Archive for the 'fantasy' Category

03
Sep
07

Wetworks #12

Written by J.M. DeMatteis

Art by Joel Gomez and Trevor Scott

Cover by Whilce Portacio

Wildstorm $2.99 

Okay, this was the single best issue of Wetworks I’ve ever read.  I had seriously gotten to a point where I don’t even want to read this book when I get it, but I’m too lazy to make an alteration to my subscription list and have it stop being pulled.  It’s not horrible, it’s just not good, but this issue was quite good and completely different from the previous 11 issues that Wildstorm has put out post-Worldstorm relaunch.

The majority of the narration of the story for this issue is done by a sort of Laurel K. Hamilton writer who writes romantic-leaning vampire novels, who happens to be a very part-time lover of Persephone/Red, a vampire who serves as part of Dane’s Wetworks team.  There are strong narratives by the writer, both in regular fashion in letter boxes at the top of the panels which segway into scenes on his typewriter, which were fantastic and really well-placed, along with narrations by Red herself.

Against Dane’s knowledge, special ops are sent to  make sure Red doesn’t get soft from being in love.  So the agent goes a little far and almost kills her lover, and Red lives up to her reputation and makes sure that this is the final mission of this particular agent.  It works well with the overall revamping of the series.

It looks like Dematteis is scheduled to be on this book until at least Christmas and if he keeps up with this kind of storytelling, along with the original team back in place and somehow manages to get back to what the first arcs strong sensibilities were, he could really turn the book around.

09
Aug
07

Fallen Angel #18

Written by Peter David

Art by J.K. Woodward

IDW $3.99
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Okay. Last month I became really worried. A lame crossover, more bad art, the single worst issue of the 37 issue series, a story that seemed so bad it must be a joke. But this issue starts off with the most appreciated return of J.K. Woodward and the story turns around. Last months flipbook was a horrible idea and made for a ridiculously bad, short and disorderly introduction to a story and to be honest, I thought using Shi in the book was just a gimmick. This issue didn’t justify the horrible quality of issue 17, but it did restore my faith in the series by introducing a plot that actually makes sense in the long-running continuity of Fallen Angel.

The return of Yurei, Woodward, the concept of tricking Lee into eating some kind of cursed food so that she can never leave Yellow Springs and return to Bette Noir makes perfect sense in the context of Yurei being an evil, power hungry bastard. I have yet to decide where Shi comes into play, why David agreed to write her into the series and why she’s necessary in the story. If Yurei set them up to come to Yellow Springs, Shi fits into the equation somewhere, whether she double crosses Lee or is in league with Yurei himself, something more complex than two incredibly powerful, religiously affected women who have killed lots of people wander into a strange cursed place at the same time has to be happening.

David’s return to form is most evident in his projections of the simplicity of Christianity and how flimsy it’s grounds are. As Shi hears Lee’s experience with God, hearing the revelation that God doesn’t care about humanity, in fact, he is disgusted and bored with us, Shi, the faithful Christian is immediately upset and scared that Lee might be right. Lee asks her, “if he had no mercy for his only son, what chance do we have?”, clearly scaring the shit out of Shi.

Next month will be fun to see where this all goes, if Shi will stick around, what she’s there for, what happens with Yurei and what exactly comes next. And a fight with hundreds of samurai is almost guaranteed, which definitely helps.

06
Aug
07

Grimm Fairy Tales #16

Written by Ralph Tedesco and Joe Tyler

Art by Andrew Magnum and Roland Salvidor

Zenescope Entertainment $2.99

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Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away

Well, that’s how it was when I was a kid. This, of course, is not a story by the Grimm brothers, in fact, no one is sure who wrote the little rhyme that was first published in 1805, in a book titled Songs for the Nursery. Yet, Little Miss Muffet is the title and main focus of this issue of Grimm Fairy Tales.

Sela, the main character of the series, who is given the power to change people’s lives at the beginning of the series(which I missed, this being only the second issue I have read) by telling people who have lost their way and are a danger or annoyance to humanity old stories to fix their lives, has been abusing her power. Giant spiders are sent to chase her down and demand answers, along with zombies, ghosts and other beings you wouldn’t normally see in the comic shop bitching about all those damned World War Hulk tie-ins. We are given a short history of all the people she’s tried to help, but ended up killing, including those nazi pigs(literally) from last month’s issue.

