Comic Book Reviews (9/10/2014)

20176585Ghost Vol 2: The White City Butcher (Dark Horse)

Written By: Kelly Sue DeConnick (Chapters 1-4) Chris Sebela (Chapters 1-3)
Pencils By: Ryan Sook (Chapters 1-2) Drew Johnson (Chapter 2) Geraldo Borges (Chapters 3-4)
Inks By: Ryan Sook (Chapter 1) Andy Owens (Chapters 1-4)
Colors By: Dave McCaiv (Chapters 1-2) Dan Jackson (Chapters 3-4)

The city of Chicago is infested by demons and monsters, disguised in human flesh (that’s not a metaphor; that is the actual state of the world in this comic). Saving the city one demon at a time is Ghost, a superhero who is literally a ghost. Elsa, the Ghost, is a new breed of super heroine as she hunts down the monsters that are free in our world. The question is brought up to her why she isn’t going after serial killers who are also committing heinous acts of violence and she simply answers “It’s not the mission”.

Just like the creative team that came together to create this comic, Elsa has a team to help her track and hunt down these demons, though she does all the hard work slaying the monsters. The grotesque demons and their violent fights with the Ghost are colored in a way that keeps the supernatural ghost4n3p1feeling apparent in this comic. While not making it a super realistic comic, the art portrays a level of detail that doesn’t make it unbelievable either. The overall story of this collection follows along as the demon hunter slowly becomes the hunted. There are many parallels between the inner struggle for Elsa to discover who she was (she recalls nothing about who she was before she died and became the Ghost) and her campaign against the demons themselves. At one point, her inner dialogue points out that “Most people are haunted by their past. I’m hunted by mine”.

What starts out as someone looking for answers into their past, turns into the past coming back to try and capture them, dead or alive. It’s refreshing to show that it is not only the super hero figure who gets hunted down by some monster in the form of a demon or serial killer, but also her network of friends who help her in this crusade. The final chapter to this volume is a peek back into Elsa’s past where her friends discover then that Elsa was always the hero type. Even as a kid she was someone to look up to. Her past also has a more serious role in how the Ghost acts now. As we learn of her childhood, we come to an abrupt end in a “Stand by Me” type of encounter. With many more demons still on the loose and Elsa’s past becoming more clear, I cannot wait to read the next volume and see how the Ghost progresses, both as a hero and with her self-discovery.

*Review by Cory Anderson

 

WildsEnd01-coverA-de9b3Wild’s End (1 of 6) (Boom! Studios)

Created By: Dan Abnett & I.N.J. Culbard
Written By: Dan Abnett
Illustrated & Lettered By: I.N.J. Culbard

Welcome to quaint Lower Crowchurch. A nice little English village set along a river and by an inviting wooded surrounding. All the peace and quiet of this old village gets upended one night when a star falls from the sky, and the only ones to see this event (and witness what the star brought) is the town drunk and his side kick. Of course the town doesn’t believe the tale the drunk is weaving, however, all is not lost as an old naval officer hears the story and thinks it’s worth a look at.

This is a familiar story so far, that takes a fun twist having the townsfolk being anthropomorphic Englishmen, accents included. If you love a comic with a strong story and script (provided by Dan Abnett), and art (provided by I.N.J. Culbard) that only enhances the story being told, than this first issue is for you.

The use of the color theory is a story in itself within the overall narrative. Having the cooler colors start the comic off, to implant the idea that all is normal and as should be. Culbard even has the old sea dog (literally) painting his house with that cool blue. As the comic begins to progress into a suspicious tale about invaders, the colors switch to a neutral color with the more pinks and light reds. Eventually we see the use of the hottest colors on the spectrum as we are left with a cliff hanger and smoke rising from the village. Aside from the visual arts that I thoroughly enjoyed within the comic, the story had the right amount of scripted accents to make this feel natural (even if the town drunk is a fox named Fawkes). To further give that quaint village feeling, there is a town map provided that shows the closeness of the villagers, as well as an old-timey looking newsletter to really sell the era. This is a comic book for comics lovers and that’s no surprise coming from the like of Dan Abnett.

*Review by Cory Anderson

 

STK648284Transformers Primacy #2 (IDW)

Written By: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art By: Livid Ramondelli

Before the Transformers waged war on Earth; there was the war on Cybertron. In the early stages of war, both sides are recruiting their armies, and planning their attacks. The Predacons are sought out by the Decepticons as the Autobots prepare for war. This issue is more of a strategic planning by the leaders, as a way for the readers to get the grand scope of why they are fighting.

The illustrations and art of this comic are wonderfully rendered, and somehow get across how depleted of energon these robot warriors are. War is a dark and gloomy subject, and the coloring of this comic series shows how serious it is with darker tones and realistic colors.

With a lack of action throughout the issue, the focus was on the attitude of it all. Not that they leave the readers with only dialogue, there are panels where scuffles break out between rivals within a faction (Razor Claw of the Predacons vs Ravage of Soundwave’s cassettes). The tensions and drama build to a point where it can’t go on any further and the first shot is fired. The titan Decepticon Trypticon gets dropped from orbit aimed right at Metroplex, a city sized Autobot. After reading about why they fight (the lack of energon), I am ready to see this war of titans (both between the titans and warring factions) roll out it into a full scale war.

