Dead Squad #1 (IDW Publishing)
Written by: Matthew Federman
Art by: Micheal Montenat
If you were to start a tutorial on how to create an exciting first issue of a comic book you could use Dead Squad #1 as a prime example. Matthew Federman, Stephen Scaia and artist Michael Montenat open with an exciting action sequence, followed by a shady meet-up, then a bloody reveal, ending in a crazy cliffhanger. Needless to say we’ll be back for more. It’s an efficient and masterfully executed piece of storytelling that, for a debut issue, gets the job done and more.
Right off the bat we meet our leading men and get a glimpse of their personalities. It’s done naturally without contrivance and quickly escalates into the chase scene. The layout and staging of the action is done mostly very well with only a couple of panels that switch the POV abruptly and kind of loses the reader for a second. It’s an explosive situation with severe consequences. Montenat has a nice touch with wider scenes but a little heavy on the line work with the characters. Still, the art reflects the grittiness of the subject matter with muted colors and well placed shadows.
After issue one we’re hooked. We are completely in the hands of Federman and Scaia to continue the fast-paced world of the blackest of black ops that somehow defy death itself.
*Review by Enrique Rea
Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Jock
Color by: Matt Hollingsworth
In most cases I’m not a huge horror fan, mainly because of an over active imagination and inability to get a good night sleep. This probably means reading Wytches from Image comics and the mind of Scott Snyder was a huge mistake. This is no way a knock on the book and in fact a huge compliment, Wytches in downright frightening the opening pages set the hooks that will eventually pull you into a deep, dark and terrifying hole. Snyder’s story follows a young girl named Sail Rook and her family as they look for a new start. Although this seems a simple and generic premise, if I were to reveal any more I would be spoiling the best aspects of Synder’s story telling.
Snyder is able to take a simple premise and turn it into a bewitching tale full of mystery, darkness, death, and horror. Each turn of the page will either have you on the edge of your seat or will haunt your dreams. All of this terror is only enhanced by the stellar pencil work of Jock and the haunting colors of Matt Hollingsworth. Their art is the perfect complement to this terrifying tale as Jock’s art sets the stage while Hollingsworth’s colors bring it to life. Without these artists I’m not sure Wytches would have the same horrific impact as each page seems to be a doorway into nightmares.
I know Wytches #1 is a fantastic book and if Snyder’s other work is any indication, this will be a fantastic story. I’m just not sure my heart can take it, as it seems to tug on all the right strings of fear to make even the toughest of men think twice about venturing alone in the woods. If you’re a horror fan and love to be scared Wytches is certainly a must read. If you’re like me and still have to check under the bed every so often this book may be the death of you.
*Review by Casey Walsh
Alien Vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Written by: Christopher Sebela
Art by: Ariel Olivetti
As a fan of both the Alien and Predator franchises I am always intrigued when the two merge and we get another installment of Alien vs. Predator. Whether it’s a video game or terrible movie I seemingly can’t get enough of the two intergalactic monsters duking it out. So when Dark Horse announced they were doing a mega crossover with Alien, Predator and Prometheus of course I was immediately on board. Unfortunately Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1 is an unconnected mess that leaves the reader wondering “what the hell is going on.”
Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1 takes place between Predator: Fire and Stone #1 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #4, two issues that haven’t come out yet. In my opinion this created a huge problem and leaves gaping holes in this comic’s story that are yet to be told. I am sure this was intentional on Dark Horses’ part to build mystery and intrigue but as I read I just kept asking myself why. Don’t get me wrong Christopher Sebla’s script for this issue is certainly entertaining and will leaving you wanting more. I just couldn’t help but be distracted by the fact that we were missing the most important piece to the puzzle. I get it and understand it’s a different way to approach a storytelling but I just felt I was missing too much to really care about the action or characters.
The saving grace of this issue is the art of Ariel Olivetti. It’s executed almost flawlessly as each panel is exceptionally beautiful. The character models are perfect from the horrific Xenomorphs to the brutal Predators’ each character feels as though they could jump off the page at any second. Olivetti’s use of color is another high point as it only adds to the realism on the page and offers such variety as you scan from panel to panel. The art is truly magnificent and without it this book would have certainly suffered.
Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1 maybe an issue you want to wait on as its contingent to the overall story but will make you feel lost without the necessary pieces. If you‘re already into the Fire and Stone crossover series it’s a must buy, otherwise I may wait on this issue until its counterparts have hit stores first.
