Comic Book Reviews (9/17/2014)

Sep 16, 2014

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eye of newt 4 cover (370x520)Eye of Newt #4 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Michael Hague
Art by: Michael Hague

Eye of Newt through its past three issues has been a wonderfully beautiful adventure that would make any Dungeons and Dragons quester envious. With its stunning visuals and hardcore fantasy backdrop this series has been nothing but enjoyable. This is why it pains me to say issue 4 was an unsatisfying disappointment. With issues 1-3 writer and artist Michael Hague does such a fantastic job of world building and engaging the reader that I anxiously awaited the final conclusion to his epic tale of wizards and witches. It’s unfortunate that the final issue feels so rushed and loaded with exposition.

eonewt4p1Hague does some strange things in issue 4 while running towards the finish line. Now that Arthor has found what he is looking for all he has to do to complete his quest is get back home. As with any adventure the journey home is often just as treacherous and that is definitely the case here. It all just seems to happen so quickly and conveniently that it took me out of the grand fantasy. Also Hague takes this story to some very strange places in trying to establish a deeper connection between our Wizard and Witch. We also somehow end up on a Las Vegas stage in a very disjointed but humorous scene. My main disappoint lies in the fact that this is the end and I would have liked to have seen so much more from Hague’s world. I feel like just as the story is getting its legs they are taken away and we are presented with The End.

Now all that being said Michael Hague’s art is reason enough alone to pick up Eye of Newt #4 and all its previous issues. Each page is a singular masterpiece as layout, character design, background and onomatopoeia all come together to create a truly magical piece of art. Hague has pulled out all the stops with the art in Eye of Newt another reason I can’t stand to see this series end. While I find Eye of Newt as a whole to be a well written canvas to display the strangely beautiful world Hague has created. The final issue left something to be desired as it ends just when you think it should be beginning.

*Review by Casey Walsh


CMCALTCFCFNLCriminal Macabre: The Third Child #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Christopher Mitten
Colorist: Michelle Madsen

There’s no mystery here because Criminal Macabre: The Third Child #1 is excellent. Steve Niles’ favorite demon hunter, Cal McDonald, is trying to stay out of trouble but a potential battle royale between monsters has trouble looking for him.

Niles’ style is brisk, fun and blissfully twisted. The horror-meister doesn’t break a sweat with his familiar protagonist battling demons and fighting the urge to get in the middle of this war between monsters and man. Cal has been a Niles staple for over 20 years and the ease with which he writes the character and his adventures is effortless and masterful. Even when Cal is being difficult and has to be convinced by Mo’Lock to join the fight Niles injects the reluctant hero with some humility.

Christopher Mitten and Michelle Madsen once again handle the art after the last chapter, Criminal Macabre: The Eye of Frankenstein, and the shadows and splashes of blood have never looked better. They concentrate on putting the characters and action at the forefront with minimal background detail, but Madsen colors from a limited palette and it works wonderfully to accentuate the grisly action.

Criminal Macabre: The Third Child is an enjoyable bloody ride. Get this book.

*Review by Enrique Rea


TMNT_TnT04_cvrA-659x1000Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time #4 (IDW)

Writer: Paul Allot
Artist: Dan Duncan
Colorist: Ronda Pattison

Time hopping from pre-history to only a few centuries ago, the Ninja Turtles have encountered some strange battles, and overcome the clearly defined odds. Each venture put the turtles in a wonderful setting that would be amazing to see as a full comic run in their own right. This last stop on the turtles’ time passport speeds to a few decades in the future. A dystopia that sees man and mutant walking down the street without a second glance, and they still have great pizza too! Much like any novel or movie based around someplace where everything feels perfect, there are also some freedoms taken away from someone. One moment the turtles are living in their ideal Manhattan, sharing food out in the public eye, and the next moment they are fighting to save the resistance at a place now called Shredder Island.

4095051-tmnt_tnt_04-pr-page-002A powerful theme such as revolting against a dystopia needs to have powerful images to cement how “real” the situation is (real at least to the characters in the story). This heartbreaking truth comes about when the four time travelers happen across an old face, who has seemingly given up the fight. There is an entire story that is summed up with one of the turtles quitting the good fight, and the eventual demise of the other three, which is frustrating only because it would be an amazing tale to see unfold in a monthly comic run.

