Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Madman 20th Anniversary Monster HC

This book is a giant love letter to Mike Allred and his creation Madman. Every one of the 250+ pages of the book is dripping with juicy love for Mike and Madman. Yes I realise that may have come off as sounding kind of gross, but just roll with it, all right.

Most of the stories are one page vignettes about Madman, with the exception being Allred's story, which is about twenty pages long. In those twenty or so pages that Allred writes and draws we get a great sense of who the title character is, and his supporting cast all get great nods.

Review: Luther Strode #5

Justin Jordan doesn't hold back at all. Not with the gore, the f-words and the wanton violence. It's highly reminiscent of Millar's KICK-ASS , c-words in tandem, but here it's got a little more chutzpah because of the intensity and mystery surrounding Luther Strode. This is a gung-ho rescue as Luther comes to the aid of his damsel in distress, but there are a lot of dire circumstances and severely harsh repercussions that come with Luther's actions.

Review: Savage Dragon #178

Savage Dragon is one of the longest running non Marvel or DC books on the stands, especially on with a single, continuous creator. Erik Larsen has been at the helm of this book since day one and it shows. Larsen has shown over the years that he is not afraid to take chances, kill off characters, or destroy worlds. Each issue of Dragon brings a new surprise, and you never know what Larsen will cook up next.

Malcolm Dragon, The Dragon’s son and now main character of the book, has to deal with a lot in this issue.

Review: Invincible #88

My favourite comic outside of the big two delivers yet another solid issue. The Kirkman-Ottley team shows a textbook example of how comics should be done. A crisis, is introduced. The main players debate the issue; a lot more people get involved, further complicating matters. And out of that conflict, A bit of recklessness  causes the whole thing to go haywire. 

Whats so good about invincible is that it grabs your attention from start to finish and leaves you wanting for more.

Review: Fatale #2

The thing I enjoy most about Fatale is the art styling paired with the story; the whole thing feels like an old movie. Jo is completely captivating, a stunning beauty and a true femme fatale. The story has aspects of occult, noir, and mystery all tied up perfectly into one series.

The second issue of Fatale seems to take place directly after the first issue, in the past, with Jo as well as Dominic Raines (Mr. Lash’s grandfather).

Review: Alpha Girl #1

This has been a series I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s set in 1984 and it has a little bit of all the things I love. Judith is a zombie hunter like no other; she’s independent, crude, and completely riveting all at once.

This is a very different world than we’re used to. For starters, just about everyone has gone crazy. Judith is a survivor and as shown in this issue she’s seen a lot more than your typical 17 year old. This issue is a preamble to our “colourful” protagonist and the situation she’s in.

Review: Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi #0

Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #0 is a primer for the new ongoing Star Wars series coming from Dark Horse. It gives us a ton of information about what we can expect to see from the new series. Unfortunately this issue is not a comic at all, but instead a lot of concept art, some CGI and some penciled, and text explaining what the corresponding picture is. This would have been great as a dollar book, or even a free book, but sadly it has a cover price of $3.50. That seems like a lot of money to plop down on a book like this.

Review: Dark Horse Presents #8

If there were ever a time to jump on board with Dark Horse Presents, It’s with this issue. Some of the best stories in this serialised anthology are right here, including a touching Hellboy story, a new tale from the Beasts of Burden and the first preview of Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson’s The Massive – worth the admission price.

The issue begins with a touching requiem to Hellboy – those following the series will be moved by the short story.

Review: Ice Age: Iced In

Ice Age is a fun all ages book. The story is simple: the three main characters of the movie, Sid, Manny and Diego, get caught in an avalanche and are trapped in a cave. The book has all the humour of the movies and captures the tone pretty well. None of the characters felt off in any way. And even Scratt, the sabre toothed squirrel is present in the book.

