New reviews post on Sunday's.
All posts by Paul D Houston - Contact: email@example.com
|Posted on May 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM||comments (0)|
Jesus is Never Coming Back, We All Understand That Right?
By Peter Calloway & Daniel Hillyard
12 Guage Comics
I've grown far tired reading stories about the second comings of Jesus or the anti-christ or these epic Heaven vs. Hell stories, but unfortunately Anti from 12 Guage Comics was a pretty decent 4 issue mini-series about just that. While I read the first two issues and was only mildly entertained, the story really picked up in the last two issues, culminating in a Saviour vs. Anti-Christ battle in issue 4.
Initially our main character, Zachary finds out he's special, but he doesn't know exactly why. So it takes 4 issues for him to find out that he was chosen by God to be the second coming of the saviour or something like that. Along the way, this 4 issue mini ripped Zachary through a bunch of life trials. From finding new special friends to making strange occultish enemies and battling dead people and demons.
While usually I'm in no hurry to read yet another comic about the battle between Heaven and Hell, this series turned out to be an unfortunately entertaining story. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Maybe that old Catholic guilt was acting up again, I don't know.
The art by Daniel Hillyard is interesting in it's sloppy, slopey, mopey way. The colors by Charlie Kirchoff really help bring out the sometimes boring art. 12 Guage Comics always has great covers, courtesy of Brian Stelfreeze, but many times the interior art is extraordinarily lackluster in comparison. While Daniel Hillyard's work is nothing special compared to Stelfreeze's work, once you get into the story the art's not too bad. It almost has a charm to it. His storytelling ability is good, even though his particular drawing style isnt quite to my tastes.
For an engaging story give this a read.
How Long Till Danzig or Rollins is Writing This Comic?
Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever & Ever #2
By Josh Bayer, Tom Neely and Mark Rudolph
I wasn't sure this comic would work as an ongoing series, but so far it's not doing a bad job at it. I imagine in time the charm will run out, but issue two is almost as good as the first two issues (there was the original "Henry & Glenn Forever' then there was "Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever"). This series has received much less attention since the original issue came out, but the charming haphazard quality and bleak humor are still in full effect.
While Tom Neely takes care of the main story, where Danzig's mom moves in with he and Henry. The final one by Mark Rudolph is the most interesting, in my opinion. It's only problem is the sketchy ugly art. It's an interestingly ugly sketchy style of art, but at first glance it's a little indecipherable. Fortunately the story is pretty cool. Mark Randolph entreats us to little glimpses into the past, present and future of Henry and Glenn's relationship. From the time they met touring together with their first bands, The Misfits and Black Flag, to the year 2038 where they are possibly the only two humans left. There were a couple nice pin-ups included in the issue, but this one by Tom Scioli is my favorite.
I hope that issue three comes out soon enough, continuing the excellent cutesy vitriol we've enjoyed so far.
Someone Somewhere Finds This Interesting I Imagine...
By Kieron Gillen & Canaan White
Here's yet another story about the Nazi's creating superhumans. It's a story so boring you'd hope at least the art would be interesting to look at. Unfortunately the art is so bad that it makes the story read even worse. I guess there were a couple panels where the art was acceptable, like where the English spy chick blows up a dude with a bazooka. But I can't find a single original interesting moment in the story, script or plot at all.
I know Kieron Gillen writes the new Iron Man comic for Marvel comics, but last I checked that was pretty terrible. I know I've unfortunately read other indy comics from him too and wasn't impressed, but still I'd really rather rank him below Jason Aaron on the most terrible big name modern writers scale, but I'm afraid I can't. I actually think Jason Aaron is a better writer than this Mr. Gillen. I don't know either man personally, and this isn't a judgement on their ability as human beings, but their comic book stories are so much shit. I wrote in an earlier review column regarding Jason Aaron's comics "...reading a Jason Aaron comic has to be worse than getting waterboarded.", I have to wonder how to refer to reading a Gillen book? Worse than having e-coli diarrea? Melodramatics aside, color me unimpressed Mr. Gillen.
The plot is this, it's May 1945 and Hitler is about to commit suicide, when he receives word that Nazi superhumans have been created. Within months this handful of superhumans pushes back the aggressive actions of the Allied forces. And that's it for the first issue. Sorry, but a first issue has to give me something more to chew on. This out and out sucked. Avoid this if you like reading comics.
L.Frank Baum is Probably Turning in His Grave
The Steam Engines of Oz #1
by Sean Patrick O'Rielly, Erik Hendrix and Vannis Roumboulias
When a highly popularized creative property goes public domain the inevitable bad knock-offs always happen. It's unfortunate, but that's how it is. This comic falls into that category. Which in a way is a shame as Vannis Roumboulias does a fantastic job on the art. With help from colorist, Chandran Ponnusamy, Vannis turns out an amazingly enjoyable eye-candy book. Unfortunately it's in service to a dreadful story.
I will admit to once upon a time being a huge Wizard of Oz fan, having read all of the original L. Frank Baum books, plus a few of the ones that came after his death. So while I prefer to stay away from the awful knock-offs that are now being unloaded on us at a breakneck speed, I fell victim to the temptations of the good looking previews I saw of this book. So while the art is completely enjoyable the story just eviscerates the original Oz story continuity. All the charm that was held in that cannon of stories is nowhere to be found in this comic book.
What this series gives us instead is a story where the land of Oz has fallen victim to a series of tyrants and bad things. Yawn.... There's a Wicked Witch in the North now, whereas the Wicked Witches were only in the East and West. The Tin Man has become a tyrant ruling over the Emerald City in a new giant evil robot form. All of the Munchkins have disappeared, hunted down for some reason. And the Cowardly Lion has produced a bunch of agro-emo children and spawn that like to eat humans.
Maybe this story will turn around, but I have to remember these writers were responsible for "The Intrinsic", a book published by Arcana last year, which immediately went on my list of the worst comics of the year. So I think I will skip the rest of the series, but wish the artist well, as he has a bright future ahead of him somewhere beyond this terrible book.
WTF?! Where's the Rape?
Sword of Sorcery #8
By Christy Marx, Salvador LaRocca and others
I've not read an issue of this series since issues 1 & 2 because after reading those two issues I decided to stop abusing myself with terrible comic books. I once thought it funny to purposely read bad comics, but the sheer craptitude of reading bad comic after bad comic really began to ruin me as a person. So I stopped. Until I read online somewhere that this series was getting cancelled with issue 8. Despite my negative reactions to the first two issues of this series, I knew I had to give this final issue a read out of simple morbid curiousity.
Issue's 1 & 2 created a bit of a stir when they came out initially because they each had mentions or instances of rape in them which stood out from the story. Issue one some chick got raped, issue two refers haphazardly to another chick who got raped. The coldness and unflappable inclusion of these two cases of rape seemed chilling in the fact that both the writer and editor didn't think it was a big deal. How it got past the other editors is a bit surprising to me still. A comic aimed at young female readers and this comic just threw out rape like it was no big deal.That "Hey girls, yeah, you might get raped someday. Deal with it. You being a girl or a woman and us being horny strong men that's just what happens. Fact of life, sorry, that's how it is." kind of attitude permeated the stories for me. It was unnerving.
Putting that issue aside, the comics were just dreadfully boring and now obviously failed to attract those much hyped for female readers. The first two issues were so bad, I'm surprised that DC let this series get past issue 4. 8 issues just shows us how much money DC has because they can waste it on shit like this for 8 months straight before it begins to hurt their bottom line.
As to the story itself, somewhere between issues 2 and 8, Eclipso came on board as the big baddie and is threatening the whole Amethyst realm. Amethyst was a comic in the 80's which had a cult following amongst men and women readers. Publisher of DC Comics, Dan Didio in his infinite wisdow decided to bring it back under a new name in an attempt to attract new female readers last year. Obviously he never really tried to make this a success and what we got was this awful, convoluted, cheesy, tepid attempt at a fantasy story. So issue 8 has all the good guys, Princess Amethyst included, defeating evil Eclipso and entrapping him in his giant black diamond. Which will allow him to threaten the DC universe again sometime in the future. I don't know, but as a final issue I'd think you'd like to do something better or more original, something a little more grandiose. No?
This final issue summed up a pretty lackluster effort at creating new comics for DC. In my mind this series signifies where they are as a company. They're just a big corporation with the newfound in-ability to sense what the true creative spirit is. They just don't know how to make good comics anymore (some nerds might argue, they never had that ability to begin with), and it starts at the top with guys like Dan Didio, Jim Lee and Geoff Johns. I realize they are in service to the board of directors at Warner Bros., but if the heads of your company are putting out shit like this in manifold form, I expect another shake-up at DC comics not too far in the future. As a lifelong comics fan, these kind of attempts at making comics are what drives me away from the whole industry.
|Posted on May 12, 2013 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
The Best Deal in Comics...
Private Eye #2
by Brian K. Vaughn & Marcos Martin
I gave issue one a very favorable review a month back, and while I was hoping to do the same for issue two, it's not going to happen. Issue two is more of an inbetween issue. Issue one was the huge explosion of wonder and #2 is the sortin out the pieces and parts issue. Nothing too exceptional happened in this issue, nothing I haven't seen in a thousand other comics. I know you gotta have an issue like this to fill in the details and whatnot, but after issue one I was expecting something more grandiose.
Our main character gets involved in a weird murder scheme, the person murdered being his last client. Now our main character is a private eye, which is illegal in this future world, and well he seems to have stumbled into something kinda awful, having apparently gotten shot by two dudes in weird masks at the end. This comic is a mystery story set in the future and while the construction of the story is pretty atypical (sci-fi/mystery story) what I loved about the first issue - quirky background info, comic booky futuristic gadgetry details and off the wall story miscellania - none of that sticks around for this second issue, and what we're given is a pretty straightforward mystery story. Which isn't great especially considering Marcos Martin is the kind of artist who takes some time to acquire a liking for. Issue one's tremendous energy gelled with Martin's odd cartoony style, but the mundaninty of issue two's story made me take a little more time examining Martin's work. And I'm just not digging it that much. It's solid, unique, but...mmmm. I don't know. I'm just not into it that much.
But I imagine the guys will continue creating this comic with the same pay agenda (pay as you like - as long as it's 50 cents or more), and at this point this comic is worth at least 50 cents, so I'll stick around for one or two more issues.
Comic Books Can Be Beautiful, Just Not This One
The Pursuit of Beautiful Things
by Maxwell Prince & Thomas Kovach
That opening is probably a little too harsh, this actually wasn't that bad of a comic, I'm just regretting paying a dollar for it. The story is about a bunch of wicked sailors who search for mermaids so they can fuck the shit out of them, then turn them into slaves. Except this time one of the passengers they picked up isn't down with that scenario and beats the shit out of these evil dudes and frees the captured mermaid.
Yeah, I'm not sure at what point you start taking seriously the idea of raping mermaids and putting it into panels as a comic book story, but that's what these guys did. I mean I liked the cover, hell it made me put down a dollar for it, so they did something right, but a story about sailors raping mermaids?! And not as a sarcastic humor bit? Geezus....
The art by Thomas Kovach is decent, he's another one of those Mike Mignola copy cat guys, who tries really hard at evoking a Mike Mignola style, but fails miserably like all the other Mignola copycats. But the guy did a solid job nonetheless, so while I coulda given that dollar to a stripper, I gave it to these guys. Oh well.
If You Want To Know What Emo Looks Like In Comic Book Form, This Is It
By Becky Cloonan
Becky is a straight up bad ass artist. I reviewed her book The Mire in last week's column (which has been nominated for an Eisner Award and oughta win, except I don't know who she's competing with) and thought it stunningly beautiful. The Wolves is no different from an artistic standpoint. It's lushly illustrated in black and white. The level of detail and composition is stunningly beautiful. Becky is out of this world talented, yet the story for Wolves is just not as clever as she tried to make it be. The Mire has the same kind of clever hook at the end, but it went over better. The hook at the end of The Wolves was really wishy-washy. Fortunately you look past the mediocre story because of the beautiful art.
I can not wait for more from Becky Cloonan.
A Somewhat Forgotten Successful Indy Comic Keeps Chugging Along
The Stuff of Legend vol. 4 #4
By Mike Raicht, Brian Smith & Charles Paul Wilson III
This is my first visit back to this long running indy comic series since volume 1. It's obviously changed a lot, so much so that whatever is happening now doesn't harken any familiarity to my reading experience of volume one. And unfortunately jumping into this storyline right in the middle does me no favors on deciphiring what exactly is going on now. Oh well, it's still a pretty interesting little comic book. I love the art by CPW III. His black/white/toned work really gives this comic a unique look.
What seems to be happening is two sides of a war is being set up. On one side is the creepy transgender Boogeyman and his mates. On the other is a handful of toys come to life. The Boogeyman is trying to invade the land of the toys and take it over, and there's all kinds of schemes and plots flying around. Having not read any of the previous issues of this volume, I'm not sure what is what really.
Still all in all it's an interesting looking book, I'll give it another shot either next issue or sometime in the future if it hangs around.
|Posted on May 5, 2013 at 7:40 AM||comments (0)|
Trying Not To Be Negative For The Sake Of It
Ten Grand #1
By JMS and Ben Templesmith
I'm a huge fan of Ben Templesmith's work but not so much of the writer J. Michael Strazincyski or JMS for short. I'm decidedly antagonistic towards JMS's work because of his callous remarks regarding Alan Moore and David Gibson's Watchmen book and why he chose to write those mediocre Before Watchmen books. You can look up JMS's remarks on the internet if you don't know what I'm talking about, but basically he's a fat ass bastard with no integrity. But despite that I still read this with as little bias against him as possible and if it wasn't for Templesmiths always engaging work, this comic woulda been a whole lot less interesting. As it is it's only marginally interesting and all the credit for that shred of entertainment value is due to Templesmith's moody work.
