Published by Aspen Comics
Written by David Wohl
Illustrated by Emilio Laiso
$3.99, 24 Pages
After somehow escaping a full fledged alien attack that left the gym demolished, Hunter finds himself in the middle of a psuedo-super team. Celeste, the woman who was abducted by aliens ten years ago and has returned with mysterious powers, is trying to help Hunter's other friends who were seemingly killed during the battle. Instead they were all imbued with similar abilities which they are struggling to control. Oh, and then there's the body of that weird DJ was found in the center of a spaceship filled with what look like fierce robots. Just another day in the life of a high school student, right?
This issue of Homecoming has some pretty strong themes of puberty and growing up in general. These kids find themselves with strange powers that are altering their bodies in many ways. Life was hard enough before tentacles popped out of Jay Anne's back.
Emilio Laiso's artwork is pretty spot on for the story. Everything is clear with well-detailed panels. There are slight darker lines around the characters that make them stand out a bit more. There is a fair amount of cheesecake throughout the issue though, as the girls are often drawn in clothes that don't quite fit them, but it doesn't deter from the story much.
So far Homecoming is a fun comic about a group of teenagers stuck in the middle of an alien invasion. There are still more questions than answers, but it's definitely worth checking out.
Published by Image Comics
Written by Glen Brunswick
Illustrated by Whilce Portacio
$2.99, 32 Pages
It's the year 2041 and a weird plague is causing inanimate objects to come to life. Dubbed "Non-Humans" or "N.H.'s", they're living as second class citizens while the humans come to grips with their new reality. Oliver Aimes is a badass LAPD detective that doesn't take any crap from these pesky things. He's on the trail of a serial killer responsible for the murder of his partner and no one -- or no thing -- will stop him. This is like I, Robot and Blade Runner, but not as good as either.
The concept as explained in the press release for Non-Humans is an interesting one, but that is not clearly conveyed in this first issue. If I hadn't read that news piece, I would have no idea what the hell was going on here or why it matters. Author Glen Brunswick jumps right into Aimes' murder case but gives me very little reason to care about the character. He's your typical tough-as-nails, quick-tempered cop with a chip on his shoulder. It should come as no surprise that his wife left him and his son is shaping up to be a loser.
Non-Humans was heralded as artist Whilce Portacio's return to creator owned comics. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I don't see what the big deal is. His art didn't wow me by any means. You know how an image can get distorted if it's really big on your computer screen and you try to shrink it to a much smaller size? That's how most of Portacio's pencils look. Outside of that, the character design is pretty cool. The concept of toys, dolls, and mannequins coming to live gives the artist a lot of room to explore. There's a confidential informant working for Aimes that's a teddy bear with what looks like robot arms. Portacio makes him look so casual that it doesn't look out of the ordinary at all.
Non-Humans has a lot of explaining to do to come in with a more comprehensive story. There are nuggets of good ideas here but they need to be fleshed out more. I'm hoping the next few issues do that.
|Hack / Slash #18
Published by Image Comics
Written by James Lowder
Illustrated by Matt Merhoff
$3.50, 32 Pages
There's a mystery around and Catherine Curio is on the case! The King of Spies, Brendon Joyce, needs her help to stop the Catalog Killer, a lunatic that steals subscription lists and kills a company's best customers. Catherine quickly finds herself in over her head and enlists the help of Cassie Hack and Vlad. That's when things normally get messy, but there's a bit of a twist this time around. Everything isn't cut and dry.
I both love and hate the character of Catherine Curio. You have to enjoy her enthusiasm. She's so gung-ho about solving mysteries and helping out that you can't fault her. She's the complete opposite of the broody loner. That's also the reason why I dislike her. She's just so damn peppy all the time. This issue really played to her strengths though and made it a fun book.
Matt Merhoff drew this issue and totally captures Catherine's excitement while on a genuine case. Where he really shines is on the Catalog Killer. This guy is like something out of a cheesy movie from the early ‘90s. He's got a typical mail man uniform, but his face is covered in a papier-mâché mask made up of old catalogs. He wields a giant mallet with a postmark on it that would give Ramona Flowers a run for her money. It's such a cool look.
If you pick up this issue of Hack / Slash, look out for Cover B. They're both drawn by Merhoff, but the second is an homage to Scooby Doo that looks so friggin' cool.
|The Crow #4
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by John Shirley
Illustrated by Kevin Colden
$3.99, 24 Pages
The Crow's story of vengeance continues. He's come so close to avenging his own death, but that's not the only thing he's looking to accomplish. He also has to put an end to this megacorporation's system of stealing the bodies of young people for the old executives to inhabit. His girlfriend was one of them and she's the last one that still stands. Of course, she's within a mountain fortress. No biggie.
I dig the overall story of The Crow, but this iteration could have been wrapped up with this issue. The bulk of the book is spent with this guy tearing through stupid henchmen. We've seen that over and over again, so it's nothing new. Meanwhile, the mastermind behind all this is walled up in a panic room well out of reach. By the end of the comic, the Crow is finally put up against something that might cause him some sort of challenge.
Artist Kevin Colden works well with the setting of the book. He pulls in many pieces of Japanese history that fit with the Crow mythos. On the way to his target, the Crow runs into a ghost of a long deceased geisha woman, shown in the color of jade. It's things like this that make Colden's art work well.
This was the penultimate issue for this storyline, so I'm hoping author John Shirley can pull this together next month for a satisfying conclusion. I'm still not crazy about the plot or even the main character, but I'm intrigued enough to check out the finale.
