Comic Book Reviews (8/20/2014)

Aug 19, 2014

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SWDM4Star Wars: Darth Maul-Son of Darthomir #4 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Jeremy Barlow
Art by: Juan Frigeri

The conclusion of Star Wars Darth Maul: Son of Darthomir ends as you’d might expect but it is not without excitement and action. Despite knowing the fate of these Clone Wars characters writer Jeremy Barlow has made a case for one of the most interesting chapters in the Star Wars sagas.

As a reader and fan of all things Star Wars its hard not knowing that the main characters, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, General Griveous, and Darth Sidious all make it through Son Of Darthomir in one piece and live to fight another day. It’s a testament to Jeremy’s writing that the journey was worth the ride regardless of the ending.

The conclusion itself was deftly wrapped up and to be continued elsewhere obviously, but to witness the conflict between villains was intriguing and gave new dimensions to Darth Maul other than being just the guy with the cool dual-­lightsaber. The artwork as always was perfectly conceived and executed by Juan Frigeri and in sync with Barlow. This limited series is of a massive Star Wars universe is the one to recommend to fans.

*Review by Enrique Rea


BWOH2Baltimore: The Witch of Harju issue 2 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
Art By: Peter Bergting
Color By: Dave Stewart

The middle issue of this Lord Baltimore trilogy story picks up right where the first one ended, with the good Lord Baltimore coming face to face with the evil spirit. As the group runs and finds safety, they are continuously pursued by the undead, until enough is enough and the harassed, scared young woman sets the undead a blaze.

By now, the art styling of the Lord Baltimore story should be familiar. With the old world look and the well depicted undead and evil spirits constantly being the enemies of each story arc, you can expect memorable creatures and villains. The illustrations really create an over tone for the world from the old village to the middle of the woods; everything in Mignola’s world seems bleak and hopeless.

Being issue 2 of 3, you could expect a confrontation between the hero and antagonist, which with Lord Baltimore and undead mean fires, dark crows and swords. After the initial fight, a chase through the forest ends with the good guys trying to challenge and call out the evil spirit they are after. But as the cliff hanger for the final issue in this arc shows, Baltimore and his followers may have taken up a bigger challenge then they were ready for.

*Editors Note: Balitmore: The Witch of Harju #2 releases in stores on 8/27/2014
*Review by Cory Anderson


Pop1Pop #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Curt Pires
Art: Jason Copland
Colors: Pete Toms

Andy Warhol said, “In the future people will be famous for fifteen minutes”, a simple quote stated in the first page of this first issue that really nicely sums up the concept. What if the people, more appropriately, pop (see the title) culture were not simply having fifteen minutes of fame, but instead those moments, the celebrities and culture itself were purposefully created and manipulated? That is the crazy premise that Pop explores.

With a title like Pop, and exploring the pop culture, you need art and colors that…well, pop. The illustrations of each panel have a sense of realism drawn into them that keeps this crazy science fiction grounded and sells the idea of a conspiracy and that this is more than just another story. It’s not just the illustrations that pop, but the colors do as well. Without over stating it, the title is Pop, which means you need to represent the genre and art style well enough to live up to the name, and most of all the coloring shows it is well deserving of the title.

When I was reading and looking at each panel, I kept thinking in my head how the title applies to this comic on a multitude of levels, which in itself, is a level as well. Once I got past the Pop (an obvious focus for an art lover like me) the story really starts to pick up speed as we see one of these manufactured pop icons escape during its growing phase and have a different kind of impact on someone than being the traditional tabloid obsession. I really think this book has a fantastic amount of story that you can really dig into, and it’s only the first issues. Seeing someone who was destined to be in the spotlight unknowingly affect a man who most likely would not have had any interest being a pop icon, is a story I cannot wait to keep reading. Add on that there is a pair of thugs who go around making sure these pop idols continue producing money, because creating Pop Culture isn’t cheap.

*Editor’s Note: Pop releases in stores on 8/27/2014
*Review by Cory Anderson


CA5Conan The Avenger #5 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Fred Van Lente
Art: Eduardo Francisco

It is well known that Conan is a story about swords and sorcery. In the fifth chapter of the Shadows Over Kush, Conan has become the captain of the royal guard, just one part of a complex plot of espionage, murder and witchcraft. The typical Conan story of swords, muscles and magic takes a back seat in this issue as manipulation and deceit are the main focus.

There is something about fantasy realms that always catches my eye. The concept of an ancient civilization well built on detailed architecture, with an emphasis on the grand and luxurious is an illustration drawn over and over again. But in this current Conan run, the art still feels fresh captivating as we see the capital city of one of these fantasy worlds.

I had not read the previous chapters in the Shadows Over Kush story line, but after reading this issue and the thickening plot surrounding the abuse of power, I want to catch up. After Seeing Conan (known by many titles including destroyer) act and make choices to try and stop the unrest without using his massive strength or sword skills, you just know things are going to come to a bloody conclusion sooner rather than later and I can’t wait to bear witness to his vengeance.

*Editor’s Note: Conan The Avenger #5 release on 8/27/2014
*Review by Cory Anderson


swl18Star Wars Legacy #18 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
Art: Brian Albert Thies & Gabriel Hardman
Colors: Jordan Boyd

With her final words before being carried off for bacta treatment, the Empress states “History has a way of continuing”. However as a history enthusiast there is a more accurate quote, which specifically fits all Star Wars stories “History has a way of repeating”. Many of the themes, events and archetypes in Star Wars have been repeated over and over again to the point where it feels like a warm blanket.

