Posts Tagged ‘Greg Pak’

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I’ll admit, I was as psyched as anyone when I heard that Dynamite Entertainment had acquired the rights to the dormant Gold Key characters, and that they were assembling an “all-star roster” of creators to helm the various titles they were planning — and I guess my inner nerd is still looking forward to the debuts of the new versions of Magnus, Robot Fighter and Doctor Solar — but if the premier  issue of the range’s first title, Turok:Dinosaur Hunter is any indication, we could be in for something of a bumpy ride here.

It’s not that writer Greg Pak and artist Mirko Colak have fired off an actively lousy opening salvo here, mind you, it’s just that — well, it’s hard to fathom exactly what’s going on in the book, and characterization is so minimal that we’re left to scratch our heads about why exactly we should even care. It’s a very scant piece of work, all in all, that drops us right into the middle of a situation with no backstory , and the skeletal plot is miles away from providing us with any reason to keep shelling out four bucks month after month to obtain answers to any and all of the questions that will inevitably arise when actual details are this absent from the proceedings.

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As near as I’m able to discern, here’s what’s happening : at some unknown point in the past, Turok finds himself on the outs from his unnamed Native American tribe for reasons that are entirely unspecified. Then some flying dinosaurs apparently known as “thunder lizards” attack and Turok has to decide whether or not to help out the very people that have banished him. Then real trouble arrives in the form of European settlers. The end.

I assure you, the actual issue itself doesn’t take much longer to read than that “quickie” synopsis did. I get that minimalist dialogue is a hallmark of just about any Greg Pak script, but come on. At least clue us in as to why our giving a shit matters.

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On the art front, Colak’s pencils and inks aren’t by any means bad, but there’s nothing too terribly special going to distinguish them from much of the bog-standard super-hero and action/adventure fare weighing down the shelves at your LCS. His works achieves the level of “competent enough” from the outset and never really rises above that throughout. It’s clean and reasonably sharp and easy enough, I suppose, on the eyes, but so is most of what’s out there these days. I believe “thoroughly uninspired” is a fair summation of the state of artistic affairs here.

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This being a Dynamite publication and all, 1,001 variant covers are the order of the day, and I’ve reproduced the ones done by Bart Sears, Jae Lee, Rob Liefeld, and Sean Chen, respectively, to give you some idea of the multitude you have to choose from, but then, I have to admit that I’d be hard-pressed to offer up any actual reason to buy even one of these, much less several. Turok:Dinosaur Hunter was a strictly “one and done” purchase on my part, unless some seriously positive buzz begins emanating from some other quarters about how good successive issues end up being. I’m not holding my breath.

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Okay, so it doesn’t exactly take the world’s greatest detective — whether that’s Batman or Sherlock Holmes I leave to you to argue amongst yourselves — to figure out that DC’s “Villains Month” is nothing but a hustle. After all, last years “Zero Month” was nothing but a hustle, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious with each passing month that the entire “New 52” relaunch is perhaps the biggest hustle of them all.

Still, to the extent that I was willing to part with twenty bucks of my hard-earned cash for five of these “Villains Month” books (yes, I bought the $3.99 holographic cover versions of each), it’s a hustle that I willingly fell for, if only to see how completely clueless the current DC “brain trust” is in terms of the approach they’re taking to “reimagining” classic characters.

“There came a time when the old gods died!” was the opening line to Jack Kirby’s New Gods #1, and frankly that’s all the more “origin” we ever needed for the literally hundreds of new characters and concepts that would usher forth from “The King”‘s imagination over the all-too-brief lifespan of his various and interconnected Fourth World titles. But apparently that wasn’t enough for Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, who have hired writer Greg Pak and artists Paulo Siquiera and Netho Diaz (wonder if DC pays the going page rate to their international talent now or if the old, racist “Filipino Rule” is still in place?) to “flesh out” Darkseid’s backstory over the course of 20 pages.

The thing is — “There came a time when the old gods died!” is not only a more succinct telling of the monarch of Apokolips’ beginnings, it’s also a better one. To wit : here we see some “mud-grubber” named Uxas on a faraway world some time in the past. He kills a couple of the “old gods.” His brother, Izaya, disagrees with his move. Uxas inherits the powers of his victims and is reborn as Darkseid. Izaya will eventually become Highfater, but there’s no mention of that here. Then we fast-forward to the present day. Darkseid fights Superman for a couple of pages for no reason. Then his attentions are lured away by an impish young prankster named Kaiyo who shows The Dark One that there are other dimensions he can travel to for plunder, conquest, and  to generally fuck with everyone who lives there in any way he chooses. So Dakseid decides to do that. The end.

Yeah, I liked “There came a time when the old gods died!” better myself. It was nice to see Kirby get a creator’s credit on the title page of this book — it’s more than Marvel gave him for The Avengers, a movie which took in over a billion dollars worldwide — but apart from that, Darkseid #1 (or maybe that should be Justice League #23.1, if we want to go by the “official” numbering) really has nothing to recommend for it. The art looks like bog-standard mid-90s WildStorm product, and the story is a discombobulated, poorly-scripted mess that does more to muddle Darkseid’s origins than anything else. In short, the book sucks and is a complete waste of money.

But take heart, dear reader! We haven’t hit rock bottom yet! Desaad #1 —which we’ll take a look at tomorrow —is, believe it or not,  even worse!