Archive for the 'peter david' Category

24
Sep
08

X-Factor #35

Publisher: Marvel – $2.99

Written by Peter David

Art by Larry Stroman

Though it didn’t occur to me until lately, X-Factor is Peter David’s best work and although it’s lacking lately because of Marvel’s annoying need for crossovers, it’s still the best X-Men related title to be published since Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men around the turn of the century. Fallen Angel is a fantastic piece of work that’s approaching it’s 50th issue and has built a small following, but it’s probably the second strongest outing by David as a long term writer that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him complete but it’s just not as great as far as characterization and pacing as X-Factor.  Where Fallen Angel has a great story, great characters that have grown with the story and a definite vision of a future(as opposed to the unfortunately usual habit of just walking into the abyss without evidence of an ending) David consistently produces a great character book, but that’s not the miracle of X-Factor.  What he’s done that is so special is take a half dozen regular character who have existed for decades and made his own incarnations of them to the point that David, as a storyteller and monthly writer, owns the book to an extent that even the most talented writer taking over the book where he leaves it will create disappointment and disjointed movements for the characters.

This issue really isn’t proof of that greatness, but we’re coming up on three years of consecutive work on this title and if you were to sit down with all of the issues, which if you want to do so, come on over and read them, I’ll let you, you’ll see a fantastic group of characters who grow and live, who are funny and conflicted and, when Marvel isn’t fucking it up for everyone, make a fine plot move quite well.

This issue is, annoyingly and unfortunately so, a Skrull-pushing Secret Invasion tie-in, but it’s really quite readable if you’re not reading SI(and I’m certainly not) because David banks on the reader knowing the characters.  You’re given the information that Skrulls have invaded Earth, they can look like people and are impersonating important players in the Marvel universe, and we move on to the story.  Like I said, it’s not great, but it’s okay and considering this is all being done while being forced to abdicate to the big Marvel cross-over, it’s really better than okay.  This also marks a good six months or so of David not being able to do what he does because of Marvel.  First you had Messiah Complex, which was good but cost X-Factor two of it’s most dynamic characters, my favorite – Layla Miller – ended up stranded in the future in a concentration camp, and one of the most dynamic and interesting characters, Raine Sinclaire, was taken away to take part in the mediocre X-Force.  David tried as best as he could to bounce back from that and then Secret Invasion came along.  For this, I’m giving him a free pass on development until this is all over.

What I didn’t care for was the serious decrease in art quality on this issue.  Larry Stroman illustrated the majority of Peter David’s run on this very same title in the 90’s, a run that I really enjoyed and originally bought as a kid and then enjoyed once again earlier this year.  Stroman’s art wasn’t great then, but it worked to move the story along in a fashion that was slightly more interesting and creative than his contemporaries.  I don’t feel like that’s the case in this situation.  His pencils come off as sloppy and results in characters that seem almost blurry or detached from the scenes.  I hope he’s not staying on for long or, if he is, he gets his shit together.  I’d hate to see a great series get derailed by half-hearted artwork.  I want this series to last for a very long time to see what Peter David is capable of.

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02
Sep
07

Fallen Angel #19

Written by Peter David

Art by J.K. Woodward

Cover by Billy Tucci

IDW Publishing $3.99 

Well, I’m glad that’s over.  These last three issues that have comprised the Shi crossover have been the worst three issues of Fallen Angel and I have read every single issue, both DC and IDW, ever published.  Overall, this issue has been the best out of the three issue arc and this arc has meant the return of Woodward to handling the art, so that’s good as well.  Up until this issue I haven’t really been able to say anything good, but now I can say this:

In this issue Peter David gets back to fucking around with mythology and religion(which is really just mythology, after all) in modern society, which was a relief.  He toys with the issue of multiple gods and who is really in charge, the answer is generally no one.  I liked the concept that, as people move on from the old gods and worship the new, exciting and more relevant ones, the old gods are forgotten and their power fades.  Thus, the power of gods lies only in the belief of their followers, which is true in our society; the insanity of the Christians rules society because they believe, they accept their mythology as truth, live it, and it becomes the truth to them.  An interesting and pretty relevant concept because we live at a time where Christians, Muslims and Jews are all scrambling to stop social progress from happening because the further along we come along, the more irrelevant the old mythology becomes.

