Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cover Review: The Eternals #14

Jack Kirby strikes again!  For a man I didn't appreciate as a kid (mainly because his art freaked me out), I definitely appreciate him now.  This is not, obviously, his best cover, but it works.

The Eternals was a weird series, and I never picked it up, but seeing the Hulk on the cover would have caused a curious Hulk fan to at least page through this.  It also has all the Kirby standards, which definitely doesn't hurt.

The first thing that catches the eye is the imposing figure of a red-clad man flying off the cover courtesy of the Hulk.  A cover that shows off action like this begs to be investigated regardless of whether or not you know who the characters are.  There are no word balloons.  There is a cover blurb, however, which pretty much details the cover with one exception -- this is a "cosmic powered" Hulk.  Attention grabbed; curiosity peaked.  Mission accomplished.

Cover artists of today could take more than a few lessons from Kirby.  He did every cover as if his career depended on it.  You can argue about whether they all worked, but you can't argue with the creativity put into them.  He knew what worked, and used it.  Perhaps if more artists followed his lead sales would be better these days.  Then again, Kirby was one of a kind ...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Band of the Hand

If you are a regular reader of Daredevil you know that he now leads The Hand, that group of ninjas who have run roughshod over the lives of Elektra, Wolverine, and others.  It is a plot development not without controversy, but I applaud it.

One of the reasons I have stuck with this title since the 1970s (and there are a lot of bad issues between then and now) is because it never really seems static and has had a sense that anything can happen (especially since the late '80s).  As of late he has had his identity outed, been jailed, and has (once again) gone off the deep end.  Now this.

Obviously there is a plan for ol' Hornhead.  He hasn't, as some people have said, "gone criminal."  He is, however, dancing on that razor's edge, and that's what makes the series exciting.  If you want a safe read where you are hardly ever challenged on what you can expect from a superhero comic, you can read any number of titles.  Daredevil has never been about conventions.

This plot twist could very well fail in an awful way.  If that happens, it will be a shame, but the title will live on.  There have been other plot lines that have fallen flat in their execution (Mike Murdock, working for S.H.I.E.L.D, etc.), but that's the joy of reading a title that is not one of Marvel's flagships.  It can be tweaked.  It leaves room for experimentation.  That will inevitably lead to some failures, but it will also produce incredible stories.

Only time will tell what this storyline turns out to be, but I'm betting that before it is over many of the critics will change their minds.  And if I'm wrong?  Eventually there will be a new writer who will bring new problems to Daredevil's life, and if the past few years are any indication -- it could be a very wild ride.