Tag Archives: cliffhanger

Punk Rock Jesus #2: Comic Book Heaven

Punk Rock Jesus #2

Vertigo Comics

Story and Art By: Sean Murphy

Only two issues in and I can already say that this has the makings to be one of the best titles of the year. Last issue set all the characters into play and left a pretty crazy cliffhanger to boot. This issue starts six months after and immediately sets the tone by showing the New American Christians or N.A.C leading a protest and possible siege of the island and boat that the show takes place on. For as many fans the reality show has gained there are just as many people who are ready to end the life of the child and mother.It’s a heavy concept that Sean Murphy tells fearlessly.

While the main character may be the little boy from last issue who’s grown up as a hired mercenary, each other supporting character feels fleshed out as well. These are complex characters that feel real and are well-defined in this world. Murphy is slowly easing every character into the foreground and it makes for an exciting read.Put simply you care for these people.

I can’t say enough about Sean Murphy’s art. His work has always been amazing but he takes advantage of the black and white format to really show off his skills. He has a gritty style but can easily show a range of emotions. He draws everything from a smirking producer to a crying mother who feels helpless in this issue and manages to drive whatever emotion he wants you to experience through his art. Each page is full of detail and his work here never feel stale due to the fact that he seems to constantly experiment with layouts and perspectives from page to page.

Amazing single page from issue 2 of Punk Rock Jesus

A single event sets the action and story in motion half way through the book. That feels like a significant moment in a book that’s only two issues in. Iit will be interesting to see where Murphy takes his huge supporting cast of characters from here for the four remaining issues.  Punk Rock Jesus is a high concept book told incredibly well. This is a story that resonates with me as soon as I finish each issue and makes you think about what the world would be like if this were to happen. It’s a great story that’s made better by the great character work and art. It’s a great example that comics don’t always have to be about superheroes and horror to be great and a book everyone should pay attention to.

Review Score: 9.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Review: Debris #1 – Great concept!

debris01_cover

Issue: Debris #1
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Pencils: Riley Rossmo
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 7/25/2012

Mature Readers
In the far future, humanity has doomed planet earth to rot and decay, covering her surface with garbage. Now, ancient spirits called the Colossals rise from the debris and attack the remaining survivors, forcing the human race to the brink of extinction. One warrior woman, Maya, sets out to find the last source of pure water to save the world before the monsters bring it all to an end.

Story: 8/10 • Artwork: 8/10 • Overall 8/10

[singlepic id=1020 w=320 h=240 float=right]The first thing that stands out about Debris #1 is the contrast in styles between the cover and the inside of the book. The cover is really intense with this meta, spiritual, robotic feel to it with dark colors. Then you open the book and get to the first page and it has these rich blue colors. Owen Gieni colors a gorgeous book but I’m not sure these colors scream post-apocalyptic garbage planet. With that said I love Gieni’s use of rich bright colors at night and  dark reds during the battle scene.

This issue is the setup for the rest of the series; you discover your hero and her cause. Writing for comic books is tough because you want to hook your reader with the first issue but you don’t want to give too story much away. With Debris #1 Kurtis J. Wiebe could have given the reader more substance about the main character to help the reader bond with the story, or he should have ended the book with a cliffhanger to make the reader need to read the second issue. I left the issue needing another issue to decide whether I liked it or not. You can tell Wiebe has a story to tell because there is an attention to detail. Every monster has a specific name and roll. I’m  sure Wiebe knows how to fix the plumbing in Maya’s town as well.

The artist Riley Rossmo works well with Wiebe, the story and action flow well together. Rossmo has a slight anime style that lends well to the emotion and action scenes. Rossmo does have a rough style that could use some cleanup in the inking stage but that is more of a personal preference.

What is most impressive is all the science fiction books coming from Image Comics. Comic book fans need to give Image credit for taking chances with new creative content. If you like the post-apocalyptic genre pick up Debris #1 and enjoy Wiebe and Rossmo’s interpretation of the future.

