Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Steven's Reviews: Morning Glories, Bionic Woman, X-0 Manowar and MORE!

Debris #2
Alright so we open with a fight scene with a new kind of Umbral.  A very aggressive human/dog hybrid, think Egyptian God and you’ve pretty much got the idea.  They are kinda cool I have to admit Riley did a nice job designing them.
            So when last we left her she had trained a group of people from her tribe to defend it, her mentor had passed away and she left in search of a new clean water source.  And that brings us pretty much up to date on her going ons.
            After the battle with the Umbrals a sand storm is approaching quickly and she needs to find shelter.  She finds herself inside a building with an actual working light bulb.  I loved her reaction to it too I mean she’s never seen this kind of technology before and the dialogue was actually really good here.  She also meets a new player in the game, Kestrel. 
            We get a good deal of information about Kestrel here too and that I appreciate greatly.  I still no next to nothing about this world they live in and that is driving me crazy so it is nice that we get this kind of background on him.  He was excommunicated though the tribe says he fled in disgrace, I love how two parties have two totally different views on the same event.  He even dated and was in love with her mentor. 
            That love I think led him to actually help on her quest to find the fabled city.  I like that she isn’t going to be traveling alone and that a companion is good for talking and revealing a characters persona.  The fact that he knew her as a small child doesn’t hurt either.  So whether she thinks so or not there is a connection there which begs to be explored.
            Umbra are something special and I’d like to know how they are created.  The pair are followed by a pack of these more aggressive ones we saw though they leave rather unexpectedly around a lake.  Okay now I have a question no one passed down knowledge on how to purify water or boil it in copper to remove impurities?  Kestrel knows about electricity apparently but can’t make drinking water?  This seems more than a little strange to me and hopefully will be made clear as things continue on.  Though I do rather think that they found another Colossus rather quickly all things considered.
            I will grudgingly admit that this issue was better than the first and this is the reason why we continue to read stories by those with good track records because inevitably they do impress.  
Morning Glories #21
Image Comics 2010
Nick Spencer: Words
Joe Eisma: Art
Alex Sollazzo: Colours
            Four years ago the first group of kids heads off to the Academy.  This is important not only for Jun/Hisao’s boyfriend is among them but also because it gives valuable background information on the one who killed Zoe.
            Hunter is scared and he should be because the girl who killed Zoe grazes his leg with a bullet to stop him from running away.  This is craziness people I mean child soldiers fighting a war that we don’t know anything about.  Which by the way is one of the more intriguing aspects of this book as well. 
            In one issue Nick manages to give some absolutely fantastic back story to these new characters while simultaneously continuing the story in the present seemingly uninterrupted.  It is issues such as this one that show just why this man has been able to garner so much attention in his career.  Just the sheer amount of information given and delivered in such a way that you don’t realize just how much is being given is hard to do and so few pages as well.  It really is rather impressive when you go through and catalog like I have what is being given.
            Even more impressive is that I’m still almost completely in the dark with what this faction’s purpose is.  I have no idea what the Academy is grooming the kids for what role our featured class really plays or why Abraham started his own faction to counteract what is being done here.  Yet I’m still glued to each issue as it comes out eagerly soaking it up and looking for any clues given.
              Irina is certainly hardcore and it seems that the Academy has only hardened her more.  I think having Hisao and the others around her will allow for her to soften up a bit and become more of a relatable character.  I have to say that her experience downstairs in the cellar was almost the polar opposite of Casey’s and that in itself really showed what this girl is made of and I have to say I’m mightily impressed.
            So the ceremony was a double edged event.  Something to keep Hisao from but to motivate him to help the others and it is also something that is meant to happen apparently.  Thankfully from the looks of things the sacrifice will be a goat from the looks of things.
            We are almost at the end of the two year mark for this book and I have to say it’s just as exciting today as I found it when it debuted and that is a pretty rare feat these days.  While it may be a tad more violent than anticipated I’d love to see someone take a crack at putting this on the small screen as weekly series I wonder if FX or AMC would be up for such a challenge. 
Prophecy #3
Dynamite Entertainment 2012
Ron Marz: Writer
Walter Giovani: Artist
Adriano Lucas: Colourist
            Any book that can open with Sherlock Holmes solving a crime is going to be a good book and this is no exception.  How do you make it even better you have Sherlock discover that Alan Quartermain isn’t dead and has the Mayan Dagger from the first issue that’s how.  I mean he’s going to be a nice part of this story without even having to interact with all the characters while they are in the midst of battle and it freakin works!
