New reviews post on Sunday's.
All posts by Paul D Houston - Contact: email@example.com
|Posted on November 10, 2013 at 7:35 AM||comments (0)|
Out With the Old... In With the Even Older
Hinterkind #'s 1 & 2
By Ian Edginton, Francesco Trifogli & others
The human world lays destroyed and overcome by Mother Nature. The Sidhe (or Fairy kind) have popped back up along with a bunch of other nasty, once mythical creatures and human kind is nearly extinct. Our two main characters are teenagers and some of the last humans alive and they've gone away from their sanctuary of an overgrown Manhattan island to see what else is out there in the big bad world. It's an interesting concept, full of doom, gloom and fantasy.
As a concept, these two issues are executed pretty damn good too. Characterization is great, the slow roll out of this scary new world and all it's terribly and fantastic creatures is involving and captivating. And most terrifying is that in this new world humans are a culinary delicacy which really sends shivers up this readers spine. Because if you think about it, as humans we eat the carcass of almost every other living thing that we are superior too, if there were creatures superior to us and running the world, it's a fact of life we would enter the food chain.
So the story is plenty interesting enough and the art by Francesco Trifogli is pretty good too. It's nothing terribly outstanding, but it's a style quite adept at displaying these kinds of fantastic scenario's. The only thing that bothers me is the coloring. The colorist keeps experimenting with some sort of lighting effect, where really it looks like he or she is scratching lines of light onto the figures for no apparent reason. It's distracting.
Otherwise, this is an interesting new series, which I will definitely be reading more of.
Some Kind of Weird
Amazing Forest #1
Published by Monkeybrain Comics
This is an anthology of 4 tales. The title is an odd one considering it is not a unifying theme title or anything of the sort. The only unifying thing about this comic is that all 4 tales are written by Erick Frietas & Ulises Farinas. I enjoyed this comic book because all 4 tales were of a high quality weirdness. The first tale about alien slime monsters come to earth enslaving and destroying humans with art by Julien DuFour has a nice hook to it and DuFour's art is really well done. Story two about werewolves also has a nice hook to it and borders on the creepy. The art by Matt Rota is expressive and beautiful. The third story about a future world of humans and robots intermingling in creepy robot suits and the longing of one of these "soldiers" wife is catchy. The art by Melody Often is colorful and nice. The final story about a birdwatcher and the very odd owl he spots is pyschologically twisted and very well done and features the odd art of Yumi Sakugawa.
I don't know how well an odd book like this will do in the marketplace, but it's worth a read.
This Should Be Big
Amelia Cole and the Hidden War #5
By Adam P. Knave, DJ Kirkbride, Nick Brokenshire & others
I've been reading a lot of Monkeybrain published comics of late. I guess because they're cheap (99 cents most of the time), digital and plentiful. This particular comic "Amelia Cole and the Hidden War" was a pleasant surpise. It's a short little all-ages comic, nothing too simple though, but still done in that all-ages safe zone way. Amelia Cole is a protector mage who tackles, crime, demons and evil that run rampant in her city. She's a cross between a cop and a superhero. The world of Amelia Cole is modern America, just with magic and myth in control. It's actually a very easy, fun concept and makes me wonder why this particular series hasn't caught on any bigger than it has. It has a wide ranging appeal and is a quality done book.
The story in this particular issue is actually quite deep. Amelia Cole has been assigned to track down "criminals" by her boss for unknown reasons. This has caused her a bit of frustration, as taking people in for no good reason, except by the command of her superiors causes her great concern. As it turns out the people she's been assigned to round up are dissidents. People who are simply working against the establishment. In the world Amelia Cole lives in, magic is supreme, but theres a dissident movement that promotes science over magic and it seems that's not allowed. We'll have to wait till next issue to come to a conclusion for this particular tale, but I know I will definitely be reading.
Everyone Starts Somewhere
Ghost Cop #1
By VJ and Justin Boyd, Christian DiBari and others
The creators behind this book are unknown to me, but everyone has to start somewhere. The story about a ghost cop who haunts a certain part of the city trying to solve a crime that's gone unsolved for 50 years with the help of a modern age policewoman who can see him is nothing extravagantly compelling. It actually reads very confusing at first, but I'm not sure if that's the writers fault or the artist. Eventually it evens out into a more straightforward comprehensive plot, but by that time I'd already decided I was bored by the whole thing.
The artist Christian DiBari though is a fantastic artist and it was his work that kept me reading until the last page. His style is well outside the mainstream and while it's not terribly polished, I really liked it. His ability to render light and dark, his penchant for the sloppy in an effective way really appealed to me. He's got a ways to go, but there's a lot of potential with this guy.
I don't think I could sit through another issue of this story, but I wouldn't mind glancing through it for the chance to see more of Christian DiBari's work.
|Posted on November 3, 2013 at 6:20 AM||comments (0)|
Interesting in a Disappointing Way
Sandman: Overture #1
By Neil Gaiman & JH Williams III
I wasn't sure how they would approach this story, but now we know. It's a story intended for book form broken into the typical single issue format. I don't like when publishers do this. Just publish a damn graphic novel and get it over with. Neil Gaiman tries his best thought to provide some kind of hook for just the first 16 pages of this story. Fortunately for him he has JH Williams III doing the artwork, so something as short as this is still a thing of beauty to look at.
Overall it reads very whimsical, very in tone with Gaiman's recent work. All I can tell from this first issue is that there is some great ordeal our main character has to undergo, which involves his own death and hundreds of ititerations of himself from a myriad of dimensions or universes. It's not terribly involving, this first issue, but knowing Gaiman's work as I do, it is sure to get better. And as mentioned with JH Williams III doing the art, it's certainly going to be a thing of beauty.
A Little Wonky, But A Damn Good Read
Swamp Thing Annual #2
By Charles Soule, Javier Pina and others
First off the art by Javier Pina is beautiful. He draws foliage and our resident swamp monster in an attractive moldy, maleable way that I find super appealing. I've never heard of Pina before, but he may have made a fan for life with this issue. Another person I've never heard of before, Charles Soule, provides a compelling story. It's a bit goofy in ways with the heavy over the top explanations for why Swamp Thing, the Parliament of Trees and how the Green came into being, but it's an introspective tale that weaves a bunch of plotlines together and by the last page it ends up as a really intersting story.
I've read the first few issues of the new Swamp Thing series, and they were pretty good, but after awhile the issues got really wonky and I lost interest. Now after reading this comic, I'm wondering if the series has gotten good again or not? The idea that there are two Green Avatars at play against each other, one of them being the old villian Jason Woodrue in his new nomenclature of The Seeder, is a good way to introduce tension into the storyline and keep us wanting to know more.
This whole issue was about Swamp Thing exploring himself, through past Avatars of the Green, and why he exists and what he's supposed to do and be doing. It's a little hokey in some respects, sentient vegetables at war with humans and animals and the reasons why, but it's a comic book, so I expect some bits of hokeyness. But with Javier Pina providing outstanding artwork to this story, there's room for error in the story, as what you get in the end is beautiful page after beautiful page and a solid read. That's all I expect from my choice in comic books.
Astounding Villian House #1
By Shannon Wheeler
Dark Horse Comics
Shannon Wheeler always cracks me up. Even though Astounding Villian House is not his best work, it's still pretty funny in a completely disposable way. This short little one-shot comic collects four little short stories from the recent Dark Horse Presents title and I imagine there will probably be more as the nature and tone of these stories could run on and on.
My favorite story is the second one which feature two people on a first date, who after imbibing much alcohol try to steal a super villians cape and get sent to hell. The last story which is a riff on The Mole Man and the Fantastic Four will probably be the most popular, as it pokes fun at not only one of the most popular comic books of all time, but also current world affairs.
This is the kind of comic you quickly read, enjoy it for it's silliness, toss it aside and then never think about again. Sometimes comics like these are exactly what a long time comic reader like myself needs. If there's anything bad about this comic, it's the awful coloring. Obviously Shannon's not done much with computer coloring and it shows. Some places it's terribly amateurish and distracting, but if you're a fan of Shannon Wheeler like me, you can accept shoddy art because the joke or the tale is always the real hook to Wheeler's work.
You Can't Get This at the Movies or on Television
The Great Pacific #'s 9-11
by Joe Harris, Martin Morazzo and others
I've reviewed a few previous issues of this comic before, but I feel the need to keep telling people about this comic because it's so good. It's a heady political intrigue type of story with a twist only possible in comic books. This is the kinda of thing that won't ever make it to TV or movies, because it's so odd. Yet it's so solidly told that a venue like sequential art is more than capable and actually seems perfect for it.
What we have in this overall series is a tale of a very rich boy who's made a few poor decisions, on a whim decides to take his last bit of fortune and build a new nation on that very real island of garbage and plastic in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately nation building isn't an easy thing and all the hurdles and hassles, the espionage and danger is what makes this story so appealing to me.
In issues 9-11, New Texas leader Chas Worthington is trying to legitimately establish his nation in the eyes of the world. The thing is most of the world views New Texas as a bit of a joke. Yet behind the curtain, there are jealous foes and many organizations who hope to see New Texas fail. So Chas Worthington takes up an unlikely ally and tries to present his case to the United Nations back in NYC. Yet Chas soon finds making allies with dangerous folk to further your own agenda, never pays off.
The only problem I have with this book is the awful garish coloring by Tiza Studio. It's as if someone's watercolor set got dumped into the computers circuit boards and is making a mess of things. The coloring is just ugly and distracting. The art by Martin Morazzo is interesting in a very alternative, yet mainstream acceptable way. At times, his figures can look very Rick Geary like, but then he wowes you with the next panel with art in a style I've never seen before. He's good and probably will only get better with time.
In a nutshell, I dig this comic a lot!
Pretty Deadly #1
By Kelly Sue De Connick & Emma Rios
Overall I liked this comic and where it's headed, but I'm weary of the single issue comic that is really only a slight part of the real story. The idea that a real story needs to be 5 or 6 issues long so it can fit in a trade paperback for bookstore display has me irritated. Pretty Deadly #1 is only a glimpse at the longer story. If it were a preview issue, free or half price, it would have done it's job. As the first issue of an ongoing series, it felt slight, it felt like a preview issue that I paid full price for. I didn't like that.
