Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Steven's Reviews: Fathom, Harvest, Guarding the Globe and More!

Fashion Beast #1
Oh my stars and garters seriously did I just read this book right?  The first few pages seem to set up the series but don’t really go anywhere specific.  But it does intertwine through the book as this is where the fashions are made. 
Then we switch to an apt building where we see all the inhabitants in their windows kind of in the vein of an old movie in say the American in Paris era.  We see them all don outfits for the evening while also seeing a worker sewing dresses together and I have to say this is weird in the best way possible.  Why because you really don’t know what the hell is going on. 
I also have one other question at the moment and that is where did the wolf come from?  Wait that isn’t a wolf it is a dog which ends up tied outside the building.
So we’ve got two men who put on military uniforms, one guy who dresses like he’s Kid or Play, a lesbian dressed up as a boy and a guy who leaves the apartment looking like Marilyn Monroe.  Gotta love this I mean everything is almost covered I mean really drag king and a queen with the military wannabe’s and the retro black dude with the high top hair?   Oh sweet mother of Pearl Bailey this really just goes there and it does so unapologetically. 
We follow Marilyn as he goes to work, past the street walkers, of which one thinks he’s a she the other isn’t fooled and past the military boys who pretty much oogle him and the dialogue shouldn’t be missed here to his job which is coat check girl at a night club.  This night club is where everyone from the apartment building is this night. It is also where the lesbian trying to be a boy ruins the coat check while Marilyn is dancing her behind off.
I have absolutely no clue where all this is going and quite honestly I don’t care.  I want to know more about these characters and how the heck to two ugly stepsisters fit into all this.  Not to mention the dude hidden away who does all their designing.  The art here is also pretty darn spectacular.  So far I would have to say that this has resurfaced at the perfect moment.

Back in the 80s when Alan Moore was in his heyday of creation, he wrote a little (actually massive) screenplay called
Fashion Beast. The idea was to modernize the classic tale of “Beauty and the Beast” in a dystopic, and slightly horrific, society (this reeks of Moore). The film script never saw the light of day. The screenplay has now been adapted to comic form, by Moore himself, for a ten-issue series to be published by Avatar Press beginning in September. This may be the book fans have been waiting for to bridge Moore’s visionary storytelling from the 80s with his more experimental work of the past decade. There are a bunch of alternate covers that you can check out below with some more details.
Fathom vol.4 #7
Aspen MLT Inc.
David Wohl-Writer
Alex Konat-Artist
Beth Sotelo-Colourist
            Deep beneath the Sahara Desert sits one of Earths most mysterious places, a vast underground exotic ocean.  In this ocean is an oil rig unlike any other seen on the planet, it uses technology from the Blue to make it even more effective and lucrative.  Thanks to a disgruntled faction who are religious zealots devoted to the Blue they are trying to reclaim the rig from its current inhabitants.  Aspen has found herself firmly planted in the middle of this conflict. 
            I love the fact that this series just keeps going.  It has continued to evolve and grow over the years into what I consider one of the most interestingly complex books on the market.  Even better is that each volume comes one after the other with enough time that you don’t feel as if there is too much lag time.  Yet enough time to read each issue over again before the newest series starts. 
            I also have to say that Alex Konat is one hell of a good artist and he continues to grow as this series progresses as well.  Which if you think about it is amazing considering where his talent level already is. 
            As we see this issue it never really is crystal clear who the villains are and who will end becoming part of her supporting cast.  Padma started out as one vicious little foe and now they are fighting alongside one another with an understanding, silent but known. 
            This continues to be a fantastic read and if you haven’t dove into the world of Aspen Matthews then I suggest you put on your suit and dive right in.
Bloodshot #3
Valiant Entertainment 2012
Duane Swierczynski-Writer
Manuel Garcia & Arturo Lozzi-Penciler
Matt Ryan-Inker
Ian Hannin-Colours
            Okay so this issue delivered quite a bit of information to us and it was done beautifully too I might add.  Remember he hitched a ride last issue and the woman driving him is taking him to one of his wives houses.  The manner in which he was able to find her was incredibly well done.  There are many moments in the book when you sit back and think wow Duane loves to read military and spy novels, probably watch plenty of those genre movies as well.
            The reveal on whom his wife ended up being, just the fact that she was a real person was a fantastic twist.  It also opens the realm for his other wives and to form a pattern or a way that Dr. Kuretich thinks.  I like the possibilities it opens up and the direction which some stories could head.
