Rocketeer IDW #1 Review

The Rocketeer- Hollywood Horror #1
IDW Publishing
Story by Roger Langridge
Art by J. Bone

I’ve made it clear in the past that I’m a fan of the Rocketeer’s return to comics, even after the death of Dave Stevens. I’ve reviewed a few of the IDW Rocketeer comics in the past, but I thought I would take a look at one of the new mini-series containing the famed finhead. Hollywood Horror is a new series that started earlier this year, detailing the Rocketeer’s latest adventures of mystery and intrigue, with a nice dash of adventure and excitement on the side. Unlike some of the previous forays into this character, Hollywood Horror is brought to life by J. Bone in a very unique art style that is wholly different than anything Stevens ever did. Thankfully IDW has already numbed most the reading audience to these changes by doing the inaugural anthology series which had many different artists and writers working on it.

The Rocketeer Comic
By now you shouldn’t be shocked seeing a different take on the Rocketeer, but even so Hollywood Horror has a very distinctive style. For whatever the reason, I kept being reminded of the old Disney Adventures Magazine comic strips. I suppose on a certain level, this is apropos. Of course, there’s definitely more “sex” here, as it contains a lot of the same stalwarts that we’ve come to know in Rocketeer comics. Only this time, Betty isn’t drawn with almost ridiculous realism, but she still parades around scantly clad. It’s interesting if nothing else.

Rocketeer - Hollywood Horror 6
For a story that has a backdrop of old Hollywood, you’d think there would be more nods to the town itself. While Hollywood is a character in the story, it’s not much of one. I guess I was hoping that with that title, we’d see some sort of old Universal style monsters. No such luck as of yet, although there certainly is something monstrous going on. We do get some fun nods to classic comic strip characters like Mutt and Jeff, along with a helping of nostalgic overtones that have always been a staple of the Rocketeer books. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
IDW Publishing
Story by Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Art by Dan Duncan

I’ve been meaning to get around to this one since it came out last month, but finally today we’re going to take a look at IDW’s new Ninja Turtles book. A lot of people didn’t follow the Ninja Turtles comic, especially Volume #4, but I did. In fact I actually enjoyed Volume #4 more than most. When I heard IDW was going to do a new TMNT comic with Eastman on board, I was excited. Does this comic deliver?

In some ways, yes, this very much feels like a Turtles comic. That’s a good thing, because getting the “vibe” of the TMNT is as important as anything else. This comic features a series of five different covers for you who like cover variants as well. Kevin Eastman’s is clearly the best (the one pictured above) and that’s the one I’ve chosen.

I don’t want to tear into the art too much, but Eastman’s art is so much better of a fit for the TMNT than Dan Duncan’s. Duncan seems to be able to draw people okay (which is certainly more than I can say for Mirage TMNT artist Jim Lawson) but his Turtles are those strange, exaggerated freakazoids that a lot of people tend to draw the Green Machine as. I don’t much care for it myself, but by this point I’m pretty much used to reading Turtles comics with so-so art.

But enough about that… Things start off familiar enough in this IDW re-telling of the Turtles history, as we open to a showdown with a street gang. It’s much like the old Purple Dragons scene in the original (and subsequent rehashes) of the TMNT comics. However this time we see that this street gang is led by “Old Hob” a one eyed mutant cat. That sort of tips us off that this is not your Daddy’s (or Peter Laird’s) Ninja Turtles.

This is a recurring theme in the IDW book. Things are similar, but different. For the most part I can enjoy some new ideas into the Ninja Turtles books, if they retain that core TMNT feel. Adding new mutants/monsters is okay with me too, so long as it doesn’t end up too muddled with them.

We get a few clues that these Turtles have a different history in the battle with the gang, but as the comic continues to develop, we learn more, alebit not everything, about their new history. The fight scene is good and takes up a large chunk of the comic, so that’s a plus.

And although the Turtles are only given a line or two each in the entire book, there’s enough there to get the general feel of all the Turtles. Including a laugh out loud line from Mike. Of course, there’s a side story about Raphael and naturally he’s being a brooding loner and doing all that typical lame stuff that Raphael does. There’s a larger story at play here, but we don’t get the details, just that Raph is out trying to make it on his own. If only I had a dollar for every TMNT story that revolved around Raphael being a loser.

