Category Archives: Reviews

‘Dead of Night: Featuring Man-Thing #1’ Review


Told in old school EC fashion, Dead of Night #1 features a cool caretaker who guides us through a gritty gnarly tale of deceptions and monstrosities.

Ted’s working on a serum, similar to a serum used in WWII, and his goal is to create a drug that will transform man into murderous soldier; the unstoppable machine. By his side is Ellen and Eric, sent to the same remote location to see him through his work. But when Ted discovers there are other plans in store for the serum he panics, and Ellen – his soon-to-be wife and Eric, turn on him in an instant. They don’t give a damn about the man, they just want the goods. They want riches, and now that Ted sees the true motivation behind the operation, he just wants out. Not going to happen… at least not with ease!

When Ellen shoots a fleeing Ted, he’s got no choice; if he hopes to survive, he’s going to have to ingest the serum. He sinks into the nearby swamp, and in one final act, downs the super soldier serum. Hours later, while Eric and Ellen search for something tangible to take back to AIM, the shady company they work for, Ted makes a return, and the two see exactly what’s become of his serum… the effects are… monstrous, to say the least.

Eric and Ellen are brutally killed. Eric, ripped to shreds, Ellen, mutilated beyond recognition. Once a fine scientific mind, Ted is now a full-blown monster of the swamp land.

Stellar work here from writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who tells a vintage tale with modern day bloody twists. And one can’t look beyond the gruesome artwork of Kano and the absolutely stunning coloring of Javier Rodriguez! Amazing, gripping book right here!

Rating: 5/5

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‘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

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‘Batman: Joker’s Daughter’ Review


Over the years we’ve seen a surprising number of Batman story arcs that are drenched in horror. We’re talking books that are flat out gruesome, unforgiving and often frightening. Those books aren’t superhero books. They’re not aimed at young teens. These are brutal works of fiction, designed to appeal the much older crowd, eager to peel the superhero’s layers away to see something much deeper and darker. And that works for guys like myself, deep into my 30s with kids of my own. I know when to appreciate a book for myself and when to recommend a piece to my offspring. Batman: Joker’s Daughter is certainly a book that belongs far from the grasp of the kiddies.

Marguerite Bennett crafts a compelling tale that brings a new villain, with the genetic code of a classic rogue to the masses. The Joker’s Daughter is as schizophrenic as her daddy, and in this book she makes a complete transition from head case wannabe to murdering nemesis of the Bat. She’s morbid. She’s savage. She’s got jokes. She’s everything the Joker is and has been. She’s not watered down, or softened up to appeal to children. No. In this book, this little lady is deeply disconcerting and worthy of Batman’s time and attention. Even if he is a step ahead.

I won’t rush to break the story down. It’s a short book. It introduces one legendary figure to what could one day also be a legendary figure of the comic world. They tangle. Batman does what he does, and this woman does what Joker does, with conviction.

When it comes to DC, Batman has always been a runaway favorite for me. Always. There’s something magnetic about the Dark Knight. The mystery that always surrounds him inspires awe. Even in the somewhat rare, or less popular books, like Batman: Joker’s Daughter, a brilliant piece that has eluded me for some time.

I’m glad I picked this one up. Bennett is an excellent writer. Meghan Hetrick, who illustrates, is also razor sharp. Together they’re a special duo who could do huge things with this character. We’ll see where the future leads us.

Order it here.

Rating: 5/5

Batman: Joker's Daughter Volume 1

 

‘Old Man Logan #1’ Review


Old Man Logan offers readers a look at a Wolverine that we’re not all too familiar with. See, Logan wakes to one day realize the world seems to be nothing as he knows it. He’s a stranger in a strange land, until the memories come flooding in and he’s forced to accept a future he would have once balked at.

The villains of the world finally got their act together, formed a massive alliance and not only obliterated superheroes, but just about anything in their path. What remains of those who were once gifted, fighting the good fight, is slim to say the least.

But the reality of it all is burrowing deep in Logan’s mind, and that’s never a good thing Logan dwells. He always has. And this time, he’ll dwell with a chance to change the future, as he’s somehow seen the clock rewound to a time just before the menaces of the world would take place as the alphas of the world. And only one remains: Can Logan change a dreadful future before it becomes a nightmarish present?