As Bill Hicks said, it’s time we evolve our ideas.

09
Aug
07

Fallen Angel #18

Written by Peter David

Art by J.K. Woodward

IDW $3.99
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Okay. Last month I became really worried. A lame crossover, more bad art, the single worst issue of the 37 issue series, a story that seemed so bad it must be a joke. But this issue starts off with the most appreciated return of J.K. Woodward and the story turns around. Last months flipbook was a horrible idea and made for a ridiculously bad, short and disorderly introduction to a story and to be honest, I thought using Shi in the book was just a gimmick. This issue didn’t justify the horrible quality of issue 17, but it did restore my faith in the series by introducing a plot that actually makes sense in the long-running continuity of Fallen Angel.

The return of Yurei, Woodward, the concept of tricking Lee into eating some kind of cursed food so that she can never leave Yellow Springs and return to Bette Noir makes perfect sense in the context of Yurei being an evil, power hungry bastard. I have yet to decide where Shi comes into play, why David agreed to write her into the series and why she’s necessary in the story. If Yurei set them up to come to Yellow Springs, Shi fits into the equation somewhere, whether she double crosses Lee or is in league with Yurei himself, something more complex than two incredibly powerful, religiously affected women who have killed lots of people wander into a strange cursed place at the same time has to be happening.

David’s return to form is most evident in his projections of the simplicity of Christianity and how flimsy it’s grounds are. As Shi hears Lee’s experience with God, hearing the revelation that God doesn’t care about humanity, in fact, he is disgusted and bored with us, Shi, the faithful Christian is immediately upset and scared that Lee might be right. Lee asks her, “if he had no mercy for his only son, what chance do we have?”, clearly scaring the shit out of Shi.

Next month will be fun to see where this all goes, if Shi will stick around, what she’s there for, what happens with Yurei and what exactly comes next. And a fight with hundreds of samurai is almost guaranteed, which definitely helps.

04
Aug
07

New comics for August 03, 2007

I’m a week and a half behind, so this week I ended up picking up quite the pile. I was glad to see so many great issues in my pile this go around. I was particularly excited about walking dead, which is already reviewed, batman, dark tower and JLA. I’ll be putting up several reviews per day and working my way through my pile over the next several days.

Action Comics #853 – Kurt Busiek(w), Brand Walker, Livesay, Lee Loughridge(a)
Batman #666 – Grant Morrison(w), Andy Kubert, Jesse Delperdang(a)
Black Panther #29 – Reginald Hudlin(w), Francias Portela and Val Staples(a) Arthur Suydam(c)
Black Summer #1 of 7 – Warren Ellis(w), Juan Jose Ryp(a)
Chronicles of Wormwood #6 of 6 – Garth Ennis(w), Jacen Burrows(a)
Countdown #39 & 40 – Paul Dini, McKeever(w), Jim Calafiore and Jay Leigten(a)
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #7 of 7 – Peter David and Robin Furth(w), Jae Lee and Richard Isanove(a)
Deathblow #6 – Brian Azzarello(w), Carlos D’Anda, Henry Flint(a)
Fallen Angel #18 – Peter David(w) and J.K. Woodward(a)
Futurama # 32 – Ian Boothby(w), Mike Kazaleh and Andrew Pepoy(a)
Grimm Fairy Tales #16 – Ralph Tedesco and Joe Tyler(w), Andrew Magnum and Roland Salvidor(a)
Justice Society of America #8 – Geoff Johns(w), Fernando Pasarin and Rodney Ramos(a)
Metal Men #1 of 8 – Duncan Roleau(a & w)
Midnighter #10 – Keith Giffen(w), Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Randy Mayor(a)
Raise the Dead #4 of 4 – Leah Moore and John Reppion(w), Hugo Petrus, Marc Rueda and Ivan Nunes(a)
Speak of the Devil #1 of 6 – Gilbert Hernandez(Spider-Man Fairy Tales #3 of 4 – C.B. Cebulski(w), Kei Kobayashi, Christina Strain(a)
Star Trek: Klingons Blood Will Tell #4 – Scott and David Tipton(w), David Messina and Elaina Casagrande(a)
Star Trek: Year Four #1 – David Tischman(w), Steve Conley, Leonard O’Grady(a)
Uncanny X-Men #489 – Ed Brubaker(w), Mike Perkins and Andrew Hennessey(a)
Unholy Union #1 – Ron Marz(w), Michael Broussard(a)
Walking Dead #39 – Robert Kirkman(w), Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn(a)
Welcome to Tranquility #9 – Gail Simone(w), Neil Googe(a)
Wetworks #11 – J.M. Dematteis(w), Joel Gomez and Trevor Scott(a)
World War Hulk #3 – Greg Pak(w), John Romita Jr, Janson, Strain(a)
World War Hulk: Ironman #20 – Christos Gage(w), Butch Guice, Dean White and Gerald Parel(a)
World War Hulk: The Incredible Hulk #108 – Greg Pak(w), Leonard Kirk, Scott Hanna and Chris Sotomayor(a)
World War Hulk: The Irredeemable Ant-Man #10 – Robert Kirkman(w), Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Bill Crabtree and Val Staples(a)
X-Men #201 – Mike Cary(w), Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas and Edgar Delgado(a)

