This week's fourthpoll winner gets an advanced review!
Credits & Solicit Info:
The Savage Axe of Ares #1
COVER BY: Rafa Garres
WRITER: John Barber, Gregg Hurwitz, Ted Mckeever & Duane Swierczynski
PENCILS: Ted McKeever, Jefte Palo, C.P. Smith & Leonardo Manco
Ares, the greatest warrior the world has ever known, has lived for thousands of years, wandering the earth and waging war on his enemies. His acts and his axe are legendary and here, in stark black and white, are four tales of how he changed the world through violence. Through brutality. Through war… Don’t miss this all-new, all-action, all-black-and-white one-shot in the spirit of the Mighty Marvel Magazines of yore, but ALL-NOW in style! Parental Advisory …$3.99
IN STORES: April 14, 2010
Anthologies are an interesting thing. They either work or they don’t. They can be all kinds of uneven. Here is a good example of an Anthology though. What we have are four stories through out the various historical Epochs that Ares has played a role in. As such, we learn a little more about Marvel’s God of War.
The first story, sees Greg Hurwitz detailing the daring escape of two Russian Profiteers at the end of the cold war. They are in possession of enriched uranium and want to deliver it to the “other” side. Ares helps them through the woods, killing foes before they are even noticed by our hapless protagonists. Ares has his own agenda in mind though and things might not be so great for our former communists.
C.P. Smith is along for the ride, blending his chunky and sparse pencils over his rich computer assisted backgrounds. It is if nothing else, a very neat looking book.
John Barber and Jefte Palo take the reader to ancient Egypt it appears as a Priest-like King sets Ares on the heals of a Wizard who has kidnaped his daughter. In true thriller fashion, there is a twist at the end of his quest that leads to another twisty turny story that could have come from M Night Shamalamla. The art has a certain Hieroglyphic feel to it that is a perfect match for the story.
Ted McKeever’s entry is pure manic brilliance. He puts Ares in modern day Iraq helping a woman clear the war for the battle from a more demonic force. His art has never been as detailed and his stories remain as quirky and unexpected as ever.
The short story by Duane Swierczynski makes me think it is time I picked up one of his books. He has a gift for short direct sentences that stray from the kind of flourishes that marred Morrison’s wordy Bat Novella in the early days of his Batman run. Sure, he builds a complex sentence every now and then, but keeps them short and readable, the story reads like the kind of tribal battle it is telling as Ares takes a future hero of legend under his wing. Manco delivers epic illustrations that belong in a Howard novel and make it a neat package.
The last of these black and white efforts I checked out was the Iron Man special. It was okay, no where near as strong, but felt like a book that was missing its color. This book plays with design elements and is striking at times. McKeever flourishes in black and white and everyone else does a fine job, so instead of a book minus color, it feels like a finished product and that is as important with this kind of book as having compelling stories.
Oh, and those of you who are looking for a book that feels like an old 70's anthology mag, Marvel even throws in a Parody on an old Atlas ad. It’s fun and makes the book all the more perfect in its execution.
This is not the next must have book. There is nothing here that will be super important in the Marvel Universe overall, but it is entertaining and capably done. If you want to see what kind of visceral trouble Ares can get into, then this is probably for you.