Jeff Lamire fires big, right out of the gate. And he does a stellar job of making Logan, a man once feared by anyone on the wrong side of his own stance, the law or the well-being of decent mutants, all but helpless. Domesticated and fragile, Logan will have his hands full if he hopes to get to the bottom of things and right a ship already losing course.

Artist Andrea Sorrentino does a great job of giving us something of a guerilla-style visual. Image details often masked by shadows, villains blending into one another, wide and expansive backgrounds, the perfect setup for focus on our heroes and villains. And Sorrentino doesn’t accomplish the look alone, colorist Marcelo Maiolo adds a great deal of depth to the book.

As a longtime fan of Wolverine, I’m always on the hunt for a new spin. A place Logan hasn’t yet ventured. A villain Logan has yet to collide with. Old Man Logan offers up a lot of the very things I search for.

Grade-A work, right here!

Order issue #1 right here.

Rating: 5/5

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‘Postal Volume 2’ Review


The second volume of Postal differs greatly from its predecessor. While the focus of volume 1 is the connection of key players, a reunion between a violent man – thought long dead – and his son, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s also about the town of Eden and its slow shift in trajectory. Eden isn’t going to look quite as peaceful as initially perceived, but from the looks of things it’s going to take some time to reach an outright unravelling point, or, for that matter even a simple changing of the guard.

In Volume 2 writers Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill create a slew of new subplots, but, unfortunately, push Mark’s problems a bit further into the background than I’d personally care to see. Where Volume 1 was focused on Mark first and foremost, Volume 2 is stretched to focus on a series of other personalities and budding struggles.

There’s a slight tonal change between each volume, and though our characters still feel like they felt in the first volume, the plans, and steps required to see those plans through, are beginning to feel markedly different.

Ultimately we’re left with more questions than ever before. The first volume produced some compelling answers while keeping secrets alive. Volume 2 spreads inquiries across a number of differing ideas. In this book we take a lengthy examination at a child killer, new tactics from the FBI and a plan to commit cold-blooded murder. These are but a few of the mysteries. Many more are thriving within these pages.

While I can’t claim to be as engrossed in Volume 2 as I was in Volume 1, there are still some fine qualities to admire. And again, Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill keep our characters on the human side, illuminating qualities and flaws. Isaac Goodhart is also still living up to his end of the arrangement, giving us more beautiful artwork to gawk at.

I enjoyed Volume 2 quite a bit, but I’ve also got hopes that we bring Mark, his mother, Eden’s mysterious patriarch and the lovely waitress Maggie, back into more contained plots – truly together again, if you will. Postal is beginning to feel extremely broad, which comes across as a bit odd, as the first book kept the narrative very tightly spun, and that made our characters and their own conflicts and demons considerably more hypnotic.

We’ll see where this trio take the story next!

Order Volume 2 right here.

Rating: 4/5

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‘Postal Volume 1’ Review


Welcome to Eden, Wyoming. It’s a quiet community of just over 2,000. It looks comfortable. It looks welcoming. It looks safe. Looks can be deceiving.

Mark is the local mailman, afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome, in love with a waitress named Maggie, and curious. Too curious. See, Mark is determined to learn the secrets of his town, and when a strange young lady surfaces, dead as John Denver (God rest the man’s soul), Mark’s life takes a sudden and terrifying turn.

The identity of the deceased is eventually learned, as Mark, as dedicated as he’s ever been, follows the breadcrumbs until he’s standing at the door to another existence. It’s an existence that will change his every perception of life, and an existence that will bring his unknown past to the surface.

But does Mark truly want to learn of who is? Of who his mother, the shady Mayor, is? Or how about his father, mysteriously absent from his life, does he really want to know the fate of his father, and what will it do to his already fragile mind, learning the truth?

I’m working hard to avoid spoilers, as this is such a magnetic and engrossing read that spoiling the details of the story feels criminal. I can’t bring myself to do it, but I can tell you this: From the moment Mark solemnly speaks the words “I’m used to the way you hurt me, mom,” you realize that Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill are brilliant talents, capable of turning a graphic novel into an emotional experience.

