Weekly Hit (and Miss) List 12/5/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.


The King | Top Shelf | Rich Koslowski (w/a)

Top Shelf Productions is one of my favorite small publishers. They have a knack for finding great talent and getting behind unique projects and I’ve already sung their praises in the March ’11 edition of Comic Book Club when I talked about Rich Koslowski’s B.B. Wolf and the Three LPs. This week I picked up another O.G.N. from Top Shelf and Koslowski called The King. It’s a story of a freelance reporter sent to uncover the truth behind the Vegas phenomenon known as The King. Claiming to be the spirit of Elvis Presley reborn as a God on earth, The King has amassed a huge following of believers. The King is a heartfelt story of faith, skepticism and the power of mystery, beautifully complimented by the art.  A cartoonist in the purist sense of the world, Koslowski’s sparse panel layouts and expressive figures, are a perfect fit for this story that tells us how suggestion can be far more powerful that that which we believe to be true. BUY IT

Legion of Monsters #2 | Marvel | Dennis Hopeless (w), Juan Doe (a)

When you read as many comics as I do it’s easy for an issue to get lost in the shuffle. A read at the wrong time or among too many others can kill the experience.  Such was the case for me with Legion of Monsters #1. I remember reading it and I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t have a huge impact on me. But with a light week this week, I decided to pick up #2 anyway – boy am I glad I did! This book is fantastic. The 4-issue mini teams all the classic Marvel monsters (Morbuis, Manphibian, Werewolf by Night, etc.) with monster hunter, Elsa Bloodstone (of Nextwave fame) for an ass-kicking, wisecracking, Ghostbusters-homage-paying ROMP. All-too-rare interior art by Juan Doe is worth the price alone and he’s evolved his collage-like style for pencils that are somehow loose fluid, but wonderfully clean at the same time.  If you’re not reading this book, you must hate fun. BUY IT

Atomic Robo Vol 5  | Red 5 | Brian Clevenger (w), Scott Wegner (a)

Despite having met series artist and New Hampshire native, Scott Wegner on several occassions, I’ve read shamefully little Atomic Robo. But thanks to the folks at Red 5 offering low-priced digital trades through Comixology (which no one else does), I decided to fix that.  One of the beauties of Atomic Robo is that each volume is self-contained so you can grab any trade paperback and dive right in.  Volume 5, entitled The Deadly art of Science turned out to be a great place to start because it tells the origin of Robo – a sentient robot designed by Nikola Tesla and trained as gun-toting an adventurer by prohibition era outlaw, Jack Tarrot. Atomic Robo is fast-paced, funny, heartfelt and oozing fun on every page.  In the little experience I had with the character already, I knew I’d enjoy it but after this emersion, I’ll definitely be back for more. BUY IT


Mud Man #1 | Image | Paul Grist (w/a)

I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of comicbook criticism and when the Internet speaks loudly about a book or creator it’s easy to get caught regurgitating the same opinion. Having already heard great things about this book and miles of praise for Paul Grist, I had this book penciled in as a hit.  But when I read the debut issue for myself, I just couldn’t get into it. Grist’s art is terrific and it’s clear he’s a great storyteller but I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters and I didn’t get enough story in this first issue to really grab me. Comparisons were made between Mud Man and early Spider-Man but comparing the two, this presented a rather confusing origin and gave me little sense of what Mud powers are and why they might be cool.  I had high hopes for this series, but it looks like I’ll have to take Dan Larson’s suggestion and dig up some Jack Staff to really get my Grist on.

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