The concept/plot was introduced well enough, the characters in this issue were appealing, but the absence of the cover star, made sure that this issue felt incomplete. Wouldn't you want an appearance by the person and probable main character featured in your introductory story? There's allusions to the main character, but that's it. As to the overall story, what we're given is that back in the Old West, a blind man with an uncanny special sight is travelling with an odd young girl. At one point they're travelling showmen, at another they're feared travelling gunmen, and by the end of the issue they're on the run from another odd feared gunman. There's spooky allusions to other aspects to the characters and their story, but beyond what I've just written, there's not a whole lot to be taken from this first issue.
But still, I liked this. I liked the precarious spooky tone. I liked Emma Rios' art. It's not spectacular, but it's really well done and she has an interesting style. I will pick up the next issue, but if the single issues continue to be this slight of story I will not continue to read this.
This Fox is Dull
The Fox #1
By Dean Haspiel, Mark Waid and others
Red Circle Comics
I thought I liked Dean Haspiel's work. At least once upon a time I did, but the work in this comic is so dull and cheesy, that I am rethinking my idea's on Dean's work. The first few pages of this comic were some of the dullest, most generic comics work I've ever seen. The story got a touch better when The Fox starting fighting some costumed villians, but overall this is the type of comic that had me regretting spending the time I did reading this.
I guess if this was aimed at unsophisticated pre-teens, maybe you've got something, otherwise this was just a terrible comic book. Dull, derivative, cheesy and not very attractive. The plot was a simple thing, our main character, a journalist is interviewing some celebrity who turns out to be a super-villian named Madame Satan. A battle in a photo developing room sends the villian jumping out of a window in defeat. The rest of the issue is about our Fox character getting caught again in some villians schemes (another woman villian) and ending on a to be continued...
The two or three double page splash pages by Haspiel were about the only interesting thing in this comic. Other than that this was an entirely forgettable comic book.
|Posted on October 27, 2013 at 7:25 AM||comments (0)|
I Like Surprises
Afterlife With Archie #1
By Robert Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla
The only reason I picked this up is because of the odd combination of Archie Comics featuring artist Francesco Francavilla. Usually Archie Comics has a "house style" when it comes to their books. A cheesy, cartoony, rather dull "house style". So the thought of Francavilla on an Archie comic immediately caught my attention. That being said, I'm not a huge fan of Francavilla's, but the idea of him doing an Archie comic was too much to pass up. And lo and behold, this comic actually rocked. It's a somewhat mature take on the world of Archie, thanks to writer Aguirre-Sacassa's script. Even though it's largely just a big dark joke featuring the ever prevalant zombie milieu that's taken over our comics and tv, there's some actual tangible story depth. Not being a regular Archie comic reader, but just the little bit that I do know of these comics, actual story depth seems to be a foreign element to them. So while I'm actually beyond tired of zombies, this adult oriented theme (however soft core that it is) worked for me.
The plot is simple, but combines all the elements and characters of the Archie universe in a somewhat serious tone. Reggie runs over Jugheads dog. Jughead takes the dead dog to Sabrina the witch who uses necromancy on the dog and turns it into an undead thing. The dog bites Jughead, turning him into a zombie and now he threatens all of Riverdale.
It's a weird thought for me, but I can't wait to read the next issue!
Ugh, How Does This Even Happen?
Batman: The Dark Knight #24
By Gregg Hurwitz, Alex Maleev and others
I'm an unabashed fan of artist Alex Maleev. I've read just about everything he's ever had published. Yeah, he's a bit of a polarizing artist as his use of photos, sometimes largely just photoshoped over can be quite off-putting, but to me he's got this kind of cool low key, gritty style that I enjoy a lot. So to see his name on a Batman comic, a character known to wallow in dirt and grime, I figured this was a must buy.
Unfotunately for me, this comic isn't about Batman at all. It's really just an origin issue for the villian Clayface. Which I don't get. How do you hire an artist like Alex Maleev on a Batman comic book and not put Batman in the story? Instead you task him to do a supremely boring origin story about Clayface. I don't know who Gregg Hurwitz is, but his story (which I'm sure is plenty muddied by the editors at DC comics) is so drab and boring, each page I turned I was shocked that it wasn't getting any better. This is Alex Maleev illustrating this book, how do you not utilize him properly? You make him draw Clayface?! For real!?
Now the only possible saving grace is that this story is a to be continued... So maybe next issue I will get my Alex Maleev drawing Batman reward I thought I was getting in picking up this issue. But knowing Alex Maleev like I do, him doing mulitple issues in a row on a work for hire gig in a timely fashion, are not odds I like.
Strong and Unexpected
Boo! Halloween Stories #2
This was solid. It's an anthology of 3 horror and creepy stories by a variety of unknown but quality art and writing teams. Framing artist Jon Morris is superb with his cartoony, sharp and fun style. The first story by Matt Smiegel is awesome. It's a take on the whole zombie scenario I've never seen before. It's both silly and dark. The second story by Ken Lowry, Shawn McGuan and Rachel Deering is the weakest of the book with a story about a bunch of demons masquerading as a rock band, touring the country and wreaking havoc. While the third story by Kyle Starks is both the most disturbing and powerful of the three stories. It's about two psychic investigators taking on their next mission where a little girl supposedly sees ghosts. Instead they find out, that this girl can actually open a portal to hell and what the investigators find there is what makes this little story so powerful. I don't want to spoil it, as the hook is what makes this story.
So in conclusion, this is an awesome, fun comic book and I'm going to do my best to pick up the previous issue and the next one too!
Someone Has a Problem
By Donny Cates & Geoff Shaw
Dark Horse Comics
So the main character gets his superpowers from taking drugs. All right, there's your base concept, there's no scientific or even comic book science reason given for how this happens, but again it's a comic book, so you take it as it is. Now you've got your concept, what kind of story can you tell? Well, writer Donny Cates gives us a tragedy on a couple different levels. There's the reluctant hero angle, the hero because of his super life loses his loved ones angle, but the most useful one is the fact that this main character dude takes a lot of fucking drugs to be a superhero. And taking a lot of drugs will do a number on your psyche no matter how superheroic one may be. So what we have behind it all is an anti-drug story cleverly mixed with modern superheroic storytelling devices. It's almost clever.
BUZZKILL's goofy, but ultra serious/depressing tone is pretty involving and it's told well enough that you get really familiar with the character and the background without any problems. The artwork by Geoff Shaw is pretty decent too. He's obviously a Sean Murphy fan, aping many of Murphy's trademark techniques, but he's good enough in his own way when he wants to be.
I do believe this series will read better when all four issues of this mini are collected as this issue was really just a little nugget of a story and demands that the rest of the story be read to "get it" all. While I think I would read this all once it's collected, I know I will have a hard time picking up the other single issues.
|Posted on October 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
This is the best graphic novel I've read in a few years, hands down. Not since "The Nao of Brown" by Glyn Dillon, have I been so impressed by a comic book. This was released in May of this year, it can actually be read for free in webcomic form here (http://bikinicowboy.tumblr.com/), but I recently picked it up in digital form sheerly on the absurdity of the title and the gorgeous preview pages.
I found Bikini Cowboy to be a breath of absurd fresh air that the staid comics industry needs. I've grown tired of the tried and true formula of many of our popular modern comics, so when a self-published book like this comes along, my faith in the medium of comics is restored. I hope this gets enough attention, because it deserves it.
I don't know who Fresherluke is, what his background is or whatnot, but he's an amazing artist and a compelling storyteller. His work on this is a gorgeous blend of pencil, wash, and computer laden toning all in black, white and gray. The style is reminiscent of Pixar animation and maybe that's where Fresherluke comes from. He's not done too many other comics from what I can tell, so I'm assuming he makes his living with animation, somehow, someway. It's too bad though, because this is the kinda talent the comics medium needs so desperately.
Bikini Cowboy is definitely a ridiculous book. Ridiculous in a good way! You've got a self-proclaimed Hawaiin witch dressed in nothing but a bikini, boots and hat, carrying around a surfboard, causing trouble and chasing after adventure. This ridiculous character isn't given a lot of background at all in the book. My main question of if she's Hawaiin, how'd she get to the desert where this entire story takes place, goes unanswered. There are quite a few unanswered questions in this book, but it's easy to get past those questions because the story is so exciting. Our heroine Jill, the Hawaiin witch rescues a little slave boy, who has magic powers, and the both of them go on the run from an evil preacher dude, until they can run no longer and have to face the music. The climax of the book is a great battle between Jill and this wicked preacher dude and while it turns out rosy for our heroine, the journey and the drama the characters endure is what this story is all about.
I loved this book plain and simple. Recommended reading for sure.
I'm Probably Jealous
The 120 Days of Simon
By Simon Gardenfors
Top Shelf Comics
Released in 2010, this graphic novel was recently acquired by me through Top Shelf's recent annual deep discount online only sale. They do these sales once a year, but this year, there were some particular awesome titles available, like "The 120 Days of Simon". I got this for $3! What a deal!
I really enjoyed this fat digest sized travel diary/auto-bio tale where artist Simon Gardenfors roams his native Sweden, travelling from city to city, never staying in one place for more than two nights. Many of us dream of doing the whole vagabond/tramp/travel thing, but few of us ever go through with it. Even fewer actually document their travels in comic book form! Almost immediately upon reading you realize Simon is not one for lack of confidence or charm. Half of this book is about how much Simon gets laid on his journey's. His way with women, even if exaggerated, is uncanny. I'm assuming Simon is a bit of a notoriety in Norway's sub-culture, but the amount of pussy that throws itself at him is astounding. Most American comic book creators are very homely looking to say the least, so to see this European comics artist getting so much action has made me very jealous.
The style in which Simon works is particularly catchy too. His simplified, cartoony, almost old-school video game style is really fun to look at. Each page of this book was no more than two panels and so the book read fast and loose. Almost too fast, as the book was such a fun read, you were dreading the end.