What we've got as a main character is a guy who gets paid to whack, abuse and torture people or as JMS calls him, an enforcer. This guy's been given a new lease on life by some angel from heaven to do as they say otherwise its straight to hell. I've seen this plot before, but the title escapes me. Anyway this story is about our main character hunting down an old enemy for the sake of revenge. There's a lotta hocus pocus nonsense and hokey magic words to make it sound like JMS knows what he's talking about, but the pretentiousness of it makes it read really fake. You're a fucking fake JMS. Ooops, that slipped out.
As to Templesmith's work, it seems a lot more clearer than his usual stuff if you know what I mean. The linework is a lot more pronounced. The blurs and flashes of light and color that he's known for are not in as copious of amounts as usual and it's kind of odd to see so much of his actual hand drawn work there on the page. It's not bad at all, I mean it's always been obvious what he lacks in straightforward line work, he makes up for in color and atmosphere. But if this story were illustrated by a more traditional comic artist it would be a lot more boring, so I'm hoping JMS is thanking his lucky stars for hooking up with an artist like Templesmith, because otherwise this would just end up like some of his other non-Marvel/DC work. Forgotten.
Gotta Hand It To Her, She Knows How To Do Mediocre
The Movement #1
By Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II
I could make shit jokes regarding the title and quality of this comic, but I won't as I will do my best to make a more intelligent criticque of this comic. What we have is a new comic with a bunch of teen superheroes protecting their chosen turf and fighting the corrupt police of this fictional city. Ho-hum. Also the obvious parallels to the Occupy movement, the sophisticated hacker group Anonymous and other modern youth movements does this comic no favors when they all put on stupid shiny masks to identify themselves as part of the group whenever the story calls for it. I know she's trying to draw parallels to the Guy Fawkes/V for Vendetta masks that a lot of people wear at whatever protest they participate in, but every time it happens in this story it's way over the top and awfully cheesy. This kind of comic happens when the writer is approaching 60 years old and is trying to latch onto the popular trends of alternative youth culture through her chosen field of work. What we end up with is a cheesy and disjointed story. A story full of jumps in logic common to comic books and bad movies. Something I hate myself for because I wasted 15 minutes reading this when my rapidly dwindling life span escapes me every moment.
I'm 100% sure this won't last past say issue 20 and in my opinion shoulda never got off the boards in the first place. Maybe DC comics is throwing Gail Simone a bone? I know she has a vocal group of fanboys and girls that really dig her mediocre comic books, but I'm kinding thinking they're giving her work because DC comics has been under pressure of late about not employing women. I could be wrong and not know what I'm talking about, but man or woman, this comic sucked.
Freddie Williams art was interesting. I didn't like it, but it was lush. Full of lines and stuff. His style is very illustrative and kinda reminds me of Todd McFarlane, which in my book is a bad thing. But nonetheless he knows what he's doing from a technical standpoint most of the time and he's probably better than a lot of the artists currently working for DC comics, so whatever.
A Little Comic Book Surprise
The Victories vol. 2 #1
By Michael Avon Oeming
I read a couple issues of The Victories first volume of comics and wasn't all that impressed, but this first issue of the new volume is a whole lot better. Oeming's writing has gotten a lot better real quick while his art has slowly weakened. Did he make some deal with the devil to improve his writing ability at the sake of his art getting worse? Not sure, but whatever the case this little comic was interesting enough for me to make sure that I will pick up #2.
At first the story opens with the superhero group The Victories battling an inane villian character. Standard superhero comic schtick. Boring stuff, but Oeming quickly shifted gears and put us inside the heads of his characters and one in particular. Di Di Mau is her superhero name and she's quite the tragic type having a double identity as a fat girl when she's not superheroing. It's a lot more interesting of a take than I make it sound, but the quirkiness of it made this comic something other than just another superhero team book.
The art by Oeming has become so fat lined, that it's either the results of dwindling skills or the infatuation with a new tool. A brush or brush pen of some sort. I used to enjoy how he would mix thin and thick lines in his work. Some lines were obviously tech pen, others fat juicy brush strokes. Now it's all fat lines which I'm assuming is from a brush used on pages done at or near print size. A lot of artists are moving to working at or near print size to save time. Considering Oeming has two "ongoing" comics (Powers and Victories), this would make sense. Whatever the case for the change in style I'm ok with it if he keeps turning out quality stories as seen in issue one of this new Victories series.
Such a Pretty Dirty Thing
Grubby Little Smudges of Filth #1
By Daniel Reed
Slave Labor Graphics
I'm not sure when this was released, I'm guessing a couple years ago, because there's no date to be found on the comic or on the publishers website. There are 6 total issues to date, so I'm going to have to assume issue 1 was released at least two years ago if not more. Nonetheless, I picked issue one up as a freebie and for that kind of cost this was an awesome read. The rest of the issues are only 99 cents on the publishers website, so I'm pretty sure I will get at least issue two. Daniel Reed, the creator of this comic, is a hell of an artist. Except for the digital lettering this was all hand done with pen and ink and has so much for the eye to look at. Reed spares no details on the characters and in the backgrounds. His scritchy scratchy crosshatching and distorted linework resembles old school illustration, but the sheer oddity of his style is intrinsically modern. I bet the originals are even better looking up close.
The story is about a variety of things, but all revolving around a deformed looking boy-man locked up in a prison. He makes a beautiful painting (made with snot, boogers and other dungeony type things apparently) stuck in his dungeon which makes his jailers lots of money and even changes the lives of the king and queen who rule the land. This introductory story is full of odd nuance and beckoning abnormality and all the while shedding little light on the main character and how he ended up in a dungeon. Which is ok, because I imagine further issues will fill us in on our solitary hero's plight.
This is the kind of comic Slave Labor Graphics has become known for of late. Quiet, little, extremely talented comics with a distinctive out of the ordinary style. Nothing that will set the world on fire at large, but books which the company can build upon and show as a sign that at least they are holding onto comic books shrinking artistic credibility, while other larger publishing houses whore themselves out for Hollywood and the brain dead masses who only know comic books for their superheroes.
|Posted on April 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Didn't Mark Millar Already Do This Book...?
Jupiter's Legacy #1
By Mark Millar & Frank Quitely
This is basically The Authority, a book created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch and then re-created and enlivened by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely. Millar's run on the Authority is some of the best modern superhero comics ever, so why is he re-visiting the same kind of subject matter 10 years later? I don't get it, it's the exact same concept as the Authority, super-heroes have cleaned up crime and super villiany, and because of that are now debating whether to get involved in world politics at large. As we know with The Authority, that they did and changed the world. Jupiter's Legacy is so far going the same path as The Authority and since we know how this story goes already, this time around it's not that interesting.
Frank Quitely's work is solid, but the coloring by Peter Doherty is so dark and muddy that it adds an ugliness to Quitely's work (yes, an ugly on top of Quitely's unique ugly style) that dulls it so much it's distracting.
I don't know maybe Millar will sneak in a huge surprise hook and turn the heat up on this story, but as it is, I am going to give it the big pass from here on out.
Death, Apocalypse, End of the World blah blah blah....
East of West #2
By Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta
Many people lament the possibility of the death of the monthly/single issue comic. They give their reasons why, but I think the most apparent reason why this type of comic is disappearing is the fact that modern comic book writers no longer know how to tell a story in 18-24 pages. Jonathan Hickman is a hot writer currently, being the writer of top properties at Marvel Comics and the author of other critically acclaimed comics from Image Comics, but personally the amount of dull and boringly long comics I've read from this guy is too much. I realize the economics of comic publishing is that you need a trade paperback form to keep the royalties coming in, but this publishingof monthly installments for an eventual collection kills me as a reader. I really think we need to re-label comics, instead of numbers, 1, 2, 3, etc, we put chapter one, chapter two, etc, so we know ahead of time that we are not getting an entire story in these single issues anymore. But you know maybe it's annoying to only me...
East of West is a doomsday future earth story with a veiled analogue to modern day religious fervor as the cause of distress. The way the story is told in a bit by bit, heavily shrouded and secretive manner just puts me out of the story. A story needs to drag the readers in rather than shunning them with innuendo and continual teases and unexplained cuts and plot points. Nick Dragotta's art is good, he's a goofy cartoony style of artist, but he's added a wicked edge to his work on this story and I like it. But reading this story in tiny vague installments is useless. If I am going to read this book again it will come in collected trade paperback form.
Mad Max meets Jurassic Park
Neozoic: Traders Gambit #1
By Paul Ens & Jae Korim
This story takes place on an earth in the future where humans are living and fighting with naked Dinosaurs. I say naked, because archeaologists are now saying most dinosaurs had feathers or a light down/hair/fur. Nonetheless, humans fighting Dinosaurs on some alternate Earth is a big yawn fest for me. Originally I picked this up because of the good looking cover and thought the interior art by Jae Korim looked kinda cool. Unfortunately there is a reason why Paul Ens is the publisher of Red 5 comics and not it's lead writer.
This was extremely disjointed and boring. Where are the character building scenes? Who are these people and why should we care? Okay, theres two action scenes with humans fighting dinosaurs, but I've not seen more boring action scenes in a comic ever, I don't believe. And while initially at first glance I thought Jae Korim's work was appealing, the more I read of this comic, the less appeal it had for me. Maybe it was the earth tone garbage dump of colors that ruined the art for me, I don't know. Korim's work has potential and maybe by issue 4 it will be a lot better, but I won't be reading by then.
While I've enjoyed previous comics from RED 5 in the past (Bodie Troll #1 being the most recent), this is not one of them.
The Science of Orgasm
By Elijah Brubaker
This latest issue of the ongoing series came out a few months back, but I've finally gotten around to reading it. I originally started reading this series at issue 6 which came out about 2 and half years ago or thereabouts and while I really enjoy this comic, it's slow publication really hurts it. I literally forget about this comic inbetween releases, due to it's lengthy publication release and the amount of stuff I read. Also, in my opinion, this will ideally read a lot better all in one large story or when it's collected in a graphic novel format.
I'm very familiar with the life and work of Wilhelm Reich, a German scientist who moved to America after WW2 and the inventor of the fabled Orgone Accumulator. The Orgone Accumulator supposedly harnesses the power of Orgone which is all around us, but is most potent at the moment of orgasm. Orgone as described by Reich is able to heal a variety of illnesses and diseases. 60 years after Reich's death we still can not prove this definitively.
Elijah Brubaker is approaching this subject with a scientific deftness and an even tone, and illustrated in a simple black and white style that really makes this story enjoyable. Reich is a very controversial person, with a lot of odd passions and personality quirks. I've read a few different books and stories that focus on the oddity of the man, and unfortunately history has placed this vision of the man as the one most remembered. Fortunately Brubaker with his comic is not doing that, he's doing a straight forward and serious take on the man, his work and his life. I really like it.
How Can Something This Beautiful Been So Overlooked?
By Becky Cloonan
Released in early 2012, I remember reading a little bit about this self-published one shot somewhere, but quickly forgot about it for a variety of reasons. I had never been wowed by Cloonan's past work, especially the work done with the tepid writing styles of Brian Wood. Plus I knew a self-published book by a moderately known artist was not going to make it into my local comic shop which caters towards the more commercial of properties. So with all that in mind I knew I would have to order this online somewhere and somehow. Inevitably I forgot all about it. But damn, now that I've read it a year after it's release, I realize I've done myself a great disservice. This was an amazingly beautiful book. A book I know I will look at repeatedly largely for the captivatingly illustrated pages. I just didn't know that Cloonan was capable of such grandiosely beautiful work. I mean this was amazing stuff, far better than anything I had seen by her in the past.
The story is basically about a boy who finds out he's the son of a knight and a dark mysterious woman in a mysterious land. It's a simple story and the hook isn't too clever, but it's cute and tragic all at the same time and just works. Plus the gorgeous art just kept me involved throughout. The gray tones worked so well, that the idea of this in color would ruin the feeling of the story.
Now since I know I had my reasons for skipping this book on it's release I'm sure there were plenty of others who did the same thing, but let me tell you even if you're not an avid fan of indy comics, you are doing yourself a disservice by missing out on this story. Get it!
Immortals Forgotten By Time
Mortigan Goth: Immortalis #'s 1-4
By Nick Vince & Mark Buckingham
Marvel Comics 1993
I was visiting my mother in Ohio this past week and went through my large abandoned comic collection in the basement looking for something to read inbetween household chores and decided to pull out this old 90's era Marvel comic series. I had completely forgotten about this series and it's premise, but the first issue's cover is a bright red shiny good looking thing, so I gave it all a read. And you know what it's not bad. It holds up pretty well 20 years later. Looking at early Mark Buckingham art is interesting, knowing how good he will eventually become. And the story by Nick Vince who is a complete unknown to me is solid. Well the first two issues were solid, then it starts to unravel a lot in issue 3 and by issue 4 it's kind of a complete mess. The ending is anti-climactic and nonsensical and I'm wondering what the hell happened for this story to fall off the cliff in this way and so terribly?
Immortalis is the vehicle for the character Mortigan Goth, an immortal, someone who made a deal with Mephisto. Except through trickery Mephisto makes Mortigan's life a living hell. Intertwined in the story is 90's era continuity involving the characters Dr. Strange and the female Spitfire character. What seems to be happening is that someone is killing immortals and Strange thinks it's Mortigan. Another plot point takes control at issue 2, where a common friend, a vampire is looking for Mortigan. It gets a little goofy intertwining vampires and Dr. Strange and such. By issue 3 the vampire chick is killed, Dr. Strange exits the story and Mortigan Goth is fighting his stolen soul which escaped from Mephisto's Hell realm.
