Published by Top Cow Productions
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Diego Bernard
$2.99, 32 Pages
Sara Pezzini uses the power of the Witchblade to fly across the Chicago cityscape in an effort to prevent the pseudo-Antichrist Alisa Spencer from assassinating a senator. You'd think with that kind of ability, she'd be able to save the day without issue, right? Things are never that easy for Sara. Alicia has many followers who are incredibly loyal and willing to do anything, including giving their lives, for her cause.
Author Tim Seeley keeps this issue -- and the overall series -- moving at a fast pace. Sara barely gets a chance to catch her breath before she's jumping to the next battle. Her move to Chicago is not going as easily as she thought it would. What's impressive is how Alicia works not only the crowd, but individual people, including the senator. She knows how to turn any situation to her favor, which is not a talent that Sara has picked up during her years of wielding the Witchblade. Punching, kicking, shredding, and now flying are things she's pretty good at. Manipulation...not so much. Now she has to out-think this opponent and be concerned about her public image at the same time.
Diego Bernard continues to kick ass on this book. I love his designs for the Witchblade armor. In years past, the suit would obliterate Sara's clothes and cover her naughty bits alone. It didn't make much sense because it wouldn't protect her if someone were to stab at her belly button. Bernard takes a much more realistic approach, having the armor appear where and when it's needed. It covers her arm when she needs to deflect a blade. It covers here entire body when she's leaping from an explosion. All the while, it goes on OVER her clothes, so as not to leave her completely nude when it retreats. All that being said, Bernard still draws a very good-looking Sara. It's done tastefully and without all the cheesecake.
Witchblade has been a pretty stellar book since the Top Cow Rebirth line popped up. Seeley looks to be working towards something big with Alicia and a few characters that have been introduced over the past few months are now all coming together. I'm interested to see where he goes next now that Sara is faced with a new villain that she can't just punch in the face.
|Angel & Faith #14
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs
$2.99, 24 Pages
Angel, Faith, and Connor are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one side is Quor-toth, the immense demon that gives the hell dimension its name. On the other is Dark Willow, imbued with more power than she's ever known. Yeah, things could be better.
The theme of the day for Angel & Faith is closure. Author Christos Gage brings it in spades. He sets Willow off on her journey to restore magic to the world, gives Angel another piece of Giles' soul, which puts him one step closer to bringing the watcher back to life, and restores the relationship between Angel and his son. All of this is done organically within this issue, with a few witty jokes tossed in for good measure.
Everyone understands the situation that they're facing and how dire it is, however they can't stop themselves. Willow has a dangerous road ahead of her as she ventures into dimensions unknown to undo the damage that Angel did as Twilight. Meanwhile, Angel plays with some serious dark magic in an effort to atone for his sin of killing Giles. Everyone that hears this warns against it, but nothing will prevent him from completing this quest. In the meantime, everyone -- Faith included -- keeps a close eye on him.
I've said it time and time again, but Rebakah Isaacs is a helluva artist. First off, she turned in a pretty awesome alternate cover for this issue that has the characters dolled up as the ones from The Wizard of Oz. It's well worth checking out. The interiors are no different. From the fierce Dark Willow, with creepy veins crawling up her face, to the huge Quor'toth demon that stands like a deformed elephant with an almost human-like head, Isaacs delivers. The battle between these two is epic, with both throwing huge beams of energy all over the place. It's a superhero-level fight with Angel, Faith, and Connor stuck in the middle.
Angel & Faith is a consistently great read and any Buffy fan would be hard-pressed to find a better continuation for these characters. Author Christos Gage gets these people and grows each one of them, moving them along a path that might lead to devastation, but it's one that they all need to walk.
|B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth - The Return of the Master #2
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Illustrated by Tyler Crook
$3.50, 32 Pages
All the players continue along into their designated places. The B.P.R.D. is on the verge of something big. A group of agents march their way towards a Russian anomaly. Fenix gets a glimpse into a possible future that is covered in fire and blood. Johann might finally have a body again. Lots of stuff is going on, but there's a feeling of dread in these pages, as if something dark is just on the horizon. World-ending dark.
