Saturday, May 08, 2010

Jonathan Hickman

I'm actually reading three books by this creator that I haven't really talked about, so I figured I may as well address them all at the same time.

Secret Warriors #1-15
Jonathan Hickman, Brian Michael Bendis & Stefano Caselli

I've been following this series for awhile.  It spun out of Secret Invasion and is pretty much a Nick Fury series with a team of young unknown heroes he's grooming.  To be honest, I was a little back and forth on this series early in its run, and stopped picking it up at one point, only to realize that I was genuinely interested in what had been going on, so I picked it up again.  The character stuff in this title is not very interesting, if I'm being honest.  Sure, Hickman does a few cool things with the characters and there's some good relationships in the book, but for the most part, I'm a little bored by the broad characterization.  I think that's the main reason I dropped the title the first time.  But what Hickman does really well on this book is the conspiracies and ideas he constructs in the world and the secret history he carves into the Marvel Universe.  He's doing the same sort of thing with S.H.I.E.L.D. right now, coloring in its background and history, making it more complex, assuming there was more to it than met the eye.  Secret Warriors is really heavy on Hydra history and politics, as Nick Fury realized early on, S.H.I.E.L.D is actually part of Hydra, which is why he cut off ties and is building his own army to tear Hydra down.  His life has been a lie.  But this book takes a lot of time to examine Hydra's structure, including its inner circle (which includes Viper and Madame Hydra) and the betrayals and goings-on of the villains is really interesting.  I'd say the villains are more compelling than the heroes at this point, and the book seems to be slowly brewing toward a climactic showdown at the same time that it drops revelations that kind of rock all that's come before.  I don't think this is a book for everyone, but it speaks to my inner-nerd.

Fantastic Four #570-578
Jonathan Hickman, Dale Eaglesham & Neil Edwards

This book was just getting a ton of buzz on-line, so I had to check it out, even though I haven't read the title for years.  I find that Hickman has a nice fresh, fun take on the family team.  He uses classic elements and villains but uses them in cool ways in exciting new stories.  And I really, really like Eaglesham's art.  Very clear and beautiful, with several panels where I stopped to stare at the artwork, particularly when The Thing was involved.  His artwork is very reminiscent of Alan Davis (who does the covers incidentally), whom I love (and who was actually the first artist I began to recognize when reading comics).  Edwards' stuff is less spectacular, but isn't anything to sneeze at either.  Also cool is that Hickman really highlights the exploration aspect of the team.  They began as explorers and when they're exploring different worlds and lands, it seems right for the team, and it keeps things interesting, giving this book a flavor that no other book has.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Jonathan Hickman & Dustin Weaver

Most recently, Hickman imagines that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been the protectors of the world for a very long time, and important historical figures were recruited into its ranks in the past, including Leonardo Da Vinci, in an epic tale that provides an origin for the covert group and hints at sinister things waiting in the wings.  The title bounces back and forth in time as a superhuman boy, Leonid, decides whether to join them or not.  This is a very epic story with panels featuring the likes of Galactus, Celestials and the Brood.  Hickman seems to have plenty of great ideas and classic twists, and I think we're going to see some pretty amazing things from this great new talent in the coming years.

No comments: