Image Comics Hardcover

December 19, 2005 | Trades


Image Comics Hardcover
Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino
Image Comics
$24.99 US (Hardcover)
**** (out of five)
It’s here, it’s finally here!
OK, so it’s three-and-a-half years late, but the Image Comics Hardcover is actually in stores.
Planned as a 10th anniversary celebration for February 2002, the remaining Image founders — Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon), Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Marc Silvestri (Cyberforce) and Jim Valentino (Shadowhawk) — were going to combine their considerable talents on one must-buy book.
But since only Valentino and Larsen finished on schedule, the book was put on the shelf indefinitely as rumours and planned release dates came and went.
Apparently McFarlane and Silvestri finally got the lead out (pardon the art pun) and the book is now a reality.
The hardcover kicks off like a mule with the never-before-told origin of the Savage Dragon. For any fan of Larsen’s long-running series (set to return in January 2006), this is a mind-blowing and momentous occasion that along makes this release worth owning.
Next up is the long-awaited return of McFarlane to comics.
For those not up to speed, Todd was the hottest artist on the planet in the early 90s, illustrating the Incredible Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man and then launching the highly successful, Spawn. But he quit drawing after just 16 issues and hasn’t done much of anything since.
Fast forward to now and the slightly jilted feeling longtime fans might get when they discover instead of a fully illustrated comic story, McFarlane cheats a bit and does just one illustration alongside his text. Oh, he can still draw (it’s classic Todd) but the graphic element, his use of space, was always McFarlane’s strong suit and that’s missing from this tale. That being said, it’s still pretty darn good.
Silvestri pairs up with regular collaborator David Wohl to tell a pretty good Cyberforce origin tale (setting up the Cyberforce/JLA special and leading into a new series in ’06) and Valentino gives readers a good look at his new Shadowhawk (although it might have been nice to see something more on the orginal — now deceased — hero).
All in all this trip back to their beginning of Image in a great reminder of why these creators are so influential and inspiring and how they’ve all managed to stay relevant after these, well, 13 1/2 years.

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