Follow Matthew Sardo on twitter @comicavult

Review: Fanboys vs. Zombies #3 – Humphries continues the laughs

Issue: Fanboys vs. Zombies #3
Writer: Sam Humphries
Pencils: Jerry Gaylord
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Release Date: 6/6/2012

‘Oh word, what are you doing here at Comic Con?’ ‘Oh yeah, I’m here to complete my collection of mid-80s murder comics.’ ‘I’m gonna line up to see the Alien Family reunion.’ ‘I gotta go to Artists Alley and track down Mahfood.’ ‘You going to that Wolfbiter party later?’ ‘Actually, probably not, because I’m a zombie, and all you fools are already dead.’ WHO SAYS THIS ISN’T THE GOLDEN AGE OF ZOMBIES IN SAN DIEGO?? Not me. Because there probably won’t be a Silver Age. Written by indie sensation Sam Humphries (OUR LOVE IS REAL) with art by hot new talent Jerry Gaylord!

Story: 8.5/10 • Artwork: 8/10 • Overall 8.3/10
Sam Humphries continues his homage to everything dork related in Fanboys vs. Zombies #3. With the cliffhanger from issue two, Humphries continues the inside jokes as the Wrecking Crew tries to cross the Comic-Con floor. It appears that Humphries two biggest influences of this series are Kevin Smith and Brian K. Vaughn’s “Runaways.” This book on the outside looks like pure shenanigans but after reading the first three issues you can tell Humphries cares about his characters and his writing craft.

The first issue of Fanboys vs. Zombies sets up the plot and the second issue lets you know that no one is safe. The third issue continues the chaos. If you have been to Comic-Con the references by Humphries make you laugh. If you haven’t, the insane antics of the main characters bring a smile to your face. Making fun of nerds is easy but Humphries has an attention to detail that we haven’t seen since “Clerks.”

What takes Fanboys vs. Zombies to the next level is Jerry Gaylord’s artwork. Every action scenes is blazing with intense angles. Artistically, the best part of issue three is the mecha battle scene. Three-pages of zombie death and excitement are tossed at your face with amazing colors by Nolan Woodard.

If you’re dying for a Kevin Smith dialogue fix, Humphries sucker punches you in the gut with over the top witty banter.

Follow Matthew Sardo on twitter @comicavult

Nightwing #8 Dick Grayson has on Owl in His Bloodline

Nightwing #8

Story By: Kyle Higgins

Art By: Eddy Barrows

Kyle Higgins Nightwing series ties into Batman and The Court of Owls this month. Last issues revelation that Dick was next in line as a Talon for The Court f Owls was a shocking twist for the character. This issue Nightwing is following up on his lead after being framed for murder. He reclaims his Escrima sticks that were found at the scene of the crime just in time to get Alfred’s distress call from the Bat Cave. This story takes place at the same time as Batman#8 though you don’t need to read that issue to  be involved in whats going on. If you have there is some payoff showing how William Cobb gets freed from the Bat Cave if you’ve paid close attention to Batman#8.

Higgins alternates between following Nightwing around as he attempts to save the Mayor of Gotham from The Court of Owls and goes back in time to 1901 introducing us to a boy by the name of William Cobb. Cobb’s story is one all too familiar to Dick Grayson’s in that he is not a child of Gotham but does become a child of Haly’s Circus. The view-point of William Cobb is the focus throughout the issue allowing for some deep seeded resentment towards Nightwing. I like that William is treating Dick as if he’s Betrayed his rue calling while Dick ever the optimist continues to set his own path. This books title is Nightwing though and I wish more of this issue would have been from his perspective.

I like Eddy Barrows art a lot. It’s epic in scope and he captures Nightwing’s trademark moves very well on paper.There were a few moments in this issue though where I felt the page layouts led to me being confused by what I was reading as well as who was saying Dialogue to whom. It makes reading this issue harder than it should be as it already is jumping back and forth between to characters.

This issue is a shaky start to a strong event happening in the Bat Books. The cliffhanger at the end led to me wanting to read the next issue and I still enjoy what Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows are doing with the character. I just want more of this story as told through Dick’s eyes and not necessarily him becoming a supporting character in his own book.

Review: 7.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

 

 

 

Review: The Walking Dead # 95 In A Larger World Part Three – Jesus Vouches for Rick, Knife Fight Ensues.

