Comic Book Reviews 7/2/2014

Jul 2, 2014

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whitesuits3p00-4bd7a (428x640)The White Suits #4 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Frank Barbiere
Art by: Toby Cypress

The White Suits #4 concludes one of the most exciting minis of the year where all questions are answered and the fates of Sarah Anderson and Prizrak are decided. Frank J. Barbiere and Toby Cypress have created a thrilling conspiracy-laden ‘70s-style actioner that delivers with gritty drama and stunning artwork. The Cold War era hit squad and their secrets come full circle in this Dark Horse Comics limited series available this Wednesday.

After battling the mob and avoiding the FBI, the Suits are in full control with Anderson and Prizrak in their grasp. Without giving away too much, amid the long reveal there’s some nicely choreographed fighting aboard a plane and what has separated this series is the incredible artwork from Cypress. He’s essentially using two colors; black and red.whitesuits3p4-c6249 (400x640) Sometimes gray and I guess white but it’s really the two that stand out. No one has done so much with so little color and consistently made it compelling panel after panel like Cypress has done. The splashes of red really highlight the pencils to great effect without the need for heavy detail in the background but nowhere else do they accentuate the panels than as blood in the fight scenes.

Barbiere has his Tom Clancy political thriller with The White Suits and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a brutal portrayal of what possibly was bubbling deep underground during the Cold War. As we’ve learned since those days, thanks to leaked documents, anything is possible. Which makes The White Suits not only a page-turner of a comic book but a reminder, then and now, to what lengths governments will go to subvert the enemy.

*Review by Enrique Rea


250px-DVandtheCryofShadows1 (250x390)Star Wars Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows (Dark Horse Comics)(Trade)

Written by: Tim Siedell
Art by:Gabriel Guzman
Colors by: Michael Atiyeh

Set a short time after the most ruthless, villainous, and well planned act in all the galaxies (Order 66), Tim Siedell takes us on a journey of a clone becoming more than a clone. I think that there were many lessons to be learned throughout this story, but the most prevalent one is realizing how insignificant you are in the grand scheme of events to someone like the Imperial Army, while at the same time realizing that it only takes one person to stand up and start a movement.

This hand book on hard learned lessons is narrated by a clone trooper, who as the book tries to make obvious, is supposed to be a mindless drone, so helpless without a command. But Hock as he calls himself (which is one of a numerous things that sets him apart from the rest of the cloned Mandalorian army) begins to ”break his coding” as he swdvcs1p5 (416x640)separates himself from the rest of the created horde. The want to survive starts this process and taking a step back lets him begin to see the evil bigger picture. All the wisdom and virtues that CT-5539 (Hock’s clone name) learns comes together for him too late. As a witness to the horrors that Darth Vader commits (which are displayed in great memorable panels) Hock comes to terms that the all mighty ruler (The Emperor) he unquestionably followed, has no remorse and cares not for the insignificant cog in the empirical machine.  

The drawings where phenomenal. They really captured the chaos and destruction of war while showing just how powerful Vader is. The scaring of Hock was more than just making him look like a rugged battle veteran, but putting further emphasis on the fact this clone is not like the rest. The script was well thought out as you see the ironic search for humanity within the mass produced soldier, while being mirrored by the loss of humanity to the machine with Vader. In the end, there are just too many great point and topics to discuss. I encourage you to take the same journey Hock does to see how much this book has to teach you and if you can appreciate all the levels of thinking this book brings to the table.

*Review by Cory Anderson


The X-Files Conspiracy (IDW Comics)(Trade)

Part 1 & 6:
Written: Paul Crilley
Art: John Stanisci
Color: Stephen Downer

Part 2:
Written: Erik Burnham
Art: Salvador Navarro
Color: Esther Sans

Part 3:
Written: Ed Brisson
Pencils: Michael Walsh
Ink: Adam Gorham
Color: Jordie Bellaire

Part 4:
Written: Paul Crilley
Art: Dheeraj Verma
Color: Joana Lafuente

Part 5:
Written: Denton J. Tipton
Art: Vic Malhotra
Color: Matheus Lopes

X-Files_Conspiracy_TMNT_1A (422x640)When there’s something strange, and it doesn’t look good, who you going to call? Agents Scully and Mulder of the X Files department within the FBI, that’s who. This story is based on a lethal virus, time traveling encoded newsletters and a wild conspiracy theory.

Just like the sci-fi classic TV show of the 90s, when Mulder and Scully need to think outside of their normal supernatural casework, they seek help from “The Lone Gunmen” a trio of conspiracy theory investigators. The level of mystery and detective work is not that complex, making it easy to follow their train of thought. Where this comic sets itself apart from the usual X-Files norm, is that time traveling newsletter headlines have these three men cross paths with odd leads; The Ghostbusters (who The Lone Gunmen think are a frauds as well), the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (who the Lone Gunmen think urban legends) and The Transformers (which out of the group, they seem easiest for the Lone Gunmen to come to terms with). There is also a run-in with another comic book property, The Crow (which had some Easter egg scenes for readers of the source material).XFiles-TF-CoverRI-Corroney-col-9d8f5 (439x640)

Each chapter was written, drawn and colored by different people, which you would expect a noticeable difference in style (which there is) but somehow it flows nicely, matching the type of action and drama that is set. What sets this comic apart from DC or Marvel crossover events is that it is self-contained within these issues. You don’t need to be current with the Ghostbusters to know what is going on, or any of the other conspiracy chapters. To add to the paranormal/supernatural feel of it all, each chapter closes with a tabloid cover image for that chapter’s characters. Of course a conspiracy wouldn’t be a conspiracy without ending with more questions than you started with.

