Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tyrone's Reviews: Debris #3 and Mind the Gap #5!

Mind the Gap #5
The story of Elle’s attack continues, this issue focuses on her boyfriend Dane and his sordid past, which has evidentially come a knocking! I really enjoyed this
issue as it takes the focus off of Elle and shows us a new perspective without getting too far off track.

The art in this issue also takes a shift with the new plot perspective, instead of Esquejo doing the whole issue as the story shifts so does the art style with guest Jo Chen stepping in. I feel like this added a great deal to the tone of the story and really showcased that what we’re seeing is from Elle’s perspective and when we’re being shown something she hasn’t personally experienced or when we see an event from another character’s perspective it will appear different, the utilization of different artists really showcased this perfectly.

This issue showcasing Dane’s story was a great break from the dream world Elle is living in. We get to see some background on one of the suspects which added a great deal of perspective in concern to the greater mystery. I’m hoping as the story progresses we’ll get more issues like this where McCann will give us some information about the people surrounding this case and Ellis.

There were many launched comics this year and as 2013 rolls closer I’m more and more convinced that Mind the Gap is one of the best. There are a substantial amount of books out there that are being produced pushing “flash and a cape” over content and I love that there is a book being made where the creators put an amazing amount of thought and care into each panel. There is a difference and I suggest picking this book up in issue form rather than trade waiting because examining each issue is a lot of fun and really a key part of this story, once you read it you’ll notice the quality and be happy this book is in your pull list.

Debris #3

In this issue of Debris Maya continues her journey of discovery in search of salvation for her people. The glimpses of her past show the making of a hero while the story moving forward is enjoyable and engaging. Debris epic story is written by Kurtis J Wiebe and married with the incredible art by Riley Rossmo creating a completely original comic that shouldn’t be missed.

I’m in love with the writing in this book and I really love the feeling of discovery that Wiebe has given to every page, while the world seems new Maya feels like an old soul who is easy to care about. The tale could easily be bogged down with all the elements within the book including the journey, setting, and the colossals but Wiebe’s method of story telling is done so well that it all comes together perfectly.

This creative team has worked together before, Rossmo joined Wiebe in one of my favorites Green Wake. You wouldn’t know these books were created by the same team because the only thing that seems to be similar is that they’re both done impeccably. Riley Rossmo really shows his range and his ability to adapt to story with this book, I’m totally in love with the character designs and the visual style of the book is really something to behold.

With this creative team I really believe no wrong can be done, Debris is another book I think should be on everyones pull list. Wiebe and Rossmo understand each other and their work together is on another level, the story and art is married perfectly in telling a futuristic tale we’ve not yet experienced. Originality and talent have created a book that I would suggest to most anyone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Oliver's Reviews: Darth Maul, The Goon, Angel and Faith plus More!

Angel and Faith #14
So far, I feel this issue has redeemed the title. Finally, there's an endgame in sight. An actual plan to bring back Giles  as I have been wondering how Angel would do just about that the past few issues. Also, the re-emergence of Willow has been nothing short of amazing. I really hope that she would stick around or that we would see her again soon. 
The only actual problem that I've had with this issue is that Faith has been mostly held in the background. I guess, with the way that the storyline drove itself, it can't be helped, but seeing how this issue ended, I'm betting that that would be remedied soon. 
Cool issue. It actually gives you a "Dante's inferno" feel. Plus the story is not boring, nor is it all over the place. Willow and Angel fans in particular would love this story for its strong character development regarding those characters, and lastly, the art is impressive, clear and enjoyable to see. I would give this comic an 8/10 rating because it's really fun. 

The Goon #42

This is my first time reading this book. I have mostly avoided Eric Powell because I believe he had become the face of what I mostly think are unfair criticisms when it comes to the big two. But still, I have been hearing rave reviews for this book and I decided to give it a shot.  The result?

I actually enjoyed it. I was so prepared to hate it, given my personal feelings but that's not practicing what I'm preaching. Given this reviewers first exposure to the material, I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of the comedic scenarios that Powell and team brought to the Issue. The Goon is more of a joke/satire book that's how I see it. It doesn't take itself too seriously so I guess that's where the fun starts. And the art....oh, the art. IT'S JUST BEAUTIFUL I like the style that the art team uses here (the black and white back up story is good enough) but if all works in unison, with colors, the results are just spectacular. So hats off to Powell and co for a strangely entertaining book. I would probably stick with the big two for the most part, but The Goon has definitely earned my respect. Kudos.

Idolized #2

This issue has got to be my favorite from my review stack this week. I know the story is cliché and had probably been tackled so many times in comics, but still, it brings about a certain freshness to the material.

I like the protagonist and her internal struggles. Somehow, she was written in a way that that does not seem forced. The character development has a very nice pacing.  Also, the supporting characters are interesting. I would really love to see more of them in upcoming issues. 
The art is fantastic too! I have never heard of this writer and artist team before, but I think their work has so much potential.
Finally, I would just like to mention how impressed I am with Humberto Ramos's cover. It really grabbed my attention when I saw it. Also, I'm not sure who came up with the characters costume design, but it's simplicity is, ironically, very striking. I love it. All in all, a very good issue. Well drawn, well paced, well written. A commentary about Hollywood and today's tv industry that you will appreciate. A good buy.

Soul fire vol 4, #2

I would have to say that this book is pretty average is my eyes. While the story is decent enough, I feel the art is a little inconsistent from time to time. There are times when it's very detailed and nice to look at, and there are times that it's a bit mediocre. But despite that, colorist Nei Rufino brings her A-game into this book with her visually striking colors to save the day. 