The issue wraps up by showing Sela over a grave, reminiscing about someone she tried to help, but Sela says she couldn’t, in defiance of the cliched old Chinese man who has been reviewing her life for her ever since the spiders tracked her down in the middle of the issue. Over all, not as enjoyable and fun as last month, but it’s trying to add to some larger story(I think/hope). Otherwise, as a new reader, it made no sense to me. In fact, I had to go to Wikipedia –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimm_Fairy_Tales_%28comic_series%29 – to get the full story, because I didn’t know there was any continuity to this comic at all. Previous to this issue, I believed the series to be fairy tale themed one shots that use a lot of sex appeal and violence to modernize the old stories. Well, I’m still correct about the latter. This issue stars giant breasts, skimpy clothes, zombies, giant monster-like arachnids and trying-to-be-creepy scenes. It co-stars Sela.

04
Aug
07

New comics for August 03, 2007

I’m a week and a half behind, so this week I ended up picking up quite the pile. I was glad to see so many great issues in my pile this go around. I was particularly excited about walking dead, which is already reviewed, batman, dark tower and JLA. I’ll be putting up several reviews per day and working my way through my pile over the next several days.

Action Comics #853 – Kurt Busiek(w), Brand Walker, Livesay, Lee Loughridge(a)
Batman #666 – Grant Morrison(w), Andy Kubert, Jesse Delperdang(a)
Black Panther #29 – Reginald Hudlin(w), Francias Portela and Val Staples(a) Arthur Suydam(c)
Black Summer #1 of 7 – Warren Ellis(w), Juan Jose Ryp(a)
Chronicles of Wormwood #6 of 6 – Garth Ennis(w), Jacen Burrows(a)
Countdown #39 & 40 – Paul Dini, McKeever(w), Jim Calafiore and Jay Leigten(a)
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #7 of 7 – Peter David and Robin Furth(w), Jae Lee and Richard Isanove(a)
Deathblow #6 – Brian Azzarello(w), Carlos D’Anda, Henry Flint(a)
Fallen Angel #18 – Peter David(w) and J.K. Woodward(a)
Futurama # 32 – Ian Boothby(w), Mike Kazaleh and Andrew Pepoy(a)
Grimm Fairy Tales #16 – Ralph Tedesco and Joe Tyler(w), Andrew Magnum and Roland Salvidor(a)
Justice Society of America #8 – Geoff Johns(w), Fernando Pasarin and Rodney Ramos(a)
Metal Men #1 of 8 – Duncan Roleau(a & w)
Midnighter #10 – Keith Giffen(w), Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Randy Mayor(a)
Raise the Dead #4 of 4 – Leah Moore and John Reppion(w), Hugo Petrus, Marc Rueda and Ivan Nunes(a)
Speak of the Devil #1 of 6 – Gilbert Hernandez(Spider-Man Fairy Tales #3 of 4 – C.B. Cebulski(w), Kei Kobayashi, Christina Strain(a)
Star Trek: Klingons Blood Will Tell #4 – Scott and David Tipton(w), David Messina and Elaina Casagrande(a)
Star Trek: Year Four #1 – David Tischman(w), Steve Conley, Leonard O’Grady(a)
Uncanny X-Men #489 – Ed Brubaker(w), Mike Perkins and Andrew Hennessey(a)
Unholy Union #1 – Ron Marz(w), Michael Broussard(a)
Walking Dead #39 – Robert Kirkman(w), Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn(a)
Welcome to Tranquility #9 – Gail Simone(w), Neil Googe(a)
Wetworks #11 – J.M. Dematteis(w), Joel Gomez and Trevor Scott(a)
World War Hulk #3 – Greg Pak(w), John Romita Jr, Janson, Strain(a)
World War Hulk: Ironman #20 – Christos Gage(w), Butch Guice, Dean White and Gerald Parel(a)
World War Hulk: The Incredible Hulk #108 – Greg Pak(w), Leonard Kirk, Scott Hanna and Chris Sotomayor(a)
World War Hulk: The Irredeemable Ant-Man #10 – Robert Kirkman(w), Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Bill Crabtree and Val Staples(a)
X-Men #201 – Mike Cary(w), Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas and Edgar Delgado(a)