Aside from the physical battle, which is calculated at overwhelming odds, there is an emotional battle that comes out as well from one of the turtles. This entire series (though only a comic book about mutant turtles, that are teenagers as well as ninjas) has been trying to do more than just be a fun ride through time for the reader and the teenage brothers. It has tried to incorporate some life lessons that should be of personal value to anyone, and this final issue is no different. Instead of hinting and eluding to there being a lesson to be learned, the heroes four come right out and say that there is a lesson that the universe is trying to teach them. What that lesson may be, can be interpreted however you wish, or not. After reading this comic there are plenty of subplots to philosophize about, as well as a lot of settings I wish that would be fully explored in their own runs.

*Review by Cory Anderson


Godzilla-Cat-02-pr-1-eab1dGodzilla Cataclysm #2 (IDW)

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Dave Wachter

Ancient religions prayed to many gods for many reasons, but most religions had a common thread; fear of the gods’ wrath. This Godzilla series takes a similar approach. We see that survivors of the monsters’ destructive wars have started praying to the various Kaiju for fortune, rain, fish and other necessities. But one man (and a few others) know that it isn’t the monsters you should be praying to, if that isn’t ominous enough of a plot. That is the premise being carried over from the first issue.

A destroyed civilization and world is illustrated to the point that it looks like nothing will regrow or can be rebuilt over the rubble. Once the action picks up and the monster brawl begins, the coloring and explosiveness of the powerful monsters further shows how ruined of a world this is.

Everyone knows that Godzilla is a “good” monster, in comparison to the alignments of the other monsters at least. This issue takes the point of view that we would normally look at the King of Monsters, and puts it askew just enough so that it makes Godzilla look like the real catalyst to this dead world. Where people are praying to the monsters for their beneficial side effects (Ebirah the sea monster would naturally drive schools of fish away from it, and to the waiting nets of fisherman for example) they despise Godzilla for his continual destruction of Biollante (a plant based Kaiju) who would appear to be trying to grow and keep growing to make the world green again. If this is the angle the series is going to be taking the entire run, then it is pretty clear the cataclysm will never end with Godzilla around. There is more to this main story, however, as the old man explains and has nightmares over the rage supporting Godzilla’s destructiveness.

*Review by Cory Anderson


life after 3 (338x520)The Life After #3 (Oni Press)

Written by: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by: Gabo

Some funny and interesting revelations take place in The Life After #3. It seems the force behind Jude’s predicament has been around a long time and now has left his fate to middle management. Hemingway senses Jude wants to fight the system but believes he’s in over his head. Joshua Hale Fialkov’s purgatory saga is a blast and getting better.

Jude is determined to take down this dimension between worlds but Hemingway doesn’t see a way. Fialkov has piqued the audience’s interest and more clarity is needed to see what the folks upstairs know and how this middle manager is going to negotiate with Jude who’s apparently shocking the system. It’s hard knowing where the story will go next which is a good thing but some more reveals will be due in the next issue. What exactly is going on? How does this world work?

Gabo continues to provide extraordinary art that gives the story the ethereal feel it needs and deserves. It’s a beautifully rendered fantasy world that is as intrinsic to the story as the words. However they mystery will need to be less opaque by the next issue.

*Review by Enrique Rea


avngrs35Avengers #35 (Marvel Comics)

Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Jim Cheung

So I was really looking forward to this comic mainly because of the way issue #34 ended. I was hoping for a show down between Capt and Iron Man, but instead we get a breather issue. They jump forward a few months in time and give us a ton of other characters like Starbrand, Manifold and the axe wielding Thor Odinson. The Illuminati seem to be hunted by one faction, while the other faction has no real clue where the Illuminati are. There is a bit of action, and you get to see some different versions of classic characters in this new pseudo future.

So yeah, the story in this issue was a bit of a letdown to be honest. While I love Jonathan Hickman’s work so far on this Avengers series, it just seems like a bad point to insert a breather issue or another jump forward in time, when we all thought last issue was the last time jump. The art by Jim Cheung is pretty good still at least. Each set of characters in this book seems to have their own style of art, which gave the transitions between characters a fresh feeling. It was a harder book to read, the art is nice and people who are more engrossed in the Illuminati/incursion story than I am, will definitely want to get every drop of this story that they can, because it seems to all be coming to an end soon.

