Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter – The First Death #1

CoverJul 2007 | Marvel

Writing: Laurell K. Hamilton
Art: Wellinton Alves
Colour: Color Dojo
Letters: Bill Tortolini
Cover: Brett Booth

A vampire has been killing children and dumping their bodies for police to easily fine. Anita works with Dolph to hunt down the one responsible.

This book is part of a two-issue story Hamilton wrote especially for comics for fans that shows a bit of Anita’s past a year before Guilty Pleasures. It shows how her and Jean-Claude meet and it’s her first serial killer case. Being new to the franchise, I thought I’d begin here. I do have the first actual novel, but every attempt to get into fails. This, on the other hand, had different fingers. I enjoyed it quite a bit, actually. The art isn’t the greatest to me and looks off in ways I can’t describe other than I don’t particularly care for it. Everything else makes up for it.

I’m curious to see just how intricate the case is, being a two-issue thing, I’m not expecting anything too deep, but should I continue on it’s something I hope to find less obvious. I enjoy mysteries that aren’t transparent leaving the audience with all the needed information before the the heroes can solve things. I like to follow along with the detectives and such and work things out on my own as I read the stories, so that’s what I’m hoping for. I enjoy supernatural stuff, so this had better deliver in the long-term. Disappointments are so awful, especially about things you find exciting.

Anita is an interesting character. I didn’t know anything about her other than she hunts vampires, so this is my first exposure to who she is. She has psychic powers and there’s something about zombies, too which I can’t remember presently. She can sense day and night because of it. She used her psychic powers to sense vampire presences and strengths, too. I’d like to see this zombie angle and what else she can do. Hopefully I’ll see something new in next issue’s conclusion which I look forward to reading.

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Ruins

Ruins_0002009 | Marvel

Writing: Warren Ellis
Art: Cliff Nielsen | Terese Nielsen | Chris Moeller
Letters: Jon Babcock

This one-shot collects both issues of the mini-series and follows ex-Daily Bugle photog, Philip Sheldon as he travels the world gathering material for the book he’d like to write.

Everything that could have gone wrong in the world of Marvel, has. This is not a happy story of supers saving the world, but a twisted world saving it from supers. They are not the thrilling heroes we are familiar with, but twisted abominations of things that just went wrong in a rather dark, dystopian world. The tone of the book is heavy and depressing, grating the edges of my mind and showing me a dark world I’d like to see more of. A horrible world filled with people clinging to life and scraping away an existence from the filth they’re surrounded in.

It was a great read. I’m very fond of Ellis’ writing which, combined with the messy-gritty painted art, showed me a believable alternate world-a sad, depressing world of mostly psychological horrors from the shock of it all. To illustrate an example, a bit of material he collected for his book include a disturbing photograph of Emma Frost. She stands smiling with her arms around a bald child with Frankenstein stitching at a weird angle across the skull. Three more children stand with them. Emma is the priestess of the Church of the Next Generation. Her children are legally adopted by members of the church and undergo surgeries to awaken their psychic abilities. It’s disturbing and there’s a horror in that.

My chest feels heavy after reading this. I’m glad it is over and feel relief, yet unfulfilled from the ending. While part of me wishes to see more stories of this nature set in this “alterniverse.” the rest of me is happy that it all ended here.

5 Ronin #1

5 Ronin #1 Cover

5 Ronin #1 Cover

May 2011 | Marvel

Writing: Peter Milligan
Art: Tomm Coker
Colour: Daniel Freedman
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

The year is 1600, we’re in feudal Japan, and we have a ronin Wolverine. Every fact of that sentence contains something I am not a fan of. I’m so done with samurai, I’m so done with Wolverine, but why, then, did I pick up this book? The answer comes with me having recently read 1602 and I’ve been going through the Fantastic Four 1602 story, as well. I wanted to see a historical story that captured not only the period, but dealt with the mutants in question in a believable manner. I had really high hopes and expectations going into this. The concept of this limited series also had a role, since each issue deals with five different Marvel supers placed in Japan. While I’m not a Wolverine fan, I have Psylocke, Punisher, Hulk and Deadpool left to enjoy.