04
Aug
07

Wetworks #11

Written by J.M. Dematteis

Art by Joel Gomez and Trevor Scott

Wildstorm $2.99

Around issue nine I started to hear that this issue was going to be the first canceled from the wroldstorm event. That issue was the last of the original creative team for this relaunch. Issue ten began the new team of Dematteis and Gomez, and two issues later, I still don’t like the work as much as the first nine issues, but it’s not bad.

The differentiation in stories is incredible though, jarring at some points because they’re almost unrelated outside of sharing the same characters. The first nine issues played out this great complex story of a vampire prison on an alternate version of Earth, it detailed a rebellion, a prison escape and a plot of dominate the planet. The writer went pretty far back and explored the history of vampires and werewolves on this alternate earth and made the characters, even the obvious villains, interesting and easily likable. Then issue ten jumps straight into a story where Mother One, the cyborg of the team, has somehow lost a piece of her soul in a region called the deadworld, where only Ab Death can go to save it. This isn’t explained very well, but she needs that piece of her soul or she’ll die. That piece of soul is the one that really works and apparently the rest doesn’t run without it. It’s like an episode of Lost on Wednesday or Bob Barker without Plinko; you can’t have one without the other.

So Ab Death goes off and gets her soul back, bringing Mother One back from Deadworld. I would say that Ab Death has been one of the most examined characters of the entire series thus far, and I’m happy with that, but they aren’t going in the right direction. Often issues will focus on an inner dialog he tends to have between himself and the reader, where his generic philosophies about life and afterlife are explored and he tends to ponder about himself and his place in all of it. Souls and heaven and hell and all that lot that he’s not too sure about. What would really work well and actually develop a great conversation from the character would be to explore how it feels to be a character with no past. He has no memories of his life beyond the past few years, he was created, not born. It may be foolish wishful thinking, but the exploration of what it is like to be a character with no past, who doesn’t know what he believes, perhaps because he hasn’t been around along enough to develop complex ideas and opinions on such complicated matters as death and souls, what it’s like to not have a clue who you are. It’s as if someone became an amnesiac at 40 and never recovered, never having someone as a reference point to piece together who you are. It would be terrifying, looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger, living in a stranger’s body, standing on a stranger’s feet. But that goes undeveloped. Wildstorm should give me a job.

I haven’t decided if I want to keep reading this or not. The characters are interesting enough, but it doesn’t feel like the creative teams are pushing for any real character development at this point. Either work this guy’s problems or move on to another character, there are so many in this book who haven’t been explored at all and in a universe with cyborgs, life-conscious vampires, werewolves and the like, that’s a real shame.

04
Aug
07

The Walking Dead #39

Written by Robert Kirkman

Art by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

Image Comics $2.99

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Picking up my comics late this afternoon, I rushed home and quickly flew through this issue first. At one point I even peeked at the first page when I was at a stoplight. I’m absolutely STILL in love with this comic 100%. This series is so satisfying, so well written, drawn, inked, plotted, Christ, it’s the perfect serialized story. I hope it never ends and, according to the notes in the letters column in the end of this issue, it’s sales are higher than they’ve ever been at a time when the comics market is busier than it’s been in a while, which means good things for geeks like me.

I think this issue should make the zombie nerds feel more reassured, as there’s an attack while trying to get gas for the generator. There’s also a moderate level of violence. I say moderate because with this series it ebbs and flows, but the bar is set really high as far as freak out crazy violence goes. The issue opens by closing off the conflict that happened at the end of issue 38, facing the people who were probably from Woodbury in the Wal-Mart where Glenn, Maggie, Andrea, Tyrese, Michonne and I swear Axel was with them, but he’s nowhere to be seen in this issue. It’s verified that they’re from Woodbury, one of them recognizes Glenn. And shoots him, unexpectedly. I really didn’t expect that at all, it was random, like most of the other horrible shit that happens in this comic. Just like life. Andrea keeps getting more and more interesting as the series stretches out. She manages to kill half of the hostile men and Michonne dismembers the other two. I like how strong and able the main female characters are in this book, they’re in stark comparison with Lori, who is so incredibly annoying and essentially useless. Glenn, shot, though he was in riot gear, lays on the ground with Maggie quietly mumbling, “no. no. no. no. no.” It’s done incredibly well.  And he turns out to be perhaps okay.

