Operation: CO-M.A.C.Z. #6 – Action Comics, L4D, Neonomicon, Wolverine, & more
By Zach Patterson Saturday, 16 Oct 2010

In this action packed issue, the dynamic duo of Andrew and Zach tackle Lex Luthor’s run in Action Comics, Deadpool’s new MAX series, the free Left 4 Dead online comic, Alan Moore’s latest Lovecraft-inspired tale of horror, Mark Millar’s Superior, the Taskmaster miniseries, and the new Wolverine ongoing series!

Lex Luthor’s Action Comics 890-893

Impressions: It’s kind of hard for me to be interested in Superman. I’ve tried, and I’m well aware I don’t own some of the most essential Man of Steel stories, and in time, I will probably pick up some of those great stories. But in the meantime, I just can’t see myself ever regularly collecting a monthly Superman book. However, since Action Comics became a Lex Luthor book earlier this year, I’ve heard nothing but great things. So after picking these all up this past weekend, I can safely say this story arc rules.

It’s basically Lex Luthor plotting to obtain a Black Lantern ring, but what’s great about these 4 issues so far is that you luckily need to know next to nothing about what’s going on in Superman right now to enjoy it. I have no idea where his android Lois Lane assistant came from, but who cares? It ends up being a good foil to Luthor as she appeals to his more rational side (and she also has a battle mode, which is hilarious). And I don’t know a ton about the guest characters either, but the way Paul Cornell writes it, it really doesn’t matter. Mister Mind and Gorilla Grodd are both silly and entertaining (really, how can you not love a monstrous talking gorilla who eats brains by scooping them out with a giant spoon?). And Mister Mind’s appearance leads to a great hallucination/dreamscape issue that kind of probes to the heart of Lex’s character and shows what an incredibly smart, conniving, and evil dude he is.

Paul Cornell really does a great job portraying Luthor in this series, and even makes you root for him in a twisted way, and Pete Woods’ art has been detailed, personable, and realistic. I love how well he conveys emotions on the characters’ faces. While I’ll probably drop this series again after Superman gets done walking around middle America, this has been a damn fine run so far and I can’t wait to see what happens next. – Zach

Verdict: Highly recommended, this story arc has been superb!

Deadpool Max #1

Impressions: I normally am indifferent to Deadpool, and yet I just bought 4 comics with him in it last week. Weird. Anyway, this one is probably one of the better Deadpool comics I’ve read. The first issue centers around Deadpool’s handler/assistant Bob, who is pretty much abused, raped, and nearly killed in the first issue trying to get to crimelord Hammerhead and his empire. Deadpool is supposed to take part in an elaborate plan to get to him, but instead gets drunk in a wine cellar and misses his chance. However, it all ends well in a flurry of violence and naked men and sets up this new series well.

I’ll be honest though, the best reason to get this is the off-the-wall art. It’s a Ren and Stimpy-ish Spumco style

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mixed with a more cinematic adult anime style, with a unique color scheme that feels almost washed out, or as if it was screencapped from a cartoon. It’s a funny and enjoyable read that I’ll probably keep getting as long as it is as goofy and visually enjoyable as the first issue. – Zach

Verdict: Art style might not appeal to everyone, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Recommended.

Left 4 Dead: The Sacrifice Comic

Impressions: With the release of the new DLC for L4D and L4D2, they released a nice little 4 part comic to accomodate it. And surprisingly, this isn’t just a pointless filler comic. In fact, it is one of the few story driven parts ever given to you about this universe. Each one of the parts is centered on one of the survivors (Louis, Francis, Zoey, and Bill) and how they got to being in the games, and where they were when the outbreak happened. You also get a good idea of how fucked everything is (which I always like to see in a zombie story…just how bad has it gotten?) as well as why the four of them haven’t gotten sick like everyone else.

It works really well as a standalone story, but it also integral to any fan who loves the games series. Though the DLC follows this story more or less, there’s some great parts in the comic that surprisingly just didn’t transfer over, like an entire boat full of witches in the cabin. A great scene in a compound where they are captured, questioned by the military, and then eventually overrun and must escape. And surprisingly, the ending in

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the comic is way better than the game, because the game’s doesn’t really make a ton of sense and is a brief 2 second clip. – Zach

Verdict: It’s fun and free! Good art and great writing. Go read!

Neonomicon #1,2

Impressions: I picked this up simply because Alan Moore’s name is on the cover, and you don’t see him writing much nowadays. Turns out this book is pretty crazy. Basically a big horror love letter to HP Lovecraft, this book begins intriguing, and but the end of the 2nd issue, I didn’t know whether I was disgusted or even more interested. Basic premise is that there are two federal agents investigating how a former federal agent went insane and started performing ritualistic murders, and it has ties to similar crimes in the past, and it all seems to stem from a cult-like club centering around Lovecraft.

As the story progresses, we get to know the federal agents pretty well, which makes what happens at the end of part 2 so horrifying. As they go undercover to infiltrate a seedy Lovecraft sex club, it leads to like half a comic full of nudity, sex, violence, and rape which really tries to push boundaries. It seemed a bit excessive to me, but that was kind of the point. It definitely leaves an unsettling feeling and I would love to know where the hell this miniseries is going right now. Also, why does it seem like the entire thing is taking place is a giant bio-dome protecting America? Very odd image that has not been brought up yet. Guess I’ll find out! – Zach

Verdict: I don’t know! Get it if you like Lovecraft, creepy mysteries, and don’t offend easily.