Review: Irredeemable #34

After treating us with the origin stories of Max Damage and the Plutonian, Mark Waid dives right back into the action of Irredeemable. The Plutonian was saved, at the last minute, by Qubit and Damage from being cast into a prison at the end of time by his parents. Much like The Plutonian himself, Irredeemable is the natural evolution of the superhero comic – a powerful, engaging story about a man with serious issues and world that has to deal with them.

Review: Valen the Outcast #3

Michael Alan Nelson and Matteo Scalera’s dark fantasy continues to be gritty, exciting action. One of the best writers of full-tilt, high octane action comics in the business, Michael Alan Nelson manages to make formulaic fantasy fresh and fun.

Issue begins with a possessed Zjanna attempting to kill Valen and Cordovan, who promptly flee into a forest. There they discover the violent signs that they may be in more danger in the forest than they were from Zjanna. As with the past few issues, the pacing is excellent.

Review: Fathom #4

A hot young marine biologist? Check. Strange underwater environments? Check. Mad scientist? Check. Scott Lobdell and Alex Konat? Double check. That’s pretty much every ingredient for a great comic. Fathom, created by the late Michael Turner, is in it’s forth volume, not including the myriad of spin offs, and it’s pretty easy to see why.

Issue 4 sees Aspen Mathews throw down with a bunch of bad guys in a church in an ocean under the Sahara desert.

Adventure Time #1 Sells Out!

From BOOM! – “KaBOOM!, BOOM! Studios’ all-ages imprint, is proud to announce that eight days before the first issue goes on-sale ADVENTURE TIME #1 has completely sold out of its first printing, sending best pals Jake and Finn into a second print!

Fans should keep in mind, while Diamond Comic Distributors is completely sold out, first printings of ADVENTURE TIME #1 may still be found at a direct market retailer near you when the issue goes on-sale February 8th. Not sure where to find your nearest comic retailer?

Ed Brubaker joins Image Expo Lineup

From Image Comics: "Image Expo, the one-of-a-kind celebration commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Image Comics and showcasing creator-owned comics, has announced that Ed Brubaker, writer of FATALE, will be the latest independent comics star to be added the impressive list of special guests. At Image Expo for a limited appearance on Saturday, February 25, Brubaker will be joining the Image Comics

Fatale #2 Sells out, #1 Get's a Third Printing

From Image Comics: "FATALE, the critically lauded horror crime noir by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, continues its overwhelming popularity as its much-anticipated second issue has sold out at the distribution level before it is even in stores. FATALE #1 also sold out, despite a generous overprinting, and a second printing of that issue — which also has sold out — will be on the shelves on the same day that FATALE #2 hits shelves, February 1. FATALE #2 has also gone back to press, and its second printing will be in stores on February 22.

Rich Johnson Parodies The Avengers!

From BOOM! Studios - "A fundamentalist Islamic terrorist codenamed The Iron Muslim, the world’s leading for-profit deity ScienTHORlogy, and Captain American Idol, a reality TV star thawed out from the 1940s: Avengefuls Assemble! This April BLEEDING COOL's Rich Johnston parodies The Avengers in four one-shots that anticipate the biggest movie release this summer! No, we're not talking about Step Up 4…

Each one-shot will be released on one of the four Wednesdays leading up to THE AVENGERS' big screen release on May 4th: first up, on April

Monday, January 30, 2012

Creator Roundup

This week, Dan Hipp's in a half shell, Fabio Moon gets fashionable, Terry Moore goes digital, Jamie McKelvie takes the white Queen royal, Brian Wood posts massive, Charles Soule is in the library, Skottie Young breaks a bone while falling down a drain pipe, Dave Johnson pops pills, Garth Ennis talks about his shadow, Francesco Francavilla goes to space and Phil Noto captures a kodak moment.

