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Comics: It's All Coming Back to Me Now

by Dee. 6/15/2017
Welcome to another exciting edition of comic reviews: this week we have a preview, Kaijumax: Season Three, as well as my other picks for the month - Martian Manhunter / Marvin the Martian Special, and the first issue of Defenders.

Kaijumax: Season Three (Oni Press) - I was able to preview the first issue of a previous title in this series, so I understand the basic premise: giant monsters who are convicts, living their lives outside the law, which includes instances of gang warfare, and drugs like smog and dioxin. Did I mention that their jailers are space superheroes?

The artwork for this is very cartoony, but they have some interesting visual ideas, my favorite being the lava tattoos on some of the characters. Some writers of note who are throwing thier names behind the series are as diverse as Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen), Jhonen Vasquez (creator of Invader Zim), and Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals, Hawkeye).

The best part is how the scale of the creatures reappears at times which reminds you just how large and alien they are, such as needing a cement mixer truck to set a cast, or a visitation room for a human looking about the size of a mini-TV from the monster's perspective, but like a large room in a house from the human's perspective. The story is interesting and has heart, as well as brutal and blood-soaked. The recommended reading age is 15+ with good reason.

Release Date: July 12, 2017.

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Martian Manhunter / Marvin the Martian Special #1 (DC Comics) -- DC is doing a few great pairings with Looney Tunes that will remind you of cartoons and cereal on an early Saturday morning and the excitement of picking up a new comic issue all at once. This pairs two of my favorite aliens (besides Wonder Woman and Thor), the cover showing Marvin as a much more sinister figure than Looney Tunes ever portrayed the miserable Martian.

J'onn J'onzz is attracted to a distress beacon, awaiting one of his kin and an explanation of their survival. Marvin is a mystery, though J'onn does recognize him as a fellow Martian. The character design for Marvin does include a six-pack, but never fear: his look may be updated, but he still has an awesome saucer, and his attitude hasn't changed. He has his Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, of course.

What J'onn and Marvin (or M'Arvinn, as J'onn calls him) bring to the table is the ability to comment on society in a Stranger-in-a-Strange-Land trope: "Humans are so crazy...", but the biggest difference is the two opposing views on what to do with Earth. Marvin gains a lot of depth the way he was never visualized as a kid's cartoon, because, well... isn't it enough that he just wants to blow up the Earth?!?

Marvin causes a panic at Area 52, and J'onn is left feeling betrayed by his extremist compatriot, especially when Earthlings assume that they have the same goals. Poignant? Mostly, if you like passing social commentary in your comics. It's also an excuse to bring the more unbelievable and ridiculous side of comics out to play, hooking Marvin up with an outrageous tank and forcing J'onn to fight a ridiculous robot.

BUT THE BEST PART... The comic is divided in two: one from J'onn's style/ perspective, and the other from the Looney universe. The Looney comic is not a direct parallel, because, well... look, they do what they want. The two tones are distinctly of their genre, and I am incredibly pleased with how they chose to portray each other in the opposite comic - poking fun, or taking seriously - their counterpart.

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Defenders (2017) #1 (Marvel Comics) -- I won't lie, I'm looking forward to this show so very much. August cannot come soon enough. For those of you who do not know about any of the recent Marvel TV shows, the Defenders are comprised of: Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist.

Brian Michael Bendis is the writer for this comic, and I am a huge fan of his other work (Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man, Powers, Sam and Twitch (from the Spawn universe), Scarlet, and Alias which starred Jessica Jones).

My favorite panels are visual flashes of different time periods and incarnations of each of our heroes, Luke Cage showing his Power Man costume, Jessica in her superheroine outfit and flashes of the Purple Man, etc.

Jessica is filled with her usual swearing and snark, Luke gets all of the cool lines, Daredevil is pretty serious about all of it, and Danny Rand is full of action so the comic feels true to the characters as they've been presented in both TV and comic formats.

This has a very strong story hook from the beginning, and it takes off running from the first panel. David Marquez and Justin Ponsor do a wonderful job with presenting the dynamic action based panels, and the color palette within the mood lighting, and presenting the dialogue without it being a wall of text. Overall, wonderful job guys, see you next issue.

Let's do the Time Warp again,
Dee

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