Comics that fly to dark places, kick ass and scream “cowabunga” to end 2011


I cannot believe that the year is days from being over. I have already been reading so much about what 2012 has in store, while reminiscing about all that 2011 brought comics fans. There were Relaunches, Civil Wars, non-hero books and, of course, Zombies. This week I checked out 3 books that stuck out on the stands, TMNT:Michaelangelo, Kick Ass 2, and The Cape (no relation to the tv show, thankfully).

I want to start with Kick Ass 2. This is the sequel to the now famous, best selling story from Mark Millar. After the movie’s somewhat lagging performance, I thought we would see this story shelved with a small underground cult-like following (the movie was awesome in my opinion, I think mainstream people just didn’t get it). Kick Ass 2 keeps with the usual darker, more “what would really happen if there were superheroes” story showing the return of the Red Mist and his craving for revenge on Kick Ass and Hit Girl (with the help and muscle of his new gang). The two heroes have moved on from the events that left Red Mist’s father dead. Kick Ass is working with a team of heroes doing less “super but still good” work and Hit Girl is trying to have a childhood. In issue 6, out today, the Mother Fucker (Red Mist’s new masked name) has gone full blown psychopath, turning neighborhoods into blood baths and preparing for his final affair of revenge on Kick Ass. Given up, Kick Ass is nabbed in the back of van and ready to face his fate, he’s got nothing more to lose.

HERE’S WHERE YOU WANT TO STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS

Mother Fucker has pushed Hit Girl’s patience too far, she’s back and comes to Kick Ass’ rescue. They’re going to bring the fight to the villains.  After gathering intel and alerting the cops, Kick Ass and Hit Girl send out a last request for fellow heroes to join them in Times Square in case they need to step in and end Mother Fucker’s crime spree.

IT’S OKAY, THE SPOILERS ARE ALL GONE NOW.

This book is still dark, gory and all kinds of wrong yet maintains that underlying “it’s ok” entertainment you get from a really good comic book. This book has serious topics and dark twists that most people could not handle in reality. Millar makes the reader say, “oh shit they didn’t just do that!” throughout the whole series and then crave more. John Romita Jr.’s art is awesome as always – the combination of bright colors for the costumes with the contrast of blood in almost all scenes jumps off the page. Check this one out and keep doing your sacrifices to the movie gods that this sequel gets a big screen debut.

My friend AJ from Forbidden Panel is always telling me about these books I should be reading. I attribute my affinity for Atomic Robo, the Walking Dead, and a few others to his (constant) prodding. So when he started telling me about The Cape, I listened but hesitated (afterall, did you see that mess of an NBC show called the Cape?). I finally realized it had nothing to do with the show and gave in; catching up this week, issue 3 hit shelves today. The Cape is the story of Eric who, if you haven’t guessed, where’s a cape. This cape allows him to fly. There’s not much known about the cape or how it came to give Eric his powers. What we do know is that Eric is not a superhero. He has lived his life in his successful brother’s shadow, at least in Eric’s own mind. Losing his girlfriend (possibly to his brother), having to move back home, and not having much else to do, Eric reaches his breaking point. His girlfriend has come up dead, Eric’s brother Nicky and their mother have started to suspect him – that means its time for them to go. Who’s going to stop him? Where do the powers of the cape come from? Is Eric the only person with powers out there?

I thought that Kick Ass was a dark superpowers book, but The Cape takes darkness even further. People don’t simply get killed in this book; they are brutally murdered. At one point, a plane gets taken down with a chainsaw (no joke) and then crashes taking out a bridge! I could not believe some of the stuff writers Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella had here. The art by Zach Howard and Nelson Daniel shows the personality or mood of everyone in the details of the drawings. The panels drabness and limiting of colors feed the darkness of Eric’s world, the cape is really the brightest part of the whole book. Issue 3 is the second to last in the current run and hopefully gives a fitting end to the story (and by that, I mean answers some of the aforementioned questions). Check out The Cape from IDW in stores now.

After all the darkness I read through this week, I had to lighten things up and there is no better comic book character I can think of than the teenage, mutant, ninja, turtle, Michaelangelo. IDW brought the “Heroes in a Halfshell” back with an ongoing series in August this year. Now they are releasing a set of micro-series featuring a story about each one of the mutant turtle brothers. December brings us part 2, featuring Michaelangelo out looking for fun on New Years. Tired of the usual routines of the sewer den, Mikey ventures out to catch a movie before stumbling onto a costumed New Year’s Eve Party. Easily able to get in “dressed” like a giant turtle and trying to blend in to have a “normal” night, the party dude is mistaken for a member of a crew trying to rob the venue. But things go bad and Michaelangelo has to use the many lessons he’s learned to fix the situation.

TMNT: MIchealangelo - IDW Publishing MIcro Series

It’s hard to go wrong with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle story and there is no better way to finish out 2011 than with a New Year’s Eve heist story involving the party animal himself, Michaelangelo. The micro-series stories focus on one turtle which gets rid of some the clutter that can happen with a foursome story. There’s plenty of nunchucking and adventure to be had. If you are a fan of the ongoing series add the micro-series to your pull list. Raphael came out in November, and Donatello follows in January 2012. If you haven’t heard, the new ongoing series gives homage to the turtle stories of the 80’s with fresh art and new characters origins and arcs.

2011 has been a comic-book-a-palooza! So much happened in the industry this year. Digital comics have become mainstream, DC Comics started their entire universe over, Ultimate Spiderman and The Human Torch died (the latter already came back), the X-men split up, and for some reasons, Zombie outbreaks are continuing to happen. I hope everyone had a great year and I look forward to more fun in 2012.

Check out my other reviews at www.forbiddenpanel.com or shoot me an email with thoughts or questions at martin@forbiddenpanel.com. You can also find me on Chime.In and Twitter under @KryptoKid509.

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