With the end of the battle between the Imperial Knights and Sith, the final light saber duel occurs with the familiar loss of hands and the realization of how manipulative the dark side truly is. The back and forth decimation of one side of the force and then the other is a well explored plot line that lets you know, no matter the outcome of the battle, no matter how complete the destruction of light or dark side is, the conflic will always continue.

A great story needs to be coupled with art that keep pace with the tone tale being told, and that is exactly what we get with Thies and Hardman’s art. During the key scene of the light saber duel between good and evil, their saber skills and athletic abilities are drawn nicely, with crisp lines and well defined colors. A space battle with blasters involved wouldn’t be complete without the explosively colored explosion scene either. All in all this series is another pleasant and entertaining tale for the Star Wars universe.

*Editor’s Note: Star Wars Legacy #18 releases on 8/27/2014 
*Review by Cory Anderson


TMNT_Annual_2014_ATMNT 2014 Annual (IDW Publishing)

Written by: Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Script & Art: Kevin Eastman
Colors: Ronda Pattison

You have to imagine that in between the ninja ambushes and crime busting that superheroes and vigilantes like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles par take in, there has to be a bit of down time. With the current run of the ninja turtles seeing the brothers back home in their sewer lair, we get to sit down and enjoy a moment of downtime. So what would a pair of teenagers do in their free time but set up a prank for their brothers. But not too fast, an editor’s note as we read “This story takes place before Turtles in Time #1”, and soon we discover that there is no rest for the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles as they are rushed to another time where they are forced into arena style combat.

If you’re not familiar with the original Ninja Turtles art style by Kevin Eastman then your in for a treat. It is a dark and fierce style that shows how serious and rough the turtles are when in combat. Normally the art is an aid in creating a sense of how grim Manhattan is, but in this annual issue the turtles are in some far away land spanning time and space having to fight for their lives, in a brutal blood sport.

The story quickly evolves from a survival arena to the turtles teaming up with a barbarian, defeating the hordes of enemies on their way to shutting down and stopping whoever is running this blood sport. Eastman delivers a familiar story with his familiar art that is the perfect prologue for the Turtle’s in Time series. Getting to see the turtles bear arms with barbaric weapons and armor was easily the best panel making this book a stand out for fans of the TMNT franchise.

*Review by Cory Anderson


detailNova #20 (Marvel Comics)

Written by: Gerry Duggan
Penciler: David Baldeon
Inker: Terry Pallot
Colorist: David Curiel
Cover: David Williams & James Campbell

With each issue of Nova, I grow to like Sam Alexander more and more. This issue is the second part to a team-up between Sam and Rocket Raccoon, who in the last issue were both poisoned by Adomox. Adomox forces Sam and Rocket to do his bidding but little does he know that Sam finds help in an old Nova “Elk Club Lodge” and that Rocket is way too stubborn to be made someone’s pet.

The art in this comic is some of the best I’ve seen in this run of Nova. I love the cosmic side of Marvel mostly because of the way they draw alien planets and life forms, this book is no exception. The coloring by David Curiel is incredible and very detailed; there are little tiny stars in Nova’s power effects! The cover is pretty cool, but for some reason a lot of Nova artists love to draw Sam as a full grown adult. In the case of Nova #20’s cover, there is a Black Nova with stubble on his face and we can assume its Sam’s dad Jesse, who we actually get more details on in this issue!

Gerry Duggan is doing a great job keeping the Jesse Alexander mystery growing. We learn more about what Black Novas are and we learn where Jesse is! Let me just say, this issue is worth the read and if you’re a Nova fan this issue will have you begging for the next installment!

*Review by Everett Harn


The-Life-After-2-Page-01-c5b3bThe Life After #2 (Oni Press)

Written by: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by: Gabo

The Life After #2 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo is becoming a great fun ride with its inventive and humorous take on the afterlife. And how couldn’t it be fun when you’re roaming the streets of Purgatory with Ernest Hemingway himself? Jude is realizing he has special talents but doesn’t remember exactly how he got there and whatever happened to the woman he was following? The questions keep coming but so far the journey keeps getting weirder and that’s part of the charm of this new Oni Press series.

Someone or something is monitoring the “life” in Purgatory as Jude is learning more about his newfound powers with Hemingway guiding him through the denizens of the afterlife. Fialkov has wisely used the legendary author as both the source of exposition and comedic relief. Jude is basically serving as the reader asking all the questions about this peculiar dimension. The story works all that much better with Gabo’s wondrous art that gives the book its own unique look with some creative character designs.

The Life After is highly recommended and worth the addition to your pull list.

*Review by Enrique Rea


detailMighty Avengers #13 (Marvel Comics)

Written by: Al Ewing
Art by: Salvador Larroca
Colors by: Matt Milla

When two of the Mighty Avengers from the 1970’s appear to warn the present day Mighty Avengers about trouble, it seems that Blade might have already found it. The Deathwalkers are back and they are using Blade’s blood to cast a spell that’s supposedly going to wipe out all of man kind. In this issue the Mighty Avengers try to find out where the Deathwalkers are holding Blade so they can stop the spell and of course save the day.

The writing in this book was pretty good. Al Ewing gets straight to the story and cuts out a lot of fluff dialog. He gives us a bit of background on Blade as well as showing us a bit more Blue Marvel action. Art and Colors were top notch in this issue as well. Any comic that features Blade tends to have a lot of blood and magic; Larroca and Milla were up to the task of making those effects look awesome. If you like Blade as much as I do, and want to see him kill Were-Scorpions with their own tails, you’ll want to pick up this book. It’s all around a fun, action-packed read.

*Review by Everett Harn