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GRAPHIC BREAKDOWN: Superman: American Alien #7, Doctor Strange: Way of the Weird, American Monster #1-3 & More!

Hello! My name is Lenny Schwartz and I am a playwright from RI and New York.

And I’m a life long comic book fan. I am so happy to write about comic books.

So without further adieu, here goes!

SMAA-Cv7-ds-7eec7Superman: American Alien #7
Written by Max Landis and Illustrated by Jock
Published by DC Comics

Superman: American Alien has been a kind of schizophrenic series. Landis has been pretty consistent on the script. The art however has been erratic, some issues have been great, some not so much. They end on a strong note here. Jock is one of the best in the field and this issue shows why.

The story wraps up in a pretty satisfying way though I would be lying if I said I would read it again. I won’t. It is a unique spin on Superman but one that held my interest just enough and didn’t really break any ground.

Landis is a decent enough writer so I commend him for the attempt. Again, it is decent. The art however is spectacular in this issue. Jock just has such a great style…I literally can’t get enough of him. He moves along each scene with verve. His storytelling ability is mindblowing. Maybe if he drew the whole series it would be classic. Instead it just ends well.

This is a very good finale for a halfway decent series. Read alone, it’s great. So pick it up, even if for the art alone. It is worth your time.


61gpuJfQlzLDoctor Strange: Way of the Weird
Collects issues #1-5
Written by Jason Aaron and Illustrated by Chris Bachalo and a few pages by Kevin Nowlan
Published by Marvel Comics

Jason Aaron is one of the best writers in the business.

I love his writing. I didn’t at first but he has grown on me. So I had been meaning to check this out. When I did, I wasn’t disappointed. While this series is sure to tick off longtime fans, I actually enjoyed it. It seems aimless for sure but at least it’s not boring…like I find most of Doctor Strange’s comics.

The early Strange books were great. Steve Ditko created some of the best things to ever happen with this character. However, they may be the only good comics ever to be created with him…save for a few scattered books.

Given that a new film is upcoming, Marvel decided to revive the character. Aaron writes Strange in a new voice and it works. It keeps your interest, though you do wonder where it all is leading to.

And Bachalo finally finds a book that suits him. I was introduced to Bachalo years ago though the now classic Death: The High Cost of Living series. I loved his work on that but ever since then I found his work off-putting. Here he finds his groove and it works well. He is suited for the character. And it’s a perfect introduction for new readers.

Doctor Strange has always kind of sucked to read…like medicine you are forced to endure.

Here, he becomes interesting. It’s a new take sure, but maybe he needed the update. At least I kept awake. And that’s maybe a first for me with this character since the days of Ditko.

Rating: B

C72513021455301201Magnus: Robot Fighter #1-12
Written by Fred Van Lente and Illustrated by Cory Smith
Published by Dynamite Entertainment

I was happy when the Valiant Universe was rebooted but sad they lost the Gold Key characters.

When I saw that Dynamite rebooted the series I initially ran for the hills. Dark Horse tried a few years back (with Jim Shooter no less!) and it was a disaster. So how did this reboot do?

Not too shabby.

Van Lente has an obvious love for the character as well as comic book history. This is a complete overhaul on the Magnus story. And it works. The spin is that Magnus wakes up from an idealistic place where robots and humans get along…to a place where they don’t. And he’s a fugitive. And he has to fight robots. And Leeja is working with the robots.

It’s fun. I feel like Van Lente is a comic book writer from another era, however, when stories were better. he writes a tale that is fun, fast, and thoughtful. I liked it. The art by Smith is good…until he leaves the book and it gets a little scattershot. Still, it’s a fun ride from start to finish.

This is one story arc and it is complete unto itself. Pick it up and read a good book that doesn’t feature a mainstream character…but is classic nonetheless.

Rating: B

american-monster-social_2American Monster #1-3
Written by Brian Azzarello and Illustrated by Juan Doe
Published by Aftershock Comics

This is the best book currently out from Aftershock Comics.

You really can’t go wrong with Brian  Azzarello, as he is one of the best writers in the comicbook industry. He is also the one that Hollywood hasn’t figured out how to do on the big screen yet…which is surprising. Here he does an independent book. And the results are something great.

A disfigured man comes into town and stops the corruption. The town thinks he is the hero. Yet, his true motives come to the surface. He wants to control the town and everything. It’s brutal. It’s dark. It’s fun. Azzarello writes a hell of a story and Doe draws a hell of a comic book. It’s great. The downside? The publishing schedule; t =he book doesn’t come out monthly so you forget about it just long enough, and then poof! A new issue. Still I’d rather wait for quality.

This is a great book that you may be missing. Pick it up now. Hopefully if more people do, it’ll come out quicker. Though maybe not. Still, I’ll be waiting for each issue happily. As I am right now.

Rating: A- 

Written and Illustrated by Amancay Nahuelpn
Published by Black Mask Comics

Now here is a book I can’t wait to read when it’s collected.

Written and drawn by Amancay Nahuelpan, this book is the culmination of seven years of work.

And it pays off. Nahuelpan is as talented as they come.

The story takes place in the country of Tairona, which became a no man’s land after a military coup. The hopes of many now lay on Clandestino, who barely escaped the military attacks as a child. He gets recruited by rebel forces, to later lead the revolution against the dictator.

The story is extremely well written. The art is something new entirely. A lot of heart went into this series and it shows in every frame. Another great comic book in another great week. I do want to see the whole scope of it however. It’ll be a great thing to read the whole thing in one sitting.

Rating: A

Buried Treasure Pick

413JYBVA8WLEnemy Ace: War Idyll
Written and Illustrated by George Pratt
Published by DC Comics

This is one of my favorite books of all time. The first graphic novel to actually make me cry. This is a work about war and the repercussions of war. And it’s devastating and heartbreaking.

George Pratt takes a character that was kind of second rate and tells a magnificent story about two veterans. One is a pilot from World War I and the other a pilot from Vietnam. They meet in a German sanitarium where the Vietnam vet interviews the World War I pilot.

I urge you to find this book and pick it up. George Pratt is a genius, and long forgotten in the comic book field. This story will confront you and your beliefs.

And it’s genius.

I read it again and it was still as affecting as when I first read it.

Powerful. Unforgettable.

And you should own it.

Rating: A+

And that’s it for another week! I am nursing a cold so I take my leave.

Till next time, I remain…

Lenny Schwartz

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