|Lobster Johnson: The Prayer of Neferu One Shot
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Illustrated by Wilfredo Torres
$3.50, 24 Pages
Lobster Johnson is quickly becoming one of my favorite comic book characters and for good reason. First off, he's got an awesome name. He lives in the Hellboy universe and has adventures like the Rocketeer or Indiana Jones but with a supernatural vibe to them. It's damn fun. The Prayer of Nefuru one shot is no different. Our hero busts up a small operation that killed a man after stealing a mummy from the local museum. He sets out to put a stop to their nefarious scheme the only way he knows how: with bullets.
It turns out that this was more than just a robbery with a side of murder. This crazy broad is looking to bring back the ancient Egyptian god Anubis. Lobster Johnson can't have that. It doesn't matter if he's got to fight a giant or a zombie, if you put enough lead into it, it'll go down sooner or later.
Wilfredo Torres drew The Prayer of Nefuru and he matches up to the style and tone of the book very well. His pencils are clean with characters that look dignified and respectful, even if they're villains. That was how people looked in this era and Torres captures it wonderfully. Tonci Zonjic, the artist behind the previous Lobster Johnson mini-series, drew the cover for the issue, showcasing our hero in darkness with his eyes glowing orange along with his symbol on his chest. Great work all around.
Lobster Johnson is a fun comic to read. The fact that it includes mummies, zombies, and other supernatural tidbits is just a bonus. After reading this, you'll find yourself looking for reasons to shout out Lobster Johnson's battle cry of "Feel the claw!"
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Victor Gischler
Illustrated by Paul Lee
$2.99, 24 Pages
After getting stuck in the friend zone with Buffy, Spike takes the most emo trip ever. He hops on his steampunk spaceship with his giant cockroach crew and flies to the dark side of the moon. It's here that he drowns his sorrows in booze and shadows while the bugs try to cheer him up. Is it just me, or wasn't Spike supposed to be a badass? I don't recognize this mopey wussbag. I know he got his soul back, but did he also get a vagina? Meanwhile, there are some aliens with a giant frog that attack the ship for some reason. Totally makes sense for a vampire story, right?
It's been no secret that I have been very disappointed in season 9 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spike is a spinoff of that and unfortunately it held on to the ridiculous plot elements and half-assed attempts at humor. Sure, the bugs have some decent lines, but it feels like they're mugging for the camera half the time like they were in a Mel Brooks movie. This is what happens when a good character loses its edge. It's like no one knew what to do with Spike. Instead of letting him wallow in limbo, this mini-series was put together to do something with him even if it's not very good.
One saving grace on Spike is the artwork from Paul Lee. He nails the likeness of James Marsters as Spike. There's a scene where he's "sunning" in the solarium and his outfit is just what you'd expect from him, complete with huge boots. No flip flops for him. The aforementioned giant frog is pretty cool too. It uses its tongue like a fist.
With a start like this, I don't have high hopes for Spike. Dark Horse is also starting up a Willow mini-series that should be better as that character actually has a reason for a comic. Spike is just messing around in space which is an area that feels completely unnatural to the Buffyverse. Bring him back to earth -- both literally and figuratively -- and return him to the level of badassery that he once held.
|Fatima: The Blood Spinners #3
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written and Illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez
$3.99, 24 Pages
Fatima and the other agents awaken after being placed in suspended animation. The goal was to sleep through the zombie apocalypse and wake up in a hundred years. That didn't go as planned as they're awakened only seven years later. Cities are leveled and the human population has deteriorated and decomposed to dark husks of their former selves. A group goes out to investigate further and they find some pretty heinous stuff.
Gilbert Hernandez wrote and illustrated Fatima: The Blood Spinners. He has a strange art style that makes everyone look like Barbie dolls. Most of the scenes can be reenacted with the toys and a cheap camera and you'd get the same effect. Tiny waists. Huge hips and chests. It looks weird.
There are some truly bizarre panels towards the end of this issue. I'm talking about the kind of stuff that can make you squirm just from the thought of it. It's not scary, just creepy. Hernandez's art doesn't do the scenes justice. They end up looking more cartoonish instead, which takes some of the impact that they would have had with a different artist.
Fatima: The Blood Spinners is an odd comic and one that I'm still not all that crazy about. The story is out there and the art makes it hard to take seriously. There are a handful of interesting bits throughout the book, but for the most part it falls flat.
|Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends #19
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Troy Brownfield
Illustrated by Joyce Maureira
$2.99, 28 Pages
Zenescope's twisted take on Hansel & Gretel continues in the latest issue of Myths & Legends. The ghost hunting siblings Hank and Gina are currently searching for the Witch's Den said to be an ancient evil that lurks in the woods of the area. It seems that the locals aren't too happy with these TV folk looking into their local legends. Oh, and apparently some weird little devil creature burned down Hank and Gina's house when they were kids. Totally unrelated though.
