Joker’s Asylum #1: The Joker Review


A fine read if ever there was one, Joker’s Asylum 1: The Joker sees the titular character hijack a televised game show. As you would expect, if you lose the Joker’s game, you don’t go home empty handed, you go home in a body bag.

What separates this book from many others is the moral battle between two television techs. We bear witness to an awesome feud as these two share completely opposing views. On one hand we’ve got a heartless bastard of an exec who wants the Joker show to be televised, because it’s got viewership through the roof, and on the other side of this quarrel we’ve got a sensible woman who doesn’t care to see innocent human beings slaughtered

In a way, this relationship acts as a mirror to the relationship shared by the Joker and his longtime nemesis Batman. And that multi-layered story approach (there’s a superb twist to the tale, which I won’t spoil) is brilliant. Hats go off to Arvid Nelson, who pens this engrossing tale.

We never truly get an explosive battle between The Bat and The Joker, but it’s not necessary, and it’s now what this one is about. The first book in the Joker’s Asylum run is a social statement of the grandest kind, and if you read the book, thinking out each of the Joker’s steps, you may just find yourself feeling slightly appalled at all of us “normal” folk.

Again, nothing but respect Nelson, and Alex Sanchez gets a warm e-embrace from me, having crafted a schizophrenic image that fits the Joker to perfection.

This is must read material!

Rating: 4.5/5

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Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez Journey To The ‘Darkside’ This June


Can’t get enough of Joe Hill’s work? How about the insanely talented Gabriel Rodriguez?

Well, fret not. Soon you’ll see these two join forces to bring something amazing to readers: an entirely new rendition of Tales from the Darkside!

Read on from the Press Release:

Locke & Key fans will have reason to celebrate this summer when Joe Hill (NOS4A2, Wraith) and Gabriel Rodríguez (Onyx) unleash their latest horror series on the world. Tales from the Darkside sees the Eisner Award-winning team reunite on a comic-book revival of the horror anthology TV series of the same name.

The four-issue series will feature Hill’s re-imagining of Tales for a contemporary take on the cult classic. Structured to have the scope of Locke & Key while exploring a vast, underlying mythology, Tales aims to unfold a cohesive universe made up of each individual issue. According to the creative team, these stories will draw inspiration from the TV series that it has spawned from while also taking a meta approach to the material.

Hill elaborated further on what his vision for the series is and what fans can expect from the too-good-for-TV story structure:

“This is the show that could’ve been,” says Hill. “The original Tales from the Darkside was a fun, bleak little spin on the Twilight Zone style anthology. My idea is to give readers a little more. Every story is meant to stand alone, but gradually, you will come to see how they all connect, to tell a single larger story.”

While Rodríguez will provide cover art for the series, joining the team will be Charles P. Wilson III (The Wraith) who will contribute variant covers.

“The universe that Joe is building here is wholly unique while still doing justice to the original show,” said Tales from the Darkside editor Michael Benedetto. “And having Gabriel collaborating with him again is the best we could have possibly hoped for. These guys have a proven track record, and this series will only serve to build on their reputations as excellent storytellers and masters of horror and suspense.”

Prepare to enter the ‘Darkside’ this June at your local comic shop – plenty of time to get caught up on Locke & Key before then!

Tales from the Darkside

 

Kim W. Andersson’s ‘Alena’ is Coming to Dark Horse!


If you’re looking for another slick title to add to your collection, Dark Horse has you covered with the critically acclaimed Alena, the masterpiece from Kim W. Andersson. Read on for the scoop!

From the Press Release:

Kim W. Andersson is making waves in the international comics and film community. His original Swedish graphic novel Alena was adapted into a feature-length film in Sweden that just received a critically acclaimed US debut at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016. Now the graphic novel will see full US distribution through Dark Horse Comics.

Alena’s life is a living hell. Since she arrived at a snobbish boarding school, she’s been harassed every day by Philippa and the girls on the lacrosse team. But Alena’s best friend Josephine is not going to accept that anymore.

Not from the counselor or the principal, not from Philippa, and not from anyone else at that horrid school. If Alena does not fight back, then Josephine will take matters into her own hands.

There’s just one problem . . . Josephine has been dead for a year.

Author and artist Kim W. Andersson (The Complete Love Hurts) is the winner of the Swedish Comics Academy’s Adamson statue—Sweden’s most prestigious comics award—and a creator to watch in the coming year.

