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Magog #1 [Review]

Lethal Force

Writer: Keith Giffen
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Hi-Fi Designs
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assoc. Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover: Glenn Fabry (variant by Porter & Dell)
Publisher: DC Comics

I was rather surprised at this issue. I almost passed on it, figuring the character to not be something I’m interested in following long-term. But I gave it a shot, and I’m pretty much glad I did.

We open on a scene that provides us with some exposition–who Magog is, his recent past and what he’s about. We also see him into action with a couple pages that were seen originally in the “preview” in the back of a bunch of DC’s books a few weeks back, showing the more military/black ops side of Magog as the soldier. What he finds there leads him back to his current home and to confrontation with the JSA. After an exchange with Alan Scott, and an introduction to supporting cast members, we see Magog back into action. He’s currently the agent of the JSA who can or WILL get his hands dirty in ways the others can’t or won’t. Magog is not a super-hero; he’s a metahuman in a world of super-heroes, but he’s a soldier. (It would be interesting to see Magog interact with The Shield, come to think of it!).

Storywise, this issue is largely setup and contextualization. It does a good job of that–bringing one up to speed on the basics of the character, putting into place a supporting cast and status quo.

The art is high quality…I really like the visual style we’re presented with here. It’s not totally some grim ‘n gritty visual, but it’s not bright, hopeful and flashy, either. It feels very down-to-earth, and appropriate for the title character.

While this Magog is not the exact same character introduced in Kingdom Come nearly a decade-and-a-half ago, the similarities are there in tone as well as name and costume. One could envision this character developing into that one, but the differences are what add a layer of interest. Differences…or simply more information and insight into the individual…giving him depth rather than being a plot-point in someone else’s story.

Giffen seems to have a good handle on this character, and though I’m not entirely ready to “commit” to this series, I’m sufficiently hooked for at least another issue to see if the magic holds beyond this premiere issue.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7.5/10

The Brave and the Bold #23 [Review]

Shadows of Tomorrow

Writer/Artist: Dan Jurgens
Finished Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Brian Miller of Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assoc. Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover: Jurgens, Rapmund, and Tom Chu
Publisher: DC Comics

It’s been a long time since I picked up any issues of this series–it’s one that seemed to have a promising concept, but just didn’t strike me as “mattering” all that much, and so I didn’t keep up beyond the first couple issues and a random issue or two I’ve scored from a bargain bin. This issue is one in which the cover was extremely influential–far, far moreso than most comics (since I usually walk into the store already having decided what I’m going to buy).

This one I saw on the shelf, and the combination of the cover image and the characters being put together (Booster Gold & Magog) made for something I was actually interest in checking out. The cover image of a grim Magog–shadowed face, angry-Booster reflected in his armor–reminds me a bit of that classic Wolverine vs. Hulk cover (whether it was intended to or not). I’ve enjoyed the most recent incarnation of the Booster Gold series, and his post-52 status quo has been interesting and really done a lot for the character in my mind–giving him a lot more purpose and credibility. And given the events at the tail end of the Thy Kingdom Come epic in Justice Society, I’m quite interested in seeing how the “new” Magog is handled, as there’s more to this version of the character than what had been running around the DCU for much of the past decade.

This issue opens with Booster and Skeets racing to the time lab in response to alarms, and finding mentor/leader Rip Hunter materializing, apparently in battle with someone. Working the Time Platform, they isolate Rip, bringing him back without his assailant…but with a scrap of a Superman costume from another time/world. When Rip forbids Booster from investigating Magog’s future (the assailant), Booster decides he can at least begin researching Magog in the present. Booster’s investigation leads to an encounter with Magog where the two–with vastly different methods–attend to a hostage situation and terrorists.

On the whole, this issue really felt like an issue of Booster Gold. Jurgens and Rapmund on writing/art are quite familiar to me recently for their work on the Booster Gold title. That said, the art for this issue is quite enjoyable–the visuals by this creative team make for my favorite depiction of Booster & co., and the take on Magog leaves me with no problems, either.

The story, too, felt like (despite being a single-issue/on-off tale) it really belongs in an issue of Booster Gold (and would have been a perfect filler in place of what we got in Booster Gold #20. As the creator of the character, Jurgens knows the character and supporting cast, and seems to have a good grasp of what makes for a good story with them. He also adds some depth to Magog, and sets up what could be an interesting relationship between Booster and Magog, given the nature of the characters and time travel.

This seems a great issue to snag for a single-issue enjoyable read. It doesn’t seem to be directly continued from any prior cliffhanger, and it leaves on a satisfying ending that does not require one to jump right into the next issue for a cliffhanger’s resolution. As a one-shot, regularly-priced ($2.99) comic, this is easily the best comic of the week for me.

Highly recommended for readers of Booster Gold, or fans of either character.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 9/10

JSA Kingdom Come Special: Magog [Review]

Thy Kingdom Come – Magog: The Real Me

Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Mick Gray
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Dale Eaglesham & Mark McKenna)
Publisher: DC Comics

We get a look at the new (true?) Magog in this issue–the former marine known to the JSA as Lance Corporal David Reid. Reid was recently “killed” but immediately ressurrected by the entity known as Gog, and seems to be Superman’s worst fear come true, a sign of his “history” repeating itself. The story takes a break here to follow Reid/Magog to some old comrades, allowing for flashbacks to fill us in on his past and what they meant to him. As Reid lashes out at those who captured his old friends, he becomes more like the Magog known to readers of Kingdom Come.

The story is pretty straight-forward, and nicely fleshes out the David Reid character, filling in details hinted at but not fully revealed. We get the background to his motivation, and what makes him what he is at present. This adds depth not only to him, but to the Magog we know from Kingdom Come…and gives cause to see Reid’s potential here.

Once more I’m unfamiliar with the artist, so I have no point of comparison on quality. However, in terms of this story I have no complaint. The visuals follow the story, and there’s a nice level of detail that does not disappoint. The visual style is very much that of a super-hero comic book…showing Magog as a recognizeable figure, but distinctly contrasted with Alex Ross’s rendition as seen on the cover–like comparing a live-action product with the comic adaptation.

We’re also treated to a back-up story, focusing on:

The Secret Origin of Starman

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Scott Kolins
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Lettering: John J. Hill
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain

This back-up story fills us in on the origin of this latest Starman as well as his costume. The art is a real treat…no complaint there, as I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s also cool to see well ahead time that for however it’ll play into Final Crisis, that Legion of 3 Worlds has some bearing on how we got this version of Starman. I find it interesting the “mythology” I’m beginning to really notice with Starman, the way the various people to use the Star- name are linked…something quite enjoyable.

This backup does feel almost like it was crammed in, though…rushed to explain stuff before the overall Thy Kingdom Come / Gog story(ies) finish. Almost segmented TO get the information told where there may not be room in the main JSA series or even these specials to tell it otherwise.

On the whole, this was another strong issue, giving further background of major players in the Gog saga as we head (presumably) toward its conclusion soon.

I’m not sure this is essential to the story, but if you’re diggin’ the story and are interested in more about Magog and Starman and how they play into the ongoing saga, this issue’s worth picking up despite the higher price tag (justified, I suppose, by this being a special and not just a regular issue of a series).

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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