            Ron is telling the story his way and it’s a way that he’s proven works time and time again.  The man is a master story teller and he’s managing to weave all these seemingly unconnected characters into a story that seems as natural as can be.
            Back to that dagger, which seems to be a key player in this story another interesting aspect you probably weren’t expecting.  Kulan has the dagger in the present (2012) and is using it call forth Mayan Avatars of destruction to be his servants.  Red Sonja of course is the first to leap into battle; her mortal enemy is behind all this.  What I found interesting is that these warriors given time could indeed take these avatars.  Though at this point in time that wouldn’t do for story telling purposes I mean this is a seven issue series after all.
            Kulan and his avatars disappear and the team must find a way to find them and stop them.  Who came up with the goods this time around, Herbert West did.  Yes the re-animator with his copy of the Necronomicon has found a way, working alongside Athena to get where each of them needs to go.  This process is kind of you find yourself where you are, you don’t get to pick whom you face, but it works.  Go on ahead West you are finally proving you are player in this drama and that is lovely.
            There are plenty of wonderful moments here that unexpected, expected and still things that you now want to see happen.  It’s the mark of a good story teller that after reading this issue you wish you were able to read more of it right away.  It doesn’t hurt that the artwork is pretty stellar to boot, both together could definitely push this into mini-series of the year contention.
The Bionic Woman #3
Dynamite Entertainment 2012
Paul Tobin: Writer
Leno Carvalho: Artist
Mark Roberts: Colourist
            Jamie Summers isn’t playing around, when she wants information she damn well gets it come hell or high water.  She isn’t afraid, timid, shy or any of that she’s an extremely competent operative who loves her new role in life and thrives in it as well.  The opening sequences has some of the most incredibly fun dialogue I’ve seen or imagined we’d get in this title and more importantly it brought a huge smile to my face.
            Jamie and Nora can easily put Thelma and Louise to shame my friends to shame!  They are two bored old housewives compared to these two.  Holy Jumpin Jehosephat are these two women so darn much fun to see operate.  I also love how this series seems to be making them out to be more agents in the field than say the Bionic Man is.  It really gets to have more of a that Bourne kind of feel to it where they do their thing and you know something big is coming but you still enjoy seeing how it all unfolds.
            This story was simply stunningly told.  Paul just reveals so many things in such wonderful ways.  Both with the dialogue and in the actions they take really do define this version of Jamie.  Not only is she as far from a school teacher as she can possibly get but she’s portrayed as the incredibly strong confident more than capable woman.  So we do learn that during her bionic replacements she lost much of her memory of who she was so this really is a clean slate and her actions are well her own at this stage in her life and I love that she is willing to do what she needs to, to accomplish her goals. 
            Leno is doing some incredibly good work here, I’m sorry to say this is my introduction to his work, as far as I know.  Still it compliments the words incredibly well and the action sequences as well as the stagnant ones are all very strong and powerful as she is now.
            Also I have to admit that much like the original television shows this book is so much better than his.  I have no idea why this trend is continuing but it is and I have to say I’m not upset by in the least.
Hellraiser #17
Boom Studios 2010
Written by Clive Barker & Mark Miller
Art by Janusz Ordon, Marcio Henrique & Giovanni P. Timpano
Colours by Vladimir Popov
            Okay uhm well hello there Captain Elliott Spencer with your nice hard hairy body and that nice uncut weewee.  Seriously he is portrayed as a seriously handsome man here, yes he’s depraved but wow and kudos to Boom for going the extra mile and making this tastefully sensual.  I wasn’t expecting nudity and really wasn’t expecting to see him but I applaud this I mean men get the short straw when it comes to being shown full frontal and wow I just can’t say how much I appreciated what you’ve done here.
            Unfortunately my preview copy was only ten pages but I’ll give ya this I am so ready to read the rest of the story.  This was one of the most perfect teasers I’ve had the pleasure of seeing to date. 
            So let’s get to what was in those ten pages shall we.  See we left with Elliott ready to turn the world into his playground and the world’s governments aren’t capable of stopping him.  We open however with what looks like Kirsty with a baby in arms coming too in his dreams and then finds herself in his bedroom as he wakes up.  So we don’t for sure if this is a dream within a dream kind of thing but you sure as hell want to know.  See this is why I am in love with this series because what you see is so seriously messed up it’s like that train wreck you can’t turn away from because you are just too captivated.  Only this is that way because you have no idea what is going to happen next and while some things are incredibly odd and off or really rather sadistic you still have to know what is going on.
