It's a relatively small week for horror comic fans with Dark Horse taking a week off from the creepy floppies. This was actually a pretty good time to be a fan of the funny book gore though. Let's get to it!
Planet of the Apes #10
Written by Daryl Gregory
The Children of Fire arc continues in the latest issue of Planet of the Apes. Some much needed history of a few of the characters is filled in here amidst the bloodshed of the current rebellion. The flashback to Red Creek, where the human mayor of Southtown (aka Skintown), Sully, and daughter of the Lawgiver, Alaya, grew up was heartbreaking, showing us the forgotten face of war and the savagery of man. While humankind is devolving in the present, we're shown that they were just as barbaric as the apes are now. It's a strange kind of flip-flop.
Carlos Magno's art is tight and keeps up with the epic story. This issue moves very quickly, but it's packed with content. Magno pulls in close for the more personal scenes and then leans way back during the larger fight scenes, allowing you to take everything in.
This story arc is building to something big and the players are still being moved into place. Sully's unborn child is in danger as well as Sully herself, not to mention the humans on the run from the apes. This is huge, blood-filled, and action-packed.
After getting suspended by Walter Peck, the head of the newly formed Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission, the Ghostbusters are forced to meet specific physical fitness requirements. In the meantime, they can't go out to bust ghosts. That is until a clown (that looks a bit like Pennywise) starts vomiting up ectoplasmic bats at a carnival in upstate New York. The boys are sent up north to check it out. I have to say, I'm loving this ongoing series from IDW. It's got a lighthearted feel to it and they've captured the voices of the characters perfectly. They've also picked up all the bits from the movies and expanded on them.
The art by Erik Burnham is cartoony but fun. It matches the tone of the characters very well. Burnham gets to play a little outside the box with some of the ghosts in this issue, especially towards the end. Things are turned upside down and inside out and it looks great. I also had to go back and flip through the issue again as there are a ton of things hidden in the background throughout the book. Has anyone else noticed the little monsters or ghosts that have popped up sporadically through the series so far? I'm also pretty sure I saw MC Hammer or Arsenio Hall on the sidewalk in one scene, too.
|Hellraiser Masterpieces #6
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Larry Wachowski and Erik Saltzgaber
Illustrated by Joe Barruso and Mark Bloodworth
32 Pages, $3.99
The Devil's Brigade storyline continues here as the various Hellraisers are out in the world trying to manipulate humankind to serve their needs. The two parts included in this issue focus on the weird sex one and the guy that's all about war. I don't think they were named in the previous issue, but I don't really care to find out. I'm bored with this storyline. While I'm relatively new to the Hellraiser world, the part of it that's interesting is Pinhead. As he's not in this issue, I quickly lost interest. The human characters are all random and I've never seen or heard of them before, so there's no interest there either.
The saving grace is the artwork. Both chapters have some terrific art. Joe Barruso has a very simplistic look to his half of the story. He manages to show so much with so little and his work always looks stellar throughout the issue. Erik Saltzgaber picks up the second half of the book with a brighter style. He seems to have fun with the characters. There's one guy with glasses and you rarely see his eyes through them. Instead he looks like he has these big cartoon eyes that are just the lenses in his glasses. It's a fun effect.
|Hack / Slash #12
Published by Image Comics
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Daniel Leister
26 Pages, $3.50
This is my first exposure to Hack / Slash and I have to say this is a damn fun comic. I'm going to be looking a few things up on Wikipedia for some back story, but this was a pretty accessible issue. It's easy to pick up the basics from the brief description on the first page and the conversation between the characters. This one centered on Cassie Hack, Samhain, and peppy Cat Curio searching for an island in the Pacific Ocean said to have a cure for Slashers (this is where the Wikipedia searching comes in). What follows is a bizarre history of cheesy monster movies akin to the current releases of Asylum that were all filmed in the same place with the same cast. Their situation gets weirder and far more dangerous as the issue goes on, but it's quick moving and fun to read.
I've been a fan of Daniel Leister's art from the Wonderland trilogy, but it looks like he's upped his game for Hack / Slash. The characters are all well-defined and the monsters are suitably gruesome. I love the way the panels flow when Cat is going into the history of Monster Bait Studios. The word balloons connect to form a path that guides the reader through the panels which are also linked with a big film reel.
Upon further review, this comic has just about everything you'd look for in a horror funny book. Hot chicks, monsters, zombies, blood splattering everywhere, and Nazis. Yeah, I think that covers just about everything.
Published by Image Comics
Written by Brandon Graham
Illustrated by Simon Roy
32 Pages, $2.99
This book got a lot of press this week and it's already selling like hot cakes on eBay. I hadn't heard of it until it came out, but it's apparently an old Rob Liefeld property from Extreme Studios that's been dusted off and given a nice new shine without all those bulging muscles and pouches. Prophet starts out with a guy popping out of the Earth's crust in what looks like a beat up version of the drill machine that Shredder used to drive around in throughout the Ninja Turtles cartoon. The planet has changed a great deal since he went underground but he's got a mission to complete and that means hacking through loads of weird future creatures.
While I dug Simon Ray's artwork, I didn't think it was a fit for the story. The script is very linear and almost technical in nature. The main character, John Prophet, is clinical in how he approaches his tasks since he's come up to the surface. Ray's pencils look a little too cartoony for the tone of the comic. It's not bad by any stretch and the monsters and gore are certainly here in spades. It just doesn't mesh with the story. I did really like the way he made use of a two page spread towards the middle of the book, when John stumbles across a farm of some sort. The panel is huge but Ray zeroed in on a few important pieces with closeups as views from John's binoculars.
Prophet is unlike any comic book I've read in the past ten years. It's futuristic and creepy and there's a weird sense of dread that flows through it. This man is alone in the world and the beings that now inhabit the planet are very different than the ones we know today.
Also out this week in the world of horror comics, but not reviewed here are:
- Diablo #2 (DC Comics)
- Hellblazer #287 (Vertigo)
- Patricia Briggs' Alpha & Omega: Cry Wolf #4 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Bomb Queen VII: Queen's World #2 (Image Comics)
- Chew #23 (Image Comics)
- Xenoholics #4 (Image Comics)
- Ghost Rider #8 (Marvel Comics)
- Legion of Monsters #4 (Marvel Comics)
- Dark Axis: Rise of the Overmen #2 (Ape Entertainment)
- Helldorado #2 (Ape Entertainment)
- Dead Man's Run #1 (Aspen Entertainment)
- Caligula #6 (Avatar Press)
- Crossed: Psychopath #7 (Avatar Press)
- Bettie Page in Danger #1 (Shh Productions)
It was also a light week on the graphic novel front. Just a few to choose from for horror fans.
- Classic Jurassic Park: Volume 4 - Return to Jurassic Park (IDW Publishing)
- Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales to Astonish Volume 4 (Marvel Comics)
So you've heard what I thought of the comics released this week, but what did pick up? What did you think of this week's spooky books?
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