Just read: 'The Vision: Little Worse Than A Man, Little Better Than A Beast' by Tom King

Just read: 'The Vision: Little Worse Than A Man, Little Better Than A Beast' by Tom King

Tom King's run writing The Vision for Marvel Comics lasted only 12 issues, collected into two trade paperbacks, but it made a mark in terms of critical and fan acclaim. After hearing enough about it online, I purchased both trade paperbacks -- the first six issues are collected in Little Worse Than A Man, while the back six are collected in Little Better Than A Beast -- during a big Marvel sale on comiXology last year, and I finally got around to reading them when it became a topic during a recent Do By Friday episode.

King enjoyed such positive acclaim with The Vision, along with previous successes, that he ultimately parlayed it into an exclusive contract with DC, where he's currently roughly halfway through a 100-issue run as the writer of Batman. Not a bad gig to jump to following a project that nobody had particularly high expectations for; The Vision was announced right around the time the character was playing a large role on-screen in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, so King's run could have easily been a quick, heavy-hitting action story to expand a bit on the history of Marvel's best-known A.I. character. No one would have blamed King and Marvel for going that route, or for taking Vision on a short journey that followed the events of Ultron

Read More

Just read: Marvel's 'Star Wars' & 'Darth Vader'

Just read: Marvel's 'Star Wars' & 'Darth Vader'

Over the past few months, I've started chronicling my foray into comic books by blogging about the Batman trade paperbacks I've been reading. In an effort to keep myself from blowing through my Batman list too fast, though, I branched out and picked up a few other titles as a breather between Batstories. 

I picked up the first two volumes of Marvel's Star Wars title -- Skywalker Strikes and Showdown on Smuggler's Moon -- in addition to the first two volumes of their Darth Vader title -- VADER and Shadows & Secrets. Additionally, I bought Vader Down, which is a crossover event between these two titles and fits nicely at the end of each of the first two volumes. In total, these five trade paperbacks comprise about 15 issues from each of the runs.  

The decision to pick these up wasn't as easy as it might seem for a big fan of the movies. I love Star Wars more than just about every other media property, and I felt myself really, really taking a liking to comic books as well -- I've yet to be disappointed by any of the Batman volumes I've read, and I've been enjoying those much more than I anticipated -- but the Star Wars books seemed super iffy to me. Obviously, Marvel's got as good a track record as any other publisher, but the idea of putting the ginormousness of Star Wars onto a colored-and-inked page seemed potentially underwhelming (for reference, I've never read any of Marvel's past Star Wars work). I equate Star Wars with grandiose shots of star destroyers rumbling overhead, and just as much with booming soundtracks that make your seat shake. In fact, I just bought tickets to see a marathon of the original trilogy in a huge, fancy theatre mainly in search of the loudest viewing experience possible.

On top of that, how would an artist depict a Han Solo smirk or Princess Leia scowl or Luke Skywalker shoulder shrug the way we'd seen Ford, Fisher and Hamill do it on the big screen? And how would the writers be able to come up with novel storylines that take place between the lines of the existing films and other canon publications? All in all, it seemed like a tall order and I wasn't sure any comic book would be able to live up to the huge expectations I will forever place on any official piece of Star Wars-related media.

Read More