Superior #1

Impressions: Hot on the heels of Kick-Ass and Nemesis comes another Mark Millar original. Unlike the semi-realistic characters in those books, Superior is much more about fantasy. Superior (the name of the hero in the book) is much like Superman. He comes from a cosmic background and for some reason the Earth’s atmosphere gives him power. This apparent derivative cheesiness is addressed early on in the book, and it’s quite clear that Millar is not going for a unique character, but rather trying to give some superhero archetypes a new twist.

The first few pages of the book are incredible. Explosions and a battle with a gigantic monster… what a start it is. But a nice twist is revealed and the setup of the book begins to unravel. Leinil Yu does an astounding job giving the action scenes life, and the characters themselves have a great impact. There’s a certain level of stern goofiness that I hope is present throughout the series. If you are wondering what I mean, imagine a chimp in a space suit saying “I have a serious proposition for you.”

The letter from Millar in the back states that he is attempting to deviate from his recent realistic kick and go for something a little more magical. Believe me, I like Kick-Ass and Nemesis and plenty of other “realistic hero” comics just fine, but heroes born from fantastical situations can be just as good, and the stories don’t have to be typical. Kudos to Mr. Millar for going against what’s been working so well for him.

This issue is a good introduction to the main characters, but the ending leaves a little too much open. There is almost no indication of what is going to happen next, which certainly will make the wait worthwhile, but it’s always nice to know something about what’s coming up. – Andrew

Verdict: Good

Taskmaster #1,2

Impressions: Yet another mini-series I picked up only due to positive word of mouth, since I think I have a grand total of one or two comics from ages ago with Taskmaster in it. Luckily, this series tells you all you need to know about the character, and has been really engaging so far. The premise of Taskmaster’s character is interesting because it’s revealed in the opening pages that while he can memorize a million fighting styles, he’s pushed all personal memory out of his brain, and he doesn’t remember much more than what happened a few minutes or hours ago. While the concept doesn’t 100% make sense, it’s still pretty interesting as they explain how he has to live his life as if he knows what’s going on all the time.

However, after he learns there is a hit out on him by every ridiculous evil organization writer Fred Van Lente could pull out of Marvel’s history (CYBER NINJAS! LORDS OF LIVING LIGHTNING! SONS OF THE SERPENT!), he and his unwitting waitress companion go on the run trying to figure out who the hell he is and avoid being killed. So far the series has had a lot of action, good characterization, and humor (the adversary in the second issue is named Don of the Dead….awesome). Another series I’m really looking forward to the next issue. – Zach

Verdict: More goofy action and fun from Marvel. Great stuff.

Wolverine #1, 2

Impressions: Yes, another Wolverine series. But wait! There is reason to be excited here! First off, we have Jason Aaron at the helm. If you’ve never read any of his Wolverine: Weapon X series, please do so. While it’s not entirely necessary if you want to jump in on the new Wolverine book, it is proof that Jason Aaron is not only worthy of taking on Wolverine, but that he will probably rip expectations to shreds. In addition, the artistic team of Guedes, Magalhaes, and Wilson are doing a great job so far. And to top it off, there’s the amazing Jae Lee covers. Issue #2 in particular is full of energy and just awesome to look at.

So what’s so great about it? Well, Jason Aaron’s first order of business was to send Wolverine to Hell. Wolverine is literally in hell being tormented by Satan and forced to battle fallen foes from the past. A common theme with Wolvie is his battle with his inner demons. Now it is literal. But I think, and hope, that this experience in Hell will have a major impact when and if he ever makes it back to Earth. From the very beginning of #1 it is revealed that Logan has been attending a church led by Wraith, so it’s obvious he’s been trying to tame his inner beast, and now he’s forced to unleash it all. In addition to Wolverine’s place in Hell, there is a demonic Wolverine plaguing those close to him, a mysterious group of mutants who are after his girlfriend, and Mystique trying to protect her. There is just enough mystery here, and it doesn’t overshadow the fact that WOLVERINE IS IN HELL. I can’t stress anymore how great I think this idea is.

The combination of artists working on these books could not be working better for the story. Between the penciling, inks, and colors, the depths of Hell are detailed and colorful. It really makes for a gritty and uncomfortable feeling.

Each issue so far has a bonus story in the back for non-Wolvie characters. Issue #1 contains “The Last Stand of the Silver Samurai”, a brutal short tale that is as much fun to look at as it is to read. In #2, “Amiko’s Story” doesn’t have quite the impact, but it’s a nice little bonus regardless.

If you have any interest in Wolverine, but are hesitant of a new series and new writer, please give this a try. Jason Aaron’s first published comic work was for Wolverine, and he certainly deserves to be leading a new series. – Andrew

Verdict: Great. #1 is a little heavy on the ancillary stories, but #2 has enough fighting and gritty visuals to satiate Wolverine fans.

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