The story is a little textbook, "we have to save one of our own who was possessed by an evil entity". I think I've seen that a couple hundred times already, nothing really unique about this separating it from the phalanx of similar stories. Also, I'm not sure who came up with the character designs as this is my first time reading this title, but I'm not really that much of a fan of it. I mean, just how many team members can you have with metal hands? I don't know, I just feel that they could've done better in that department. Nothing really to write home about, not so bad either. Just average. And I think, I believe, that that, is this books ultimate failing.

Steed and Mrs Peel #1

Wow. Did I ever NOT see that coming. I am surprised at the creative liberties that this team has taken for this comic. Well, maybe not, seeing that the man who came up with the story, is a certain Mr know if his name is attached to a project, it's quality is unquestioned.

Bravo. This comic is bold, very fast paced and very direct to the point. It was done very well both with the scripting and with the art. Oh boy, the art! 
It is very beautifully rendered! One of the strengths of this series ( counting the previous one that came before this) is that the artists are very good. I must credit the editor for managing to assemble a dream team composed of veteran writers (Morisson and Waid) and up and coming artists that are very talented. 
The story reads very quick but you wouldn't feel cheated out of your dollars if you were to buy this. If I were in charge, I would've named this comic: "Steed and Mrs Peel: Armageddon". That would give you a clue as to what your in for. This is a great comic and more importantly, it has the number #1 attached to it.... So it's a good starting point.

Darth Maul Death Sentence #3

This book has gone off to a very good start and it has not dropped a notch ever since. 
This issue, we get to see how evil Darth Maul really is. It's rare that you get a comic where the main "protagonist" has no redeeming value whatsoever. 

The Jedi's tasked with bringing Maul in, gets a huge boost and we get a cameo from a more famous Force Wielder, who has a score to settle with the title character. I'm pretty sure that we'll see sparks fly in the next issue.

All in all, a fantastic comic. Dark Horse, through Star Wars, has managed to stay strong in the comic book industry with astonishing series that have come one after the other. This year in particular, has been very good, and Darth Maul: Death Sentence, is among the front runners. Do yourself a favor and read this book today. The climax in this issue is, alone, worth the price your paying for the comic!
Sent from my iPod

Steven's Reviews: Idolized, Dancer, Steed and Mrs Peel plus More!

