Tag Archives: Ed Brubaker

Secret Avengers #1

Secret Avengers #1
Marvel Comics
(w) Ed Brubaker
(a) Mike Deodato
FC 32 pgs w/ ads $3.99 US / Higher In Canada

The second of Marvel’s relaunched Avenger titles debuted this week. Ed Brubaker is tackling this title instead of Brian Michael Bendis (who writes almost all the flagship Avenger titles) or even Dan Slott who was writing The Mighty Avengers before the new Heroic Age began. It seems like an odd but welcome choice.

This team of Avengers is run by Steve (formally Captain America) Rogers who is now running S.H.I.E.L.D. / H.A.M.M.E.R. or whatever they’re calling it now. Steve has put together a team of Avengers to covertly tackle various problems before they become problems. The team, it seems, will be a rotating cast of heroes depending on the mission but for starters the team is Steve, Black Widow, Valkyrie, Beast, Moon Knight, War Machine, The Irredeemable Ant Man and Nova. Ant Man seems like an odd choice considering he was just on the Thunderbolts but he kind of works here, especially given the covert mission statement.

Rogers’ organization has discovered that another Serpent Crown has been found and it’s currently in the hands of the evil corporation R.O.X.X.O.N. It’s funny how these evil corporations in comics are always dealing with things like evil magic crowns or cubes but they never seem to do something really evil like dump gillions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. I’m just saying. Apparently R.O.X.X.O.N. found the crown on Mars and there seems to trouble brewing there.

This was a pretty good first issue. I like the idea of the team but I’m always wary of Brubaker handling super-hero team books. I was never all that enthralled with his run on X-Men. Brubaker has always better with more down to Earth super-heroics (Daredevil, Captain America, I’d love to see him tackle the Punisher) but this series is intriguing enough that it might work in his favour. (Shane Hnetka)

Criminal: The Sinners #1 (of 5)

Criminal: The Sinners #1Criminal: The Sinners #1 (of 5)
Marvel Comics / Icon
(w) Ed Brubaker
(a) Sean Phillips
FC, 36 pgs w/ ads $3.50 US / Higher in Canada

The greatest modern crime comic returns. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips put their Eisner award-winning comic on hold to produce Incognito, their pulpish five-issue miniseries about a super-villain living in a witness protection program. As a fan of Criminal, I was eagerly awaiting the series’ return, and the return of Tracy, the character reported to be headlining the new story arc.

Criminal: The Sinners #1 picks up Tracy’s story one year after his first appearance in Criminal (which, by the way, is collected in the trade paperback Lawless.) He is still working for Hyde as a contract killer, though Tracy is proving to be a pain in the nuts for his boss. Tracy wants to make sure his contracts deserve killing, but his employer simply wants and needs dead bodies. Hyde’s patience is wearing thin but he is willing to forget past transgressions if Tracy finds out who is behind a series of high-profile murders. There have been no witnesses, no clues, and no one in the criminal world knows who ordered the hits.  “I’m not an investigator,” says Tracy. “Then it’ll be a challenge, won’t it?” snaps Hyde.

This setup and the way it is unrolled is a great re-entry into the world of Criminal, but what truly makes The Sinners #1 an excellent read is the way Brubaker handles Tracy as a flawed, complex character, and the way artist Sean Phillips and colorist Val Staples create a tangible time and place for the story to unfold. Great crime stories have a hard edge to them, which includes the settings. Brubaker creates the characters and Phillips and Staples create the places. The combination is hard-hitting crime stories as vivid and rewarding as anything penned by the greats in crime fiction. (Chad Boudreau)

Top 10: Daredevil Stories

This time around, the Man Without Fear: Daredevil. DD has always been one of my favourite characters, and his stories have always been among my favourite reads. Having said that, I never got into the Ann Nocenti / John Romita Jr. run or that wacky Daredevil in armour period, where he tried to pretend that Matt Murdock was dead and he was someone else. I just didn’t care for Nocenti’s take on the character and dropped it quickly. I DID pick up quite a bit of the “armour” run but STILL found it unreadable. Those two eras spanned roughly #250 to #380– almost thirteen solid years where one of my favourite books was ransacked.