I have really grown to love Adlard and Rathburn’s combined art using black, white and grays in all of their various shades.. The realism of the art style helps to ground the series in reality. Often times I forget that this is a zombie book at all, because there are large chunks of time without zombie attacks, where it’s just a human drama steeped in tragedy. This is my favorite thing about this book, it is about human suffering and companionship, which makes it one of the most realistic comic books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, despite it being set in a universe overpopulated with zombies.

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In the meantime, useless Lori has her baby and Billy and Dale run into some zombies while looking for gas to help run the generator to keep the lights on during the delivery. Despite the ominous cover, there was no zombie baby, which I thought was going to happen, or something equally horrible, until the last page when a normal baby girl is shown.

Another great issue by Kirkman, Adlard and Rathburn, more development on these great characters, putting them through odds that seem insane and realistic at the same time.

01
Aug
07

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death #1 of 2

Written by Laurell K. Hamilton and Jonathan Green

Art by Wellinton Alves and Color Dojo

Marvel Comics/Dabel Brothers Productions  $3.99

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Apparently the Guilty Pleasures adaptation of the novels have been pretty successful. I even saw that the people at Borders had posted up a comic book rack with the comics in the horror section where Hamilton’s novels are. That made me pretty happy, because there seems to be this hard separation between a large amount of comics and traditional literature readers. Being avid fans of both, I like to see everybody conveign and have a good time with a good story. Hamilton must have been happy with all of the sales, because, to my knowledge, she has no real history writing comic scripts, yet she designated this story, with 100% new material, for a comic book and helped write it herself.

The First Death is a two-parter that promises never before seen story and appears to occur before Guilty Pleasures, as Anita says she’s never been in the all male, all vampire strip club that she spends so much time in in the miniseries. It took me awhile to get into the miniseries, something like five or six issues, but I finally liked it. I think it was the dense amount of narration and long speech bubbles that made it hard to get through. Until this year I’d been mostly reading superhero comics, which have little important dialog, and sitting down with a comic book and spending a half an hour reading it felt strange and entirely out of place. But now I’ve rather enjoyed it. The writers manage to get a huge amount of story into an individual issue by using tactile, relevant dialog only and using the hell out of narrative boxes. It achieves a much more complex and detailed story than one is used to seeing in most comic books, especially one with a Marvel logo on it. Personally, it’s a welcome change.

Though Brett Booth did the cover and was the art supervisor of this issue, he doesn’t actually do the inside art. This was kind of disappointing for me, I’ve become a fan of his pretty quickly. At first I found his art to be kind of weird, disjointed in a way that made perfect sense, but it looked different. His sharp, detailed designs just stood out from the pages of Guilty Pleasures. Then I bought the first volume of Magician’s Apprentice and got to see six more issues of his work, by the end of the second issue, I really liked his stuff. Instead, in this issue Alves uses a softer, more gentile approach to character designs and uses a more generalized, less detailed attention to the little things. This, accompanied by less colors, results in paler characters and dull backgrounds.

The story focuses on a series of child murders, which is proven to be done by vampires. Anita is called in to help the police with their investigation and, as part of finding suspects, she attends Guilty Pleasures, a male vampire strip club, for the first time. This also serves as her introduction to Jean-Claude, the vampire who runs the club, with his victorian style clothes and hyper-sexualized masculinity that makes Anita incredibly uncomfortable. This book isn’t bogged down by the unnecessary inner-dialog of odd, out of place sexual thoughts that Anita has that plagued the Guilty Pleasures series, which makes for a much better read. Along with a generally more focused plot line and a faster pace, The First Death looks to be a pretty good read, better, I should say, than the first mini-series.