This Week’s Winners

Star Wars: Blood Ties #1. Aussie writer Tom Taylor (The Authority) is working his way through as many Star Wars characters as possible, with the last few months spent on his The Will of Darth Vader one-shot and second Invasion mini-series. Now he takes on the Fetts, and thankfully gives the father/son pair the air of menace that was missing from the second prequel film. With the debut of a new series called Blood Ties which will, “explore the familial links between some of Star War’s most famous, and infamous, characters,” Jango and son Boba are  a good place to start.

It opens with some unusual bonding involving Jango sending his clone/son to retrieve a tooth as big as himself from a hulking monster to teach Boba to fear nothing, before the pair are recruited by Count Dooku for a secret mission, which involves a twist at this issue’s conclusion. The relationship between the pair wasn’t explored as it could’ve been in Episode II, but Taylor and artist Chris Scalf redeem the bounty hunters here. Jango has a fierce reputation, as a rookie traffic controller learns the hard way.

Scalf’s work is something you might expect to see in the pages of  a lush Radical book. He nails the looks of the Jango, Boba and Dooku actors from the prequel films with a painterly look more common in the fantasy genre, but one that works splendidly in these pages.

The Darkness: Four Horsemen is written by David Hine (Detective Comics) with art by Jeff Wamester and is a past-set tale about Mob hitman Jackie Estacado. One of Top Cow’s best characters, Jackie received supernatural powers on his 21st birthday, giving him control over impish demons from another dimension, as well as tendrils and a mean costume/suit of armour. Here he’s recruited by an elderly head of a mob family to seek revenge on 4 bikers that killed his brothers 35 years ago. Now they’re back and causing epic chaos in a small town.  The four toughs haven’t aged and now seem to embody the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It’s a dark, bloody story, so don’t be fooled by the slightly exaggerated artwork.

Superman: Secret Origin #6. Finally this last issue has arrived. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank make for a formidable duo and their love of the Man of Steel’s history is written and drawn on every page. With Supes himself looking just like Christopher Reeve and a firm grasp of storytelling with a hint of nostalgia that never overpowers the tale’s structure (something Superman Returns never managed), it’s a treat to read. Superman didn’t really need yet another origin recap/retcon/whatever, but my jaded cynicism has been swept away with each issue of this great series. A battle with Metallo (in which Superman cleverly melts a drain cover over his kryptonite heart), the revelation to Lois and co. that he’s an alien and not human and the pitch perfect characterisation of the jealous Lex Luthor all help this issue fall in the winner category. Nice touches like pigeons flying off the freshly spinning Daily Planet globe and the fact that Metropolis’ citizens don’t look where they’re going because their eyes are skyward looking for the Man of Steel reveal Johns’ creativity as a writer.

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