Tag Archives: graphic novels

Klaws of the Panther

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Klaws of the Panther [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Jonathan Maberry, Mike Del Mundo, and Gianluca Gugliotta.

Maberry Del Mundo Gugliotta Klaws of the Panther

This graphic novel anthologizes Age of Heroes #4 with the Klaws of the Panther four-issue comic series. I’ve been out of touch with the Black Panther comic since the first twenty or so issues of the Huldin-written series with T’Challa as the Panther. I knew that his half-sister Wakandan Princess Suri had succeeded to the office of Black Panther, but these are the first comics I’ve read in which she is actually in the role. Consequently, I found the little hero dossier written by Ken Lashley and printed here as an appendix quite useful, although the inset with its quantifying “Power Grid” was somewhat off-putting. I’m here to read a story, not to do tabletop roleplaying, okay?

Mayberry continues the story in the geopolitical vein that has been the metier of the Panther since Huldin breathed new life into the series, but it pretty much entirely takes place among the superpowered elite, with little relation to ordinary people other than the prospect of the enslavement of all humanity by good old Panther bete noire Ulysses Klaw. As far as that goes–and admitting myself to be generically nonplussed by “crossover” action–the supplementary heroes Shanna, Wolverine, Spiderman, and Black Widow all come off quite well. And they have to, because Shuri herself is still a maladjusted novice superhero. The closing chapter of Klaws of the Panther promises an end to that phase, happily. A little too much of this volume consisted of ethical reflections–usually simultaneous with superheroic ass-kicking–for me to find it entirely credible or palatable.

Gugliotta’s art is very distinctive, and I give it points for being dynamic. Still, I never fully warmed to it on the level of sheer aesthetic pleasure. I actually preferred the Moll/Wong art in the Age of Heroes preamble, even while noting its relative lack of artistic virtuosity. Del Mundo’s cover art is first-rate, although it shows a composite scene that doesn’t reflect any single moment in the book’s narrative.

Tall Tales

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Bone: Tall Tales [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Jeff Smith, part of the Bone series.

Smith Bone Tall Tales

Three of the tall tales in this volume are stories about the fabled Bone pioneer Big Johnson Bone, as written by Tom Sniegoski for the setting invented and illustrated by Jeff Smith. They are framed by Smith’s “Smiley and the Bone Scouts” with the introductory tale “The Powers That Be.” All of them are comedic, without the epic and tragic events that characterize the original Bone series. If that’s what you’re after, though, they deliver. My daughter found them hilarious.

Serially, this book falls after the original triple trilogy, but familiarity with those books in completely unnecessary, and there are no significant spoilers present.

Time Samplers

Time Samplers from Paranoid American is a comic that may be of interest, written by David Pinckney, Erik Koconis, Thomas Gorence, and Nicolas Colacitti. Colacitti is also the artist.

Time Samplers, Issue 1, cover

“Two popular underground musicians (Lex & Cal) modify their electronic instruments and gear, allowing them to recreate any event in history. Through a combination of music, technology, particle theory, altered states, and a bit of the old ultra-violence, they begin to unravel the ugly truths of recorded history – proving that many ‘conspiracy theories’ are fact.”

“This project aims to make alternative history more accessible through interactive graphic novels, games, and more. The stories cover ongoing research into secret societies, mind control, government cover-ups, and corruption from both past and present, with each adventure reflecting a different conspiracy-theory corresponding to actual research.” [via]

Time Samplers, Issue 1, sample page