Issue 4 is a convoluted mess of a thing, taking us on a tour of Mephisto's hell and showing us how Mortigan Goth's soul escaped and is haunting Mortigan in the living realm. The story ends with the twisted evil soul ripping out one of Mortigan's eyes and voila, end of story. It was a rushed ending making no sense or resolve whatsoever. Now I have no idea if Mortigan Goth ever made another appearance in Marvel's comics or not, but this was an enjoyable enough story and if you can find it for cheap I would recommend it for some lazy reading when you have nothing else to do.
|Posted on April 21, 2013 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
Seriously?! WTF Is This Shit?
Captain America #6
By Rick Remender, John Romita & Others
I love ridiculous comics. That kind of ridiculous comic for the sake of being ridiculous kind of comic. Fear Agent by Rick Remender, the writer of this comic, is a good example. Another being The Goon by Eric Powell. By page two of this comic the ridiculous level is notabley absurdly high. Rick Remender is channeling some of that Fear Agent ridiculousness into this comic. Except this isn't Fear Agent, it's boring old square jaw Captain America. So it goes all wrong.
Captain America is a character with a continuity so thick that Remender has to place this story 12 years ago to even tell his story. By the end of this rollercoaster of an issue, the ridiculousness is replaced by a silly annoying angst and fury that the fun is completely sapped out of the story. This is a ridiculous comic, a badly ridiculous comic. An embarrasingly ridiculous kind of comic. A put this down and never think about it again kind of ridiculousness. Woof.
John Romita jr. with the help from assorted inkers does a pretty decent job, turning what used to be an annoying style into something enjoyable. But what is up with the coloring? Dean White the colorist, goes Richard Isanove on random pages of the comic, (Richard Isanove meaning digitally painting over the inkwork, ala that Stephen King gunslinger adaptation comic), then returns to relatively typical comic coloring for various other pages. It was highly distracting. Pick a technique, buddy and go with it.
If not for the highly technical, thematically flawed, but still enjoyable to look at art, this would be a real stinker.
Cable & X-Force #7
By Dennis Hopeless & Salvador Larroca
I've never heard of Dennis Hopeless, despite the fake but relatively cool last name, unfortunately the novelty of a cool sounding surname does nothing if a mediocre at best story is delivered by said cool name sounding author. Maybe he's done some good comics before and I just don't know about them? I guess he musta because becoming a writer at Marvel usually takes some ability. Nonetheless, this is a boring in the middle of the storyline episode and it does nothing for me.
The cover with evil Cyclops foreshadows something interesting happening, but nope, nothing of the sort is ever delivered. Cyclops shows up, Cable steals a spaceship with minimal help from Cyclops and then it's later days. The rest of the issue is about a prison break involving some 4 armed alien, Domino, Cyclops and Boom Boom. I guess this means Nextwave is indeed dead.
Flimsy Story, Heavy Intrigue
Sledgehammer 44 #2
By Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Jason Latour
Dark Horse Comics
I had thought this would be a longer mini-series, but I was wrong. This is actually only a two-fer. Which is fine, but considering that this was possibly one of the most effervescent stories of all time, it was going to have to be pretty good. Jason Latour made sure it was, delivering a hell of job, and assisted by the master of comic colorists Dave Stewart. Those two took a simplistic story and turned it into a masterpiece.
Sledgehammer 44 is a man in a suit tied to the most holy of powers in the Hellboy universe, The Vril Power. The mysterious Vril Power is the source of almighty energies and Sledgehammer 44, a dead man in an iron suit, wields it for the good guys. That's the American's in this story. Over these two issues we blasted through a petty story about a group of g.i. joe's rescuing Sledgehammer 44 from the Nazi's, who in turn rescues them from another group of Nazi's. We get a brief glimpse into the origin of Sledgehammer and told he harnesses the Vril Power and then the end. Seriously, this is one of the most flimsy of stories I've ever read in a comic, but because the art was so bad ass and the coloring so stunning, I really enjoyed these two issues.
Dear Jesus, Let This Be Good
Miniature Jesus #1
By Ted McKeever
Ted McKeevers, Eddy Current and Metropol were two of my most favorite comic series of all time, but after Metropol, McKeever's work just hasn't had the same zing as those two classics. Maybe that's just my opinion, but the lack of a steady book for McKeever since then may prove that I'm not alone in that opinion.
Nonetheless, I check out everything McKeever does hoping for that awesome something McKeever once had to return. Miniature Jesus is the latest from McKeever and while featuring a great title, most of this first issue is extremely forgettable. If McKeever woulda started this book at the third to last page when the little Jesus figurine hopped off the cross on the wall and continued from there maybe we woulda had something interesting. Now, because of those last few pages I will pick up issue two because I gotta see little Jesus kick some ass, but I'm not hoping for much from this series to tell the truth.
McKeever's art has changed since his prime, getting a lot more...realistic, I suppose. McKeever's style was always a bit abstract and sometimes a little too much so, which probably kept him from ever being embraced by the mainstream, but this reliance on photo realism in Miniature Jesus is annoying and just not very good. While I do think every artist needs to adjust and fine-tune their styles over the course of their career, sometimes the artist takes a turn for the worse and for whatever the reason it just doesn't work. For me that holds true for McKeever's work on this book. Some of this was pretty good, but mostly it was rather depressing for this long time fan.
What Will Come After Emo?
Li'l Depressed Boy #16
By Steven Stubble & Sina Grace
I finally get around to reading this comic series and it turns out to possibly be the final one. Apparently I've not missed much. This "final" issue was largely uneventful. I like talky drama, slice of life comics, but this was pretty boring even for these style of books. Sure I've not read any of the previous issues and therefore am not familiar with the characters and the drama therein, so this little issue about two co-workers getting reprimanded for having a relationship among employees, then the main character getting punched in the face at the end, really left me untouched. I'm gonna assume Image Comics won't be using the script from this issue as a tutorial for prospective new comic book writers. Luckily, Sina Grace's artwork was pretty solid throughout, her sketchy/scratchy brush work was appealing in that indy raw style.
|Posted on April 14, 2013 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
DC Comics Newest Adventure Hero is...
By Ray Fawkes, Jeff Lemire, Renato Guedes and others
When DC cancelled the previous Hellblazer series starring John Constantine it was selling in the mid 15,000 units per single issue. For a DC comic that's not good, so when they cancelled it and announced this new series we as fans knew there were going to be some changes. One of the odder changes in my opinion is the fact that Constantine is now an adventure hero. In a loose sense he was that at times in the old series, but never in the obvious manner he's being played now. And it's not the most terrible thing necessarily. It enlivens the concept some, giving him a little more accessibility for newer readers and such. But what happens when this initial adventure is over? Are we just going to be continually plunged into one adventure story after another, knowing Constantine is going to be the victor, ala Batman or Superman? Seems that way at this point. I haven't seen the sales figures on this new series yet, so I'm sure they'll determine where this series goes and how it gets there.
While I was never the most avid Hellblazer reader, I am finding myself more curious on this new startup series than I had been for many a previous story arc in Hellblazer the past number of years. What I'm enjoying most is the re-introduction of classic DC mystical characters. In issue one we had a new Sargon the Sorcerer (or Sorceress), and issue two we've got a new Mister E (a huge improvement in my opinion) and the new Spectre. Except this time, they've intertwined the Spectre and Constantine in a deeper fashion. It ought to be interesting to see how their relationship plays out over the coming issues.
So yeah, I'll probably pick up the next issue, even though I'm not entranced by the story in the larger sense. I'm more curious on who will be re-introduced in the coming issues and to see what other changes they will make to John Constantine as a character. I definitely can not stand a John Constantine Adventure Hero book month in and month out, but for now I'm interested.
Is Anyone Really Reading This Comic Every Month?
By Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Others
There are certain comic book writers and artists who work tirelessly within the norms and constraints of the tried and true system of the standard comic book formula. The standard comic book formula is easy to understand. Every stereotype you have about a comic book fits within this comic somehow. It's a story so exclusive that to understand it you would have to understand the isolation it takes to want to read comic books instead of spending time with other human beings. Only someone like that would be able to sit through something so formulaic without being utterly bored by the tepid pace and nerdy plot of this type of comic book. It takes sheer force of will to continue reading a comic like this, the kind of will only a die hard nothing else to live for type of fan has. You read these type of comics, because you have no friends, no other outlets for spending your time and not possessing enough intelligence to put the damn thing down and walk the fuck away.
Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning understand very well on how to make this kind of comic book. Hypernaturals #10 is built exactly like this, there's nothing new or possibly outstanding about anything in this comic. It's just another spin on the tried and true formula. It's all boring standard comic book trope. I don't know what it means that these guys enjoy making this kind of comic book? I'm doubly confounded that this made its way past editors and even a publisher who liked it so much that they would expend part of their precious budget on a book like this? Holy shit, what does it mean that I actually read this whole thing and spent about 15 minutes writing a review on it!
Hundreds of comic book creators have made money utilizing this formula, but in this day and age and particularly to this comic book fan, it does not work anymore. There's reasons why comic books fail so much more often than not nowadays. At 3 and 4 dollars a pop, we are not satisfied with the standard formula comic story. We need the wow factor much more often. So really is there anyone, honestly, who has been wowed by this comic for any of these first 10 issues? And how the hell did this get to 10 issues with material like this? What if this gets in the hands of a person just being introduced to comic books? Can we hold this comic responsible for stopping the entire growth of this stale industry?
Sneaky Crazy Good
By Max Bemis & Jorge Coelho
Writer Max Bemis I guess is some psuedo-popular musician or director or something, but I will admit my ignorance, I have no idea who he is or how good his music is, but I will give him a lot of praise for this comic book because this is a helluva good first issue. As a comic book writer he's off to a great start. Maybe he's getting lessons from Gerard Way (he of the Umbrella Academy and some popular emo band)? Gerard Way started off tremendously and now Max Bemis has. It's really great to see a new writer produce something this good right off the bat. How many of the same stolid comic book writers who we are all familiar with and who've worked in the industry for decades fail to pull off a single story as good as this? There are too many to count.
I wasn't expecting much from this, honestly and I've not seen a whole lot of praise for this issue on the usual comic book news websites, so I went in expecting another boring new indie type of comic. Instead I was given an amazingly deep, weird on the edges type of story with a hell of a cliffhanger. The main character is both pitiful and intriguing. There's a sad appeal to this guy and appeal for the main character is always integral to the success of a story. The guy suffers from Bi-polar disorder, something I know many of us know either personally or know of someone who has it. This guy in the comic though may suffer from the disorder, but also may be suffering from something more. And that's the hook, what is happening to this guy? I mean look at this page, what the hell?
Who can explode the head of another dude with a single headbutt? Given the story it may be all delusion, but we'll have to read next issue to find out.
I like how the story is set in the white hipster capital of the world right now, Brooklyn, and how it's making fun of the whole "phenomena" of hipster-ism, but there's more to this story than just a funny romp through a life living with hipsters. Max Bemis promises to up the crazy in each subsequent issue, and I am looking forward to that because I really like this first issue. Artist Jorge Coelho is another nice surprise. I've not seen his work before, but he's got a splendid touch for depicting this story which needs a little bit of a manic craziness to it. It's a grounded cartoony style, but has that exaggeration to it which adds a lot of flare to his work. I like it.
All That's Wrong With Comics In One Comic Book
By Keith Giffen & Others
Once upon a time Keith Giffen was considered a good writer and artist, someone with esteem and someone other comic people looked on with envy. So where'd that guy go? How is it even possible to write a comic like Threshold #4 with the kind of savvy and experience that Kieth Giffen had or should have? Is it because he's Kieth Giffen that this book even gets made? This entire issue was little more than a dense shitbag of fan-fiction. Except with characters no one knows about, and only tangentially related to what is know as the DC universe, by throwing in the evil guy character Braniac at the end.
Holy fuck this was a complete impenetrable clusterfuck of a story. The only that was clear to me was that some dude and some rabbit character were looking for some kind of power battery in some slug dude's house. Shit went berserk and then Braniac puts a bottle on the city with the main characters trapped inside. I mean, why should I give a fuck about anything that went on here? And why the fuck would I want to continue reading this stupidly boring series? There honestly wasn't one good thing about this comic book.
Avoid as if your life depends on it.
|Posted on April 7, 2013 at 7:05 AM||comments (0)|
Dark & Terrible? Not Yet, But I'm Sure We'll Get There
Abe Sapien: Dark & Terrible #1
By Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, Sebastian Fiumara & Dave Stewart
The Hellboy Universe is a favorite of mine. While I'm unable financially to pick up every comic that comes out in relation to it (Hellboy, BPRD and associated mini's) I have loved almost everything that I've been able to pick up. Abe Sapien: Dark & Terrible is sure to be another hit with me. This first issue is scant with explanation of the overall storyline, but the mood is being set and Sebastian Fiumara's depiction of Abe Sapien is awesome. Look at this panel of Abe...
Love it. So Abe Sapien is trying to stay away from the BPRD for personal reasons, but the BPRD needs his help and is searching for him. While hiding with a group of hobo's on a train, we're caught up to date with all the shit that's happened to the world according to the Hellboy Universe. The world is a dark place in this universe and beset by monsters of all kinds. There's no light at the end of this tunnel, it's a slow painful grind to extinction and honestly that's why it's so refreshing. Most comics will have the hero save the day or everything turns out nice and sweet, but not the Hellboy Universe. It's all dark and terrible.
I'm not familiar with artist Sebastian Fiumara's work, but his style definitely fits the mood of the Hellboy Universe. His monsters are monstrous, he has a keen way of using heavy darks and his creepy stylings around the edges make him a natural for this kind of book. Plus Dave Stewart, master of comic book coloring, adds his usual dark and surreal touch to the art enhancing the work where it needs enhancing. I am a huge fan of Dave Stewarts coloring and every issue he colors for the Hellboy Universe is a joy to see. He makes a lot of these comics and I love all the subtle tones and shades he adds to the books he works on.
