Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Steven's Reviews: Strain, Bionic Woman, Harbinger and More!

The Strain #8
So many good things are happening this issue as we get closer to the end of the first chapter.  When read this I was almost amazed at what I thought was the speed of the story this issue till I realized there are only four issues left in this chapter.  So naturally things are heating up.
So while Goodweather and company are trying to find concrete evidence they are betrayed.  Sylvia does more than just call the cops on Eph she basically lets him have it.  We find out that the reason he was picked for this was because he was a drunk and should have been easily manipulated and controlled.  Basically he’s a loser and they wanted him that way.  Talk about a shock to the system.  They are shady people.
I really loved that we are sticking with Felix and his brother.  Now Felix is the one that was helping out that lady on the street and attacked the naked dude who then infected him.  Now they are being transferred when Felix goes all vampy on them.  The whole scene and how he got away was fantastic this dude really needs to hook up with Eph and his crew and help them out.  Plus I kind of like the dynamic he’d add to this little team.
So while he’s on the run from the law he needs to see his son and explain that he’s not guilty of what they are saying.  I mean he loves his kid and even his ex-wife knows that and gives that leeway.  Her new husband or man or whatever he is doesn’t and threatens to call the cops on him.  To which she looks at him and says oh no you won’t.  I have to say the characterization here was so much more than I was expecting and for me to say that about David’s writing is something.  I mean he’s been killing it so far but this just took us to whole new level.  I really am mondo impressed with what I read here.
Alright and as we get closer and closer the monster is informed that Abraham is involved in all this.  Now I really was hoping that the monster would look absolutely terrifying but he just looked like a bland version of what we’ve been seeing.  C’mon people he’s this mythic legend come to life and wrecking havoc he should be something extraordinary.  Oh and the ending here was fabulous. 
I don’t want this series to end I just want things to keep going and going.  I’m totally hooked on David’s interpretation of the novel, which I still need to go out and find.  I’ve become so invested in the story that I look forward to each issue and devour it all too quickly.  It’s hard not to gravitate towards this book repeatedly.  Dark Horse has really done a number on me with this series. 
X-O Manowar #5
Valiant Entertainment 2012
Robert Venditti – Writer
Lee Garbett – Penciler
Stefano Gauidano – Inker
Moose Baumann – Colourist
            Aric needs some alone time to absorb everything, process what he’s going through.  I mean seriously he just learned he’s been gone for sixteen centuries and while he doesn’t want to believe it the proof is indisputable.  So he headed to northern Italy where he talked to the young girl and that was nice it just shows he’s well human, okay Visigoth, and not a threat until you make one of him and he dug up an old buried sword.  That was kind of neat I like that he wanted a weapon he was familiar with.
            While en route Alexander meets with the council who refuse to do anything other than fume that a human would be the one the armor chose.  For a race that has been around for this long and is this far technologically advanced they aren’t very advanced as beings it seems.  I find it almost amusing that the Vine plan on bringing the invasion force to Earth to commit genocide because of what has happened.  Oh bad things are going to happen to the Vine we all have a feeling that’s correct but I cannot wait to see how Robert brings it all about.
            Well not to take away from this issue at all but it really was amazing to see Aric at work against Alexander’s forces.  The dialogue was pretty darn good too, the irony wasn’t lost on me at all and made me chuckle. 
            Because they have eyes in the sky the council is able to watch the outcome of what happened and they call in their most valuable asset.  A man who thinks he works for MI6 and has no clue he’s really working for an intergalactic race called the Vine.  Ninjak to the rescue as it were.  Yeah I wasn’t all that impressed with his tactics this issue from what I saw he took the cowards way out and is completely unprepared for what is coming next issue. 
            On an interesting side note I like that the armor is a ball that floats around while it isn’t on Aric.  This is also something that will make things difficult in the future, as I speculate that it won’t go far from Aric and when he wakes up yeah it’ll go right on him no issues. 
            I have to say that while I wasn’t a fan of the original run I am totally hooked on this book and love every minute of it.  Valiant’s blockbuster summer seems to heading into fall without losing any momentum. 
