Book Review – Captain America: Road to Reborn

Title: Captain America: Road to Reborn

Author: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Various

Format: Paperback

Published: 2009

 

In an attempt to expand my horizons of comics I decided to pick up a Captain America that had the potential to look interesting from the library featuring Captain America or rather Bucky Barns as Captain America on some level.  This comic takes place after the death of Captain America.  It goes through the life and times of Captain America as a lot of people considered their past with him and what he had done.  We get to see this from the perspective of Bucky, and a from a few of his friends and romantic interests.  It was a neat story showing the value and importance of a beloved hero and what sort of impact that he had on other people.

 

Some of the stories were rather interesting such as the last one with the vampires which is a story featuring Bucky and retold by Bucky.  To be honest some of my favorite stories were the Bucky stories.  If the story of the Captain was not being recanted it was those who had survived him and his death dealing with the grief and shock of his death.

 

In the end the tile of the story I think is very apt and fitting as there is a point  where Captain’s survivors make mention of how there might be a way to save him.  The details are not spelled out at all and if one is not careful it can be read as a throw away line and be easily missed in the story.

 

Truth be told this story wasn’t that trilling or spectacular and there was noting that fully stood out for me save for the story that featured the vampires and I feel that is chiefly because vampires and werewolves fascinate me in literature.  So I think over all I would give the story a 3 out of 5 page review saying that it was a good read and it was easy to follow even if you don’t know too much they kind of let you know what has happened before this story for characters to be the way they are.

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Book Review – 1602 by Neil Gaiman

Title: Marvel 1602

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Artwork: Andy Kubert & Reinhard Schweizer

Format: Graphic novel/comic collection

Published:  2004

1602 is a collection of 8 parts that operate under a very interesting premise – what if all the Marvel characters start their stories 500 years too soon? – written by the incredible Neil Himself Gaiman.   The story starts with a girl on a boat – 14-year-old Virginia Dare and her protective Indian guide on her way back to England to ask Queen Elisabeth for more money for the Roanoke colony.  At the same time, King James and the Inquisition are both trying to get all the freaks killed.

After that, there is *a lot* that goes on, and honestly, I think that it loses a little something if you’re not really into the comics.  For instance, Hawkeye makes an appearance as an apprentice… named Peter.  And if you weren’t really into Hawkeye or you missed the one offhanded comment that made you go… Oh, wait a minute!… you’d probably miss it.

So, truth be told, I missed most of them.  I mean, Thor was pretty easy, since he came down as, um, Thor.  But was that other one Arachne, Spider Woman or Black Widow?  And if it was Black Widow, who was the other one that I *thought* was Black Widow?  I’m pretty sure those are the X-Men, but I couldn’t name all of them, and even my Ultimate Marvel Character Guide isn’t helping with some of these.  Others aren’t so hard to come up with – Doom, Strange and Banner are called Doom, Strange and Banner, for instance.

Since this is a graphic novel/set of comics, let’s talk about the artwork for a minute.  The artists used a combination of techniques that made the art title pages (there are eight, one for each of the original parts) look like old wood carvings, and really gave the collection a feel of old 17th century artwork.  But some of the illustrations came out a bit odd.  For instance, Queen Elisabeth looks a bit like a groupie for Insane Clown Possee in a couple of them.  And because of the techniques, we lose a lot of the details that we expect in a graphic setting.  Not going to lie, it’s the only reason I read these – for the artwork that accompanies.

So although I give the story a four, I have to give the overall a three out of five.   If you’re into Marvel, don’t miss it, but otherwise, you’ll miss a lot.

 

 

Book Review – Road to Marvel’s The Avengers

Title: Road To Marvel’s The Avengers

Created By: Various/Multiple Authors and Illustrators

Format: Paperback/Comics bound as a graphic novel

Written: 2010-2012

Published: 2012 (this binding)

This book features four ongoing comics – “I am Iron Man!,” “Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” “Iron Man 2: Public Identity,” and “Captain America: First Vengeance” – and runs at least a hundred pages (they’re not numbered, I’m totally guessing).

These are supposed to be the lead up to the Avengers movie (and movie cannon).  The first part was written after the movie and based totally on it.  The other two Iron Man parts are sort of a lead up to the second movie.  Captain America is a lead up to when Rogers was chosen to be Cap –so the first bit of the movie.

Here’s the thing, I tend to like comics for their artwork.  (There’s not enough substance to the story for me to justify them otherwise.)  The artwork in here was –dark.  It sort of lost a little for me.  Most of the backgrounds are dark, there is hardly any white, etc.  I think that it would have benefitted from brighter artwork.

And the story lines are meant to be related to the movies, but the drawings don’t exactly look like the Tony Stark or Pepper Pots that we’ve seen so many times on the big screen.  If this was really done as a way to bridge comic fans and the movies…  what did they draw?  A hybrid?  Whatever they wanted?  I’m not familiar enough with the comics to know if they kept that aesthetic or started a new one.  But for what it is, I sort of expected Tony Stark to have an uncanny resemblance to Robert Downey, Jr., instead of just sorta looking like they could pass for the police sketch. Nevermind Chris Evans – he doesn’t look a thing like the drawings of Captain America.

Which brings me to another issue that I have with this.  There’s like one page that mentions something about old magic and shows a drawing of Odin.  Not even Thor.  If this is really the road to the Avengers, why don’t we have a Thor story of some sort, something about Hulk, etc?  There’s a bit about Natascha (Black Widow), since she goes undercover to keep tabs on Stark, but that’s it, and not a single word/mention/nod in Hawkeye’s direction.  I would have liked to see it a little more rounded.

In fact, I think that if it weren’t for the Captain America/Daddy Stark connection that they would have considered discluding him, too.  (And yes, I probably made that word totally up.)  This also opens my rant that they did stuff bass-ackwards and I would very much have liked to see Cap before Iron Man, just so you get the chronology and Iron Man’s history in the right order.

In the end – if you’re a fan of the Iron Man movie franchise, go ahead and pick this up.  If you’re psycho into the Avengers, you should have it because I’m quite sure you have everything else.  But if you’re a casual fan, you can watch the movies, skip this entirely and not have missed anything at all.  Not sure where that fits on the pages scale, I guess a three?

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