Category Archives: Image Comics

Deadly Class Book 1: Noise Noise Noise (Review)


If the X-Men all got together, hammered some cool beverages, “accidentally” stumbled into free rooms and bumped uglies, subsequently pumping out little Suicide Squad babies, you’d have an uglier rendition of Deadly Class (Book 1). And, as insane as that sounds, it really is kind of accurate.

This sprawling story focuses on an assortment of troubled teens who find themselves recruited into a private school (complete with an ancient cousin of Professor X), far off the radar. This school isn’t designed to help your reading, writing and arithmetic however, this is school is designed to turn rogues into highly skilled professional assassins.

It’s an insane concept to work with, and although the book borrows a few ideas from a few major titles, Rick Remender’s narrative is infectious, complex and unique enough to suck readers into the morbid vortex inhabited by youthful assassins. With each page that passes in this beautiful collection only becomes more curious, until the answers finally begin trickling in, and readers are left to assemble a few severely damaged lives.

At the heart of this top notch piece is a somewhat simple coming of age tale, and I love that about it. Don’t get me wrong, the violence and brutality of the book is gratifying, but the more personal elements are where the magic really lives. The love, the loss. The loyalty, the betrayal. These are things we’ve always dealt with in the real world, and they’re issues that make up a prominent slice of a teenager’s life.

Wes Craig’s artwork is excellent, often mixing up clean, precise images with frantic illustrations to further enhance Remender’s story. The two work well together, and the book is nothing short of absolutely magical.

Highly, highly recommended!

You can look into it right here.

Rating: 5/5

DeadlyClassBook_01-1

Advertisements

Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley’s ‘Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain’ Review


Written by: Adrienne Clark

I hadn’t read all of Hack/Slash before reading this story line. Many of the Hack/Slash stories are one shots (a stand-alone issue with a story that isn’t part of an ongoing series) so it’s usually not necessary to have read every previous story. Son of Samhain (story by Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley) followed suit as a stand-alone mini series; however, you would do well to be at least somewhat familiar with the series when you dive in.

Let’s do a quick run-down of the 5-part plot.

Book 1
Cassie Hack is hiding from herself by working as a bounty hunter. In a former life she hunted a different kind of prey–monsters. When another infamous monster hunter named Delroy tempts her out of retirement, they find themselves in Mexico uncovering a monster (no pun intended) plot to bring to life the God, Attan-Soolu.

The perspective toggles back and forth between our monster-hunting heroes and Morinto, the leader of a group of monsters who spends most of his time waxing poetic about the plight of monsters. Humanity defeated them centuries ago and drove them underground. Now, Morinto is building an army to return to the surface and take it back

The climax comes when Hack and Delroy discover a mysterious kid being held captive by the monsters. The hunters fight to free him. He returns their bravery by biting Hack’s arm and running away.

Book 2
Morinto confronts the mythical god beast, who has been made only to destroy, and listens to no one but Attan-Soolu. Fortunately, Morinto has perfected his brain-controlling bugs. With no effort at all, Morinto conquers the beast. Now the god beast believes Morinto is Attan-Soolu and will what whatever this monster leader wants.

Hack and Delroy track the mysterious boy that ran away. It turns out that he has a murderous streak as well. His name is October (Ocky for short), and Hack comments on how familiar he looks.

Book 3
Hack and Delroy take a moment away from monster hunting to discover more about Ocky’s past. It turns out there is a reason he looks so familiar to Hack.

Morinto’s past is revealed. It turns out that his mother was a member of an occult organization called the Dark Order. When she passed she prayed to have her powers passed to her son. Between this gift of dark power and the god beast, Moritno is able to build the monster army he needs to go to the surface.

Book 4
The battle is on between our hunters and the monster army. While Hack fights to survive against Morinto’s mind control bugs, Delroy takes on the god beast all on his own. That’s all I can say without spoilers so, on to…

Book 5
Hack and Ocky (seriously, has there ever been a less intimidating nickname?) take a moment to reflect on whether they should return to the battle or make a run for it. They know what choice they have to make, and once they do, they hatch a plan to send the murderous monsters back beneath the surface. But, can evil ever really be defeated?

Our heroes drive off into the sunset even as a new threat begins to take form.


This fun, if somewhat basic, story puts the classic “Hero’s Journey” structure to good use. It leans heavily on the reader’s familiarity with the classic structure. This way the story can focus on action rather than character development.

The characters are delightfully simple in both their motivations and their dialogue. I say delightfully simple because that is exactly what I’m looking for in a story like this. Cassie Hack is a smart-mouthed monster hunter who never loses her cool. Her sarcasm and bravery fire on all cylinders at all times and can only be matched by her empathy when she meets someone in need. She’s tortured, too, but only in so far as it helps break up the actions scenes and give her a motivation.