There are few books as impressive as Postal on the market today. Isaac Goodhart is another piece of this awe inspiring puzzle, as his artwork is a refreshing and enlightening element of the book that deserves a wealth of respect. He gives us the kind of visuals that empower a narrative, and this particular narrative is already so powerful that it needs no assistance. Needless to say, with Goodhart involved, Postal ascends from the ranks of an excellent book to the ranks of a beautiful masterpiece.

This mysterious thriller will have you tearing through the pages (figuratively speaking, of course), frantic to uncover answers. Fortunately for fans of darker, mystery driven comics, Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill are nurturing this story with the utmost care. We’ll have our answers, but we’ll be guided through much more chaos before we reach our destination. This is a ride I’d like to take forever.

Order Postal Volume 1 right here.

Rating: 5/5

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‘Oddly Normal Volume 1’ Review


You want a relatable book with heart, laughs and conundrums around each and every corner… er, page? You want Oddly Normal, Otis Frampton’s light-hearted, witchy coming of age tale. It’s a quick read, designed for all ages and it’s absolutely stuffed full of charm. Regardless of what you look for in your graphic novels, Oddly Normal will certainly leave you impressed and entertained in equal measure.

The story follows the titular character (yes, Oddly Normal is a name) as she fumbles her way through, first earth, and second, Fignation, the supernatural realm in which her witch of a mother comes from. Her father’s your average human, leaving our little lady a “mixed breed”, incapable of getting along on earth and just as out of place in Fignation.

After a failed birthday party (Oddly isn’t exactly a popular young lady) Oddly loses her temper and wishes her parents would disappear. Her wish comes true, which essentially leaves this awkward 10-year old with no home and no supervision.

Thank the heavens for Grandma, who shows up in the nick of time, ushering Oddly off to Fignation, a world in which – at her mother’s insistence – she would never see, let alone know. While staying with her Grandmother, Oddly is forced through the same routine she so desperately hoped to escape: She’s the new kid in a school full of nasty little boogers who don’t take kindly to strangers.

How will Oddly fair in this brave new world? Well, that’s what the book is truly about. And, that’s what we won’t be spoiling for you!

To call Oddly Normal brilliant is to undersell Frampton’s work – to call it brilliantly addictive and profoundly endearing may be serving a dish more befitting of the man’s accomplishment, as this is one charismatic piece of work. Frampton’s humor is sharp, but not overly complex. He delivers characters we can invest in, and he caps it all off with stunning artwork (just wait until Oddly ends up in Fignation – the book really comes to life).

I’ve spent the last year catching up on my Image titles, and Oddly Normal rests quit high on my favorites list. This book is a little bit horror, a little bit adventure and completely lovable. Every last page,

Order Volume 1 right here.

Rating: 5/5

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Mickey Spillane’s Mike Danger Volume 1 #2


Mike Danger awakens from his lengthy sleep, only to realize he’s a man far out of his time. It’s 2052 and obviously, things don’t function quite as they did 100 years prior. At least Simon Holden, Mike’s new boss has set him up in a holographic room that mirrors his office in the past. He’s even accompanied by his old assistant… even if she is a hologram.

Holden takes the time to walk Danger through some of the events he’s missed over the years. He also gives the PI a glimpse of his new home and informs him that he’ll essentially be doing the same thing in 2052 that he did in 1952 – gettin’ his hands dirty.

Interestingly enough Mike runs into danger before he can even lay his head down for a little R&R. A man sneaks into his room, attempting to empty a hot one in our confused hero. But, Mike’s still got it, even if he hasn’t used those muscles in 100 years, he knows how to handle himself.

But who was that sneaky fellow with a firearm? And better yet, why is Mike Danger suddenly being arrested for murder when he acted in obvious self-defense?

Max Allan Collins does a great job of slowly introducing us (and Mike) to an entirely new and unorthodox world. He also eases us into Danger’s new line of work; he hasn’t been assigned any particular case, but we do know he’ll work as an investigator of some sort. And, while Collins transfers readers to a different time, Eduardo Barreto still keeps the old school look of the book alive, despite the futuristic building and space age contraptions cluttering the pages.

The story is still as engaging today as it was 21 years ago, when Tekno initially put this beast on the shelves. It’s a good thing my memory hasn’t held up quite as well, as the story has already offered me more than a single surprise.

Stay tuned for coverage of issue number three!

Rating: 5/5