Supposedly this is an ongoing comic, if so I'm onboard for the duration.
Righting the Ship After a Terrible Start
The Phantom Stranger #7
By JM DeMatties, Gene Ha and others
The first issue of this series written by Dan Didio and drawn by Brent Anderson was absolutely awful. Pathetically awful (check out my review of it, scroll down a bit on this blog). But lo and behold, Dan Didio lets go of the writing reins and hands them to someone a little more experienced at writing mystical comics and voila, this comic has become a thousand times more interesting. Plus this issue we've got the art team from one of my all time favorite comics, TOP TEN, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon, on it and what do you know, this is a really interesting comic.
There's some weird things going on that I don't quite understand having not followed the series for the best 6 issues, but supposedly the Phantom Stranger is searching for that fake family he had in issue 1. He's got some angel/demon possessed dog helping him out, but what happens is that Phantom Stranger gets involved with a bunch of other DC Comics characters, Challengers of the Unknown, Terrance Thirteen and The Question along the way. And since I've not followed the new DC comics, I was quite shocked to see that The Question is somehow able to best the Phantom Stranger in combat and for some reason they really dislike each other. Then Terrance Thirteen takes the fabled "Spear of Destiny" (that spear that poked Jesus in the side while he was on the cross) and stabs the Phantom Stranger through. Writer JM DeMatties heavily hints that the Phantom Stranger is the legendary Roman soldier Longinius, he being the guy who speared Jesus on the cross and when splattered with his bloood suddenly converts, or so some passage in the Bible says. The Phantom Strangers origin has always been one of comics greatest mysteries, with hints here, there and everywhere, but this latest issue definitely links The Phantom Stranger to Jesus in some intimate manner.
But if there's one reason to really love this issue, it's this line of dialogue on page 7 written by DeMatties...
(Referring to Jesus) "Interesting, isn't it, what they've done to him? One man teaching spontaneously...intuitively...from the heart-- And they turn it into a calcified global organization that chains believers with rules and regulations - and threatens them with eternal hellfire if they step out of line."
It's a brilliant summarization of Christianity. And really any organized religion. For that line alone, this comic goes on my work in progress list of The Best Comics of 2013.
Hillbillies vs. Aliens
This was released in 2011, but I'm just now getting around to reading it. Which ends up being a stupid thing because this was great. This was a goofy book, completely outlandish yet completely fun. The plot is great - - Three years ago aliens from outer space conquered Earth, but some hillbillies in the midwest of America never noticed as they were left alone until the day came when the aliens were looking for a secret energy source somewhere in the hillbillies environs. Which is a mistake for the aliens as these particular hillbillies aren't scared of anything.
The story hits on every joke and the art is fantastic. The artists style is a bit reminiscent of Kyle Baker's, with it's wild and crazy linework and exaggerated anatomy and action. The coloring was perfect, bright and attractive where needed, but dark and textured when necessary. Top notch stuff and honestly a better quality product than I would expect from Arcana Comics. I would hope this sold really well, but I bet it didn't. Which is a sad thing for the industry hard up for truly original humorous comics.
I heartily recommend this book. It's a 72 page graphic novel and while I bet 90% of the comic stores in America don't have this on their shelf, I'm sure you can track it down online. Do yourself a favor and get this truly funny book.
Reading a Jason Aaron Comic Book is Almost as Bad As Being Water Boarded
Thanos Rising #1
By Jason Aaron, Simone Bianchi & Marvel Comics
What do Thanos and Kenny from South Park have in common? How about never taking off their hat/hoodies ever from the time they were born. What I'm wondering about this comic is first, why is Jason Aaron still allowed to write comics? Maybe he's doing it for free, that's the only explanation I can come up with. Second, it looks like Marvel Comics is assuming we've not read or seen the play WICKED or the novel it was based on, because they're giving Thanos the Wicked treatment. In case you haven't seen Wicked, basically what happens is that the evil witch once upon a time was a good little girl, but born with weird green skin, picked on her whole childhood, but tries to do good at all times, but has a knack for making bad things happen. Eventually she's spurned one too many times and she turns into the Wicked Witch of the East (or West, whatever). So, while I get this is only the first issue of Thanos Rising, and things may change dramatically after this issue, all I can do is judge things by what I've seen. And what they are trying to do is give Thanos the old Wicked treatment. Lame. I wasn't expecting much from this comic, especially with Jason Aaron as the writer, but I got even less than I was expecting.
The art by Simone Bianchi is nice, he's always had a knack for good coloring and stuff, but again a quality artist is being wasted in service to a terrible script and writer. The same things happening over on Jason Aarons other job, Thor, where Esad Ribic is being wasted illustrating some terrible god-killing "epic" which is just dragging on and on. How long can Jason Aaron continue to turn out mediocre hack jobs like this before given the boot? I mean, I know its Marvel Comics, and mediocrity is their modus operandi, but damn if I can't help wanting something better from a company with a budget in the millions. Oh well.
Seeking: White Girl, Big Boobs, Wears Black Spandex and Carries a Big Gun
Miss Fury #1
By Rob Williams, Jack Herbert
Besides being an obvious Catwoman copycat, what is this comic? I know Miss Fury was a "Golden Age" comic character, but I'm not familiar with any of her previous stories, so I don't know if they were as bad as this new story or not, but if this comic is any kind of homage I want nothing to do with the old version or this new version.
I'm assuming Dynamite Entertainment is hoping there's enough comic fans out there simply tantalized by the idea of a female character with big boobs and using big guns is gonna keep this book afloat? In reality anyone with a properly adjusted mindset when it comes to women will not want anything to do with this gratuitous display of stupidity.
The main character, is a Batman/Catwoman hybrid, rich like Batman, but likes to steal jewels and shiny stuff. It's explained she's a bored rich girl who likes to take chances? Yeah, makes no sense, but it's a comic book and these are comic book writers, so anyway... Then I guess once upon a time while on a safari in Africa she met some tribe and one of the tribesmen gave here some secret magic potion that gave her super panther powers and voila we have the Miss Fury character. It's a dazzling origin and equally bedazzling script. That's sarcasm for take all the copies you see in your local comic shop and throw them in the trash so no one else wastes their money on this.
|Posted on March 31, 2013 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
DC Comics Does Something Right in 2013
TIme Warp #1
By DC Comics
I love anthologies. I will sample any anthology that looks even somewhat decent because I love short stories. Yes, a lot of anthologies do end up sucking after awhile, especially ongoing ones because they need constant refill of material and a lot of stuff ends up being just filler. But DC comics succeeds with Time Warp #1. Sure there were a few stories that had me scratching my head on why they were included, especially the Dead Boy Detectives story as it was a to be continued story and had nothing to do with the comics subject of time travel and related science, but whatever. The rest of the anthology rocks. Particulary the opening stories starring classic DC character Rip Hunter caught in a time paradox to save his life and Hitler's sister in a world without her evil brother.
Plus every story featured top notch artistic talent, many of whom I was unfamiliar with. Gael Bertrand, Inj Culbard, Michael Dowling...who are these guys? They're fantastic! I hope we see more work with them at DC comics. Even though the price tag on this one-shot is hefty, it's well worth it. Buy this for some quality entertainment, please!
Tradd Moore is Awesome!
The Legend of Luthor Strode #4
By Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore
I like to think I keep up to date with the freshest comic artists in the biz, but somehow I missed the boat on Tradd Moore. I mean wow, this is an amazing looking comic book. Tradd Moore's art is bombastic! It's so crazy and lively yet so refined, this guy is no amateur. Why is he not super huge right now? The cover was what originally caught my eye, but the flashy, larger than life enthusiastic artwork between the covers is what sold me. I'm not terribly into violent comics, but this issue is one entire over the top gory battle scene and I loved it!
I've not read any of the previous issues in this planned 6 issue mini-series, but I don't care, this comic wowed me from page one and I plan on picking up the remaining two issues. Tradd Moore's artwork is pure fun. It almost leaps off the page. The action is bloody and intense. Considering how we idolize violence in our modern world, how is this bloody ultra-violent comic not at the top of the charts? Thank you Image Comics for bringing us stuff like this. And to Tradd Moore, I am now a fan for life.
Five Weapons Moving in Slow Motion
Five Weapons #2
By Jimmie Robinson
Jimmie Robinson of "Bomb Queen" infamy is doing this new 5 issue mini-series and while I've never been a huge fan of his work, I've always had an appreciation for it. Bomb Queen is intentionally ridiculous and most times fun, but Five Weapons is so far stuck in slow motion. Holy shit this was borderline boring even. Just when it was starting to get interesting it ends, to be continued next issue, much like the first issue. Geezus Christ, I don't know if I care to pick up the next issue. I'd like to see the payoff fight that the first two issues have been building up to, but do I really feel the urge to possibly slog through another slow and boring issue for one little payoff scene? I'm not so sure at this moment.
The art by Robinson is his usual solid cutesy cartoony stuff. Nice and bright, easy to follow, but sardonic and flashy when it needs to be. The premise of this story so far is interesting and all - children of famous assassins attending a school that trains them to be like their mommies and daddies. And with all the trappings and angst of normal high school - but this made for the trade paperback storytelling is for the dogs. If you're going to tell a story in this way at least give us a good nugget to chew on every 20 pages or so otherwise this is gonna read as I've described, slow and boring.
I've Almost Had Enough of These Vampire Books
I, Vampire #18
By Joshua Hale Fialkov & Fernando Blanco
This series is ending with I believe the very next issue and the story is wrapping up nicely as issue 18 is quite good. I've not read every issue of this series, having hopped on and off at various times, but I really liked this issue. I like how Fialkov uses John Constantine as a sort of Cheshire Cat kind of character. Mischievous, but good yet always disappearing when times get tough. The art by Fernando Blanco is excellent. His command of anatomy and figure movement is splendid. Coupled with his deft brushwork, this is a masterfully illustrated comic book. If DC Comics is smart they will not let Fernando Blanco go, hopefully they'll not ruin him by putting him on a stupid superhero spandex comic though.
So with the climax coming up next issue, it'll be curious to see who lives and who dies and also the chance to see more beautifully illustrated women, one in the nude, by Fernando Blanco.
Good Stuff That Gets Very Little Attention
Peadbody & D'Gorrah #1
By Andrew Tunney
Slave Labor Graphics
This is a series I remember being announced last year, seeing the previews and wanting it, but it still totally slipped my mind on it's release (and subsequent issues releases) until I saw Slave Labor Graphics giving away free pdf's of the first issue at its website. I'm glad they did 'cause this was a very fun weird comic. I'm gonna buy the next few issues for sure very soon! Peabody & D'Gorrah are inhuman supernatural treasure hunters, one being a skeleton, the other a winged demon and in this first issue they get involved in an evil god summoning, but end up the targets unintentionally. Nothing too deep, but has enough clever humor to make it work.
Overall the issue was a quick breezy read, but enjoyable nonetheless. The art by Andrew Tunney is cute, slick and brings just the right amount of weirdness and humor to make a concept like this work. I don't know how well this sold for Slave Labor Graphics, but I bet a lot of people missed out on this very strong humorous, but darkly edged comic.
|Posted on March 24, 2013 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
Name Your Price Comics, This I Like!
PRIVATE EYE #1
By Brian K. Vaughn & Marcos Martin
Panelsyndicate.com is where you can get this comic. The best thing is that you can name your price for it, the minimum being 50 cents. So I paid my 50 cents and goddamn what a deal! This was a damn fine comic. Best 50 cents I've spent on a comic in forever! I don't know how long till we will see this comic in print, as Vaughn says it's going to be digital only right now, but I'm sure that thought will change. The format is horizontal or much better suited to your laptop, digital pad or phone. It's not necessarily a novel concept, but what makes it work is that it's a great story. Possibly the best story I've ever read by Vaughn. I am digging his SAGA comic being done right now with Fiona Staples over at Image comics, but PRIVATE EYE has the potential to be much better.
The story is set about a hundred years in the future, where the internet no longer exists, people dress in holograms and costumes to maintain their privacy and such, wear fake skins to be people they wished to be, etc. etc. Sort of the next evolution of the (anti)social network that is trending through our society right now. Our main character is an unlicensed private detective, something which is now against the law. So the Private Eye gets involved with a case about a woman in trouble and lalala....
The blend of futuristic prognostications, with typical mystery story trappings is weaved together in a stew of curious ambivalence. In other words, this is a weird story, with lots of cool wierd futuristic things going on, but it's still a mystery story. And I like it!
I Guess They Had To Try...
By DC Comics
I was never a huge fan of the character John Constantine, though I understood his uniqueness and appealability. I've read plenty of issues of the previous series and own quite a few of them, so I know who he is, as far as a fictional character can be known. Now this new John Constantine is just that, new. It's like the slightly wickeder younger clone of the John Constantine we had come to know.
The issue itself wasn't boring, it was somewhat entertaining. Not great, but not bad either. A plot was thrown at us, involving a magic compass and that John Constantine has to find it for some reason or other before Sargon The Sorceress and her magical mates find it first. So whatever, that's a plot which I guess can propel a few issues, but one of the charms of the previous Constantine series, was the character himself and all his intricacies. This Constantine is a shallow imitation of that character. Maybe that's intentional? The mystery of the old Constantine is nowhere to be found in this new incarnation. Was that an editorial edict or the fault of the writers? Or am I judging to much on just one issue?
The art by Renato Guedes was pretty good though, the coloring was nice too. So it was a good looking book despite the iffyness of the story by Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire. I may check out the next issue, I'm not sure yet.