This story centers around a potential monster war, This simplicity of character was a good choice to compliment the story. If the action had been complex, but the characters one-dimensional (or vice versa) then I would have questioned every moment. For example, in the course of a page Hack kills several dozen monsters. Had her character been more complex, I would have wanted a better explanation for her abilities. Maybe spend time with her showing Ocky or Delroy how to do what she does. But, as it is, she’s strong, they’re evil, done and done. Works for me.

What did slow the story down were several passages of Morinto pontificating on the state of evil, humankind, and his desire to rule. I understand that the writers had to give him something to do, and they needed to build Morinto up as a threat that the reader would find believable, but it didn’t work for me. When you’re going to give a character time to say something that’s meant to be profound, it better be a pretty unique perspective. Instead it just bogged down the story with something akin to a passage from a teenage goth’s journal.

The imagery (by Emilio Laiso) is spot on, with a focus on shape over detail. Every monster is bigger or badder than the last, making for a beautifully intimidating army. Although sometimes the similar coloring on the baddies would confuse me for a few panels, which would take me out of the story as I scrambled to make sense of who was talking and if I knew them.

Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain is a fun comic for anyone who likes the horror genre. Although this miniseries is without some of the more famous guest stars that people have come to love (check out the Evil Dead crossover for a really good time), it’s still a totally readable monster story. Killing monsters is what Cassie Hack does best, and it’s always fun to watch someone kill (OK, pun intended that time) at what they love.

Order it here.

Rating: 3/5

Hack Slash Son of Samhain

Outcast Volume One: A Darkness Surrounds Him Review


A brilliant book with multi-layered characters that are typically easy to cheer for, but can be easy to despise. But if you pull those polarizing figures from the picture, and what Outcast truly is, is an evil, exorcism tale. Now drag those personalities back into frame and what you’ve got is a battle between good and evil that runs parallel to an intricate examination of magnetic characters.

Robert Kirkman may end up being remembered for The Walking Dead and little else, but he’s accomplished so much more than just creating The Walking Dead, and his ability to chill to the bone sure as hell isn’t dependent on the inclusion of zombies. Kirkman could make your backyard patio set terrifying, if he wanted to. He can certainly handle evil, self-doubt, violence and even maybe a hint of schizophrenia, as well. Pretty versatile, if you ask me.

As for this story, the focus rests on Kyle Barnes, an insanely troubled 30-something with a past he’d prefer to forget. But he can’t forget, because evil beings have been following him since day one. His only answer (a leery one) to this problem is to stop being the pursued and begin pursuing. Kyle embarks on a mission to rid the world of the evil beings capable of possessing the human body.

Feat-OutcastTPB

Kirkman makes this one a rugged affair, as we see some unsettling imagery, creepy ideas brought to the page and an unrelenting evil that has a score to settle with Kyle. It’s a brilliant read, and this comes from someone who isn’t a fan – in the least bit – of religious horror stories.

This one feels different. It actually doesn’t feel like an exorcism piece in the slightest, and that works for me. It reads differently, as though the small community and the mysterious and unknown are designed to take center stage over crosses and holy water. Again, big points for knowing when it’s time to move in a different direction.

I’m interested in seeing where Kyle heads from here. Robert Kirkman’s writing is top notch, and Paul Azaceta and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s artwork proves to be a magical fit for this gripping story. One volume in and I just can’t get enough of this aggressive piece of artwork.

You can order volume one right here.

Rating: 5/5

Scanners meets The Bourne Identity in Image’s ‘Throwaways’


Author Caitlin Kittredge (Coffin Hill, Hell) and artist Steven Sanders (Wolverine) have teamed up to give us what promises to be a balls-to-the-wall joyride. Throwaways sounds like a certified keeper, and we’re pumped to see the book moving forward.

Look for Throwaways to launch in July.

Here’s some valuable 411 from the official press release:

Abby Palmer and Dean Logan are two broken people. Abby is a veteran with severe PTSD and Dean a burnout trying to escape the shadow of his infamous father—but when they are thrust into a modern-day MK-ULTRA conspiracy… They discover they are both ULTRA’s human experiments.

“Throwaways is the comic I’ve been waiting my whole career to write, and I can’t think of a better publisher than Image or a better collaborator than Steven,” said Kittredge. “This book is a collection of everything I love—spies, superpowers, secret history, conspiracies and action, grounded in a big dose of flawed, realistic characters. It’s just plain fun to write this book and I can’t wait for it to be unleashed on the world.”

