Look at the Secret Invasion mini too. It has great Braithwaite art.
EDIT: And now onto reviews....
Green Arrow: The Deluxe Edition
This actually does feel like a deluxe for a change from DC, as what they sling the term 'deluxe' on varies quite a bit. Paper could be thicker but it is glossy and binding means the book opens flat fairly easily. Extras are a Millar intro and sketches, covers and so forth.
Reading this, it's no surprise that Marvel went and hoovered up both Lemire and Sorrentino. They work really well together on this. Also, what's fun for me is I haven't read much of Lemire's work, so I don't know his tricks, so lots of surprises. What impresses most about the run is that it is that most rare of things in the Big Two titles - a self-contained epic. It starts, develops, has a midway high point then a finale. It has consistent art across the issues, combined with inspired colouring. It well deserves its reputation.
The Future's End issue makes for a neat epilogue too. I really couldn't care less about the mess that was that event, but the issue that Lemire went and finished off with was actually a logical extrapolation of Oliver Queen's tomorrow would look like.
What really makes the overall package work is that you don't need to have ever read the character, it does all that groundwork for the reader - quite subtly too I might add. And then it just runs seamlessly all the way to the end. Want a superhero epic? Get this.
The title should be ample warning to the purchaser, this is not going to be pretty!
More so than any other writer, Jodorowsky really does push it. It's easy to think you've seen it all, that every atrocity possible under the heading of 'mature readers only' could render a reader immune to shock. Don't count on it! There are numerous such sequences here and each never fails to punch through whatever shields of world-weary indifference a reader may have put up. Without Manara's watercolour art, they would lack such an impact, but they have it. Impalement, rape, murder, infanticide, bloody assaults, blackmail, torture - it's all here.... And yet, you couldn't say it wasn't of the era, there's a horrible plausibility to how the two creators spin this tale.
The scant satisfaction for the reader is, in the end, seeing how the Borgias rise - then fall! For it is a fall every bit as vicious as their rise, so entirely fitting. Yet there are no happy endings here, just as one bastard Pope died so Borgia could become Pope, so too does Borgia's death enable Della Rovere to become the next bastard Pope. It's quite clear that the Catholic Church is portrayed as beyond redemption and irrevocably corrupt. Too harsh? Given what the tale depicts, not really.
It was also interesting for me as I haven't seen much of Manara's art. One conclusion I'd draw from reading the Borgias is that he isn't really suited to superheroes. Taking the adult sensibility he displays here and transferring that to superhero costumes is just asking for trouble. On something like this? It's incredibly clever stuff depicting easily the most dysfunctional and psychopathic family going in every respect.
It'll be no surprise to anyone that the book itself is a lovely hardback, excellently bound and with thick paper to really show off the art. It also has a great set of introductory text pieces too.
So, not for the faint of heart, but if you think you can handle it, this is one hell of a read.