Nice variety of funny books for horror fans this week. Some tie-ins to other media. Some post-apocalyptic comics. There's also Captain Hook.
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Duane Swierczynski
Illustrated by Simon Gane
$3.99, 32 Pages
It's been a few months since the world was terrorized by Godzilla and the other giant monsters. The event illustrated just how unprepared the human race is to deal with creatures such as these. These monsters have laid dormant for some time, giving us a chance to rebuild and fortify our buildings. Just when we thought we were safe, they woke up and caused even more destruction.
This is IDW's re-launch of Godzilla as an ongoing series. It looks like it's setting up two major human characters, both with a grudge against the behemoths. The first is former gangster Irving "Urv" Jassim, who has his wedding day crashed by the huge spider, Kumonga. His fiancee is killed and he wants revenge. Next up is Boxer, a retired soldier now working as a bodyguard. His family was killed by Godzilla during the last uprising and he's not fairing much better with the big guy's revival.
The artwork for this issue is handled by Simon Gane. The monsters look great, but his people could do with some improvement. They're all very squiggly. I'm not sure how else to describe it. It's as if they're all uncomfortable to be on the page. Godzilla and the other beasts look fantastic and thoroughly massive.
The Godzilla story is a tough line to walk for any creator. It's not like he talks so there's not much you can do to reason with him. In the past, it's been about these creatures duking it out with the world trying to hold itself together. That was fun, but it was a little light in the story department. This time around it looks like author Duane Swierczynski is making it personal.
|Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Neverland: Hook #5
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Geoff Shaw
$2.99, 32 Pages
A portal has been opened from Neverland to our world! Barr, the ruler of Neverland before Pan took over, has made his way through and he's tearing shit up. It's up to Nathan and his band of hot chicks to stop Barr and his henchmen from ripping both worlds apart.
This wouldn't be a bad story if it wasn't a blatant ripoff of the Hulk. Barr is the Hulk with a beard. The madder he gets, the stronger he gets. He even has purple pants. Nathan battles Barr by throwing lame insults at him and trying to get him to run into stuff. I think I saw this in a video game once.
The artwork from Geoff Shaw is a bit better, but not by much. He seems to do well with shots that are up-close, but when the panel pulls back even a little bit, the characters get distorted. There is, however, a fantastic two-third page panel that just looks beautiful and bloody. It's a nice shot and it definitely comes as a shock...even though it's immediately reversed a few pages later.
This mini-series served largely to bring things back to a previous status quo. The last page definitely sets up a future for the Neverland series. This one felt flat because Nathan didn't really do anything but get manipulated into helping Barr. All in all a pretty lackluster book.
Published by Top Cow Productions
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Diego Bernard
$2.99, 32 Pages
Sara Pezzini is having some trouble settling into her new locale in Chicago. Making the switch from beat cop to private eye has been tough, especially with officers like "Big Woz" giving her grief. Fortunately, everyone needs a favor sooner or later and Woz has a brother that needs help. He's being haunted by his girlfriend who disappeared two years ago. Sara investigates and uncovers something far more sinister than a simple ghost. There's a bigger conspiracy at work here that we only catch a glimpse of.
This issue is a one-and-done standalone story, but it definitely has the makings of a much larger tale. Sara uses the Witchblade to delve into the spirits of the Windy City, finding numerous local legends. I had no prior knowledge of ghosts like "Resurrection Mary," but author Tim Seeley made it feel real an organic to me.
Diego Bernard is a damn talented artist. His style is very detail-oriented with clean pencils. His design for the ghosts, especially the horse of Bachelor Grove Cemetery, is creepy as hell. I'd expect that thing to be accompanied by the four horsemen of the apocalypse. While Bernard draws Sara as a beautiful woman, he doesn't depict her as trashy. Yes, the Witchblade covers her like an armor, but it doesn't totally destroy her clothes, nor does it only cover her nipples and crotch like some previous incarnations have done. This is a sensible depiction.
I'm glad that Seeley took a break from a long arc with this single-issue story. Six issues can be a long time for one story, so having a chapter like this is a nice bit of breathing room. Ironically, this is a standalone tale that I want to see grown into a larger arc.
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Tom Morello
Illustrated by Scott Hepburn
$3.50, 26 Pages
Orchid and the other revolutionaries have taken the fight to Tomo Wolfe himself. Opal, the mysterious old woman, has harnessed the power of General China's mask to tear through Wolfe's troops, but the truth of her past and her connection to China is finally revealed...and I saw it coming a mile away.
Orchid is a fun book set in a post-apocalyptic version of our world where society has gone backwards while evolution has gone ahead with everything except for humans. It's also a story that seems very predictable. I mean, does anyone have any doubts that our young hero Orchid is going to put on China's mask next and set the world right? This is not to say that the story is bad. It flows like a movie would, at a fast pace with a stop here and there for the audience to catch its breath.
