Tag Archives: Review

‘Dead of Night: Featuring Man-Thing #4’ Review


And finally we reach the conclusion to this captivating, half-horror, half-science-fiction piece. Thoroughly engaging from page one of issue one, I’m a bit bummed to see the mini-series come to a close. It’s been nothing short of magnetic and it’s successfully turned me into a certified Man-Thing fan.

In the final chapter of this tale a group of operatives head for the swamp. They work for AIM, the terrorist organization responsible for the disaster that inevitably led to the creation of Man-Thing, and they’re objective is to kill all remnants of the experiment. And Ellen Brandt still has her personal score to settle.

In the end, with the help of Jennifer the mercenaries have been disposed of, quite violently. And, as would be expected the final showdown sees Man-Thing and Ellen face off to bring their feud to a bloody end. Or, perhaps a closer conclusion? A morbid sense of intimacy as things are all… wrapped up and the swamp is back to being the swamp.

An amazing read from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa that grips the attention and never lets go, and the attractive diversity of the artwork – wrapped by Nic Klein – make Man-Thing something of a special find. It offers no downtime, generates unlikely but loveable relationships and even reminds us that Mother Nature is to be cherished. Few books resonate as this one, which is why it earns high marks and endless recommendations!

Rating: 5/5

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‘Dead of Night: Featuring Man-Thing #3’ Review


Man-Thing just can’t catch a break. This guy wants some peace. Instead, he’s got a couple douche bags with cameras looking to catch the beast on film. Anything for a buck, eh? But, perhaps more important we see that Jennifer and her brother have continued nurturing their relationship with him, and they’re warning him of a group headed for him, for hunting purposes.

Eventually the hunters, the amateur film makers and a vicious crew hell bent on destroying the monster collide in a frantic display. But just as the violence seems to be reaching an end we see the return of an old nemesis of Man-Thing, Ellen Brandt, and she’s out for flesh and blood and bone and brain. And Man-Thing is the number one priority of this psycho.

At this point it feels a little bit repetitive, but it feels improper to continue heaping praise on Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, but by God the man is something special. And the loveable lunatic handling the artwork this time around happens to be Javier Saltares, a stud in his own right. Oh, and for the record, I’ve been depriving Nick Percival of his just dues. He works the “Digger Sequences” which are harrowing in image but gorgeous to the morbid mind. A fine touch to an even finer book!

Rating: 5/5

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‘Dead of Night: Featuring Man-Thing #2’ Review


Brian Denham steps in to handle the art for the second of four issues featuring the Man-Thing, and it must be said, he adds a completely new flare for the book. While Kano’s work in issue one was top notch, Denham’s work feels noticeably bleaker. This is grim, haunting imagery, no two ways about it. As for the story itself, fear not, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s still handling this, and he’s still bringing home the bacon, so to speak!

In issue number two we meet Jennifer Kale, a struggling young woman who raises her younger brother and pays the bills by dancing, under the seductive name Witch Woman. She doesn’t seem too proud of her current career, but it pays the bills. It also lands her in trouble.

Four lunatic ex-soldiers are spending their night at her place of employment. They peg her as their next victim, and when she exits the building, off the clock and bus-bound, she’s ambushed by these scumbags. Soon, she wakes in a room, in a shack out in the swamps. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what these freaks have in store for her. Well, maybe it does.

Before the men can rape her, Jennifer undergoes one hell of a transformation. She’s certainly more witch than stripper club patrons believe. She’s a full-on witch capable of convincing anyone that’s she’s anything, even monster. And she’s going to surprise these clowns in a terrifying way.

Not that it matters, these goons run smack dab into a true fate as they flee, running directly into Man-Thing, who offers no illusions, just brutality. And what of Man-Thing and Jennifer? There’s a bond being built here and I like where it’s headed.

Another top notch book. Brilliant characters, amazing artwork and ideas at work. This is a strong group here, and they’re giving Man-Thing the tale he deserves. More grade-A work!

Rating: 5/5

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‘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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‘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

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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

Postal Volume 2