May 21st, 2009

Cover of The Punisher #58Valley Forge, Valley Forge is the final story that Garth Ennis wrote for The Punisher which spanned issues #55 – #60. The story’s art was done by Goran Parlov, with covers by Tim Bradstreet, and has been collected in a TPB as Punisher MAX Vol. 10 by Marvel.

Valley Forge, Valley Forge features two stories in one which parallel each other throughout the book. On one hand, and foremost, there is the story of Frank Castle who, with the help of Nick Fury, discovers that the source of the recent attempts on his life are eight senior Army and Air Force officers that have been trying to recover some damning evidence which Frank has come to possess. On the other, there’s a story told through a book from which this story’s name is derived, “Valley Forge, Valley Forge: The Slaughter of a U.S. Marine Garrison and the Birth of The Punisher”. Therein, author Michael Goodwin tells a Vietnam story as the brother of a soldier who served in a platoon under the leadership of Captain Frank Castle.

Though it was difficult to choose which Punisher story to feature, I was sure it would end up being one of Garth Ennis’. This may well be my favorite Punisher arc that he’s written, rivaling even those done with Steve Dillion. Valley Forge, Valley Forge marks the end of a sixty issue run on Punisher MAX, so although it ties up much of what Ennis laid the groundwork for over the years, there aren’t many references made that will go over your head. It’s a story that can stand alone, and it’s a must-read if you’re at all a fan of The Punisher.

May 7th, 2009

Dear Billy Vol. 1 TPB CoverDear Billy is the second of three, three-issue historical-fiction comics that Garth Ennis has written for his “Battlefields” series. Published by Dynamite Entertainment, Dear Billy features Peter Snjeberg on page-to-page art, with cover art by John Cassaday and Gary Leach.

Dear Billy is a story set during World War 2 and narrated by its protagonist Carrie Sutton in the form of a letter. Sombre pencils from Peter Snejbjerg do well to set the tone for Dear Billy as Carrie tells the tale of her first-hand experiences of the hardship of war, not as a soldier or a lonely wife or girlfriend back home, but as a survivor. She tells the story of her silent suffering, her loneliness, her vengeance, her shame, her love, and of Britishness.

I don’t have much more to add in the way of personal commentary on Dear Billy. As was the case with The Night Witches (whose story is unrelated to Dear Billy’s, by the way), Garth Ennis has not disappointed me with a war story of his yet. One thing I will say is that I’d be hard pressed to name a book that I’ve read wherein its characters are drawn with such deliberately chilling facial expressions. I may give DC’s The Mighty another try after seeing Peter Snejbjerg’s work in Dear Billy.

April 2nd, 2009

Transhuman Vol. 1Transhuman is a four-issue science fiction comic book mini-series written by Jonathan Hickman, with art by J.M. Ringuet, published by Image Comics. It was collected into a trade paperback in January 2009.

Transhuman is a story about genetic engineering in humans told in the style of a mockumentary. Think This Is Spinal Tap, but not hilarious. Although a certain dark humor is apparent throughout, Transhuman takes a more serious tone as narrator Heinrich Dowidat guides readers through the story of two corporations racing to upgrade Humans to Posthumans. Along the way Heinrich gets first-hand accounts from the scientists, the suits, and test subjects that were involved in the genetic enhancement projects. Ultimately, Transhuman is a story about people, their ambitions, their hidden agendas, their politics, their spite, and their greed. It’s about capitalism.

Transhuman, just as Jonathan Hickman’s other works, blew my mind. Though beautifully illustrated by J.M. Ringuet, the book also features several of the signature layouts that Hickman’s books are famous for. Just as is the case with The Nightly News and the unfortunately scheduled A Red Mass For Mars, I can’t recommend Transhuman highly enough.

DoSu TeamDoSu Team


March 30th, 2009

Air #7Issue #7 of Air was released on the week of March 18th for only $1. I looked around online and saw that it had been marketed as a good jumping on point for new readers. Before I dive in to this issue, I thought that I should post about this special price. I wish that I could have posted about the $1 issue before it came out, but I’m sure copies are still available for that price at your local comic shop, if not online. Do check it out.

March 18th, 2009

Firebreather Vol. 2 TPBFirebreather is an on-going comic co-created by writer Phil Hester and artist Andy Kuhn. Published by Image Comics, the story of Firebreather began with a four-issue mini-series in 2003 and continued in a 2004 one-shot. The on-going series began in 2008 and serves a fine jumping-on point for new readers.

Firebreather is about a high school student named Duncan Rosenblatt who is the son of a centuries-old dragon and a human woman. [Before you ask, no! I don't know how it's possible that Duncan has a dragon father and a human mother. Word is that the biology of it all will be explained somewhere around issue #10 in the on-going series.] Being a teenager with divorced parents has made life tough for Duncan. His mom wants him to do human things like going to school, getting good grades and going to college. His father, on the other hand, would rather he embrace his dragon heritage. Eager to appease both, Duncan attends high school every day as a social outcast and also trains to be a better dragon in the wilderness with his father.

Firebreather has a lot of qualities in common with books like Invincible and Ultimate Spider-Man. The characters have a school life, family life, and a superhero life. It’s a classic formula. They’re just very good comic books. They’re comic books that every fan of superheroes should read because they’re just about as good as superhero books get.

Also, Robert Kirkman commands it.

February 12th, 2009

The Night Witches is the first of three, three-issue historical-fiction comics that Garth Ennis has written for his “Battlefields” series. Published by Dynamite Entertainment, The Night Witches features Russ Braun on page-to-page art, with cover art by John Cassaday and Gary Leach.
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January 21st, 2009

Gigantic is an on-going, Dark Horse-published sci-fi comic that is currently on issue #2. Written by Rick Remender with art by Eric Nguyen, Gigantic is the first time the duo has joined forces since creating Strange Girl for Image comics which ran from 2005 to 2007.
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