Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Steven's Reviews: Youngblood, Dark Horse Presents, Dragon Age and More!

The Bionic Man #12
Alright to start off this issue with one of those crazy white supremacist type groups during the campaigning months was really rather ballsy.  I give that idea two thumbs up!

Steve arrives and rescues a girl from this group, her father had basically kidnapped her and took her with him.  It was well done, I liked the dialogue and how everything was executed.  Also it was a nice way to start things off.  Having the girl be a student of his fiancée Jamie was also a good touch.  Though let’s talk for a minute about Jamie’s hair colour it was just way too brown people that isn’t the woman who will become the Bionic Woman I mean seriously someone should have caught that.
            The interlude where we see them at OSI headquarters and we see Max the Bionic Dog, which works well with Jaime, was positively delightful!  Though when someone finds out that during his “off-time” Steve is being monitored like someone’s pet project well that will be something that can be addressed later on and hopefully it will be.
            Alright one of the things that I really am enjoying about this series is the references and ties to the NBC television show.  This time around we get Bigfoot and I fondly remember that episode, though for the life of me I can’t remember details so for me this is wonderful.  Also incredibly impressive is the amount of background we get on Bigfoot and how being in such close proximity to Steve causes him problems. 
            This is one of those stories that can hold its own whether you are a long time fan or if you are new to the character.  That is important too since you don’t want to alienate anyone or scare them away thinking they have to know the entire history before being able to enjoy it.  So bravo to Dynamite and company for making this new reader friendly as well as long time fans squee with joy.
Dark Horse Presents #15
Dark Horse Comics 2011
Writers: Various
Artists: Various
            The anthology series isn’t dead and Dark Horse is doing it their way and they are doing it quite well too.  Some of these stories seem to be almost like try outs, using creators to tell their stories to see if the work they do will be well up to standards.  Some really are too and then some well for me personally aren’t.  Then we’ve got stories that are continuations of previous mini-series or series that have produced in the past.
            For me I though that seeing Rex Mundi again by Arvid and Juan was a highlight o of not only this issue but possibly of the month.  They did wonderful work together back in the day and I really felt like a kid in the candy store seeing this short story.  It had the effect that I wanted to immediately pull out my trades are re-read the story and to evoke that kind of response is pretty spectacular.
            Also some of these stories are springboards for new and upcoming series.  For example the reintroduction to Ghost has been absolutely spectacular.  Getting a feel for what the upcoming series is going to be has me very excited for that book to start.  Since the creative team doing this mini story is the same that will be launching the series just makes me giddy with anticipation. 
            Plus there are times when creators just want to visit their past and tell a short story without having to worry about stretching it or what have you into a mini.  Concrete is a great example of that for me. 
            Sometimes too you get exposed to people you normally wouldn’t and that can be a hit or miss situation.  I am not a huge fan of nudity for nudity’s sake and those stories tend to turn me off.  But I’ve also found some that would have passed on that I found incredibly charming and different and glad I have the opportunity to experience things by surprise. 
            Overall there is a lot to experience in this book and I applaud Dark Horse for taking the initiative to do a larger anthology book.  It’s very easy to see why it won and Eisner award.  This is one of those projects that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Dragon Age #1 (of 3)
Dark Horse Comics 2012
Story: David Gaider
Script: Alexander Freed
Art: Chad Hardin
Colours: Michael Atiyeh
            First off Anthony Palumbo’s cover is absolutely gorgeous.  Painted covers can be great and it is nice to be introduced to a new talent like his.  I can only imagine that seeing on the stand is going to make it stand out and draw people to look inside and they really should.
            With the popularity of Game of Thrones it should come as no surprise that more stories in the genre should be popping up.  What sets this apart though is that it is also an AE Games adaptation as well.  So we get this classic Dungeons & Dragons feel in the mixture of races and abilities with the high drama that comes with following a King around looking for vengeance.
            King Alistair and Captain Isabella, both humans, take center stage here and it seems that this will focus around their lives as they intertwine with each others and quite honestly so far so good.  This book wasn’t remotely on my radar and I’m almost ashamed of that because this really is worth a look.  Combining so many elements into a successful story isn’t always easy but they make it work.
            By centring the story on revenge it becomes a more focused story that can be told in three issues.  So in my opinion that means the story will be fast and furious and should it flow like this first issue did it will be one hell of a ride.  Least I forget to mention Chad and Michael’s interiors are pretty freakin good too.  Expressive and emotive they really capture the story and take it to that next level.
Youngblood #73
Image Comics 2012
John McLaughlin: Story
Jon Malin: Art
Ross Hughes: Colours
            I cannot believe that I am becoming such a huge diehard fan of this book in just a few short issues.  I am rather enjoying Rob’s covers immensely and it really does seem that he’s grown as an artist and has stayed true to who he is at the same time.  John’s story telling ability is wonderful and as we get to know these characters, again as the case may be or for the first time for others, they come across as modern, relevant characters and as somewhat surprising as that is it really is wonderful. 
            I also have to say this story surprised me.  I liked how the issue starts and then gets violently real, without showing anything other than the outcome.  Diehard is able to trace the energy signature easily enough which being what he is, is believable. 
            What impresses me most however is the interaction between the characters we get in this issue.  Lady Photon’s explanation how and why she switched genders yeah that was good stuff!  It was also pretty vital in fleshing these characters out showing us where they are in life and I liked that.  Though so far I am not seeing how effective Gail is at making the team less of a laughing stock and taken more seriously.
            Still when they get to where they are going and what happens next shocked me, in a good way.  I mean I wouldn’t have thought that they would have taken things to the level they did but somehow it works.  That is another thing that is working very well for this series and that is the unexpected factor.  Things you wouldn’t normally expect show up and happen and you as a reader are left with this sense of amazement that you saw what you just did. 
            Then there is the stuff you expect to see as well.  There is a new Shaft leading the team and the old Shaft has gone to work for the FBI and doesn’t want to wear spandex or be in the spotlight anymore but his story isn’t over yet, not by a longshot.   One way or another he’s going to be involved whether he likes it or not.  It will be interesting to see if he rejoins the team as Shaft or not and if his replacement well let’s be honest survives.
            I really do appreciate that while staying true to the original this series is progressing in ways that show this creative team means business.  They really are taking something of a joke and making awesome and cool again.

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