Friday, April 20, 2012

Wednesday Number Ones 4/20/12

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:  The Shadow #1 and Resident Alien #0.

The Shadow #1
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Company: Dynamite Entertainment
The Shadow is one of those characters that has been around for years, certainly all of my life. I remember as a kid I bought my Dad a tape collection (on a little spinner rack) for Christmas that had the majority of the old radio dramas and I loved listening to them. I also have a huge fondness for the Alec Baldwin movie. So yes, I was looking forward to this book, because not to put too fine a point on it, The Shadow is a great character. Garth Ennis' take on the world is actually quite faithful. It has some of the trademark Ennis violence that you would expect, but the solid "fate of the world" tale that is being woven and the way that he handles the powers and mysteriousness...All of it bursts from the page right into your imagination. His take on Lamont Cranston in particular, really hammering home on the unorthodox way that he interacts with people, eats up the page. Aaron Campbell, who first came to my attention with his work on Sherlock Holmes for Dynamite, has a great sense of realism in his lines that give the work an edge. There is a ton of detail for the eye to consume in every panel, but it doesn't feel stationary or stagnant in its appearance. That's due to great panel structure and dynamic storytelling, giving a blend of real world and pulp hero that excites and entertains. A very solid opening issue.

Resident Alien #0
Writer: Peter Hogan
Artist: Steve Parkhouse
Company: Dark Horse Comics
Imagine the television show Picket Fences, only this time instead of one of the main characters being a red blooded American, he's an extra-terrestrial just waiting to be able to phone home and return to his people. It's an interesting set-up, especially when you add in the whole being a Doctor bit and then of course, a murder mystery in a small town that seems to be a whole lot bigger than people are letting on. Hogan's story is subtle and well paced and is full of odd ball characters who feel real and relate-able. There were a few moments that feel odd, especially the fact that our "hero" doesn't look human but is interacting with people and not getting a strange reaction. By the end of the issue though, Hogan has given good reason for it and built up such strong relationships between people. Parkhouse's artwork is straightforward. He definitely focuses on character's faces and the emotion, which goes a long way in a quieter story such as this, but he doesn't skimp on capturing the small town and the various landscapes that go with it either. An interesting start to an off-kilter murder mystery.

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