When I opened the book, the first thing to grab me, was the art. It is nice and gritty and has that sorta washed out looking colour palette that I’ve started to get tired of. I have been craving the more vibrant heroic stuff, of late, but that doesn’t detract. I also like how they drew Wolverine as a japanese man, rather than just inserting him from elsewhere, or something.

Getting into it, it sets the backdrop up nicely. It’s 1600, we’re in Japan, and there was a clan war at Sekigahara. The ronin in our tale’s master fell at that battle and the rumors have spread that theres a ronin wandering around that won’t stay dead. He receives a coded message informing him of a meeting of brothers. Of course, things do not go as planned. By the end, there is only one.

This issue was all right. I enjoyed it, but that’s it. There were parts that confused me with there being multiple Wolverines, but oh, well. I don’t particularly care. It’s the other characters

Spider-Girl #1

Spider-Girl #1 Cover

Spider-Girl #1 Cover

Apr 2011 | Marvel

Writing: Paul Tobin
Art: Clayton Henry
Colour: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Spider-girl is back on the beat despite having previously lost her super powers. Living with her dad and still going to school, she spends her free time cleaning up the streets and tweeting her exploits. Things take a bad turn when Red Hulk shows up.

It seems a lot of comics I’ve been reading have begun with various words equating to how I never knew annoying about them. It has really made me question how much I really know about certain genres and my hobby. There is a lot of miscellaneous knowledge in my brain, and I can recognize a lot of characters in things, but most often than not, I’ve never read much, or anything of them.

Spider-Girl is one such topic. I can identify her in costume, but I couldn’t really tell you anything about her. I don’t read a lot of ongoing series, or long established things. My interest won’t always hold out. I prefer to read TPBs of story arcs that interest me, especially when they span several different series. Fortunately, the start of this issue gives a brief intro to the character before getting right into things, so I was able to read the book with more confidence.

I think I’m going to really like this. There are so many things about the character that I like. I like how the exposition is in the form of Spider-Girl’s tweets. I think that’s really cute. I like her personality and how she and her dad interact.

My daughter races across rooftops, swings through the streets, and then complains about walking up two flights of stairs.

Her time spent with Sue Storm was another great moment for me, especially the joke about hulk versus the thing, and their little heart-to-heart. It had a lot of nice heart warming moments for me that made me really believe and identify with Anya. The issue also had good balance between home life and super hero time, making it more real for me. I look forward to reading more.

Black Panther v5 #1

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Apr 2009 | Marvel

Writing: Reginald Hudlin
Pencils: Ken Lashley
Ink: Paul Neary
Colour: Paul Mounts

Namor talks with T’Chilla about joining the Cabal to ensure the best for his county, however he declines. Later, his encounter with Doctor Doom proves to be near fatal and the discussion of his replacement have already begun.

Holy crap! This was good stuff. I’m a little disappointed the new Black Panther isn’t revealed this issue, but at the same time I’m glad. It seriously would have thrown off the pacing and this is a good beginning.

I didn’t particularly like all the jumping around- now, five hours earlier, now, three hours earlier- that sort of thing. I don’t think it would have made any difference if we just read through it as normal. I always hate such things when it doesn’t affect anything. It wasn’t a major issue, just a slight irritation.

And damn, Namor’s looking good. He’s certainly not the brat I’ve been exposed to in his other series. He looks quite villainous, which makes me wonder if I’ll see any glimpse of that in what I’ve been reading, or if this is just another let down.

I’m looking forward to seeing what trouble the Cabal cause. They’re a nice bunch of characters. I’m fans of them all, so I’m starting to get excited about this.

Ultimately, the quality of writing meets my standard which places it above mediocrity and the art is good, so that’s another plus. With what’s shaping up to be an interesting story, this series might end up being as great as everyone’s hyped it to be. However, there’s still a chance for a nosedive, so we shall see.

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