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.

One Response to IDW Comic Book Reviews – Pulse of the Press

  • DrNightmare says:

    I bought several copies of the Radical title from a few different comic shops, because of the cheap price, to pass out to friends, and because I want to make sure the shops order more of this comic. It was as awesome as Lone Wolf says it is.

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