Archive for the ‘Icon Comics’ Category

Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters #2

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

August 30, 2006

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Parts 9-14
Rating: T+

To find his son, Jack Berkley seeks out some old friends.

Concept By: Jack Kirby
Writers: Lisa Kirby, Michael Thibodaux, Steve Robertson & Richard French
Art: Michael Thibodeaux, Karl Kesel & Scott Hanna with Jack Kirby & Mike Royer
Colors: Wil Quintana
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Art: Jack Kirby, Karl Kesel & Wil Quintana
Publisher: Marvel Comics/Icon

After a strong opening, the second issue of Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters is a little bit of a letdown. This is more or less the obligatory “gathering of forces” issue, where we see Jack “Mainframe” Berkley on his quest across the galaxy, reassembling his old team to join him on the rescue mission to save his son.

Ostensibly, this is the section where we not only really get to meet our characters, but also learn a bit more about the universe the story takes place in. We do see a lot, but unfortunately, the stuff we see is all pretty pedestrian. The Galactic Bounty Hunters world looks like a pretty standard science fiction universe from this issue – the sultry cat-woman, the lizard-men, the robots, the monsters… There’s nothing wrong with any of it, but there’s nothing particularly outstanding either.

The best stuff in the writing comes through the humor. There are several good one-liners and funny snippets of dialogue, and a couple of nice twists to the stereotypes of the aliens. The humor in this issue is actually one of the bigger selling points, whereas it was only a small facet of the first issue. That kind of fundamental shift in the tone may be a little jarring when the story is read in collected form (which is apparently how it’s really intended).

The artwork continues to be a big sell. Thibodeaux, along with Karl Kesel, Scott Hanna and Mike Royer, do an excellent job of imitating Kirby’s classic style. The space scenes in particular are very evocative of the sort of starscapes Kirby would grace his pages with.

Now that we’ve got all our characters in place, I expect next issue will have a lot more meat to it. As it is, this second issue comes across as necessary, but not quite as exciting as it could be.

Rating: 7/10


Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters #1

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

July 27, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Rating: T+

A lost concept by the King comes to light!

Original Concept by: Jack Kirby
Writers: Lisa Kirby, Michael Thibodeaux, Steve Robertson & Richard French
Pencils: Michael Thibodeaux with Jack Kirby
Finishes: Karl Kesel with Scott Hanna
Colors: Wil Quintana
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Executive Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Art: Jack Kirby, Karl Kesel, Michael Thibodeaux & Wil Quintana
Publisher: Marvel Comics/Icon

Even years after his passing, there are still concepts by Jack Kirby that haven’t been fully developed yet. This new series, developed by his daughter Lisa and friend Michael Thibodeaux, was one that Kirby whipped up in his Pacific Comics days, but never got around to putting into print. There’s no way of ever knowing exactly how close to his original vision this new series is, but judged on its own merits, Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters is the sort of fun romp the King himself would have proudly put out in his New Gods/Eternals days.

The story starts off with the Bounty Hunters – a disparate group of aliens – chasing down a space-borne thug named Ma Slugg. As they chase her down, the story experiences the first of many shifts – to Earth, where comic book artist Jack Berkley reads that very story to his young daughter as his teenage son expresses disapproval.

To me, this is where the book really takes off. The first segment is fine, but pretty standard space battle stuff. Once the shift is made to Earth, we begin to really get into some interesting characters and ideas. This first issue is full of twists, and every time you think you know exactly what’s going on, there’s a left turn. Some of the twists are rather expected, but still entertaining. Just when you think one character is going to be the star of the book, you realize it’s someone else. That’s not exactly easy to do.

Lisa Kirby and the other writers also manage to bring a great sense of humor to the title, evidenced by a scene where Berkley deals with some over-zealous fans at a book signing. By the end of the issue, you’re left feeling like you’ve just read the first installment of a great outer space action epic.

Michael Thibodeaux does a fantastic job of mimicking Kirby’s signature style. According to a text piece at the back of the book, some of Kirby’s art was incorporated into the book, but I haven’t the foggiest idea which segments are his and which are Thibodeaux’s – the transition is absolutely seamless. We get the sort of energy and punch that you want out of a Kirby creation, along with a lot of really out-there and outrageous character and alien designs.

A lot of younger fans may not really appreciate where this series is coming from, but fans of Kirby or great sci-fi and cosmic comics, particularly those with an early Bronze Age flavor, will find a lot to like in this book.

Rating: 8/10