Friday, June 15, 2007

Short Booknotes on Graphic Novels 13

Busiek, Kurt and Stuart Immonen. Superman: Secret Identity. New York: DC Comics, 2004. ISBN: 1-4012-0451-1.

In one of the other alternate Earths, superheroes only exist in comic books. Superman is nothing more than a comic book character. But what if a young boy one day wakes up to discover he really does have the powers of Superman? To make matters complicated, his parents named him Clark, and his family name is Kent; they had a quirky sense of humor. The author and artist have created here a moving and beautiful story of a boy coming to age, becoming a man, and living a full life as he discovers a path to be a hero while trying to keep the government at bay. Clark just wants to live a normal life, but it is not as easy as that. This is one of the nicest stories I have read in graphic novels recently. It combines elements of conspiracy shows like The X-Files with elements of a family story with some adventure. It is a fine example of what writers and authors can do in graphic novels. This is one graphic novel that I would highly recommend with art that complements the story very well.

Morrison, Grant. New X-Men, vol. 6: Planet X. New York: Marvel Comics, 2004. ISBN: 0785112014.

In this installment of the series, Magneto, who was presumed dead, appears once again. It turns out he has been hatching a plot to carry out his plans for mutant rule. To make things worse, there is an infiltrator at Xavier's Academy, and he turns many students to Magneto's cause. Meanwhile, the X-Men are facing various missions and challenges, weakening their efforts against Magneto. While the action was good in this one, it did not seem as good to me as other X-Men titles. Maybe for it was the portrayal of Magneto as a bit too maniacal and obsessed. However, fans will likely enjoy this and continue reading the rest of the series.

Claremont, Chris and Jim Lee. X-Men Legends Vol. 1: Mutant Genesis. New York; Marvel Comics, 2003. ISBN: 0-7851-0895-5.

A series of tales from the late 90s are collected in this volume. First, Magneto makes his return. His cause is to bring all mutants under his banner and bringing mutants to their rightful superior place. He is helped by a group of acolytes, mutants sworn to Magneto's cause, but in this case, the acolytes may prove more dangerous than the master of magnetism himself. It is up to the X-Men to stop him. Next, a group of conspirators, including twins striving to bring a Fourth Reich to life, resurrect an old Soviet superweapon: the mutant Omega Red. However, Omega Red's death factor, which can kill with a touch, is not stable. Now, X-Men, the Upstarts as they are known, and others race to find a device that will stabilize Omega Red's powers and put the Upstarts in a new dominant position. This is classic comic book action.

Rucka, Greg. Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon. New York: DC Comics, 2005. ISBN: 1-4012-0797-9.

As the story begins, Diana has faced many challenges and obstacles. However, there is no rest in store as the Gorgon sisters manage to bring their deadly sibbling Medusa back to life. Now the creature with the power to turn others to stone is out after Wonder Woman for revenge. I admit that I have not read Wonder Woman comics lately. It is one of those I pick up if there is nothing else at hand (I tend to like my heroes a bit darker, so I am more of a Batman as opposed to Superman reader, for instance), but reading this one has proven to be interesting. Rucka has written a compelling storyline; the art is very good. And for me, it is interesting to see that the Olympian and mythological creatures have adapted to modern times. As in old times, the gods continue to plot against each other, and they continue their petty battles. In the end, Wonder Woman makes a very costly sacrifice. I think I will be picking up other issues a bit more frequently. I will certainly look forward to the next part of the story.

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