I've really liked Zenescope's spin on these classic tales, but this one feels somewhat forced. This new demon thing is like something out of left field. It doesn't have any real connection to the present day storyline. It's creepy but that's about the extent of it.
Joyce Maureira's artwork brings the comic down. The characters are flat and disproportionate. People have their facial features rearranged with eyes and noses not lining up to where they should be. What's even worse is that Maureira often struggles with basic perspective. There are several panels where the buildings, streets, and other objects should all be lined up in the same way but they're off. This isn't an artistic style. It's just bad art.
Published by Image Comics
Written and Illustrated by Ken Garing
$2.99, 36 Pages
Silas has some big ideas for how he can get off this planetoid and return to his life out there in space. He's gathered some local tribes and he's trying to unite them as a community. Old habits die hard, so he's got his work cut out for him if he intends to survive and one day leave this rock.
You know those montages in movies where a lot of stuff gets done? That's what this issue of Planetoid is like. It's kind of boring. I don't need to know how to use a welding torch. It doesn't come up much in my line of work. Reading about it in a comic book is like flipping through an instruction manual. It's dry and it doesn't do much to advance the story. This, along with a number of other scenes of the residents learning and improving the big fallen spaceship they call home, could have been done in a few panels with no dialogue showing the time lapse. Instead the vast majority of the issue is filled with these moments, which gets really boring.
Author / artist Ken Garing might have lulled me to sleep with the story this month, but the artwork is great. He manages to illustrate the desperation that these people are experiencing while capturing that glimmer of hope that Silas has brought these people. He's able to do this with the art alone, so the dialogue explaining the installation of the gutters or the growth of algae feels even more arbitrary.
|Mars Attacks #3
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by John Layman
Illustrated by John McCrea
$3.99, 24 Pages
The world is currently suffering from an all-out Martian invasion. The plan was in place for years. Machines were built underground to drill to the surface and release troops like those things in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Martians have killed or captured the leaders of various countries. The worst part is that they've created giant bugs to do most of the killing for them. What can you do against a horde of huge ants?
This month's issue of Mars Attacks takes a good look at these big insects, showing several before and after shots. It's tough to understand how mankind can lose their spot at the top of the food chain so quickly. It's definitely an adjustment. We're also introduced to the character of Sidney Rose, a flea circus ringmaster who has seen these Martians once before when one got loose in a carnival he was working years ago. He knows he should be very afraid of them, but what's a guy and his fleas supposed to do?
While Mars Attacks features the horrific deaths of a ton of people, it's an incredibly fun book to read. It's bloody and creepy, but you can't take it too seriously. Plus, all of this is born out of ignorance in a way so it's great to see some characters get what's coming to them. Ever see a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass? Watch him get attacked by a giant centipede. Seems appropriate, right?
Artist John McCrea crafts this wonderfully. The bugs are suitably terrifying and feature some great detail. I've seen insects like this a million times, but to see them at a much larger size is a sight to behold. The issue is interspersed with panels that are in the style of the old school Mars Attacks trading cards from Topps. It's like McCrea is taking a snapshot of a few scenes through the comic for collectors. It's a great look.
Mars Attacks is the kind of fun story that Godzilla should be. It's humorous and creepy while still showcasing the apparent end of civilization as we know it.
Also in comic shops and your digital devices this week...
- Dark Horse Presents #15 (Dark Horse Comics)
- I Vampire #12 (DC Comics)
- Justice League Dark #12 (DC Comics)
- Vampirella #21 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Deadworld War Of The Dead #4 (IDW Publishing)
- Rachel Rising #10 (Abstract Studios)
- Foster #1 (Dog Year Entertainment)
- Courtney Crumrin #5 (Oni Press)
- Grimm Fairy Tales #76 (Zenescope Entertainment)
And in graphic novel releases...
- Swamp Thing: Vol 1 - Raise Them Bones (DC Comics)
- Prophet: Vol 1 - Remission (Image Comics)
- Rise Of The Planet Of The Living Dead (Antarctic Press)
- Harvey Horrors Collected Works Black Cat Mystery Vol 1 (PS Artbooks)
- Harvey Horrors Collected Works Chamber Of Chills Vol 2 (PS Artbooks)
- Harvey Horrors Collected Works Tomb Of Terror Vol 1 (PS Artbooks)
- Harvey Horrors Collected Works Witches Tales Vol 1 (PS Artbooks)
That about does it for this week's edition of Funny Book Splatter. You've heard my thoughts on the horror comics out this time, but I want to hear yours! Let me know in the comments!
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