Tag Archives: Butch Guice

More Black Panther Ta-Nehisi Coates Comics Forthcoming

blackpantherthecrew_cvr_revised_1__1024Marvel has announced another Black Panther series titled Black Panther & The Crew, playing on a previous concept created by writer Christopher Priest (a series whose cancellation in 2003 initially drove Priest to his extended hiatus from comics at the time) It will be written by current Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates with poet and World of Wakanda contributor Yona Harvey with art from Butch Guice of Captain America, Resurrection Man, Action Comics &  Micronauts. More details at Time Magazine

Review of Black Panther & The Crew #1

Black Panther & The Crew 1 John Cassaday
John Cassaday

By Ta-Nehisi Coates, Butch Guice, Scott Hanna & Dan Brown

Marvel has a long history of using superheroes as a means for discussing political topics. Steve Gerber repeatedly used four-color tropes to tackle issues as divisive as the culture wars (Howard the Duck), racial tensions (The Defenders) and the breakdown of social discourse (Foolkiller). Gerber, though, was far from the only Bullpen member engaged in such exercises. Don McGregor’s iconic run of Black Panther stories in Jungle Action broke new ground in its depiction of Africans in comic books. At the tail end of the run, McGregor brought Ta-Challa to America where he fought the Klu Klux Klan (a decision that even in the post-Civil Rights landscape of the 1970s sat uneasily with some Marvel editors). The run was never a best seller; indeed, it was abruptly canceled mid-storyline. However, it made a strong impression on those who read it, especially the next generation of African-American creators. Christopher Priest drew on it for background to his own acclaimed Black Panther title, making the material his own by swapping out the 70s earnestness for 90s satire. Towards the end of his run, Priest penned a related  (short lived) series featuring the characters James Rhodes, Josiah X and White Tiger. On Wednesday Marvel revived that property as a tie-in to the current Black Panther on-going written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The strong debut issue is worthy continuation of Marvel’s tradition of social relevance.

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Freeze Frame 11/20/2015

From Ms Marvel #1 by Takeshi Miyazawa & Ian Herring
From Ms Marvel #1 by Takeshi Miyazawa & Ian Herring

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Tuesday Top Ten All Time Favorites: The Master List

Nothing But Comics has hit our two year mark and in observance of the sites anniversary, every Tuesday one of our staff members made a list of their favorite series, runs or issues of all time. This week we’ve aggregated all the list together Continue reading Tuesday Top Ten All Time Favorites: The Master List

Freeze Frame 10/9/2015

From Siege #4 by Pere Pepe Larez & Ian Herring
From Siege #4 by Pepe Larez & Ian Herring

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Freeze Frame 9/18/2015

From Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #11 by Marco Rudy
From Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #11 by Marco Rudy

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Freeze Frame 7/31/2015

From Guardians Team Up #8 by Bengal
From Guardians Team Up #8 by Bengal

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Mandalay GN Review

cby Philippe Thirault, Butch Guice, Mike Perkins, Gallur, Jose Malaga, Joelle Comtois, Tatto Caballero, Javi Montes, Natacha Ruck, Ken Grobe, Quinn, and Katia Donoghue.

A story of two brothers, a messy war, ancient magical curses, and a woman’s love make up the story of Mandalay from Humanoids.

Centuries ago, an ambitious ruler sought to conquer the surrounding lands of Burma and beyond and was aided by a wise mage. The mage, seeing his grave error killed the ruler to prevent further chaos and passed his knowledge along to his surviving family in case it was needed again. When the English Empire arrived to get a hold of Burma’s people, the mage’s oldest descendant turns away from his teachings and decides to use his knowledge for revenge. When the son of a cruel English leader lies on the verge of death, a chain of events is started that will bring more death and turmoil to Burma than what is already coming with World War II.

Mandalay is a lengthy read, because it’s plot moves from Lance and Alex Waters, two brothers who will eventually be on opposing sides of a Civil War, to Leng the mage who will help to escalate that war, to Ky-ian who struggles with the man Alex becomes, to random people who die from mystical or conventional ends. Rather than making this a complex and engaging read, it makes the story somewhat shallow because its focus is so divided.

That’s not to say the story is bad, as its about two brothers who gradually move from moderate stances of good and bad to extremes but even then there is some grey area. Characters with noble goals, such as expelling foreign invaders subjugating native people, fighting for the benefit of your country’s glory, or fighting to protect your family are done with questionable actions that keep you guessing as to their actual morality. Obviously, they believe themselves to be in the right but the important thing is if they make the right choices.

Perhaps coincidentally, the events of Mandalay have some interesting parallels to current events in the real world such as: peaceful protests against unfair regimes, Industrialized Euro-centric countries involvement in other lands, as well as touching on the British Empire’s expansion into the Asia continent and its treatment of the native people. It’s most likely unintentional to be reminded of these events but its somewhat hard not to with their prevalence in the news.

Again, the plot of the book doesn’t capitalize on the historical or emotional ramifications while it follows the main cast throughout the war that grips Burma for almost 5 years.

On the art side, Guice, Gallur, and Malaga all have differing styles that complement each other nicely in illustrating the plot. Guice’s style is a tad more sketchy and abstract, while Gallur’s is more refined and classical, with Malaga’s cartoonish style in the final pages of the book. Even though there are three artists with noticeable differences between them, the change-offs fit in with the plot’s time jumps and progressions. The characters mature throughout the events of the book, and the world changes around them. Ironically, the look becomes less darker despite the increased scenes of battle and death that occur.

The characters and backgrounds are always well rendered, clearly depicting what is happening on the page. There is never too much in a panel or too little, it is consistently drawn throughout the entire book. Special attention is given to the military equipment and vehicles of the time, such as the airplanes and tanks used. The occasional creature that shows up is portrayed as grotesque and menacing, such as Burmese malnourished zombies and steely-eyed gargoyles called Assuriches and Shawns respectively.

There is some problems with the lettering of the book. Mandalay was translated from French to English, and the dialogue can come across as really heavy-handed, or not even fit into the panels. In the copy I read, whole word bubbles were empty, and the letter “I” disappeared numerous times (“Did” would become “Dd”, etc) which took me out of the story. I’ve seen this happen in print books, where a word is misspelled in a distracting way. However, the fact that a letter can be absent in several areas of dialogue seems like a really glaring mistake.

Overall, Mandalay isn’t a complex read. It tells a basic story in a nonlinear way that feels overwhelming, but offers something different from other comics being told at larger publishers. It seems to me it would have benefited from being published as a series, to give the main cast more spotlight and properly show their growth. With so much time and so much happening in the pages, some of the characters’ resolutions feel unearned. For those who enjoy history and cultural specific mysticism, there is some enjoyment to be had with this book. Others, may want to look elsewhere.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent

Disclosure: Publisher Humanoids provided an advance review copy of this comic to Nothing But Comics without any payment between the site or publisher or agreement on the review’s content.