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*Review by Cory Anderson

 

The-Auteur-1-1-65b50The Auteur Vol 1 (Oni Press)

Written By: Rick Spears
Illustrated By: James Callahan
Colored By: Luigi Anderson

Film producers have an air about them that exudes confidence. They are portrayed as men and women who don’t take no as an answer. But sometimes there is a breaking point where something snaps within them and they just lose it. They lash out to the paparazzi and social media outlets and do thing they later regret. This is a story of one such producer who is close to losing his prestigious job and is willing to go to some very extreme ends to keep his reputation. The actual story arc changes from the producer coming off a huge failure of a movie, to trying to make the grittiest horror movie ever, and eventually ends up with a romance story. I feel this is both a great story as well as mimicry of the deviation many movies take from their initial outset to what the final product is.

auteurtpb1-1The illustration in this comic gives the same air of confidence as the main character tries to uphold. The artwork looks like the lines were drawn once and whatever was on the page was what the final product would look like; deranged and colorful. The coloring done by Luigi Anderson is something that looks ripped right out of the bright neon phases of the 90’s, with the splashes of brilliant oranges, reds and greens. When the story has gore scenes, the art dishes up some eye popping (pun intended) scenes that make you want to squirm. When the producer is high on his snake or spider venom narcotics, everything is trippy and face melting and you feel like you are seeing things through the producer’s euphoric eyes. You can really get a sense for how down and out on luck the producer is when the gore and puke starts flowing and everything he has worked for is collapsing in on him.

Each chapter of this volume has a different pace and different movie genre attached to it that showed the producer’s (and comic writers) wide range of talent. From the dark horror movie that turns out to be a snuff film, to the court room drama that sets the wheels in motion for a suspense filled slasher flick. As the producer, Nathan T. Rex is in a frantic state of mind and running around trying to clean up the mess, I actually began reading the comic faster and quicker and felt as though I was right there with Nathan as everything he worked for went wrong. The end result is a comic that changes its plot several times while being one congruent roller coaster ride that is held wonderfully together by the artist and raconteur of a skateboarding company and magazine (James Callahan), as is clearly displayed in the deranged art style that compliments the writing of Rick Spears.

*Review by Cory Anderson

 

23594Prometheus: Fire & Stone #1 (Dark Horse)

Written By: Paul Tobin
Art By: Juan Ferreyre

Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1 is a completely acceptable comic book based on the movie franchise. It is executed well enough from the graphics to the characters and is a competently constructed piece of sequential art. Unfortunately, it follows the same premise as the films with no surprises and offers nothing new to the reader.

A diverse crew of explorers that includes scientists and security personnel embark on a salvage mission on the moon, which was the last known location of another team. What do you think they’ll find? How many will survive the mission? Haven’t we been here before? It is after all in the universe of Aliens and Prometheus. How else could it go? Wrong. Extremely wrong, that’s how.

If you’re a big fan of the franchise, both from film and comics, and don’t mind seeing the plot unravel from a mile away, then this is your book. If you’ve never seen or heard of the franchise, this could make a nice introduction to that universe.

*Review by Enrique Rea

 

DIG027233_1Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two #23 (DC Comics)

Written By: Tom Taylor
Pencils By: Xermanico
Inks By: Julien Hugonnard-Bert
Colors By: Rex Lokus

Injustice has become my absolute favorite DC comic series that’s being run right now. It’s basically a What If? type comic dealing with Superman using his powers to forcefully make the world his idea of a better place. Well after the insane events of Year One that led up into the Injustice video game, Year Two doesn’t disappoint. The last issue was one of the most exciting issues in Year Two because it ended with the “Resistance” getting a kryptonite bullet into Superman’s chest thinking they had one. They hadn’t won. In the last page of issue #22 a yellow Sinestro ring chooses Kal-El to become a new member of the Sinestro Corps and Supes uses his new yellow construct powers to pull the bullet out of himself. This is where we left off.

Issue #23 was no let down. You start with a never before drawn Superman as a Yellow Lantern and he looks pretty evil! This issue gives you more battle between Guy Gardner’s Green Lantern army and the Sinestro Army, and let me just say it’s not pretty. injusty2_ch_23_2-previewpage2We see Sinestro show his true self for a few panels and at least three MAJOR heroes die horrible deaths in this issue. This book is NOT for the light hearted or those of you who would hate to see your favorite characters literally ripped limb from limb, because that kind of stuff happens in this series.

Tom Taylor is doing an incredible job with this comic and it’s fun to see where someone will take a story if you give them every single DC character with no reigns and no rules. Tom Taylor is like the George R. R. Martin of DC Comics because he loves to brutally kill peoples’ favorite characters left and right, but his writing is so well done that I can’t get enough of this comic. The art team of Bruno Redondo, Xermanico, Julien Hugonnard-Bert and Rex Lokus has also been incredible and consistent. They get to draw never before seen characters like Yellow Lantern Superman and Hal Jordan, as well as get to make character favorites’ deaths look bloody as hell. This book is incredible and a new issue comes out every single week. If you are sick of bi-weekly releases, check out Injustice: Gods Among Us because they never disappoint week after week.