I love this creepy feeling that authors Mike Mignola and John Arcudi have created. It permeates through every panel of this issue, but it's felt the most in those set in Fenix's mind. Obviously, this is the most shocking pages of the book, but they're presented in such as desolate way that it makes it so much more depressing. Artist Tyler Crook nailed this double page spread, but what really got me was Fenix's face. It's shown as a split, between her face now and what could be another young girl. It's cut diagonally instead of a symmetrical vertical line which makes it a bit more unsettling. The other girl's expression never changes. It's a look of sheer terror. Meanwhile, Fenix gets increasingly more and more upset until she just can't take it anymore.
Everything is getting set up for a big bad and with the Bureau's top players off the grid, it's going to be a tough fight. This issue marks the 99th in the series and next month the book is flipping the numbering to be B.P.R.D. #100, so I'm hoping we get something monumental to go with the centennial issue.
|The Goon #42
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Eric Powell and Tom Sniegoski
Illustrated by Eric Powell and Mark Buckingham
$3.50, 24 Pages
There's something trying to warn the Goon. Over and over again, inanimate objects come to life and try to warn him that something is coming. Of course, since this is The Goon, they do that while trying to kill him. All this couldn't have something to do with that boxing match that him and Franky are trying to rig to get a bunch of cash from the bets, does it? That's something that these two fine upstanding gentlemen wouldn't be punished for and certainly wouldn't have to deal with witchcraft as a result.
Damn, I love The Goon. This guy is a hero but he's not above working a boxing match to get some quick cash. He and Franky recognize an opportunity when they see one and no one would get hurt. That is to say unless witchcraft is involved. In typical Goon fashion, this problem is solved by punching it really hard. That seems to be the answer most of the time and it usually works. All of this is done with some beautiful art by Eric Powell.
Also included this issue is the continuation of "The Bog Lurk that Lurked like a Thing! A Bad Thing!" written by Powell and illustrated by Mark Buckingham. It wasn't enough to have the Goon fighting a huge Bog Lurk. Now Powell throws in a giant killer robot to make things interesting. Buckingham's art is light and has a classic look to it, like it was just found in an old comic that was sitting in an attic for years.
Seriously, do yourself a favor and read The Goon. You don't know what you're missing.
|A Fine & Private Place #1
Published by IDW Publishing
Original Story by Peter S. Beagle
Adapted by Peter Gillis
Illustrated by Eduardo Francisco
$3.99, 24 Pages
You know what's tough about adapting a novel into a comic? What do you do with all those words? A great adaptation allows the artist to tell more of the story, relying on their talent instead of filling the page with tons of speech boxes. That is not what happens in A Fine & Private Place. This is the first issue of the comic based on the novel from Peter S. Beagle about a man named Rebeck who lives in a cemetery and talks to ghosts, helping them adjust to their new lives...or deaths. It's a lonely world that he lives in and his only company outside of the dead is a talking raven that brings him food and occasional books.
There's not a lot of meat here and it's not helped along by how much writer Peter Gillis relies on the text. Each page is filled with exposition and most of it is completely unnecessary. There's a lot of explanation of tone or feeling that could have been summed up with a few well-placed words and some good artwork. I'm given no reason to care about Rebeck. If anything, he's a little weird, but I have no interest in finding out why he lives in the graveyard or how he can talk to ghosts. It just doesn't matter.
Eduardo Francisco's artwork is adequate, but as mentioned above, a lot of his pencils are covered by text. There are a few basic characters, but nothing that stands out in the issue. The art direction isn't bad, as Francisco sets up certain scenes nicely. It's a shame that he's not given more free reign to help tell this story.