From there we head off to a flashback where we meet April O’Neil who is an intern for Baxter Stockman. She works with him, but unlike previous stories, she’s not really in the know with what’s going on. Baxter runs an entire corporation that’s working on animal testing. April thinks it’s for making better meat, while in truth it’s to create bio-weapons for the nefarious and equally mysterious “General Krang”.

We also learn in this flashback that this is where the Turtles and Splinter are. In fact, April even names the Turtles! We can only presume that the TMNT will be mutated here as well although we don’t see that process just yet. There was one interesting line about Splinter and how these scientists were doing experiments on him to make him comprehend human ideas as a rat. I suppose to explain later why he can teach the Turtles kung-fu. It’s nice that they tried to tie up that loose end, but I’m not sure I need all the other seemingly random changes in the Turtles history just for the sake of change.

Overall, the comic feels fun and it’s a nice but brief first issue. I’m interested in seeing where it goes, but I can’t help but feel like this is an “alternate world” story. I suspect that will be my main problem with this comic. It’s yet another “new” translation of the Turtles backstory and I’m not sure why we need a new concept, but at least it has the feel of the TMNT for the most part. I’ll be checking out the next couple of issues to see if things get better or worse.


Rocketeer Adventures #2
IDW Publishing
Stories by Mark Waid, Darwyn Cooke and Lowell Francis
Art by Chris Weston, Darwyn Cooke, Dave Stewart, Geof Darrow and Gene Ha

Last month I reviewed the first of four Rocketeer Adventures comics from IDW. It’s their first foray into original comic creations featuring the Rocketeer, brainchild of the late, great, Dave Stevens. While the first issue was packed full of goodness, the second issue struggles a bit to keep the charm, despite still delivering an overall solid performance with some of comic’s best and brightest at the helm. As usual, there are three variant covers to choose from, including one featuring classic Dave Stevens art.

Issue #1 gave us a piece of what I suspected would be a multi-part story in Mike Allred’s “Home Again”, but issue #2 does not give us the next slice of the story. Perhaps I was wrong in assuming there would be more as lots of these tales are snippets, but maybe it’ll be contained in a later issue. We’re also only treated to one pin-up this time around, as opposed to the two we got last go around.

That’s not to say that IDW’s Rocketeer Adventures #2 is a bad little comic by any means, but I definitely think it’s not as good as the first. Reading some other reviews I found everyone raving about Darwyn Cooke’s homage to a serial in “Betty Saves The Day”. That’s quite odd to me as it’s easily the worst story in this book and probably the weakest of the entire series so far. The real gem is Lowell Francis’ “TKO”, as it’s exciting, fresh and shows off the first real high impact aerial battle of these books.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning with Mark Waid’s little humorous tale “It Ain’t The Fall That Kills Ya”, which pokes fun at comic books and the mentality of the era in which the Rocketeer is based. Waid does a fine job of capturing the spirit of the era and his Peevy characterization is great. I do feel he managed to struggle a bit with Cliff and Betty, however. Chris Weston’s artwork regardless of any story problems, is top notch all the way.

Cliff can at times be portrayed as a bit of a goof and that certainly seems to be where Waid is headed in this story. It’s a shame because there’s a thin line between Secord being played perfectly and just being a little too out there. Waid does manage to redeem himself for the most part, but I do wish Cliff was a tad more heroic and likable.

The story involves the Rocketeer about to go public. Before he can reveal himself, in hopes of gaining lucrative merchandising rights, he bumps into Betty who is now apparently a stripper. Cliff isn’t happy about this, nor do I blame him considering Betty is usually half naked but has never been shown to be flat out working in a place like this. Again, this is where Waid’s work falls down a bit. Betty seems like a tramp here and less of a sexy model, but I digress.

One of Betty’s peers is a hunky male model who basically tells Cliff he’s going to bang Betty and that there’s nothing Cliff can do about it, all the while managing to make Secord look like a jerk. As if that wasn’t enough, as the Rocketeer prepares to reveal himself, he has to save a Captain Marvel look-a-like named Aeroman who is doing a stunt to promote comic books. As it turns out, the model is also the guy playing Aeroman and Cliff ends up helping his foe and looking like a boob in the process.

Next up is Darwyn Cooke’s much ballyhooed story, which like the title implies, sees Betty save the Rocketeer. It’s a short story with Betty flying half naked in the Rocketeer garb, saving Cliff after he’s been shot. It’s not a terrible story by any means, but I didn’t find it that great either. There’s a little bit of a sexy vibe, but Cooke’s artwork seems more fitting of Disney Adventures Magazine comic strip, than the alluring Bettie Page homage that Dave Stevens was known for.