Another Good New Comic Book From Image Comics
FIVE GHOSTS: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1
By Frank J. Barbiere & Chris Mooneyham
Image Comics is definitely the place to look for fresh new quality comics. Forget Marvel and DC and just check out what Image brings out every week. I can't believe I'm the only one tired of the same shit Marvel and DC are churning out week after week? If you are in agreement, do yourself a favor and check out what Image is doing. They're doing some great stuff right now, putting out fresh new quality books almost every week. FIVE GHOSTS is just one example and I'm glad I picked this book up.
FIVE GHOSTS is a very old school pulp style story, with your good looking male idol lead, a tragic past that haunts him as he pursues his endeavors and the greater goal of ridding himself of his guilt for mistakes he's made in his life. More specifically for this story it's about a guy who's possessed by five ghosts (samurai, vampire, magician, archer and detective) as he goes about hunting treasure and a way to cure an old friend of a mysterious illness.
This is a pretty fun read actually and a great way of adding superhuman powers to an old school mystery story. The character of Fabian Grey is your typical generic hero worthy white guy and when facing danger can summon the power of one or all of the 5 ghosts who share his body. From the blood thirsty abilities of the classic vampire, or the wizardry might of an ancient sorcerer, to the skills of the great detective, etc. It's a pretty cool idea and the story is really engaging. I like it for it's simple easy escapist entertainment.
The art by Chris Mooneyham unfortunately is the only detractor here. It's not the kind of art that will pull in readers. It's not bad artwork at all, the guy can illustrate, but it's a bit shoddy and unimpressive looking in my opinion. I can't tell if the guy is a novice and still learning or if he's an old guy at the end of his learning curve? His style is a weird mix of Neal Adams and John Romita jr. with his own scratchy style wrapping it all up. It's not distracting at all and essentially it fits the mood of the story really well. He's an adapt storyteller, so even though I don't necessarily like the art, it won't prohibit me from picking up the further issues of this series.
This Judge is Boring
JUDGE DREDD: Year One #1
By Matt Smith, Simon Colby and IDW Publishing
I haven't read a Judge Dredd comic in a long time for a variety of reasons (interest, availability the main ones), but the gorgeous cover of this comic drew me in. Look at those colors on the platform Dredd is standing upon. Nice. Anyway upon my return to the universe of Judge Dredd I'm served a really boring story. Supposedly this is in Judge Dredd's first year on the job and a psychic phenomena is causing a bunch of kids to kill people. I realize that Matt Smith is just setting up the story and eventually I imagine it will get a little more interesting, but I'm not gonna stick around to see if that happens. I'm guessing you'd have to be a die hard Judge Dredd fan to continue reading this, but I feel sorry for them as it's gonna be a chore. There was nothing in this story to spark any interest. This was as boring as reading an Ikea manual.
The art by Simon Colby was interesting, a little bit of an organized mess with lots of hard sharp angles and thrusting lines. His backgrounds are nice. I wouldn't mind seeing more of his work on other things.
|Posted on March 17, 2013 at 6:15 AM||comments (0)|
Robots Are Fighting This Damn War!
SLEDGEHAMMER 44 #1
By Mike Mignola, John Arcudi & Jason LaTour
Dark Horse Comics
Robots, World War 2 and the Mignolaverse -- sounds like a fun comic to me. And it was, pretty much. But being a fan of the comic Atomic Robo, I can't stop making the comparison between that and this SLEDGEHAMMER comic. Was it on purpose? I mean Atomic Robo is almost a clone of Hellboy in a way, maybe Mignola finally had enough and wants to show the guys from Atomic Robo how it's done? Or it's in homage as a friendly gesture? I don't know, guess it doesn't matter. Sledgehammer '44 #1 was only a brief glimpse into an overall story involving Nazi's, robots and something mysterious.
The art by Jason LaTour was terrific and Dave Stewart's amazing coloring adds a dated brilliance to the mood of the story. I will pick up the next issue for sure.
My Kind of Apocalypse
THE END TIMES OF BRAM AND BEN #3
By James Asmus, Jim Festante & Rem Broo
I have a habit of picking up new comics in the middle of storylines. I kinda do it on purpose as its my own personal test of judging comics. If the story is good, no matter what part of the story I pick up, it will grab my interest. And then I will want to follow the rest of the story and find whatever I've missed. If it's bad, then I will abandon it. Many Marvel and DC comics currently continue to fail that test of mine. Marvel and DC like to create stories built for the trade paperback and while they may read satisfactorily in that end format, many of the single issue chapters read like shit. Thus I pass on many of Marvel and DC's comics.
When perusing the comic offerings for this week I saw the cover for THE END TIMES OF BRAM AND BEN #3 and knew I had to read it. It's a fabulous cover by artist Juan Doe, who's not the interior artist, which usually bugs me, but it's fine in this case as the interior artist, Rem Broo is awesome too.
Rem Broo's art is exaggerated, sketchy, wild and cartoony. But it fits the equally wild and crazy story. I was easily hooked by this goofy end times/rapture/christian apocalypse story. Main characters Bram and Ben are caught up in the machinations of Heaven and Hell and the battle for Earth after all the "good" christians were brought up to Heaven. This third issue is about the character Ben who's being used by the angels to convert his friend Bram who's unreluctantly on the side of the demons. It's a bit wonky, I have to admit, maybe because I'm jumping in on the middle of the story, but this issue was really fun and I loved Rem Broo's art.
So I implore you by the Grace of God, buy this comic!
HOW AWFUL CAN A BIG BUDGET COMIC GET?
By Marvel Comics
Once upon a time all of the very best writers worked at either Marvel or DC comics. Now that's not true, as made obvious by this comic. Unless they are writing for the under 10 crowd, which may be possible. If that is the truth than I can forgive Marvel comics and Jason Aaron for writing this miserably boring, predictable, shallow waste of time. I've read the previous 5 issues of this comic because Esad Ribic illustrated those. And while the story was just as bad with his art, his work was able to transcend the bad scripting and keep me turning the pages. Butch Guice steps in on the art for this issue and his usual solid work can't keep this piece of crap afloat, like Esad Ribic's could.
This issue gives us the pedantic origin of the villian Gorr who's been fighting Thor for the past 5 issues. And to no surprise, it's fucking un-original and predictable as all shit. Skip this, save your money and pick up something better, like the comic I reviewed above this one.
Maybe These Comics Actually are Being Made for Kids...
EDISON REX #6
By Chris Roberson, Dennis Culver & Others
Monkey Brain Comics
Take Tom Strong, Mark Waid's Unredeemable (or was it Unbreakable? Something like that...) & Jonathan Hickman's end run on Fantastic Four, put them in a blender set on bland and you get Edison Rex. I mean the art's not bad, even considering the artist Dennis Culver likes to use the same face angle for the title character over and over. I've read this is Monkey Brains best selling comic and now after reading it, I'm wondering why? Edison Rex is a supervillian turned superhero who looks like Tom Strong with gray hair. He has a similar posse like Strong, who backs him up when in scrapes. This issue Edison Rex encounters multiple variations of himself from other universes, who've all banded together to fight against some terrible multi-versal threat and they've come to recruit our main character. I guess Roberson didn't read Jonathan Hickman's run on Fantastic Four, or he did and stole the idea anyway. Hickman's story ran out of control by the end, turning multiple Reed Richards into stupid, boring evil dudes and Roberson's take on the same premise with his character is no more interesting than Hickman's.
|Posted on March 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
Umm, Yeah. No... I Don't Know...
By Joe Casey & Piotr Kowalski
There's not a lot of story in this issue. Obviously it's a trade paperback kind of story, where you don't get a full story unless you've read about 5 or 6 issues. So while I hate to judge this kind of story off one insignificant little issue (that I paid $4 for), I'm going to have to. This was weak, really, really weak. Joe Casey has always been a hit or miss (a lot more misses) with me. Obviously the title makes it obvious that Joe is looking for some attention, anything to make a comic sell. Sure there's some pussey in here, but it's more of a superhero/sex comic than anything else. I couldn't stop myself comparing this to Howard Chaykin's "BLACK KISS", and Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips "FATALE" throughout this story. To me it seems like that is what Joe Casey is trying to evoke with this story. Except, Chaykin, Brubaker & Phillips do it much better than Casey ever will. But what do I know, Joe Casey is selling a superhero sex comic at Image Comics and I'm writing shitty reviews at some blog 13 people read every week...
I'm sure some lonely horny dudes will pick this up, just because of the title, but I would recommend BLACK KISS and FATALE long before I would this if that's the kind of material you're interested in reading.
The Most Enjoyably Disjointed Comic I Have Ever Read
Transformers: Robots In Disguise #14
By John Barber, Alex Milne and Josh Burcham
Every issue of this comic is a cut to another plotline. The conformity of ongoing story is non-existent in this comic. One moment we are in the present doing one thing, the next issue is about something completely different, followed by another issue about something just barely mentioned in a previous issue... and on and on. It's kinda annoying, but all told it's still entertaining. The art and colors by Alex Milne and Josh Burcham are really good and while the stories are constantly disjointed, the art stays at it's usual high level every issue. The coloring specifically is something I really enjoy. It's a muted palette with simple tones and highlights with textures thrown in to add depth and realism. It's a very simple style, yet with a lot of intricacy and subtlety that really impresses me. I love it.
As to the story itself, Overlord, whom I've never heard of before, is, supposedly some super awesomely powered robot and he's been chained in a cell in the ship all the Autobots are on. But this issue he gets free and it looks like it's going to be a bloodbath next issue. So basically this was Overlords origin story, how Megatron and Shockwave made him super powerful and such, yet somehow he ends up defeated and in a cell on a ship controlled by Autobots. Yeah, that doesn't make much sense, but whatever, it's a freaking Transformers comic, so go with it.
But my favorite moment of this comic was this series of panels shown below...
Megatron's been wearing a helmet this whole time! Look at that nappy ass head!
Ooh, I Like This!
BODIE TROLL #1
By Jay Fosgitt
Published by Red 5 Comics
Maybe having a kid of my own has softened my tastes a bit, but I've come to love excellent all ages tales. And BODIE TROLL #1 is definitely an excellent addition to that field. Right off the bat, that cover is eye catching, but when you open the book you realize every single page is absolutely gorgeous. Nice round, fluffy, colorful gorgeousness! Pure eye candy art! But the story is a lot of fun too. Bodie Troll is our main character and he's an ornery little cuss, cute as heck and reluctantly heroic. Bodie inadvertantly with the help of his pee defeats a mean ugly monster and saves his good looking human friend Cholly from certain death.
There's going to be three more single issues of this series, but I think RED 5 probably shoulda just published this as an entire graphic novel right off the bat, because I guarantee it will get more looks from bookstores, libraries and schools (probably eventually where it will find its best audiences). But whatever, 4 single issues will still be a good thing and I will pick up every single one. A gorgeous comic and I highly recommend it!
I Always Like the Books That Get Cancelled
CAPTAIN MARVEL #11
By Kelly Sue DeConnick & Filipe Andrade
I reviewed last issue and while it had it's bumps and bruises, it was an enjoyable superhero comic and I knew I would pick up the next issue. But between issue 10 and 11, I read online that the series was going to be cancelled. Which is a shame as issue 11 is one of the better mainstream superhero comics I've read in awhile. I don't like too many superhero comics from Marvel or DC anymore, but I like this comic. It's odd. The art by Filipe Andrade is fascinating especially considering it's for a superhero comic. If Andrade was doing work on any other genre it might not catch my eye as much, but here on a B-list superhero comic, it's really something fresh and new.
DeConnick's story has a lot of depth to it, focusing largely on character issues rather than typical superhero comic plots. And I like that. There's only so many saving the world plots out there, why not focus a little more inwardly on the character, especially a character like this Captain Marvel? It's not the tightest scripting I've ever seen nor is it the most involving, but for a Marvel comic book, it's heads above 97% of the other comics they're publishing. It's too bad it's being cancelled, but I can understand why, it's just too different. That's what happens in mainstream entertainment. You want to be new, but not too different, otherwise you get cancelled. If this was a Dark Horse or Image book, it would continue to be published. But at Marvel it's got no future, which is really too bad, but puts in a spotlight why I can't fucking stand Marvel and DC comic books.
|Posted on March 7, 2013 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
Kim Thompson, Co-Publisher of the great Fantagraphics Books has been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. You can send emails of support to firstname.lastname@example.org or flowers, comics, money, chocolates, etc to Fantagraphics headquarters in Seattle.
Kim is one of my favorite persons in all of comics. This guy has let a nobody like me interview him. He's reviewed every single awful comic I sent into Fantagraphics for submission and tenderly and honestly rejected every single one. He hooked me up with free pdf previews of all their comics for review purposes and even traded email messages with me from time to time. Of course I don't expect him to remember me, because I guarantee he's done the same for a thousand other nobodies like me, 'cause he's that awesome of a person.
Get well Kim Thompson, you're in my thoughts.
|Posted on March 3, 2013 at 6:15 AM||comments (0)|
Worst Comics of 2013:
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 0.1
By Brian Bendis, Steve McNiven and Marvel Comics
This will definitely make the list this year. This is the most flat, formulaic, weak and uncreative thing of Brian Bendis' that I've ever read (I haven't read everything). For a few years I enjoyed his work immensely, but of late have grown tired and bored by his work (see my review below of the new Powers comic for more on this opinion).
I have no experience or knowledge of the Guardians of the Galaxy beyond a few issues of the Jim Valentino comic series back in the early 1990's. This team is completely new to me. The lead character of this 0.1 issue (why 0.1, so faux-futuristic...) is a blond haired blue eyed handsome white dude. Why should I care about yet another one of these cardboard glamour cutouts? I don't and especially not after reading this comic book. I wonder why Bendis' work is so bad here? It almost seems on purpose. Could he be writing this badly on purpose? Can a person write badly on accident? Or is Brian Bendis now the name of a really bad writing collective at Marvel?