So while many auto-bio comics can be rather dry, this one was not. Not in the least and I am for sure going to be getting my jealous little hands on any and all Simon Gardenfors comics from here on out.
Why Am I Such a Procrastinator When it Comes to the Good Shit?!
By Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido
Dark Horse Comics Edition 2010
I heard about this title way back when it was winning awards in Europe circa 2000-2004. When news arrived that there would be english translations I got excited. Then when the books were published a few years back here in the states, I ignored it, telling myself that I would pick it up eventually when I had the money. Finally my bargain hunting self saw a deeply discounted copy of the 2010 Dark Horse collected edition and I knew I could pass it up no longer. And I damn myself for taking so long to read some amazing... no stunningly good comics.
The captivating quality of Juanjo Guarnido artwork is out of this world. You might be able to give it a pass in a quick glance over kind of way, but if you sit down to read this, you quickly realize that this dude knows what he's doing. All the artwork was done with pen, ink and watercolor paint. Very little computer effects to the art at all and it's absolutely beautiful. A comic book artist with a gift of painting detail like this is rarely seen. The detail in the characters, the backgrounds and the shades of color are gorgeous. Combine that with compelling, emotionally involving stories from Juan Díaz Canales and it's no surprise why this book won so many awards.
Blacksad is set in the early 1950's America about a private investigator who gets involved in thrilling and deeply disturbing adventures. The unique thing about this whole world is it's done with anthropomorphic characters. In the Dark Horse edition, you get three separate tales, that were originally published individually in Europe and I believe in small translated print runs in America. The first story about our main characters past true love rising to stardom and then being killed is a thrilling and beautifully strange story. But I wondered why it needed to be told with anthropomorphic characters? The second story about white racism in America in the 40's and 50's showed me that the power of using such cypher's for humanity was a brilliant move. This second story is where this graphic novel makes it's money. It's a powerful look at how awful racism is, and how powerful it was in America even just 60 some years ago. The third story about ex-Nazi scientists turned American scientists after WWII and hiding out trying to make a life in America, with a dash of Communist hunting was a great read too. There are no flaws in the book. None that my feeble mind could find at least. This is as good as comics gets. Blacksad is the kind of comic you give to aspiring writers and artists who are still learning the trade. This is the good shit.
|Posted on October 13, 2013 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
And I Thought Only Grant Morrison "Got" This Character
Fantomex: Max #1
By Andrew Hope and Shawn Crystal
Well, this was a surprise to say the least. Fantomex, to me has always been one of those characters that only worked when written by it's creator. I gave this series a shot merely because I liked the preview I saw online with the art by Shawn Crystal. Shawn is a really good artist. His style is cartoony, exaggerated, but technically sound in all the right ways. He can do moody, silly, dark and bombastic from one panel to the other. I'm wondering where he came from and I am down with seeing more of his work.
Andrew Hope's script (assisted by the heavy hands of Marvel Comics, I'm sure) delivers a punchy, fun and catchy plot. In the grand scheme of things it's nothing terribly unique (damsel in distress, hero to the rescue stuff), but it's a solid read, and captures the real feel to Fantomex that Grant Morrison established in the creation of the character. At least in my opinion. I'm not sure if the story would be as good if handled by another artist, but I'm curious to see what happens next issue and that's a good thing, even though I'm dead tired of emphemeral throwaway comic books that Marvel and DC have become famous for in recent years.
Dark, Mysterious and Beautiful, but Really Kinda Silly
Savage Wolverine #9
By Jock and others
Jock is writing and drawing this book and I don't know if he has been since #1, but I feel like an idiot for not noticing that. I'm a huge fan of Jock's art and I will always remember the quote years ago when he said he was done doing interior work on comic books. Obviously he's changed his mind a few different times since then. And while his work on this particular issue is outstanding (despite the nice colors, Jock's work is by far better in black and white), his story is typical modern superhero comic book stuff. It's padded, slightly mysterious, slight on the explanations and it's made for the trade paperback. I'm not sure if this is Jock's first true gig as lead writer or not, but he's going to have to do better than this to keep me interested. Yeah, I love his art and have no problem spending money on just books of his art, but this is a Wolverine superhero comic and he's got to do better than this for me to waste more money on characters like this.
Wolverine trapped on some far away planet full of giant weird bugs is cool and all, but with no explanations in all 21 pages why Wolverine is here leaves this story seeming very empty.
Somehow This Slipped By the Quality Control Inspectors
Reality Check #2
By Glen Brunswick, Victor Bogdanovic and others
I could start and end this review with just one word - Stupid - but I should probably explain why this is a downright awful comic book. I'm actually disgusted with myself having read this past page 10. It's that kind of awful.
The premise - A guy creates a superhero comic book for some company, the main character comes to life magically and hijinks ensue.
The story is painful to read. Glen Brunswick has had comics published before, none that I've personally liked, but he's been published. So how does such a painfully awful, basically amateurish, concept like this get published at Image Comics? If the art were good, I might give it some leeway, but it's not. The art is about as painful as the story.
If this can be accepted at Image Comics, I have to hope I can have my next submission accepted too.
Bits of Sense Lost in a Timestream
By Curt Pires & Dalton Rose
There's something interesting here lost amongst the nonsense. This is yet another comic book playing around with time travel and like usual everything falls apart, not making a lick of sense. Some weird guy with a metal face mask is the boss of some kind of group of time travelling secret agents. Something fucked up happens and people start killing each other. One character has a love affair with another, she goes away, people get lost inbetween times and there's lots of pretty colors all around.
As confusing and nonsensical as this story was, I think it woulda been better with an artist that could pull off weird looking shit. Artist Dalton Rose is not a very good artist and his images of surrealistic imagery is lacking to say the least. I know its hard to do weird shit if you're not a fucking weirdo in your own right, but I just think I would have liked this more with a better style of artist.
Not that I understood what was going on, what has happened before or generated any interest in what is to come. But through all the bullshit, I think there's something slightly interesting to all this. I could be wrong.
Oh My God
God is Dead #'s 1 & 2
By Jonathan Hickman, Di Amorom & others
Jonathan Hickman can get anything published these days. And it's a matter of taste which work of his you prefer. Maybe you like all of it, maybe none of it, but you at least have to admire his tenacity, motivation and determination at being the next great comic book writer. "God is Dead" is a completely silly conceptual comic book. The premise being what if all the gods of myth came back to life and back to Earth bent on conquest and revelation? Well predictably everything goes to shit. For all it's goofiness, there's something appealing about it all. While we've seen Zeus and Odin and Shiva and all the other famous gods of yore, the ones we haven't yet seen, the ones of particular interest of North American and Western European fans are our Hebrew gods, Yahweh and Jesus. Hickman has thrown out a few feelers that eventually the story will get there, but I'm wondering to myself is that the only reason I want to continue reading this? To see Jesus and Yahweh lay the smack down on Odin and Zeus and the others?
The art meanwhile is typical Avatar Press style. Not very good, nearly amateurish. It does the job though, so whatever.
|Posted on October 6, 2013 at 7:25 AM||comments (0)|
A Failed Movie Script?
Avengers: Endless Wartime
By Warren Ellis, Mike McKone and others
This read like a script for a proposed Avengers movie. It's a culmination of all the basics of the first Avengers movie (characters, attitudes, station, etc.), plus a bunch of new continuity ticks marginally comic book continuity related, but which doesn't deviate greatly from the new Avengers movie continuity and blended into what might be mistaken for a screenplay transformed into a graphic novel. It's a solid story all told. It's a fast read and honestly I could see it being the basis of some future Avengers movie. It pushes some buttons, but maintains a staid status quo.
But, being a huge Warren Ellis fan, for a Warren Ellis project, this was pretty bland. This was possibly the most mediocre, straight forward thing of his that I've ever read. It's not a bad story, but it's not exciting at all. It's done at a very tepid, expected crawl. Maybe that's partly artist Mike McKone's fault as his art while solid and pretty at times seemed very static. His work has a gloss to it that unnerves me. Where's the grit and grime of monsters battling? It's not this pretty when blood is spewed and bones are broken, so why does McKone make everything look so nice and shiny?
The plot being that a long time ago an ancient Norse monster was released upon Earth and after a battle with Thor, it hibernated until it was subdued and transformed by Nazi technology. Now in modern times, SHIELD has bred hundreds of copies of this monster in efforts to counter modern day superhumans. When plans get out that these things are going crazy and threaten NYC, the Avengers decide to take matters into hand and kill some monsters.
There's other more subtle things to the story, but that above is the basic plot. I would expect something more interesting from Warren Ellis, but I never was the biggest fan of his superhero stories and maybe he had to do some comprimising to get paid for this thing. Whatever the case, this book should recieve a pass from all but the most rabid of fanboys/girls.
How Many Boring Captain America War Stories Can They Tell?
Captain America: Living Legend #1
By Andy Diggle, Adi Granov and others
I only picked this up because of artist Adi Granov's contribution. I've yet to like a single Andy Diggle story and this story here only contributes to that awful cause. Diggle crafts another anonymous story about Captain America having to face down a compatriot from the past. This particular story centers around how Captain America came to the aid of a Russian squad in WWII and how one soldier he befriended is now a superhuman threat in the present time. Ho-hum. Even Adi Granov's inventive artwork can't keep this story from boring the shit out of me.
This book reads like filler material. Something to put on the stands, something to keep the property thrumming. A trade paperback book they can showcase when the new movie comes out, to keep the IP rolling. I guess as a corporation this is what you do.
You Gotta Try
Rat Queens #1
By Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch
Fairy tales with cussing! It's not entirely unique, but it still works here. Largely because of the characters and the somewhat unexpected manner and scenarios. Rat Queens #1 overall is a pretty good intro effort. I'm all for trying new things in comics and Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch take a couple common concepts (fairy tales and bad girls) and combines them in a mostly unique take. The only problem I have with this issue is the weak plot. The characterization of our 4 main characters is off the charts and each of them is likeable in their own way, but plot wise this story better get a whole lot more outstanding or this isn't going to go anywhere. Right now these "Rat Queens" are a bunch of mercenaries in a town that can't stand them. They're given a trek by the authorities to hunt out some goblins, but it turns out it's a trick and they were sent on a fool's errand to be assassinated.
