Comic Review: Alpha Flight: True North – One-Shot

Published: September 4th, 2019
Written by: Ed Brisson, Jed MacKay, Jim Zub
Art by: Max Dunbar, Scott Hepburn, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Nick Bradshaw (cover)

Marvel Comics, 33 Pages

Review:

I used to read Alpha Flight back in the day but they were always sort of C-list heroes. Maybe it’s because they were Canadians and always seemed overshadowed by the A-list teams, as well as all the X-Men spinoff teams that monopolized the late ’80s and early ’90s. But I always had a soft spot for them, even if they only showed up in other comic titles when a hero or team would find themselves in Canada for some reason.

That being said, it’s been awhile since I read an Alpha Flight comic book, so when I saw this on the shelf of my local comic shop, I decided to give it a shot at $4.99.

Lately, I’ve only seen the team appear in the Old Man Logan and The Immortal Hulk titles. So maybe there are plans to dust them off and give them a new ongoing series considering that Jonathan Hickman is steering the X-Men ship now.

Anyway, this was an anthology that featured three short stories crammed into this slightly bigger than normal single issue.

I would have rather they just chose one of these stories and fleshed it out more into something bigger than a tapas meal. Still, each story was okay and engaging enough, they just felt skeletal, rushed and if I’m being honest, there didn’t seem to be much care put into them, except for the middle story about an event from Puck’s past.

Maybe this was made to test the market to see if there was still interest in a standalone Alpha Flight title. If this did go on to bring us a new series, I’d give the duties to Ed Brisson, as he seems like the one writer that has a good grasp on the characters, especially after using them in his Old Man Logan stories.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other Alpha Flight comics, as well as other recent Marvel one-shots and anthologies.

Comic Review: The Complete Frank Miller RoboCop Omnibus

Published: December 7th, 2016
Written by: Frank Miller, Ed Brisson
Art by: Korkut Oztekin, Juan Jose Ryp
Based on: RoboCop by Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner

BOOM! Studios, 400 Pages

Review:

This collection is really just two stories, it is Frank Miller’s versions of RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3.

The comics here are adaptations of the screenplays that Miller wrote but went unused by the studio. However, there is a ton of stuff in these stories that were actually used in the final films. Also, I believe that these are reworked to a degree, as Ed Brisson cleaned up some of the writing and there are things that feel like homages to the two RoboCop sequels more than they were actually in Miller’s script. For instance, a cameo by the Kane robot from RoboCop 2 but with a different brain.

Overall, this was enjoyable but it was bogged down by mostly crappy art. I understand that this style may appeal to some and I think it was chosen because it had an ’80s outlaw comics feel to it but it wasn’t fluid, was often times hard to look at and understand and it put a halt on the narrative’s momentum quite a bit.

Additionally, this was so over the top and edgy boi cringe that I can see why Miller’s scripts were completely reworked and polished into something more palatable for the mainstream. And sure, RoboCop is an over the top, edgy movie for its time but this pushes the bar way too far. Miller seemed to have no restraint and went for shock value and absolute absurdity over writing anything that seemed to build off of the original film in a meaningful or logical way.

The tone is just wrong. I can see where Miller though it was right but these stories are really devoid of the humanity that made RoboCop a much better movie than it should have been.

I can’t say that this is a waste of time for hardcore RoboCop fans. It is at least interesting because it shows you what the sequel films could have been and both of these stories are better than the final film that was RoboCop 3. However, I’d put the final cinematic version of RoboCop 2 well above either of these strange and baffling tales.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: the old Marvel RoboCop comics run.

Comic Review: Old Man Logan: King of Nothing

Published: September 26th, 2018 – October 31st, 2018
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Ibraim Roberson, Andrea Sorrentino (covers)

Marvel Comics, 79 Pages

Review:

This is it! This is the last story arc in the ongoing Old Man Logan series! After this, we get the Dead Man Logan miniseries, which will most likely be the final exit of this character, as the youthful Wolverine has finally returned to Marvel just a month ago.

This three issue arc pits Logan against Maestro, an evil version of the Hulk from an alternate timeline in the future. This is not their first meeting but it does end up being their last. Well, one would assume with how this plays out.