*Review by Casey Walsh
Creator, Writer: Joshua Williamson
Creator, Artist: Andrei Bressan
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
This first issue in this new comic series tells the tale of a loving family; the mother setting up the surprise party decorations with the reluctant brother, the father playing catch at the park with the young birthday boy. All of that is quickly taken away as the little birthday boy ends up missing. The family goes through a yearlong endeavor that sees the father accused of killing his son and the parents getting divorced as the father begins to take up drinking to numb his pain. It seems as though the son will never return and this once loving family will never be whole again. And then this story, which has the theme so far of a Law and Order episode, takes a turn as a mysterious Conan the Barbarian looking stranger is brought in, and he claims to be Mikey, the little lost boy.
This comic answers the question of what happens to the family of a “chosen one” when he (or she) leaves his normal life and travels the lands that are home to trolls and dragons. Explained as a time anomaly where one year in the “real” world is enough for a little boy to grow up into a muscle bound warrior, Mikey’s return isn’t met with fanfare at all, but the father assumes this a sick joke.
The character artwork of this story is wonderful. Each person we have been introduced to so far has a clearly defined personality and the illustrations show their mindsets as to how they are dealing with their missing son. Everything so far in this comic, has felt like it is ramping up for a wonderful adventure. Even the artwork starts to get more intense as the final pages turn and we are left with a great twist on the “young human boy chosen to save a fantasy kingdom”. For the hero to return must mean he completed his quest while he was missing, or does it? After reading the story that took place during the boy’s adventure, I can’t wait to read what comes next. The writer was able to instil some notions of what is planned by hinting that everything may not play out as you would expect.
*Review by Cory Anderson
Copperhead #2 (Image comics)
Written by: Jay Faerber
Art by: Scott Godlewskie & Ron Riley
Proving that issue one was no fluke, Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski, get down to the nitty-gritty in Copperhead #2. The sci-fi western takes a police procedural turn now that new sheriff Clara Bronson and deputy Boo are investigating a multiple homicide. Meanwhile, Clara’s son and friend find themselves in some trouble of their own.
After a great first issue there’s no drop off as the mystery deepens surrounding the massacre of the hillbillly family. It’s the kind of police work you don’t see enough in comics. Usually, the answers come quick with little effort. Faerber lures us in by making us witnesses to the evidence just as the characters without all the answers. Easy to say we’re hooked .
The kids however are in the Badlands looking for a dog and with a name like “Badlands” it’s probably not a safe place to be especially at night. Zeke and Annie come across some wild creatures but luckily get some help. This subplot is just as mysterious as the murders but it does provide some beautifully rendered action.
Copperhead #2 offers more questions than answers but it’s so good you won’t mind being in the dark. Godlewski creates a fantastic canvas with incredibly designed characters and Ron Riley comes along and breaths new life into the page with vivid colors. The page layouts are creatively varied and fun to follow. It reads and looks like the creative team is having fun and fully invested in making a top notch book. Needless to say but Copperhead is a must-buy.
*Review by Enrique Rea
Earth 2 – World’s End #1 (DC Comics)
Written by: Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennet & Mike Johnson
Art by: Ardian Syaf, Sandra Hope, Danny Miki, Jorge Jimenez, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Paolo Sequeira & Cam Smith
If there is one thing that DC does right, is they can make one of their big events feel epic in all the right ways. In Earth 2 – World’s End #1 we get to see the beginning of the end for this incredibly different DC universe, as the armies of Apokolips begin their war. The great heroes we all know and love are very different and the start of this book introduces us to them. If you’re like me and have just now picked up an Earth 2 book, there is a lot to catch up on. In this universe Robin is Bruce Wayne’s daughter, Lois Lane gets turned into a robot and Zod is a good guy, while heroes like Superman has been turned evil by Darkseid and Wonder Woman was run through with a sword. This is a HUGE book with 40+ pages in it, so it’s a lot of story for the money.
There were a three writers on this book and you can tell because this massive story is broken up into three different parts. The overall story though is by Daniel H. Wilson and I have to commend him on holding all the pieces of this story together. He’s weaving a pretty large tale, set in a strange new universe with characters very different from the ones I grew up with. Three writers though is nothing compared to the eight artists in this book. As I first read this I didn’t think much about the art being different in every part of this book, but in hindsight I can go back and spot the different styles of art that each artist lends to different scenes. I think the fact I didn’t think much about it at first is a compliment to the artists being able to work together and draw a book in a fairly uniform style, while still giving it their own special touch. This book was a fun and interesting read and it’s a #1, so if you’re wanting to start a new series this one is a good recommendation. As part of the World’s End event DC is doing, I’m not sure how involved this other Earth will be overall, but I’m definitely going to be checking out the next issue to see if this book stays as epic as it began.
*Review by Everett Harn