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*Review by Everett Harn

 

DIG027227_1Constantine: Future’s End #1 (DC Comics)

Written By: Ray Fawkes
Art By: Juan Ferreyre

So this recent set of the main DC comics coming out all have Future’s End attached to their names because they are a lead in to DC’s big Earth 2 event in October. The good news for people like me who don’t read a lot of DC, is all of these issues are pretty much One Shots (comics that’s story is began and concluded in the same issue). I picked up this Constantine One Shot because I really enjoyed the pilot of the new Constantine TV series coming out soon and really wanted to see how his comics were. I wasn’t disappointed. This issue features John Constantine facing off against Dr. Fate’s helm in a duel of magic and wits. It’s mostly dialog but Constantine has such a sarcastic humor about him that it’s fun to read.

Ray Fawkes does a good job writing Constantine’s dialog. I can hear his Liverpool accent in my head as I read his speech bubbles. He adds a lot of “Yeah?” and “mate” to emphasize this. I really enjoyed Juan Ferreyra’s art in this book as well. I don’t know much about Dr. Fate, but I do know that he’s one of the coolest looking DC characters there is, and Ferreyra stays true to Dr. Fate’s awesome look when he draws him. Its art style is dark and gritty, which is to be expected, and the writing is as well. All together this book was worth the read and made me want to pick up more Constantine in preparation for the series.

*Review by Everett Harn

 

detailEdge of Spider-Verse #1 (Marvel Comics)

Written By: Fabrice Sapolsky & David Hine
Art By: Richard Isanove

If you’ve read my comic reviews in the past month or two, you’ll know I love all Spider-Men. I say Spider-Men because I love pretty much all forms of the character from Amazing to 2099 to Superior. The first comic in Marvel’s Spider-Verse mini event features another Spidey I absolutely love and wish they’d use more, Spider-Man Noir. This is a Spidey from an alternate universe where pretty much everything in Amazing Spider-Man happens 70 years in the past in 1939. Aunt May and Mary Jane are still there, this is still Peter Parker and yes Uncle Ben still died. The only difference is where the spider that bites Peter came from. This issue pretty much fills you in on Spidey Noir’s universe and shows you one of my favorite Spidey villains Mysterio as the main antagonist. Towards the end of this issue you get a bit of Superior as well as Morlun’s inevitable appearance as he hunts down Spider-Men from every universe.

Spider-Verse_003This issue had two writers, Fabrice Sapolsky and David Hine. I’m not sure who did which, but one of them had obviously written the Noir universe and gave us the amazing old timey dialog and feeling of 1939. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. They manage to twist everything that’s been happening in Amazing and Superior into the good old years and make it work. The other writer had most likely taken over the last bit where we enter the Spider-Verse and deal with the main event of this series. The art by Richard Isanove was great and he captured the 1930’s feeling in each panel. I really loved the nod to Mysterio’s fish bowl head, as they have The Magnificent Mysterio do a magic trick where he gets lowered into a giant fish bowl. I greatly enjoyed this comic and once again, it pumped me up for the whole Spider-Verse event in general. I just hope they keep adding all of my favorite versions of Spidey in this series. I’m talking about you Prodigy, Dusk, Ricochet and Hornet! I see your masks in the Spider-Verse event artwork! Can. Not. Wait.

*Review by Everett Harn

 
jul141335Stumptown  Vol. 3 #1 (Oni Press)

Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Justin Greenwood

Stumptown #1 by Greg Rucka and Justin Greenwood returns to stores as on-going series after two acclaimed limited runs. The struggling private eye, Dex Parios, is on another case in Portland, Oregon when a seemingly innocent day of soccer turns deadly. ‘The Case of the King of Clubs’ begins as a friendly day at a match with friends but there’s a sense of dread that serves as an undercurrent and ultimately revealed by the end. Once again, Rucka has us hooked on another mystery.

Rucka is no doubt one of the best writer/creators in comics and Stumptown is just another in a long of list of compelling reads. Few writers could make an innocuous day at a soccer game seem both interesting and important. Rucka’s skills are on full display with dialogue and characterization organically evolving with every panel. The cast of characters we meet are distinctive and engaging with Dex leading the way. Portland plays a role here as well as the denizens excitedly cheer on their team and gives readers a fresh Northwestern locale to experience beyond the usual urban detective story.

It’s no wonder the previous chapters of Stumptown were so well received. There’s a natural ease that is evident with creator-owned books like this one where writers like Rucka take their time and let the story flow without forcing the action. Even with a new artist like Justin Greenwood taking over for Matthew Southworth from the first two installments, there isn’t a drop in quality and actually adds to the quirkiness of Portland itself. As if Rucka doesn’t have enough books on comic book store shelves this is another one to add to your pull list.

*Review by Enrique Rea

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