Hello, my name is Steve and I have an awful habit: starting things and never being able to keep up with them. Especially as of late. There's so much I want to do, but always am "full of lose" when it comes down to doing anything consistant. This is primarily because of my column All The Rage over at Silver Bullet Comic Books. I also like to blame my family. Damn family... always getting in the way. Why I oughta-- Get on with this thing!
Basically, the premise of this column (if I can call it that) is me blurbing about comics hitting my desk. Yes, it's somewhat akin to the My Stack installments that I'm sure at least 3 of you listened to. The difference is that I'm even less verbose and I'll provide a score from 1 to 5 (1 meaning "not even worth setting ablaze for fear of offending the kindling pixies" and 5 meaning "buy this comic or I will kill you... twice").
I suppose it goes without saying that this is an experiment in whether or not I can keep it going. But I do pick up, receive, and read a criminal amount of comic books, so it's the Right Thing to write something about them, yeah?
I won't bother with always listing creator details of the comics... That's what links are for, and I will provide those. I guess I should post a picture of the cover if I have one or feel like it. Some "reviews" will be maybe a sentence long, some might be epic poems that will travel back in time and make Homer (the blind Greek guy, not the blind-drunk Simpson's character) weep with shame about being such a succinct loser in comparision. This first time around, I give you something in-between.
Let's start off with a slab of Dynamite, shall we?
I cannot tell you how happy I was to hear that Dynamite Entertainment was going to release their version of Savage Tales, an anthology title that used to be produded by Marvel. Unlike Marvel's original classic comic, Dynamite's Savage Tales has the "star" character of Red Sonja instead of Conan. And it's not in magazine format. No matter! It still kicks ass. Sure, it's not completely 5/5 perfect as I would hope, but the stories contain within are real gems of pulp fun and it has Red Sonja in a couple of them... always a plus. It's too bad we can't get Conan (because he's a seperate property and Dark Horse runs the comic end of that) in there, but maybe one day? Who knows. Anyhow, with this new Savage Tales you get 4 action packed stories of adventure, battle, strangeness, or whatever else is thrown at you for your pulpy "sword, sorcery & beyond" delight. I'm sure there are others who have more in-depth reviews that go into the seperate stories, but trust me when I say that this ass-kicker is certainly worth a read-through or four.
Man, at first I thought this book would suck. Really. It seemed to have all the trappings of a standard zombie survival tale. Then, much to my acute glee, I realised that I love zombie survival tales-- standard or otherwise. So then I sat down and read this issue in full. Okay, it's not the greatest thing ever. Stuff like Walking Dead and Deadworld beat the shit out of it. But what I can say is that this first bit in a 4 issue limited series is a must have for you fellow Zed-Heads simply based on the fact that it's written in a pretty compelling way. The art is nice and gory, too. There is nothing original I found in this issue, and yet I liked it. I didn't love it, though. We'll see where the story goes. The characters are cool and decently done, so high marks go for that. Raise the Dead is certainly worth taking a look-see, just don't expect to have your socks knocked. Er, chewed off, I mean.
A thick issue of one of my all-time fave comic characters presented in as an anthology of shorts? Nice. Make most of those shorts reprints from 1970's Conan and Kull and the Barbarians (also from the 70s)? Sweet. Very, very sweet. This is a great item to pick up. If you are a Red Sonja fan, you have no excuse. I hope there are more issues coming out, dammit.
I think I read the Punisher / Painkiller Jane thing once, but that's all that familiarity I had with the titular (hur hur hur, I said tit-ular!) character before I happened upon the new TV show (which is alright... it's also got Loken... supermegabigtimebonuspoints for me). Anyhow, I got this 25 cent #0 issue and I thought it was pretty decent. Nothing overly exciting, but it has some good art (as done by Marvel EiC Joe Quesada) and the characters are interesting. It sets things up for #1, which I have to say I look forward to reading now. The dialogue is entertaining, too. All in all, in not the best or most original item on the market, but it's great if you're an action junkie looking for a new fix that looks good.
What can I say? I love this mini-series. The only bad thing about this issue is that it is the last issue. Brandon Jerwa scores with what I consider to be his best work so far, and this issue wraps up the mini-series nicely, handing it over to the TV series where the Tom Zarek character is introduced (who is, by the by, one of the best chars on the show). For those of you that don't give one frak about BSG, I have to say that you may still like this. It's not sci-fi or politics as usual, but an exciting combination of both elements, shook together and unleashed like a bomb full of awesome.
I'll be honest here... I'm not a big fan of Highlander in the least. I guess there was a time when I was, but I just wish they'd give this franchise a goddamned rest. However, I feel the true test of a writer is to take something I think is lame and turn it into something that makes me curious to see what happens. Jerwa manages it here and I must commend him for it. The overall story concept seems a mess and yet the characters and immediate story are quite compelling. I'm not ready to give up on this series yet, even if I do think sources like the movies (ugh) and TV show (it had it's moments, sure, but come on) are played out and dull. Although, I seem to remember Duncan going through a "dark quickening" in the TV series and here we see Connor do it, or something somesuch, with Duncan involved and all that. Hmmm... Well, if you just roll with it, then it's fun. Also, props to Brandon for taking such a fucking stupid character (Conner) and turning him into a bad ass who I actually dig. No small feat, sir. I always wondered why people loved that horribly executed shell of a person Lambert portrayed in the movies. Without the events he's involved in, he's nothing but left-over ass-hairs as far as "interesting" goes... Ah, well, that's a rant for another time, kids.
Annnnd moving on from the fine folks at Dynamite Entertainment, I have some other comics to cover...