I hate to be so down on the story, but the art, the dialogue and the story itself are all below the quality of everything else in these first two Rocketeer Adventures books. The moment I read it I was sort of let down and it really surprised me that others liked it so much. I guess I didn’t get the memo that said I had to love it. The only parts I really enjoyed was the nods to the old time serials, but those just weren’t enough to raise this one from mediocre. Your mileage may vary.

We only get one pin-up this time around, but thankfully it’s the best one to date. Geof Darrow has a balls to the wall pin-up of the Rocketeer smack dab in the middle of a Nazi bombardment of planes. Bullets are flying and it’s a frenzy everywhere. This is the kind of Rocketeer artwork that inspires so much imagination within the character.

Finally we have Lowell Francis’ “TKO”, which is far and away the best mini-story in this comic. This is a fun little trip around the world of the Rocketeer and the unique presentation of the mid-air battle makes it one of the most satisfying Rocketeer stories to date. It details an in air battle between the Rocketeer and another man with a rocket pack. The hook is that there’s almost no dialogue until the end. The little narration we get is in the form of a radio broadcast of a boxing match. The catch being that what’s going on in the boxing bout, matches up with the battle in the skies.

As usual, we learn very little about how this story got started, but the ending is gratifying enough to make you feel rewarded anyway. I was reminded a bit of the classic GI Joe Silent Interlude, which might sound strange, but that’s the vibe I got despite the presence of narration and dialogue. It’s tough to pull off a story that’s mostly action and still make it entertaining, but Francis has done it in spades here and Gene Ha’s artwork carries it right to the finish.

Overall IDW’s Rocketeer Adventures continues to deliver. Issue #2 isn’t as strong as the first, but it’s still a frantic and fun trip into the retro world of the Rocketeer and comics in general. It’s definitely worth a pick up if you like comics that don’t bog you down with a backlog of retcons and baggage. I can’t wait to read the next issue and I just hope that this leads to more Rocketeer stuff from IDW.

Rocketeer Adventures #1
IDW Publishing
Stories by John Cassaday, Mike Allred and Kurt Busiek

The Rocketeer was a quiet but brilliant little creation by Dave Stevens in the early 1980’s. Had Stevens’ work not managed to turn some heads and eventually land a Disney film property, it’s likely that the Rocketeer would be a largely forgotten book that only aristocrat-like comic enthusiasts spoke about in smoke filled comic shop backrooms… Or some such equivalent.

However, since Dave Stevens’ work did reach the mainstream, it began to get revered in a sense. The Rocketeer never truly became a hit, but it did manage to become iconic. Stevens was very attached to character and his passion was evident in his Rocketeer work, as it was in all of his art. When Dave Stevens died in 2008, it seemed as though his works, in particular the Rocketeer, would reach another level of mystique. As if somehow, the character was untouchable.

That is until IDW announced last year a Rocketeer mini-series involving some of the greatest talents in all of comics. It seems to me that IDW is using this mini-series to lessen, if not erase, some of that mystique. I mean that of course, in a good way. IDW seems intent on letting people know that the Rocketeer is in good hands and that, others can do the character justice. For many the Rocketeer died with Stevens, but like any good comic character, he should be immortalized. Of course this is just speculation on my part, but I’m hopeful that this will lead to an eventual regular release Rocketeer comic.

So how is the comic? Does it embrace the mythos well? I was both curious and optimistic heading into this new book from IDW. Read on if you want to know the answers to these questions and more.

I should preface the review by saying that I think the Rocketeer is a great idea in premise, more than execution. As much as I love Dave Stevens’ work and respect his passion and meticulous detail when it comes to the pulp nature of the original books… I think there was more untapped potential than fully realized greatness. Some folks may not realize that there is not a wealth of Rocketeer material out there. Stevens’ did just a handful of comics with the character over the course of several decades. His battle with leukemia and seemingly other interests, prevented him from doing much.

The best parts of the Rocketeer, for the most part, were extrapolated in the Disney Rocketeer film. The rest of the comics were a bit misguided, seemingly looking to be expanded upon, but never were. Stevens was more content with drawing sexy Bettie Page pin-ups and romanticizing Doc Savage pulp heroes, than truly realizing much of Rocketeer’s own world. That was always a sad reality, often not mentioned by those who wax on about the greatness of the character.

