Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.10.25, Thrills From Beyond…

photo-oct-23-9-28-39-pm

Another fine week in comics!

I think this often, even when I have yet to read the latest new comics. New thrills await, in many forms whether they be human, unhuman, or some other strange abstraction. No matter in preference, but the stranger the better when the story fits. This week, are the latest books personally checked out from the previous Wednesday. My reviews are below (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 10/19:

Night’s Dominion #2 (Oni Press) by Ted Naifeh

“When she’s not working as a barmaid, Emerane becomes the Night, the most wanted thief in Umber. But when the Furie, Umber’s self-proclaimed champion, declares himself her enemy, she’s soon penniless and desperate. Her only recourse is to join the Bard and his ragtag team of rogues as they infiltrate the Cult of Uhlume’s tower in search of untold riches. The tower is not as it seems, however, and our heroes—if we dare call them such—may find more than they bargained for in its murky depths.”

This second issue packs a bigger punch. The cast is a bit more solid, with more on character development and action. The Magus, in particular, is my favorite of the badasses with some moments in style and reaction I admire. Each main character has a bit of complexity to them in how they handle situations, for better or worse. The overall setting well-defined by the art and atmosphere mixed with great colorings and classic paneling. It’s a bit too soon to really care for the characters, but there is a good start here, where things pick up more so in the end, leading to a curious third issue.

I Hate Fairyland (Image) by Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu

“Decades of Gert’s blunders brings Fairyland to its final days. The last of this world’s survivors have to find a way to right her many wrongs. So many. Too many. They’ll probably die. Just read it.”

I never thought I would say this, but this series is top on my list I look forward to picking up. The latest issue continues to develop in areas I had little expectation for. This time, there is the Fairyland itself, growing its own mythology into the future. There is a coming apocalypse and end to it all, settled on Gert’s choices in her adventures. There is a serious yet ridiculousness to it all, where things will be complex, based on something not so complex. For the present, will she turn left or right? Such the decision seems trivial until an expected visitor complicates the passage. The conclusion brings more excitement, wondering whatever will become of this bizarre twisted fantasy, created by Scottie Young; whose writing of Fairyland is becoming as unique as his art style.

The October Faction: Deadly Season #1 (IDW) by Steve Niles, Damien Worm

“Ghouls in the graveyard! Giant Monsters downtown! The Allan family comes face to face with a whole new threat. This one comes from the past and it won’t stop until the Allan’s are dead.”

I am not at all familiar with the previous October Faction series, of which this stems from. I love the art with its gorgeous colors and spooky design work. I felt engaged enough in the writing and odd characters, to see this particular issue through. The style of Niles from his previous work (30 Days and Night, Mystery Society, Dark Days) is a cherished sort and fitting for this gloomy Halloween season. I think I shall not continue with this series until I pick up the previous series, probably in trade paperback volumes by now. If it is as good as this, than I shall return to this current run.

Lord of Gore (Devil’s Due) by DB Stanley, Daniel Leister

“Decades ago scandal propelled the Lord of Gore B-movie franchise to mainstream success. In 1989 the film’s costumed slasher actor murdered a young actress in ways worse than his on-screen character, creating a media frenzy. Now on the cusp of a modern reboot, a struggling screenwriter learns that the deranged star wasn’t the only guilty party that night, but before he can share the information, the film’s slasher seems to have stepped from the screen into real life to stop him.”

I like the approach, very different from what I expected in looking at the cover. Yes, there is some gore and bloodletting. But, I feel the cover and title is misleading. Yet, much of the issue is about a convention surrounding a made-up horror icon and a convention of fans and guests. There is a lot of very realistic drama surrounding the background and guests. There is a lot of realism in how the attraction of real life murder somewhat enhances the myth. The idea and overall execution is clever and original, leaving possibilities in how this may play out. Plus, I think the B-movie genre slasher is something long overlooked in comics, and this is some potential gold in a great story. As for the screenwriter at the center, I’m also hoping for some interesting commentary on some aspects of violence and horror entertainment in the following issues.

