Tag Archives: Review

‘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


‘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

Oddly Normal

‘Copperhead Volume 1: A New Sheriff in Town’ Review’

Unraveling like a slick extension of Star Wars, Copperhead proves addictive and action-packed in near record time. Readers are immediately thrust into the world of Clara Bronson, a single mother and new sheriff of the mining town, Copperhead. During her first day on the job a dysfunctional family is massacred. This isn’t going to be a peaceful place to live, and there are a number of suspect alien lifeforms meandering about. Sheriff Bronson clearly has her work cut out for her, and little does she know it, but many of the locals are going to make her job a lot harder than it has to be.

As a comic fan that’s always been on the fence about science-fiction comics, I’m more than happy to admit to adoring Copperhead. Jay Faerber’s story isn’t overly complex, which seems to be something of a habit among many writers who dedicate their efforts to the sub-genre. Jay also nurtures the characters long enough to invest – one way or the other – in their existence: we like Clara, we want her to thrive as the sheriff of this dry town. We care about her boy, and her partner in law. We care about Ismael. There are plenty of characters here to despise as well, as that’s the intentional design of their persona.

I’m not all too familiar with Scott Godlewski or his work, but he damn sure impresses in this instance. His ability to craft varying forms of aliens as well as humans so effectively is awesome. The creative balance is there and that’s a sign of a well-rounded artist, as are his abilities to generate convincing backgrounds and settings. Godlewski is a perfect match for Jay Faerber. Their work together feels familiar and atypical simultaneously. Straight-forward visuals and narrative, but not simplified work… that’s what Copperhead offers. As well as a fine escape from the real world, of course.

Order it here.

Rating: 4.5/5


Flash Comics #1 Review

Remember when Jay Garrick was The Flash? It was about 75 years ago, unless they brought the man back into the realm of The Flash, in which case I missed the memo. Memo missed or not, I did get my hands on the bulk of the original flash run that kicked off in 1940, and while it is admittedly quite dated, it’s loaded with charm.

Gardner Fox penned the first Flash story while Harry Lampert provided the smooth artwork that helped spring The Flash from the page. It was a stellar duo, and the inaugural issue was a serious winner outlining just how Jay obtained his powers of speed. Just a reminder: He spent an evening inhaling the fumes of the gas element of hard water.

Interestingly enough, in the early days Jay Garrick made no attempt at hiding his superhuman speed, in fact, he used it to become a football star and score with the girl of his dreams, Joan. But it isn’t long before the local crime spree catches Jay’s eye, and that’s the moment he decides it’s time to don the wings of Mercury and become The Flash, hero to the city.

We’re also introduced to The Faultless Four in the first issue. A group of evil geniuses who plan to steal a weapon that Joan’s father has developed, the group of course come up short when faced with the powers of The Flash.

When all is said and done the foolishness of the Faultless Four leads to their permanent demise, The Flash saves Joan’s father and, of course wins her affection. Feel good story? No doubt about it!

Rating: 4/5

Fables #1 Review

Welcome to New York City, AKA, Fable Town. That’s right, New York has some secrets to keep and chief among them is the fact that all sorts of creatures that stepped directly from fairytale land now call this metropolis home.

The Beauty and the Beast are accounted for, as are Snow White and that Jack fellow who can’t seem to steer clear of beanstalks, Prince Charming is hanging around… charming the ladies, shall we say. Mr. Wolf is the sheriff of Fable Town… it’s all pretty far-fetched, but it’s also surprisingly fetching. You start reading this book and you’re going to have a tough time putting it down.

Bill Willingham crafts the script and he does an excellent job of creating witty dialogue and lining up an interesting mystery in issue one. Snow White’s wild child sister has gone missing, and her apartment’s not only been ransacked, it’s covered in blood with a message on the wall, written in crimson that reads as follows: No More Happily Ever After.

Solving this mystery should be incredibly interesting. Wolf’s got a suspect in mind early, but with a book as imaginative and gorgeous (did I mention that Lan Medina works the pencil like an absolute wizard? Stunning artwork here!) as Fables, it’s hard to imagine the obvious being the actual. No, I suspect we’ll need a few issues to get to the bottom of this one and find Snow’s sister, be it alive or dead.

I read a lot of comics, and I’ve had a hefty collection of Fables books laying around for some time now. Having finally opened one, I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t swarm all over these gems long ago.

If you’re on the hunt for a book that truly feels like nothing else you’re currently reading, you’re on the hunt for Fables. This is creativity at its absolute finest and the possibilities feel just about limitless. Just pick up an issue. This book will leave you craving more before you even wrap a single issue.

Rating: 5/5

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