            This is like comic book crack for me.  Everything about this book works in such harmony and unison that overall it continues to be a must read title each and every month.
Higher Earth #4
Boom Studios 2012
Created & Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Francesco Bagini
Colours by Andrew Crossley
            After the crazy ending last issue I wondered if things could any more bizarre.  Naturalmont it could and predictably it did and I loved every single minute of it!
            To be honest I wasn’t expecting to get such a comprehensive lesson on how the Earths all work together with Higher Earth being the center of it all.  It really helped and fit so naturally into the story at this time that I shouldn’t have been surprised by it but I still was.  I kind of expected to slowly unravel some things about how it all worked in relation to all the Earths but this was awesome. 
            I guess it helped that Rex lost an arm and was bleeding out profusely and on the verge of death.  In that condition if you are wondering how he was able to give Hiedi the history lesson then read the issue cause I ain’t telling ya.  I will say this it involves Koothka the Raven, who knew a massive computer could be in such a little body, and implants that apparently everyone has.
            Seriously I was amazed all the information that just seemed to keep coming this issue.  It almost felt like a faucet was leaking and we were getting more than we bargained for here, oh I’m not going to complain because the information all flowed incredibly well.  We got to see the Queen, who has a past with Rex and the new Queen who if you paid attention you’ll understand who she is. 
            Heidi got a visit from someone that Rex knew.  See at first I thought this was going to be her mother but no it was her from an alternate Earth, all grown up and as she put it closer than sisters.  This was one of those rare emotional scenes that just made you swell up close to tears and you knew it would be the turning point in young Heidi’s life or at least till for now.  I’ll say this it sure lit a fire under her so if you want to see what was so effective—read the book.
            I was a tad surprised that the med-kit Rex has didn’t regrow the arm for him.  Okay so he’s kind of damaged goods but he’s alive and well and that is all you really need to know.  If I had to sum up this issue with one work it would be impressive and it was in every sense of the word too.  The reasons for being where they are, are made clearer and Rex’s devotion comes into focus and it is almost as if the story will really start from here on out.  Oh yes and the artwork is very good at bringing the words and the worlds to life. 
X-O Manowar #4
Valiant Entertainment 2012
Robert Venditti: Writer
Cary Nord: Penciler
Stefano Gaudiano: Inker
Moose Baumann: Colourist
            We get to see the amount of destruction Aric inflicted the Vine craft, which had been his prison, upon his escape.  What I really liked about this though, besides seeing the blame game being tossed around, was that we get a tad bit more information about the Vine this way.  There are factions within the Vine that don’t trust each other and could very well sabotage the others to get their way which just opens up a realm of possibilities for future story arcs.  Oh and the dialogue on the ship between them was fabulous!
            Meanwhile back on Earth Aric is discovering this isn’t the Rome he knew.  In a pretty incredible battle, both visually and the direction it took, which demonstrated just how dang powerful the suit really is, he learns the truth of the situation.  Somehow the suit is able to show him Rome’s history and it lets him know he’s lost sixteen centuries aboard the Vine vessel.  How that is possible we haven’t learned yet but I’m sure over time that will also be explored.
            What happens next is pleasantly surprising as we meet Alexander as he’s told to turn on Fox News, not the good news channel fyi, to witness the armor in action.  This news prompts him to kick two women out if his bed.  As he tells the rest of them to leave we are left to wonder just how powerful his sexual prowess is and it’s nice to see there were men among the crowd as well.  Now that is progressive. 
            Why do we meet him well it turns out he’s part of a consortium of Vine agents that are on Earth.  They consider themselves to be Earth’s caretakers, my arse they are.  Still they are going to find the suit and get it back before the Invasion, the ship he escaped from wants to come in barrel’s blazing.  At least they are going to try and Alexander has volunteered to lead the mission on Shanhara.  Plus I like that he’s kind just in his pajama bottoms most of the time we see him.
            Valiant’s return isn’t just a return is a resurgence of excellence in the medium.  This is so today, now, relevant and easy to jump on board without having to have read any of the past adventures.  I wish the big two would sit up and take notice this is how you redo your line people and it can’t get any better than this, or can it?  This is the Summer of Valiant and I can’t wait for their Fall and Winter too.

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