Black Hammer #4 (Dark Horse) by Jeff Lemire, Dave Stewart, Dean Ormston

“In the forties, Abraham Slam faced such menaces as the psychedelic Florist and the eldritch Cthu-Lou without breaking a sweat. But keeping the heroes of Black Hammer Farm from each others throats when his girlfriend comes to dinner proves far more perilous! Meanwhile, the Black Hammer’s daughter uncovers new clues to the exiled heroes disappearance!”

Another great issue, where I like there is a bit more focus on a particular character and angle of the mystery. Here, there is some previous focus on Abraham Slam, with a cool back story and some kickass action. The issue then brings much drama to the overall present. A solid issue, with the overall story still being a bit too surreal leading me to wonder what’s really going on.

Star Trek: Boldly Go #1 (IDW) by Mike Johnson, George Caltsoldas, Tony Shasteen

“STAR TREK’s 50th Anniversary Celebration continues with this all-new series following the adventures of Captain Kirk and the iconic crew! New worlds! New species! New ships! And a new danger unlike anything the Federation has encountered before! Boldly go into a new era of STAR TREK!”

A great new beginning for the select bunch of us out there who enjoyed Star Trek Beyond for that it was, a revision of the classic series and not so much a reboot. The new series follows after, with some develops fans may not expect of the familiar bridge crew characters. We see more than ever how each primary crew member has their own lives and goals to tend to. Something will bring them back together, and that’s where I felt a bit cold in the ending. There is an ending, which I suppose brings in pure fan service and curiosity as a classic villain species from the old Trek, returns. For me, I felt a sour taste in bringing back such characters. Yet, I hope there will be something different, evolved about them other than the usual slogans and plans for assimilating people…

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.10.11, in Bold Print..

photo-oct-09-2-57-15-pm

Look below, for there are very interesting comics here.

For this reading period, I found an overall theme of badassness and boldery about. Not just with action, but the some interesting directions with writing and styles. Most of these books are set in dangerous worlds, while the leftover one takes on a challenging viewpoint on an age-old concept. Below, are further ponderings and observations for the week (with minor spoilers)…

(with minor spoilers)

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 10/5:

Cage #1 (Marvel) by Genndy Tartakovsky

From the Award-Winning creator of Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Hotel Transylvania? From the Award-Winning creator of Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Hotel Transylvania! On the mean streets of Harlem, shoes are big, shirts are large, bottoms are belled and crime is rampant! But in the heart of the city, the world’s hardest-working, smack-talking, chain-wearing super hero is on the street and on the case! And his rates are reasonable! He’s CAGE! and he’ll save your behind. Dig it!

I expected some new series of Marvel’s Power man as the new Netflix series adds much to his popularity. Yet, this was an interesting take from an unexpected creator. I was a bit worried this would be some lame blaxploitation knockoff from his roots with much of the expected jokes exhausted from 70’s Black urban entertainment (though I enjoy many blaxploitation flicks). Still, I was pleasantly surprised to find this is not so much that. It’s fun humor and action mixed with the very best of the classic street fantasy that Blaxploitation brought, with much from the classic Luke Cage comics which had silly moments as well. Overall, good fun with a much-needed fresh take on the character.

He-Man Thundercats #1 (DC) by Rob David, Lloyd Goldfine, Freddie E. Williams II

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe team up with the ThunderCats, the epic crossover event you’ve waited thirty years to see! In his ever-living desire to destroy the mighty ThunderCats, Mumm-Ra quests for a weapon that can rival the legendary Sword of Omens: He-Man’s Sword of Power! But his dimension-spanning scheme kick starts a cataclysmic crisis that will embroil heroes and villains-Masters, Mutants and ThunderCats in a mind-blowing six-part saga!