Published by Image Comics
Written by A.J. Lieberman
Illustrated by Colin Lorimer
$3.50, 32 Pages
Doctor Benjamin Dane has made mistakes in his life. They are too numerous to count, but they range from performing surgery while on a whole bunch of drugs to working for a black market organ dealer. Now he's decided to set things right. The only logical thing to do when you've taken out a bunch of organs is to steal them back, right? Oh, and he's got to do all this with the cops looking for him as a murder suspect.
This is where Harvest gets turned up to eleven. The first two issues were pretty solid, but they were all setup for this moment where Ben takes charge. He's tired of getting pushed around. He's going to make a difference now even if that means taking on the black market and a variety of very rich and powerful people. This is like a medical version of Crank and I love it.
Colin Lorimer's art continues to impress in Harvest. You can tell right away that Ben is lost just by his facial expression. As this issue continues, you get a sense of purpose start to develop behind those eyes and he has an entirely different demeanor. It's a subtle change, but it's noticeable and it matches with the change in tone and speed of the comic. This chapter is framed like an action movie. There are a lot of gunfights, some bare knuckle brawls, and chases. Lorimer keeps everything in focus.
Harvest is reaching the halfway mark with this issue and it looks like it's only getting more intense from here. Benjamin Dane has a lot of people looking for his head, but he's aiming to bring at least some of them down before he has to drop his scalpel once and for all.
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Doug Moench, Dan Braun, Peter Bagge, Matt Weinhold, Jim & Ruth Keegan, Bob Jenney, and John Arcudi
Illustrated by Kelley Jones, Peter Bagge, Darick Robertson, Richard P. Clark, Jim & Ruth Keegan, Bob Jenney, and Richard Corben
$4.99, 50 Pages
It's an all Lovecraft issue of Creepy! Various creators turn in comics inspired by, adapted from, or even starring the master of horror. Most of the titles have introductions by Uncle Creepy himself. It's an impressive tribute to an author whose work I have yet to sample.
There are eight tales collected in this issue, but the one that stood out was the opening "The Lurking Fate That Came to Lovecraft: Part III." Written by Doug Moench with art by Kelley Jones, it stars a young author escaping from the world of Cthulu and madness. He then has to question whether or not that reality truly exists or if he is within his own story. It's got a fun twist at the end that is well worth the price of admission.
I was happy to see a few short stories from Peter Bagge. He has a light cartoony style which was refreshing after reading a few comics about insanity and despair, as is the case with most stories centered on the Lovecraft mythos.
This issue of Creepy is a no-brainer for fans of H.P. Lovecraft. If you're a non-reader like me, you might feel a little left out at times.
Published by Image Comics
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Sean Phillips
$3.99, 32 Pages
A bit more of the back story of the mysterious Josephine is filled in with the latest chapter of Fatale. It's the ‘70s and Jo is figuring out her next steps to stay alive and avoid her resurrected former enemy-turned-cult leader. Then in present day, Nick is remembering an old memory that somehow featured Jo. He struggles to figure out how this woman had a grip on him -- and has remained the same age -- since he first encountered her over thirty years ago.
Ed Brubaker is a master storyteller and he works tremendously well with artist Sean Phillips. The pair clearly have a fantastic working relationship that allows for some great comics. Fatale is no different. There is a big story here and one that I can't wait to see come together. I just wish it came out more frequently because I want more!
Phillips' art is great in this issue. It's great in every issue, but he gets to play a bit with some monsters during Nick's flashback. There's a great scene where, as a child, Nick walks into a room where his father is developing photographs. Suddenly his dad starts to transform as tentacles spring from his face and his eyes glow a dark red. It happens in the shadow at first before he leaps out to reveal himself as a full-fledged monster. Total horror movie stuff and it's awesome.
As mentioned above, each issue of this book leaves me wanting more. This might be a title that I end up reading in trades to avoid the long wait between each issue.
Also on comic shelves this week, but not reviewed here were...
- Animal Man #13 (DC Comics)
- Swamp Thing #13 (DC Comics)
- Black Kiss II #3 (Image Comics)
- Broken Pieces #4 (Aspen Entertainment)
- Ferals #9 (Avatar Press)
- Planet Of The Apes: Cataclysm #2 (BOOM! Studios)
- War Goddess #10 (Boundless Comics)
- Lydia vs Zombies #1 (Fun Publications)
- Charmed #24 (Zenescope Entertainment)
- Grimm Fairy Tales: Bad Girls #3 (Zenescope Entertainment)
And in graphic novel news, we had the following releases.
- Creepy Archives: Vol 14 (Dark Horse Comics)
- I Vampire: Vol 1 - Tainted Love (DC Comics)
- Death: The Deluxe Edition (Vertigo)
- 30 Days Of Night Omnibus: Vol 2 (IDW Publishing)
- Mars Attacks Classics: Volume 2 (IDW Publishing)
- Walking Dead Compendium: Vol 2 (Image Comics)
- Man-Thing Omnibus (Marvel Comics)
- Marvel Zomnibus (Marvel Comics)
- Planet Of The Apes: Vol 3 (BOOM! Studios)
- Raven (Fantagraphics)
- Understanding Monster: Vol 1 (Secret Acres)
And that was the week in horror comics. You've heard me ramble on about what I thought, but I want to hear what was on your pull list. Let me know in the comments!
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