Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Reads You Review: THE TOWER CHRONICLES: GestHawk, Volume 1


CREATORS: Thomas Tull and Matt Wagner
WRITER: Matt Wagner
PENCILS: Simon Bisley
INKS: Rodney Ramos
COLORS: Ryan Brown
LETTERS: Sean Konot
COVER: Jim Lee and Scott Williams with Alex Sinclair
ISBN: 978-1-937278-02-1; paperback (October 2012)
72pp, Color, $7.99 U.S., $9.99 CAN

Legendary Comics is a division of the American film production company, Legendary Pictures, Inc. Legendary Pictures has co-produced such hit films as 300 (based on the Frank Miller graphic novel) and Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films. Having dealt with movies based on comic books, Legendary Pictures founder and CEO, Thomas Tull, has decided to get directly into the creation and publication of comic books.

Tull joined American comic book legend, Matt Wagner (Grendel, Mage), to create a new series of graphic novels, The Tower Chronicles. A proposed trilogy, The Tower Chronicles will see each of its three books serialized in four parts (volumes or issues). The first book/trilogy is The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk, written by Wagner and drawn by Simon Bisley, himself a legend for his work on Lobo for DC Comics.

The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk, Volume 1 introduces John Tower, a supernatural bounty hunter. Tower will travel the world and go to its darkest recesses to find and destroy some of the most unfathomable monstrosities and creatures. But John doesn’t work for free. Prospective clients must go through Tower’s lawyer, Romulus Barnes, and they must be able to pay Tower’s considerable fees.

One of his newest clients is Agent Alicia Hardwicke of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit. With nothing else working, Hardwicke turns to Tower to help her capture a serial killer called the “Piranha Killer.” However, this murderer is not a serial killer, and Agent Hardwicke does not believe in Tower’s world of supernatural creatures. Where do they go from there?

The Tower Chronicles and its lead character, John Tower, are like a blending of Marvel Comics’ character, Blade; the New Line Cinema film series starring Blade; and the character Harry Dresden from author Jim Butcher supernatural detective book series, The Dresden Files. And that’s not a bad thing, because this first volume of The Tower Chronicles is well produced with a well-executed story.

Matt Wagner’s story is expectedly secretive about John Tower’s past, but he tells a fast-paced story full of exciting action-fantasy violence that simply drags the reader along – if he or she likes this kind of genre. The characters are familiar types from various genres and mass entertainments: pulp crime, TV female law enforcement officers, vampire lit, etc., but Wagner punches them up with snappy banter and effective dialogue.

What really makes this stand out is Simon Bisley’s pencil art. As inked by Rodney Ramos and colored by Ryan Brown, Bisley’s compositions are offbeat, which makes the graphical storytelling here different from any other urban fantasy or monster hunter comic books. You can be forgiven for mistaking the Bisley-Ramos union for its resemblance to the work of Paul Gulacy, who would be good for the series should Bisley be unable to continue. For added measure, the team of Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair provide the cover for The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk, Volume 1, and a good cover it is.

I enjoyed The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk, Volume 1 enough to want to seek out the rest of the series, some of which has already been released. If you’re missing a good Blade comic book, certainly try this more-than-adequate substitute.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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