I will definitely pick up issue two, but if the plot stays as weak as it is, I'm going to jump off even if I find the characters totally interesting and the potty mouth dialogue funny as fuck.
|Posted on September 29, 2013 at 7:35 AM||comments (0)|
I Wish I Had Orgasms This Colorful
Sex Criminals #1
By Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky
This is a beautiful book. Chip Zdarsky creates a wonderful looking comic book...but the plot... Cheesy as fuck. Two people, a man and a woman have time stopping powers after achieving orgasm. It's not until the last page do we find out the twist of the story. And it ties in to the whole criminal part in the title. Yeah, so despite the very pretty artwork, this story lost me with the "twist". Stupid.
I'll Wait for the Movie
Kick-Ass 3 #'s 1-3
By Mark Millar, John Romita and others
I liked issue one of volume 3 a lot. Hit Girl getting captured and taken to prison was kinda intense. But issues two and three which focus more on the title character and his other costumed compatriots didn't do much for me. I only want Hit-Girl. She's the most interesting character of this comic, possibly the ONLY interesting charcter in this comic and I would like more of her ordeals in prison than reading about the love life of Kick-Ass and how his superhero group is doing.
I did not read volume two of this series, because I wasn't all that impressed with volume one. I actually enjoyed the first Kick-Ass movie far more than I did the comic it was based on. I have not seen Kick-Ass 2, but I know I will eventually. The comics by Mark Millar and John Romita jr. are just not that interesting to me. There are moments of excitement, but then followed by an ungodly amount of dumbness. That is Mark Millar to me. 10% interesting, 90% dumb.
Down Pat Repetoir
Red Team #5
By Garth Ennis & Craig Cermak
Jumping mid way into a Garth Ennis story is not the best thing to do. It took me just about the whole comic to get caught up on the general story, but I got it at the end and it's ugly. Garth Ennis works in a certain genre and does it good, so you know what to expect from a Garth Ennis story. RED TEAM #5 is no different from the past handful of Ennis comics I've checked out genre wise. It's a cop procedural drama with some extreme ugliness and hardcore violence. This story resonates around a special crimes unit dubbed Red Team as they have to deal with the worse the world has to offer and internal corruption.
Jumping in on issue 5 is not the ideal thing to do, but I did it and this was a solid read. I'm sure reading this from issue one would be more satisfying, but I didn't do that. This type of book will further endear Garth Ennis fans to their beloved creator, but if anyone who's not read an Ennis comic and is looking for a hardcore brutal police drama, this is a good book to pick up.
Ghosts Can Kill!
The Last Lonely Saturday
By Jordan Crane
This was first published in the year 2000, but I just picked up it up for a nice little bargain and gave it a read. Jordan Crane is by now a household name in the indy comics field with a dozen or more well known comics published by a variety of publishers. The Last Lonely Saturday is one of Crane's first long form works and is a cute easy breezy read about an old man reminiscing about his now deceased wife whom he seems to have loved a lot. So on one final visit to her grave, he's visited by her ghost and she fucking kills him so they can spend eternity together as otherworldy spirits.
This was a weird little story, but Crane's cute simple art style is awesome, so I enjoyed this little nugget of a book very much.
|Posted on September 22, 2013 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
Messing With Our Minds
The Bounce #5
By Joe Casey & David Messina
I don't like time travel stories. I wasn't sure what to expect from this comic, but it definitely wasn't a time travel story. Time travel stories are always a fucking mess and this comic is exactly that. It's kinda interesting, I will give it that, but it's such a clusterfuck of stuff, that I'm lost on who is who, what is what and do I even care?
There's a few superheroes in here, dimension hopping, evil army guys, sexy psychic chicks and a few other colorful plot devices, but it's either too much to comprehend for my puerile mind or it's all just a bunch of muck that doesn't really take hold.
I've read plenty of Joe Casey books and they've all bordered on the thin line of interesting stuff and pure drivel and this comic is smack dab right on that edge. It's almost interesting enough to read more, but I'm wary because of the idea I might have to drive my mind through even more nonsensicle stuff to get to a real point.
Just Throw Something Together They Said!
Justice League #23.3/Dial E #1
By China Mielville & a variety of artists
This mash-up of comic book artists taking turns each drawing just one page is pretty, but completely devoid of actual story. Plus with no relation to the actual Justice League, I really don't get the point of this book? I enjoyed all the artistic talent brought in on this issue, but what was the point? To create a pretty, but pointless story? Is it so abstract I just don't get it? If given the chance to have all these awesome artists contribute to one story, I would think you'd want to use them on a better story than this?
I didn't purchase this thankfully and I hope no one actually does. What a waste of time.
Playing it Safe and Pitching Softballs
Brain Boy #1
By Fred Van Lente, RB Silva and others
Dark Horse Comics
Fred Van Lente first came to my attention doing the awesome self-published "Action Philosophers", which was basically a history lesson in comics form. It was an excellent series. On the strength of that book he got some work at Marvel comics and ever since then I've not cared a damn about his work.
This being a slow week for me comics collecting wise I decided to give his work another shot with "Brain Boy". I realized it's a stupid title and kinda had a feeling this was going to be dumb and lo and behold, I was right. This is a dumb book. It's the kinda book that does nothing for the form, but just put another book on the stands. There's nothing clever or exciting about it. It essentially reads like a Marvel comic. That soft pitch, bland, caressing the mediocrity in the common fanboy that we find in most of the books Marvel produces.
The plot is basically about a dude who's both psychic and telekinetic, works for the government, has a mysterious past and runs into an evil dictator while on assignment, who it turns out is also a psychic and telekinetic. Despite the mediocre plot, the art bothered me more. It wasn't bad, but what it was, a weak Stuart Immonen imitation, really bugged me. I really enjoy Stuart Immonen's work, especially when he's doing non-traditional comic books. Those kinds of books where he can get exaggerated and freaky (Nextwave for example). He's a world class comic book artist, but I never thought we'd ever see an imitator. Brain Boy artist RB Silva does do a great imitation for most of the book, but there are plenty of times where he can't pull it off and it just looks goddamn awful. I will never understood why artists imitate other artists? I can understand picking up tips and a few trademark moves, but a wholesale imitation is just not good form.
So in a nutshell, this book was weak on a lot of levels, enjoy at your own risk.
Brian Wood and His Consistent Bleakness
The Massive #'s 13 & 14
by Brian Wood, Gary Brown and Jordie Bellaire
This is the second disaster epic that Brian Wood has done that I know of and I find this one more appealing. DMZ from DC comics started off pretty solid, with it's end of NYC scenario, but then rambled on and got boring. The Massive is a little more ambitious, not only is NYC destroyed, so is the whole eastern seaboard of America. Except these two issues take place in the sunken, flooded ruins of NYC, an area Brian Wood seems obsessed with.
Most of Wood's work, I've found boring, inspired and interesting in concept, just dull in it's execution. The Massive, for these two issues at least, have my full attention. Even so, there's minute dullness already seeping into the details. His characters, the characters in this book are not exciting. At all, but it's the concept that has me intrigued. America is destroyed, our main characters are stuck on a boat and want to make things right, except a rogue member of their group has a nuclear submarine in his hands and intends to make destruction. In comes the remnants of the American Navy and drama ensues.
I'm going to pick up the next issue for sure, but will I continue to pick this series up afterwards, I have a feeling not. Brian Wood's work will eventually either bore me to death or annoy me enough to write his work off again.
The Best Intelligent Horror/Monster Stuff on the Stands
Abe Sapien: The Dark and Terrible #'s 1-3
By John Arcudi, Mike Mignola, Max Fiumura & Dave Stewart
Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse is already on the follow up to this mini-series with Abe Sapien: The Salton Sea, but I needed to finish this mini up before moving on to the next. I enjoy the plethora of Mike Mignola universe titles that are available for reading, but sometimes it's too much. It's one mini-series after the other and while I would love to read everything from this Mignola universe, I can't.
But this Dark and Terrible was an excellent series. Although technically it resolves nothing in regards to the overall story of the current Mignola universe, what it does is give artist Max Fiumura the chance to draw some awesome monsters and monsters fighting. His Abe Sapien is the best he's ever looked. Better than Guy Davis' version by far. He's truly horrific looking now.
What's going on in the current Mignola universe is just pure chaos end of the world stuff and there doesn't appear to be a silver lining. Even the great Hellboy is "dead". I just don't see how things get better, but if Max Fiumura is drawing the end of the world, I'm reading.
|Posted on September 15, 2013 at 8:55 AM||comments (0)|
We Like Strange, Yes We Do!
By Brandon Graham, James Stokoe, Simon Roy and others
I never ever read a copy of Youngblood that comic by Rob Liefeld, but I do know the names of some of it's characters due to the fact I read way too much about comics in general. So I was surprised to see that this excellent issue was basically a far future reunion of some of Youngblood's most popular characters. I guess reunion is not the right term, as this issue is basically all about the character Diehard and how he's lived for thousands and thousands of years meeting and re-meeting members of the group he once belonged to. Through the thousands of years Diehard goes through a myriad of permutations to his character. Fighting, building families, pondering, meeting old friends in new forms, that's the life of this semi-robotic character. Eventually by the end of the issue, thousands and thousands of years in the future, the star of this comic appears, but in yet another confusing and future form.The only constants I've noticed from the issues I've read is that Prophet can be regenerated over and over again and is in constant battle with some evil empire. I don't really understand the concept yet or the relation to this character Diehard or why we are focusing this entire issue on him, but it was a cool ride nonetheless!
Fortunately the strangeness of this comic, it's balls to the wall bizareness is so freaking enjoyable and helped by strange and beautiful artwork, that I can't stop loving this comic.
