Author: Scott VanderPloeg

Review | Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart

This is my second book from the newly relaunched Humanoids English division, and Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart is not your average comic book.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb: Professor Alan Mangel’s journey of madness begins when he impregnates Elisabeth, a student, with what she believes is John the Baptist reincarnated. They meet and conspire with people convinced in bringing forth the Second Coming of Christ. Are they delusional? By the creators of THE INCAL, Moebius and Jodorowsky. Let me give a brief overview.  Alan Mangel is our main character, a philosophy professor at the Sorbonne.  He’s far removed from everyday life, including his wife and students.  He gets involved with Elisabeth, a student who believes she will give birth to a second coming of John The Baptist if it’s conceived with Alan.  Along the way he overcomes impotence and becomes part of a religious cult of four, adding a Mary and Joseph to the group.  Mary is the daughter of a drug cartel leader and Joseph is a drug addict. With this cast of characters Elisabeth, Mary and Joseph are committed to their ideology of a new John and Christ while Alan is along for the ride enjoying sex with young gorgeous women.  They all live communally for a while until everyone is kidnapped and whisked back to South America to join in a gang war; hilarity ensues.  Throughout...

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Bound Together | The Best Of Marvel Comics

I have absolutely no background material on this book.  I spoke at length last year with Mariano Nicieza, editor of the Marvel Limited line in the mid 1990s, and he confirmed this book was not part of that line or even the inspiration for it. Here’s what I do know: The Best Of Marvel Comics Volume One was published in 1987.  It’s a leatherette hardcover with no ISBN number or price.  It lists no credits for the volume, only a table of contents.  It appears to be a retailer incentive since no price or ISBN indicates it was never meant for retail. While I can’t fault the choices this is a strange collection of work.  Here’s a rundown of what’s included: Fantastic Four 52-53 Hulk Annual 8 Amazing Spider-Man 248, 31-33 Captain America 255 Thor 159, 171 Doctor Strange 56 Uncanny X-Men 183 A new Wolverine story So they jump around between 1960s and 1980s material: lots of Jack Kirby in there with Steve Ditko, John Romita Jr., John Byrne and Paul Smith.  For some reason the Uncanny X-Men 183 story “He’ll never make me cry” wasn’t included in the table of contents.  This is the only time that Doctor Strange story has ever been reprinted in colour.  All together this volume is a mix of retold origin stories and just randomness that’s hard to define how it was...

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Review | Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman Volume 2

After finishing volume 1 I moved quickly into Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman Volume 2.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb: Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham’s critically acclaimed run continues in the Prime Elements, a story that kicks off the new world-spanning adventures of the Fantastic Four. Featuring the return of the Mole Man, the architecture of the underworld, and the smartest Moloid you’ll ever meet. Watch as the First Family journeys to the moon where they learn that the history of the Inhumans runs much deeper, and richer, than previously believed. Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR #575-578. What’s that?  Why yes, you are paying the same $20 for one less issue and 32 fewer pages in this volume compared to the last.  At least these four issues are a cohesive story with no fill in creators. What we’re presented with is laying a groundwork for a future story.  A hidden underground city built by the High Evolutionary is raised to the surface.  A kingdom of fish people claiming to be Atlantis is discovered and Sue becomes their ambassador.  The Inhumans call forth a gathering of other races mutated by the Kree to claim their place on Earth.  There’s an attack in the Negative Zone.  We’re given bits and pieces but need to wait for another volume to have it mean something.  Interest is piqued and some great plot threads sewn but it’s...

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Review | Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman Volume 1

Based on the title I get the distinct feeling I should know who Jonathan Hickman is, but I still don’t.  I’ve always been a Fantastic Four fan but I haven’t been reading it for a few years so Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman Volume 1 seemed like a good point to jump in.  For some background depth check out this interview.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb: Solve everything! Inside a room kept secret from even his closest friends and family, Reed Richards had scrawled upon the walls 100 of the biggest and boldest ideas his brain could produce. And, recently, he added a 101st, the most audacious ever: “Solve everything.” It would be a mantra that would lead the obsessively intellectual Mr. Fantastic to doing great works on behalf of humanity — and, in typically fantastic fashion, lead him into even greater trouble! For, as the big brain of the Fantastic Four will find out, solving everything carries with it a great cost, and one that is perhaps too much to pay. With art by Dale Eaglesham and covers by the legendary Alan Davis, Jonathan Hickman’s bristling take on the Fantastic Four leads Marvel’s First Family in an exciting new direction! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR #570-574. From the get go I was hooked on this story.  Reed Richards, being the greatest scientific mind in the Marvel Universe, has created a bridge...

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Jiminy Christmas! | 2010 Picks

The new year is finally starting to roll out so I thought to highlight my picks from 2010: one book from each publisher that to me was the best material they put out. Superman: Secret Origin by DC Comics This one blew me away: a straight up superhero book.  Geoff Johns and Gary Frank deliver a reinterpretation of the Superman origin story: it’s a slight tweak with details for modern audiences.  No big surprises or twists, just solid story and art.  This one keeps the faith that a superhero story can be great. The Marvels Project by Marvel Comics Another origin story but with a brand new spin.  Brubaker know how to write a great story and be brings it here: a look at the very beginning of the Marvel Universe with a fantastic roster of Golden Age heroes.  Epting’s art brings the period to life. Parker: The Outfit by IDW The second story arc from Darwyn Cooke brings more of the same: gritty mob action with quick rapid dialogue and a no holds barred story.  Singular colour and heavy ink give the art a look that screams “period piece” and immerse the reader instantly.  Cooke’s hard lines and chiseled men enforce the story and contrast with his soft and rounded women: every element works together beautifully and can only happen when it’s a one creator work. Usagi Yojimbo...

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