6.20.2010

Review of Wolverine Noir by Stuart Moore and C.P. Smith

I picked up the premier hardcover of Wolverine Noir a few weeks late as I was having a hard time finding it at a few local shops. I was expecting the compact, roughly 5 x 7 trade paperback like the other Marvel Noir books I'd purchased (i.e. Spider-Man, Daredevil, and X-Men) but for some reason Marvel decided to release this noir book in a standard (larger) comic book size hardcover. I'm not sure why.

Regardless of that bit of format discussion, the treasure is what lay inside. A tale of a lowly P.I. -- one Jim Logan. Inspired heavily by the Wolverine Origins book from 2000, this noir retelling focuses on many of the characters from that book, Dog, Rose, and James Logan of course, with a sprinkling of some of Wolverine's other regular cast: Victor Creed, a gangster in the Bowery section of New York City, and the Asian women of Logan's past: Mariko, the femme fatale, and Yuriko, training ninjas as thugs.

It is an interesting mix, and Logan slipped easily into the role of a hard drinking, down on his luck PI, who works with his half-stupefied partner, Dog, as a result of a long ago incident that takes the entire book to play out. I might have expected a fee more cameos, but this cast if characters kept the story tight and moving along.

Smith's artwork, purposefully sloppy, worked well for the series, as only in flashbacks is James presented like a clean cut kid, who is not sure if he's more human or animal -- the perpetual question of his life. Stuart Moore, recreates the noir sensibility quite well, in 1930s New York, and the build up to World War II. It's in the newspaper headlines, it's evident in the business of arms dealing on the black market...its all right there.

I'd give this a 'very good' and definite solid addition to the Marvel collection of noir books. Also of note is the inclusion of a sketchbook and sample of the issue #1 script in the back, for a detailed look into the creative process. 

All I missed were more villain cameos from Wolverine's illustrious past, as there is so much material to draw from. That, and the fact that I thought the smaller size trades that the other books were released in really lent itself to the "pulp fiction" feel of the stories.
 

Overall, a fine book by a talented creative team.

6.09.2010

Catching Up on the Classics: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

One great thing about having access to the various mobile reading devices these days, is it allows me to catch up on those classic books, now all easily accessible through various applications. And we all have them, we all have books that we've somehow missed over the years, for any number of reasons.

Using the Masterpieces app on the iPod Touch, whenever I am without a proper book (or new ebook), I scroll through their bookshelf collection and give something that I've missed a try.
This week, it was H. G. Wells and his classic, The Time Machine. This is one of the great ones that I've missed.

Oddly, I still had an odd affection for this story, as I was first introduced to the 1979 film, Time After Time, that was based on a novel of he same name that was published that very same year. This was something that I was not aware of until researching for this blog post. I thought that some Hollywood execs got together and just thought to combine H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper. I had no idea that film was based on a book of the same name. I will find a copy of that book for my collection. But I only remembered the film, which I watched over and over with my brother and sister. It was a favorite of ours.

The story of the film combined the literary character of  H.G. Wells, himself, played by Malcolm McDowall--my introduction to his work, his time machine, and Jack the Ripper, played by the fantastic, David Warner--who still creeps me out to this day due to this role in this film and his other evil roles in Time Bandits and Tron.  He really does play such a great bad guy.

He chases Jack the Ripper into the future to stop him and recover his time machine. I watched this film so many times when younger, that I believed it to be the actual story of the book--and somehow missed the reading assignment in high school or shrugged it off perhaps. (Many of my English teachers would be surprised to learn that I became an editor.)

I was so surprised when I finally started reading and the story was altogether different. I longed to know more about each character that the time traveler is speaking to at the table in his parlor. I was especially fond of The Editor. And his far future time travel was so different than the few decades of travel that occurs in the film. Fantastical creatures appear, a future evolution with little or no explanation. It was a thrilling read, and before I knew it the novella had ended. It should always be that way--enjoyment leading right up to the end.

I guess I can now watch the Guy Pierce film as well, which looks like it was a true adaptation of the novella. Well, I am glad to have checked that one off the list, and have already started reading Wells' The Invisible Man which I am also enjoying. Reading books in between reading other books. I've totally forgotten what it is like to read only one thing at a time. Occupational hazard I guess.

Catch up on a classic recently? Share your story in the comments.