Godstorm #0 (of 4)
The next big event from Zenescope is here!  This company has had the habit of taking familiar franchises and give them a wonderfully unique twists that delight and in some cases terrify us.  So welcome to the world of the ancient Gods and Goddess’ as told as only the team from Zenescope can.
            In today’s modern world, the stories of powerful gods from Greek and Roman mythology have been thought of as mostly folklore.  However, the truth is that for thousands of years, Gods and Goddess’ have been living on Earth in human form.  Many have admiration and respect for the human race, but others want nothing more than to be worshipped by mankind.
            Now, the Goddess of beauty known as Venus has begun to recruit other powerful gods to join her in a plan to return to the “glory days” of old—the days where Gods and Goddess’ were feared and worshipped by all.  And she will stop at nothing to get what she desires most….
            Zeus the King of the Gods is the man who opens this story for us.  While he may be someone to contend with we aren’t left with the impression that he is among those that Venus wishes to recruit.  He’s an artist here and seems extremely content with making his art, based on Greek lore as it turns out. 
            Can Mount Olympus be rebuilt?  The Gods have notoriously been at odds with one another since their stories have been introduced to man so how or can they work together now to restore their former glory days?  
            This isn’t a new thing to undertake I mean so many characters have ties to the Gods of old but I think that here we’re getting a new take on them.  A new direction for them to be developed and explored and it is definitely interesting enough that I for one will be coming back to see how the story unfolds. 
            The interior art here also a most pleasant surprise.  I’ve noticed that Zenescope has seen an increase in the talent level they employ nowadays and it really pays off in spades here.  Of course with EBAS doing his usual incredible work on the covers helps as well, but the inside doesn’t really differ a heck of a lot from the cover and that is simply marvelous. 
The Spider #5
Dynamite Entertainment 2012
Written by David Liss
Art by Colton Worley
            So the Spider seems to have entered Anput’s trap.  Thankfully he came prepared and wore the appropriate gear under his mask.  Actually the fact that he did shows that the character has a mind, a sharp one and uses it extremely well.  It’s just another aspect to the character which we need to see more of.  He has this incredible good support team that is able to help him see what he cannot and while he’s trying to survive this trap he’s in this team manages to talk him through it.  He also manages to get his hands on a canister of the gas which turns people into zombies, oh yeah an unopened container.
            So back at Professor Brownlee’s lab Richard’s worst fear is confirmed and the gas is manufactured at his dads company.  Wentworth Enterprises is the source of the zombie gas. 
            Wow he really goes ape shit on his dad while in his guise as the Spider.  I do like that most of this was a set up and that his dad will go to jail for a long time to come.  Though I wouldn’t have expected he would involve the police regardless of his civilian friendship or that a Detective has a hard on for unmasking him.   I’m amazed that his father turns out to be such a scumbag. 
            Anput is really putting the screws to Richard.  I mean now after their latest encounter she has wasted no time in attacking a new target.  The newspaper that Nita works at is that target, of course Nita is the commissioner’s wife and Richard’s previous love and now thanks to Anput she’s a zombie.
            I like that Richard isn’t afraid to kill his enemies, granted makes them harder to come back for sequels but he isn’t’ squeamish.  Well he does manage to free Nita from the effects of the gas and now that daddy dearest is going to jail he’ll have to take over the company as if all this weren’t enough I can’t wait to see what happens next.  
            I have to say that the pacing of the story the amount of characterization that is revealed as the story progresses is really quite amazing.  I am also pleasantly surprised at just how complex the writing is, there are a few layers at simultaneous play here that is just a pure delight.  As I’ve said before by updating the character in a modern day setting isn’t a detractor here it’s a definite bonus. 
            Colton has managed to really make this series his and the artwork throughout the interiors is just stellar.  The last two panels of the last page just really stand out in my mind and I’m totally in love with his work. 
            I don’t think this series would be as successful if these two men weren’t working on it.
The Bionic Man #13
Dynamite Entertainment 2011
Written by Phil Hester & Aaron Gillespie
Art by Ed Tadeo
Colours by Thiago Ribeiro
            It’s a little ironic that while another companies franchise expansion to me took much longer to get off the ground and separate itself from what we’ve seen previously.  This book right off the bat just kept that feel of the television series it comes from but made things fresh and new at the same time.   I am constantly in awe of each issue that comes out as it manages to merge both old and new together.
            Sigh the Bionic Big Foot is just a throw back keeper story that is utterly fantastic and how it is unraveling is simply marvelous.  Well while we didn’t see the cavalry come to the rescue it is very well portrayed by the characters in the book.  While I wanted to see so much more of Big Foot I have to begrudgingly admit that the way this happened was very well done.
            So Big Foot attacks OSI headquarters and all hell breaks loose.  We finally see Max the Bionic Dog attack and in action for the first time!  Though Big Foot manages to bust him up pretty good, I just hope that he isn’t dead or permanently damaged at this time. 
            All of this is because Big Foot needs to find parts that are compatible to fix his girlfriend.  Mind you I’m a tad skeptical of Steve’s software which gives him the ability to download and understand the creature’s language but it does make for a very effective tool once he is able to download it. 
            This ended in a cliffhanger I hadn’t seen coming.  So there are other who either know this is Big Foot and are just plain hunters or they are something much more sinister and either way it will be fun to see how they fit into all this.
            I guess I’m spoiled here as the series started out Steve really looked like Lee Majors and now with this current art team he has the same qualities but also has a more generic look to him.  Don’t get me wrong it isn’t terrible just disappointing for me.  Otherwise the art has remained pretty high quality and Alex’s covers continue to blow me away.
Idolized #2
Aspen Comics 2012
David Schwartz –Writer
Micah Gunnell & Pasquale Qualano –Art
David Curiel –Colours
            Wow so it’s one hundred and ninety eight contestants that are being brought to the next round of eliminations in New York City.  As this is a limited series I understand that we cannot spend as much time as perhaps I would like in learning about some of the people who progressed and some of the more interesting failures.  If this series were just a couple issues longer we possibly could have had that.  Don’t misunderstand me because while we don’t get that it doesn’t mean this isn’t a dang good story as it stands. 
            So there are constant battles or tests they must perform in controlled environments then they have to face the judges for either a breakdown or complimented.  These are represented as highly reminiscent of the television show it’s based on.  Speaking of which I absolutely adore the reference to the Real Superheroes of Orange County reference!  Simply brilliant writing from David on this one for a slew of different reasons.
            Alright so our girl is completely driven and her performance on the show may almost be jeopardized by it.  Sometimes she comes across as too intense or too focused so that she distances herself from the other contestants.  Though there is a brief encounter that under the right circumstances could very well lead to a nice little romantic situation. 
            I have to say there really was quite a bit of information delivered to us this issue, really jam packed.  Not that you felt like you were overwhelmed at any point in time because you weren’t.   Still we did get a great deal of characterization so great insight into a couple people as well as maybe something a little misleading from the first issue.
            When I read the first issue, or what the preview I can’t remember, I was under the impression that the story was told and we were just going to be along for her journey getting from A to B.  This issue however proved me wrong and that the journey may not be a direct route.  It will definitely be much more interesting that I could have hoped for.  Also the interior artwork here as was pretty darn tootin good. 
            Overall these guys have managed to change my mind about this series in a very short time and I appreciate that and the work they are putting into this mini-series.  Very impressive work indeed guys keep it up.
Steed and Mrs. Peel #1
Boom Studios 2012
Story by Mark Waid
Script by Caleb Monroe
Art by Will Sliney
Colours by Ron Riley
            The new Hellfire Club is up and running and while Steed and Mrs. Peel may have slowed them down they certainly aren’t out.  The Hellfire Club is certainly up to some very intense stuff here and the whole issue kind took me by complete surprise and I’m not terribly sure if it this is something live or Memorex.   Well okay truth be told I almost feel as if this is some big dream sequence and yet at the same time it feels totally plausible and orchestrated by the Hellfire Club.
            Gosh if I go into how things unfold in the issue I would completely ruin the whole issue.  There isn’t a way to really talk a whole lot about what is going on while not spoiling things. 
            Suffice it to say that the Hellfire Club, the Russians, the British government, monsters and more all appear here.  How, why and in what context remain to be seen by you the reader just keep in mind that this is done pretty done well. 
            I will also say that this is so far an amazing re-introduction, re-imagining of a series that was much beloved and appreciated before even I was born, or around when I was I cannot remember.  A whole new generation are being introduced to some of the most iconic and classic spies the world has ever had the pleasure to meet.
Dancer #5
Image Comics 2012
Story & Script –Nathan Edmondson
Art, Colour & Design –Nic Klein
            Alright so last issue we saw what appeared to be the younger version taking out the older model.  What surprised me the most about the whole story was that either way things were to turn out the company had a plan for both options.  I think how this ended was more of a surprise for all involved but I do strongly think that they expected the younger version to come out on top.
            Then to try and recruit him well let’s just say keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  They were responsible for his existence then somehow they managed to lose him and now they want him back under their collective thumb.  Yeah I wouldn’t be terribly keen on the idea of working for people who had done me wrong like they did.
            Thankfully due a really weird chain of events he never got the chance to do anything else.  Alan on the other hand, the rumor of his death was greatly exaggerated had come back to save the day.
            There are some very great moments that happen throughout this issue.  It manages to end the story in a most believable fashion while leaning the possibility for further adventures involving Alan.  Nathan writes a smart, intelligent, interesting story that manages to take you on a journey you might not have been prepared to actually take.  No there are no super-powers involved and yes this a Bourne Identity type of action/adventure mystery thriller. 
            I really wasn’t expecting this to end the way it did.  Touching, sweet and completely romantic and yet not in that mushy kind of way that took my complete surprise. 
            Nic does his words justice here with his artwork.  The two work incredibly well together and this gritty world where nothing is as it seems really does manage to almost make itself its own character.  All in all this is one of those stories that is more than worthy of your time and attention. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Renaldo's Reviews: Revival, Spike, Mind the Gap and More!

