A cowboy, a vigilante housewife and a group of very chatty superheroes, that’s the line-up for this week’s comic book review. So without further ado, it’s ladies first.
Jennifer Blood #2. Remember the good ol’ days of Garth Ennis’ Punisher MAX at Marvel? Where you got hard-hitting and sometimes vulgar stories ripped from today’s crime headlines with gallons and gallons of blood and gore splashing every other page. Ahhh good times. Well, those Mature Reader days are back, right here in the pages of Dynamite’s Jennifer Blood.
Just like The Punisher, Jennifer Blood is a gun-trotting vigilante by night, with an arsenal that would make Frank Castle himself drool like a baby in a candy store. But unlike Castle, she’s also your average suburban housewife by day, complete with a husband and two kids who have no idea of mommy’s double life. Really, if you were a fan of Garth Ennis’ Punisher MAX, then this is the series for you. The role of a doting housewife is a nice twist and the origin behind Ennis’ and artist Auriano Batista’s new creation is still a mystery.
The familiar gritty elements are all there, the main character’s brooding internal dialog, vile drug dealing, gunrunning mobsters and some of the most creative methods of execution you’ll ever find in a comic book today. Like I said, good times are here again.
The New Avengers #10. To be honest, I still haven’t decided if I like this issue or not but I do like the cover by Mike Deodato. Let’s see now, you got two stories running here, one is set in 1959 with Nick Fury recruiting some familiar Marvel characters for the newly formed Avengers Initiative, while the other tale stars our modern heroic age of heroes slugging it out with the remains of H.A.M.M.E.R. and their new female leader Superia.
What I didn’t like about this issue is the zero plot development or lack of any story advancement with the H.A.M.M.E.R. storyline. The whole part here is just a long extended fight scene from last issue, for a moment there I thought I was reading a Bleach manga. Mockingbird who was hit last issue, is still lying in the same critical condition (and location), and we never learn anything new about the bad guys or their plans at all. Sure, there’s writer Brian Bendis’ usual snappy banter between the cast, always entertaining in controlled doses but come on, was the editor asleep on this one? Where’s the story here?
Now what I did like about this issue was the Nick Fury storyline. The legendary Howard Chaykin is doing the art honors for this one. Everyone just looks so damn debonair, if someone ever decides to publish a Mad Men comic book, you got your artist right here! Fury goes around the world; meeting Marvel guys and girls who were active back in the 1950s. Lots of golden moments here, some just too funny to forget like how Spider-man villain Kraven was once a toy boy to Namor’s cousin Namora.
Well, I guess it’s a good enough issue to get if you got some spare change or you are a hardcore Avengers fan but just don’t get your hopes up.
Jonah Hex #65. This is probably the only good Western title out right now. It’s another simple yet unforgettable tale by writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, and Spanish artist Jordi Bernet.
It starts with our famous bounty hunter Hex caught in a killer blizzard and then rescued by a mysterious stranger in the mountains. The suspense builds and smolders along as we find out more about the stranger. The more we learn about him, the less we know and it all reaches a boiling point when a gang of murderous bandits shows up. It doesn’t get more Western than this.
Bernet’s narrative style is perfect here. Will Eisner calls it ‘pure story-telling art’. It’s detailed and full of expression when Bernet focuses in on the characters, and fast and fluid when Bernet is capturing the action.
For a great single issue Western tale, you can’t go wrong with this.