A Fine & Private Place is a pretty dry comic. I haven't read the original work so I can't make the comparison to the novel, but as a visual medium crammed into less than thirty pages, it's tough to get through.
|Mars Attacks #4
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by John Layman
Illustrated by John McCrea
$3.99, 24 Pages
Planet Earth is devastated by the sudden and efficient attack by the Martians. The ground is ravaged by giant insects and the sky is filled with powerful UFOs. What's left in the invasion? For General Zar, it's revenge. It's personal. His ancestors have tried time and time again to make peace with the humans, but each time they were met with their own demise. The time for peace is over and now Earth will burn. That is unless a rag-tag group of humans can put a stop to the Martian menace.
This is where Mars Attacks lost me. I was totally with it for the first three issues as author John Layman set the stage for why the Martians want to kill everyone. It made sense and it worked well. Now Layman explains that for the past few centuries these aliens have been randomly abducting people and keeping them in stasis, taking them out periodically to experiment on them. The end result is an Aztec warrior and a Civil War soldier teaming up to wreak havoc on their captors and somehow figuring out enough of the strange technology to be able to fire guns and fly a spaceship. What is this? Independence Day?
Despite this issue's flaws, artist John McCrea keeps the book fresh. His depiction of the scarred General Zar is pretty badass and very intimidating. McCrea shows us how the Zars of years past died and each is more horrific than the last. There are several brutal Martian deaths here, including a cannonball to the face.
Mars Attacks lost a lot of momentum with this issue. The whole book felt like a reason to get this Aztec guy into the fray, but it didn't seem like it was needed at all. This could be the Martian misstep that finally allows the humans to retaliate in some way though, so let's see what they end up doing.
Also out this week in your local comic shop or favorite digital device...
- I Vampire #0 (DC Comics)
- Justice League Dark #0 (DC Comics)
- American Vampire #31 (Vertigo)
- Vampirella #23 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Hawken #6 (IDW Publishing)
- Mind The Gap #5 (Image Comics)
- Prophet #29 (Image Comics)
- Rachel Rising #11 (Abstract Studios)
- Crossed Badlands #14 (Avatar Press)
- Stitched #8 (Avatar Press)
- Ursa Minor #3 (Big Dog Ink)
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser #18 (BOOM! Studios)
- Man Of God #3 (Pinwheel Press)
- Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Wonderland #3 (Zenescope Entertainment)
And in graphic novel news, we had a ton of books!
- Dark Matter: Vol 1 - Rebirth (Dark Horse Comics)
- Falling Skies: Vol 2 (Dark Horse Comics)
- Immortal: Demon In The Blood (Dark Horse Comics)
- Joe Golem And The Drowning City - Deluxe HC (Dark Horse Comics)
- American Vampire: Vol 3 TPB (Vertigo)
- American Vampire: Vol 4 HC (Vertigo)
- Milkman Murders (Image Comics)
- Walking Dead: Book 8 (Image Comics)
- Spawn: Origins Collection - Vol 16 (Image Comics)
- Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Circus Of The Damned - Vol 3: Scoundrel (Marvel Comics)
- Marvel Zombies Destroy (Marvel Comics)
- Night Of The Living Dead: Day Of The Undead (Avatar Press)
- Where's My Shoggoth? (Archaia Entertainment)
- Transient Man (Ballistic Publishing)
- Sweeney Todd: Demon Of Fleet Street (Classical Comics)
- Graphic Classics: Vol 23 - Halloween Classics (Eureka Productions)
- Bigfoot Boy: Vol 1 - Into The Woods (Kids Can Press)
- That One Spooky Night (Kids Can Press)
- Tower Chronicles: Geisthawk - Vol 1 (Legendary Comics) - HorrorTalk Review
- Wasteland: Book 7 - Under The God (Oni Press)
- Judge Dredd: Cry Of The Werewolf (Rebellion)
- Judge Dredd: Restricted Files - Vol 4 (Rebellion)
- Little Death (Penguin)
- Alien Illustrated: Story Artists Edition (Titan Books)
Wow. That's a lot of trades. Did you pick up any this week? Let me know in the comments!
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