Written by: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Charlie Adlard
Coloring by: Cliff Rathburn
Cover By: Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
Publisher: Image

Alright! Here we go, time to roll up your blood stained sleeves and dig in! The pussyfooting stops right here! The Walking Dead  #95 finally delivers on the promise of exciting new stories with outsiders. Jesus vouches for Rick and his crew and they granted access to a massive walled-in community. There’s two hundred plus people in this well-established community and a bad-ass hotel that acts as kind of headquarters.  We introduced to the boss of the town that looks like a combination between a casino-owner and sleazy used-car salesman. He thinks he’s the shit, and let’s Rick know it.

Right in the middle of giving Rick the five-cent tour there is suddenly some action. One of their other scouts is back from a peace-keeping pow-wow and shit didn’t go over too well. Rick can’t seem to keep the fuck out of trouble if his life depended on it. Which in this case it might. After big-boss man get’s into with his scout, Rick finds himself in the middle of a knife fight. I can’t give away too much more than that, but some serious shit goes down. Fucking Rick… Jesus vouched for you, and you get into a fight like 5 minutes later. Is that how you repay him? Christ almighty!! In all seriousness though, it looks like this trading expedition is going to end badly for Rick’s camp. Everything seemed to be on the level, but this turn coat scout flipped the fuck out and ruined everything. The story is pretty wide-open from here and it sets up an interesting conflict that can be explored in various different tangents. It ends in a Kirkman signature cliffhanger that leave you guessing and wanting more. My guess is that in part 4 all hell breaks loose and we are going to see some serious human on human violence. It should prove interesting.

The art team on this continues to knock it out of the park. Adlard & Rathuburn constantly delivers what the story ask for. In this case it’s scope, scale, and little bit of opulence and a ton of grit. The walled-in community looks huge, and that hotel was lavishly rendered. The knife fight was exciting and absolutely grimy. Blood, mud, ruckus; it felt like a scene cut straight from Deadwood. My only critique is on conceptual aspects of the cover. The way it’s composed it feels more like a panel than a cover. There’s just a bit too much negative space on the top and all the action is crammed on the bottom. It’s fucking nitpicky, I know, but when you are executing on such a high-level that’s the sort of thing that stands out. A solve would be to pull back a little on the scene an reveal more of the fight, or even use an overhead shot and get it all in. But really, when all is said and done, it’s one of the most consistently good-looking black & white books out there.

 In A Larger World is shaping up to be quite the arc. What started as a slow-burn has ignited into an explosive and fresh story for The Walking Dead. War, siege, feuds, raids are all on the table now. The stage is set for conflict and I for one am ready for an epic warlord saga in the world of a zombie apocalypse. Like Game of Thrones but with zombies. Check out this issue and see what all the fuss is about.

Story: 9
Art: 9

Jerry Nelson

Follow me on twitter and tell me what you think @the_hellhounds

Review: Walking Dead # 93 Rick is Spinning Wheels in a Larger World Because He doesn’t Trust Jesus

Written by: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Charlie Adlard
Coloring by: Cliff Rathburn
Cover By: Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
Publisher: Image

 

Walking Dead #93 I always read the Walking Dead first. It’s probably one of my favorite comics, and it’s one that I’m the most excited for. Being a rabid fan of the Walking Dead I get frustrated when there is filler issues, or the calm before the storm. Having a slow-burn in comic form doesn’t always work for me, and I just want to get to the juicy plot and get on with it. Unfortunately the beginning to the Larger World arc starts off spinning wheels in the mud and going over ground covered before. It’s just a stack of exposition and waffles this issue.

The story thus far: Rick, Michonne, and Abraham ran into a hostile survivor on one of their scout patrols. After a brief scuffle it’s revealed he’s come to offer a trade route to a network of communities. His name is Jesus. So here it is, a promised land of society trying to get back on its feet in the face of a the zombie apocalypse. “A Larger World” opens on the cliffhanger from last issue as Jesus describes the trade routes and how it works. So Rick is like, “oh, okay great, no problem, when can we get started,” and Jesus is surprised that this is going so easy. Then Rick beats the piss out of the poor guy and captures him for interrogation. I can see where this is going. Rick doesn’t trust Jesus and is paranoid that he’s from a crew ready to attack their town and raid supplies. I can understand. He hasn’t exactly had any luck with outsiders, like the Governors cannibalistic society of neo-Romans, where he lost his arm about 50 issues ago. Rick decides to prepare his town for war, while he takes a patrol out to see if he can spot Jesus’s war party. Andrea makes an interesting point and asks “what if he is telling the truth and they are blowing a chance to trade with these other communities?” Exactly, thank you Andrea.

