Friday, April 14, 2006


Yesterday there was no post. I was busy getting more pictures in my postings because it´s just too hard to read such long text chunks.

I even added some links to previews for the NIGHTCRAWLER comic. Since I probably will be heading to the comicshop today I already know what I will be writing about tomorrow : what did I get and what´s on my pull list. There will be some more posts about other things than reviews but I will come to that when the time comes or it tickles my fancy ( no, that´s not a dirty expression ). I have made the experience that it is useless to try and force your own order onto the universe. Just go with the flow.

So this post is like a in-between post but nevertheless it is about a comic I recently read. Like Nightcrawler it is a X-Men spin-off series I somehow overlooked and it is also done by one of my favourite artists. I honestly don´t know what it is with me and comics by my favorite artists. Maybe I´m getting old or I already have Alzheimer but I seem to miss all the good comics lately. How was that joke again ?

" Hey, SUBZERO. What´s the matter ? Do you have Alzheimer ? "

" Well, not that I can remember. "

Okay, maybe the joke is not that funny. Back to the comic I wanted to write about. X-MEN KITTY PRYDE : SHADOW & FLAME written by Akira Yoshida and drawn by Paul Smith.

Now I never heard of Akira Yoshida but I´m a huge fan of Paul Smith. I still remember the first Paul Smith comics I read ( so maybe I don´t have Alzheimer after all ). It were his issues of X-Factor and....boy, I really hated them. Having only gotten some scattered issues here and there of the X-Factor comics drawn by Walter Simonson due to the fact that I had to buy them in the kiosk of central station in Stuttgart I decided to get a subscription directly from Marvel. I wanted to get all the issues.

But of course when I finally got the issues Walter Simonson wasn´t the regular artist on X-Factor anymore. After two fill-in issues by Arthur Adams began the storyline drawn by Paul Smith known by X-Factor scholars as THE DARK TIMES. Even Paul Smith himself admitted that his work on that issues was not the highpoint of his career. So if you meet him at a convention don´t mention them. Naturally that was the end of my subscription as I luckyly found other comicbook outlets were I could have a look at what I bought beforehand. Nevertheless, I think aside from this lowpoint I have enjoyed all the following comics done by Paul Smith.

THE GOLDEN AGE is a really superb trade which everybody who likes to read superhero comics ( especially the world war two superhero comics ) should own. It´s a intelligent, captivating story with unexpected twists and turns. It offers wonderful ( and somtimes really disturbing ) images by Paul Smith. It´s written by James Robinson who once again shows his unique talent in making some of the hokey world war two heroes interesting.

And of course I HAVE to mention LEAVE IT TO CHANCE, one of my favourite series. Sadly the series is on hiatus but I´m still hoping that someday we can read more of Chance Falconer´s adventures.

X-MEN KITTY PRYDE : SHADOW & FLAME was first released as a five issue miniseries that now has been collected in one nice trade. The story ( as in the Nightcrawler series ) ties in to existing Marvel continuity. In this case Kitty´s continuity, namely her experiences with Wolverine and Ogun in the 1984 six issue miniseries written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Al Milgrom.

click this link for a cover gallery of the series

Thankfully you don´t need to have read the miniseries to understand and follow the story. All information that is relevant is included mostly through beautifully rendered flashback sequences and collages courtesy of Paul Smith. I have to say I´m not sure if I have read any other comics written by Akira Yoshida but he really won me over with his writing here. What can I say about the art ? Being a huge Paul Smith fan I loved it. I already said that one of Paul Smith´s strong points are the flashback sequences. The other one are the fight sequences where he really shines. Seeing the wonderful orchestrated fight scenes makes you forget that comics are a static medium which normally has no movement - only a succession of frozen moments of time.

Now for the story itself. It begins harmless enough with a mysterious letter containing a photo of one of Lockheeds old flames ( the green dragon ) and an invitation to come to Japan. Knowing the X-Men and Kitty what begins as a simple tourist visit to see an old friend very soon ends up in Kitty and Lockheed being up to their necks in ninjas. Isn´t it always ? I mean I myself have never been to Japan or Tokyo but I´m pretty sure you can´t walk five blocks without tripping over a secret coven of deadly ninja warriors. It´s part of the culture. Anyway, Kitty soon finds herself between a rock and a hard place and has to find a solution. But like someone else might say : She´s the best at what she does. And having been trained as a ninja by Wolvie and Ogun sure helps.

This trade also gets the thumbs up from me. I really liked that I could follow the story easily without having read the first miniseries. And of course I highly enjoyed the art. The production quality is also on the same level as the NIGHTCRAWLER trades. No negative points on the paper quality or the printing. So this comic is definitely worth the money.

If you have missed the series and you are a fan of Kitty go and get it. If you are not a fan of Kitty ( what´s wrong with you ? ) go and read it - you will become one. And that ends my review for today. I am including links to preview pages for the first three issues. Tomorrow we will discover what´s on my pull list this month.

Until then, Sayonara.

Issue 1 / Issue 2 / Issue 3

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

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