Comic Book Reviews 11/19/2014

Nov 18, 2014

Mad Cave Studios


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GONNERS_02Goners #2 (Image)

Story By: Jacob Semahn
Art By: Jorge Corona
Cover By: Jorge Corona

If you thought Goners #1 was a rush Goners #2 is a fighter jet pulling 9 g’s of horror. Issue two opens with a fantastic scene and we’re right where we left off at the end of the great first issue. Knee deep in monsters, Zoe and Josiah along with Kyle and Francis have to fight their way out of the police station. It’s a non-stop sprint to safety that will leave you gasping for air.

Jacob Semahn has created a fun frenzied tale that hasn’t let up in two issues. He throws in a flashback to allow the audience to catch their breath. It’s a charming vignette of the past when things were better and safer for the Latimer clan. Back to the action at the station, it’s full of blood and fright but tempered with subversive humor.

Jorge Corona and Gariel Cassata establish these tight quarters that are almost claustrophobic as our heroes fight in offices and hallways. The threat of death is inches away and all around them and they illustrate that beautifully from varying angles and perspectives. The colors are mostly dark because of the lack of lighting in the building except for the lush splashes of blood.

Goners #2 turns the thrills and horror into overdrive for a fantastic read you’ll want to revisit and reread again and again to appreciate it fully.

*Review by Enrique Rea


StorytellerWitches03-cover-b9055Jim Henson’s Storyteller #3: The Phantom Isle (BOOM! Studios)

Written and Illustrated By: Matthew Dow Smith

The third installment of this amazing miniseries continues in the tradition of the previous issues by amazing you with an amazing story and beautifully illustrated world. This issue focuses on the idea of a story and how stories can be expanded upon. As the story begins we are told a story ourselves about the DNA of a story and how they (stories) come about naturally and are spiced up for flavor. As the actual story of this comic book continues, the foundation of a story is further expressed as there being a limit to how many stories someone can tell before they start to run out of imagination. There are so many truths about stories that is the bedrock of this comic book’s story.

StorytellerWitches03-PRESS-6-afaf6With a twist like that of Twilight Zone the old sailor who loves to tell stories is given immortality to help resurrect a fabled island that goes by many name, but is not allowed to leave. He slowly begins to drain his imaginative well dry and asks to leave as it is narrated poetically, “Stories come from life. From Living”. The illustrations effectively tell the tale without taking away from the point of the story. The lines and colors are neat and full of life, giving each panel a story to tell in itself.

As the story started, the tale comes full circle allowing the old storyteller the chance to tell one last tale as he sees the life he lived and needs to tell his story. Matthew Dow Smith did an amazing job of working this script into a lesson about the anatomy of a story while telling another story. I was entertained by the tale of a sailor that was the tool to express how deep a story can run. I am in love with each of these storyteller issues and was not disappointed in this installment.

*Review by Cory Anderson


STK648469TMNT Legends: Soul’s Winter (IDW)

Written By: Michael Zulli & Stephen Murphy
Art and Letters By: Michael Zulli & Eric Talbot

The campy catchphrase spewing Ninja Turtles can take a pizza break. This collection gathers a handful of dark and mysterious stories into a fantastically illustrated and scripted book. The ninja turtles are much more realistically mutated in their design, as well as a much more devoted feeling to their devotion to their master, Master Splinter. A much more authentically armored Shredder takes his fight to his advisories more serious. Everything about this read just screamed of an honest and sincere adaptation to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (heavier dose of the ninja and turtle aspects).

TMNT_Souls-pr-6Though their personalities are not the familiar leader, knowledge, anger or party dude that is everyone’s understanding of the turtle archetypes, the overall story is still present in the never ending war of good vs bad, or more clearly labeled Oroku Saki vs the turtles. The art in each of these issues was gritty and gruesome. There was an air of mystery to each panel, drawing your attention to every detail that was focused on because of the darkness that was ever present.

After reading the “Soul’s Winter” portion of this collection, the follow up stories are a nice change of mood. Where the trilogy that made up “Soul’s Winter” was a dark and psychological arc wrapped in mysticism, the one shot stories we a search for meaning in the characters’ lives. I think each reader can get a different result out of this collection, whether it is the Confucius like sage advice that Splinter searches for or the way that a nightmare can be rooted from what must be the phobia of every turtle, this read had many various aspects that were familiar with the turtles, but much different in the same way, which was a welcome change in point of view to the heroes in the half shell.

*Review by Cory Anderson


Cm 3 coverCriminal Macbre: The Third Child #3 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Steven Niles
Art by: Christopher Mitten
Color by: Michelle Madsen

Criminal Macabre: The Third Child #3 is easily the best issue of this too brief four issue miniseries from Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten. Niles is a skilled veteran comic book creator that pulls off a charming heart-to-heart talk between Cal and his undead dad before the city goes to hell. It’s a delicate balance of sincere emotion and character development and straight gory supernatural savagery. The Third Child is destined to be another Niles classic.

Christopher Mitten and Michelle Madsen do a wonderful job of designing layouts of stylish horror noir with a varied colors depending on the scene. Bright yellows and blues for the flashback, somber hues of blue, black and green with Cal and his dad and reds, yellows and black when the action gets bloody. Hemlock’s transformation is especially remarkable from panel to panel.

Criminal Macabre: The Third Child is a fantastic series of surprising depth and character while still being a wonderfully gory horror story.