The Ultimate Reviews Part 3: Ultimate Thor

Ultimate Comics: Thor is written by Fantastic Four scribe Jonathan Hickman with art by Carlos Pacheco. It collects all four issues of Ultimate Comics: Thor with a few extras. There are three main stories told throughout these issues. The first is Thor's younger years in Asgard, Ragnarok, and a prequel to The Ultimates: Ultimate Collection. Pacheco's art is adequate enough for this series. People look how they should, environments are accurate, and the colouring is good. Hickman nails dialogue and characterisation for all his characters.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the Cover: David Mack

David Mack is a true artist. His painted covers are nothing short of breathtaking. The characters that grace each cover, especially the women, are stunningly beautiful, and the mixed media aesthetic he uses makes each of his covers interesting and unique. For a showcase of his work, hit the jump!

CBNAH Interview: Jim Rugg

I head the great pleasure of interviewing Jim Rugg, co-creator of Afrodisiac and Street Angel. He talked about his future plans, his inspirations, and his thoughts on the industry. He also puts me in my place! read the full interview after the jump!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On the Cover: David Mack

David Mack is a true artist. His painted covers are nothing short of breathtaking. The characters that grace each cover, especially the women, are stunningly beautiful, and the mixed media aesthetic he uses makes each of his covers interesting and unique. For a showcase of his work, hit the jump!

CBNAH Interview: Jim Rugg

I head the great pleasure of interviewing Jim Rugg, co-creator of Afrodisiac and Street Angel. He talked about his future plans, his inspirations, and his thoughts on the industry. He also puts me in my place! read the full interview after the jump!

Review: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Russia #5

This issue finishes up the latest B.P.R.D. Mini series, Johann Kraus and Kate Corrigan finish up their dealing in Russia. Kate and Kraus are both changed by the experience. With Kraus taking a much more active role in dealing with the supernatural this series, and Kate being forced onto the sidelines with no knowledge of what the plan has been the entire operation. Things appear to be strained between the two. Hell on Earth: Russia, has introduced us to an interesting new character. First seen in an Abe Sapien mini, Iosif Nichayko the director of Russian Occult Bureau.

Review: Usagi Yojimbo #143

One of the great things about Usagi Yojimbo is the ability for Stan Sakai to tell great stories with out having to have much or any prior knowledge of Usagi history. In this issue we get a nice story about Usagi, a ronin, a master-less samurai, traveling to a town, making a friend and a few enemies. Stan Saki has been able to not only entertain with his many stories but also educate. Usagi is tasked with guarding a soy sauce factory. And through this we learn how soy sauce is made and how deadly the business of making it can be.

Review: Key of Z #4

Zombies seem to have infested comic books in a shambling horde of brainless mediocrity, but some Zombie comics stand out from the undead crowd. Kirkman’s the Walking Dead is a prime example, and so is Key of Z. this final issue in the series by ‘Kill Audio’ creators Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert, with Aaron Kuder, provides a fantastic climax that left me wanting whole lot more.

Issue 4 begins with our main protagonist, Ewing, being sprung from jail by his partner in zombie slayage, Eddie.

Review: Green Wake #9

Kurtis Wiebe and Riley Rossmo’s Green Wake continues to be one of the creepiest, visually interesting and engaging comics on the stands. Issue 9 was no exception. From the very first splash page to the final emotional page, this issue was comics at its freaky no-idea-what’s-going-on best.

We learn a little more of about Green Wake, a little more about Micah and we're shown another sinister side to the strange purgatory that is

Review: Witchblade #152

My co favorite along with Angel And Faith for pick of the week.  Witchblade is in my top five list of books that you could add to your pull list outside of the big two. The new direction that this book took after the 150th issue is a perfect jumping on point for new readers.  It feels fresh and fun.  Thats the overall atmosphere that I got as I was reading this book.  And those are two important ingredients that I look for in every new comic that I read.  I have already enjoyed the little that I read from Tim Seeley. And this story is interesting as Sarah deals with a threat that is somewhat a distorted version of her own Witchblade.

