Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday Number Ones 6/1/11

Wednesday Number Ones is a weekly feature here at Top 5 Comics. We take the books that are premiering a first issue from that week and give a quick opinion on them. From time to time we may also include more than issue number ones in this feature. If a noteworthy one-shot or the first issue of a new story arc is released, we may talk about it in this feature as well.

This week, we will cover:  50 Girls 50 #1Fear Itself Deep #1, Foster Broussard #1, Reed Gunther #1 and Shinku #1.

50 Girls 50 #1
Writers: Frank Cho & Doug Murray
Artist: Axel Medellin

Company: Image Comics
A weird one to be honest.  50 Girls 50 is a Sci-Fi, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em story co-written by Frank (Liberty Meadows/Shanna the She Devil) Cho.  If you know the ins and outs of Cho's artwork, then you can sort of guess where the story ends up.  If not, then just get a mental image with the two words: Space Babes.  It's middling to say the least, but there are still some clever ideas now and again in a story that revolves around a Space Mission that calls for an all women crew.  On a return trip to Earth, through a wormhole, the ship ends up in the wrong place completely.  Craziness ensues.  Axel Medellin's art is probably the bigger star overall.  His alien world feels very organic and while not completely original, there is lot to ogle at, not just the scantily clad women in the degrading bio-suits either.  Also, his panels have an innate readability to them that surprised me.  Really, 50 Girls 50 is a bit of fun fluff.  Not perfect but not awesome either.   

Fear Itself Deep #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Lee Garbett
Company: Marvel Comics
A sort of Defenders-like book that sees Namor take a beating as his claim as the ruler of New Atlantis is challenged.  It is also a Fear Itself tie-in title, one that is written by scribe Cullen (Sixth Gun) Bunn.  Bunn is a excellent writer.  With Sixth Gun, he has taken what I thought was a very done in one story and has really expanded on it and made it something that you keep coming back to and finding new things.  With Fear Itself Deep, he really does make Namor a more interesting character by taking away the things he usually has.  Also, his version of Stephen Strange, even with the limitations that have been placed on him in the Marvel Universe these days, still finds ways to be the Sorcerer Supreme.  Garbett, who I first remember seeing on the project Highwaymen, has really come a long way.  His backgrounds are much more developed and just his overall draftsmanship has improved.  Overall, I really enjoyed the humor and the enjoyable take on these characters. 

Foster Broussard #1
Writer: David Ziebart
Artist: Dan Glasl
Company: Red 5 Comics

I wanted to like this one.  Red 5 has produced some good comics with things like Abyss and  Neozoic and We Kill Monsters.  Their best of course is Atomic Robo.  I can't even begin to tell you how good that comic has and continues to be.  Still, Foster Broussard simply didn't cut muster with any of those.  The concept feels like something we've seen before, focusing on a likable con-man who, while about to be beheaded for his crimes, is saved due to his knowledge of treasure and wealth.  To make the story even more middle of the road was the choice of font, as some of the text pieces felt too clumped and unwieldy to really work.  Glasl's artwork is uneven too.  There are times when I felt that he was able to expertly express the emotions on the page, but there are other times when his linework is too simple and static feeling.  Not the greatest first issue. 

Reed Gunther #1
Writer: Shane Houghton
Artist: Chris Houghton
Company: Image Comics

A really nice surprise.  I have a distinct fondness for All Ages comics, things like Owly and Korgi and Flight Explorer.  Reed Gunther completely fits in with those books and I could easily see handing this to my niece and nephew to devour.  Shane and Chris Houghton have put together a book that really has it all: Fantastic cartooning that is clean, expressive and has a punch to it followed up by a story that has an instant entertainment value and is legitimately funny.  The concept of the book is that of a cowboy named Reed Gunther who has a bear friend named Sterling.  So yes, a bear riding cowboy.  And yes, I actually did say that.  This issue in particular sees Gunther take on a rascally ravenous snake and possibly fall for a local gal who may or may not feel like giving our hero a chance.  It's big fun done right.  If you're in the mood to laugh or just see some great cartooning, you should definitely check Reed Gunther out. 

Shinku #1
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Lee Moder

Company: Image Comics
Well, with Ron Marz you never quite know what you're going to get.  With having just read Sojourn, and finding it to be quite a treat for my inner fantasy nerd, I was curious what he could turn out with this Samurai versus Vampire storyline.  The answer is about what you would expect it to be, as Marz tells the story of Shinku, the sole survivor of her clan.  There's some generic dialogue here and there, but I found myself getting sucked in a bit.  The world has a cool vibe to it and the quick way that Marz gets to the meat of things and the way he introduces his main character is well done.  What elevates the entire affair is Lee Moder's artwork.  A descriptor of said artwork that comes to mind?  How about stunning.  I haven't seen him on much before, but I know that he did some Legion of Superheroes work back in the day.  His lines are vivid and have such a distinct movement to them that the action is pitch-perfect and sexy.  I'm will most certainly try and find those issues, as I'm curious to compare his old style to this one.  All told, I'm sold on this one. 

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