Logan comes across this backwoods town and discovers that the people are controlled by fear, as Maestro has made it his tiny kingdom. Logan works to try and free the people from this mad and seemingly unstoppable tyrant.

One thing I wasn’t satisfied with, however, was that they have spent all this time building Maestro up as incredibly powerful but once Logan takes him out, it felt relatively easy. Can Wolverine decapitate a Hulk? I mean, even if he gets a boost from a drug that helps him, is Maestro not basically indestructible? That’s a real question because I’m not sure if that was established elsewhere.

Regardless of the conclusion being a let down, this is a solid story overall. Brisson is writing some good shit and the art of Ibraim Roberson really enhances the tone of the narrative. I also love the Andrea Sorrentino covers but everything he touches is gold, in my opinion.

While this ends the Old Man Logan title, it’s not the end of his story. Dead Man Logan starts now.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: Other Old Man Logan stories.

Comic Review: Bullseye: The Colombian Connection

Published: August 30th, 2017
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Guillermo Sanna, Dave Johnson (cover)

Marvel Comics, 128 Pages

Review:

I’ve only been familiar with Ed Brisson’s writing on Old Man Logan. But that series is one of my favorite current comics on the market. Recently, he had two stories featuring Bullseye, which were continuations of things that happened in this tale: The Colombian Connection. Seeing that this was also written by Brisson, I wanted to check it out to get more context and backstory to Bulleye’s appearances in Old Man Logan.

For the most part, this is a badass action thriller where the main character is an evil bastard murdering other evil bastards while evading an FBI agent that’s out for his blood and her own personal revenge.

I like Brisson’s writing style and his penchant for grittiness, which is why I love his run on Old Man Logan so much. In a lot of ways, this reminds me of Cormac McCarthy’s novels or Taylor Sheridan’s film writing.

Being a long-time fan of Bullseye, it was cool seeing him get his own miniseries. I’ve always felt like he’s been underrated and overshadowed unless you specifically read Daredevil. Sure, he’s crossed over and fought other heroes and villains before but he seems to never really get the respect he deserves in the larger Marvel universe. And frankly, he was a joke in the 2003 Daredevil movie. But maybe I just prefer seeing him in his badass outfit as opposed to looking like an Irish punk rocker.

If you’ve always felt like you’ve had the need for a Bullseye-centric story, this should make you happy. It’s not a classic, per se, but it’s a hell of a fun ride with a psychotic assassin for hire that always seems ten steps ahead of his targets, even if he is regularly tied to a chair.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: the Old Man Logan story arcs that serve as sequels to this story.

Comic Review: Old Man Logan: Northern Flight

Published: August 22nd, 2018 – September 12th, 2018
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Damian Couceiro, Andrea Sorrentino (covers)

Marvel Comics, 46 Pages

Review:

This wasn’t the best story that we’ve gotten in the ongoing Old Man Logan series but it was still mildly entertaining and decent filler, as the arc after this one is probably the big finale of the series.

This story was told in two parts over issues 46 and 47. It sees Logan go on a little mission with Alpha Flight up to rural Nova Scotia. While there, they are confronted by an alien plant creature that is devouring the town and growing in size.

The story is used as a way to have Logan reflect on his life, which he knows is coming to an end. He does some crazy and very painful shit in order to stop the plant alien menace but that’s what nearly indestructible manly men do in comics.

Anyway, we get a nice moment between Old Man Logan and Puck. This whole story is really just one big human moment but other than tapping into Logan’s thought process and his physical way of working through his emotions, there’s not a whole lot here.

Still, it’s always cool seeing Wolverine in Canada and I usually enjoy Alpha Flight cameos.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: Other Old Man Logan stories.

Comic Review: Old Man Logan: Bullseye Returns

Published: July 11th, 2018 – August 8th, 2018
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Juan E. Ferreyra, Mike Deodato Jr.

Marvel Comics, 67 Pages

Review:

This three issue story arc was a pick up of events from a previous three issue story arc: Moving Target. This one takes places in issues 43 through 45.

