Posted tagged ‘Stan Lee’

Review: Essential Sub-Mariner Vol.1

June 7, 2010

I’ve been waiting years for Marvel to get around to releases this book.  The Sub-Mariner is the last of their silver age super-hero titles to have gone without an affordable edition in print.  For that alone I’ve been wanting this to complete the collection, but also I always loved the character of Namor, probably the most pompous figure in comics, and a lot of fun because of that.

But sadly I think I see why Marvel was hesitant to bring these back.  As it turns out, there are exactly two types of Namor stories.

  1. Namor has a misunderstanding with the human race and nearly declares war
  2. Someone tries to claim the throne of Atlantis from Namor

Now, this collection has stories from 35 issues, granted most of these are only 12 pages long, but still, these schticks get old pretty quickly.  And it doesn’t help that there’s a fairly glaring problem with the art as well that I just can’t get past, even with greats such as Bill Everett, Gene Colan, and John Buscema at work.  

Namely, no one can seem to remember that Atlantis is actually underwater!  Why does the city have paved roads!?!  Why are robes in fashion and why don’t they float!?!  Why is Dorma’s hair perfectly styled, only to appear wet when she’s out of the water!?!  You get the idea.

There are a few decent issues here, and in small doses the stories can be fun, but as a whole, not one of Marvel’s better efforts.

Review: Deadpool Classic Vol.3

January 7, 2010

A while back I raved about the 2nd collection of Joe Kelly’s Deadpool run.  Well vol. 3 is now here and it’s even better.  

The issues here are the heart of the series, in which Deadpool reaches his lowest ebb and somehow manages to start his life anew afterwards…sort of.  This is Deadpool after all, a certifiable, blabber-mouthed assassin whose best friend is the old blind woman he’s imprisoning for the hell of it.  He’s always been a fun character, but only Kelly ever managed to make him sympathetic, and that’s with the aforementioned prisoner that he occasionally tortures for fun.

This is also an incredibly funny book.  Most writers try to make Deadpool funny by emphasizing how crazy he happens to be.  Kelly is the one who actually has a fantastic, absurdists sense of humor that pervades the book and not just the one character.  Villains attack with enormous teddy bears, mad scientists play chess against guinea pigs, Jerry Garcia tours Europe, and somehow Deadpool manages to buy a sheep gun (being a gun disguised as a sheep of course, what were you thinking?).

And then there’s issue 11, which pretty much built Kelly’s reputation alone, in which Deadpool goes back in time and replaces Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #47.  That issue is not at all significant, meerly being yet another battle between Spidey and Kraven the Hunter, but it makes a perfect example of one of Stan Lee’s silver age stories.  Deadpool and company lovingly eviscerate the sorce material, while artist Pete Woods turns in a brilliant impression of John Romita’s art.  It’s a brilliant capstone to a book that holds up just as well now as it did when I first read it 13 years ago.