The First American Produced Judge Dredd Comic I've Ever Enjoyed
Mars Attacks Judge Dredd #1
By Al Ewing, Simon McCrea and others
Technically the writer and artist are British and have produced a couple dozen Dredd stories amongst themselves in the past so their familiarity with the character is established. And while I've enjoyed plenty of 2000 A.D. Dredd stories, never has an American publisher been able to produce an original Dredd story that has interested me till now. While this is nothing near groundbreaking or award winning, it's an easy to read, throwaway cheesy fun adventure horror story starring Judge Dredd taking on those pesky Martians from Mars Attacks.
Ideally this comic wouldn't have costed me $3.99, because it's the kind of comic in yore's past that you would read then toss somewhere in your house never to be seen again. It's never going to be a valuable collector's item, but for what it was, it did it's job.
Way Too Much
By Adam Egypt Mortimer & Darick Robertson
Black Mask Studios
I've never been a big fan of Darick Robertson's art, but I've noticed how he's constantly involved with cool comics projects. From, "The Boys" with Garth Ennis most recently, and all the way back to "Transmetropolitan" with Warren Ellis. This Ballistic, his latest project, is another odd and somehow interesting project. The basis of it, set in some distant Earth future where the world's gone to fuck. Technology has warped everything, from food, to porn, to houses and more. Our main character is a crook with a good heart and he's involved in all kinds of weird shit, and has as a companion a weird living gun that a lot of nefarious sorts want for an as yet unknown reason.
Basically it's a buddy story between a man and his gun, except the setting is completely bizarre and honestly nearly impenetrable. The writer is pummelling us with information and story background that it's dizzying in it's comprehension. There's multiple layers here and figuring out what is what and how the story and our main character relates is confusing, to say the least. Yet despite all this detritus of story, it's somehow cooly interesting. I don't know if I can stand to read all 5 issues of this mini-series before being frustrated at all the little warblings of story and technology caveats introduced by the writer, but I have a feeling that any book called "My Favorite Book of 2013" by Grant Morrison will require a full re-read by me in time.
Herobear and the Kid #1
by Mike Kunkle
I realize this comic is not aimed at adults like myself, but after repeatedly seeing other adults rave about this comic, I figured it would be at least worthwhile to familiarize myself with it. So upon reading, I realize yeah, this is definitely aimed at that tweener audience as the story matter about a boy dealing with a new school and bully's is not for the average adult. But looking over the story in general I do notice that this is not original story matter. How many childrens stories involve new school and bully's? Way too many.
The art is nice in it's simplicity, but isn't too appealing to me. I imagine Kunkel does well in the animation field, as the art here is decidely quick sketch animation style. Having the book done in largely a black and white style is odd considering it's aimed at kids.
So while I appreciate the effort in making comics for kids, I personally don't think this comic is all that unique or appealing. I've seen better.
Clean Cut Bad Ass?
Justice League 23.2/Lobo #1
By Margurite Bennet, Ben Oliver and others
I'm largely giving up on reading DC comics for the near future, but I knew I had to check out this remake of the classic DC character of Lobo. I was once upon a time a big fan of the Simon Bisley designed Lobo when he originally appeared 20 some years ago. Upon hearing about the controversy around the new redesign of Lobo in this new DC universe, I knew I had to give it a read. So what we get is a lean, clean cut, glowing face tattoo's distilled down version of Lobo. His dialogue is not as obtuse or adverse or delivered in as macho or gutteral style as we've come to know Lobo. Obviously this is something different.
This story wasn't terrible, it wasn't great either. This new Lobo isn't any different though from your average anti-hero either. He's not unique at all. If this is what we have to look forward to for this character, he's quickly going to be forgettable. What this story does set up is that there are two Lobo's in the universe, this new one and the old one, whom is supposedly an imposter. Knowing comic books as I do, the story is about to get ridiculous and I could give a shit really what happens. The classic Lobo just has the stayng power and the more unique look. This new guy is just a story plot to get fans interested again.
|Posted on September 8, 2013 at 7:25 AM||comments (0)|
Why Do I Torture Myself!?
Forever Evil #1
By Geoff Johns, David Finch & others
Did I read this because I'm a comic book addict? Do I subconsciously intend to torture myself? Why do I continue to pick up these kinds of comics? I must be stupid, that's the only logical reason.
First of all didn't DC do something like this just a few years ago, where the bad guys took over? Maybe that was a Marvel thing? Now I know with reading comics, suspension of disbelief has to be high, especially with superhero comics, but sometimes comics like Forever Evil #1 are so ridiculous, that they seem like they were created by a group of brain damaged individuals. After reading this, I have to assume writer Geoff Johns, the editors and the publisher of this comic are exactly that. Maybe they became brain damaged because they've read too many of their own awful books?
You know what? If I was 8 years old and not yet familiar with the pecularities of the real world I might dig this. Except it's obvious this was not written exclusively for kids. It's mood is way too serious and melodramatic for an adolescent to care for. So the fact this was intentionally written for 30-40 some dudes like myself, is pathetic.
What this comic is about is some alternate world evil duplicates of DC's most popular superheroes (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, etc) have come to the DC main universe and are going to take over the world or destroy it. That's the whole fucking plot. It's a plot for simpletons. If anyone who reads this review and then buys issue 2 is a complete fucking simple idiot. This is the lowest of comic book garbage, everyone involved with it's creation should be absolutely embarrassed.
This is How You Make A Once Cool Character Stupid
Justice League 23.1/Darkseid #1
by Grek Pak and others
We get a new origin for legendary villian Darkseid in this Forever Evil takeover of the Justice League comic and it's really comic booky stupid. Let me explain, Darkseid sneaks into the city of the old gods and while these gods sleep he whispers into their ears nasty lies which somehow incites a god war. Uh...ok, yeah that would work. Then when all the gods are almost dead, Darkseid with his spear stabs the gods as they die and absorbs their power somehow. The key being somehow, as he was just a regular ornery dude up to this point. So now we have our all familiar evil Darkseid.
Anyway, then the rest of the issue is just a recap of Darkseid's experiences in this new rebooted DC continuity, how he was beaten by the Justice League, how Superman is now his greatest foe and etc. I wasn't really paying attention to who the writer is, but when I noticed is was the same guy who gave us all those boringly tepid Hulk comics over at Marvel comics for so many years, it made sense. Greg Pak is the king of mediocre. I guess the heavy handed editors at DC comics probably had their hands all over this script, so I shouldn't be too harsh on Greg Pak, but this story reeked.
The art, meanwhile was just ok. The artists, were newcomers who did the best they could, but the style was still very firmly standard comic book stuff, nothing very exciting. I did for some reason really want to read this, as Darkseid I believe was one of the more interesting Jack Kirby creations, so my curiosity got the best of me and I gave this a read. Now I see that Kirby is probably rolling in his grave at the current state of being of one of his better creations. But getting worked up about fictional characters of pen and ink on paper is a waste of time. So onto the next review....
Back in Black & White Again
Batman: Black & White vol. 2 #1
Here's another round of short stories of the Batman and such illustrated entirely in black and white (and some gray) by some of the comic book industries best and brightest. I enjoyed the first volume released back in the 90's and I'm sure I will enjoy this newest volume even though issue 1 was a rough go at it.
There was really only one story that grabbed me in this issue and that was the one written by Chip Kidd and illustrated by Michael Cho. This little tale of Superman and Robin coming to Batman's rescue was a beautiful looking story. Michael Cho is an amazingly brilliant artist. Every single page in this short story was sheer comic book gorgeousness. Cho is mostly known for his illustrations seen on magazine and book covers, even though he has done a handful of indy comics. If only there was a world where superhero comics were this consistently gorgeous...
Sean Murphy provides a short little boring story basically an excuse for him to draw an ugly looking rectangle Batmobile. I love Sean's art and a chance for him to do Batman in black and white seemed like a no-brainer, but this story was super lackluster and spoiled the art for me.
The other stories by Neal Adams (just a reproduction of his pencils), Chris Samnee, Joe Quinones and whoever else did mostly nothing for me. But that first Michael Cho story was enough to carry this issue and make me eager for more.
Longer Ago and Farther Away
The Star Wars #1
By JW Rinzler, Mike Mayhew and others
Dark Horse Comics
Even though I've no use for Star Wars in these my older age days, I will always have a soft spot for Star Wars in my childlike heart. I loved Star Wars as a youth and while I've been mightily turned off by what is available Star Wars wise these days, I knew I had to check out this reworked story made from George Lucas' first screenplay for Star Wars. What I noticed first is how awesome the artwork is. I've known of Mike Mayhew, but I never knew he was this good. His art is fantastic on this! Was he always this good and I never noticed? Or did he just get so much better for this project? The reworked designs from the familiar Star Wars stuff is very cool and very well done by Mayhew. This guy is bringing it on this issue.
The story, meanwhile, is enchanting in the way that all those Elseworlds books DC used to publish were. Legendary mythos reworked in a different manner, with clever new twists, turns and such. In this Star Wars story, Luke Skywalker is still the hero of the whole thing, but is an old Jedi who looks a lot like a slimmer, buffer George Lucas. Luke is the General of the Rebel army and is trying to prepare his forces to take on the seemingly overpowering New Empire governed by a much less creepy Emperor. And like the familiar story, Jedi's are nearly extinct and in this story Luke has to rally his troops with or without Jedi help.
Of all the new takes on characters and settings, the one I like the most is Darth Vader. Upon looking at the cover for this, we all assumed that the evil masked dude with the red lightsaber was going to be Darth Vader. But, no, he gets cut in two within the first 7 pages by another Jedi. So while there's a lot of stuff different about this new/old Star Wars story, there's still plenty to recognize. The thing I wonder about the most is the rest of the story. There's a reason George Lucas abandoned this draft of the story and created the one we know and love. I've a feeling the finality of this story is going to be largely lacking, but nonetheless I will be reading.
|Posted on September 1, 2013 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
A Diamond in the Rough
All Star Western #23
by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Moritat
Finding a good comic out of the current stable of DC Comics is a hard thing to do week to week, but I'll be gol-darned if this comic wasn't a pleasant surprise (written with a cheesy southern drawl in mind)! I feel like an idiot for missing out on the previous 22 issues, because this issue #23 was one fine ass comic. I did read the Jonah Hex comic Palmiotti and Gray did under the previous DC hierarchy and while it was often times great, I gave this, basically, fresher version a pass, because I assumed it would be awful like everything else DC was publishing.
