Tuesday, May 14

Dynamite Comics – June 2013

Reviews, commentary, general reactions, and random notes on the Dynamite Entertainment comics that were released during April (mostly) that I received near the beginning of May. Caution: Spoilers ahead! [Link to previous month.]

Cover D by Sean Chen
Masks #6 of 8

Frankly, not a whole lot happens here except that the Master gloats over his plan. I still think he's the former District Attorney who was once the masked crime fighter known as the Clock, and that ultimately there will be a confrontation between him and the more recent D.A. Tony Quinn, the Black Bat.

I have two friends also buying this series. Unfortunately, I'm pretty much the only one enjoying it, I think. And the truth is that there's not much here. Were I not such a fan of the original source material and characters – even some that this series pretty much introduced me to, such as Miss Fury and the Black Bat, I can easily see myself agreeing with them.

Cover by Lucio Parillo
Lord of the Jungle #14
Breeding and Refinement – The Return of the Jungle Lord, Part 6 of 6”

As a conclusion The Return of Tarzan, Dynamite's expandaptation is almost unrecognizable. On its own terms, it's not bad, I guess, but it's still not really doing it for me and I can see myself dropping this title at some point in the near future. It's just too distorted from what I consider to be canon. There's just too much imposition of modern values and sensibilities on the proper early-20th-c. world for my taste. Most egregiously submitting to modern political correctness (a term that feels archaic, but …) is the footnote on page 2 regarding “Rhodes”: “Cecil Rhodes, British imperialist who devastated much of Africa in the late 1800s.” Yeah. There's a lot more to it than that.

There is of course a far more active role for the lady-folk here, Jane and La working as unlikely allies. The issue climaxes with a knife fight between Tarzan and Rokoff, and ends with Tarzan and Jane kissing to the cheers of the Waziri. If it weren't purportedly a retelling of such a classic story, I'm sure I'd very much like it. But as it is, this series has gone seriously off the rails for me.

Cover B by Fabiano Neves
Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #24

Barsoom has two moons, yes, but not two suns!

At this point, I'm just running out pre-ordered issues, and there's nothing here to bring me back. There is cannibalism, as well as Dejah Thoris ridiculously defeating an armored assassin. There are also unexplained transitions such as between pages 13 and 14 – you'll have to count the pages just like I did to see what I'm talking about. I really wish modern comics would number their pages like they used to, but that would call attention to just how few there are. When there's such big and few panels on each page, twentyish pages is just not enough. But that's a separate rant.

Honestly, about the only thing I really like at this point about this book is the look of Kantos Kan. Well, yeah, I like all-but-naked women as much as the next guy, but there's got to be more than that to carry a book like this.

I'm sure I've encountered this before, but look at the fall-off in issue ratings when Arvid Nelson handed over the writing to Robert Place Napton with issue #11(?). And I guess there aren't enough reviewers bothering with this book after issue #16 to even show up on Comic Book Roundup. How's this book still around?


Cover by Jay Anacleto
Dejah Thoris and the Green Men of Mars #3 of 8

Same reason as above for why I even got this book. And this is my last pre-ordered issue, so I'm outta here.

In the interest of saying something good, the covers on this series are very nice. I really like the colors, the borders, and the pulpish painted effect. I could almost be persuaded to get the issues based on that alone. Actually, not.

But seriously, this issue does seem to raise the level of the story a bit with some psychological cat-and-mouse (or the Barsoomian equivalent, “banth-and-ulsio”?). Nevertheless, I won't see how it progresses from here. Really, the literal butchery including the final image of a Thark's brains spilling out of his shattered skull and an image of a Thark's spilled entrails at another point is thoroughly disgusting. Moreover, this has to be a low point for John Carter, portrayed here as the village idiot of Helium.


Cover B by Alex Ross
The Shadow: Year One #2 of 8

Here again, I'm just burning through pre-ordered issues, but I'm not dropping this title for quality. There does seem to be a bit of a drop in the quality of the art with this second issue, but I'm really wanting this series for the story by Matt Wagner – which is great, but I decided to just hold off on getting any more individual issues and just buy the publisher's collection when it comes, hopefully pretty quickly on the heels of the last issue of the series.

Cheers!, and Thanks for reading!

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