Sanders added: “Throwaways has been a blast to work on! Just getting to draw ‘real life’ telekinetic fights has been something of a dream come true. I’ve had an itch to draw that sort of thing since I was a kid. It’s also giving me the chance to try out some illustration techniques I’ve just recently learned about. There’s a lot of detail to play with, a lot of action, but also quiet moments to build up tension. It’s hard for an artist to not be excited about a comic like this.”

THROWAWAYS #1 (Diamond Code MAY160548) will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, July 6th. The final order cutoff deadline for comic book retailers is Monday, June 13th.

throwaways

The Greatest Books We’re Reading in 2016: Postal


Matt Hawkins, Brian Hill and Isaac Goodhart created a marvelous and engaging tale about a mail man with Asperger’s who finds himself in the middle of an intricate war and a bid for power. Postal is one of the greatest books on the shelf, loaded with fantastic characters and a few great twists, the popular Image title immediately squeezes its way into the must-read column.

And that’s really not a result of the book’s ruthlessness (it can indeed be pretty effin’ ruthless), it’s a result of nurturing of personalities. We care about Mark. We care about Maggie. We even become quite invested in the story’s antagonists. They’re a colorful lot, and the manner in which Hawkins and Hill blur the details and the line between good and evil, we’re never entirely certain of who is shady and who isn’t. I enjoy that enigmatic quality.

A murder mystery with some strong elements of horror (the secret’s floating throughout the town offer plenty of genre fuel, and things only seem to be escalating as the story continues), Postal is one of the greatest books you can read right now. It’s such a refined piece of work that looks and reads in pitch-perfect fashion. Postal cannot be avoided or slept on – it’s just too good for that.

Each arc is being released in collected volumes. You can volume one right here, while volume two can be purchased here. Volume three will be available for purchase next month. If you have trouble tracking down a few of the earlier issues, the old trade paperback is a safe way to go.

For now we want to bring you up to speed on the story, without spoiling it for you. Just in case, you know, you’ve had your head buried in the sand.

Dig on our top moment from each of the first four books.

Favorite Moment from Postal #1

Mark takes a bullet.
Mark takes a bullet.

Favorite Moment from Postal #2

postal favorite scene 2
Mark begins the journey into his family past.

Favorite Moment from Postal #3

Mark meets his mysterious father.
Mark meets his mysterious father.

Favorite Moment from Postal #4

Revenge can be brutal and bloody.
Revenge can be brutal and bloody.

Here we offer you a look at each cover from the first four issues, which are what make up the first volume TPB. Speaking of the TPB, we’ve also got a look at the cover for that as well:

 

Prepare for Another Morbid Story Arc in Image Comics’ Hit Title, Nailbiter!


Nailbiter fans are about to attempt some wild acrobatics. The joy comes in knowing that Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson will be launching a brand new story arc that begins with Nailbiter #21.

If you’ve been following the story you know it’s about as insane as it gets. But if you haven’t been reading Nailbiter, you’re missing some mind blowing greatness.

Just to sum it all up for those of you not in the know, I’ll summarize the entire story with just one nice run-on sentence: Mysterious town, 16 serial killers, a man of the law suddenly on the wrong side of the law and a body count that continues to rise at an alarming rate.

Here’s the scoop from the Press Release:

Writer Joshua Williamson (BIRTHRIGHT) and artist Mike Henderson (Venom,Carnage) will launch a new story arc in their hit horror series NAILBITER this May.

 

Previously in NAILBITER, NSA agent Nicholas Finch found himself roped into the mystery of Buckaroo, Oregon, where sixteen of the world’s vilest serial killers were spawned—and his life has not gotten any simpler since. A new serial killer appeared, for one; not to mention the commitment of more grisly murders and a major revelation about Alice’s parentage.

 

In NAILBITER #21, Alice now knows that the Nailbiter is her father. Does that mean she will grow up to be a serial killer?

 

“It’s awesome that we’re starting year three of Nailbiter! The team and I are so thankful to the readers and retailers for keeping us alive and killing for the last two years,” said Williamson. “We’ve been building to the Bound by Blood story arc since the beginning, slowly revealing the secret relationships between the characters. And now with this story arc we focus on Alice as she learns some dark truths about her past. The only way for her to know everything is if she solves the town’s big secret…why does it give birth to so many serial killers? How has it been hidden for so long? Crazy things are going to be revealed in this story arc…and it’s going to be very bloody!”

 

“Another year, another arc, another murder spree!” said Henderson. “We can’t thank everyone who’s kept Nailbiter going strong enough but just to try: Alice takes center stage and learns some new things about her ever-weirder world and the result is some of our darkest and bloodiest yet.”

 

NAILBITER #21 (Diamond code: MAR160550) hits stores Wednesday, May 4th. Final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, April 11th.