What we got in this issue, and I guess, has been going on for the past handful of issues is that Booster Gold travelled back in time and nabbed Jonah Hex, bringing him forward in time to our 21st century. The dichotomy of such an awkward old school bad ass like Jonah Hex caught in the webs and intrigue of our confusing modern world works like a charm. While to me, at first that seemed like an awful idea, but hell if Palmiotti and Gray haven't made it into something really interesting. The concept being what it is has given a chance to the writers to make some serious commentary on common occurences of our modern world as seen through the eyes of a man from long ago. To Jonah Hex, the polarizing nature of gay marriage, women's rights and gun control, show us just how far we've progressed and regressed at the same time.
The only problem I have with the concept is that they have Jonah Hex operating in Gotham City and Batman is slowly becoming heavily involved in the plot. I get why you would do something like this from a sales point of view and the idea of old school Jonah Hex meeting folks in pervert suits does seem like an interesting phenomenon, I would think Jonah Hex on his own without the involvement of the DC's favorite heroes and villians would be best. I could be wrong and I am willing to let Palmiotti and Gray show me how wrong I am, because these guys know how to write a comic book story.
The art by Moritat was a bit of a letdown though. I enjoyed his work on Elephantmen, but in this issue, he's obviously in a hurry and just throwing lines down on the paper either because he's behind deadline or just not into the story. I was expecting better from an artist whom I once regarded as very talented. Maybe he'll make up for it on a future issue, I'm not sure, but I will be picking up the next issue and probably the one after that if this series stays as good as this particular issue #23.
Bad Guys vs. Bad Guys
Thief of Thieves #16
By Andy Diggle, Shawn Martinbrough and others
I've been reading a lot of good things about this comic, but was wary of picking it up because the overall concept didn't excite me much, but this was a slow week collecting comics, so I weakened and grabbed this issue off the stands. And what do you know? Yeah, it's not my thing. The lead character of this comic is a criminal with a crew. A crew that likes to be bold and bad and steal what's thought to be unstealable. This issue, they want to steal a bunch of drugs right from under the noses of the biggest crime family in Italy.
I don't know, for me there's nothing to get invested in character wise. Maybe to see how these guys fail or succeed? Either way, they're not likeable characters. I guess for the same reason I'm not into the uber hip, uber popular show "Breaking Bad", I'm not into this comic. I can't root for bad guys being bad guys. Even if it is bold and brash and the writing and art is good. The writing on this by Andy Diggle is solid and I'm sure he has a lot of fans because of it. Well good for him. The art by Shawn Martinbrough is completely awesome. Many times I wish this was black and white, because Martinbrough is that kind of artist that is excellent with using shadows and heavy blacks in his work. At times the coloring was distracting and made the art worse for it's sake.
So while this was a well done comic, it's not my thing.
A Pretty and Ruthless Adventure
Amala's Blade #'s 1-4
By Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas
Dark Horse Comics
This was a mini that finished up a month or so ago and while it's never going to win awards for breakthrough comic or whatnot, it was a really gorgeous comic from a couple of gents I've never heard of. Michael Dialynas' artwork in particular is fucking gorgeous. From the sketchy, raw, flush and expressive line work, to the expert and moody coloring. This story really came to life with Michael Dialynas' work. If handled by someone less talented, I don't think Dark Horse would ever have published this.
The story involves a confused young woman who's become an assassin through some hard turns in life. But as the story plays out, she's aided by the ghosts of all the people whom she's killed for reasons unknown at first. The mystery as it turns out is that Amala is destined to stop all the war in the land and bring about peace. So the ghosts aid Amala in having this happen, even though it means she has to confront and kill her own mother.
So while the story is nothing entirely special, it was a fun read, especially with the gorgeous art from Michael Dialynas. Supposedly there will be more adventures of Amala soon enough, and as long as Michael Dialynas is on board with the art, I'll be picking it up.
|Posted on August 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM||comments (0)|
Topical, Pretty, Edgey, but it's Just a Thing
Brother Lono #3
By Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso
Spinning off from the 100 Bullets comic series which Azzarello and Risso (in the states at least) made their names, Brother Lono the comic stars one of the worst characters from that aforementioned comic series. I did not read all of 100 Bullets, but I read plenty to know that I did not like the Brother Lono character. He was an evil schmuck and I was surprised he did not come to an awful end when 100 Bullets finished. Well, maybe the reason he didn't come to an awful end is because Azzarello had this story in mind for him. I don't know, but supposedly according to this new solo comic series, Brother Lono is trying to change his ways. Unfortunately it's not going so well. Lono has established himself in a lonely town in Mexico and fashions himself the protector of a local church. Unfortunately local gang activity has found it's way to Brother Lono's footsteps and it's about to drag him face first into a bunch of hell. Like always.
So yeah, I have not read the previous two issues of this series, but I still got a good story in issue 3. I bet all six issues of this series read together will be even better. That gritty edge that Azzarello infuses into his 100 Bullets universe is very likeable. Plus Eduardo Risso's always consistently gorgeous mind-blowing artwork is a deep draw too. While I may not pick up the rest of this series in single issue format, I'm pretty damn sure I will end up reading the whole thing in collected form when that's available.
Self-Righteousness at a Snail's Pace
Thor #'s 1-11
By Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic
So the new Thor series started with an eleven issue story called "God Bomb". It was about a wicked alien dude who found a deadly weapon and out of twisted logic and spite went on a bend with the intention to kill all the gods in the universe. Thor's from 3 separate time periods ended up banding together to stop the evil dude and push home the point that Thor is a bad-ass.
That's the entire plot in a simple minded nutshell. It took eleven issues to tell that story. It really is basically a simple minded story. It's a rah-rah story too, effusing how cool Thor is, was and always will be. Which is fine and judging by these two threads which I am one of the few dissenters (Here and Here) many of the current Thor fans loved these past 11 issues. I did read all 11 issues, I did get hooked by the fact that I wanted to see how it ended. Now Esad Ribic's art is astounding, and that interminable wait through 11 issues was worth it for the gorgeous art alone. But to call this one of the great Thor stories of all time, is plain ridiculous.
I'm a Sucker For a Good Looking Cover
Doc Unknown #2
by Fabian Rangel jr., Ryan Cody and others
Beyond the appealing image on the cover we are given one of the most generic comic stories of all time. This story coulda been published in the 40's, the 70's, but nope it was published this week, this month of this year. The plot...a white dude gets lost in the Himalayan mountains, finds a super secret hidden temple, is taught the ways of the mystical monks inside, gains awesome knowledge, becomes a superhero named Doctor Unknown and battles Nazi's during WW2. Whoa! How original!
I bought this comic, I can't believe I did so. It was only a dollar, but still, what a waste of money, ugh. The art by Ryan Cody is solid, it's in that ever popular digital comic only psuedo Bruce Timm style, but beyond that, this comic does nothing for anyone, except masturbate the fantasies of it's creators. C'mon people, you gotta do better than this.
A Touch of Cool Smothered by a Whole Lot of Lame
The Mysterious Strangers #'s 1 & 2
By Chris Roberson, Mike Kowalchuk & others
I'm wondering if writer Chris Roberson is a huge fan of the old Doom Patrol and this is a heady be-bop homage to that old superhero group, or he's unaware and this just reads like a poor man's retread? This is an attractive comic with Mike Kowalchuk's art and Dan Jackson's colors, but as an entire book it's weak and the fact that this reads like such a Doom Patrol channeling, I can't give it a good review. The one thing I require most in comics is originality and this comic has very little. Plus the over the top Austin Powers-esque be-bop go-go settings are annoying. This is that type of comic that is trying so hard to be hip that instead it just ends up being dumb.
I mean the art, again is nice to look at. It's not great art by any fashion, but it's simplicity and plainess are attractive, especially with the appropriate simple coloring. So far Chris Roberson has scored a complete zero on my scorecard. I've now read 5 different series he's the captain on and not liked a single one. It's about time I stop reading his books, I think.
|Posted on August 21, 2013 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
There's a good debate going on over at the ever-awesome The Comics Beat blog about Avatar Press' use of "Torture" variants on their CROSSED comic series.
The covers in question are quite repulsive each in their own way. What say you?
In my opinion they're quite disgusting and I would never own one, but I understand that censoring this kind of shit is not the way to go either.
I mean if you own one or more of these, would you show them to anyone? Your mother, girlfriend/wife, kids or neighbors? No. Because outside your "boys" anyone near their right mind would think you're a fucking sicko and to be avoided. So this is something you keep to yourself and whip out every now and again to get a sick thrill. Sure you might never replicate the things depicted in these images, but there is a definite disconnect in your mind when it comes to your relationship with other people. This opinion comes from knowing some dudes who love this kind of thing. There's a little something wrong with them and deep down they probably know it too. I don't know them well enough to know what happened to them to have this sort of disconnect and in a way I don't want to know.
End of rant.
|Posted on August 19, 2013 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
Acclaimed Illustrator/Artist James Jean is now basically broke. After years of battling through a divorce, Jean is basically as poor as me. Check out this interview for full info.
James Jean came to prominence illustrating the covers for the comic "FABLES" from DC comics. The thought that a magnificent artist like this was drained financially is heartbreaking. Fortunately being as talented as he is, there's hope that his work will one day re-generate his finances.
|Posted on August 18, 2013 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
I'm Getting Tired of End of the World Scenario's
By Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung & others
Infinity: Against the Tide Infinite #1
By Jason LaTour, Agustun Alesso & Others
So the next great Marvel Comics event rolls out with two very interesting debuts. Infinity #1 is the flagship, while Against the Tide Infinite #1, starring the Silver Surfur is a digital only release. The main story is about Thanos attacking Earth yet again, while the Avengers go to space to battle The Builders who were introduced in Hickman's Avengers run. These Builders it seems are razing planet after planet mysteriously and eventually plan on coming to Earth. So the Avengers form a pre-emptive strike to stop the Builders before they come anywhere close to Earth. The main twist is that Thanos will attack Earth while it's greatest defenders are out in space far off planet.