Perhaps Stevens’ best laid plans, were the ones that never came to fruition. He did indeed plan on many more Rocketeer adventures, ones where we learned more about the character and he was able to truly be a hero. One such adventure, involved a Martian invasion and a team up with a Fleischer-style Superman. I was not alone in imagining a larger Rocketeer world, Dave Stevens had that dream too.

Which brings us to the IDW book. Yes, we took a long way getting there, but knowing the history is what makes the book special. IDW offers us three mini-stories, one of which looks to be a multiple parter, and several pinups, all expanding upon the Rocketeer’s hero element. These are like short little glimpses into the Rocketeer’s world and finally, a bit of that untapped potential is coming to light. The Rocketeer is alive and vibrant in vivid glorious color.

The first story, simply titled “The Rocketeer” by John Cassaday, is not only beautifully rendered, it’s a perfect slice of 1950’s Saturday serial. The Rocketeer has to save Betty, while battling mobsters with a secret missile. It’s short, it’s sweet and it’s not a comic that makes you think. Rocketeer kicks butt and saves the day. I don’t think that’s a spoiler… This is exactly the kind of thing that the entire premise of pulp comics were based on.

The second is a multiple part story giving us a little more details on the mysterious “Shadow” known as Jonas. Along the way we discover another Rocketeer pack and helmet. Whether the story will unfold more with “Shadow” revelations (I imagine IDW will have to tread even more lightly than Stevens’) or where it will take us exactly, I don’t know. However it should be fun watching it unfold and I’m glad we get one multi-story arc here. This comic is drawn of course, in an entirely new style than the previous, but it feels no less Rocketeer.

Finally we have a unique story told through a series of flashback style letters from Cliff to Betty. We never actually see the Rocketeer in action, but he’s peppered throughout in tidbits of details and newspaper articles. Cliff is off fighting in World War II and along the way, he’s updating Betty about his day to day life. She too is dealing with trouble at home and eventually, the letters stop, leading to Betty worrying for Cliff’s safety. Can Cliff help end World War II?! Well, you’ll have to read to find out.

As well, in typical Rocketeer fashion, there are a couple of pinups. Most notably, an incredible one from Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart. There’s even a ton of variant covers to the comic itself, including a reprint from Dave Stevens himself and one from uber famous artist, Alex Ross.

So is this comic worth a buy? I think so. The Rocketeer Adventures from IDW doesn’t do anything to reinvent the wheel. In fact, it doesn’t attempt to reinvent the Rocketeer at all. These are just little snippets from Rocketeer’s adventures that weren’t published. You know, the ones you likely have imagined him in ever since you first picked up a Rocketeer comic years ago.

There is no origin story here, nothing for the first time reader, though to be honest, a first time reader would likely enjoy the story just as well. That’s the way old school comics were, you didn’t need a bunch of info on the hero, you could just pick up a comic and read. IDW has succeeded in what many thought was impossible. This isn’t IDW’s Rocketeer, this isn’t a new reboot Rocketeer, this is Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer. I hope there is a lot more to come.

Do you like comics? Well if you do, you’re in luck. New guest writer the Lone Wolf is here to give his opinions on four brand new comics out right now. Let him know what you think and if you’re looking to possibly do column spots here at Infinite Hollywood, drop me a line. – Newt

Greetings and hello. Welcome to the first installment of the Lone Wolf’s “Pulse of the Press.” Thanks goes out to Newton and all the friends and sponsors of Infinite, for giving me the opportunity to snarl and howl. Every week I’ll give you, the masses, a glimpse into what’s new, what’s hot and what’s not, in the wide, wide world of comic books, graphic novels, and the like. Also each week I’ll pick out a few titles that are currently sitting on the rack of your local comic book store, give you a review and hopefully I can turn some of you onto some things you didn’t know was there or simply give you an idea of the “Pulse” of what’s going on in some of the world’s more well known titles. I’ll try my best to tap into what’s a point of interest to the traffic already visiting Infinite Hollywood, and maybe bring in a little traffic of my own. Now that I’ve introduced myself, Moving on…

After visiting maybe only a half dozen times you will have obviously come across a “Dr. Who” reference of some sort or another. Be it Tom Baker’s birthday, or a review of the army building prowess of Newton and his quest for more Cybermen, Dr. Who gets a lot of love here. So I figured I’d use that as my starting point. I was only vaguely aware of the world of “ Dr. Who” until I started coming here. Now I’ve been sucked in. I decided to check out the current run of “Dr. Who” comics on the racks. I’m sure that there have been others in the past being that I. D. W. Publishing’s current series is only 8 issues deep, but that being said 8 issues isn’t that hard to catch up on so I took the proverbial leap and snagged up Issue number 8.

