I read quite a few books this week and they were all, for the most part, great books. There was not a books that stood out against the rest. If I had to choose between a dozen great books or one amazing book peppered with books that were just ok, however, I would pick the dozen or so great books every single time. More to enjoy then. So I have no major complaints about this week’s offerings.
THE SHADE #1
Written by James Robinson
Illustrated by Cully Hamner
Who says you can never go home again? One of my favorite comics of all time is Starman, as written by James Robinson and illustrated by Tony Harris as well as many other wonderful artists. One of the central characters in that Starman run was the Shade, a former supervillain who never aged and had powers to create living weapons/creatures out of shadows.
During his time in Starman, the Shade became a anti-hero, similar in some respects to characters like John Constantine. He was not a good man, not by a long shot, but he protected his city and those he cared about with an uncanny devotion. He was a gentleman villain, and a truly great character in the way James Robinson wrote him.
This new limited series finds the Shade in a place he is not used to being. Not only is October a bad time of year for him (it is the year he was created/got his powers), but he has seemed to have lost the edge that defined him, something noted by his girlfriend Hope O’Dare. She tells him he needs an adventure. As a longtime fan of the character I could not agree with her more. Luckily it seems to come just in time as Deathstroke shows up in Opal City to kill the Shade who learns unexpectedly that yes, perhaps he can be killed after all.
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Last week, I read Sidekicks, which was a fun-filled, all-ages story that could be enjoyed by everyone. This week, I read a book that was so good and so different that I mentioned to Rusty how awesome it was and how excited I was to write about it this week. Rusty looked me straight in the eye and said, "David, it’s time we had ‘the talk.’" Now, I don’t know if anyone else has ever gotten "the talk" from Rusty, but it’s always unnerving and makes me tingly inside and not in a good way either. It went something like this, "David, would it kill you to read something normal for once? You read the most random and bizarre stuff that no one has ever heard of. I’m not saying you need to read Captain America, but how about something close to the main stream. Huh? Can you do that for me?" So, against my better judgement, I read RUSE: THE VICTORIAN GUIDE TO MURDER, written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Mirco Pierfederici and Minck Oosterveer, published by Marvel.
You may or may not remember that Ruse was created by Mark Waid for Crossgen in 2001. Back then, it had several thematic elements, which tied the story into the greater Crossgen universe that Waid stripped out of this story while leaving the base premise unchanged. Ruse is set during the Victorian era (mid to late 1800s) and is the story of an incredibly smart detective, Simon Archard, and his faithful assistant Emma Bishop. If this reminds you of Sherlock Holmes and Watson then you have a good idea of what you are in for. A nefarious villain, not unlike Professor Moriarty, has a scheme that could, well… so not to ruin the fun, let’s just say the scheme could do bad things to lots of people.
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