Revival #3 –
Tim Seeley continues to weave a bewildering yet thoroughly engaging story that further asks questions on why the resurrections have occurred. There are teases of ‘antagonists’ while leaving enough room for the complexity of human nature and emotion to be extricated from the diverse cast. The assorted crew in the book is given ample screen-time and it’s nice that the title isn’t hinged on just one or two folks. Mike Norton’s artistic vision complements the plot well and it’s such a perfectly-structured and cohesive read, you want more…and more. (9/10)
Spike: A Dark Place #2 –
Victor Gischler has shown he has a great handle on Marvel’s vampires and I’d love him writing Morbius or Blade, but the story of Spike tossed into space and battling aliens with mundane vendettas isn’t his forte. Paul Lee’s pencils are good enough but the same can’t be said for the story. It’s lacking momentum and gusto…as Spike runs into ticked-off haters…and Black Widow? It’s a bunch of random appearances and deus ex machinas that never lend to a stable plot. Spike has more to offer than being Buffy’s rebound or being space-fodder, and here, there’s no chance they are going to harvest or harness the proper stories that are potentially there. Dropping this title…now! (3/10)
Ghost #0 –
Kelly Sue Deconnick cuts loose here to great effect. It’s a neat and nifty mystery with a gruff cast and illustrated by the ever-sublime Phil Noto. When a ghost randomly appears and finds herself in much more trouble than intended, you’d never see the ramifications coming for a couple real-world gents stuck in bore and poverty. It’s a nice chemistry in the cast that surely makes for brilliant exposition, and given Deconnick’s elevation in the past year, I can see some concepts strewn here that could well make for something as spectacular and wondrous…much akin to ‘Mind the Gap. (9/10)
Mind the Gap #5 –
The best issue thus far. It’s really taking turns in all the right directions…and Jim McCann raises it up a notch. With a stellar issue and a lot of dramatic twists and turns, it’s merely a formality to see Esquejo’s versatility in the book’s art. I really couldn’t find anything off here. It’s a perfect issue and McCann continues to show his craftiness by leaving Elle out the issue and simply reverberating conniving consequence after consequence within the cast. He paints scenes of duplicity well…and with so many questions arising, the suspense is even more built for issue 6. It’s remarkable how better this book is getting. (10/10)
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison #5 –

The series wraps nicely here as we see how ruthless and cunning Vader is. He ushers his aide, Tohm, through the paces as they end the insurgence and uprising within the Sith ranks. It’s a treacherous attempt to rid the Empire of Palpatine and Vader, and it’s neatly orchestrated until Vader brings the heat in the finale. Haden Blackman’s script and Agustin Alessio’s art are in sync as they relay a climax worthy of applause. This is how the Sith roll…and the ending shows how doomed the Jedi were really meant to be. (10/10)

Steven's Reviews: Sword of Sorcery, The Shadow, Ghost and More!

