- Category: Features
- Written by James Ferguson
- Published on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 01:55
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Juan Ferreyra
$3.99, 32 Pages
I have been looking forward to Colder since Dark Horse released the teaser image of the cover. That is such a badass shot. So, did the first issue live up to the hype? Somewhat. It's definitely interesting. The comic has this strange imp-like man in it named Nimble Jack. He's only visible to people when he wants to be and he thrives on madness and bloodshed. He starts a fire in a mental ward. He convinces a convict to hang himself. He's a genuine evil dude.
Then there's Reece. She's the complete opposite of Jack. She's a caring nurse that has taken a former patient named Declan into her own home. Declan has a connection to Jack as well. He was in the ward that Jack torched. Jack told him that he would "grow colder" and since then Declan has done just that. His body temperature is in the fifties, but he can still function. He just doesn't talk or interact with anyone.
Artist Juan Ferreyra brings life to these characters. Every time that Jack shows up on the page, I got this kind of sleazy feeling. He's a creep. You can tell right away. His hair is slicked back and greasy. He's not wearing shoes. There's something wrong with him. Meanwhile, Reece is vibrant, like she's glowing. There's a feeling of hope when she shows up.
I didn't get the bang I wanted from this first issue of Colder, but I'm intrigued. Jack is up to all kinds of mischief. You can't help but be drawn to him to see what he's doing. He's planning something here and it's going to be no good.
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jeff Parker
Illustrated by Brian Ching
$2.99, 24 Pages
At long last Willow's solo adventure can begin. She picked up the scythe in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then took a path through Quor'Toth in Angel & Faith. Now she's on the road looking for a way to bring magic back to our world. She lands right into trouble when some big ugly creatures try to eat her, but she's saved by Marrak, a wizard who claims to be from Earth but has been transformed into a beast with horns by dark magic. Marrak joins Willow on her quest as he sees it as a way to possibly get back home.
Are we all agreed that Marrak is going to be bad news? It seems pretty obvious that he's out for power and he sees Willow as a way to get that. If he can manipulate her into getting back to Earth with the abilities he has now, then he's going to be a force to be reckoned with. I'm racking my brain to think of some throwaway character from Buffy that could have become this guy down the line. Can you think of any?
I dig Brian Ching's artwork on this comic, but I don't like his design for Willow. She looks a little too much like a red-headed Buffy. There's a maturity and sense of culture that fills this character and I don't see it here. The monsters on the other hand are pretty cool. There's a big nine-eyed beast that Willow and Marrak take on. It acts like a runaway dog but it's about ten times as big and way more vicious.
Willow's mission is way more important than anything else going on in the Buffy Season 9. It's bigger than bringing Giles back. It's bigger than whatever Buffy is currently doing. She's set out to return magic to the world and set things right again. Since it's been gone, music has gotten worse. Suicide rates are up. Rainbows only have two colors. Restoring magic will make those things better and more.
Published by Image Comics
Written by A.J. Lieberman
Illustrated by Colin Lorimer
$3.50, 32 Pages
Ben's life is still pretty shitty. After losing his medical license, he hooks up with a black market organ ring. He has a crisis of conscience and decides to take a kidney back from a rich guy and put it into someone more deserving. You can imagine that this doesn't go over well with the people that arranged the kidney's original relocation. Bullets are flying. Organs are all over the place. This is a mess.
This is what is making Harvest such a great comic. It's exciting and it never takes a break. Ben is constantly on the run now and the only help he has is in the form of a female Yakuza enforcer that he saved shortly after losing his license. She's only one person though and Ben's up against the forces of Jason Craven and his organization.
Colin Lorimer continues to impress on the art in Harvest. Everything has a washed out look to it, like it's been under florescent lighting for too long. It makes the blood really pop out on the page. There's also some great use of silhouettes in this issue. There's a scene where Ben is running from a woman with a gun. The panel has a plain red background with his feet in the front of the frame, outlined by the lines on his Adidas sneakers. The woman is behind him, firing away but only hitting the ground. It's very cool and adds to the cinematic look of the comic.
This is the penultimate issue of Harvest. Will Ben make it out alive? Will the kidney find a new home? I can't wait to find out.
|The Pound: Ghoul's Night Out #3|
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Stephan Nilson
Illustrated by Ibrahim Moustafa
$3.99, 28 Pages
Exterminators Scottie and Howie have found themselves in a whole new league. It was one thing to deal with werewolves, but now they've got a slew of other supernatural creatures to contend with. The creature from the Black Lagoon is currently living in their office. A bunch of ghouls are attacking Scottie's house. Bigfoot, an FBI agent, is helping fend those things off. There's a gang war brewing between rival supernatural beings. Oh, and Scottie's son is a werewolf. Crazy.
