Archive for January, 2004

Superman: Red Son

January 19, 2004 | Trades

Superman: Red Son Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, Killian Plunkett, Andrew Robinson, Walden Wong DC Comics $27.95/$17.99 US (Paperback) **** 1/2 (out of five) Truth, justice and the American way. Not any more. Red Son brings us a twist on the Superman mythos where, instead of landing in Smallville, Kansas, the infant Man of Steel crashes to the Earth in the Ukraine in the early half of the 20th century. Raised to believe in the ideals of the Communist Party and taken in by former leader Josef Stalin, Superman is cast as the ultimate weapon in the Cold War, one that tips the scales in favour of the Soviet Union. This story, long-rumoured and theorized over the last 65 years since Superman’s creation, but brought brilliantly to reality by acclaimed scribe Mark Millar (The Authority, The Ultimates), Red Son casts the former hero as the enemy of the American people and makes nemesis Lex Luthor into the only hope to stop him. Filled with Orwellian overtones, a biting look at American foreign policy, past and present, and an incisive look at the power of super heroes as icons, this collection of a three-issue prestige format series captures the everyday tension of the Cold War and marries it to an underlying hope that the American way of life will somehow always persevere. The art team of Dave Johnson, Killian Plunkett, Andrew Robinson and Walden Wong seem to create an iconic image on every page, with the Superman’s familiar ‘S’ logo changed to the Soviet hammer and sickle and displayed prominently. Perhaps the most important contribution in this collection is that of colourist Paul Mounts, whose work setting the mood, from the muted tones of 1950s Metropolis to the velvet skies over Wonder Woman’s Paradise Island, is brilliant. Red Son is a strange, but compelling read and a terrific idea whose story was long overdue.

Global Frequency: Planet Ablaze

January 19, 2004 | Trades

Global Frequency: Planet Ablaze Warren Ellis, Garry Leach, Glenn Fabry, Liam Sharp, Steve Dillon, Roy Martinez, Jon J Muth, David Lloyd Wildstorm/DC Comics $22.95/$14.95 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) “The whole planet is an unexploded bomb. That’s why we’re here.” This sums up Global Frequency, a worldwide rescue organization made up of 1,001 diverse and specialized operatives, whose expertise is called upon when all else has failed. From the brilliant mind of creator Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan), Global Frequency is a sharp look at what some of the smartest minds in the world could do if they were put together. From bio-weapon engineers, to theoretical physicists to snipers and magicians, whomever it takes to get the job done. In this collection of the first six parts of a 12-issue series, GF operatives face challenges as diverse as stopping a wormhole from forming in San Francisco to hunting and killing the bionic man and stopping an outbreak of Ebola in London. Each story features a new all-star artist, including Steve Dillon (Preacher), David Lloyd (V For Vendetta) and Garry Leach (Miracleman). Planet Ablaze is a fast-paced and clever collection that will have you clamouring for the second act.

Outsiders: Looking For Trouble

January 19, 2004 | Trades

Outsiders: Looking For Trouble Judd Winick, Tom Raney DC Comics $19.95/$12.99 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) Welcome to the super-hero business. Backed by a huge corporation for tax write-off purposes, the Outsiders are founded not only to stop crimes, but to stop them before they even happen. If the Justice League are firemen, swooping in to save the day once the attack has begun, then the Outsiders are hunters. They’re going after the villains before they can get their evil plans off the ground. With an eclectic mix of new and old DC characters and led by Nightwing — Dick Grayson, formerly Batman’s sidekick, Robin — the Outsiders is a winner. With great characterization and dialogue, courtesy of writer Judd Winick (Green Arrow), and superb pencils by Tom Raney (Stormwatch), Looking For Trouble, which collects the first seven issues of the ongoing series, makes you like and care about these heroes very quickly. With strong stories and some of the snappiest banter in the biz, the Outsiders look like they’re here to stay.