Review: King Conan: Road of Kings #12

This book tells the story of an aged Conan, serving as the King of Aquilona as he relays his past to a scribe in order for it to be archived and told to generations yet to come. The story by Tim Truman is engaging as we get acquainted with the many important players in this tale.  It is for the most part, setup.  But the premise is interesting enough to come back and get the rest of the issues.

The star of this show is Tomas Giorelo.  His art is a perfect fit for this book.  Its gritty and he conveys emotions rather perfectly. 

Review: Angel & Faith #6

This by far may be my favorite from the bunch of reviews that I did for this week.  It was mentioned to me by my colleague and fellow cbnah reviewer, Tim Barklay, that this comic is awesome, and he was right!  Christos Gage I believe, is one of the best writers in the biz today. His stories are never boring as it grabs your attention from the get go and never lets up until the final page.  He works quite well with the talented Rebekah Isaacs. The book flows freely and is easily understood in her amazing hands.

Review: Creepy #7

This is a very beautiful book.  A throwback to the horror anthologies of days gone by, this book delivers on all conceivable levels.  It lives up to the title creepy, is disturbing and it stays with you a while after you are done reading.  I appreciate the effort by Dark Horse to release product such as this because todays market could use all the diversity that it could get. Plus, with titles like Animal Man and Swamp Thing enjoying new found popularity and critical acclaim, this book could'nt have come at a better time. It is very much worth the money that you will spend on it as its is packed to the brim with great art and story.

Review: The Walking Dead #93

Things look to be changing once again for the Walking Dead. When I read this issue I had lost a little of the sense that everything was about to come crashing down once again, on Rick and his crew. The only time I would say I felt even a little insecure with their situation was the first page, when Rick seems to be trusting, Paul, the newcomer. You soon learn that as apprehensive as Rick and some of his crew may be they are prepared for whatever may happen next.

Review: The Immortal #2

I haven’t read a lot from Dark Horse aside from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer continuation. So when I first saw The Immortal I wasn’t sure if I should pick it up or not; however, Long Vo does a great job at pulling you into the first issue with the beautiful cover art. I’ve never read the Japanese novel it is derived from; but, I am now intrigued! I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue based on concept, writing and art all of which the second issue did not deviate from.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Be A Superhero In “Idolized”!

From Aspen: "First, Aspen Comics offered you the chance to vote on what the characters in their upcoming series “IDOLIZED” would look like. Now, they’re offering you the chance to actually appear as a character in the series.
“IDOLIZED” is Aspen's first-ever superhero series.  It tells the story of girl with super-powers and a dark past, who seeks revenge, and ultimately finds redemption, over the course of competing in a televised super-hero competition show.  Essentially, it’s “True Grit” meets “American Idol”…with capes.  

Trackers Pioneers B.P.R.D. Training Camp!

From Dark Horse: "Do you or someone you know have a penchant for the supernatural? Do you like spending time in the great outdoors? Are you between the ages of 9 and 17? Will you be in Portland, Oregon, from July 16 to July 20? If so, Trackers Earth has the ultimate summer-camp experience for you! Dark Horse Comics is proud to announce a partnership with Trackers Earth offering officially licensed B.P.R.D. and Hellboy camps, made possible through the generous permission of Mike Mignola, creator of B.P.R.D.

Steve Niles and Menton3 Debut Nosferatu Wars

From Dark Horse: "When Steve Niles (Criminal Macabre, 30 Days of Night) premiered artwork from his upcoming collaboration with artist Menton3 (Monocyte, Proof: Endangered, Crawl to Me) via his Twitter feed, speculation and anticipation spread like wildfire across the Internet. Today, Dark Horse is proud to announce that this new vampiric tale will premiere in Dark Horse Presents! 
The Black Plague was a time of death and misery . . . except for the undead. For vampires, the Black Death was a welcome relief from being hunted and a time of incredible growth for the undead.