Sword of Sorcery #0
Again I have to say that the better zero issues coming from the new DCU are those which introduce a new series.  This is the re-introduction of Amethyst to the DC Universe which in my humble opinion is long overdue.  We did see her last in Flashpoint and that appearance was enough to make at least me want more and apparently others as well though why it took this long I don’t know.
So this time around Amy Winston is in high school and has a definite look to her that says she expresses herself in her own unique way.  Or if you are familiar with her more like Black Alice in appearance.  We learn as this story goes on that she is on the verge of becoming seventeen and she and her mother have moved around a lot. 
            Oh and as if she didn’t think herself a big enough freak mom has been taking her outside and training with her.  Well since they are on Earth you may be wondering what exactly they are training with and for.  Well swords not to put too fine a point on it, yes pun intended bad and all, and swordplay. 
            Oo what is different this time around makes the series that much more exciting to see unfold.  Yes it appears to have some aspects of what is common today, see Snow White and the Huntsman or even Once Upon a Time elements which in today’s world do give it a certain dramatic edge.  Someone rather wicked is in charge of Castle Amethyst and she’s constantly looking for those gone missing, or just others that may have a connection to her lineage.
            Back on Earth Amy is learning just how different she is yet again.  She can’t help but do the right thing.  She rescues a fellow student from a gang rape and the girl instead of thanking her runs off scared of her.  Despite her outward appearance she does what is right and has a heart of gold. 
            There is something special about Amy’s seventeenth birthday, some significance that I perhaps am missing still her mother takes her home for the first time she can remember.  A home that she isn’t prepared for but somehow will find herself fighting to defend soon enough.  This really is perhaps the best introductory issue I’ve seen from the new fifty two to date.  From a wonderful story viewpoint to the incredible artwork this fantasy series is sure to set the comics world on fire.  Plus the appearance of one man may change this character in more ways than she can expect.
            The back-up feature is Beowulf.  Instead of taking place in the past in an era long forgotten this takes place in an apocalyptic future.  Nice twist on a classic tale really.  Still I will say I am not sure how this story fits into the DC Universe or how it is really sword and sorcery instead to me it’s almost a military tale instead but I’ll wait and see how this version unfolds.  The art at least is incredibly well done and leaps and bounds above what Jesus has shown in the past. 
The Shadow #5
Dynamite Entertainment 2012
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Aaron Campbell
Colours by Carlos Lopez
            This continues to blow me away.  Set back in the era in which it was created at first I felt was good for the series and now I feel it’s the perfect backdrop.  I love that we are getting the Shadow’s origin in a story that not only introduces us to this world but in a whirlwind of action and suspense to boot.  Aaron’s art here in this book is perhaps the best he’s ever done period and that is saying something considering his volume of work.
            There are some aspects to this story that in all honesty I wasn’t expecting and maybe even not prepared for either.  Sure I was prepared for some double maybe even triple crossing or the old bait and switch routine but that paled in comparison to what actually happened. 
            For all his faults and whining and what not I do hope that we continue to see Mister Finnegan in this series.  In some ways he is almost the perfect foible for Allard and while seemingly clueless I look forward to seeing more of him and if he is anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is.  It is almost one of those relationships that is near perfect when you stop to think about it.  I mean one is always searching and the other trying to stay one step ahead what more can you want out of all this?  Plus it does help to have someone on the inside whom you can get information out of when you need it as well.
            So this issue is good for seeing how they survived the attack on the ship they were traveling on.  The journey where they catch up to and well outsmart Kondo and company well it really does just flow perfectly.  This really is one of the better series I’ve had the pleasure to read.
Irresistible #3
Zenescope Entertainment 2012
Raven Gregory –Writer
Amin Amat –Art
Mike Stefan –Colours
            After a wild night out at a strip club with his friends, Allen Keeg helped an old lady escape the clutches of three robbers.  She promised him anything his heart desired, and without thinking, Allen wished to be irresistible.  Ever since that night, Allen has been having anonymous sex with tones of women in public places—but what he doesn’t know is that his dream is about to become a nightmare.  Just as Allen comes home from realizing that his ex-girlfriend, the love, has moved on, he walks in to find one of his conquests going crazy for him…literally.
            Raven manages to mix the adage be careful what you wish for with elements of Stephen King, think Thinner, and create something fun, interesting and somewhat disturbing.  I mean sure at first it would be fun to be able to bang anyone you want without even trying, okay so I have a Jason Stackhouse obsession too, but when it goes too far what do you do?  Who can you turn to for help?  Certainly not your guy friends I mean they’ll think you are crazy if you say every woman is throwing themselves at you, mainly because they are guys and stupid. 
            At the police station any female cop is going to well want him in the most primal of ways.  Oh and in case you were wondering that does exactly happen in this issue. 
            When he goes out with is friends well things get out of hand again, I mean whose bright idea was it to go to a strip club?  Yeah well then the story takes something of a more dramatic turn that I really wasn’t prepared for.
            You will have to read the story to find exactly what that is but suffice it to say it changes his life forever.  I love Raven and what he can do with a story.  Just when you think it is going in one direction he manages to go somewhere else completely with it.  Seriously it just amazes and surprises you so that by the end of this issue you put the book down in wonder, awe and amazement at what it is you just read.
            Then we also have the artwork.  Amin and Mike manage to create this almost soft and warm environment that can turn hard and odd on a dime.  It’s just as incredibly special as the story itself and keeps proving that Zenescope is in the thick of it.
Ghost #0
Dark Horse Comics 2012
Story by Kelly Sue Deconnick
Art by Phil Noto
            I would say the dramatic return of the Ghost but she actually came back before this in Dark Horse Presents with a teaser leading us into this issue.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I am pretty excited to see the return of this character. 
            Former Journalist Vaughn Barnes has been reduced to moonlighting as cameraman for the shoddy paranormal-investigation cable TV show Phantom Finders.  But when a curious device summons the specter of a beautiful, translucent woman, Vaughn is plunged into a mystery of criminal intrigue that spans two worlds!
            Now I know so many people who love any one of or all of those ghost adventures/hunters etc shows that litter cable channels these days and by using one of these as the basis for re-connecting with the Ghost is a pretty smart move. 
Also Kelly does a wonderful job introducing us to these characters here.   We get plenty of great characterization of the characters well with possibly the exception of the Ghost herself but then uncovering her past and her name is pretty much what this series primary goal is.  I do like that they seem to get along alright but there isn’t entirely some good strong trust going on either.  Tommy and Vaughn are definitely in the same boat however I’m not sure it seats two if you my meaning.  The believer and the skeptic thrown together and almost forced to work together, co-workers who have to become partners whether they like it or not.  It’s a dynamic that works and Kelly does a nice job on it with these guys.
This was interesting in that it you can feel the different chapters in the story as they happen.  The chapters happen with a distinction even though they aren’t labeled as such and if that is done on purpose I think it’s an effective tool here.  If Kelly didn’t exactly intend that to happen then yikes, regardless the pacing of it all works.
There is some violence here so if you are squeamish you may want to be a tad careful thankfully though there isn’t any gore.  Phil does some very very nice work on the interiors here.  There are times though that the backgrounds are very plain and boring yet overall it looks good.  Specially when we see the Ghost in her white outfit it has the ethereal look thanks to the colouring.
I have to say this is a successful introduction to a character that has been gone much too long.
The Pound: Ghouls Night Out #1
IDW Publishing 2012
Stephan Nilson –Writer
Ibrahim Moustafa –Pencils & Inks
Romulo Fajardo Jr. –Colours
            Okay perhaps it is just me but I do have a soft spot for creatures of the supernatural, good, bad and ugly.  So that this issue starts off with the Creature from the Black Lagoon just makes me incredibly happy.  Even more so since he scares the heck out of a kid and he’s got acid spittle which wasn’t even in the movie!
            Alright so there are quite a few stories happening in this issue simultaneously.  Stephan manages to handle the multiple arcs happening all at once without it feeling crunched or out of place.  I have a feeling that they will eventually all converge into one and what may be missing now will fall into place by the end.  In the meantime everything we are given here is more than enough to draw you in and keep your interest.
            After seeing some vampires get attacked by other vampires we move onto Scottie and Howie who are the stars of the book and they head out onto the lake to do some fishing.  After they head out the Sheriff who is still on the pier has some stellar dialogue with a couple of strangers whose faces we don’t get to see.  This was really impressive as you kind of know who they are as unfortunately the cover gives it away but still it was nice to “hear” the dialogue on the page. 
            There really is a lot going on here and while it does help if you have read the previous mini-series it isn’t essential that you have.  Which is another big plus, that you can jump in to the first issue and feel right at home as if you really haven’t missed anything.  There is a little previously on the inside cover which does more than enough to say hay we are in Cleveland and these opened up a business for stray and lost pets which soon turned into them catching paranormal creatures instead.
            Cleveland seems to a hot place these days. I love that Scottie’s mother in law is coming to stay at his house, adding a whole new dimension to things that are sure to not only get sticky but pretty funny as well.  Oh and also apparently his house is being staked out by something which I’m sure we’ll learn most likely next issue.
            Oh and if all this weren’t enough if you are a fan of Proof then you’ll be happy to know that he makes a guest appearance here as well.   This is only a four issue mini-series and so far the writing is spectacular and the interior art matches the words beautifully.  There is some definite paranormal, supernatural fun going on here that needs to be experienced.