*Review by Cory Anderson


RVT-Hardcover-WALT (416x640)Robocop vs. Terminator (Dark Horse Comics)(Trade)

Written by: Frank Miller
Art by: Walter Simonson
Color by: Steve Oliff

The 90s would thrive in a media culture like today. Crossovers and joining of major character has become the weekly tradition and the art form has almost been perfected. Not to say the 90’s was without crossovers and various titles joining up (this is an example), just that it has become the tradition now to join two iconic characters of their medium in a stunning display. When you factor in the brilliant writing of Frank Miller and the popping art and color of Simonson and Oliff you get this joyfully addictive graphic novel. It is perfect time to re-release this four issue collection.

If this story was told by anyone else, it may have become a confusing mess of time travel and multiple timelines. What Miller is able to do is work in not one time traveling episode but multiple. As the main timeline gets altered early on, that opens up a window for another time traveler to come back and alter the events again, and again until the future is completely different.

RoboCopVsTerminator 2 of 4-24 (500x354)

This story breaks down into a half man half machine fighting with both of themselves to stop the on coming apocalypse. This comic is my diamond standard for 90’s reading. The story involves multiple turns and twists with big explosions and the colors that I immediately associate with the boldness of that era. The one problem with 90’s comic books, was that as amazing as the art was, they covered it up by big bubbles of writing. It’s like they didn’t trust the art and story-line to get the plot through, but that is not the case here. Like I said, this is a prime example of what I am looking for in great comics from the 90’s; great story (without a lot of dialogue boxes) great illustrations and those brilliant splashes of color that defined an era.

*Review by Cory Anderson


23086 (416x640)Kiss Me, Satan (Dark Horse Comics)(Trade)

Written by: Victor Gidchler
Art by: Juan Ferreyra
Color Assistance: Eduardo Ferreyra

Set in present day New Orleans, where the real monsters wear fine suits and revealing dresses. When the heir to the werewolf pack’s leader is born and he doesn’t have The Mark (of lycanthropy), Cassian Steele (the pack leader) knows he must protect this secret or lose his spot at the top of the pack. The blood starts flying to protect this secret, but the witch who knows the truth, gets away. A five chapter killing spree begins as bounty hunters (summoners, vampires and even other witches) chase after this old witch and her coven. They seem outmatched until a mysterious man, Barnabas Black, is given orders to protect this witch and the secret she knows.

Much like the big summer blockbusters, this comic spends a few minutes detailing the plot, and the entire rest of the book is nonstop car chases, raging gun fire and even some romance. Not to stop there with the over the top entertainment but the mysterious protector has a secret of his own kms1p2 (432x640)though. When the book is about werewolves and other real supernatural creatures, you can be sure that Barnabas’s secret is otherworldly.

The drawings are great at illustrating the carnage Barnabas brings with gore and flashy colors of magic. Each chapter has new magic and even bigger stunning moments that show just how powerful the witches he is protecting are, or just how strong Barnabas actually is. There is more to the story than the run and hide aspect as the game changes and more people die. Take your typical thirst for leadership of a werewolf clan, add supernatural bounty hunters and the amazing power of the devil, and you get this killer of a book. Be sure to take your time in enjoying each and every flashy fight scene as those images steal the spotlight.

*Review by Cory Anderson



23521 (425x640)Usage Yojimbo Red Scorpion (Dark Horse Comics)(Trade)

Created, written and illustrated: Stan Sakai

Feudal Japan, 17th century, the age of the samurai. There are many books, movies and shows that use this time period as influence or direct portrayal. Stan Sakai uses his decades spanning story to wonderfully illustrate, using only black and white, Japanese folklore and culture. With an intro written by George Takei (a pop culture icon to many, and not limited to the Japanese-American demographic) he describes in essence what Stan Sakai’s work is about; detailing history, culture and customs. All of this is set in an anthropomorphic world following a ronin samurai rabbit.A collection of 4 stories, each one a representation of life and mannerisms during that era.

The overall plot that connects these four journeys is centered around a gang of thieves/robbers/murders; the Red Scorpions, who are extorting villages, stealing from travelers uy132p1 (426x640)and plotting ransoms. At each turn, the wandering rabbit ronin displays what it means to be a samurai as he upholds justice and defends those in need, all without a reward.The black and white panels are works of art. When the story telling portion of the comic is over and the fight sequences begin, there are dramatic set ups that define the inner toughness of the ronin.

The intensity of emotions that Stan Sakai gets from simple colorless pages are enough to make you fall in love with Miyamoto Usagi. The closing pages of this book are filled with stunning art galleries and chapter descriptions of which Stan was looking to explain as part of the feudal era. If this gets your thirst for anthropomorphic samurai going, you’re in luck with 27 previous collected books which include crossovers with a certain mutant-reptile-ninja foursome as well as two role playing games to fully immerse you into Stan Sakai’s fantasy world.

*Review by Cory Anderson