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GRAPHIC BREAKDOWN!: MOON KNIGHT #1, SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #6, HUCK #6 & More!

Hello! My name is Lenny Schwartz and I am a playwright from RI and New York.

And I’m a life long comic book fan. I am so happy to write about comic books.

So without further adieu, here goes!

Moon Knight # 1
Written by Jeff Lemire and Illustrated by Greg Smallwood
Published by Marvel Comics

Man, what a great week of comics. We start off with Moon Knight! A new series!

Moon Knight can’t ever catch a break. We usually get 6 great issues or a small run on the character and then…crap. Jeff Lemire aims to correct this and have a solid run on the title.

Can he do this?

I hope so. Moon Knight is one of my favorite characters.

Yet, I always feel that he had a great run in the 80s and a few in between. There was the Charlie Huston/David Finch run. There was the Brian Michael Bendis/Alex Maleev run. More recently, we had the Warren Ellis/Declan Shalvey run. But they have been small runs of excellence. They were small in comparison to the Doug Moench/Bill Siekiewicz run of the 80’s. This run however, starts off with a bang.

Marc Spector (Moon Knight) wakes up in an institution. He thinks he has been captured by his Egyptian enemy. Or he might just be completely nuts. This is the concept of the first issue. And man, is it dark. Lemire has a handle on the character. It was brutal to read and I couldn’t put it down. Greg Smallwood worked on the character with Brian Wood before. It was good art, it was, but wasn’t the best run of the character. Here, however, Smallwood shines with some of the best art we’ve seen from him. It’s a hell of a book. Pick it up. This book features two creators at the top of their game.

Moon Knight is a great step for Marvel. They have been pretty much putting out more crap lately than good books. This book is GREAT. Pick it up. Buy it. Recommend it. We need more comic books like this out there on a monthly basis.

RATING: A

Superman: American Alien #6 
Written by Max Landis and Illustrated by Jonathan Case 
Published by DC Comics

Writer Max Landis has decided to update Superman’s origin in this 7 issue series. There is a different artist on every issue and from the onset, it makes for an interesting project. But having read six issues, how does the latest issue fare?

Well, it’s not bad. The story shows us what would happen if being Superman went to Clark’s head. And it’s a new take. Which is hard to do with Superman. So I commend Landis on that. We get a new perspective on Clark and Landis makes it interesting throughout. The art for the series has been pretty crazy. Sometimes, it’s been really great. Other times, not so much. but Case in this issue does fairly well, and he makes you pay attention. It’s fairly good. It definitely is some of the better art we have had on the series. (The Joelle Jones issue was VERY well drawn) I’ll confess though…the issue I am waiting for is number 7 drawn by Jock…he’s one of my favorites.

Will this be a classic series? Perhaps not. But is it an interesting read with a lot of heart? Yes. It’s an interesting take and it’s kinda it’s own thing. It’s likeable. Pick it up for a breezy new take on a tired hero.

RATING: B

Huck # 6  
Written by Mark Millar and Illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque
Published by Image Comics

A few months ago I wrote of review of Huck, and while I stand by what I wrote, the last two issues of Huck are fantastic.

Millar writes for movies now. He wants to make movies. So reading these books as single issues…well, it doesn’t work as well. Reading them together? Man. It’s a good book. A good book, once you have all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Millar really kicks it in high gear and it’s a damn good story. Albuquerque kills on the art though. Passion, good storytelling…it’s all there. They work as a team and they really succeeded in making the book a good one. One small complaint was the last few pages where it felt kinda flat…but it didn’t take away too much from the overall experience.

Millar has really created his own world and his own stable of amazing artists. You have to hand it to the guy. While I do wish he would stray away from the “Millar formula” a bit, the man has success. This is another book that is a success. Now to wonder what’s next?

RATING: B+


Mary Wept Over The Feet Of Jesus: Prostitution and Religious Obedience in the Bible
Written and Illustrated by Chester Brown
Published by Drawn and Quarterly

Chester Brown is one of the best graphic storytellers we have. Whether it’s his book on Louis Riel or his most recent work, Paying For It, Brown has a unique voice in the world. So, how did I like his new book?

It’s brilliant. He’s brilliant. What more do you need to know? Brown asks some really hard questions. Did Jesus approve of prostitution? Does God want us to obey him?