Oliver's Reviews: Invincible, Witchblade, Darth Vader and More!

Invincible #95

Its the climax of the story involving Robot and Monster Girl from a couple issues ago, and its building to critical mass.  Hats off to the creative team!  As everyone whose been reading this title knows, Robot and Monster Girl relate a tale, a flashback of the events from when they were trapped in another dimension, All this, while in the midst of staving off an alien invasion from said place.  And from then on, Robots been hinting of a major betrayal done purportedly by his partner/ love interest.

In this issue the longevity of their stay gets laid out and the extent of their participation in that worlds liberation becomes fully revealed.  What actually floored me was the major revelation in this issue.  Boy I really wasn't counting on that. I mean, I had my ideas but it was as if I was a deer caught in a cars head lights.  As if its not clear enough, This issue has major ramifications for the future of the aforementioned couple.  I do hope that both of them survive this encounter.  

The creative team always delivers and in this issue, we get a brief glimpse on Kirkman's politics as this reads much like his social commentary. The art as always, is kick ass.  I could never imagine Invincible being done by another artist. Walker and Ottley has definitely made their careers with this book.
Next issue is not to be missed folks!  Kirkman and co always bring their A- Games to this title!

Witchblade #160

The quality of this book since the relaunch has not lagged at all, if anything else, it has consistently been very good.  Here, We get to see Sara utilize the Witchblade in ways that shes rarely done in the past.  Its nice to see some of the Artifacts lesser used capabilities.

With that, and the way that writer and artist seem to launch Sara in action fully clothed, I'm really liking this new direction.  Before I started reviewing this title on a consistent basis for this website, I knew next to nothing about The WitchBlade.  I only know her as "The barely clothed lady with the cool looking Gauntlet." whenever I catch an image of her.  Now, I could not get enough of the character and its all thanks to this creative team.  The focus is more on story.  Sure, you still get your fill of TNA but its less expressed.  

And as for the story, it couldnt get any better.  Sara is up against a deadly new enemy and the conclusion of this issue bodes ill for our star.  It can only get more interesting beyond this point.  A cute leader of a cult that follows her every whim versus  a battle hardened Police officer with a mystical artifact?  Whats not to like?  See you next month!

Star Wars:  Darth Vader and The Ghost Prison #5

From the beginning, I have raved about this title for the stellar art and the kind of unique premise where Vader and The Emperor become embroiled in a ruthless power grab/ coup from some of the rank and file.  By my reckoning, this has never happened before.  Vader as always, has served the role of hunter and never the prey.  So that alone, should pique your curiosity.  

The art, oh, what more could be said about the art?  Its gorgeous!  Every panel just takes your breath away.  It alone is worth the price of admission.

The ending is sort of predictable as Vader would always be Vader, but none the less, its still a joy to watch.  This has been a good ride from start to finish and it has been a pleasure to see it unfolding before my eyes.

Moral Lesson of this book is, you never, ever, cross Vader.  Ever.

Ghost #0

Wow, Phil Noto seems to be all over the place these days.  Probably one of the most prolific artist active today, sometimes, with me, he has been hit or miss as I fairly think he needs to improve on a lot of background work as he tends to focus more on faces, but for this issue, I think he did a good job.

Now storywise, it does a good job of introducing you to the characters and enveloping you in their world.  Ive never read a Ghost comic before, I saw  some of her comics's covers during the late 90's but that is pretty much it.  So i cant really tell if this is a continuation or a reboot, but from what I saw this issue, I really liked.  It continues in a four issue mini series where we would see the protagonists try to unravel the identity of the mysterious Ghost, while being chased by thugs from the organization that created the machine that brought her back to the land of the living.  It promises to be a good adventure/chase comic fraught with thrills and almost assuredly, startling revelations.  Dark Horse has lived up to its name.  For me, it is the strongest comic company outside of the big two.  Readily displacing Image.  This title would make a pretty good argument as to why that is so.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tyrone's Reviews: Buffy #13 and Hoax Hunters #3!

Buffy Season 9 #13

In this issue of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 we see the conclusion of one of the most quirky story arcs yet in the series. Buffy has to take down the wolfram and hart demon social network “Tin Can” the story and art are both fun and on track with this current season, and quite enjoyable.