I guess it doesn't matter. Read this comic at your own peril.
Below is a section of the first story page. Looking at this I knew right away I was in for a shitty comic. The graphic design is spacey adventure title stuff, while the three caption boxes contain inane Bendis banner, quite common in his scripts. The styles clash.
I Was Hoping This Comic Would Be Good...
POWERS BUREAU #1
By Brian Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming
This is the first new issue of Powers that I've read in about 4 years. I stopped reading the other Powers series for various reasons (uncertain publishing schedule, lack of interest, etc). This new issue ended up boring me a lot. I hoped it would be good, but both Bendis and Oeming seemed burnt out, past their prime with this issue. The once vibrant energy of this comic is gone. Both in the writing and the art. Which is ok in the long run, as at various points in the past this comic was great. Plain and simple great. Once upon a time, Oemings art was dynamic and stunning and Bendis' writing was quirky and unexpected. The characters were fresh and new and creative.
Now it all seems so worn out. Is it the concept? Or is it the creators? Both? It all added up and = boring.
Below is the best image Oeming did in the whole comic. In my mind it holds all the pecularities of Oeming's work at it's best. A mix of sketchy thin and thick lines. Of simple uneven shapes that exemplifies his style. Most of Oemings work in this current issue is very thick lined, lazy and hurried. Which, if thinking upon his work schedule of recent years seems predictable. I mentioned burnt-out when regarding Oeming's work earlier and in my opinion the work in this issue is Oeming at his tired limits.
I may read next issue, I may not. I honestly could care less.
Now This is Why I Like Comics So Much:
AMALA'S BLADE #0
By Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas
I like fresh new energized comics and this one published by Dark Horse Comics fits that bill. It wasn't the greatest comic, but it had a lot of energy and the art was fantastic. That's enough for me. Seriously, just keep me reading and give me some eye candy art. Michael Dialynas' artwork reminds me of a mix of Paul Pope and Mark Crilley. Frenetic, slightly embossed with a manga style, yet full of detail and life. While the comics I love the most are those really deep thoughtful kind, but if I can get ahold of a comic like this, I'm satiated.
The story is about a young female assasin named Amala who is hired to take out some steampunk looking sea captain. But it seems Amala is plagued by the ghosts of her past and of those whom she has killed. Obviously the main character is crazy, plus a murderer, so while technically we shouldn't root for a crazy murderous bastard like Amala, we still will because there's character appeal. This opening story is nothing deep, nothing terribly remarkable, but it is catchy and fun. Easy to read, full of energy and definitely has enough appeal to keep me reading.
Guess I Just Read a Wonder Woman Comic...
WONDER WOMAN #17
By Brian Azzarello & Tony Akins plus others
I did read Wonder Woman #'s 1-5 of this new volume in trade paperback form a bit back and that didn't really impress me much at all, but I do like Brian Azzarello's work overall, so I've given his Wonder Woman comic another shot with this issue #17. And I am much more impressed. The story is much better formed, much more interesting and the art is pretty damn good. The coloring is great too. Too many colorists nowadays add way too much light and dark tones, with their flares and shadows that it overwhelms the art. The kinda coloring in this issue is exactly the kind of comic book coloring I like. Simple, but with enough dark and light tones to add depth and texture.
So what we got here I guess is a war between gods with Wonder Woman and friends all mixed up in it. Plus there's Orion of the New Gods which is interesting considering never before did DC mix Wonder Woman and her godly pantheon with Jack Kirby's pantheon. I find it very interesting and I am very curious where it all goes. But I will admit, as much as I was intrigued by this comic overall, I have a feeling I will be hesitant in picking up the next issue of this comic. Not because it's probably the best comic DC is currently publishing, but because it's just another comic of yet another serial character where despite any profound story effects, it's all so irrelevant. There's a status quo when it comes to characters like Wonder Woman and I have no interest in that sort of story continuity. I just don't give enough of a fuck about a character like this no matter how well of a job a writer that I like is doing on it. It's the same thing with Grant Morrison's Batman. I really like Morrison's work, but I don't give enough of a fuck to pick up a Batman comic which he is writing, because I know in the end no matter what he does, it won't fucking matter. The status quo will be maintained as it always has with a company like DC comics.
|Posted on February 17, 2013 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
I only got around to reading three comics this week. They're listed in order that I liked the least.
By Glenn Brunswick & Whilce Portacio
Oh god this was bad. I'm undecided on which was worse; the art or the story? Now I have not read a Whilce Portacio comic since I was a teenager, very early 90's, and I was never a fan of his work in the first place, but my god the art in this comic is atrocious. Now I am wondering if he was always this bad or is he on his last days as an artist and just churning out this stuff because it's all he can do? Not only was the art bad, but the storytelling, the panel to panel progressions were awful. The panel to panel progression of the comic book medium is possibly the most important asthetic to making comics and if you do it badly it will stand out like a sore thumb. If a new artist makes these kinds of mistakes, they can be forgiven, as a critic you point it out to them and hope they improve on that aspect. But when an artist who's been working in the comics medium for over 20 years is making these kinds of mistakes, it's unforgiveable.
Then the story, oh geezus, I must assume that Image decided to publish this merely on the fact that Portacio was an Image founder, because this story is so stupid and ridiculous that I doubt any other publisher woulda touched this with a 50 ft. pole. Unless you were playing this kinda story for laughs and maybe a little satire which this comic is not. What we get is a darkly serious crime drama which portrays the core story concepts stupidity blatantly in your face.
Here is the concept - Astronauts find a human like bone on Mars, take it back to earth. Unbeknownst to them a strange virus is attached to the bone and it spreads through the air affecting only children. Except the kids don't suffer any ill effects, what happens is the virus enables the kids to give life to their childhood toys and whether that particular kid has a hidden dark side to them or not, the new toys now with life end up either good or bad. And the main characters of this story are cops who hunt down a lot of bad murdering toys. With some humor, this might not have been a bad thing, but as it is...ugh.
So thank you Glenn Brunswick for advancing the comic book field immensely and setting the art of storytelling on fire! Someday in the future dear readers you will see this comic in the 50 cent comic book bins of your local comic shop and I recommend that you still not buy this atrocious comic book.
PETER PANZERFAUST #9
By Kurtis Wiebe and Tyler Jenkins
I've read a lot of hype about this comic from various internet sources and finally got around to picking up an issue. After reading, I'm not sure what this particular story is supposed to mean in the greater tapestry of the ongoing story, but I was definitely not impressed. This takes place in France during the German occupation of WWII, and I'm assuming our main character is the guy held captive and interviewed by the evil German looking guy with the hook hand. Unfortunately I have no idea what the overall story is, why Peter is important to the story, if the guy with the hook hand is the villian of the story, or why I'm reading this comic in the first place.
Personally I love jumping into the middle of a storyline when it comes to comics to test the waters. If I'm not entertained by any one individual story, I'm very likely to just forget about ever picking this comic up again. Many times I'm enthralled by whatever is going on, but many more times I'm disappointed and sad that I wasted money on yet another boring ass comic. Comics are not cheap anymore. That three or four dollars could have gotten me a four pack of Pabst tall boys instead. Or I could have taken a chance on another comic and possibly gotten something more entertaining.
Someday in the future when I open my own comic shop maybe I will have a return policy on comics. Or rent them out for a price so a person is not stuck with a shitty comic for the rest of their OCD comic collecting lives. Or install preview hologram videos for every comic I have on my rack. That way you can press a button and watch a preview of the comic you were thinking of buying, and if you decide it sucks, you can move on to the next one. I woulda liked any of those options before buying this comic.
DEMON KNIGHTS #17
By DC Comics
This is totally silly stuff, but it's not un-entertaining. The art by Bernard Chang is pretty good and the story by Robert Venditti is solid stuff, but nothing more than your typical comic book story in its construction. Our three heroes (some chick from Wonder Womans land, The Shining Knight and Horsewoman, which is a hell of a moniker) battle Vandal Savage for Jason Blood's life. Jason Blood as most of us know is also the demon Etrigan, but in this story Jason is unable to say the magic words to turn himself into Etrigan and save the day. There's some battles, some vampires, and other stuff to the story, but you'll have to read it to get the whole ridiculousness of it.
But all in all it read well. It never got too corny, though it tried to do so on many occasions, and the pace of the story is fast and furious which aids the digestability of a story as superfluous as this.
|Posted on February 10, 2013 at 5:45 AM||comments (0)|
The Best of the Week:
by Rafael Rosado & Jorge Aguirre
This was a 2012 release from First Second books who are rapidly becoming the best publisher of all ages material. And it's quality all ages stuff or at least really good looking easy to digest high art kind of stuff. Not that crap that Marvel and DC peddle under the label of "all-ages" material. GIANTS BEWARE! is about a tough little girl who drags her younger brother and best friend on a journey to kill the giant who lives in the mountain near the town. The characters are quirky and unique and the story is in the journey to find the legendary giant who as it turns out isn't quite as the legends describe.
The art by Jorge Aguirre is superb! Cartoony, loose, but a linework full of energy. Overall an excellently illustrated book and definitely the highlight of this story. The humor in the story is pleasant and mirthful enough for the younger audiences, but there is a lot of depth to it. The characters really shine and catch your imagination. I really enjoyed this book and will look for more comics from this pair of creators.
The Worst of the Week:
BEFORE WATCHMEN: DOLLAR BILL #1
By Len Wein & Steve Rude
Oh geezus this was bad. I'm a longtime fan of Steve Rude and yeah I notice his art isn't quite what it used to be, but I will forgive him this book only because I've been following his Facebook page long enough to realize he's had money problems of late. But the story by Len Wein is absolute garbage. How did this get approved? He had Dollar Bill narrating this comic from beyond the grave for no apparant reason!? Bad lazy writing. When these Before Watchmen books were announced I really thought they would tarnish the legacy of the actual original Watchmen comics, but now I know they won't because the shit that's called Before Watchmen is such a forgettable travesty.
It's exactly like the bad sequel made to a good movie only for the reason to make more money (Hangover 2, Next Friday, Beverly Hills Cop 2, you know what I'm talking about). I've never wished ill on a comic creator before, but Len Wein needs to go. Just stop, dude. Go far away. Take your shitty comics and your shitty computer and write comics for yourself, because this Dollar Bill shit is just awful.
The Rest of the Bunch:
By Justin Jordan & Patrick Zircher
Ok, if you can get past that intro page detailing the hokey beginnings of this comic and character you will find a pretty good mystical superhero comic. I knew nothing about any of the previous issues in this series, nor did I know anything about any of the previous Shadowman series, so this was all new to me. And so surprisingly I found this comic very entertaining. I was figuring the opposite at upon first picking this up, but I have a soft spot for superhero comics that feature dark or mystical characters (ala The Spectre, Phantom Stranger, John Constantine, etc.) and gave this a try. I'm glad I did, I will probably actually pick up the next issue to see what happens next.
The crux of the story is that the main character is a somewhat reluctant superhero, donning the generational mantle of the Shadowman moniker and powers. The Shadowman in this issue is dealing with an ugly demon trying to bring over his even more evil boss, Master Darque, from "The Deadside" (whatever that is) and who looks a bit like something Clive Barker would create. Anyway, Shadowman defeats the evil demon and prevents Master Darque from coming to Earth, and saves his two friends in the meanwhile.
Yeah it sounds like simple superhero plot stuff and it is, but it's well written, the characters are lively and if you don't obsess over the hokey-ness of the main characters goofy costume or his background, it's a pleasant enough book. This is better than 95% of the stuff DC comics is publishing right now, so that should be enough of an endorsement right there.
Plus the art by Patrick Zircher is good superhero stuff. It's solid stuff and he displays a range of line work that is both dark and elegant. His backgrounds are really nice too. How many comic book artists can you say that about? While the coloring was nice, it's that kind of coloring that makes things look a little too digital if you know what I mean. There were too many flares and digital color blurs for my taste, but overall the color tones were fitting to the artwork.
If you are fed up with superhero comics from Marvel and DC, I would recommend giving this book a try.
ANIMAL MAN #17
This is Rotworld Finale pt. 1 whatever that is. It's obvious I'm jumping into the middle of some long arcing storyline, yet this is labeled part one of something called Rotworld. Hmm, nonetheless I am completely lost in this story as it's a bunch of characters fighting a bunch of bad guys, monsters and warped versions of well known superheroes. I love Steve Pugh's art, always have, but his super job here does nothing to dispel my confusion as to what I'm reading. This was overall really boring and this was definitely not a good issue to jump aboard. What's the deal with almost all of DC's current books ignoring the time honored rule, that every issue could be someone's first?
Are they writing strictly for the trade paperback audience now? I want to read more comics with Steve Pugh's art, but I don't think I could handle another Animal Man comic to do so.
SWAMP THING #17
Ok, so onto Rotworld Finale pt. 2 or Swamp Thing/Animal Man Team-Up. Again I have no real idea what is going on. Anton Arcane is yet again the bad guy in a Swamp Thing story, what suspense that is by now, right? Arcane is in control of Rotworld, some all decaying place and A-Man and S-Thing have to stop him to save the world or something, I don't know. Again this was exactly on par with the same boring that Animal Man #17 delivered. Supposedly Scott Snyder wrote some of this, which I find hard to believe, because I love his American Vampire comic and can't believe someone as good as Snyder is part of something as boring as this. I guess he is though, his name's on it.
I guess there will be a part 3-5 or something to this, but I certainly won't be there. I can't believe I just wasted 20 minutes reading this and the Animal Man part of this. Although artist Andrew Belanger is quite a find. What else has this guy done? He's quite amazing. He's certainly the most cartoony artist I've ever seen drawing Swamp Thing before. I wish he was doing a book I could enjoy, because I will avoid all future issues of this series like the plague.
|Posted on February 3, 2013 at 7:05 AM||comments (0)|
The Best of the Week:)
There are two entries for this category this week. Yay.
