Thursday, January 31

It's Alex Ross's world, and we just live in it

If you could be anybody today, I bet it wouldn't be Rudy Giuliani or John Edwards. A much better candidate would be superstar comics artist Alex Ross. By some odd confluence of events, Ross's redesigns of Captain America, Spider-Man, and a plethora of Golden Age characters all hit stands today.

The debut of the Ross-designed Cap was accompanied by a new man in the uniform -- you may have seen something about this in the mainstream press. Captain America #34 sees Cap's former sidekick Bucky Barnes wearing the flag, which I hope isn't a spoiler to anybody who cares by now. A terrific issue, by the way -- more great work by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting. My favorite series continues to impress, and there's an "oh sh*t!" ending that I don't want to ruin for other readers.

From Captain America #34

A comic with which Ross is more closely associated is the new Project Superpowers from Dynamite Entertainment. It sees him, like Alan Moore before him, rescuing a number of Golden Age figures from public domain and enlisting them once again as heroes. Issue #0 was released today, setting the stage for the mini-series to come. Fighting Yank narrates the beginning of the tale, explaining the heroes' World War II history and how all but he and Green Lama fell into limbo. The issue itself was heavy on chatting and posing, but set the stage as well as explaining how the lost heroes will return and what threats they'll face. Between this and The Twelve, I should get my fill of long-neglected characters.

The Black Terror, The Scarab, Fighting Yank, The Flame, Green Lama

While I knew in advance about the contributions of Alex Ross to the new Captain America and Project Superpowers comics, another of his designs showed up where I didn't expect it. I picked up What If? Spider-Man Versus Wolverine because I like co-author Jeff Parker, and was surprised at the direction it took. Events in the issue lead to Spidey and Wolvie teaming up as a mercenary black ops unit (!), which was pretty entertaining. I'm sure it'll turn off those folks who think heroes shouldn't kill, blah blah blah, but I'm not bothered. An unexpected turn was when Spider-Man changed uniforms off-panel, turning up in an outfit I believe was originally designed by Alex Ross (but not used) for the Spidey movies. Sure didn't see that coming...

A nice week of comics, and that's without mentioning the three Avengers titles. Now, just hours until the Lost season premiere. Sweeet.


Blogger Ryan said...

holy crap! How did that spider-man costume sneak by me? I hadn't even realized the SM/W What If? was coming out this week!

As for Cap. I love the new design, and the series really is at a great point right now. But, I still think we could've been more original than Bucky.

9:41 PM

Blogger Rich said...

I had kinda forgotten about the What If? issue myself until I saw it on the rack. I have those old Spidey vs. Wolverine issues, and couldn't resist.

I was pretty down on the design when Ross's initial painting came out and it was all shiny and ridiculous. The art team really toned it down though, and now the black works since Bucky tends to loom in the shadows. I'm fine with him being in the suit, although I hope doesn't mean a permanent retirement of his Winter Soldier persona.

10:20 AM

Blogger Ryan said...

I dunno, I like the direction it's headed with Bucky. I think he would bring a very interesting twist to the Captain America persona as a whole, but I guess deep down I just wanted it to end up being the Punisher...

1:41 PM

Blogger Rich said...

Well, he tried. And Bucky threatened to kill him. Heh.

1:45 PM


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