Why Aren't You Reading...
By Alan Donald
…King David? Why? Well it's got great artwork to start with, the story is very compelling and the synergy of the two is a joy to behold. Further to that the tale is retelling of a classic piece of history that is important to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths. King David, the plucky Shepherd who stood down the giant Goliath and went on to become the King of Israel is shown here as a human. His faith is an example to us all and the ending shows him to ultimately be a human being, as flawed as the rest of us. A great tale and a great comic.
…Star Wars Tales? Why? It's Star Wars! It never takes itself too seriously! It's the best! That simple really. This comic has produced a Pulp Fiction parody with Yoda and Mace Windu in a diner on Coruscant, it has pitted Darth Vader against Darth Maul (Maul was a ghost/zombie thing animated by dark Jedi) and it has followed the fortunes of the unlucky red droid that exploded after Luke's uncle chose him in Episode 4 (did you know it was a Jedi droid that blew itself up to ensure that R2 D2 and Luke Skywalker's destinies were fulfilled?). It isn't all fun though. Other tales have looked at the lot of the Storm Troopers, the fatalistic attitude they need to adopt knowing that the first one through the door will always die, it has shown Han Solo winning the Millennium Falcon and it constantly surprises with its mix of humorous and serious takes on the Star Wars legend. More than any other Star Wars title this anthology is the one that'll appeal to the wider range of fans.
…Daredevil? Why? This isn't a cheap Spider-Man or Batman knock-off. Frank Miller put paid to that 20 years ago and Kevin Smith reinforced it a couple of years back. Daredevil is a classic character in his own right and Brian Michael Bendis has surpassed himself with his current storyline. The structure of the current story is to start in the present and flash back to about a month ago and then a couple of weeks or so ago before coming back to the present. This formula was recently used in Iron Man and I was driven up the wall by it. The Iron Man team couldn't handle it properly and it became tedious after just one issue. That team should take note, this is how it should be done! Bendis has an almost uncanny ear for dialogue that would make Tarrantino commit suicide and he is such a skilled builder of story structure that, if he were an architect he'd be good enough to design St Paul's cathedral before breakfast. The current storyline has Matt Murdock targeted by the mob and the Kingpin taken down by his own lieutenants, it's a dark and moody tale of deception, anger and murder.
…Gotham Knights? Why? It's still the best Batman title on the shelf and it still features covers by the incomparable Brian Bolland. This title takes the time to examine the team that Batman has set up around himself. This issue is focusing on Batman and Superman along with a secondary focus on Alfred. One quick complaint is that the colourist has mucked up Superman's costume. The 'S' shield currently features a black background as Superman is in morning for those who died in the Worlds at War storyline. This is a true gem. Batman is brooding, superior and he's got it all worked out. Superman is calm, respectful and eager to please. It seems impossible that the two men could have any kind of relationship. Superman tries to use reason and good old American values, he doesn't deliberately try to seem superior but his Boy Scout ways tend to make him seem a little preachy. Batman on the other hand is pure attitude. He KNOWS he is the best there is, he KNOWS he is right and he KNOWS he got there through cold intellectual reasoning not some mom's apple pie philosophy. The relationship only works because it would be too much hassle for Batman to put Superman down and because Supes is prepared to work on it. The classic verbal battle aside this issue also features all the subtle subplots we've come to expect. Batman no longer acknowledges the existence of Bruce Wayne, Alfred reads Bruce's personal log. We get it spelt out to us that the cold notes laid out in the third person as a brutal examination of Batman, his team and his methods were written by Brucie and we get a couple of other suggestions that perhaps we should be a little more careful before we assume that Bruce was framed.
…Robin? Why? This used to be one of my favourite titles. I loved Robin it was a great romp of fast paced teenage superhero action, it did Spider-Man better than Spider-Man and it was extra cool 'cause it was Robin! Recently, however, things have gotten stale and the artwork has been abysmal. Issue #100 changes that. We've got drama back in Tim's life, there's romance, fun and we get to see the thoughtful and questioning Robin we've come to love and not the whining child that's appeared recently (except in Young Justice where the cool Tim Drake has never left). This Robin makes us think and the asides, sarcastic comments and little moments make the read worthwhile. Oh and this issue also features a breakdown of just how much Batman's little operation costs… Batmobile $1.8 Million, cheap I thought. Smoke Grenades, $69 each. It ain't cheap by anyone's standards.
…The Order? Why? Because it's fun. The Defenders were cursed to appear together whenever mankind was in greatest peril, no matter what they were doing. This got old real quick for them so they decided on a new tactic. Dr Strange, Namor, the Silver Surfer and the Grey Hulk decided the best way to get some peace was to take over the world and make sure that no threat could ever appear to disturb their lives again. The Order have ended wars in the middle east, now they head for the UN.
…Ultimate Marvel Wizard Special? Why? It gives the inside scoop on the Ultimate Universe from what's coming up to what was cut and what prompted the idea in the first place. A great read and a must for fans of the Ultimate universe.
…Blade & Blade II? Why? A new ongoing series and a film adaptation! You keep asking after Blade, well here's a double dose, buy now!
…Green Lantern? Why? It's fun, it's fast, it's got great characters and it's a favourite of mine.
…Green Arrow? Why? This is a very cool comic. It's a fanboy's dream with loads of back references yet it is instantly accessible for new fans. The book has great action but it takes it's time to have realistic and well crafted character based scenes.
…Toyfare? Why? It's a magazine for toy fans by toy fans. This is a funny and informative journal definitely a must for Action Figure collectors or fans of Wizard.
…New X-Men? Why? Xavier went public to declare himself and the school's population to be mutants. A powerful new baddy secretly took control of the Prof, and an alien fleet is heading in to destroy all mutants. Good stuff really.
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