Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday Number Ones 5/9/12

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:  Dan the Unharmable #1, Fury Max #1, Higher Earth #1, Mind the Gap #1, and Night of a 1000 Wolves #1.

Dan the Unharmable #1
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: Rafael Ortiz
Company: Avatar
If you're in the mood for something dark and twisted and you've happened to have read all of Garth Ennis' work, then I suggest you venture out and take a gander at David Lapham's stories. Dan the Unharmable, conjoining humor with the shadowy and often dark places people fear to tread in a story that sees its Hobo meets Italian Spider-Man lookalike main character help the helpless of wherever he happens to be sleeping. Well, he'll help for a price, of course. Lapham peppers some other cool story elements throughout and Ortiz's artwork has an easy on the eyes feel to it that keeps storytelling on an even keel. I'm not sure how far you can take this story, but as first issues go, it was a decent attention grabber.  

Fury Max #1
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Goran Parlov
Company: Marvel Max
A much quieter tale than you might expect. Garth Ennis doesn't shy away from the Max imprint and all that it entails, but you won't find the balls to the wall, super violent action that you might expect. In its place we get a story that's a flashback to Fury's past when he was stationed in Indochina. Sure, the dialogue is tinged with swear words, but it's a very talkative issue that focuses more on relationships and the state of the world during the time period than anything. Parlov stills know a thing or two about how to impress his readers. His lines feel light on the page, giving everything a great sense of movement. Another thing that stands out is the  way that he immerses you into what is happening on the page, be it a bar fight or state dinner that Fury grumbles his way through. If you find the notion of Good Morning Vietnam (ala World War 2) with a few more swear words, then Nick Fury Max might be for you.

Higher Earth #1
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Francesco Biagini
Company: BOOM! Studios
While there's not a ton to digest here, what there is is really good. And for a buck, it's definitely worth the price of admission. Sam Humphries, the man behind the book Our Love is Real (a book which received quite a bit of acclaim), tells a Sci-Fi tale of infinite worlds with Higher Earth and sets the stage with two characters, Rex and Heidi. This first issue has a Bond-esque, action heavy, feel to it, but you can already see a few things sticking up that will no doubt gel together later on. Francesco Biagini, who's worked on Elric the Balance Lost, offers up a lot for the eye to take in. His world composed entirely of garbage and the way that he is able to sell the innocence and the violence that each of our main characters exhibit is a definite check in the plus column. Like I said before, for a buck, check it out and see what you think.

Mind the Gap #1
Writer: Jim McCann
Artists: Rodin Esquejo & Sonia Oback
Company: Image Comics
Murder mystery meets Midnight Nation, that is what Mind the Gap reminds me of. Writer Jim McCann, most known to me for writing some of the most kicking-est Hawkeye and Mockingbird comics of late, takes a stab at something a little more sedate and non-superhero. The results are, unfortunately, a little shaky. I like the idea of a good Whodunnit? yarn, but it's a genre that often doesn't work in comics. The addition of the supernatural is a nice twist and promises some surprises in the tale of Elle Peterssen. There are some solid scenes and he does do a solid job of introducing a varied, not to mention large, cast of characters without making it an effort to keep up with them. That said, there a lot of yawner moments, or better put, moments that drag. Esquejo, who's work dons the covers for Morning Glories every month, and Oback's artwork excels here. They put you in this world and have done a superb job of capturing the feel and detail of it in a very effortless way. Like a lot of talented artists, they have a way of making the uninteresting interesting, which happens a few times in this double sized opener.

Night of a 1000 Wolves #1
Writer: Bobby Curnow
Artist: Dave Watcher
Company: IDW Publishing
Dark. Ominous. Unnerving. Those are the three descriptors that I would attribute to Night of a 1000 Wolves. First and foremost, Dave Watcher's artwork is STUNNING. Like Bernie Wrightson was able to effortlessly envelop you with the horror that was Frankenstein, Watcher grabs you by the gruff of your shirt and drags you into a world that is literally scary. Heavy inks, harsh lines that give things a very skewed demeanor...All of it sets a wonderful tone of malice. His wolves alone are the stuff that haunts dreams. Curnow's story is like many other great stories, simple. It's a What if type of tale. A what if you didn't make that sacrifice to that God? The outcome so far may not be pretty (it is in its way though), but it's captivating. Highly, highly recommend this one, especially if you're a fan of the Horror genre.


  1. I picked up Mind the Gap and Night of a 1000 wolves. I'm with you on Mind the Gap, some interesting stuff going on, but could have used some editing.
    Night of a 1000 Wolves however, I had problems with, mostly in the characterization. The characters just did not react believably to me, which killed the drama. Story was fine, simple like you said, but nothing wrong with that, but poorly depicted characters had me cheering for the wolves.

  2. Gray, I think it's perfectly understandable to root for the Wolves. I mean, I know I was.

    Really though, I kind of agree with you about the characters. They could have take a little more time with them, but I have been having a craving for horror lately and I think this book scratched the itch. Perhaps there will be more in the next issue. I still plan on rooting for the wolves though. :)