Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reviews: The Darkness #96, Brody's Ghost One Shot, Planet of the Apes #9

The Darkness 96 (Image Comics)

Phil Hester has been writing the Darkness for a few years now. And I have really been enjoying the title. When he announced a while ago that he was going to be leaving the Darkness I was more than a little bummed out. But it looks like Phil is going out in style.
Issue 96 is the start of his final arc on the book. Jackie Esticado, the bearer of the Darkness, has done the unthinkable in order to confront the entity behind his powers. Jackie now in the realm of the Darkness must travel and battle his way through an unfamiliar world to confront the entity that is the Darkness.

The art in this issue is where the book really shines. Almost the entire book is silent. Romano Molenaar, does a great job of showing us what Jackie is feeling as he goes through an unfamiliar landscape. Being able to tell a silent story is hard to do, and doing it and having the reader not feel cheated after reading it is even harder. Molenaar handles it like the pro that he is. Never did I feel like I was breezing through the book just to get to the end. Molenaar has a great eye for storytelling, and the action in the book is done particularly well.


Brody's Ghost One Shot (Dark Horse Comics)

Mark Crilley makes some fun comics. His newest series Brody's Ghost is no exception. If you have not checked out the two volumes of the series that has come out so far, do your self a favor and get them. It will help you enjoy this one shot even more.
Brody's Ghost is the story of Brody who it turns out, unbeknownst to him, that he can see ghosts and posses some psychic powers. He meets the ghost of a girl, Talia, and he is tasked with finding a serial killer. Which will help her move on. Which he is first reticent to do, being that he is a depressed slacker, but in the end relents and gets some training by another ghost, Kagemura, the ghost of a long dead samurai.
This one shot, is s series of short stories, that while entertaining don't provide too much forward momentum to the story. Each story has some action as well as a bit of comedy, some more so than others. The first story is about a train mugging that Brody interrupts. The second story is more dramatic, as Brody attempts to discover the identity of the serial killer by visiting the ally where one of his victims was killed. The third is a tale of Brody's training in the psychic arts, and the final story, probably the most comedic, revolves around Brody's friend and how Brody's mission can get in the way of hanging out with friends.
Mark Crilley's has a slight manga feel to his art. Which if you are familiar with his other work should come as no surprise. His expressions are fantastic and his backgrounds are detailed, which seems to be a rarity these days in comics. Mike has fashioned a world in two short graphic novels and this one shot. I recommend people check it out if they have any interest in fun action comics with a some supernatural elements thrown in, and some nice interpersonal drama tossed in for good measure.


Planet of the Apes 9 (Boom Studios)

This book is filled with political intrigue, apes, and air ships. If that doesn't get your motor running, I don't know what will.
This new Planet of the Apes series has been a favorite of mine from the start. Taking place many years before the original Charlton Heston movie. It tells the story of how the apes came to make the humans a subservient race. A bloody civil war is being fought, ape vs man, and if you look at the name of the book, you can tell who is winning.
The thing I like about this book, is that even though you know that some point in the future the humans are going to loose. You are still riveted and want to hope that some how the humans can come out on top.
Issue 9 is another great issue that moves the plot forward and gives us hints as to what the future holds for our band of human and ape characters. The interplay between Alaya and Sullivan, two sisters, one ape and one an adopted human, was the highlight of the issue for me. Bako and his band of human resistance fighters make a desperate move against some apes that I know will be felt in the next issue or two of the book.
The art in the book by Carlos Magno is great. He captures the ape look and manages to keep faces different enough that you have no problem following which ape is which. That in and of it self is a feat. The way he depicts the action is fast and fluid. I never got lost following anything that was going on. Daryl Gregory has been crafting this story superbly and I hope that he and Mango are around for a long time, giving us glimpses into the lives of apes and humans.

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