            Atlee, Nevada has been uncovered by Dr. Kuretich why I am not terribly sure but it seems like he did it to reveal some massive cover up possibly to save his own ass for messing with Bloodshot’s head so much.  I’m interested to see where this goes and to be quite honest cleaning it out and fixing it up would be awesome I mean a whole city underground if it could function what a base of operations it would make.  Though it looks like there was some kind of virus which wiped out the population and I have a feeling that was precursor to what created Bloodshot himself. 
            I am enjoying that Bloodshot’s children are manifesting themselves as his early warning system.  It certainly didn’t take him long to figure that out to a degree anyway.  Of course he couldn’t know that the danger this time around comes in the asset that they released last issue, the young woman.  Now she is interesting and the fact that she can create massive EMP blasts shows us just why she is kept under lock and key and most likely in a drug induced type coma.  She could really mess up the base she’s kept in otherwise.  Still for a man full of Nanites and EMP blast would certainly disrupt them long enough to have the man supposedly killed. 
            This of course is the plan for Bloodshot and whether this scenario will hold up to the reality will be determined next issue. 
            I have to say I was really rather impressed with the visualization of the EMP blast on the page.  The artwork throughout was just as impressive but that one scene just really stood out above the rest for me. 
Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #1
Dynamite Entertainment 2012
Written by Steve Darnall & Alex Ross
Illustrated by Jonathan Lau
Coloured by Vinicius Andrade
            A couple of things I wasn’t expecting from this issue is just how much work Jonathan poured into it to make as visually stunning, actually I can’t express just how frakkin good, the artwork is.  There are moments that he outdoes himself and the new revamped costume looks amazing.
            This is also a perfect introduction to the character.  If you are not familiar with him or his past then you won’t feel intimidated picking this up.  For longtime fans, who haven’t had much to see in the past few years, this is one of those rare treats where the updated origin perfectly matches both the past with the present. Dynamite has really taken the characters origin to heart and not taken this to a level that there is something to complain about. 
            There are also some very nice bonuses in this issue.  Mark Waid does a nice introduction then we get what was an Ashcan edition written by him.  Which also recaps his origin which we kind of just got followed by a short by Steve Darnall the current co-writer of the series and it recaps his feelings about the character.
            I couldn’t be any happier with this first issue or more amazed at the level of quality that is given to us.
Archer & Armstrong #2
Valiant Entertainment 2012
Fred Van Lente-Writer
Clayton Henry-Artist
Matt Milla-Colourist
            With four series having now been introduced in what is being dubbed the Summer of Valiant I can safely say that this one is by far my favorite.  Fred has already managed to take the odd couple get them both find some common ground and be part of the same mission all within just over a single issue.  This creative team is absolutely amazing and I don’t think that Valiant could have made a better choice in re-launching this series with anyone else. 
            While Archer is tied up and unconscious he has a vision, seemingly from God himself, which tells him to work with Armstrong that he needs his guidance.  Now in this vision god is naked, as he should be, as he speaks to Archer, oh and he looks a tad like Armstrong just an FYI.  Meanwhile Archer is going to be used a virgin sacrifice and is tied up to a wheel, fully clothed.  C’mon really a virgin sacrifice and he’s fully clothed gimme a break here people I’m disappointed in that.  I will say on the other side I’m totally digging the boxes which explain which moves he is making at that given moment.
            Well after the pair meet up and decide to team up they are off to Rome, too bad it isn’t the same time that Aric was there.  Okay the ride on that scooter was absolutely incredible fun to see.  Seriously the dialogue and just the concept itself was seriously fun to experience with them.  Also the fact that on the ride we get an abridged history lesson of Armstrong’s activities or proclivities as the case may be is delightful.  I mean the whole deal with the him and Michelangelo and the Swiss Guard outfit design was just priceless.
            Okay here is hoping that the one eyed gun totting Nun, Sister Tommy, is going to be a recurring character in this book!  She is utterly fabulous and extremely interesting plus she has a history worth exploring apparently and well Archer approves of her lol.  Now the whole business with Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, which you should have paid attention too during the history lesson, was actually worthy of movie plot. 
            The lead in to next issue wasn’t even needed but is a definite bonus I mean really to see these Warrior Ninja Nuns as the foes they have to face next issue to get the next part of the Boon.  Yeah this is just the icing on the cake of why this really is the best that Valiant has to offer this summer.     