28
Jul
07

X-Factor #21

Written by Peter David

Art by Pablo Raimondi and Brian Reber

Marvel Comics $2.99

“The Isolationist”

 

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With the introduction of a new villain, a mysterious obsessive-compulsive man who appears to have followed Monet and Theresa back from France, Peter David really goes out of his way to show what the maximum capacity a 22 page comic book can accomplish.

In only three pages, using 16 panels, he shows how getting caught up with Pietro’s plan to rule over people has destroyed Rictor. By regaining his powers and then losing them so quickly, Ric is devastated. Dwelling in his bedroom with the lights out, refusing to eat or leave the room, despite Rahne trying to help him get his mind off of the recent past. The monologue that runs throughout the book is a commentary on loneliness, how it can drive some people crazy, how it’s unnatural, but beneficial for short periods of time, but how in the end it’s not really in our nature to be alone. We are social creatures, the monologue insists, “the greatest instinct we have is to survive. The more people there are, the better the chances of survival. It’s easy to pick off individuals…but there’s strength in numbers…even if that number is only two.” After sitting with him and trying to cheer him up, get him to eat, anything that resembles real human activity, Rahne walks away after being kissed by Rictor. Then she stops at the door, taking off her shirt and running to the bed, kissing him back.

David does an excellent job at balancing what I would call real humor, that is, not these forced jokes, but honest humor into the dialog between the characters. This is usually done in part by Guido, who is just a generally funny, good-natured person. As Monet and Theresa tell Jamie that they’ll forgive them for two-timing them if he tells them which was better in bed, Guido whispers to Jamie, “DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!” By adding humor and an almost soap opera tension among very serious situations, it tends to balance everything out, which stops this book from ever feeling like a superhero book or a detective book, though it’s both, but much, much more.

With everyone else seemingly out of the house or working on a case, Layla and the little girl Monet and Theresa rescued from an angry mob in France are eating breakfast, when the girl shows Layla a pregnancy test that someone flushed down the toilet.  It came back and it had a plus sign on it.  This is a perfect example of Peter David’s ability to soap opera it up, because it could be any of the three women, but I’m sure a big chunk of anticipation and real time will go by before we get some answers.  In the meantime, Guido meets up with Val Cooper from the government agency O*N*E*, where he believes he is to be offered a bribe to spy on the team. He is shocked to learn that Cooper is actually asking him to be in charge of the police force in the mutant disctric where X-Factor’s offices are. While he’s being suspicious of Cooper, Jamie is drinking early in the day, where is greeted by the man who followed the girls from France. He introduces himself to Jamie as Josef Huber, saying to Jamie, “I’m an isolationist, being alone, it’s a terrible way to live…don’t you think?”

The agency’s services are required to track down a pair of children who are famous for singing racist, propagandistic songs about the end of homo superior and the girls gladly take the case. These stories work best when David breaks up the cast of characters on multiple assignments and they generally all head towards a unified collision course so that, once they are reunited, the full cast shines at the climax of the story arc. It looks like this book has hit it’s stride and hasn’t really been affected by having the same writer for nearly two years. In fact, it’s considerably stronger for having a consistent writer who just happens to be one of the most talented writers in comic books today. If Peter David left X-Factor, I’d seriously consider about canceling from my pull list.