content by

Anthony Schiavino

Men of Bronze and Shadow

Batman Doc Savage Special

Written by Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by Phil Noto
Published by DC Comics

I am a fan and writer of pulp fiction. That’s pulp fiction in lowercase letters. Not the movie, although I like that too. If you frequent my website you’ll see my influences and my love of the stories that predate comic books, which is why I had mixed feelings about this comic. It’s published by DC Comics, which means it will have some bigger backing than other companies publishing the same content. It’s written by a guy who knows his crime: Brian Azzarello, who wrote 100 Bullets. But in recent interviews he’s talked about changes. Was he just pulling our leg for fun? I put this up for discussion on the Pulp Tone Facebook page, and pulp fans were not happy.

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Hoofin’ It In Portland

Stumptown #1
Written by Greg Rucka
Illustrated by Matthew Southworth
Colored by Lee Loughridge
Published by Oni Press

I went to the comic shop planning to buy a new overpriced convoluted mainstream comic mini series. What I came out with was a creator-owned book by a writer whose work I buy far too little of. It was the same price with 10 extra pages. There was only one in the shop. It could have been somebody’s copy. If you’re reading this and it was yours I apologize. But know that it went to a good home. Lately I’ve been seriously rethinking my comic collecting, and I’ve had to drop a few titles. But every once in awhile you have to take a chance on something that looks good. Stumptown may look similar to Criminal but the similarities end there.

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The Evil Dead Shall Rise: Blackest Night #3 Review

Written by Geoff Johns
Penciled by Ivan Reis
Inks by Oclair Albert with Joe Prado
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Variant cover by Ethan Van Sciver (pictured)
Published by DC Comics

Okay…deep breaths. Deep breaths. The zombies are here. Lots of zombies. Zombies that are heroes. The real villains haven’t arrived yet.

Heavy Spoilers ahead. Be Warned. Some are just leftovers from issues




but they are spoilers all the same.

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All Ages Adventure: Adventure Comics #3

Adventure Comics #3?
Featuring Superboy
By Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul
Published by DC Comics

Adventure Comics has a story that is synonymous with its name in more ways than one. Superboy’s world-traversing adventure nicely parallels an inner journey. When writing the Super Family there are certain guidelines or bullet points that make the stories what they are. Generally writers take from one and use it on the other; some build and expand on the mythos. This is what Adventure Comics sets out to do to an extent.

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History of a Universe

The Marvels Project #3
By Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting
with colors by Dave Stewart
Published by Marvel Comics

The next installment of The Marvels Project goes deeper into the history of the Marvel Universe proper. It’s a story we’ve seen unfold many times but none ever like this. Listening to a recent episode of Word Balloon by John Siuntres featuring Brian Michael Bendis, the two talked about comic book origins. Before this thing we call the internet and modern day comic books shops with their distribution, comic companies would retell origins on all levels every couple of years for new readers. Modern day readers seem to have some sort of problem with this but I think they forget their own origins sometimes. It’s a good thing Ed and Steve are there to remind them.

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Where the saints never tread: Criminal #1 Review

Criminal #1
Sinners Part One?
By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Colors by Val Staples
Published by ICON (Marvel Comics)

As I sit here staring at a blank page, I try to find the words to describe why Criminal is one of my favorite comic books of all time. For those that frequent the corners of the internet that I do you’ll know how much I’m into Ed and Sean’s work. Much of it I’m still discovering and believe me that’s only a good thing. As the title states it’s a book about the underbelly of society in all of its forms. There are no saints within these pages. This is pure crime noir at its finest.

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Hauntingly Familiar: Haunt #1 Review

Haunt #1
Written and Co-Created by? Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane
Layouts by Greg Capullo
Pencils by Ryan Ottley
Inks by Todd McFarlane
Colors by FCO Plascencia
Letters by Richard Starkings of Comicraft
Published by Image Comics

Is it the early 90s again? Because it sure feels like it and it’s everything in a good way. None of the things that ruined comics; this is all positive. If you’re familiar with comics at all the names above will look like superstars. Todd McFarlane was one of the founding fathers of Image Comics and creator of Spawn. Greg Capullo came into his own on the same title and was, and continues to be, one of my favorite comic artists of all time. Richard Starkings was responsible for much of the good design and lettering in the industry and somebody I look up to as a letterer myself. Ryan Ottley works on another great comic, also written/created by Robert Kirkman, called Invincible. FCO, we’re told in the back of the comic, is from Invincible as well. So when a dream team comes together to make a comic the first thing you have to wonder is whether it will be any good.