Guarding the Globe #1
Image Comics 2012
Phil Hester-Writer
Todd Nauck-Pencils & Inks
John Rauch-Colours
            So I stopped reading Invincible awhile back and it would seem that many of these characters have appeared since then as well as this black Invincible.  So suffice it to say I’m not familiar with them and would appreciate a way to get to know them instead of feeling like I walked into the middle of a movie. 
            Now Brit I am familiar with and his little scenes were a tad confusing for me.  Okay so his son is diagnosed as being somewhere on the Autism Spectrum that does a lot to a person and I liked his reaction to the news.  Then he’s playing ball with oh dang the mechanical guy who is complaining about his life and that he has the angst of a mind but doesn’t feel any emotions.  This was just too close together and was a bit confusing I thought initially they were there for Brit to talk about his problem.  It just appeared differently and honestly it didn’t work very well for me.
            Okay so the new Invincible shows up and sees the dog and the speedster smoking cigarettes.  Well I think she was smoking to keep him company, though not inhaling?  The dog is a French Bulldog so that made it okay apparently.  This was weird and seemed an odd thing to include out of the blue like.  I mean a smoking dog really does he have a human personality in there or something? 
            Now Phil is a writer I tend to follow just because I’ve become a huge fan of his work.  He’s established himself as a solid mainstay in the industry and his resume rocks and surpasses many of the supposed big boys (yes I am talking Marvel & DC).  This issue however left me wondering more than answering any questions.  For a new a reader to this group I didn’t find it new reader friendly the stories were more of a hodge podge then flowing together into one cohesive story. 
            Even the end of the issue with that villain it just didn’t make sense to me it was like oh by the way lets introduce a major bad guy.  There ya go thanks.  That is how it all felt to me, I was left extremely confused.  To me this isn’t typical Phil Hester writing and I am extremely disappointed.  Now on the other side of the coin we have Todd Nauck’s art which is phenomenal to put it mildly.  He really saves the day here with the visuals and it makes me miss his own Wild Guard series.
            I really enjoy both their work individually and I was expecting so much from this book.  I’ll give it a couple issues in the hopes it works itself out and becomes easier for me to follow, I want to support both these men and I will for now. 
Harvest #2
Image Comics 2012
A.J. Lieberman-Writer & Co-Creator
Colin Lorimer-Artist & Co-Creator
            I’ve come to the conclusion that the boy is supposed to be Ben’s conscious.  Sarcastic as he is it fits Ben and his life and situation perfectly and it also explains why he appears and disappears as he does.  He’s only needed when there is a crisis of conscious.  Though I will say that Ben’s meeting with Mr. Takahashi was more than a bit odd to me.  Was that his trial run to see if he could handle the pressure of surgery outside the hospital I have no idea.  I wouldn’t have though he’d be interacting with them just performing the surgeries for those shady people.
            Well I will say that his first meeting with Greer and Jason was rather well played out.  Definitely not taking no for an answer and the whole time they weren’t going to let up the pressure even if it was sugar coated.  Seriously I felt like someone could become diabetic with all the sugary talk they shoveling at him.  Still it was effective I mean Ben didn’t really have a life to go back to anyway so there was nothing left lo lose.  He really wasted no time in throwing himself into his new line of work.
            From the look of things he was doing quite well for himself during his short tenure too.  Then something happened that made him question what was going on.  Apparently he still has a conscious and well it’s the boy but that is beside the point.  After performing a surgery and being told the client didn’t show and he could go which seemed awfully fishy he went home.  Where he found Greer in his apartment naked and raring to go.  So after some really hot sex the boy, whose dialogue by the way is so damn good, wants him to go back and check on the guy he just operated on. 
            That check up goes pretty disastrously too.  How he gets out of this situation is pretty genius too.  I have really been impressed with how well this story is being told.  A.J. really has a firm grip on the story he wants to tell and he knows how to tell it effectively and to get the most of out his characters and the situations they find themselves in.  Colin’s art is pretty darn good too, better than I was expecting and though the big reveal of the boy whom Ben rescued I would have appreciated seeing totally without the leg conveniently placed over his family jewels, that looked too posed to me plus now I wonder if they could do a penis transplant. 
            That last page was gruesome all things aside.  And it totally makes me want to see what comes next.

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