Creator Roundup

This week, Dan Hipp channels his inner Holmes, Terry Moore makes a few changes, Peter David discusses SOPA/PIPA, Jamie McKelvie warms up with a web, Jeff Smith teases a spark, Skottie Young celebrates Chinese New Year, Brian Wood discusses his DC break-up, Brandon Graham posts new King City art, Dave Johnson kills the punisher and Dustin Nguyen goes supernatural.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Ultimate Reviews Part 2: Ultimate Iron Man

Ultimate Iron Man I and II are not 1610 (Ultimate) Anthony Stark's definitive origin story. It was revealed in Ultimate Comics: Ultimate Avengers vs New Ultimates that these two miniseries depict a comic version of a Japanese anime about Tony's early life. This isn't the true origin story of Iron Man.

Ultimate Iron Man I is a five issue miniseries written by Orson Scott Card with art by Andy Kubert.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Top 5: Comics of 2011

shield top 5
This week, we count down the top 5 comics of 2011, as voted by members of the facebook group. 

The rules stated that any ongoing, mini or maxi series, or a GN, released in 2011 is eligible.
As always, the very nature of lists means that absolutely no one will agree with it, but feel free to voice your opinions in the comments.
See the countdown

Talking Trades: Echo by Terry Moore

Terry Moore is a rare talent. While it’s not unusual for comic creators to both write and draw their comics on a regular schedule (Erik Larson, for example) few do it better than Terry Moore. Echo is a complete 30 issue story, his second after the 90-issue Strangers in Paradise. Echo is a very different story to Strangers though. Moore uses elements of science fiction, action and espionage, mixing them together in a gripping and beautiful gumbo of awesome.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: New Avengers #20

As inconsistent as Deodato was in this issue, even his shoddiest panels still look impressive by me. Bendis also shines with a snarky and well-transcribed issue built on an all-out brawl. It’s a slobberknocker and seeing the teams battle are well illustrated, especially when Osborn holds certain secretive aces. Ask Luke Cage, who tried looking up those sleeves but ended up looking down…face down. The thing that irks is the inept performance of the good guys, when they possess a lot of firepower. Norman doesn’t have that many powerhouses yet they overpower Wolverine’s companions with such ease. Cage’s team proves punching fodder as they bumble around.

Review: Avengers #21

It’s pretty fast-paced here as Osborn’s HAMMER continues to subdue Steve Rogers’ unit. It’s hostile and tentatively a holistic strike of deft tactics here as all of the big hitters Rogers had in mind crumble. A bit too easily. But Osborn has seemed to come better this time around as the New Avengers could attest to.

Guedes’ art is decent but not topnotch like his Wolverine material. He does lay out some obtuse and acute panels with a diagonal array that

Review: Uncanny X-Men #5

This is one of Gillen’s better issues and he intricately ties in plots from Schism and X-Force with a natural cohesive blend. He addresses the situation with Scott’s alliance with Rogers and non-alliance with Hank with a delicate balance and stiff, yet tactful, composure. He handles all loose ends pretty nicely given that the build up with Sinister made some boring and expository past issues.

Here, Gillen shines and returns to his old methods of brewing seeds and threads from all over with an intertwining grace that was felt of Thor

Review: Uncanny X-Force #20

Remender yet again plots a non-subtle compounding tale of ferocity all scrambled into a quite exhilarating trial featuring defendant, Fantomex. The prosecution is exquisite as a certain Braddock gleams as never before Remender’s dialogue throughout seems spotless. It’s a great read. The Braddocks feature prominently in a remarkable arc that ties a seed together with a lot of potential – is Fantomex truly allowed to exist in this plane? Is permission needed? Having him on trail is way better than atoning for his crimes, and the ensemble featuring Deadpool, Logan and the new Nightcrawler is succinct and to the point.