Alena Graphic Novel

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

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1 Review


The book opens with a look at Batman tangling with the Scarecrow, who’d recently escaped the confines of Arkham Asylum. It’s a strong opener that allows Kelley Jones to flex some sinister artwork, but he Scarecrow debacle is little more than a Launchpad for something greater, and far more hazardous.

Hell is slowly breaking loose in Gotham, and as it turns out, Scarecrow didn’t slip from Arkham alone. The Axeman also joined in on the psyche ward break. The Axeman has also rounded up a slew of local thugs. Caught in an ambush, Batman devours enough slugs to turn Bear Grylls into a babbling mess.

And while the book winds down with a group of petty crooks celebrating the death of Batman, we the reader know the chaos has only just begun. Batman: Gotham After Midnight promises the caped crusader will toe the line with plenty of familiar faces. Can he prevail and continue his reign over Gotham is a different question.

Steve Niles brings some great humor to this story. But the beauty comes in Niles’ overall balance, because there’s a clear edge to the book that draws the reader in immediately. And, I can’t spend my time praising Niles alone. Kelley Jones also deserves a wealth of praise, as this is a Batman that while familiar, also sports a few (minor) atypical physical traits. Jones plays off of Niles’ narrative wonderfully, and if the first book of this 12-issue arc doesn’t leave you eager for more, you may want to check your pulse.

I’ve piled the praise on heavily, but I should note that I prefer the profoundly dark Batman books (thing The Long Halloween, and sharper tales of that nature) to those that could appeal to the younger comic book reader out there. There’s nothing wrong with Niles’ story, it’s just a little bit… lighter than I’d prefer. Regardless, this is a strong enough book to warrant a strong rating.

Rating: 4/5

Cable & Deadpool #1


Deadpool is hired by a strange lot of kind-of-humans – members of the One World Church – to break into a major pharmaceutical manufacturer and snag a drug their developing. The drug, in the wrong hands, could put the world as we know it at riskl; in the right hands it could be a miracle drug. Either way, the One World Church wants it, and they’re willing to pay big bucks to ensure they get it.

Sounds like a perfect deal for the loud-mouthed merc, right? Right… all the way up to the point where Wade crosses paths with Cable, who’s got similar motivation for his appearance. Unfortunately, issue one reaches a close before we see these two use each other as punching bags before inevitably becoming best buds.

The positive? I’ve got ever issue of this book, so I’ll be bringing you up to speed soon!

Right now expect a strong, silly story from Fabian Nicieza and some damn slick artwork from the talented Shane Law of Udon. These gents work quite well together, and this is a match made in Marvel Heaven.

How long will these two anti-heroes tangle before realizing they’re essentially fighting for the same cause? How many wicked verbal barbs can Wade get out of his mouth before Cable puts a beatin’ on the man? And just how will this particular arc come to an end? Are these One World Church folks legit, or is there something shady goin on?

We’ll see soon!

Rating: 4/5

Mickey Spillane’s Mike Danger Volume 1 #1


Max Allan Collins and Eduardo Barreto’s strange, futuristic crime noir, MiKe Danger held major appeal to me as a teenager. Tekno comix hadn’t been around long (to my knowledge) and very few of their titles called to me, but I’ve always been a fan of the rugged PI type, and so I took my chance with Mr. Danger.

It was a good call.

Issue number one sees Mike Danger tell us a bit of his history in combat before meeting an old military buddy. But this fellow, who’s been a distant piece of Danger’s past for a great number of years, has always been a little bit… off. So, when he shows up and tells Danger that he’s encounter an ex-Nazi officer now moonlighting as a doctor, Danger takes it with a grain of salt and chalks it up to the over-imagination of a man who’s always let fantasies play out through his mind and out of his mouth.

But soon, Mike’s old buddy ends up dead, and just like that it’s Danger on the case. But Mike soon stumbles upon the very thing is old pal had attempted to inform him about. It’s a top secret room loaded with what amount to cryogenic holding tubes.

Some action unfolds, and Mike Danger inadvertently finds himself  encased in one.

100 years later, he wakes up, and it’s time to get accustomed to an entirely new lifestyle.

This is an amazing and underrated book. As noted, I didn’t read too many of Tekno’s books, but this is a winner through and through. Max Allan Collins was born to write this kind of mystery, and Eduardo Barreto’s artwork couldn’t be more perfect. The book reads and looks like a vintage title. It’s convincing in that regard, but it’s also seamlessly assembled and one of the finest books you need to be tracking down.

Mike Danger rocks, and I’ll be reviewing every issue I own!

Rating: 5/5

An Unwavering Love of Comics

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