The Pound: Ghoul's Night Out is keeping things fresh. The book moves at a very fast pace and this issue crams a lot of information into it. Last month it lost a bit of momentum but it's made up for here. There are so many more questions that I have unanswered right now that I don't know how they'll fit everything into the next issue, which closes out the arc.
The character that breaks out this month by far is the creature from the Black Lagoon. Actually, I don't know where he's from, but he's a fish monster. The boys brought him in during the first issue and he's now squatting at their office. There's an awkward moment when Howie walks in on him in the bathroom and what follows is hilarious. The monster yells at Howie and is offended. Why wouldn't he use the toilet? You want him to just take a dump in the water that he's sleeping in? How unsanitary is that? He also lends a hand while interrogating the ghoul that Scottie and Howie captured. I hope he sticks around.
Ibrahim Moustafa gets a lot of different creatures to draw this month. I'm not a fan of his design for the werewolves, though. They look like dogs that are just standing on two feet. They lose a lot of the human quality of them, which is what makes them scarier. On the other hand, the fish monster and the ghouls look awesome, especially the captured one. He's got these cuts across his face from Scottie's son that make him look real menacing. Plus, it's also pretty awesome to see a Bigfoot battle three or four ghouls at once while wearing a three piece suit.
|Criminal Macabre: They Fight by Night|
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Steve Niles
Illustrated by Christopher Mitten
$3.99, 34 Pages
Poor Cal Mcdonald. He's hunted demons, werewolves, vampires, and all kinds of creatures his entire life. Now he's dead and still at it, walking the streets of Los Angeles as a ghoul. Originally published in chapters in Dark Horse Presents, They Fight by Night has Cal taking on a special case. He's investigating the supernatural death of a local politician. The guy was beheaded on live TV. It happened so quick that no one even reacted until his head hit the floor. Cal thinks the perp is a werewolf, so he heads out to shoot it as that is what he does best.
Cal is still adjusting to his new abilities as a ghoul. He has super strength and it's ridiculously difficult to kill him. There's a great scene where him and Mo'Lock, his ghoul buddy are fighting the werewolf in question. Cal gets his gun arm sliced off. With a little concentration, he's able to fire the gun from his arm that's lying on the floor.
I've said several times that I am not a fan of Christopher Mitten's art. It's way too rough and looks unfinished. You know when an artist starts a rough sketch to get started before going in and putting the final touches on it? That's what this looks like. Each panel is like an outline of what should eventually be there. It's just not done. I can tell that there are people and guns there but not much else.
This one-shot also sets up events for the next Criminal Macabre story, which I think will be the crossover with 30 Days of Night, also written by Steve Niles. There's a mysterious force at work, looking to get close to Cal for some reason. Of course, he's in shadow and you never see his face, so it's tough to be sure.
|Storm Dogs #1|
Published by Image Comics
Written by David Hine
Illustrated by Doug Braithwaite
$3.99, 30 Pages
The planet Amaranth has been used as a mining area for some time. Unlike the movie Avatar, the indigenous species are alright with that. When several people turn up dead, the Union is called in to investigate. To make matters worse, the planet is plagued by horrific storms including acid rain that can kill a man if unprotected from the elements.
Artist Doug Braithwaite creates an entire world with new species to fill it. Everything from the insect life to the intelligent beings is unique. The technology that the crew uses is all new, although we've seen shades of it in other sci-fi stories before. What makes Storm Dogs creepy, though, are the large beasts that seem to be driven mad by the weather. When the thunder and lightning is blaring, these creatures go nuts and attack a transport filled with workers. Picture dinosaurs just tearing through a tank. That's what's happening here.
