Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 2: The Labyrinth

Secret Avengers, Vol. 2: The LabyrinthSecret Avengers, Vol. 2: The Labyrinth by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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GIRL FIGHT!!! This book opens with a shirt tearin’, bra strippin’, throw down for the ages…Ok, so maybe there are no bras getting pulled off, but boy do Black Widow and Lady Bullseye have at it. There’s enough fish-hooks, eye-gouges, and hair pullin’ to put a smile on this old man’s face anyway. MODOK likey.

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Hawkeye goes lookin’ for an M.I.A. Agent Coulson and runs into a super-fan by the name of Wade Wilson. Some of my favorite moments in this one are Kot’s take on Deadpool. Ales doesn’t just do a good job with the Merc with a mouth, he crushes it. Over the top redonkulous 4th wall smashin’ fun and absolutely perfect.

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That’s not all….MORE MODOK!! He’s almost as funny as Wade and his evil plan is finally starting to take shape. Love him.

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Spider-woman goes on special assignment, Maria Hill does her best Nick Fury impression, and the real villain finally steps out of the shadows and into the light.

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Kot’s weirdo writing sensibilities and oddness really come through in this book. But not in the overly obscure manner that it does in some of his lesser known work. Definitely much easier to digest than his image title Zero.

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Michael Walsh’s art remains as amazing as it was in Volume 1. Scratch that, it’s even better. Mike manages to communicate so much emotion with his simple style. NO ONE has ever drawn the Ultimate Warrior so good. Mix in Matthew Wilson’s colors and BLAM!, great stuff. Tradd Moore’s covers rock too.

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Kot’s unusual storytelling won’t work for everyone, but for me, it’s spot on. Plenty of action as well. Throw in Walsh’s artwork and this book’s a lock for one of my all-time favorite Avenger titles. Read it!

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Review: Southern Bastards Book One

Southern Bastards Book One PremiereSouthern Bastards Book One Premiere by Jason Aaron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Just like good bourbon, Jason Aaron and Jason Latour’s Southern Bastards has just the right mix of smooth and burn to make this book one of my favorite titles EVER. I get that they burrowed from other classic stories and play up some southern tropes, but ask me if I give a shit. And y’all, they do it right.
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The first half of the book focuses on Earl Tubb’s return home and his run in with the man that is Craw County. Been a looonnnggg time since Earl’s been home and things have changed a mite. Coach Boss runs the show and these two mean motherfuckers are destined to cross paths. Earl’s a larger than life character that I straightaway took a likin’ to. A man’s man with a sense of duty that wants nothin’ more than to mind his business, but finds himself forced to decide between doin’ nothin’ and doin’ what’s right.
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The 2nd half of the book spotlights Coach Euless Boss. He’s rattlesnake mean and colder than a witch’s tit with a serious hankerin’ for high school football. How he came to coach the Runnin’ Rebs, as well as control Craw County is detailed here. While I hated this ornery sonuvabitch, I had to respect his determination. There’s nothing he won’t do to get what he wants.
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Latour’s southerner background provides him with all that’s necessary to create a convincing backdrop for his thoughfully designed characters. The places felt like he was pulling them from memory. Right down to every roadside sign, team logo, or run-down trailer. Craw County’s natives shared the same attention to detail. Earl’s huge hands, Boss’ hat, and the tatted-up rednecks that put down roots in Tubb’s hometown share the same authenticity.
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Being a massive fan of Aaron’s terrific work in Scalped, I’ve been waitin’ for him to return to the creator-owned crime genre I’ve fallen so in love with. This title’s on pace to be even better than that masterpiece of crime fiction. Fans of southern noir need look no further. Aaron and Latour really take care in laying the foundations for what I hope will be a lengthy stay in Craw County. Is it a recommend? Darn tootin’! IT’S GRANNY-SLAPPIN’ GOOD!

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