Plus you've got some intrigue with the Inhumans which is only hinted at. Supposedly Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans holds deep in his head the secret thing which Thanos really wants. Whatever that thing is, Thanos is willing to once again battle all of Earth for it.
And possibly the most important thing to happen in this issue brings sad news to any fans who ever hoped for a return of Rom the Spaceknight. These evil Builder characters the Avengers want to fight, completely destroyed the remaining Spaceknights and their entire planet of Galador. We got to see a handful of familiar Spaceknights, even one Spaceknight who had the box shape torso reminiscent of Rom himself. Rom the Spaceknight was one of my first comics I ever bought, so while I realize now what a lame character he was, I still have a fondness for him and his Spaceknight continuity. So to see it all go down in flames in this issue made me kinda sad.
As for Against the Tide Infinite #1 starring the Silver Surfer, I knew I would pick it up as soon as I saw Jason LaTour's name attached to it. While he doesn't do any art on this issue, his story is solid. The Silver Surfer battles these evil Builder robots on a Skrull outpost planet and does some serious damage. There wasn't much else to the story, but I will pick up the next to see what happens.
So all in all this was a good beginning to yet another major Marvel crossover event. While I'm sure it's gonna get stupid soon enough, I liked how it began and can see myself picking up the next few issues for the hell of it.
What is the Target Audience for This?
The Reason For Dragons
By Chris Northrop & Jeff Stokely
This is one of those very pretty, but very shallow stories. Jeff Stokely's art is a mash-up of Mark Crilley and Sean Murphy in my opinion. He's good, very good and this is a good looking book, but the story is nothing. I mean it tries to be deep with a kid and his step-father angle, but it's so inconsequential to the story it blows right over.
The plot is silly also. A boy meets a crazy guy who thinks he's a real knight after some brain trauma. They end up battling a real weird ass dragon who comes from some other realm. No explanation on how or why that happens, it just does. When the crazy knight guy and little kid destroy the dragon it opens a portal into a dimension from medieval times. The knight passes through and end of story.
I mean if this was squarely aimed at the 5-8 year old crowd, I can kinda understand. But this is an Archaia Comics, handsomely bound graphic novel. Maybe it's aimed at teens...maybe? I don't know, nonetheless, beyond the pretty art, it did nothing for me. Maybe because I'm a jaded near 40 year old man who's read way too many comics?
A Long Journey Inside Creativity
The Long Journey
This has been making the rounds of late, but I took my time getting to it as the previews didn't catch my interest in any particular way. But it's a free webcomic of the down scroll variety, which in my mind is the best way to read a webcomic, and I knew I was going to read it eventually since it's been recommended and hyped so highly all over the internet.
And well, it's not bad. I liked it. Not as much as many out there who hyped it up. It's definitely creative and a fun read. It's a silly rambling state of conscious type of comic where literally the artist is falling through a myriad of realms, worlds and states of unconscious. It's illustrated in that currently trendy retro-pixelated style made popular by games like Minecraft, which is fun. There's no deep plot or moral to the story, it's more rather whatever popped into the artists head at the time of creation. So while it starts with Nazi's living below the Earth, we end up visiting a variety of realms with mermaids, aliens, dinosaurs, glowing mushrooms and even the Devil himself.
I've seen other work by Boulet which I've liked much more, but I have to give it up to him on this webcomic idea. It's heads and above more creative than a vast majority of other webcomics. I would recommend this comic for sure, especially on a lazy day when you have a few minutes to waste sitting in front of a computer.
|Posted on August 13, 2013 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
The Original script for Star Wars by George Lucas is being turned into a comic book. At first glance it looks pretty good. It's decidedly different from the Star Wars we all know and love/hate.
|Posted on August 11, 2013 at 7:20 AM||comments (0)|
New Origins, Less of an Impact
By Chris Metzen, Flint Dille & Livio Ramondelli
Monstrosity is the follow up to the successful and quite awesome Autocracy mini-series which detailed the (new) beginnings of the Autobot/Decepticon war. Monstrosity follows the timeline directly from Autocracy and gives us a bunch of new origins, plots and character re-introductions. Unfortunately the sticking point with this newest series is that Monstrosity just isn't as interesting as Autocracy. Monstrosity largely focuses on the beast and/or monster characters in the Transformer universe. As a plot point it's hard to give a proper reasoning or origin for these dinosaur, insect and monster like Transformers without just coming out and saying it was a sales promotion tool for selling products to kids once upon a time. So when writers stretch the story trying to find a reasonable explanation why some Transformers look like dinosaurs it falls flat or looks desperate. That's what happens here.
So this mini-series tries to give a newer more "reasonable" origin to the Dynobots (yeah they're not the Dinobots anymore) and other monster like characters in the early Transformer universe. Originally the Dynobots were created by Shockwave and adapted to look like Dinosaurs when Shockwave crash landed on Earth millions of years ago, but in this new updated Transformer continuity the Dynobots took on Dinosaur/beast like forms in adaptation to semi-organic monster like creatures that were attacking them. Supposedly the only way of surviving some battle with these beast characters was adapting forms similar to them and sneaking away. The story doesn't tell us how these monster creatures came to be on a mettalic robot filled world like Cybertron, but nonetheless that's the new story.
We are also re-introduced to the big heavy Trypticon, another robot shaped like a dinosaur. No explanation is given as to why he looks like that, the Autobots were just too busy running around trying not to get squashed by him. And in a very poor writing or editorial decision they decide not to have Metroplex who's cozy with the Autobots right now, battle Trypticon. In the story he's too low on energon to be of any help and stays in his city mode rather than transform into giant robot battle mode and duke it out with Trypticon. Now, I'm old enough to remember when Metroplex and Trypticon came out originally as toys and they were indeed released simultaneously. The one kid I knew who's parents bought him everything, bought him both these toys and it was awesome to pretend battle these giant robots.
To say I was disappointed by this mini-series is correct, after loving it's predecessor mini-series so much, I was expecting better. The art by Ramondelli is still awesome. It's still some of the best Transformer art I've ever seen, but the story was too loosey-goosey and any of the impact points seemed superfluous.
Making the Ridiculous Even More Ridiculous
The Bunker #1
By Joshua Hale Fialkov & Joe Infurnari
If you like heavy angsty melodrama so cheesy, you can't roll your eyes fast enough, then this book is for you. Our main characters are left messages in a secret mysterious bunker beneath the ground by their future selves. Supposedly one of the characters will cause 98% of all human life to die. But the twist is that instead of leaving cryptic messages for their past selves to stop the impending doom they cause, they really want them to go ahead with it because supposedly it's actually the best thing in the end run. Der!
Ok, whatever, this is silly stuff even for a comic book. I can't imagine anyone getting hyped about more of this comic. It's just way too cheesy. The art by Joe Infurnari is good though, he's got a great easy to read black and white smudgy style, that's a mix of realism and cartoony special effect-ness. Other than pretty good art, there's not much here that would ever get me to read another issue.
Do 45 Year Olds Really Take This Seriously?
Phantom Stranger #11: Trinity of Sin
By JM DeMattieis & Fernando Blanco
Recently comic artist extraordinaire Paul Pope said head of DC Comics once told him that DC create comics mainly for 45 year old men. Believe that or not, it's up to you, but I believe Paul Pope is a stand up guy and knowing DC comics like I do, I whole heartily believe this is what Dan Didio thinks and wants. What a lame-o. With that in mind, the juvenility of most DC Comics shocks me. It shocks me because they imagine that the 45 year old male audience that they are targeting are all angsty simple minded teen boy childs stuck in grown men's bodies. Phantom Stranger #11 is written by a 50 something JM DeMatteis who's written a lot of clever stories in his day, yet this particular issue, driven by DC's current summer blockbuster is not clever or entertaining at all. It's very boringly written. I'm assuming editorial had a heavy hand in this issues story as the mediocrity of this sort is not something I'm familiar with from a JM DeMatteis story. There's a faint hint that he wrote it, but most of this issue is boring staid ho-hum fare.
The Phantom Stranger takes Batman, Deadman and Katana to Heaven to seek out the dead Dr. Light. They want to bring him back to life to clear Superman's good name, but they are stopped by a pack of heavenly angels and Phantom Stranger is seemingly eliminated for good. That's the main plot, add a bunch of boring drivel and banter between characters and this is what you have for this issue. I don't know, I have to stop reading bad comics like this. I really do.
Just Doing It
By Box Brown
This was published in 2012, but my reading relationship with Box Brown is so hit or miss that I tend to let many of his books slide until I've nothing else to read. I shouldn't have let this one slide so long, because it was awesome. It's not the kind of book that will land itself in the halls of literature's finest, but it's so direct and emphemeral that it's nothing short of awesome. The title says it all. Tim, the main character of this short story likes fat chicks. He dreams about them and when given the chance to fuck 'em he does so. There's nothing more to this comic than that. But Box Brown's style is so cheesily crafty, his humor so base, that this comic comes off as one of the boldest comics I've read. It's right there with "Paying For It" by Chester Brown. The balls on these guys is astounding. Writing about fucking fat chicks without satire is ballsy. Now I got to get to reading more Box Brown books, I'm sure I'm missing out on some other greatness of his.
Finding That Balance
The Private Eye #3
By Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin
Name your own price for this comic people. How do you turn that down? It's the sales model of the future, I'm telling you. Buy it, it's worth at the very least your 50 cents that you'd otherwise waste on something somewhere.
I loved the debut issue of this comic, despite not being heavy fans of either of these two creators. Issue 2 was a little slow and tepid for my tastes, but issue 3 ratchets up the intensity again. Our main character is a private eye and he's gotten involved in the mysterious case of a couple of sisters either dead or about to be dead. Why these two women are being hunted is the central mystery and our private eye is determined to figure it out, at the cost of his own life even. What I like about this story is it's edgy relevancy. It's set in the future, but the ideas of identity and privacy which figure at the forefront of this drama hit home considering what is currently happening in our own modern world.
