, this was a decent one shot. Nothing great, but not particularly bad. It's just a little odd that neither story fit the "Pulp Heroes' theme at all, especially when compared to other Annuals in the theme that year. So as pulp it fails. As a couple of decent Wonder Woman stories, it does okay.
GRIMM FAIRY TALES: THE LITTLE MERMAID (Zenescope)
This one was pretty bad.
First, the good. . .the cover is awesome.
And that's about it.
The story is a "Be careful what you wish for" tale set in two different intertwining times and places. . .a medieval fantasy kingdom and modern times. The story itself is. . .okay. It's predictable and extremely light, but it's okay.
The art is weak and juvenile. It looks like something a high school student would draw to impress his friends. Female bodies are drawn to perfection, while their faces and hands are crude afterthoughts. The artist can draw quite well, but he can't draw vehicles or backgrounds.
All in all, this is a poorly-written, poorly-drawn teenage cover bait cash grab. No bueno.
And there you have it, another batch of One Shots. A bit more of a mixed bag for Part 2, going from the absolutely fantastic and highly suggested Our Army At War, to the juvenile cover bait cash grab of The Little Mermaid. I liked throwing a few one shots into the mix. I I will definitely be doing this again.
Coming next. . .
Have you ever asked yourself how giant sentient robots would change the outcome of World War II?
Dreamwave provides the answer to the question you never knew you had!
G.I. Joe vs. Transformers. Be there or be square!
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