By: Pat Shand
Art by: AC Osorio
Color by: Omi Remalante Jr.
Andre Payne is mourning the loss of his police officer brother after he tried to intervene in a deal between a drug lord and a local gang. A gang Andre was associated with and it cost him his brother. As if that wasn’t bad enough the drug lord, Terrell Taylor, made it known that Andre was indebted to him and blackmailing him to ensure his compliance. Things seem pretty grim for Andre but his fortune will soon change in ways he never thought possible. So is the premise of issue two (of five) of Zenescope’s Godstorm: Hercules Payne, a wonderful modern fable that takes place in the inner city.
It’s the setting that stands out first because not many places on the west coast are featured in comics these days especially not Compton, California. This was great to see even if the turmoil Andre found himself in revolved around gang activity, a convenient stereotype in some cases, but Pat Shand uses this plotline much like any other organized crime found in New York. Shand’s fresh take on an African-American man who is forced to make difficult and sometimes wrong decisions for the right reasons is not something you’ll find in mainstream comics much anymore either. Andre is distraught and desperate but means to do right by his mother. It’s this characterization that appeals to the reader and creates empathy. Shand establishes Andre well which makes his transformation later on a crowd-pleasing moment.
Taylor as the drug lord is under the influence of a woman named Venus, yes that Venus, and she intends to become the most powerful god on Earth. She finds out that Andre received a visit from a man claiming to be his father and lighting was bestowed upon him. A transformation occurs and Andre is empowered with the strength of Hercules. Hercules Payne is born but not unless Venus has something to say about it.
The pacing is quick, the dialogue is concise and you can’t help but root for Andre, I mean Hercules. The art by AC Osorio is great with sufficient detail and color by Omi Remelante, Jr. give the panels almost a painting-like quality. A battle of the gods will ensue making this mini-series from a publisher known more for titillating fairy tales a quality read on par with just about any title from the Big Two.
Review by: Enrique Rea
By: Jeff Massey
Art by: Miguel Mendonca
Color by: Grostieta
Warlord of Oz #1 is the first issue of a six issue story arc. The events take place after Oz Volume one. I will have to get my hands on that to get some more back story. Do you need it? Not really. Writer Jeff Massey does a good job of catching the reader up from the beginning of this comic. As our story begins all has been restored in the Land of Oz and Dorothy is back in Kansas with Toto.
The Lord of Oz is back to routine hearings and listening to the common folk, but an evil is looming on the horizon. Back in Kansas Dorothy is having nightmares and is also worried about the health of Aunt Em. The story jumps back in forth from Oz to Kansas, building intense drama in each location. This issue really is just building the evil that is far more terrifying and powerful then the witches they battled with before.
It is a very different and unique look at Oz. The art work comes alive and in typical Grimm Fairy Tales form the women are curvaceous and will more than once take your eye off the script and on to them. That does not mean the writing is bad. NOT AT ALL. Massey has brought the Land of Oz to a different level and I myself would rather read these books then to see Judy Garland prancing and singing along the Yellow Brick Road again.
Do yourself a favor and pick this issue up and experience Oz like never before.
Review by: Chris Pirri