The makings of Storm Dogs is pretty cool. Author David Hine has created a world that you'd expect from big sci-fi movies like Alien. Most of this first issue is used to establish the ground rules. You find out what's been going on planetside, what the Union is, and who is on the team that's come in to look into these murders. By the time we get to the action, the comic is over. In the scheme of things, this is like the first 20 minutes of a movie. I'll definitely be checking out the first issue.
|Nancy in Hell on Earth #4|
Published by Image Comics
Written by El Torres
Illustrated by Enrique Lopez Lorenzana
$3.99, 32 Pages
The battle between Heaven and Hell rages on. I just wish I could remember how things got to this point. This issue of Nancy in Hell on Earth was delayed for a while. The creators sent out an apology, which is nice, but it's tough to dive back into the book. While a few details definitely went over my head, this comic is still incredibly fun. Let me break it down a bit: Gabrielle is a hot blonde angel who doesn't wear any clothes for some reason. She's fighting Nancy, who is another hot blonde but wearing a tank top and short shorts while wielding a blood-splattered chainsaw. Watching all this from the sidelines is a demon whose name I cannot remember. I'm so in.
Gabrielle wants to destroy the world and lock Heaven up, keeping it away from humans. The demon wants to bust into the shiny place in the clouds and bring everyone in Hell up with him. Either way, humanity is screwed. The only hope is Nancy and her chainsaw. Fortunately she knows how to use it very well.
While I dig the overall story of Nancy in Hell on Earth, what really sells the title is the artwork. Enrique Lopez Lorenzana is incredible. His stuff is like an old pulp novel mixed with an exploitation film. The cover for this issue is a re-creation of a beat up grindhouse movie poster, complete with folds. There's even a bitchin' tagline "Demons can't stand a hot girl... armed with a CHAINSAW!" How could you see that on the shelf and not want to check it out. Anyway, Lorenzana's work is awesome. Blood and guts are flying everywhere. The girls are gorgeous. The world is on the brink of ending. He shows you just how big and epic this story is.
This issue finishes up the mini-series. It also leaves it open for a continuation of Nancy's adventures that I really hope gets picked up. I would just recommend that the creators work to get the book released on a more timely schedule.
|Mars Attacks #5|
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by John Layman
Illustrated by John McCrea
$3.99, 24 Pages
So far, the ongoing Mars Attacks series has bounced around a bit. They had the Martian Zar looking for revenge on humans. Former astronaut Buck Spencer went looking for the resistance on orders from the President. Sidney Rose was riding around on giant fleas and Aztec Xiuhcoatl just landed back on Earth after being held prisoner on a Martian spaceship for years. Now everything comes together in a bloody battle.
While those first issues felt rather disjointed, this is a chapter that could have been a one-shot. Everything you need to know about what happened so far is in this comic. It makes me wonder why they didn't just start here. There's a knockdown, drag-out fight between these humans and the invading aliens. People get vaporized and torn apart. There are giant bugs and robots. It's insane.
Artist John McCrea draws all of this and doesn't miss a beat. The action is huge. The Martians are scary and also a little funny. The whole thing can be a little ridiculous at times. Between the giant gun that Xiuhcoatl brings back and Sidney's overgrown fleas, it's tough to take the comic seriously. It's just fun. You get to watch all these things shoot and punch each other really hard.
This issue brings the first book of Mars Attacks to a close. It was a good introduction to this world, but I wanted a little more when it came to the story. It felt like the whole invasion only lasted a day or two, but it looks like the aliens are attacking over the course of decades. I'm just looking forward to more crazy Martians I guess.
Also out this week in the world of horror comics, but not reviewed here...
- Animal Man #14 (DC Comics)
- Swamp Thing #14 (DC Comics)
- Black Kiss II #4 (Image Comics)
- Ride Southern Gothic #2 (12-Gauge Comics)
- Indie Comics Horror #1 (Aazum Publishing)
- Crypt Of Horror #15 (AC Comics)
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser: Road Below #1 (BOOM! Studios)
- Planet Of The Apes: Cataclysm #3 (BOOM! Studios)
- Bettie Page In Danger #5 (Shh Productions)
- Shadowman #1 (Valiant Entertainment)
And in graphic novel releases, we have...
- B.P.R.D. Plague Of Frogs - Vol 4 HC (Dark Horse Comics)
- Ragemoor (Dark Horse Comics)
- Sandman Slipcase Set (Vertigo)
- Spaceman Deluxe Edition (Vertigo) HorrorTalk Review
- Deadworld: War Of The Dead (IDW Publishing)
- Clive Barker's Hellraiser: Vol 4 - Hell Hath No Fury (BOOM! Studios)
- Monster Myths (Com.X)
- Harvey Horrors Collected Works: Chamber Of Chills: Vol 3 (PS Artbooks)
- Tad Caldwell And The Monster Kid (Seraphemera Books)
You've heard what I thought of the week's horror comics, but what was on your pull list? Let me know in the comments!
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