|Halloween Eve One-Shot
Published by Image Comics
Written by Brandon Montclare
Illustrated by Amy Reeder
$3.99, 40 Pages
Eve works at a costume store but hates Halloween. She's a tough girl and doesn't share her emotions with her co-workers despite one of them fawning over her. Unfortunately for her, she gets stuck with the overnight shift the night before Halloween to clean up the place. Then her imagination whisks her away into a land where everyone is in costume and every day is different. She learns a valuable lesson about herself.
If all of this sounds a bit "After School Special," you'd be right. Halloween Eve is pretty cheesy, but it has some charm to it. The themes are pretty obvious and practically spelled out for the reader, but it's a fun, light-hearted book. Eve is easy to relate to and I found myself instantly hoping she succeeded in coming out of her shell.
This would have been just an "okay" comic if it wasn't for Amy Reeder's art. It's so clean and crisp. There are a ton of details and little pieces in each panel. Where Reeder shines is when Eve enters the land of imagination, as there's a huge variety of costumes. I could dig through some of these panels for a while in the hopes of spotting each of the different people.
Halloween Eve is a pretty blatant Wizard of Oz sort of story, but it's a fun book and definitely in the spirit of the season. Reeder's art makes it all worth it.
|Hoax Hunters #4
Published by Image Comics
Written by Michael Moreci & Steve Seeley
Illustrated by Axel Medellin
$2.99, 32 Pages
This is it; the big showdown between the Hoax Hunters and Clive, the madman who's responsible for the death of a ton of animals in the area. To date we haven't really seen this crew in an all-out battle, but this issue has them pulling out all the stops. Regan uses here weird blue fire powers. Murder...shoots birds at them? Ken Cadaver uses his telepathic abilities to bring down one of the big brutes. Jack has a gun, but more importantly, he knows when and when not to use it.
There have been a lot of questions that have popped up since Hoax Hunters started and this issue -- the conclusion to the arc -- answers a lot of them, but brings up more. We find out who they're working for, which is actually creepier than not knowing. This team is professional and does everything by the book, but when it becomes personal those waters get a little murky. This latest mission hit close to home with Jack. His father is somehow involved and he hasn't been seen on this planet in some time. If this can bring Jack some closure, than the rules might get a little bendy.
Axel Medellin delivers on the action in this issue. The battle is handled in a well-organized fashion that's easy to follow. This isn't like a shaky cam. It's very clear what's going on. When things die down a bit, Medellin sets the tone with very simple layouts. There's an interrogation scene between Jack and Clive with nothing else in the room except for a table and chairs. It allows you to really focus on the two of them and their conversation.
Hoax Hunters is building a great mythology here. There's a bit of a conspiracy theory vibe going on and I can't wait to see what other supernatural creatures they'll encounter next. I want to know more about their parent organization and what's going on with the mysterious -- yet slimy -- Donovan. I'm in for more, especially after the last page of this issue. Damn.
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer #14
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jane Espenson
Illustrated by Karl Moline
$2.99, 25 Pages
It wasn't enough for me not to care about Buffy and her go-nowhere life. Now I get to feel apathetic towards Billy, the gay slayer. Dark Horse made some headlines a few weeks back when they announced its first gay slayer. Even though we had gay slayers before like Kennedy, now we have a guy who's calling himself a slayer even though he doesn't have any of the powers. I cannot tell you how little I care about this. Buffy Season 9 has already been disappointing in the main book. If it wasn't for Angel & Faith, I'd be avoiding this, which is something that really surprises me considering how much I loved the previous season. The introduction of this new character is just a waste of time and what makes matters worse is that this is only the first chapter of his story. There's more.
Billy is a misunderstood teen who just wants to be accepted. When the zompires start killing off and siring people in his hometown, he decides to pick up a stake and do something about it. Of course, he didn't decide this for himself. He's not that smart, nor that motivated. Instead he did it because "Cute Devon" said he should. Yes, Billy is slaying vampires to impress a boy. Devon is apparently an expert on Buffy and has taken it upon himself to be Billy's Watcher.
I love author Jane Espenson, but this issue was just boring. The book had already lost a ton of momentum with the previous arcs that didn't do much of anything to develop the main character. Now we get a whole issue without the Chosen One, which wouldn't be that bad considering how the season has been going, but Billy just feels very generic and disposable.
Karl Moline's art is a nice departure from regular series artist Georges Jeanty. The faces of his characters actually look like faces, which is a plus. Moline has a way of drawing people that make them seem more natural. The zompires that pop up throughout the issue are also pretty fierce. You can tell right away that these are wild animals. There's no control here. They're just going off of basic instincts to feed and reproduce.