The story is pretty simple, Bullseye returns for a bit of revenge after the events of that previous tale and he and Wolverine, er… Old Man Logan… are once again pitted against each other.

This series of issues does not disappoint and we get some serious f’n fisticuffs between these two masters of physical combat.

Wolverine and Bullseye haven’t crossed paths very often in their long histories but when they do, it’s a sight to behold for any fanboy of either character or just comic books featuring badass manly men who don’t shy away from brutality and going the distance to the absolute bitter end.

Like previous Old Man Logan story arcs, I am a fan of the art, the tone and the writing style of Ed Brisson: at least as far as this character is concerned. It’s obvious that he is working towards an end to this series; I would assume that will happen with issue 50 and because the “real” Wolverine is coming back into continuity. But Brisson has given this much beloved version of Logan a great journey and a fantastic series of testosterone bursting encounters.

I love this series and this chapter is just one of a few cherries on top of this bloody sundae.

This also feels like a real throwback to those late ’80s/early ’90s solo Wolverine tales. And with the inclusion of Bullseye, once again, this is a ’90s kid’s dream.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: Other Old Man Logan stories but this ties directly to Moving Target (issue 36 through 38).

Comic Review: Old Man Logan: Logan the Hunted

Published: June 13th, 2018
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Francesco Manna, Mike Deodato Jr.

Marvel Comics, 46 Pages

Review:

Logan the Hunted takes place over Old Man Logan issues 41 and 42.

This story was short and sweet but it was also pretty friggin’ badass.

Why is this badass?

Well, you have Wolverine dumped into the Savage Land with Kraven the Hunter tracking him down for a real mano a mano showdown. They fight, they encounter dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers and some other twists and turns along the way.

Logan is dealing with the fact that his regenerative healing has slowed down immensely and his body’s ability to repair itself is greatly reduced. In fact, in this story, he has one adamantium claw and one bone claw, as his hand was recently cut off and grew back in its natural state. It’s just really f’n cool seeing him use both versions of his claws at the same time.

There isn’t much plot here, other than just having a reason to throw these two warriors at each other for a savage brawl in the Savage Land. But that’s perfectly fine. We don’t need a story just to see two real heavyweights throwdown.

Their fight was fun to watch, their dialogue exchanges were good and really, this just whets the palate enough to satisfy anyone wanting some higher testosterone levels in their Marvel comic books. The Old Man Logan series is one of Marvel’s best right now because it feels like a throwback to those old ’80s Wolverine solo stories.

Plus, Logan is old as shit, just like his real old school fans that enjoyed him at the height of his awesomeness.

I don’t care that the real Wolverine is coming back; Old Man Logan is my Wolverine now.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: Other story arcs in the ongoing Old Man Logan series.

Comic Review: Old Man Logan: Scarlet Samurai

Published: November 29th, 2017
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Mike Deodato Jr.

Marvel Comics, 69 Pages

Review:

This is a three issue story arc that took place in the Old Man Logan ongoing series from issues 31 through 33.

While I read the original Old Man Logan story from a few years ago, I hadn’t picked up the ongoing title until now. I’m glad that I did though, as this story arc specifically is a great throwback to those ’80s Wolverine stories that covered his life in Japan.

Three major characters return to Logan’s life in this, his long lost love Mariko Yoshida and his enemies the Silver Samurai and Gorgon.

Gorgon is leading the Hand and is in a war with the Silver Samurai. He has him taken out by the Scarlet Samurai, a new assassin. It is later revealed that the Scarlet Samurai is Mariko, who died years earlier.

This story serves to rekindle Logan’s rivalries with his two enemies and the Silver Samurai is more of an ally in this story. It also allows him to reconnect with Mariko, as the two eventually set off on a mission to Madripoor.

I really liked this story and it felt true to the classic Wolverine solo adventures I loved when I was a kid growing towards my teen years.

The art by Mike Deodato Jr. is pretty solid, especially for Marvel, who are currently producing comic books that look like they should be low level indie releases.

The Scarlet Samurai arc was a fun read, was action packed and had the right level of gravitas.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: Other story arcs in the ongoing Old Man Logan series but this also continues directly into the Moon Over Madripoor arc.