Review: Generation Hope #15

Tim Greene’s pencils really fall short here in an issue where not much is expanded on except Hope’s sudden assertion that she’s a bad-ass. Asmus credibly lends to the tension with Hope and Emma with a much anticipated showdown and loose tongue from Hope, and this builds well to their rapport. It’s nice to see Emma literally strike back as she’s been in fear of Hope since Messiah War. Their views on each other are obscure and this makes the arc with Hope demanding Scott grant her wishes to enlist Shaw. Recruiting and training on her own seems far-fetched and just a way of Scott keeping her on a leash but there’s a scary panel where we see just why she truly is a force to be reckoned

Review: Green Lantern: New Guardians #1-4

Kirkham and Batt offer a repository of breathtaking art here with impactful and tenaciously colorful renderings that gleam and glisten. The art shines brilliantly and it’s well built upon by Tony Bedard’s dramatic plot that makes Rayner more appealing than Hal at this time. Circumventing the new 52 is something the GL universe had no problem doing as it picks up where the war left off. It’s hinging on Ganthet’s new mindset under the ever-nefarious Guardians as they rebuild Oa with hidden agendas, only to encounter Kyle Rayner and Saint Walker. Rayner has attracted a multitude of rings and each corp is gunning for him, and as he approaches his Guardians, a lab-rat betrayal sinks in

Review: Memorial #1-2

Schrodinger and Em find themselves in a tale of Neil Gaiman meets Wizard of Oz meets Alice in Wonderland as Chris Roberson takes his spin on the fantasy genre into overdrive. It’s a fantastic tale of tangible imagination with fables and fairytales glossed over into a seamless yet quippy story of Em, hunted for a key she possesses while experiencing a vast belt of new worlds. The villains and deceit of this story are polished as the tyranny and maniacal intent of those seeking the key are kept hush for now, adding to a quiet hysteria and eerie vibe here. Mistrust sinks in as the protagonist finds herself on the lam with little associates to trust, and when she does, it seems it could prove her

Review: Voltron #2

Brandon Thomas continues to script a tale where newbies can jump on with ease, although it may differ from the original incarnation. This here is a modern and fresh take on a beloved cartoon and it’s a frentic ride that I can’t see fizzling out soon. Thomas endures well with subterfuge and comounded mystery that’s beyond the babbling and secrecy of the story.  

He sequester's Ariel Padilla’s art into corners where time flashes back and forth to meet at some cognizant point yet it’s loosely thrown in to

Review: Orchid #1-4

Tom Morello has always been a favorite musician of mine and the worlds/animals crafted here in this dystopian wilderness really stand out under the art team of Hepburn/Jackson. They alter the feel of the book so well and the art is near flawless and intriguing. The story catches and piques interest a lot with its glamorous lattice of romance embedded in a tale of repression, technological disaster, natural evolution and in a world where only the strong will survive. It adds an endearing feel amid Jackson/Hepburn's immaculate art.

Review: Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #1

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. That’s what both Bumblebee and Rodimus Prime believe now that Cybertron has been restored to its primordial state and the Autobot/Decepticon war is over. Rodimus, Ultra Magnus and a few notable additions are off on a prophecy’s quest to find the ancient Knights of Cybertron, while Bumblebee leads everyone on Cybertron. With some cryptic teasers and an eerie final page, it’s clear this issue focuses on setting a lot of dominoes up in the wake of Optimus’ death. What stands out a lot is that both teams are going to unearth a lot of bad things, with Rodimus’ journey proving as capricious and ill-fated as many initially thought.

Review: Cobra Annual 2012 – Origin of Krake: New Commander

Krake’s ruthless acquisition of the talismanic title has been well documented and here the mantle’s bearer is given a much anticipated backdrop by Chuck Dixon. Krake’s origins are straightforward and pretty humanistic. They even embed a few strings of sympathy showing his hardships, trails, tribulations and testaments as a lone wolf making his way through the criminal ranks. It isn’t subtle how he reneges on Cobra’s hand early on and it’s nice to show that he didn’t respect the organization much yet saw it as a tool to ascend. How fitting he runs it as leader now.