WHY DO YOU CRY WHEN I'M ON TOP?
By Sam Saturday
Published by Northwest Press
This is a re-release of a 2008 collection, but now available in a bigger version as a digital download. This is my first time reading this book and honestly this is really funny! Raw and raunchy as hell. The artwork is putrid in all honesty, but goddamn the characters and the jokes are outstanding. Holy shit, I loved this, from beginning to end. There's really no proper way for me to describe this, so just check out these two strips for a better explanation.
It's available now from Northwest Press, get this shit!
Published by Tokyopop
This came out in 2008 or near Tokyopop's last days as a publisher. In Tokyopop's vain attempts to stay afloat they tried to branch out from the weak and derivative manga it had made it's name on and they started publishing non-manga books. I think they only published a handful of non-manga before they crashed and burned, but I am pretty sure this book got passed over pretty quick by critics and audiences upon it's release. I don't remember hearing a thing about this, but maybe I just missed it. SHUTTER ISLAND is an adaptation of a book by Dennis Lehane originally released in 2003. I never read it. There was a movie adaptation of it with Leo DiCaprio too, but I never heard of it. But this graphic novel blew my mind! Holy shit, this was some screwy fucking with your mind kind of shit! Even till the better end I was in denial about the main character just as he was. Fuck, I read this book in one sitting because I could not put it down. It's intense and the artist's work on this is darkly masterful. The dark, depressed tones and large blurry blacks of the art really punctuate the shifting and swirling mystery of the story.
The main plot is this - Two federal Marshall's come to investigate the disappearance of a woman from a mental institution on a remote isolated island, but nothing is really what it appears to be. Literally. Who is the missing girl, and what's up with the codes she's left behind? Why are all the doctors so creepy and what's the connection between the Marshall's and the inmates on the island?
I'd like to spoil the story for you because I doubt anyone will go out and actually get this, but I won't because the multiple twists and turns are what makes this story so good. If you know them beforehand, especially the biggest one, this story might not land as emphatically as it does. Read this book!
The Worst of the Week:(
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #16
By DC Comics
As an avid comics reader since I was a child, the worst thing about getting a stack of comics was reading a really bad comic after just finishing a really good one. This comic out and out sucked. DC comics have got to be publishing some of the worst garbage as an entirety in the whole of their existence right now. This comic is bad. It's fan-fiction narrated by a comic nerd who has some sense of writing ability focused through the lens of an editorial office that can't stop sucking its own cock. Jeff Lemire, once upon a time, wrote a halfway decent indie comic, it won awards and notoriety for him, but I can't remember the name of it anymore because of the garbage he is writing for DC comics. I realize he's probably doing his best, but this comic has that feel of a dude loving the chance to write for a company who published his favorite comics as a kid and is loving the paycheck despite the constant pressure put on by an editorial office that has about as much entertaining talent as my big left toe.
I almost feel bad for Lemire, but then I think, he's probably making enough money sucking Dan Didio and Jim Lee's cocks to pay for a really nice car and health insurance, so I cut him a break. The art and coloring are decent. The coloring is a bit over the top, but it's still good adding to the artists overall well done work. But working on a comic like this has got to be hard for an artist. On paper there's some interesting characters in here. Each of these characters has a hefty imaginitive backstory and world to them. So why is Lemire and DC comics churning out some crap about magic vs. science yet again? After 60 years of comic publishing you can't come up with a better plot than that?
Ah well, you would do well to give this comic a pass.
The Rest of the Bunch:/
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: ORIGIN OF HE-MAN
By Josh Hale Fialkov & Ben Oliver
If this was published in 1985, this might be the shit, but in 2013 it's the opposite. Artist Ben Oliver does a decent job considering the subject matter, I will give him that. He's obviously a talented guy and I hope to see him do some more work on something more worthy of his skills. But this story while it tried it's hardest to add depth to a story about toys from the 1980's, just comes off as weak and corny.
I reviewed the Skeletor origin story published some weeks back and that one was awful, but it was still better than this. At least Skeletor had some weird deal with demons plot thing going, which was just slightly interesting, but here in He-Man's origin story we get the same schlock we were told on those old He-Man cartoons, just with better artwork and a super-imposed sense of weighty adult melo-drama. Prince Adam lucks into his bloodline, gets a cool Power Sword and becomes a gay fetish barbarian. That's it, absolutely nothing more to it.
If anyone actually thought this would appeal to a new younger crowd or something, they would be wrong. The only people reading this comic are bitter old 30 something's like myself. I didn't pay for this comic, but if you are thinking of spending yours on this my advice is don't, save it and put it towards a decent health insurance plan instead.
THE SIXTH GUN vols. 1 & 2
By Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt
It took me awhile to check this series out after hearing how good it was since almost the time it begun. I blame it on the fact that I couldn't imagine a guy with the name of Cullen Bunn being any good. Plus he was writing some lame superhero books at Marvel and/or DC at the same time and I gave it the big el passo for years. Even still the one or two previews I have seen online didn't exactly titilate my interest none either. As it turns out it was my loss, kinda. I ended up finding these first two trades for a damn bargain and gave them a read over the course of a week.
All said and done these were not half bad. I wouldn't call them great as they were pretty soft in some respects. Definitely geared towards a wider audience and aimed toward appealing to movie and tv show makers. It's got a lot of that "Hey movie and TV guys, look at us!" markers, and well it paid off as last I heard it was picked up by some movie or tv show making company. I mean the concept is a great idea, if this was in the hands of say Mignola or Gaiman or somebody who knows all about writing about darkness, this shit would be super hot. Unfortunately Cullen Bunn gives us the evil real soft like. I guess that's why I can see The Sixth Gun being a more mass audience appealing thing, you don't want to freak out the normals and all that.
Anyone not heard of the plot here it is - There are six evil guns, whoever gets them all together can destroy and/or remake the world in their image. Recently the five of the six guns were in really evil guy hands and they were fucking shit up. Now, our two heroes, a guy and girl have all six guns and are trying to find out how to rid the world of them all together. But these guns attract all sorts of evil characters and shit keeps getting fucked up.
It's all a little more ornate than that, and really Cullen Bunn is delivering a solidly paced story. While it's never blown my doors off at any moment, it's never gotten boring. While the main characters are appealing, Bunn's let us know right away that they're not squeaky clean, that they're tarnished and that's a little refreshing. I will definitely read more when I can get ahold of the next collection.
|Posted on January 31, 2013 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
I ask because my kid doesn't like comics anywhere near as much as me, I am now realizing. I think the only reason he even looks at them the little bit that he does is because I am constantly reading them and having them around. Yes he is only 8, but he's an excellent reader and very smart, loves superheroes, Star Wars and all the common comic book favorites, but he has very little interest in reading comics no matter how hard I try to pass my love of them onto him. He'll read books like Darth Vader and Son or Monkey vs. Robot or Johnny Boo and well he did love those Captain Underpants & Super Diaper Baby books, which I too admit were freaking great. And maybe he'll glance through a Star Wars or Batman comic too from time to time, but that's about it.
I should probably just give it up. Any father's out there trying to pass their love of comics onto their sons and daughters? I'd love to hear some stories?
Or does it just take time for the love to naturally develop? Though I want to blame it on video games, fucking things are addictive for kids (and adults).
|Posted on January 27, 2013 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
No "Best of..." or "Worst of..." this week because I recently watched Jamie Kennedy's 2007 documentary "HECKLER" wherein he rails about critics and wonders why they exist. It focused largely on critics of movies and particularly of Jamie Kennedy's career, but it still touched a nerve. It made me question and regret a little my reasons for wanting to be a comics critic.
I admit I started critiquing comics for many of the negative reasons Kennedy talks about in his movie - attention, money, having nothing better to do, etc. There were some altruistic motives too in my decision to become a critic, but when you indulge in a landfall of sludge you become jaded pretty quickly. The gems in that sludge are actually so hard to find after awhile, that even when the good stuff gets into your hands, you might tend not to notice. I recommend any critics of anything to watch this movie. Seriously.
I wanted to critique comics because I thought my opinion about a medium which I feel strongly about could make a difference in what people are reading. Do I have the right to tell people what to read and not read? Maybe not, but if in the end I saved some people a couple bucks instead of them wasting it on yet another horrible comic destined for the landfill, I would be happy. Yet I never considered the idea that I could be hurting the feelings of the people involved with the creation of whatever comic. I figured horrible critiques came with the territory and once your published a thick skin comes with it. Now I'm thinking that's not exactly true.
Being an unsuccessful artist in my own right, maybe I should consider that I'm criticizing from a place of jealousy, bashing these writers and artists because they are more successful than myself? I have done a few small indie comics before and am currently being paid money to create more small time indie comics, so maybe I should be a little more careful about what I say about other people's comics, right? Maybe, but from a personal viewpoint, I love critiques and bad reviews have never bothered me. Making comics is just something I am driven to do. Sure I would like to be better and make more money doing it, but I've been doing this since I was 5 fucking years old and will do it till I can no longer hold a pen or pencil in my hand. No bad critique will stop me from doing so. I am doing the best I can and I'm sorry I didn't make everyone happy, but oh well. If anything it will make me try even harder the next time. I understand that I can not please everyone and the sooner a creative type gets over that idea, the better.
So while I am honestly not critiquing mainly out of jealosy, I will admit to critiquing without thinking about whether I am hurting someones feelings or not. The thing of it is, that you are putting your work and yourself out into the general domain, for anyone and everyone to see. Therefore you are going to get a response, sometimes good, sometimes not. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is critical of everyone else. If any of these artists or writers say that they have never been critical of another artist or writer they are full of shit. We all like what we like, and don't like what we don't like.
A critic is a self-assumed role no doubt, especially in this age of blogging and internet supremacy where everyone is a critic. But what makes a successful critic? Every website or online video site has a hit count, so every critic knows how many people are reading their material. The critic has to be entertaining in some way to pull in an audience, which is what they want. They want to be paid attention to, just like the artist or writer does when they make their comic or whatever. But in so doing the critic then sets him or herself up for critique or ridicule because now they have put themselves out there just like the people they are critiquing.
While it's impossible to feel sorry for a critic, I understand that a critic must take responsibility for his words and it would behoove him or her to understand the consequences of their words. In that vein I will do my best to objectively critique a comic I personally worked on that was published by Arcana Comics back in 2011. I do this in recompense for any of my previous critical bashing and show anyone who was hurt by my critiques that I realize I am shit. The comic I did for Arcana Comics was so under marketed that it never actually got any kind of critique as far as I could tell. From what I heard it maybe sold around 150 copies all told. That's a pretty shitty sales report for anyone. You can actually find this comic on Ebay from some comic sellers for a fraction of it's cover price, sad to say. Anyway here we go...
THE TRUMAN VIRUS
By Eliot Witters and Paul D Houston
Published by Arcana Comics
Another comic about Zombies. A scientist invents a serum to cure cancer, except he doesn't. The whole world is given an innoculation to fight cancer then that serum backfires and actually turns everyone into zombies. Except for a couple people. Alright not a bad premise. It was interesting enough for a low level comic company to buy it. Main character Zelophead, immune to the virus and a couple immune kids try to find Dr. Truman who supposedly also has a cure for the zombie affliction. They search all over America for it attacked by random zombie hordes until one of the kids gets infected and the search for the cure proceeds at a hasty pace. They find the cure and then the story just ends. Terrible ending, and how the writer didn't realize this is anyone's guess. The fact that the publisher let this story end like that reveals a little bit about the company itself. Did they even read the script? Was this just published to capitalize on the zombie trend that kinda swept through the industry?
This was largely a poorly executed comic, the story meanders around, it's a zombie book except there's very few zombies actually doing anything important in the story. The main characters are decidedly wooden, with very little depth to them and while the main crux of the story revolves around saving themselves and possibly the world, it's hard to actually care. And the art, while at times interesting is largely mediocre to poor. The coloring is inconsistent, going from bright and gaudy to dark and muddy never settling on a consistent tone.
While I would like to excuse the poor execution on this to the creators being just young creative individuals new at the game, I can't because this was just a hard book to finish.
The Rest of the Bunch:
By Jonathan Hickman & Jerome Opena
This comic and the new Thor comic are possibly the two saddest comics in the world right now. I say this because they are underperforming storywise with two of the most talented artists in modern comic times on board. Jerome Opena is doing a hell of a job on this comic, except it's in service to something just barely interesting. Largely it's just really corny with a few good plot bits thrown in. A line at the end of the comic by Captain America sums all the corniness of this comic up for me...
I realize in a Marvel or DC comic that these comics aren't written by just the writer anymore, as the editor or editors have a huge hand in what actually appears in print, but the ability to spread the blame around rather than on just one person makes this even more of a mess. I really do hope Jerome Opena is getting paid well for this, because in the end this story wasn't worth his time.
So by this third issue it's become obvious what this new launch is meant for. It's a resetting of continuity to align with the Marvel movie universe and set up the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie. At least it appears that way to me. Or Hickman is trying to turn the Avengers into a Green Lantern Corps type of concept, with his "...the Avengers have to get bigger" concept. Yeah, Captain America or Iron Man says that in the comic. Either way, bleh. I will give it up to Hickman for ending this three issue story a little bit differently than what I had predicted. Instead of the usual good guys defeating bad guys scenario, the bad guys end up becoming allies more or less and are charged by Iron Man and Captain America to go nuts on Mars. Seriously, they give two people who just tried to destroy Earth and all its people free reign on Mars, to mold it and make it into anything they desire. As long as they stay off Earth, y'know it's cool with the Avengers.