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Dark Agent of Fear

Secret Warriors #8 Review
Written by Jonathan Hickman?
Illustrated by Alessandro Vitti
Published by Marvel Comics

For whatever reason I dove head-first into the lions’ den when it comes to Secret Warriors. For the most part I don’t mind big events in comics. It’s what drives sales and interest throughout the titles. But what I do mind is when key players show up in every single title. Not all of them but most of them. It’s annoying. It deters from the stories being told on a monthly basis, and on more times then I can count this year it’s severely messed with continuity. Yeah I know Character A is in the upcoming movie. But she’s in three major plotlines in three different titles, taking place at the same moment. Secret Warriors would be one of those titles where essential characters show up. The difference is that it’s one of the main titles.

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The Uneasy Alliance of Light

Green Lantern #46?
Written by Geoff Johns?
Penciled by Doug Mahnke?
Published by DC Comics

One would expect a big event tie-in comic from a mainstream publisher to not be worth the read. We’ve come to think of them as another way to make more money. For all intents and purposes you would be right. The track record speaks for itself. But The Blackest Night is a whole other beast. It’s one of the best big events you’ll read in years. With that Green Lantern may not be essential to knowing the whole story but it’s come to be a very important book worth reading.

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(Quite Possibly) The Best X There Is

Wolverine Weapon X #5?
The Adamantium Men 5 of 5
Written by Jason Aaron?
Illustrated by Ron Garney?
Published by Marvel Comics

There are two camps of people when it comes to Wolverine. There are those that are fanatical about him. He’s seen in the same vein as Venom. By that I mean the over-the-top fans. People love him, some even get tattoos or dress up for conventions. Then there are those that think he’s cool but see him as any other character. I’m not saying either is right or wrong or better than the other. I’m just not in the former category.

I’ve always thought that Wolverine was a solid character with a great background story. I mean we’re talking about the Weapon X program here. It’s a treasure trove of stories. But Wolverine is very much overused, sometimes in five books a month depending on what event or movie is out. Like many others I like the character but have never been a fan of the continuity and I had trouble getting into his comics. It’s always been all action and fluff with little story pushing anything forward. Yeah we know he’s the best there is at what he does. Give me more. So how is it then I’ve been reading Weapon X and come to claim it’s one of the best “X” books out there?

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Immortal Vikings of Legend Return

NORTHLANDERS 20: Sven the Immortal
Written by Brian Wood?
Illustrated by Davide Gianfelice?
Colors by Dan McCaig
Cover by Massimo Carnevale?
Published by Vertigo

Twelve issues, quite a few years, and two children later, Sven has returned. This is a single issue story which is a very rare thing in comics these days. On top of that you’re not required to have read the first eight issues of the series. It’s all here. But if you have read those issues, all of which consist of the first trade paperback, it only adds to the foundation of this story.

This is the first issue I’ve read of the series since “Sven the Returned.” I’m not a regular reader. I love the premise of this comic but these are the days of too little money and waiting for the collections. Having read the first storyline and this a single issue story, I picked it up.

The story doesn’t miss a beat. It might not take place right after the last page of issue eight, but even with his gray hair it’s still the same old Sven. He’s now an exile in Norway and he just wants to be left alone in the quiet of the desolate countryside with his family. But he can’t do that. A Viking can never do that.

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Will the Boy of Steel finally fly?

Written by Geoff Johns?
Penciled by Gary Frank
Inked by Jon Sibal?
Colors by Brad Anderson
Published by DC Comics

What happens when you take one of my favorite characters and one of my favorite writers and slam them together? You got an all-around classic comic book that you don’t need to know years of continuity to enjoy. From the title you can guess what the story is about. It’s Superman’s origin written by one of the best comic writers going today, Geoff Johns.

So we’ve all seen the movies, and I’m sure most of us have read something about Superman in our lives. He’s a pop-culture icon. What makes this so different?

While I don’t like answering a question with a question…why does it have to be different? I can tell you that it’s unlike most of the comics gracing the shelves today. It’s not dark or angry or trying to prove a point. What we get is Superman’s origin from his days in Smallville with Gary Frank illustrating. If Norman Rockwell sat down to draw a comic book I think this is as close as we can get without the Rockwell signature. It’s that slice-of-life midwest America and how a young boy deals with finding out he has powers. Forget puberty.

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Spider-Woman Begins Again

By Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev
Published by Marvel Comics

Essentially this issue is the motion comic that was available online weeks ago.

Which isn’t to say it’s a bad thing. Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev craft the continuing tale of Jessica Drew, aka the Spider-Woman.

She’s been run through the mill the past few years. Towards the end of Secret Invasion we found out that Spider-Woman was the Skrull queen. At the end of it all she’s despised the world over. This comic is where that leaves off.

In one of the finest looking comics you’ll read all year much of the issue is Jessica sulking about being the world’s most screwed-up person. Even worse than Wolverine. She even contemplates suicide by her own powers right to the head. But luckily for us she doesn’t. Bendis loves her too much to let her go and do something stupid.

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