“ Dr. Who“ Issue #8
I. D. W. Publishing
Tony Lee (Writer)
Al Davison (Artist)

I. D. W. publishing has been around for 10 years now, and they have quite a few fairly hot properties. A lot of the wares that they hawk are re-vamped and recycled properties and T. V. series comic book adaptations. They also have one of the best running G. I. Joe titles out there today, but I’ll get to that in a few minutes. So with stuff like “ C. S. I.” and “Angel” being directly tied into the television shows of the same name, I’m not sure if this current run of “Dr. Who” is tied in some way into a T. V. show, but if it is I’m going to have to check that out too. The writing of Tony Lee is above average. His vision of the good Doctor is quirky and eccentric enough to be believable. Now I jumped right into this mid storyline and had to back track to the beginning but I’ll deal with issue #8 exclusively. This issue is part 2 of “ The Tessaract “ (What that means I still don’t know, even after backtracking) The story itself is very good and I slid right into the world of “Dr. Who.” The TARDIS has been invaded by arachnid looking aliens whose ship is tangled up with the TARDIS (for those who don’t know, that is the good Dr.’s primary source of transportation, basically the Police Telephone Booth he goes through time and space in) and they are stuck in the 5th dimension. Oh yeah and it’s about to explode! The Dr. and his cohorts are separated and trying desperately to find a working console aboard the TARDIS so they can escape before the explosion and save time. That seems to be a constant running theme.

The story arc however is pretty mind bending and trippy. Things are not at all as they seem. Tony Lee’s writing pushes the story forward nicely, and as I said before if these are his original stories and not television adaptations he is a better than average storyteller. We get a good look at what could happen if ever the Dr. should fail…. There’s also a dark edge to this story. Some of the Dr.’s intentions and motivations are put into question and as these stories unfold it could be taken to a very dark place. Which is surprising considering the artwork. Al Davison, whose work I’m also not familiar with, is bright and colorful, almost cheery. There’s nothing wrong with that per-se, but it is in stark contrast to the darker overtones of the story. Davison’s artwork is tight, detailed and as realistic as comic art can get. Like I said I’m somewhat of a newbie to this universe, but if this is the type of fast paced, surrealistic storytelling that regularly fills the pages of Dr. Who, I’m in! I’m going to hold back on scoring this title until I’m a little more familiar with the universe of Dr. Who itself, but if you’re already a fan, I’d give
I. D. W. ‘s current run of Dr. Who a closer look.

“G. I. Joe Origins” Issue #12
I. D. W. Publishing
Mark Andreyko (Writer)
Ben Templesmith (Artist)

Staying with I. D. W. and once more segueing into the land of action figure properties, we have one of my personal favorites. There is a good number of “G. I. Joe” titles available out there right now, but I. D. W. got the movie rights for adaptation and even put out a pretty good prequel movie story arc in addition to various ongoing titles. One of the best of these ongoing titles is the Origins series. Issue #12 is the Origin story of the Baroness, Anastasia DeCobray. These stories in particular do not sync up in any way with the current movie mythos of G. I. Joe, and in my opinion should be taken on their own and considered individual properties standing on their own merit and believability. The hard-core, edgy, new “ G. I. Joe” style that has now become canon in the mythos, is very apparent here. Mark Andreyko’s vision of the Baroness is as severe and as hardcore as I’ve seen her. The Baroness is a world class terrorist, point blank and period. We get a brief glimpse into her early life of power and aristocracy through flashback scenes spliced with her current mission. It just so happens that these 2 stories intertwine. She meets up with a man from her past and we get to see how she got her start in terrorism. The story moves very fast paced and we are shown how the Baroness spent some of her early years. Who knew pit fighting in Bangkok was a hobby of Cobra’s number one femme fatale? Andreyko skillfully craft’s The Baroness as wicked of a character as I have ever seen her. Cold, ruthless, and a killer. She seems to have a deeper side, but it’s so covered in an icy shell that even a hint of morality or conscience is not present. I truly enjoy Mark’s writing style and he takes a well used (no pun intended) and well traveled character and sculpts her uniquely. And as I read more and more of his work, I continue to be impressed.