But I will also give it up to Hickman for finally making the Captain Universe character interesting. So now that Captain Universe is a member of the Avengers and wields ultimate power as displayed in this issue, what can't the Avengers do?
BLUE BEETLE #16
By DC Comics
This wasn't too bad. While the story was nothing significant and all together boringly straight forward, the artwork was pretty good. This being my first time reading this comic I only kinda understand why it's being cancelled after this issue. It's better than Aquaman, but Aquaman has their star writer attached to it, so to DC that's off limits. While this comic has a new(ish) character played by a Latino young man and written by one of the boringest writers in the biz, Tony Bedard, it's an easier target. So while there is potential with the character and drawn by an up and coming artist like Marcio Takara this book had no chance in the long run. They should be thankful they got 16 issues outta this.
TUNE Book One
By Derek Kirk Kim
Tune is actually an ongoing webcomic, but the beginning of the story is now collected into this nice handy little book by First Second Publishing. I enjoy the webcomic, but a collected version is a very welcome thing to me. I am a long time Derek Kirk Kim fan and have loved every single comic he has ever done and Tune so far is no exception. While Tune is not my favorite book by Derek, it's still entertaining nonetheless. While I will always consider his outstanding artwork as what really draws me into his books, his quirky stories are not far behind.
Tune is about a down on his luck art student who chances into the weirdest job opportunity of all time, being part of a human zoo for some aliens in another dimension. Derek Kirk Kim has a great knack for being able to show real human emotion while at the same time adding in the great aspects of fantasy which comic books are able to do. On the one hand, we can relate to the main characters ordeals of being a college drop out and pining for the love of a female friend, or at least I can, but then Kirk Kim throws in a couple aliens on top of the very real world scenario of loserdom and forelorn love and we've got this goofy addictive little story.
If you've never read a Derek Kirk Kim book before, I recommend just going online to read the Tune webcomic, then check out his other books which might even be available at your local library as Derek tends to make most of his work all ages friendly.
By Jeff Smith
Ok, I just finished the last volume of this comic and while overall it was nothing extremely significant (in comparison to his previous Bone work) this was a really interesting read. I read this in those large trade paperback collected versions, which saved me a little bit of money rather than in single issue form, which for comics like this I think is a better idea as the seperate chapters read so much better like this.
I've always had a fondness for Nikola Tesla and his experiments and ideas, but Jeff Smith took his appreciation for the man to a whole nother level by intricately incorporating him and his bizarre ideas into this comic story. The last issue itself was almost a historical breakdown of Tesla and his work and very nearly veered off completely from the main story. The main character of Rasl, who looks a lot like Jeff Smith himself is nowhere near as endearing as any of the Bone characters, I think that is safe to say. The main plot of universes merging because of Nikola Tesla technology falling into the wrong hands is total comic book material, but Smith makes it almost plausible in his entertaining storytelling manuevers. If we had paid more attention to Tesla would all or any of this story really been possible? That's kinda what Smith is saying with this comic, that we ignored the one man who coulda possibly changed this world and universe for the better in a myriad of ways. Then again if what is rumored about Tesla and his theories ever did see the light of day, it's possible that what did ultimately happen with Tesla is the better outcome. Power and energy on the scales of what Tesla predicted and conceived falling into the wrong hands could spell doom for a great many people. As it is, now we will never know and Tesla and his work will remain one of the great mysteries of human history.
One of the things which really bugged me about this comic was never getting an explanation for the main bad guys lizard like facial appearance? It always bugged me why a guy as ugly as that wasn't drawing as much attention from his supposed allies in the government? Or did I just forget if that was ever explained. Also the mention that the fucked up little girl possibly being God itself, while very Twin Peaks like, was just thrown out there and passed over so randomly, that I wish Smith woulda explored that a bit more. Ah well. All in all as I prefer Smith's previous work, RASL (or Romance At the Speed of Light) was a thoroughly entertaining work.
|Posted on January 20, 2013 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
The Best of the Week:
THE NAO OF BROWN
By Glynn Dillon
Published by Self-Made Hero
This came out in Ocotber of 2012, but I just got ahold of it. I picked this book up on a fluke, thinking it was by Box Brown's new indy company. I flipped through the pages and saw the beautiful art and figured with art like this and published by Box Brown, it's gonna be good. But when I finally sat down to give it a thorough look I quickly realized this was something else. Nonetheless I am glad I picked this up as it was simply amazing. The most perfect comic I have read since Asterios Polyp by David Mazzuchelli. The main character was likeable, but tragic. The art was gorgeous, not a single flaw in any of the panels. Every line, color and tone was right where it needed to be. And the narrative was fluid, impactful and wouldn't let go of me.
This book mixes a heady dose of transcient buddhist philosophies with the very real and sometimes tragic affliction known as OCD. I know at least one person with OCD and I will never look at them the same way again after reading this. The main character of this comic is Nao Brown, a beautiful young girl who struggles every moment of her life with her obsessive compulsions. We are brought into her life, work and lovelife and told a tale so real I kinda think it might be based on a real person. I could be wrong, but the main character became as real as any fictional character could ever be. But because the character was struggling so much with her affliction I kept waiting for the tragic climax, cause you knew it was coming. Eventually Nao meets a man whom she both helps and whom helps her. And then the idea of this story having to end tragicically disappears.
Though I didn't completely like the ending. We got a jump forward in time and then a very vague wrap up of where the main character is at this point in time and how she is mentally. I felt a little cheated after reading this entirely engrossing story about this person to have the story end this way. But despite that lukewarm ending, I completely loved this book.
The Worst of the Week:
I didn't read a single awful comic this week. Hurray!
The Rest of the Bunch:
TODD: THE UGLIEST KID ON EARTH #1
By Ken Kristianson & MK Perker
This is some goofy shit right here. A title like this is a definite must buy for me. And who knew MK Pekar could do this kind of dark goofy exaggerated cartoony art? I read AIR the comic published by Vertigo comics some years back that he collaborated on and his art was well not so good on that, but on this comic he does an absolutely amazing job. Highly detailed, tons of shadowy black nuance and perfectly rendered hand coloring make this an eye popping book.
Poor Todd, bag always on his head cause he's so ugly, yet he carries with him a constant upbeat naive attitude towards life. Gotta admire the silly innocence in this character. He's kinda like a retarded Charlie Brown. He's the perfect character foil for a lot of weird shit to happen to and around him though and that's exactly what happens in this first issue. I really enjoyed this odd dark comedy. This is good comics right here. Now the ending was a bit weak, as it seemed to just drift off in to it's "to be continued" ending, but it wasn't bad enough to spoil a very good reading experience. Highly recommended.
EX SANGUINE #4
From Dark Horse Comics
This is an interesting looking comic. Good art, excellent coloring and what I think by the end will be a very interesting story. Yet coming in cold at issue 4 left me heavily confused. I'm not at all sure what is going on nor who's doing what to whom. This is another attempt at diversifying the Vampire genre which is all well and good. The usual fare is worn out, and the cheesy romantic vampire stories are going that way too. EX SANGUINE is trying to bring back the horror to vampires and from what I can tell from this issue, they're doing a good job at it. Except that part where I don't know what means what.
The main vampire characters are being hunted by the cops, I think. The vampire guys are killing people they know because of some book, I think. And some really hot blonde chick is a serial killer, but is trying her best to befriend one of the vampires, I think. I could be wrong on all those points, but that's the general sense I got after reading just this one issue. Even though I was lost story wise, this was still a pretty good read.
All in all if I can get ahold of the collected version once this story is all told I am sure I will get a well told story about a new twist on vampire horror.
INTO THE VOLCANO
By Don Wood
This came out in 2008, but I picked it up just recently on a fluke from my local library. I actually almost didn't read this and was about to take it back because it's due date arrived, but I didn't make it to the library that day and so it sat on my table. Then the next day knowing I had to take it back I flipped through it really quick to see if it was really worth reading and it caught me. I couldn't stop reading it. This was one of those surprisingly good books. The cover doesn't look like much, the interior art is even a bit spotty, but the overally story was a joy to read.
It's by Don Wood, who I guess made his money doing kids book and this is one of his only foray's into the graphic novel format. It's about a family who go to a fictional island to study volcano's. Or so everyone thinks. Actually what happens is our two main characters, Duffy and Sumo are used as bait to lure their mother, a renowned volcanologist into revealing her secret treasure. It's a fast paced action-action-action sort of tale. So there's no lulls to let you get bored.
This is published by Scholastic Books and would be perfect for kids and adults to read. Highly recommended.
By Ryan Inzana
This too was a library find and at first I thought it would be the life story of renowned baseball player Ichiro Suzuki. But it wasn't and was really about a young Japanese/American boy who discovers ancient Japanese gods down a hole in his grandfathers yard in Japan. The story is a beautiful tale about ancient Japanese culture and it's wide array of myths and legends. Our young main character is swept up into godly intrigue and he must do everything he can to escape back to the real world. It's a wonderfully fun breezy tale with fascinating artwork. Ryan Inzana's brush work is awesome. From loose sketchy almost caligraphic brush strokes to tight flourishing lines that rip through the page, showcase an amazing talent I had not heard of till this book.
Originally debuting in 2012 from Houghton Mifflin, ICHIRO is a book I recommend searching for. I will be on the lookout for future work from Ryan Inzana for sure.
CAPTAIN MARVEL #9
By Marvel Comics
Now this was a surprise. From the uncharacteristically for recent Marvel art by Filipe Andrade to a better than average superhero story. Dare I say, this is the type of comic I could see girls reading? From the lack of super-machismo to the strong female characters to the witty playful story this is pretty advanced stuff for the usual superhero fare. I think I will actually read more of this comic on the basis of my experience with this issue.
The one thing that has always bothered me about superhero comics and their base of operations in NYC is brought up large in this story where Captain Marvel and Spider Woman fight a couple of dinosaurs. If you were living in NYC or any city and everyday you lived under the threat of superheroes possibly fighting very real and large dinosaurs, why would you live in that city? So I ask why is NYC of the Marvel universe not a ghost city? Also the huge story error of never explaining where these dino's came from or how they got there was a bit weird. I guess I do realize this is the Marvel Universe where anything can happen, but not ever giving even a weak explanation on why they were there is odd. What's the editor doing? Not checking the story, I guess. Plus the issue ends with Captain Marvel's doctor telling her she's got a tumor in her brain, which I get is trying to ground her, but you know it lacks any kind of punch considering that Dinosaurs just up and appeared out of nowhere without any kind of explanation a couple pages ago, so why would I believe this will have any kind of relevance to a being billed as one of the most powerful beings in the universe (it actually says that on the introductory page).
Anyway, I hope when it comes to superhero books we get more of this type than say the latest Iron Man or Firestorm or Aquaman comic. Cause that shit sucks and this comic didn't. It wasn't great, but it surprisingly didn't suck.
HIGH WAYS #1
By John Byrne and IDW Comics
Even though the title is awful because it doesn't involve marijuana or getting high in any way on anything as most would assume by reading that cheesy title, this wasn't a bad comic. Why he chose this tile other than some other sci-fi esque title is beyond me, I give it up to the fact he's old and un-hip, I don't know.
John Byrne gives us a relatively decent sci-fi comic about three bulk haulers travelling to the moon Europa to pick up some cargo, except they don't because it's a ploy. That's the mystery, who called them to Europa to pick up some shit that ain't there? Now they're stranded there for a few days till they can refuel. You know in those few days some shit is gonna happen. That's obvious, but I guess the enjoyment is in the ride to see how bad it's gonna get. This actually reads like a demo-script for a pitch to Hollywood. Which isn't necessarily a bad idea considering that John Byrne is way past his prime, could probably use the money to retire on and would be a good ending to a long career if he were to finally get one of his comics made into a movie.
Byrne's art on this is actually not bad considering who he is and where he is in his career. The linework is actually a lot thicker and lush than anything I remember Byrne doing. While the lettering and logo work is awful, the coloring on this is top of the line and helps make this a decent book. I was expecting something much worse honestly considering I haven't read a John Byrne book in about a decade or so. But I imagine if Byrne can pull in 5000-10000 units sold on this book IDW will be happy.
So while I thought this was a decent book overall the last page or particularly one of the last panels kinda freaked me out. Check it...
Yeah that panel where he's put his dick and ass in something. Now he had just finished having sex with some girl and Byrne proceeded to show this panel. I am not entirely sure he's using the toilet. I don't think I ever smile like that when I'm using the toilet. Now if I were getting masturbated by some space machine I would probably smile like this. But this guy had just finished having actual sex, soo...well then he goes back to bed and sees some scarry dude outside his window - end of story.
So yeah, what to make of that ending and that panel in particular I don't know, but looking beyond that anachronism this was a good book overall, I guess. Unfortunately I'm probably going to forever think of that panel in regards to John Byrne's career from here on out. How could I not?
|Posted on January 18, 2013 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 released by IDW comics in November of last year outsold a number of well known comic book properties in that month.
Here's the somewhat official sales numbers for My Little Pony #1 gathered from ICv2.com's monthly sales charts.
My Little Pony (IDW)
11/2012: - My Little Pony #1 - 80,128
That's 80,128 copies sold to comic shops all over North America!
It beat handidly such well known comic book titles such as...
11/2012: The Walking Dead #104 - 57,456
11/2012: Spawn #225 - 26,872
11/12 Deadpool v4 #2 - 67,421
11/12 Iron Man v6 #2 - 72,902
11/12 Thor v5 #2 - 65,533
11/2012: Wonder Woman #14 -- 42,384
11/2012: Flash #14 -- 48,012
11/2012: Superman #14 -- 52,572
11/2012: Action Comics #14 -- 64,341
Plus there's a second and third printing coming from IDW soon too. Amazing. Now I want to know who is actually buying these 80,000 copies? Dad's for their little girls? Perverts? Who?!