*Review by Enrique Rea


660619_5ca4f58315e7c26a62fc1d4017af44ac2827c235Spider-Woman #1 (Marvel)

Written by: Dennis Hopeless
Art by: Greg Land

In the first official spin-off from Spider-verse we get a hilarious spider comic featuring the (Earth-616) Jessica Drew Spider-Woman, Silk and Spider-man Noir (at first). Following the events of Amazing Spider-Man #10 (also out this week!), Silk ran off to try and draw the Inheritors to herself instead of to the rest of the Spiders, thinking everything that was happening is her fault. Old Man Spider tells Jessica Drew that Silk has to stay safe and so here we are to this book. Jessica, Silk and Noir are in an alternate universe trying to lay low and not draw the Inheritors to them. That doesn’t last long because Silk and Noir start a fight and everything goes awry pretty fast. We eventually get to see more Spider-Gwen and Arachne towards the end of the book which is always fun. This book really should be titled Spider-Women #1 and not Woman, because Jessica Drew isn’t really the central focus. She’s great in this book, don’t get me wrong, but the story follows Silk and has more than one Spider-Woman in it.

The story by Dennis Hopeless is really fun. I think in general this week I’ve heard more people talking about and loving Spider-Woman #1 than ASM #10 and it’s for good reason. Hopeless gives Spider-fans the Jessica Drew that we all love but barely have seen in the Spider-world. She’s been on the Avengers so long that she has almost forgotten how it is to not be with a group of incredibly competent heroes who handle their own selves. She’s sarcastic, funny and really wants to show Silk and these other Spiders that she isn’t just a stale version of them. We get more Noir and his world which is fantastic, and Greg Land really hits the art home when drawing both the alien universe Earth and 1930’s New York. I always love to see Noir’s world and I could really do with a full Noir comic series. We get Arache and Spider-Gwen which Hopeless and Land do justice, and I can’t wait until the next book in this line. Incredible spin-off!

*Review by Everett Harn 


sep140886Daredevil #10 (Marvel)

Written by: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee
Art by: Matthew Wilson

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Daredevil book, but he’s always been one of my favorite heroes for some odd reason. So I decided to check out this series and hopped right into #10 hoping that the back story page would give me enough to go on and enjoy this book. Well it did! The book starts off with Purple Man having beaten Daredevil to a pulp, causing Matt Murdock to have some mental issues due to the nature of Purple Man’s powers (he can command people to do what he says). Matt eventually resists, beating Purple Man down enough to escape him, but escaping won’t do anyone any good; Purple Man is after his kids who are causing havoc down at the San Fransisco arcade. Purple Man wants to get his kids and take them under his control but not if Daredvil can stop him.

daredevil-10-preview-1-110516Mark Waid and Chris Samnee do a good job telling the story here. I, as a new reader to the series, felt like I could jump in and follow along with everything that conspired in this book. This was the end of the arc they were on so Daredevil #11 will start fresh and if you want to get into Daredevil I would maybe wait until then. If you do end up picking up this book you won’t be let down. The art by Matthew Wilson is really fun! I always love Daredevil books, because they get to show us what Daredevil senses with his powers, and how every artist portrays this is usually different. We get a lot of black panels only showing Daredevil himself, some have words in them with arcade noise onamonapias written all over them. The art was very dark and Wilson was heavy on the black ink, but it gives this book a nice darker feel to it no matter what’s going on. I enjoyed this book. I can’t wait until the next arc so I can start getting back into it. I’m hoping Marvel is taking this book in a different direction than it was in now that they’re making a mini-series out of Daredevil. I would guess they’re going to pull this comic into the same style as the show will be, so if this is any indicator of how it’ll be, I am okay with that!

*Review by Everett Harn 


Witchblade179_CoverA Witchblade #179 (Image Comics)

Written by: Ron Marz
Art by: Laura Braga

Witchblade #179 as well as the series under Ron Marz and Laura Braga has been a joy to read every month. It’s been as comfortable and as inviting as being wrapped in a fleece blanket, in a comfy chair, by a warm fireplace, while sipping on a mug of hot cocoa. That’s not to say it isn’t an exciting often action-packed adventure but in this issue in particular it relies on the chemistry between Sheriff Sara Pezzini and Deputy Kate Rooney which makes #179 accessible to new readers as well as a nice detour for fans.

Out of the city and onto a cow pasture, Pezzini and Rooney are in X-Files-mode investigating a series of bizarre animal mutilations. The scene is horrific but the banter between them is light and engaging. Marz has an easy time making them likable without trying too hard. The dialogue flows naturally and has become just as much a draw as the action that inevitably takes place when you have the holder of the Witchblade gauntlet.Witchblade179_Page2

The investigation leads to some interaction with a hot park ranger and the cranky jerk Mayor but the shallow storyline works because even if it’s just a transitional issue setting up something bigger it’s still more entertaining than most of the stuff available from the Big Two publishers.

Marz has the help of the fantastic artistic duo of Braga and colorist Betsy Gonia that makes Witchblade look great. Braga draws a strong but not sexualized version of Pezzini, who reminds me of a young Nicole Kidman, and allows her actions do the talking. In her battle of the monster especially was designed with an energy and cinematic eye that jumps off the page. Gonia masterfully captures the nightscape of the forest vividly with dark browns and greens and the white shine of the moon directly on the combatants as you’d expect it to be.

Witchblade may not get the hype of other independent titles but it’s worth seeking out every month. Don’t be dissuaded by the issue count since reboots of long standing titles have been manipulated to corral new readers by other publishers. It’s a fun and entertaining series with strong engaging female leads that are rare these days in almost any medium. With its easy to follow recaps at the start of every issue there’s no excuse to get on this title now. Add Witchblade to your pull list and tell your friends.

*Review by Enrique Rea


(This review page will be updated with comics until Friday the 20th! So be sure to check back!)