The Bionic Woman #4
Dynamite Entertainment 2012
Written by Paul Tobin
Art by Juan Antonio Ramirez
Colours by Mark Roberts
            When last we left Jamie and Nora they were interrogating a member of the mission aboard his yacht.  Who was supposed to be bait to lure Jamie in to capture her.  Remember they want her bionic parts for customers willing to pay big bucks.  She’s the target of bionic thefts for the uber-privileged so they can receive transplants.
            Well on the pier Breaker and Charlie are listening in on what’s happening on the yacht.  Seriously you’ve to love boys and their toys when it comes to playing spy games.  Well I’m not the one that is going to say these boys are the brightest crayons in the box because Breaker’s solution is to fire a rocket, from a rocket launcher, into the yacht, sinking and killing them.  Granted you all know that they don’t perish but you really should see the way it all plays out.  Jamie isn’t a wimp nor is she afraid of anyone, she isn’t going to back down.  The woman is ready to bust some balls people and the way it all comes across on the page is really beyond what you expect it to be.
            There is a wonderful moment that we also get to see Steve Austin show up.  The dialogue here is absolutely incredible.  The complexity of it really makes you just shake your head in wonder, how can someone just think this kind of dialogue up?   Personally I adored his Spider-Girl series and wish he was still working on that as well.  Maybe Paul really knows how to write strong powerful women incredibly well and it’s becoming his signature.
            Okay so the ending to this issue wasn’t what I was expecting to say the least.  Somewhat of a surprise to me and I love that because this series is really good at keeping the reader on their toes.  You may think you know what is coming next but in all reality you don’t.  This may be based on the television series and upon events in the Bionic Man series but this one seriously surpasses them. 
            I really have to say that Dynamite really has a good knack for taking old franchises and breathing life back into them.  This is really a marvelous offering and shouldn’t be passed up.
Manhattan Projects #6
Image Comics 2012
Jonathan Hickman –Writer
Nick Pitarra –Artist
Jordie Bellaire –Colourist
            This book just continues to get weirder and weirder as each issue progresses.  Oddly enough it isn’t an over the top bizarre weird, though at times it does seem that way, it’s just a completely different way at looking as what was and what is.  While the possibilities are endless for these characters I like that this time around the focus is on a little known person.
            Helmutt’s journey in Germany with Wernher working for Hitler is kind of fascinating and definitely enjoyable.  His subsequent capture by the Russians isn’t what I was expecting it to be, which by the way is a bonus. 
            His introduction to Star City is definitely a wow factor.  All his hard work however almost seems to be for naught though that will be determined down the road I imagine.  Helmutt was able to successfully send Yuri and Laika, a cosmonaut dog, into space and bring them safely back home, but they promised him his release if he succeeded and they lied. 
            I guess you could go another route and say that promise was circumvented because the man who promised it died and was replaced by someone new who wasn’t aware or wasn’t going to honor it.  Sigh Dimitry is a brain in fluid that has armor and is definitely something out of cheesey fifties science fiction and completely and totally a hoot. 
            This story was great for a number of reasons.  It was pretty much a one and done story that perfectly integrates itself into what has been going on and what will be happening in the future. 
            There is no doubting the skill of Hickman I mean the man can churn out a masterpiece with his eyes closed, well not really but you get my drift.  This is one of those works where you can tell he’s taken the time to think about what he wants to say, how he wants to say it and at a pace that it should be told.  Honestly I think this is my second favorite new title of the year.  The artwork looks amazing and goes wonderfully with the words, both the flashback and current are clear and separate entities there is no mistaking the two.
            This really is a unique and interesting look at a history that could have been.
Harbinger #4
Valiant Entertainment 2012
Joshua Dysart- Writer
Khari Evans, Matt Clark & Lewis Larosa-Artists
Ian Hannin-Colours
            So Peter took Harada up on his offer and joined his foundation.  Not sure this was a terribly smart idea by either of them but we’ll see who it turns out worse for.  Peter’s first introduction to his fellow students, well yeah that didn’t go so well for him.  His well lets call him his guidance counselor really took it to him there.