This season of Buffy comics has been about going back to basics, while various characters come and go from Buffy’s life the focus is mainly on Buffy as she finds her place in the world. This story arc she was trying her hand at using her skills as hired protection with her old friend, Willow’s ex-girlfriend Kennedy. The story was fun as they’re pitted against old Angel baddie Wolfram and Hart and pitted with the task of taking down their social network “Tin Can” This story has everything a Buffy story should right down to the quips and I believe Andrew Chambliss did a wonderful job capturing the feel and tone of classic Buffy. This comic continues to be good and I’m liking the current season a lot more than I liked season 8.

The art is something I always enjoy on a Buffy comic and it seems that Jeanty is only getting better with each issue. Jeanty has managed to capture the likeness of Buffy and her world without creating something that looks and feels like he’s trying to match the television series. The panels feel animated and I really can’t imagine anyone else doing this book, although Phil Noto’s covers are a beautiful addition.

Buffy Season 8 has been consistently enjoyable and this latest story arc is no exception, I love the way the creative team behind this series thinks and works. I keep wondering how many stories our slayer has left and with this creative team and support from the original writers and producers it seems the number may be infinite, and for this book at least I’m alright with that.

Hoax Hunters #3

Hoax Hunters was a book I added to my pull list with a little reservation, I have seen and read similar stories and wasn’t sure if I wanted to take on a book I’ve read before, but within the first couple of issues I was charmed by the characters and really took a liking to the writing style.

This book follows a group of supernaturally gifted individuals who work together as a kind of Hoax-Task force each with their own gift and place within the group. The story isn’t bogged down with a heavy meaning or a moralistic skeleton but it’s fun and easy to get into, it actually plays a lot like a 90’s cartoon where each character is easily identifiable and stands out immediately. This first story arc has been great fun and I really like that Image has given this series shelf space.

The one place where this comic is lacking is the art, it isn’t horrible it just isn’t up to par with the other books being produced by Image. When you compare the work to something like “Morning Glories” or “Mind the Gap” there is a noticeable drop in the art from Medellin’s pencils right down to Soils’ colors this fun, exciting story is accompanied by flat and lifeless art. While it doesn’t ruin the book for me I hope to see an improvement in later issues as I think the story really deserves something with a little more flash.

Overall Hoax Hunters is a lot of fun to read, it plays like Scooby-Doo for adults and is one of the more enjoyable books I’m reading. I love the juxtaposition of this book in contrast with the rest of Image’s more serious series and if you’re into supernatural stories you should consider adding this series to your pull list!

Renaldo's Reviews: Manhattan Projects, Hoax Hunters, Conan and More!

Conan #8 –
Brian Wood continues to weave his magic as Conan and Belit search Cimmeria for an impostor carving murder in Conan’s name. It’s not an issue with surges of violence but it portrays the tactical search that Conan struggles to perform with Belit by his side. Wood lets the viewer feel the chasm in the romance as stresses and strains encompass Belit in Conan’s native land. Conan has a choice to make to catch his doppelganger a bit faster but it’s sure to come with dire consequences. There’s a nice setup for next issue’s showdown as Wood excels as usual. He brings his A-game although Becky Cloonan was off-duty and allowed Vasilis Lolos on art. Not as good as Cloonan, but it suffices. (10/10)
The Creep #1 –
John Arcudi’s script doesn’t flow as well as the zero-issue but with Oxel investigating a suicide close to home, it’s a nice story that takes its toll on human emotion to the bone…given the topic. There’s a nice sense of empathy that Oxel embeds into the story given his ‘disorder’ personally but through all society’s drivel, there’s a nice tinge of endearment and heart brought to the page by Oxel. The undertone is steeped in depression and Jon Case’s art is just the rough and perfect visual element needed for this story. It continues to intrigue in all the right ways. (9/10)
The Victories #2 –
There’s a lot of Watchmen thrown in here with a contemporary twist. Mike Oeming’s second issue propels itself marvelously in the wake of a pretty daft debut issue. The opener wasn’t that terrible but the follow-up here not only lights itself up on the plot, but Oeming’s art sparkles in every corner. Faustus and his team go on their violent drug-busts, while stitching the usual sexcapades and drunken stupor into their nightly routine, until a psychic called Link, throws a serious wheel in the spanner. Add Link’s cavorting in prison to a sworn enemy called the Jackal…and there’s some brilliance igniting here. Revenge is on the horizon and the hype has finally come abound on this title. (9/10)
Hoax Hunters #3 –
The first couple issues seemed to ramble about in a mediocre fashion, which didn’t set well with me as the premise of a reality TV show disproving the existence of the supernatural element when it in fact, did exist, proved really fun a concept. After sluggishly starting, the pace from Mike Morecci and Steve Seeley picks up well here, with the team, especially it’s brute and leader, Jack, now realizing a common threat exists…in the worst manner. Sensing an impending apocalypse, Lawson’s team comes up against powerful vagabonds and ragtag powers-that-be, which not only traverse Earth…but into other universes as well. There’s quirky yet well-placed lore in the story that traipse around a secret society hellbent on destruction…and Axel Medellin’s art is something that’s nicely acclimated to my eyes by now. This is the epic yet brilliant shock of the week for me… (10/10)
Orchid #9 –
There’s peril facing Orchid’s rebellion as Opal’s death spurs her on to kill the dictator and oppressor, Wolfe. Granted that she’s driven by revenge, it’s a more violent and dark spin on a heroine a la Luke Skywalker. Scott Hepburn’s embellished pages are a sight for sore eyes, and with Morello’s script, as high-octane as ever…it’s a fun ride to see Orchid grow from rabid prostitute to the revolt’s leader. It sets up a nice finale and hopefully, the pay-off’s gonna be major fun. The ride thus far has been nothing short of exhilarating. (9/10)
Manhattan Projects #6 –