Visually this series is stunning. Ben Templesmith’s artwork is superb. He’s one of my favorite current artists. He has a very dark, shadowy style. His characters themselves are almost an animae style, but dripping with darkness. Every panel is awesomely detailed to be so dark. I got a copy with the “A” cover. Not the sexiest of the 4 covers, but actually the best in my opinion. This particular cover has more of a cartoony old school Baroness look to it, in contrast to Templesmith’s darker vision inside the comic itself. His work tempered with Tom Feister on the cover art was excellent. The panels themselves are deep and foggy. Not a lot of color, and the flashbacks are in different hues of black and white. I know that sounds strange but it’s the best way to describe them. It works really well in the current timelines that are in color, because the shady fog that permeates everything else makes the Baroness herself, in dark, shiny, black leather, sort of POP out at you. But I advise taking some time to explore the depth of the artwork in each of the panels if you’re into that sort of thing. The Baroness herself looks a little too young, but all of Templesmith’s female characters come off as early teens even when you know they are supposed to be in their thirties. If I had a complaint about anything that would be it, the youthful look of his females. But the artwork itself and the depth of the storytelling more than make up for it. I give “G. I. Joe Origins” #12 a powerful 9 out of 10. Any fan of comic books or “G. I. Joe” would be well served to check out this series as it continues to impress.

“G. I. Joe : Cobra 2“
I. D. W. Publishing
Mike Costa and Christos N. Gage (Writers)
Antonio Fuso (Artist)

Wow. That’s what I say about this series. Wow. Hell, I’ll even say it backwards. Wow. Now let me pre-empt this by saying that I’m somewhat of a “G. I. Joe” Comic book Historian. An avid Larry Hamma fan, and I loved the re-vamping work that Devil’s Due pulled off seamlessly awhile back. Debate with me if it’s considered canon to the Mythos. Go ahead, I dare you! I watched Doc and Quick Kick die at the hands of The Saw Viper. Way back during the Marvel run in the eighties and sorry Fanboy purist’s (What I consider myself, a PURIST) BUT Lady Jaye is DEAD. I SAW IT HAPPEN, FELT IT HAPPEN, I WAS THERE MAN! I felt Flint’s pain. Devil’s Due is Canon, but I digress……

New Company, again I. D. W publishing. (They basically have the Franchise, but they’re treating it sooooo good) This Cobra series just goes to show, “G. I. Joe” is in good hands indeed. The premise here is in Cobra 1, they plucked a lesser character (Devil’s Due did a re-vamp and this kind of followed in that vein) Chuckles, and then wrote a home run hitting story. And this is just not a new, streamlined, violent as hell, Joe restart. Yes it is violent, “G. I. Joe” are soldiers, inherently violent profession. Well Cobra, in this Mythos are Terrorists. Let me say that again. TERRORISTs!!!!!!

Which is to say (Al-Qaeda) that they are a group of people (Taliban) that instill Terror ( September 11th) throughout the world. A Terrorist organization. At this point in time Cobra had only surfaced a year or so before. Oh yes there were whispers, but COBRA was the organization Al-Qaeda whispered about. And once they surfaced and their threat level was assessed, they became Top Priority. Red Level Alerts. In the first series the government sent chuckles undercover…. G. I. Joe lost contact. Go out and get it. Read it, it’s worth the money. But now, we’re a year later and the Joes want their intel back. That’s the mission, retrieve Chuckles for the intel. Now there’s some interesting intrigue early on with the Baroness that I don’t want to give away, and seeing Chuckles as a P. O. W. is great, but the real story here is how Cobra seems to feel. They’re terrifying simply put. Some of the cornier characters have been retooled. Tomax and Xamot, whom I’ve always enjoyed anyway, come across as men who would make your skin crawl. Scary, deranged, POWERFUL men. And the whole twin thing is just creepy.