Espenson is going to have to work extra hard for me to care about Billy in the next issue. I never thought I'd say this in season 9 but I actually can't wait to get back to Buffy's story.
|The Pound: Ghouls Night Out #2
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Stephan Nilson
Illustrated by Ibrahim Moustafa
$3.99, 28 Pages
The world of Scottie Allison and Howie Lynch just got a whole lot more interesting. It wasn't enough that they were running a supernatural creature capture company called The Pound. Now they're being questioned by the FBI and one of the agents looks like Big Foot. Also, their families are in danger. Just another day in the life, I guess.
The first issue of Ghouls Night Out hit with a bang, but this one takes a more subdued approach. It's got a lot of backstory as author Stephan Nilson fills in the history of the country's use of werewolves and vampires in combat dating back to World War II. It's interesting but feels like a lot more time is spent in those flashbacks than in the present with the characters the book is about. There is something to bridge the gap, but it's not enough. Fortunately, the end picks up quite a bit and leaves us with a satisfying cliffhanger.
Ibrahim Moustafa gets a nice variety of creatures to draw this time around. The flashback scenes are filled with several examples of this new covert force that the US employs. They all seem to be competing with one another too. Moustafa puts creatures like werewolves right onto the battleground of WWII in a very organic way. You could totally see this in something like Band of Brothers. It would have made that series even cooler.
There's a lot converging at once by the end of this issue of The Pound. It presents some new problems and puts an interesting spin on the business that these guys started. They thought they were performing a service for Cleveland, but it could be upsetting the balance in the supernatural community.
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Steve Niles
Illustrated by menton3
$3.99, 32 Pages
Sometimes an opening line is just too damn perfect. It draws you in right away. That's the case with Transfusion. The first line of the comic reads "In the future, robots will run on human blood..." How can you not want to read the rest of the book that follows that line? So many questions pop up and I just have to learn more. Author Steve Niles presents a desolate version of the future where technology has ruined our world. Our smart phones and hybrid cars gave way to intelligent robots that eventually rose up against us like every other sci-fi movie warned us would happen. Now the remaining humans struggle to find nourishment while being hunted by these machines.
If the writing isn’t enough to pull you in, the art from menton3 should be. I've quickly become a fan of menton3's work on such titles as Monocyte and The Dunwich Horror. He has a very unique style that can say so much in each panel. Niles really lets menton3 do most of the talking, providing very little in the way of speech bubbles and captions. Instead, you get the tone and meaning from the dark shades and stark landscapes that are presented. This is a horrible future and one that I hope will never come to pass. There's no color or happiness. There's just suffering and the small hope that today won't be the day that a robot rips your head off and sucks the blood from your throat.
There's a twist at the end of Transfusion that makes this book even more interesting. I'm not revealing it, but it completely changes the original outset of the comic and makes me want the next issue right away. This is definitely the most unique book I read this week.
Also out this week when it comes to horror comics were the following...
- Demon Knights #13 (DC Comics)
- Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #13 (DC Comics)
- Dominique Laveau Voodoo Child #7 (Vertigo)
- Dark Shadows #8 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Dark Shadows / Vampirella #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Evil Ernie #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Fool Moon #8 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Haunted Horror #1 (IDW Publishing)
- Walking Dead Michonne Special (Image Comics)
- Dark Revelation #2 (Anarchy Studios)
- Wulf #6 (Ardden Entertainment)
- Crossed Badlands #15 (Avatar Press)
- Fanboys vs Zombies #7 (BOOM! Studios)
- Lady Death #22 (Boundless Comics)
- Sparrow And Crowe: The Demoniac Of Los Angeles #2 (Hermes Press)
- Grimm Universe #1 (Zenescope Entertainment)
And in graphic novel releases, we had the following titles...
- Justice League Dark: Vol 1 - In The Dark (DC Comics)
- Hellblazer: The Devil's Trench Coat (Vertigo)
- Night Of 1000 Wolves (IDW Publishing)
- Haunt: Vol 4 (Image Comics)
- Patricia Briggs' Alpha & Omega: Cry Wolf - Vol 1 (ACE Books)
- Blood For Stone (Alterna Comics)
- Horror In The West (Alterna Comics) HorrorTalk Review
- Pinocchio Vampire Slayer : Vol 4 - Of Wood And Blood: Part 2 (Amaze Ink / Slave Labor Graphics)
- Crossed: Vol 4 - Badlands (Avatar Press)
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