As Einstein and Oppenheimer tear through the potentials of dimensional space-bridges, Hickman leaves the reader shuddering with the fear that these men, who become monsters, spill. It’s science, never exact, but totally fear-inducing. It’s terrorism…a subterranean means to an end in the human mind of the scientist. Nazis, rocket science, space threats…and unholy unions are all some of Hickman’s nifty little tools that Nick Pitarra does so well to draw. The book looks good, it’s high-concept and fun in its own evil intellect and intent, and with the possibilities presented, Hickman no doubt loves that spiraling world war feel to his story. There are a lot of arcs that entwine so well here…and it’s typical Hickman…at his best. (10/10)

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. 

Oliver's Reviews: It Girl #2 and Manhatten Projects #6!

It Girl and the Atomics #2
Mike Allred is the master of costume and character design I'd give him that. His creations and costumes often catch your attention and are very dynamic in scope and concept. That's pretty much what It girl is in a nutshell.  
I enjoyed the book even though at the rapid pace that I was reading it, left me a little confused. And this was only the second issue. So that's my only complaint. It felt like a comic with ADHD sort of like the feeling you would get when watching an episode of the Spider-man 90s cartoon. But the story is interesting enough to merit another try at the next issue. The cover by Allred alone is worth the price of admission. I understand that for some, Allred’s art might be considered an acquired taste so you won't be disappointed as Mike Norton, probably one of the most underrated artist who is active today, fires on all cylinders. This is a very good, fun issue. Although like I noted earlier, it might take a while to get yourself acquainted with the flow of the story. But it's definitely something I would check out if you want to broaden your horizons beyond the big two. Go check it out.

Manhattan Project #6
Don't get me wrong; I really love this book and the quirkiness that it brings. It often stands out among the current litter of comics because it is deeply entrenched in a sci fi, high concept dashed with a little bit of Twilight Zone mode, but dear God, it feels like the buildup is just so slow. I guess I was just a little too weaned with today's norm of six issue arcs, and I guess I should appreciate that someone is actually reviving long overarching stories again, but sometimes, I just really want to hit the fast forward button on this book like, really let's get to some payoff soon. I guess this comic is just not for everyone but I think this project, if you'd pardon the pun, would've benefitted more were it done as a novel. It would've been a novel idea and concept and it could've been optioned as a prime candidate for a film someday. Oops I did it again, sorry.

The art and the story is good but I just really feel that they should drop an atomic bomb now just to make sure the audiences attention is still there. Okay I'm going to stop now. Buy the book, but if you’re this late in the game, id sit this one out and wait for the trade. It'll read much better that way.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Renaldo's Reviews: Think Tank, Harvest, Mind the Gap and More!

Harvest #2 –
Ben finds himself the equivalent of a mercenary doctor on the black market as he tries to get off rock bottom. AJ Lieberman’s script is pretty succinct and dark as it needs to be when decorated by Colin Lorimer’s scrappy but strikingly effective pencils. It’s a gruesome and intuitive take on this societal ill that sees Dane’s thirst for money taken aback by his guilty conscience. Throw in a femme fatale and this continues to be one of the best titles out. It’s young and fresh…just like the organs inside. (10/10)
Think Tank #2 –
If you’re a fan of Hickman’s work, especially FF4, Secret and Manhattan Projects, then you’re missing out on one of the most intelligent books out there. It’s filled with something more than conspiracy and war. It’s science, while incorporating the aforementioned. The genius of a certain American scientist proves too much for a military hungry to slave him out to make WMDs and it’s up to Loren and his beft friend, Mannish, to figure their way out of servitude. It’s witty and pretty eclectic in its uncoloured pages by Rahsan Ekedal, but throw in his amazing art and the brilliance of Hawkins, you find that Einstein indeed has a son in comics…and here’s where we find that brain. This is near-perfect a comic. (10/10)
Thieve of Thieves #8-
James Asmus expounds on Kirkman’s story about a master thief who continues to elude the authorities and every time it seems he’s cornered, he pulls a new trick out his sleeve. Until he loses the George Clooney suave and all his aces, it seems that the book really can’t keep the antagonist down. Throw in complicated romances and the need to placate families during their most desperate times, and you’d see that even the nastiest thief has the softest spot for those closest to him. It’s duplicity, it’s revenge…and Shawn Martinbrough’s art continues to keep the title steeped in excellence. It isn’t missing a beat…and the stakes just got higher for the starring cast. How far is too far you’d ask! (8/10)
Epic Kill #5 –
Raff Ienco’s pencils may be slightly more attractive than his story here but when you have such a weak story, it isn’t saying much. It’s akin to him ripping off Fox from the Wanted film…and all hopes for originality are exclaimed as shattered. The pace and story is one of the most tedious and dragged out affairs I read in some time and while hoping for a grand climax, the finale is pretty bland. Ienco’s story lacks a cohesiveness and fluidity as it tries to build on a simple assassination…but there’s a class and culture lacking throughout. I expect better. (5/10)
Mind the Gap #4 –

While issue 3 threw me off a bit, the pace that Jim McCann lacked before, it’s ramped highly here and the final page shows why this book keeps being a hit. In its own mental complexity, Elle shines in a comatose state as she never loses the human edge. While she’s in astral panic, Rodin Esquejo keeps on delivering some breathtaking artwork that pinpoints suspect from panel to panel. The intrigue factor is high and with more details coming to light on Elle’s attack, it’s all about how this brilliant story unfolds in the gleam of exquisite art. It’s a beautiful comic…and then some. (10/10)

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.