Surprisingly good, though I am not a fan of the art. The story feels much more intriguing and sensible than the standard incident that merges two worlds, and the two must do the usual fight and team-up thing. Though I like the set-up so far with Mumm-Ra underestimating the badassery of Prince-Adam, then finding out who the real Ancient Spirit of Evil is (saw that coming, but still liked the execution of it all). The two mythologies make perfect sense here, and invite many questions for fans to ponder. Which sword is better, Sword of Omens or the Sword of Power? Who’s better with machines, Man-At-Arms or Panthro? Who’s more obnoxious and annoying, Snarf or Orko? I’m very much on board though I wish the art style was a bit more cartoonish and less-violent, to further my childhood nostalgia.  Still, this crossover is off to a good start.

Green Valley #1 (Image) by Max Landis, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn

The knights of Kelodia are the finest in the land, but they’ve never faced a power like the one that resides in the Green Valley… MAX LANDIS (Chronicle, American Ultra, Superman: American Alien) and GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI (Amazing Spider-Man) welcome you to the world of Green Valley… where nothing is ever what it seems.

I like the art and scripting for much of the issue. Green Valley is an interesting page turner for its moments here and there, though it’s hard for me to tell what it all turns to for an overall story. Is it a tale of action, comedy, or drama? I find a bit of all, though very unevenly mixed in. I love the art and characters, mixed with fitting colors and mastery of panel sequence style. The ending is very badass, but also leaves me thinking; what does it all mean? I hope it’s all more than a basic plot of revenge and reclaiming the homeland.

Romulus #1 (Image) by Bryan Hill, Nelson Blake II

Our world isn’t free. All of us, for generations, have lived under the secret control of The Ancient Order of Romulus. One young woman, raised by them, trained by them, betrayed by them, must push through her fear to take a stand against the silent evil that masters our world. Her name is Ashlar, and her war begins with the brutal first chapter of the new Image series ROMULUS, from writer BRYAN HILL (POSTAL) and artist NELSON BLAKE II (MAGDELENA).

A great first issue that spends much of its time setting up/explaining the Romulus order and background of Ashlar, whose moments in the book are badass and thrillsome. The series is great for those who enjoy fast-paced action. For many comics, I find moments of action often stale and boring, sometimes even confusing. In Romulus, there is a nice fluidity and wonderful coherence about them, reminiscent of the classic Frank Miller Daredevil or Jim Aparo Batman comic eras. The size and placing of the panels along with the well-timed dialogue and colorplay makes the read feel very cinematic. From that, the overall story is thrilling as the Illuminati elements show a long challenge ahead for Ashlar. My hopes are, that with the great action we get more development with the current plot. I look forward to finding out.

Paper Girls #10 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson

The second arc of the smash-hit ongoing series concludes with the Paper Girls risking everything to escape the 21st Century… but if any survive, where will they end up next?

An action-packed end to the second arc. The art and style of the series feel more defined than ever, with more attention I think given to establishing mood and odd surreality to the current situation of our Paper Girls lost in whatever time and space they are in now. Now there are more questions with few answers in sight. There are some wonderful moments, especially with Erin now sick and tired of other Erin, and Brittany leading the group with a daring leap of faith. Still a fun series, though with the ending I feel the adventure is just beginning.

The Flintstones #4 (Image) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, Chris Chuckry

What is this newfangled thing called “marriage” and why are so many people willing to sacrifice the traditional sex cave for exclusive partnerships? Fred and Wilma leave Pebbles and Dino with the Rubbles for the weekend and head out to a marriage retreat to find out all they can about this new fad they’ve bought into.

PICK OF THE WEEK!! Wow, The Flintstones does it again with magnificent social satire and brilliant humor. Here, some stone age concepts reac far ahead of their time. One being the idea of marriage, heavily frowned upon in Bedrock society where Fred and Wilma visit a secluded retreat to discuss their sinful union. Meanwhile, Dino receives constant resentment from his Jurassic kin living the miserable life of servitude as household appliances. The top of religious beliefs also resurfaces, with a sweet answer explaining the universe. Such the answer is brilliant and very thought-provoking, if you don’t think about that too much. Overall, the best issue so far in the series which stands the Flintstones as brilliant in complexity as (and perhaps more) than other classic animated nostalgia from Prime-time TV schedules.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things.