Longtime reader’s of The Walking Dead can spot a painful exposition dump coming a mile away, and unfortunately we get a couple of doozies this issue. Now don’t take this the wrong way, I love Kirkman’s plotting. I think he always takes us on an unexpected and somewhat realistic journey with his stories.The twists, turns cliffhangers, and shocking conclusions are why I keep coming back for more. However kills me with the drawn-out explanations and waffling. Literally he can talk a situation to death (or until a zombie attacks). He sorely needs to use the “Pope in the Pool” method of burying exposition by drawing the audience’s eye to something visually startling (like a pope swimming in a pool) to distract them from the information overload. The preparation for war monologue is particularly involved and not much fun to look at. After Kirkman lays it all out for us we are graced with one decent character moment from Eugene who brings up a good idea about recycling ammo casings and trying to re-make bullets. Later there’s a brief brush of desperate tension with him and the girl lives with who used fuck Abraham. Hopefully this will seed into some kind of interesting conflict down-the-line.

Out on war patrol Rick, Michonne, and Abraham stumble upon a pack of zombies and dispatch them rather quickly and quietly. In fact they are so ruthless and efficient that its sparks a debate about why they are worried about some attack from unknown survivors, when they aren’t even phased by the living dead anymore. A “Pope in the Pool” opportunity is missed here and instead of waffling and postulating while killing zombies (not realistic, but interesting and exciting) Kirkman instead saves it for a nice boring walk in the woods. Man sometimes this really does feel like the Talking Dead. I get it. To move this story further they have to trust Jesus (never thought I’d say that about this comic) and go through these trade routes to meet the other communities involved. We all knew this was going to happen. It had to. I wish it could have just been half the issue dedicated to Rick being in character and not trusting anything new, than waste the whole book going nowhere. Maybe it bought the creators some time, but c’mon bring on the “larger world” already. I’m amped for what’s coming around the bend, it’s just not happening fast enough.

While the plot may be on pause this issue, at least it looks freaking’ fantastic. Ever since issue 7 when Charlie Adlard took over the art for The Walking Dead, it’s truly found its true voice. Not taking anything away from the spectacular characters designs from original artist, Tony Moore, but Adlard gave the Dead a consistently stark and realistic tone that draws you into the world. I favor Moore for his fine detail, but Adlard wins with atmosphere. This issue he teams up with Cliff Rathburn to assist with “coloring” (it’s black & white so maybe “toning” would be more accurate). Striking thick brush strokes and sublime ink washes depict the dystopian mood of The Walking Dead. Zombies are husks of meat, ravaged by rigor mortis and time. They are desperately primal and echo the human condition. Devoid of all emotion except rage, they drip with terror and move with murderous intent. Adlard’s action scenes are as violent and intense as they are fluid, showing real athleticism and energy. The survivors have been through the ringer and it shows. I can see their stink, their weariness and strength. The weight on their shoulders is carried with gritty artistic flair. It feels very much like the world of Romero’s classic Night of The Living Dead. Adlard displays cinematic style through dynamic camera angles, shot scale, and a strong use of shadow and light. The spotted-black patterns of leaves, blood and rot paint the transgressive theme of this series with fervor and zeal. In short, the zombie apocalypse has never looked so good.

Like any good TV show, some episodes are needed to set the stage for things to come. It’s a necessary evil. This issue was needed to add realism to the characters shifting attitude, and to stay true to the series’ history. I really wanted to jump ahead and skip all that. I’m an impatient asshole, what can I say. I blame the internet. New beginnings are promised to be on the horizon however. As long and Kirkman and crew can deliver on that promise than we are all good. I trust that he will. There’s a lot narrative and thematic possibilities that a “larger world” could open up. However if they fail and slip back in to the big threat while zombies attack formula, rinse and repeat… it could prove fatale for the series. I don’t think that will happen though. Kirkman saw that a change was needed to shake things up and has done a lot of groundwork setting up a smooth transition. We can only wait and see if the pay-off will be worth it.