Okay, I'll admit it: I like R.A. Salvatore's books. Especially the Cleric Quintet. Anyhow, I've never got around to reading The Demon Wars but I hear (from people like my lovely wife) that they are quite good. I suppose I was hesitant because this is a world wholly created by Salvatore and not the Forgotten Realms and all that fanboy wank. Boy, am I glad I read this! The adaptation is remarkably done; even though I haven't read the source material I'll still stand by that statement. Seeley's art is excellent and the colouring is absolutely stunning (bravo, Sunder Raj). This whole 48-page package is one hell of a wallop for fantasy comics fans. Even if this issue is pretty much set-up, it still does the set up nicely what with incredibly compelling characters and a facinating new world being introduced. It does have many of the "traditional" fantasy elements we have all come to love/hate (goblins, elves, giants, et cetera) but how it's handled makes me very pleased that I invested the time to read this. Really, it doesn't get any better for fantasy in comics than this issue of Demon Wars. We'll see if that get screwed up as the series progeresses, but until then it gets my highest praise.
Dear JMS, I love you... If there is a comic you should pick up that is "super-hero" related, this is the one. And if you love the cosmic stuff and how Marvel does it: this is prime cut, my friends. I'm a life-long Surfer and cosmic happenings reader; but truth be told, I was lost in the days following the immortal Infinity Gauntlet crossover. Now Marvel is pulling out all the stops with Annihilation, Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, Annihilation: Conquest and I'm sure the list is to go on... Also, you have Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer hitting theatres soon, so the time is right for good 'ol Norrin Rad. Not everything involving our fine silver buddy is going to be tres gnarly, but J. Michael Straczynski really begins to spin a yarn here that has me hooked like an over-eager trout; and if there was anything ever bad written about Surfer... I just can't recall, I'm so overcome with Pure Awesome. I'm not kidding when I say I was moved by the exposition of this issue. On top of that, the gorgeous painted art-stylings of Esad Ribic just enhance the mood even that much more. I could gush about this all day... What's it about? It's about Silver Surfer dying and how he's gonna deal with it. That simple. That touching. And it isn't even corny in the slightest. Even the Fantastic Four are in top form. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those "personal" mini-series, and I couldn't be happier. Even though I received this as an advance copy, I will be out to pick this up as soon as I can. It's that good. Hail to the Power Cosmic, baby.
This offering from Dakuwaka Productions is a charming tale of a guy selected to do some of Gawd's Work... violently. Jam packed with great art and a rollercoaster ride of a story packed with demons, angels, and the Four Horsemen in human form, Purity is one of those indie mini-series you just have to give a look-see. It's quite a bit of fun. #3 keeps the pace nicely with terrific pencils and killer inking and the mayhem involved is just a treat. I don't think it's anything award-winning, but you action junkies out there should get a real kick out of this. (Please note that Purity #1's cover is shown)
This comic is messed up... and I love it! Let's see, we have foster kids being taught to be killers with myriad techniques and one of them shows up dead. Colour me in! Those of you who are like me and have a finely warped sense of humour will enjoy this comic immensely. In addition, Chee's art is spot on for this kind of title. It works so well, it's scary. Mark my words when I say that Chee will be somebody to keep an eye on as far as talent is concerned.
God bless Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows. This comic has some serious balls. Although far from being classic literature, it's one of my favourite comics at the moment. Yeah, it has some flaws, but even so it's a tonne of joy to read. What you've got is a nice-guy anti-christ (named Wormwood... his business is cable tv... muhahaha!) who pals around with head-trauma stricken Jesus... Oh, and there's a talking bunny. Throw in Satan and a horny Joan of Arc who's a total psychobitch from Spokane, Washington (I'm just guessing where she's from, but I bet I'm right!), an debauched Aussie pope named Jacko and you have a riot on your hands. Chronicles of Wormwood should appeal to Ennis fans as well as those who, um, don't attend church on a regular basis. Basically, if the Pope getting rammed in the ass with a strap-on offends you in any way then don't bother even coming within 6 feet of this book. If, however, it makes you giggle, then by all means buy it. Also, the work "fuck" gets used often. Yes, it's fair to say that small children shouldn't read Avatar's latest target of Xian Ninja Death Squads. As for issue #3... It's good. Ennis tends to fall on a lot of the same jokes from time to time, or recycle dialogue it seems (although, it's great dialogue). Sometimes the story doesn't seem too focused, but those are my only gripes. The art is fantastic! You rock, Mr. Burrows. I love the style... It reminds me of a variation on Hellblazer and Preacher era Steve Dillon (one of the geats, as you all know). Not that Jacen is copy-catting; oh, he has a sick style all on his own. Really, these guys (Ennis and Burrows) make a swell team and I can hardly sit still to see what happens with the story.
Best tag-line EVAR: "Seditionists will be Digested" Just gets me all revved up thinking about it. Gutsville is a six-issue series designed by writer Simon Spurrier and artist Frazier Irving to "disgustitain" you. See, about 150 years ago a ship bound for Australia was swallowed by a vast creature. As were some other peoples too. Fast forward to 2006 and you have all of their decendents living in a shanty-town somewhere in a guts of the beast (hence the town's name... come now, you can hazard a guess, ja?). This town clings to brutally skewed Victorian ideal and values... This is something that could be utterly amazing or completely off key and I'm happy to say that Spurrier and Irving do the former. It's not for everyone, sure, but damn is it good.
Alright, alright, that's enough. Any more and you lot are going to expect me to review a horde of comics every installment. I just wanted to make this first go loaded with comics I have experienced... Hope it was informative for you and you enjoyed it at least a little bit.
Hey, look... More comics... I suppose I should get to reading them.