A Week in Ink: Issue No. 11

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The Spectrum

JLA / The 99 Issue No. 2

In a time of mass hysteria and all-too-common misconceptions, publisher Teshkeel Comics seeks to change the way the West sees the Islamic faith through a well-orchestrated ink and panel production.

The 99 are the fruit of that labor – a coalition of Muslim superheroes that emulates the American-born franchise, The Justice League. The 99 puts a unique spin on a superhero concept, as members of the group have all come into possession of a fabled Noor Stone of Islamic legend.

This issue's plot follows the JLA as Bruce Wayne's plan for a technological masterpiece city under construction crumbles under the Middle Eastern might of Rughal, an age-old enemy of the 99.

Sadly, the 99's attempt at a Western comic is rather forgettable, as the artwork is just as bland as the comic's lackluster plot. While this is only the second issue in the story arc, DC and Teshkeel comics should look to bring something new to the table for this culturally diverse cast of characters.

The experimentation with different cultures' values is one that should be applauded and revered, though based on the 99's plot thus far, it seems a tad bit frivolous.

The Invincible Iron Man No. 32

Tony Stark has always lived in the lap of luxury. Buying everything from the latest gadgets to the fastest cars to even small islands, Stark has never been deprived of anything he desired.

That was the Tony Stark the Marvel Universe knew until recently, when a series of events financially crippled him. Now he is forced to struggle in the hyper-competitive technology industry and start his multi-billion dollar company all over again under the new company name, Stark Resilient.

The Iron Man being cast as "the comeback kid" seems strange at first, but writer Matt Fraction's plot of this titanic struggle easily pulls the reader into this rather bizarre twist of fate. The plot is one that is both inspirational and iconic of the super hero spirit, an embodiment of the challenges of having great responsibility.

"Iron Man No. 32" begins with the demo of Tony Stark's latest hybrid car, part of his line of clean energy products for a sustainable world, being destroyed by Hammer Tech, the longstanding rival of Stark Industries. Stark is forced to fend off swarms of drones from his only viable product, all while stopping S.H.I.E.L.D. from stepping in for damage control.

"The Invincible Iron Man No. 32" is a definite pick-up this week. The plot is well developed and the team-up of Iron Man, War Machine, and Pepper Potts' new suit, Rescue, has a dynamic unlike any before.

Watching Stark struggle is both inspirational and heart wrenching, as Fraction captures every minute detail of the pressure Stark is feeling in the most astounding of ways.

God of War No. 5

Amid the blood, gore, and entrails that typically compose any conversation about the God of War series, one aspect that is often overlooked is the deep, overarching plot line of the origin of Sparta's greatest warrior.

While Kratos' family is seen throughout the first game, little is known is about the current God of War's home life, and for the first time, writer Marv Wolfman illuminates the shroud of Kratos' life before he reached god status.

Issue No. 5 contains the climactic moments that the series has been building toward. Kratos puts everything on the line to save his beloved daughter. In doing so, he sacrifices more than he intended as many of his Spartan warriors fall under his command, a shame he will live with for the rest of his days.

Art in the ink and panel God of War series is exactly what the players of Sony's hit franchise have come to love and respect. Dark and brooding, yet gory and grotesque, the comics have done justice to the world that game designers worked so hard to create.

With only a single issue left in the series, the champion of Ares must overcome a titan to reach the home of the gods before a rival champion wins and Kratos' daughter succumbs to a deadly virus.

The bar is high and the risks are great, but the aspiring God of War will surely fight his way through the beast and reach Olympus just in time to treat his rival to a Spartan special.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com