In this comic, people wear false identities. Literally wearing fanciful masks to guard their identities and remain anonymous or as a defense against life hackers. Brian K. Vaughn has always been a plugged in writer, but for some reason this particular story I find more enjoyable than others he has done. Maybe it's the fact that it's almost free and as long as it's even slightly entertaining, I can give him and Marcos Martin praise? I don't know, but if you're not picking this book up, you're missing out. Give this a try for 50 some odd cents, it's well worth it.
|Posted on August 4, 2013 at 7:50 AM||comments (0)|
Too Many Drugs Are Bad For You
Batman Incorporated #'s 12 & 13
By Grant Morrison & Chris Burnham
Yeesh, what a couple of issues. It's got all the good of a Grant Morrison project and all the bad. I've been avoiding Morrison's superhero stuff because I feel what makes Grant Morrison great is habitually hampered by this genre. Especially of characters who are logjammed by a lot of bad stereotypes and history. So while I enjoyed his All-Star Superman, his Batman books I've largely avoided. These two issues are exactly why.
The story wants to spill off the page into the bizarre, but Grant reins it back in because he has to. It's just the nature of the character and property he's dealing with. Batman is a great superhero character, but there's only so much you can do with him. There are limits. It's inherent. Having not read issues 1-11, I'm assuming these two issues are the climax of story that has been percolating in the past 11 issues. Talia Al Ghul thinks she has Batman and Gotham City right where she wants them. Batman and his Batmen partners (I'm honestly not sure who they all are, having not kept up on my Batman continuity of late) do everything they can to stop a torrent of violence and doom, but it seems like it's all for nought. Talia has Batman trapped in the Batcave and is about to kill him, when a deus ex machina walks in the door. Another character, Kathy Kane, secret agent of some kind, shoots Talia dead before she can do Batman in.
Even with all those surreal psychedelic frilly frills Grant Morrison incorporated into this story, it's still your basic Good Guy beats Bad Guy story. One with that oh so special Deus Ex Machina to save the day. I figured Grant was above that awful storytelling device, but I guess not. The art by Chris Burnham is just ok. He does his best Frank Quitely imitation, but when he goes off style is when I think the art suffers the most. He's not a great artist, and I realize the only reason he's doing this book is because he does a Frank Quitely imitation. I guess you do what you gotta do to draw a paycheck.
So whatever my critiques may be, this is one of DC's best selling books and so obviously a lot of people like what this book is about. I will give it it's props as despite my problems with the book, it is better than a bunch of books DC are currently publishing.
If I Took a Lot of Drugs Before Reading This, Would it Have Been Better?
By Simon Oliver, Robbi Rodriguez and others
Set in some near future, where gravity fluctuations are more and more the norm. The FBP or Federal Bureau of Physics are government agents who deal with these gravity fluctuations which are distorting time and space. Writer Simon Oliver sets us up with this decent premise, but doesn't give us much more to chew on. The characters are random, the story plots are largely weak and I don't give a damn for anything that's happened in this first issue. It's a very weak introduction to a brand new series. There's no way this series succeeds with a pace like this. Either it's gotta pick it up fast or this book will end up cancelled very soon.
Though I will add, the cover to this is bad ass. An amazing cover. Interior artist Robbi Rodriguez is ok, nothing spectacular. The coloring to this is flat and bright, almost neon in places and it stood out too much to me. When ugly computer coloring stands out this vividly, that means it's bad. Coloring should assist the artist, not overlap their hard work.
This wasn't a very good debut, in my opinion.
The Definition of Solid, But Never Anything More
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #1
By Peter Hogan, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story and others
I've never been a big fan of this property and character, even when Alan Moore was writing this. It was creative and slightly interesting, but I always thought Alan Moore played this series too straight. Maybe that was the point, but I personally prefer stuff a little odder (Promethea for example). So now that Moore is long gone from this series, long time Tom Strong/Terra Obscura writer Peter Hogan has taken over and is giving us more of the same. Hogan's Terra Obscura books were a little odder than the regular Tom Strong series, but still nothing that really kept me interested. With this new series Hogan's once again returning to Terra Obscura as Tom Strong needs to find an antidote to save his daughter from certain death.
Chris Sprouse's art is a great example of completely solid, but never too attractive comic book art. He has a unique style, but it's closer to boring than outstanding in my opinion. Yet it fits this book perfectly, and there's no one who draws this character better.
Like Being the Only One at the Party Not On Acid
Rachel Rising #18
By Terry Moore
I read the first issue of this series, but not any of the issues inbetween because I wasn't too impressed. So I decided to check back in to see if it's gotten any better and whoa! Obviously I've missed a lot. This issue was a bombardment of weirdness. I have absolutely no idea what is going on, but that's ok. Obtruse weirdness like this works in it's own way. Obviously popping into the storyline at this point would be bewildering for anyone. Despite that, the mysterious menace perpetuating this issues story has me eager for more. The first few pages about some sort of gods/goddesses/spirits at work is tantalizingly dark. The rest of the issue about some child who's been picked out by some creepy priest as some sort of divine killer is not as interesting, but also weird as hell.
I think I like this. The only problem I might have is the fact that some of the pages are almost terribly amateurishly drawn. Moore was never the best artist to begin with, but his skills seemed to have diminished greatly recently. Or maybe he's rushing the pages? I don't know, but despite the distraction of poorly executed art, this was an interesting story. I will be reading more of this for sure.
|Posted on August 1, 2013 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
A Festival of Experimental Comics and Narrative Arts
August 22-25, 2013 Portland, Oregon
The Projects brings together experimental artists from comics, animation, and other narrative arts for a four-day festival of workshops, exhibitions, panels, performances, projections, collaborative projects, and intensive creative mayhem! Guest artists each have a small space to curate however they please and visitors are invited to join in the fray.
The festival is a free event, oriented toward creative process, idiosyncratic expression, and inspiration, leaving behind the flat model of comics as commerce.
|Posted on July 28, 2013 at 9:15 AM||comments (0)|
My Inner 13 Year Old Loves This
Justice League Dark #22
By Jeff Lemire, Mikel Janin & others
This issue is a part of the upcoming Trinity War, DC's newest company wide crossover and while I don't know much what the crossover is supposed to be about, this particular issue has me slightly interested. Writer Jeff Lemire whips up (with heavy DC editorial help, I'm sure) a somewhat intriguing melange of plots starring all of DC's favorite characters. As a 30 something man, who's read comics for about 20 of those years, this doesn't really catch me as anything I haven't seen before. If I was a new reader, a new teenage reader I might be all into this though, as Jeff brings out the best in these well known fictional characters. We all are aware of their silly superhero tropes, their powers, etc. and even the tried and true plot line of heroes dealing once again with the ramifications of heavy evil threatening the world gets real old after awhile, but if I was a new young reader, this kinda comic book might seem pretty cool. As a long time comic book reader though, it's more of the ho-hum variety. It was a pleasant read, but nothing too astounding.
I kinda like how they've incorporated a lot of the supernatural and mystery DC characters into this regular DC universe. I mean John Constantine still stands out as if he doesn't belong, but the others (Black Orchid, Madame Xanadu, Phantom Stranger) fit in pretty good, giving us some perspective when the stories are dominated by idealistic heroes like Superman and Batman.
The art is well done by Mike Janin, it's fitting for a "dark" or offbeat superhero book. While I probably won't go anywhere near the regular Justice League books, I may just have to check in on this one once in awhile.
Yet Another Struggling Indy Comic Writer Sells Out
The Hunger #1
By Joshua Hale Fialkov, Leonard Kirk and others
This is a mini-series directly related to the recent Ultron War story from Marvel. I did not read Ultron War. All I know is, most of the people that read it said it sucked. I don't know personally, but from reading this particular comic, I kinda already know what Ultron War was about. It seems Marvel Comics is re-booting their universe. Which is fine, DC has done it about 12 times already, it's about time Marvel did it. Especially considering the successful line of movies based on their comics, which has switched up the thinking on their long standing properties.
Ok so what happens in this issue is, Galactus switches over to the Marvel Ultimate Universe and combines with that universes version of Galactus (see pict above). If anything, it's now obvious the Warren Ellis version of Galactus really did kinda suck. Nothing beats a big purple planet eating giant. What will happen next in this series is probably kinda predictable. Bye-Bye Ultimate Universe.
Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov was previously known as a semi-successful comics writer. I've read a handful of his books before and while none have stood out particularly well to me, I never thought he'd jump ship to write cheesy Marvel comic book stories. I mean many better indy comics writers have done so in the past, so I can't blame him for chasing the dollars, I may too if I was in his situation, but the cheesy intro/monologue of his at the end of the story, was way over the line. Have some respect dude.
Nice Little Piece of Nothing
By Joe Hill & Vic Malhotra
This is not bad for a short little piece of drama. I'm not interested in reading the next issue, but for a single issue of entertainment, Thumbprint #2 was a decent read. I liked this mostly because I didn't need to have read issue one, which I hadn't. What Joe Hill gives us is the story of a woman after her time in the military and how someone is fucking with her and it's slowly driving her crazy. It's a good story for what it is. The plot is of course a little more involved than that one sentence I just gave you, but that's the basic gist of things.
The art by Vic Malhotra is ok, it reminds me of a couple different guys, but just not as good. I don't know if by the end of this story it will add up to anything lasting or resounding, but I've read a lot of far worse comics.
Pretty, but Dull. Not Talking About a Woman.
Motorcycle Samurai #0
By Chris Sheridan
This is only a preview of a longer graphic novel debuting later this year and while I shouldn't make a final judgement on only a preview issue, I'm not too impressed by what I've seen so far. Motorcycle Samurai # 0 is about a lone bad ass chick in a skull mask transporting a criminal across desert wastelands on her hog. She runs into a group of other bad ass sword carrying chicks in masks and they fight. Ho-hum. Seen it before.
The art by Chris Sheridan is nice, very spastically cartoony, with nice coloring, but nice art in service to what is quickly becoming an irritatingly tiring genre doesn't do anything for me. Maybe I need to see more? Possibly, but the preview gives you the gist of the story and I have no interest in that gist.