            Thankfully we get another old character re-introduced for us in Zephyr.  I just adore her character and the way she’s introduced is positively wonderful!  I mean she’s a big girl and she dreams of flying and at the moment she has a latent ability.  Yet despite everything she went out, bought herself a sexy dress and met a stranger from online.  Only he turns out to be a member of the foundation which we learn later.  Her enthusiasm to become one of them is just so damn charming.  I’m already in love with her character and the fact she is able to talk Peter into trying to activate her powers should earn Joshua an award or recognition of some sort.
            Now I think part of the detriment to Peter is coming from the pushing him too hard too fast and well the negativity of Hidden Moon doesn’t help in the slightest.  I get they want to test him to see what the extent of his powers are but to put him in conflict with other students while he’s leaning is just plain irresponsible of them.  This kind of behavior will ensure that the visions of Peter being the destructor become true.  Reading this and seeing Hidden Moon’s actions and reactions made me think he’s Peter’s Professor Snape and that was an easy and oddly nice comparison to come to.
            I did rather enjoy learning that one in four of kids whose latent ability is forced to the surface dies from the process.  This callous disregard for life is just astonishing and the fact that Harada has all these people around him that don’t really question him makes him somewhat less dangerous and more akin to some mad despot. 
            I was so upset with how things went when Peter took off to see Joe.  They should have known that he would demand to see him eventually and to just force the kid to take drugs an overdose on them was really a very stupid thing to do.  More so since Peter knows every last person in that building was mindwiped and he’s aware who ordered it.  Seriously for someone who thinks he’s that smart he’s been making the absolute dumbest moves possible.
            I love the building tension here and I cannot wait for it to bubble up to and over the surface.  I also adore that that moment is fast approaching and that we don’t have to wait very long for it.  Joshua is telling us readers to strap in because we’re in for one hell of a ride.  This is comics at its best! 
Thun’Da #2
Dynamite Entertainment 2012
Written by Robert Place Napton
Illustrated by Cliff Richards
Coloured by Esther Sanz
            So when we left last issue Thun’Da had killed a Sabre Tooth Tiger.  Now he has two Velociraptor’s and the Tiger’s cub to deal with as we pick things up this issue.  Now we know he can survive, and as we see thrive in this environment.  He’s quick and smart and his training has left him with automatic reflexes and a sharp mind, even if he can’t remember who he is.
            I did like that he couldn’t just let the cub be eaten.  He also learned that the raptors are rather quick and he lost his knife while learning that.  We do get to see more glimpses of the military life he led and this one was a tad ominous as we saw U.S. soldiers hanging from a ceiling. 
            It was pretty smart thinking to take one of the Sabre Tooth’s and uses it to fashion himself more weapons.  Shaping wood to make a bow and arrows was a nice route to have to him take.  It would seem a decent amount of time has passed too, as the cub named Sabre seems to have grown quite a bit. 
            Then the proverbial shit hits the fan.  He becomes surrounded by a rather large group of cavemen.  All these guys are capable of right now seems to be grunting but they do hold clubs and seem to be able to communicate with each other through those grunts.  Thun’Da uses his gun to start shooting them; they aren’t afraid of the gun and have superior numbers.  It isn’t long before he’s captured and taken before their leader where he is forced to make them bow and arrows because he can’t make more bullets.  He does manage to escape by the end of the issue but for how long remains to be seen.
            It has become abundantly clear that this isn’t Korea.  There isn’t a place he could have landed that would still be this pristine and have a throwback in cavemen without having been discovered.  So the only logical explanation is time travel.  While in all honestly I don’t care if we ever really learn his true name, I can guess now why he’s Thun’Da I would like to learn how he got to this place and if my time travel theory is correct. 
            In the back of this issue there is a story by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Frank Frazetta which shows us this series is a revival.  I had no clue, here I thought this was an original series but it is nice that they give a look into the early days of this character. 
            All in all I’m super impressed with how this series is progressing and how we are seeing him adapt to his new home and well lifestyle as it were.  The writing and the art are in complete synch with each other and the overall enjoyment factor is off the charts. 

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