Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All Star Recommends!

Back for another week on a new day with two new recommendations for your consideration. Special Offer: Customers who mention they read about a title on All Star Recommends will get a 10% discount on the below prices.

Demo Volumes 1 and 2
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Becky Cloonan
Recommended by: Dom

At this point, the exploration of young people with super powers is a concept well worn in comic books. To make an impact here, a writer needs to find a unique angle that takes the strange powers and presents the story from a fresh angle. This is what Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan do with Demo in their combining the curse of powers with tortured lives.

Across two volumes, Wood and Cloonan's angle is to strip away all the flash of the usual super hero comic. The powers are are often used as a means of compounding the problems of their every day lives. The stories are often easy to sum up in a sentence such as what happens when a sniper who never misses doesn't want to be a soldier anymore? What effect does that have on his life and family? Can a girl who is the projection of everyone's desire find someone who loves her for her true image? Simple summations though don't make the stories any less complex. Strong and well rounded lives are found in every issue.

These short indivdual stories (18 across 2 volumes) are compact but elegant in their structure. Their concepts and deeper meanings leave the reader with a lot to consider at each tale's conclusion. Demo's power is that it channels the literary short story with a complex simplicity.

Demo Volume 1 and 2 are available now at All Star Comics. Volume 1 featuring the fist 12 stories is $32.95. Volume 2 featuring the next 6 stories is $23.95.

War of the Green Lanterns: Green Lantern 64 and GL Corps 58
Writer: Geoff Johns and Tony Bedard
Artists: Doug Mahnke and Tyler Kirkham
Recommended by Eddie

Even for a huge Green Lantern fan, these first two parts of War of the Green Lanterns feel like a big battery recharge (pardon the pun) for the mythos. Just the thing the book needs in the lead up to the film.

Quick synopsis, renegade Guardian Krona, who you may remember from a little DC event called Crisis on Infinite Earths, has taken control of the emotional entities and turned them on the Green Lantern Corps in a way that basically means the Corp is turning on itself making the event feel like Blackest Night meets Civil War. The story is simple but the beats it plays are fantastic and feel as though they will have long term effects for the universe which should surprise and amaze fans as Johns and co pull from all aspects of the GL mythos. Don’t expect every one to make it out of this story and even if they do survive don’t expect them to be the same on the other side.

If you are a new reader, don’t fret these books are very new reader friendly and a perfect jumping on point for those interested to start. The books do a solid job of recapping all that is going on in story and brings the reader up to speed in exploring the personality of the main protagonists. It even seems they're following “The Sinestro Corps” lead in that you can read Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corp as separate books that tell one side of the story each.

Green Lantern #64 and Green Lantern Corps #58 are available at All Star Comics Now for $4.50 each.

Kill Shakespeare #1
Writer: Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
Artist: Andy Belanger
Recommended by: Jess

Those that have been wanting to check out this unique 12 issue series now have a chance to jump on board for cheap with IDW's 100 Penny Press. The story follows Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, just after he has killed Polonius. He’s full of guilt, jumping at shadows and ready to leave his home with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Before he boards the ship to England, he is confronted with a mist that tells him to kill his uncle. Swearing he is not a killer and fleeing aboard the ship, poor Hamlet sets to drinking, hoping his voyage and the booze will keep him from his guilt. But the mist returns, seemingly bringing with it pirates and doom for all those on board the ship. Hamlet survives, clinging to wreckage and a dead sailor, and wakes up some time later in a mysterious castle, guest of Richard III.

From there, writers Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery manage to craft a world where two factions of Shakespeare’s characters vie for the chance to capture – or kill – the Bard. Shakespeare himself is seen as alternately the Creator and the Devil, with Hamlet playing the foretold Shadow King, who will kill the Bard. Deals with witches are made, politics manipulated and alliances made, all in the traditional Shakespearean language. The language itself is interesting – both aesthetically and literarily, especially when characters are having a fairly standard conversation, it’s asks the reader to give it about the same level of concentration you’d need if you were watching an episode of Deadwood. You get the gist of it.

The art done by Andy Belanger and Ian Herring is wonderfully expressive. There’s a great sense of the dramatic and the symbolism needed to convey a world that originally only existed on a stage. I especially loved the work that surrounded the ‘mist’ scenes and those involving the witches – all billowing almost woodcut style smoke, bright colouring, intense eyes on the characters. The use of light and dark too, is well calculated. The backgrounds are detailed, almost to the point of distraction. (I’m a massive fan of stylistic clouds. Weird art fetishes FTW)

It’s sadly a finite story, but it’s definitely worth picking up. Definitely something the Fables fans would want to give a try, along with anyone who’s a fan of the clever use of other people’s characters.

The 100 Penny Press edition of Kill Shakespeare #1 is available at All Star Comics now for $1.50. For those that want to dive in rather than dipping the toe, you can also order the trade paperback which is currently out of stock.

Be sure to check out our All Star Recommends archive here. Remember, mention that you read about any of the titles in store when going to buy them and you get a 10% discount.

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