Nailbiter 21

‘Pencil Head #1’ Review


Ted McKeever’s got an interesting style. He’s also got a book on his hands that has the potential to go down in history as one of the finer creations of the comic world. Pencil Head is dark and satirical, jaded to the core but lively on all fronts. It’s interesting to say the least, and any living soul on Mother Earth who is beyond fed up with their boss, their working conditions or the mundane manner so many lives take on, Pencil Head is most certainly for you.

The story focuses on Poodwaddle, a frustrated creator of comics. He lives something of a lonely life, he’s sick and tired of his publisher attempting to take creative control over his work, often pushing it in a direction he can’t begin to agree with. But Poodwaddle meets with an old friend, Luthais, in the biz, and that friend offers him a chance to write something that leaves him feeling fulfilled.

Between his professional problems and the sudden appearance of one of his very own creations, now come to life to haunt the man, he definitely needs the change. He needs some normalcy in his life, and he may just be on the cusp of obtaining it, if he can pull himself together and move forward.

McKeever’s harsh outlook on life is genius and sadly, somewhat realistic. He’s created a couple of characters that are going to resonate in the mind of readers. These players are crude yet hilarious and this book stands to head in the direction of cult status. Pencil Head won’t work for everyone, but those who do find pleasure in reading this are likely to remain onboard as long as McKeever’s willing to extend us more greatness.

I simply cannot begin to recommend this book enough. It’s amazing!

Rating: 5/5

pencilhead

‘Starve Volume 1’ Review


Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj and Dave Stewart join forces to do a few things I can’t recall seeing done in the past. First, they’ve got an abstract book that they’ve turned into a true hit. Second, that abstract book is about the culinary profession as well as economic and social chaos. Third, it deposits a homosexual, self-exiled chef in the leading role of the story. It’s all quite bold and it’s extremely successful.

A massive sociopolitical statement with layers of different messages, Starve isn’t just inventive, it’s fearless. This is the kind of content that may have many scratching their heads, but it’s certainly going to have a whole hell of a lot of us tipping the cap in complete respect. The fact that Brian Wood capitalizes on the current popularity of reality TV and the culinary arts just speaks to his understanding of society and trending topics. It also exhibits a passion for food, which earns this stud even more respect for me, as I’m a hardcore foodie with a love for the kitchen. This guy’s more than okay in my book!

I love the look of Starve. I love the pace of Starve. I love the risks taken here, and I hope that the gang behind this masterful work realize just how effective it truly is.

If the atypical is what you seek, and strong stories take precedence over any other aspect of the graphic novel, then you’ve got to get your hands on this riveting and wildly original book. Starve represents the creative mind in brilliant fashion, repeatedly working against the grain to immense success. It’s a wild read, and while I’m disappointed in myself for having gone oblivious to its existence for so long, I’m grateful to have it today. Easily one of the finest books I’ve discovered in recent years, and most certainly a new Image favorite for me!

Order volume one right here, you’ll be doing yourself a greater favor than you may realize.

Rating: 5/5

Starve_vol01-1

‘The Discipline #1’ Review


Melissa Peake lives an interesting life. Thanks to her husband’s success she’s financially solid, no fiscal worries in her life whatsoever. But she’s also lonely. Her relationship with her sister is strained, her relationship with her husband is shaky – he’s so caught up in the idea of financial gain he’s incapable of seeing what he’s got standing in front of her – and her finest company comes from her dog, whom she opens her heart to on a regular basis. But the dull, uninspiring existence she knows is about to change.

We don’t know a whole lot about Orlando. He’s mysterious and he knows human behavior and mannerisms well enough to accurately summarize Melissa’s entire life. He comes on strong, and – married or not – Melissa begins falling for him instantaneously. But what’s the man about? Why does he appear to be something more than human? Who is he obviously recruiting Melissa for, and what do they plan to do with the woman?

All valid questions that will be answered with time. Right now is not the time. Right now, writer Peter Milligan is laying the groundwork for something special. Milligan is building the mystery, and it’s rather compelling. It’s nearly impossible to avoid being sucked into the cultish vibe of the book. There’s a lot of potential here.

I can’t praise Milligan without tipping my cap to Leandro Fernandez, who brings a straight forward, minimalized style to what promises to be a complex narrative. Fernandez is good. He’s successful in bringing in a certain flare without wasting a stroke of the pencil. You’ve got to respect that. You’ve got to respect both Chris Peter and Simon Bowland, who turn in strong showings working underappreciated positions as handling coloring and lettering, respectively.

There’s a lot of talent in this book. Image has been successful in launching a lot of fresh titles over the years, and this is no exception. If you’re looking for a new book to add to your monthly lineup, make it The Discipline. You’ll thank us later.

Order it here.

Rating: 4/5

Discipline01_Cvr-2_356_540