The two co-writers, Costa and Gage nail the intensity and feelings of dread that are a post 9-11 America. Their take on General Hawk is even intense. I’m not sure who writes what in the stories, but I’d love to interview them. If I ever get a chance I’ll post that sometime and let me know what you think. Their work is easily some of the best in the business in the real world military drama genre. Larry himself should be proud of these two guys. And if I see those 2 names, Mike Costa and Christos N. Gage, whatever it is on, I’ll pick up and read whatever it is. Top notch guys. The “ Boba Fett “of this issue however is Croc Master. Once again a somewhat silly character in in some people’s minds. Not mine though. I always thought he was a creepy dude who liked Crocodiles and lived on Cobra Island in the swamps. Cobra troopers in the old Marvel run didn’t even feel comfortable around him. Fairly creepy. Now ratchet that up to Jeffery Dahmer and Hannibal Lector levels. Hell he may end up being the sick, twisted Boba Fett of this whole series.

He’s first shown in a sewer, floating just underwater with a couple of crocs and body parts. In a rotting, fetid, cesspool of horrible death. I’ve saw (not in person, on video) a man get eaten by crocs. Stuck with me since I saw it at age 13, so maybe others won’t get the same ideas and vision I personally had of this scene, but you will get the feel of it. This is a sick guy… There’s a conversation about the types of crocs he has and he knows his stuff. All that happens is he’s invited to attend a meeting and the girl leaves. Maybe five or six panels and 5 talk bubbles. And my skin did crawl. It was great and I cannot wait until next issue.

Croc Master’s re-tooling also included a new look, which brings me to the artistry. Antonio Fuso creates an almost photograph perfect style with his artwork. Details galore. Everything looks as if it was traced from reality. If he was drawing Playboy, you’d think the women were real. That’s not to say everyone looks beautiful…. Chuckles, looks hungry!!! Croc Master looks slimy, and Xamot could intimidate a cat. It’s top notch work all around. I got the B Cover, personal preference, I just liked it better. Nothing wrong with A cover, I just thought it was slightly misleading. Both were bright as was the inside despite the dread filled story. It didn’t come off as cheerful in any way, fashion, shape or form, however. Well worth the 3.99 price tag and I don’t say that often. Content worthy of the price but it holds true with “G. I. Joe : Cobra 2 issue #1.

“Legends: The Enchanted” Issue #0
Radical Publishing
Nick Percivial (Writer, Creator, and Artist)

Next on my list of picks is a prequel tale to an upcoming Graphic Novel. Radical Publishing is a smaller company, but being headed up by Barry Levine, and a lot of big names writers involved, (Antoine Fuqua: writer of “Training Day” Wesley Snipes: of “Blade” fame, E. Max Frye: of H. B. O. ‘s “Band of Brothers,” as well as many others in the industry) they look to be on the rise. And judging by this title I can see why. The story itself is very innovative take on every old fairy tale you’ve ever heard. From “Pinocchio” to “Jack and the Beanstalk”, they’re all in here. Jack is a giant killer, Red Riding Hood is a wolf killer, Hansel and Gretel are guides/bodyguards. Very interesting stuff. The world that all this is set in is a neo-war hammer type setting. Swords and sorcery meets motorcycles and guns. I know that sounds weird and obscure but Writer/Creator Nick Percivial pulls this off seamlessly. His idea’s of fairy tales transported into this bionic woodland catches and holds ones attention.

Percivial also stands out as an amazing artist. He does all of his own artwork. And it jumps right out at you. Visually stimulating panels carry the scope and depth of this story forward at an almost frantic pace. The detail work is far superior to most of the titles on the rack right now. Like I said earlier this is a prequel to an upcoming graphic novel, and I tell you what, I’m there. After reading this title I was sucked into Radical publishing’s whole universe. And the fact that I only paid a dollar for this comic made it such a sweet deal. Radical’s big deal is this “More bang for your buck.” Cheaper prices, top notch writing and well above average artistry looks to push this small publishing house into the ring with the heavyweights, D. C. and Marvel. And I aim to help that cause. If you check out only a few comics this month, save a few bucks and grab a Radical title. You will be quite pleased that you did. A solid 9 out of 10.

Well that’s all for this week, check back to Infinite for more of The Lone Wolf’s “Pulse of the Press” comic book reviews. Be sure and let me know what everyone thinks of my segment, give me something you want reviewed or tell me what a hack I am for not reviewing 7 panels of the latest “Iron Man” title at the cost of 5 bucks, I’m open to any and all opinions. Until then, get out and support your local comic book store.

So says the Lone Wolf…

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the Pulse of the Press are the views of the writer (Lonewolf) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of, Newton Gimmick or any other contributing authors.