Monday, May 21, 2007

Short Booknotes on Graphic Novels 12

Morales, Robert et. al. Captain America Vol. 5: Homeland. New York: Marvel Comics, 2004. ISBN: 0-7851-1396-7

Part of the Marvel Knights series. I finished this while I was traveling for TLA for my evening reading. Captain America gets drafted to serve in a trial for an alleged terrorist. The prisoner in question was an American citizen who happens to be Muslim, and he is suspected of aiding the enemy. When a prominent former Congressmember chooses to defend him, things get interesting. However, not all is as simple as it seems as Cap travels to GITMO. When some prisoners escape from the prison facility, it is up to our hero to get them back and foil their plans without causing an international incident in Cuba. This compilation features an appearance by Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. Overall, this was a very entertaining reading. Also included is a story about Bucky and there is some alternate universes time travel as well.

Various authors. The Best of Wolverine, Vol.1. New York: Marvel Comics, 2004. ISBN: 0-7851-1370-3.

This is a compilation of various issues featuring Wolverine. It starts with Wolverine's first appearance in an issue of The Incredible Hulk. The volume also features the Weapon X series that presents Wolverine's origin as a government experiment and shows how he got his adamantium skeleton. Other stories include a four part Wolverine mini-series where he travels to Japan to find the woman he loves, a confrontation with Captain America, and a meeting with Lady Deathstrike, another woman from his past. This is a nice hardcover edition, and it features a good introduction by Chris Claremont that provides some historical context for the character's evolution. Personally, I always find interesting reading those introductions in anthologies when they are available. The issues covered in this volume span from the 1970s to the 1990s. Personally, I tend to enjoy the older issues because of the humorous narrative voice they feature, something that seems to be missing in later volumes. However, the volume makes for great entertainment and fast paced reading. The four part miniseries was one of my favorites as it showed depth of character in Wolverine as well as good plot. I definitely recommend this one for fans of Wolverine as well as comics readers.

Morrison, Grant. New X-Men, Vol. 2: Imperial. New York: Marvel Comics, 2002. ISBN: 0785108874.

I recently discovered this series. So far, it seems pretty good. In this volume, a wealthy entrepreneur is targeting the X-Men and mutants for genetic harvesting. His idea is to steal their genetics to create what in essence is a new master race. As if this was not enough, Professor Xavier is dying, and his evil twin sister is plotting to eliminate him and the X-Men. Her plan? Take over the mind of Professor Xavier and take over the Shiar empress to launch an invasion of Earth. By the way, this series features excellent art, with a nice dark style that I think enhances as well as gives a nice contemporary look for the characters and setting.

Jeph Loeb, et. al. Superman: Our Worlds at War, Book One. New York: DC Comics, 2002. ISBN: 1-56389-915-9.

A powerful enemy known as Imperiex arrives, destroying everything in his path. Superman now is forced make alliances with both heroes and enemies including President Luthor in order to defeat Imperiex. This volume is part of a two-book series. The action is very fast-paced. Superman will suffer many losses as he has to decide how much he is willing to sacrifice in order to win.

Jeph Loeb, Superman: Our Worlds at War, Book Two. New York: DC Comics, 2002. ISBN: 1563899167.

The war continues, and it is going badly. Imperiex is destroyed, but a new enemy that had been lurking unseen in the shadows now moves forward to take over Imperiex's power. Villains and heroes come together; alliances are broken, and lives are lost. The fast-paced action continues as the war draws to an end, leaving many wondering about the many lost lives. An interesting technique in this series is the writers' use of various historical speeches (Lincoln's Gettysburg Address for instance) as part of the textual narrative of some stories. At times, such technique seemed right on target, but at other times it did not quite match the mood as well. Overall, I recommend this series. Very engaging and a quick read for volumes with about 250 pages each.

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