It might have been a bit of a light week, but there were some fantastic comics to read nonetheless! I hope you enjoy the reviews, and Beware of SPOILERS!
ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #4
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Esad Ribic
The Children of Tomorrow have expanded their empire and destroyed both their neighboring European countries and the Asgardian Gods. These highly evolved race of super humans seem almost unstoppable. Right in the middle of it all Thor rescues Captain Britain before being confronted with the Maker of this new race. After being badly beaten, Thor reveals the message the Maker had back to Nick Fury and the rest of the Ultimates.
This issue works on two levels. On the one hand it is easy to follow if you are new to the Ultimates. Sure these are different versions of characters you know and love, but it is easy to follow. It also offers a completely different experience than reading the current Avengers titles. On the other hand, as a long time reader of the Ultimate line, there are quite a few threads carried over from previous stories.
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Last week, I read Next Men Premiere Edition Volume 1, which was classic science fiction as only John Byrne could do. This week, I finally read a book that I have been eagerly anticipating for months: CRIME DOES NOT PAY: BLACKJACKED AND PISTOL WHIPPED, edited/written by Charles Biro and Bob Wood; illustrated by Rudy Palais, Dick Briefer, Bob Montana, George Tuska and many more; published by Dark Horse.
I wanted to read Crime Does Not Pay (CDNP) because it is one of the most influential comic book series ever published. For those who don’t know, CDNP was the first crime comic ever published and at the height of its popularity it was outselling Superman by millions of issues per month. The trade paperback collects stories published between 1942 and 1948, and includes stories about high profile criminals such as Charles “Lucky” Luciano as well as lesser known criminals like the undertaker who cut off the heads of his clients and mounted them on his wall. All the stories are real and all of them are incredibly violent. EC Comics got blamed for the creation of the CCA, but CNDP was just as bad, if not worse.
The one thing that immediately jumps out at you in this book is the level of violence. It is incredible how much damage one person can do to another and Biro and gang weren’t shy about showing it on panel either. For example, a man smothers his mother with a pillow on one panel and then sets her on fire to cover up his crime in the second. Then there is the splash of a man with a bullet hole in his head dripping blood, not to mention the cover! By today’s standards the violence isn’t very graphic. There are plenty of scenes of violence but it isn’t like the graphic detail of Superboy ripping people’s arms off.
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