*Review by Everett Harn


elktraElektra #6 (Marvel Comics)

Written by: Haden Blackman
Artist: Michael Del Mundo

So when I heard Elektra was getting cancelled I was pretty sad. The series has been pretty damn good so far. It’s got a unique, separate storyline from anything else that’s happening in the Marvel Universe, and to be honest… it’s refreshing. I am someone who loves a big event, but at the same time I get tired of events when Marvel pumps out way too many. It’s comics like Elektra that are there for you if you want a good old fashioned comic adventure during the middle of big events. Now that Original Sin is over, Elektra is just another comic, but it’s still just as good. I can guess why it didn’t sell well enough, but it’s got a good story. In this issue Elektra is being hunted by her once-employees the Assassin’s Guild, and they send a few of Elektra’s rogue’s gallery after her including Lady Bullseye.

As I stated, the story by Haden Blackman is good. This issue kicks off the second arc in Elektra, so this issue starts off a bit slow but picks up steam by the end. Blackman is doing a good job creating new characters and using old ones many might have forgotten. I really love Michael Del Mundo’s art, but it is different from a lot of other Marvel books. It gives the book a slight “indie” comic feeling in my opinion. The art feels right in books like Dexter Down Under, but it feels a bit off in a Marvel heroine(ish) book. I definitely wouldn’t give it points off for art or story though. Del Mundo just adds to what makes Elektra unique. This series is worth the read, so go pick it up while the series is still in print.

*Review by Everett Harn


detailThor: God of Thunder #25 (Marvel Comics)

Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Esad Ribic, Simon Bisley & RM Guera

This is it folks. This is the last issue of Thor: God of Thunder. It’s the issue that sets up Thor #1 featuring the new female Thor, and boy did it get me excited. This book starts of slow, just like all of the other comics I read today, but not a bad kind of slow. They start off giving us a backstory on Malekith, the featured villain from Thor: The Dark World and longtime Thor villain. It was pretty cool to see how he grew up and became the evil ruler he is now. We get to see all three Thor’s in this issue, because in the middle of the book we get a great Viking Thor mini story that is setting up something for Thor #1. Finally we see King Thor and his daughters three, where his daughters find a long forgotten book of Thor’s history detailing what’s to come for Thor. This book is titled “Unworthy”.

53f7af7f1a751If there was an award for best Marvel writer for the year, I’d have to cast my vote for Jason Aaron. I have absolutely loved Thor: God of Thunder. It’s got everything you could ever want in a comic run. Myth, Mystery, Epic Battles, Romance, Heroic feats and Aaron did this all while weaving three complete different timelines together. The art in this book is incredible as always. Each timeline has a different art style, and I think this lends itself to the amazing effect this book has. The Malekith sequences are drawn by RM Guera. These scenes are dark and gritty, which is how it should feel. My favorite part of this book was the Viking Thor part in the middle drawn by Simon Bisley. After the dark Malekith part with its green hues, the Viking scenes are exploding with color and incredible art. Lastly is the always clean and crisp art of King Thor’s timeline that we’ve seen all throughout the series. Esad Ribic does a great job making these scenes look consistent and gorgeous. Out of all the comics I picked up this week, this is the one I recommend the most.

*Review by Everett Harn


4103462-24Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two #24 (DC Comics)

Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Bruno Redondo & Xermanico

Just like Thor: God of Thunder, this issue of Injustice marks the end of another of my favorite comics. Like we saw in the last few issues Superman has received a Yellow power ring unexpectedly. Batman’s plan was to show the entire world that Superman’s an evil murderer by recording video of him killing Green Lanterns. Well this succeeds, but not in the way Batman was hoping. Now Superman is wearing a ring fueled by fear, and Batman just showed the entire world that Superman IS to be feared. This is the point of no return for Superman, he instantly becomes the most powerful person in the entire universe and it spells bad news for any Green Lanterns left, whether you’re a tiny Guardian or a giant planet sized Lantern.

10708397_888738501144396_172379426_nTom Taylor has been writing an incredible series. There isn’t much else to say except for I couldn’t put this book down. From issue #1 to the end of year two, I’ve been hungering for more of this amazing story. He adds a really sweet epilogue at the end of Year Two that pushes all the darkness we’ve seen throughout Year Two, and replaces it with a small speck of light that made me smile. The art by Bruno Redondo and Xermanico has been incredible and consistent during this whole series. This last issue they really drew their butts off, giving us an explosive finale! This issue is short and takes only a few minutes to read, which would be a bad thing if it weren’t $0.99 and weren’t so damn good. This is the last time I’ll say this for a while (until Year Three comes out), if you haven’t read Injustice: Gods Among Us, do yourself a favor and do so. It’s worth it.

*Review by Everett Harn