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Graphic Novels Reviews

Immortal Weapons

[Three stars]
Writers: Jason Aaron/Duane Swierczynski
Artists: Mico Suayan, Travel Foreman, Khari Evans et al
Marvel comics

rsiwebadmin Aug 10, 2010
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Now this is how to do a spin-off.

The Immortal Weapons were the brainchild of Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, who were no doubt stoned beyond belief and half-way through a Shaw Brothers kung-fu movie marathon before coming up with these five characters ”“ the names Bride of Nine Spiders, Dog Brother #1, Fat Cobra, Prince of Orphans and Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter absolutely reek of martial arts mythology. Used as supporting characters in the Immortal Iron Fist series a few years ago, this miniseries takes them out of the sidelines and into back-stories of their own, making them more engaging characters and not just exotic fighting machines.

The good parts: every story is told in a different framing style ”“ the Bride of Nine Spiders tale is Alien-esque horror with a Poe twist, while Fat Cobra’s origin is an exercise in subverting expectations. The story with Dog Brother has him appear among slum children as an iconic saviour in the final moments, just when you were about to dismiss him as a rural myth. Writers Aaron and Swierczynski keep a fine balance of action, story and character-building, though some of the martial-arts references come off a little too tongue-in-cheek.

The bad parts: too many artists spoil the broth. The different styles (I cannot even begin counting how many artists work on single issues) make for an interesting mix at first, but the overall package feels very disorienting, as if you are reading five disjointed tales, with no common link between them  with the exception of David Aja’s delicious covers because of the way the artwork jumps between hyper-reality and cartoonish violence.

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