A note on the Frank Miller run. No doubt this was the best era for the character, and while it is represented here with a few issues, the strength of the Miller run is in the totality and not the individual parts. While to me, not a lot of individual issues were good enough to make the list, you put all those issues together and it comprises one of the greatest runs by a creator on a character ever.

And now, this Blind Man Shall Lead…

10-daredevil-11. Fantastic Four #39-40 & Daredevil #37-38
This is what I call the “Doctor Doom Saga”. The story began in Fantastic Four #39-40, where Daredevil assists the Fantastic Four in defeating Doom, who had taken over the Baxter Building and turned Reed’s inventions against them.

For his part in the latest defeat, Daredevil was marked by Doom for special attention, and when the right moment came, Daredevil would be used as a weapon to destroy the Fantastic Four. The right moment came in Daredevil #37-38 when, following a taxing battle with the Trapster, DD is handily beaten by Doom and gets to trade bodies with him as a boobie prize. DD turns the tables, gets his body back and has the Fantastic Four on his tail as a reward. With the help of Spider-Man and Thor, the Fantastic Four is held to a standstill. One of my favourite story sequences of all-time.

Great work by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Gene Colan. Continue reading Top 10: Daredevil Stories

Daredevil #116

Daredevil #116 mar4-09-dd

Marvel Comics
(w) Ed Brubaker
(a) David Aja & Stefano Gaudiano
FC, 32 pgs w/ ads $2.99 US

Brubaker with his latest artist, David Aja (Immortal Iron Fist), bring back the baddest baddy from Daredevil’s rogue’s gallery: The Kingpin. After a short time away from the game of superhero conflict and organized crime, The Kingpin’s retirement draws to a close. He’s headed home after an abrupt meeting with Lady Bullseye and The Hand. Wilson Fisk tried his hardest to stay clear of his past and begin anew, but ghosts of former lives always follows those who do the worst.

This issue lays down Wilson Fisk’s history, and prologue’s the latest chapter in what will become Matt Murdock’s life, “Return of the King”. I know I’ve said it a million times…so what’s one more: Daredevil is one of Marvel’s better titles. It’s painfully rife with nasty soap opera antics in a good way. (Dana Tillusz)

Criminal volume 4: Bad Night

Criminal volume 4: “Bad Night” criminal4
Marvel Comics / Icon
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips
FC, 120 pgs
$14.99 US / Higher in Canada

First off, I am a superhero guy. More importantly, I am a DC superhero guy. So when I was listening to one of the many comic pod casts around Christmas time and they suggested that Criminal volume 2: The Dead and the Dying was one of the best books of 2008, I was a bit skeptical. It wasn’t DC. And it wasn’t superhero. But, in my attempts to become a well-rounded reader, I jotted down the name and promised myself that I would ask about it next Wednesday when I popped into my local comic shop.

After I picked up my file books last week and did my usual walk around, I asked Shane Hnetka, a contributor to this site, if they happened to carry Criminal and if he thought it was any good. What I got next was one of the most passionate recommendations for a book and creative team that I have ever heard. Now, while I don’t always believe Shane (he reads Marvel regularily) and what he says is great, I felt that the two recommendations might have some merit.

Holy Shit!

This is what storytelling is all about! I’m a story guy. Art is very important to me, but without a story, I don’t care how great a book is. This has both! The art is not what I would call detailed in terms of background layout, but what they capture is emotion; Fright, anger, disgust, distrust is portrayed in every panel. And wonderfully at that! Criminal’s story is outstanding. Each volume is a stand-alone tale, while a few characters carry over from storyline to storyline. But it’s not necessary to get all the issues to make sense of a story arc. But trust me, once you’ve read one, you’ll want to read them all!

With Bad Night, we follow the character of Jacob Kurtz, a character who has the worst luck I think I have ever seen. The edition follows how this sad sack of a man, who just wanted to read the paper to ensure his comic strip made it to press correctly, finds himself spending the night with an amazingly beautiful but flawed red head. How is that bad luck? Through her, he gets dragged into the underbelly of police corruption, vendettas, and criminal conspiracy. Or so we think. As with all the Criminal editions, there is a great twist that develops. I won’t ruin the story for you, but trust me; you’ll know when it hits!

If you haven’t read this series, get it now. Shane wasn’t wrong! But don’t let him know I told you. (Logan Drydale)