Author: Rob Williams
Artist: Matteo Buffagni (w/Riley Rossmo)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: June 15, 2011
Since his debut a few years ago in Wolverine: Origins #10, Daken has become one of my favorite denizens of the Marvel universe. He’s tough as hell, as smart as they come, has a strategic mind greater than that of Napolean, and has a streak of ruthlessness that would make Gengis Khan blush. The man is an all out awesome machine! But when I heard that Daniel Way (Daken’s creator) and co-writer Marjorie Liu were leaving Daken after only 9 issues (11 if you include the X-23 crossover issues), I was understandibly bummed out. Who could pick-up the reigns after their departure and make the book as good as it was? And what about Giuseppe Camuncoli? Cammo, as he is known, had really defined Daken’s look and the look of the universe around him. Who would replace this perfect creative team? Marvel’s answer was a surprising one to say the least.
Writer Rob Williams, best known for his work at the smaller comic company Com.X, and Matteo Buffagni, another young Italian penciler, were tapped to tackle the series. The surprise I was talking about was not these guys. Rob Williams sensability is perfect for a character like Daken, and Matteo Buffagni is definitely a suitable replacement for Cammo. The real surprise to me came when Riley Rossmo was providing pages as well. The name Riley Rossmo may not be familiar to everyone, but he’s someone who’s artwork and storytelling I have come to greatly admire over the last few years. Riley has been making a name for himself over at Image with books like Proof, Cowboy-Ninja-Viking, and Green Wake. His work is akin to the artwork of legends like Bill Sienkiewicz mixed with someone like Frank Quitely. He’s one of those creators that hasn’t been around for a long time , but I intend on following his work for the forseeable future. The surprise that I felt was the fact that he was already getting work from Marvel. I figured the first major publisher work that he would give us would come from somewhere like Vertigo. Either way, I was pleasently surprised. So what was the issue like?
When last we left Daken he had consolidated his power base in Madripoor, the first stop on his quest to lie and murder his way to the top of Marvel’s criminal underworld, and was now setting his sights on Los Angeles as the next place that he would take over as “kingpin”. This story opens with Daken attending a big time Hollywood party where he’s met some of the movers and shakers, but he’s is still in the dark as to who is running the show in Los Angeles after the previous caretakers, The Pride, abandoned their seat atop the L.A. criminal underworld. Daken gets fed up with the zero’s that he’s talking to and heads to the big room where the person throwing the party, a Mr. Roston, is hanging out. The things is…just before going to Rsoton, Daken take a bunch of pills. Pills, and for that matter, any drug, never have much of an effect on Daken due to his healing factor. That wasn’t the case this time.
Now with Roston under his thumb, as he is a possible way into the Los Angeles Underworld’s power base, and a new drug that can actually affect him, Daken is on his way. The story was solid and seems to have not missed a single beat with the new writer, and the artwork is great. Marvel editorial did a great job replacing the previous creative team. I’m thinking this book is going to stay at the top of my Marvel Comics pull list. So, what did you all think? Will you continue to pick-up the monthly mis-adventures of Daken Akihiro, the Dark Wolverine? Sound off in our handy comments section below J …
Title: Skaar: King of The Savage Land #2 (of 5)
Author: Rob Williams
Artist: Brian Ching
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: April 20, 2011
Just so I’m being honest with you…I’m a Skaar rookie. I’ve obviously heard of the character and I think I’ve read a book here and there where he was featured, but before last month, I had never really followed the exploits of the Son of the Hulk. Most likely because I wasn’t reading the various Hulk books on the shelves. Not to say that they weren’t worth it, but ever since The Illuminati (aka Brian Bendis) sent Hulk into space for the whole “Planet Hulk” thing, I had just not read the Hulk stuff. Well…last month I saw the first issue of a new mini-series starring Skaar in the Savage Land and I figured it was the perfect time to check him out. I’m glad I did.
It seems Skaar and some of the refugees from his home planet have settled in the Savage Land. To me, it really seems like the perfect place for him. A wild untamed land for a wild untamed fella. Also, a new government has been set up in the Savage Land and the UN has sent some people; it seems like a lot is changing for the lost continent. Ka-Zar, his wife Shanna and their son Matthew have a large role in this book, as does Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy. It’s a veritable smorgesborg of Savage Land regulars.
The Savage Land is being invaded, and the denizens, as well as the UN, don’t know what to do. You see…the invaders (or Invader) aren’t really visible. Let me explain… Skaar has found an alien spacecraft buried in the Savage Land that contained the consciousness of an alien that calls herself/himself “The Designer”. This entity claims that she/he created the Savage Land as an homage to his/her people’s memory as she/he is the last of his/her kind. The various tribes of the Savage Land recognize her/him by the language she/he speaks, as it is an ancient language called Nuwali that they have been waiting to hear again. This Nuwali has ordered all non-Savage Land natives to leave the continent. Not all the tribes of the Savage Land will follow this Nuwali, but as there is a majority of them who have decided to, so the UN has packed up and left. That’s democracy for you. As to not being visable? This Nuwali has decided to take over the body of Shanna in order to exert his/her control over everyone. So all anyone can see is the form of Shanna. Crazy stuff!
All-in-all, this mini-series is shaping up to be an excellent read. Writer Rob Williams, who just signed an exclusive deal with Marvel, seems to have a handle on Skaar and the rest of the cool Savage Land denizens. As someone who doesn’t really follow Hulk-stuff regularily, I’ve been enjoying myself. Hopefully issues #3-5 are just as good as #1 and #2.