The High Five Episode 10 – Amazing Aliens Artists

Tying into this week’s release of the very intriguing Aliens #1 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Salvador Larroca, I’m looking back at a quintet of fantastic artists who played in the toy box built by H.R. Giger at Dark Horse in the early 90s! It’s a real murderer’s row of talent.

If you’re curious about the Blumhouse.com article I mentioned, you can read it here. It took me way too long to find it!

Xenopedia is great too!

Iron Mongering: Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN VOL. 1: THE FIVE NIGHTMARES (Marvel)
Written by Matt Fraction, drawn by Salvador Larroca
Collects Invincible Iron Man #1-7
It’s been a while since I’ve read a new Iron Man trade and I’ve been hearing a lot of good stuff about Invincible Iron Man, but thanks to Ben letting me borrow I can now no longer say either of those things. I was at Wizard when this book first kicked off. I was pretty excited to read a good Iron Man comic (this was after or around the movie and during the post-Civil War comics that ruined Iron Man for a lot of people including me), but I don’t think I even got through the first issue. I wanted a brand new Iron Man comic that was doing something new and here I was given a villain who is the son of old Iron Man villain Obidiah Stane. Yawn, no thanks. So, I didn’t read anymore, but I wish I had.

The book is pretty good, but not great by any means. It felt similar to Warren Ellis’ attempt to reboot the character with his Extremis arc, with the idea that Tony Stark needs to be ahead of the curve and not falling into a technological rut. Frankly, this shouldn’t be something that needs to be said, it should just always be done, so I’m not giving it a ton of credit for doing the thing that an Iron Man book should.

I will give the book credit for coming up with what turned out to be a pretty good villain. Zeke Stane has taken his father’s anger towards Iron Man/Tony Star and used it to fuel his genius which he aims like a gun at taking them down using Stark’s own tech. There’s a huge dearth of good new heroes and villains being created in comics right now either because reader’s just want to read the same old characters knocking each other out or because writers are too devoted to the old and not wanting to create new. Stane seems like a pretty good addition that we’ll probably see again soon.

The seventh issue in the book has Spider-Man following Iron Man around while Iron Man ties up some loose ends from the main arc. It’s an okay story, but felt kind of pointless to me. I’m all in favor for doing one-off issues, but this one didn’t seem like it added much to the story as a whole or offer any unique takes that made me smile. Plus, Fraction doesn’t write a great Spidey.

Finally, am I the only one who liked Larroca’s art way better in the 90s? He had that rad, cartoony style and now, well, now I’m not quite sure what he does. It’s not bad, in fact it’s very crisp, but it reminds me too much of McNiven but with more celebrities popping up. Anyway, click here, here and here for what Larroca used to look like.

Black Panther Is Awesome Part 2: Wild Kingdom

2009-02-25
8:38:59 pm

Part two in my argument why Black Panther is an awesome comic.

X-MEN/BLACK PANTHER: WILD KINGDOM

(Black Panther #8-9, X-Men #175-176)

Written by Reginald Hudlin & Peter Milligan, drawn by David Yardin & Salvador Larroca

X-Men/Black Panther: Wild Kingdom isn’t exactly the best example of why Black Panther is awesome. As I mentioned last time one of the big reasons I like this book so much is that it feels like it’s firmly entrenched in the Marvel U without getting too detailed or confusing. That all gets hindered when you bring in the X-Men. I know a lot of people are all about the X-Men, but I still find them to be the most difficult franchise to get into thanks to the incredibly dense history. It’s not even that Milligan’s story is all that confusing, I just have a hard time placing this story in the long history of X-Men. You’ve got Gambit and Rogue on the same team, but what’s their deal? Emma’s there too, but is this still when Astonishing was going on? None of this really matters to the story, but it is distracting. I do like how both writers handle Storm and Wolverine though, two characters who will be important in their own ways coming up.

The story of this book is that the Red Ghost wants to start a new commie ape society in Africa. There’s something about mutant animals, which gets the X-Men interested. BP of course gets involved too because this is his turf. For those of you unfamiliar with the Red Ghost, he’s a communist scientist who can turn intangible and has created super powered apes who talk. There’s another scientist guy in the story who can absorb mutant powers.

I’ll be honest, the larger story here isn’t all that interesting unless you’re a huge Red Ghost fan (and I know some people out there are). What is cool about this story is seeing Storm and Black Panther together. Like I said before I don’t know much about either character aside from what I’ve read in this book, so I’m not sure if there were any previous hints of their relationship or if this is the first readers saw of it, but I like how they are around each other, especially considering how adversarial they tend to be towards one another. It’s cool to see the beginning of their love story (even if it’s not the chronological beginning).

Oh, Dragon Man’s in the book too which is pretty cool, but, again, the overall story isn’t all that interesting. As far as my collection goes, I’m not all too concerned about adding this one to my collection, unless I can get it on Sequential Swap (a great site to get rid of some of your old trades as well as get some cool new ones). But, don’t let that deter you from checking out my future installments of Black Panther Is Awesome, as Part 3 will focus on Bad Mutha, the arc that got me interested in this book in the first place.