Story: 5
Art: 8

Jerry Nelson

Follow me on twitter and tell me what you think @the_hellhounds

Batman Inc. #1 sneak peek with artist Chris Burnham (Comic Art Show 2)


DC Comics Wednesday morning, released a sneak peek of two page from  Batman Inc. #1 written by Grant Morrison with art by Chris Burnham. The image above is page four and the image below is page seven from issue one. This is what one fan had to say about Burnham’s work on Batman Inc. Leviathan.

“Thank you Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart, and, Chris Burnham for making Batman Inc. Leviathan a comic i have to read more than once. Holy shit balls Batman Inc. you were never going to let me down. everything so perfect never looked this good,” Frank A. Diaz said via Facebook.

From DC the Source:

We recently announced DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 “Second Wave,” featuring six new series coming in May. In BATMAN, INCORPORATED, critically acclaimed writer Grant Morrison returns to the world he helped populate with a global Bat-presence, all in preparation for a major international threat. Already re-imagining the early history of Superman in ACTION COMICS, Morrison brings a fresh take on Batman to DC COMICS-THE NEW 52. BATMAN series editor Mike Marts offers some editorial insight as to what readers can expect from the highly-anticipated series.

“Grant Morrison’s new BATMAN, INCORPORATED series is the final, unbelievable act of a saga six years in the making,” said Marts. “Along with his artistic partner-in-crime Chris Burnham, Grant delivers twists, turns, punches and reveals no reader will see coming. Things pick up directly after the shocking cliffhanger of last year’s LEVIATHAN STRIKES one-shot—and only get crazier from there!”

In the meantime, check out these sneak peeks at BATMAN, INCORPORATED.

Review: The Walking Dead #90

The Walking Dead 90 Cover

The Walking Dead #90
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

“We Are The Walking Dead!”- Rick Grimes, Issue #24

They must be, cause there sure aren’t any zombies to be found in this issue. Usually, I wouldn’t be okay with such madness, if it had been in any other zombie medium. But with Kirkman at the helm, you’re sure to get a great character pieces.

This issue, like always, follows directly after the cliffhanger of the previous book.  Which in comparison to dozens of other past issues, this one is fairly light. The community, that Rick and company resides in, are beginning to fear them as they’ve shown a heavy dose of violence (competence) to recent life-or-death situations. As our gang is well oiled in almost every post-apocalyptic scenario imaginable (note to self *Not Possible.) this sheltered community fears they’re abrasive-ness and their will to survive in any given situation. They’re the alpha dogs and of course Rick nails the point in. The whole time Rick spouts a speech, stating that he doesn’t want to kill anyone that came before him, but he wants to protect everyone, while holding a gun dead to the face of the communities instigator. Don’t get me wrong, I believed every word that Rick said, just someone should have pulled him aside and said: “This is kinda why they fear us”.

As I’ve said before, there is not one zombie to be found in this entire issue; so kudos to Robert Kirkman for scene after scene of progressive character development. Like I’ve said in past reviews, I can’t help but get excited when I know the writer of a comic has passion and is excited as well to work on a project. This goes doubly for Kirkman as he is the creator and writer since the beginning of this series. So every character feels completely genuine to me. I never doubt if Rick is acting out of character, or if Carl is jumping in front of the wrong bullet. Some issues can get redundant, with minimal characterization. But then you get issues like this one and you can’t help but fall in love all over again. I can only hope that when Kirkman is finished, that Image Comics allows him to put the series to a close… and we’ll always have the television show which has endless material to play in and if you’re not watching AMC’s The Walking Dead, shame on you.

Charlie Adlards art is what we’ve seen issue in and issue out. He hits all the emotional beats, as he’s greatly improved drawing proportionate faces, which adds to weight of the drama. Though I’d say his backgrounds have taken a slight hit from the latter; but with great dialogue, the focus on the close-ups proved effective throughout the book.

This issue ends with yet another cliffhanger; not of terrifying proportions, but on the note of love. A love I’ve been dying to see come to pass! Cause again, with Kirkman at the helm, it just feels right.

Story: 9.5
Art: 8.5

And to send you all off, check out what my boyfriend bought me this weekend:

Rick Grimes B&W Variant - McFarlane Figures

That’s right, be jealous. =]

Follow me on Twitter @ddsuperbatnix