This book is something, once read, you’ll never forget. The stories he has shows us interpretations of stories from the Hebrew scriptures and Christian New Testament. Brown’s art may make it look like it’s simple but it’s anything but that. I dare anyone reading this to pick it up and challenge yourself. One of the reasons I love Chester Brown so much is the passion he puts into every project. And this one has passion on every frame, every moment.

Just wow.

This is Chester Brown’s best book. Until he creates another one. And then I’m sure that book will end up being his best book. He only gets better with age and I for one applaud him. Recommended highly.

Rating: A+

Wonder Woman: Earth One Volume 1 
Written by Grant Morrison and Illustrated by Yanick Paquette 
Published by DC Comics

Grant Morrison can write a pretty damn good comic book. I first heard about this book four years ago and like some of Morrison’s projects, I waited.

And waited.

And then, I just about forgot about it.

One day, It just appeared. And I’m happy it did. It’s pretty fantastic.

Morrison gives us a new take on Wonder Woman and my god, it’s good.

He shows us a tale of Wonder Woman coming into her own. Diana is on trial in front of her mother. How she got there is the whole story. And what a story. Morrison has a flair for any character. But when he writes with love, it’s divine. This is him writing with love. Paquette has never been my favorite artist. That said here? He soars. And I mean SOARS. His art is out of this world. The storytelling is wild, inventive, fun. I was wowed. This book is a wow.

Wonder Woman has never been at the top of my list. But this? Put Morrison and Paquette on it? It’s a fast paced, wonderful read. And I give it a thumbs up.

RATING: A- (only for waiting so long)

Rattler 
Written by Jason McNamara and Illustrated by Greg Hinkle 
Published by Image Comics

This was a hell of a read too. I picked this up mostly for the Greg Hinkle art. It’s impressive to be sure. But the story is pretty damn good too. Here is another Kickstarter project that came to fruition and then got picked up by Image. It’s good.

Based in sorts on a true story that happened to McNamara, The Rattler actually left me shocked.

The story follows Stephen Thorn who was helpless to stop the kidnapping of his wife. Years later he becomes a right wing campaigner for victims rights. Yet, he starts to get clues of where his wife might be.

And then it gets really dark. McNamara’s story is well written and Hinkle’s art is horrifyingly good. I couldn’t put this down.

Pick this up. It contains one of the most shocking endings I have ever seen.
 
This is not a book for the faint of heart. But for those that can take it? Order one today.

RATING: A-

Rai Volume 3: The Orphan
collecting issues 9-12
Written by Matt Kindt and Illustrated by Clayton Crain 
Published by Valiant Comics

Rai is a good comic book. This series has thrilled since the first issue and Kindt has written a superb story. Crain has been a treat on the art and this is one of the best packages Valiant currently offers.

The third collection follows Rai as he and his friends are sent down to earth to be hunted and persecuted after their rebellion failed.

Man, it’s thrilling. Even better the characters are top notch. It’s exciting to read. Crain is a unique artist, and it adds up to a comic book I can never pass up.

It’s a completely different take on a regular comic book. But it works.

I’m glad to see Valiant knocking it out of the park. This is one of the best they offer.

RATING: B+

BURIED TREASURE PICK

An Accidental Death 
Written by Ed Brubaker and Illustrated by Eric Shanower 
Published by Fantagraphics Books

Before Ed Brubaker was “Ed Brubaker”, he wrote this short story for Dark Horse Presents. It appeared in 3 issues of that comic book, in the same books where Frank Miller’s Sin City was appearing. Yet, I always liked this story better. It probably totals 32 pages total. But it’s some of the most haunting pages I have ever read.

The story takes place at the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba during the last years of the 1970s. Charlie and Frank are two teenage boys. When the Johnson family arrive to the base, tragedy occurs. The revelation of what happens is stunning and still is heartbreaking, reading it again almost 25 years later.

Brubaker has never written a better comic book, I don’t care what anyone says.

And Shanower has drawn one of the most amazing stories I have ever read. It’s one of the great works in comic book history. You can only buy this book off eBay or Amazon.

And you should. Change your life. You’ll never forget it.

RATING: A+

And that’s it for another week.

Hug your loved ones!

And until next week I remain,

Lenny Schwartz

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