This is certainly helped along with Scott Hepburn's artwork, which has taken on a cinematic storyboard quality to it. He uses silhouettes very well in this issue, showing tons of emotion with a character with just an outline of their body. There are a few throughout this month's book, but they're not overused. Hepburn also gets to play up the gore this time around with some outrageous killings. Entrails fly and people get stabbed right through their abdomen. It's brutal.
While Orchid does sound like a story I've seen before, it's still a good one and one that I want to see through to the end. The world that author Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine) has created is harsh and terrifying, but there's a glimmer of hope found in this young girl. It's like Star Wars...if it was set on one planet and Luke Skywalker was an underage prostitute.
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jan Strnad
Illustrated by Richard Corben
$3.50, 26 Pages
The mystery behind the living castle of Ragemoor starts to come together this month. It's not that the building is out for blood. It's that it wants an heir. If a few people have to be killed to ensure that there's always someone looking after the grounds, then so be it. Someone has to keep balance between the baboons, the giant cockroaches, and whatever lurks far beneath the castle itself.
Each month, Ragemoor has crept up and surprised me. It's only a four issue mini-series, so this is the penultimate issue, but damn is it interesting. It's unlike any comic I've read this year, and feels like a book that was made decades ago and is only just now being uncovered by Dark Horse.
The artwork by Richard Corben aids in this theory. His pencils are presented in a polarizing black and white, using shadow very well. Early on, when Bodrick is explaining his worry about the castle's intentions, there's a panel where his eyes are in darkness but the rest of his face is in the light. The effect makes him look very scary as his eyes pop out of the shadows. It's an ominous feeling.
There's a deeper mythology at work here in Jan Strnad's Ragemoor. We get a brief peek as to how this manor became what it is today at the cost of whomever came against it. In some ways I think that Ragemoor feeds on heartbreak more than the blood of its victims. This can be a tragic story.
|True Blood #1
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Michael McMillian and Ann Nocenti
Illustrated by Michael Gaydos
$3.99, 24 Pages
True Blood returns to comics in a new ongoing series. Unfortunately, I have no idea when this is set when compared to the TV show. The introduction doesn't provide much info outside of describing the book as "a dark and sexy tale." You should know the gist of the story by now. Sookie Stackhouse can read minds. She works at a bar owned by a shapeshifter and she's dating a vampire that was around during the Civil War. Also, there's another vampire named Eric who wants to bang her and he runs a vampire bar. Let's get to this.
Eric asks Sookie to work at his bar for a night because it's the anniversary of when the vampires "came out of the coffin", so it's a busy time. We're given a glimpse into this monumental event, explaining where Sookie was when it all went down. It wouldn't be True Blood if someone doesn't die.
Michael Gaydos has the tough job of drawing real people in a comic book. It's an unenviable position because everyone is going to compare his pencils to the actors from the show. Fortunately, he does a pretty good job of matching up the likenesses.
While I'm a big fan of the TV show, the True Blood comic feels like a watered down version of it. The show pushes the envelope with gory deaths and intense sex scenes and I don't see either in this comic. This is mediocre at best.
|No Place Like Home #4
Published by Image Comics
Written by Angelo Tirotto
Illustrated by Richard Jordan
$2.99, 32 Pages
Remember those twisted versions of the Wizard of Oz that McFarlane Toys came out with a few years back? Really sick depictions of Dorothy being led around by munchkins and stuff? No Place Like Home is halfway between that and the movie starring Judy Garland. This month we're given some much needed back story as to what happened all those years ago in this small Kansas town. A tornado came in and a few kids who were out joyriding met up with a flying monkey. That would be awesome if the monkey wasn't thirsty for blood. No joke, there's a panel in this comic featuring said flying monkey ripping the head off of a child. This is intense.
While those kids took out the beast when it first appeared, it seems as if another has come to seek revenge for its fallen comrade. I've compared this comic to a Stephen King story and this issue really cements that idea. No Place Like Home has shades of IT, The Body, and more. Author Angelo Tirotto blends these homages together with L. Frank Baum's original mythology to make an incredibly scary book. I will never look at that old movie the same way again.
That's also partially due to Richard Jordan's artwork. Damn, those flying monkeys are spooky. They're like a step above regular apes on the evolutionary ladder. They're just a bit closer to human, but they still have those animal eyes. Real creepy stuff.
Also out this week but not reviewed on FBS were the following:
- Dark Horse Presents #12 (Dark Horse Comics)
- Resident Alien #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
- I Vampire #9 (DC Comics)
- Justice League Dark #9 (DC Comics)
- Dominique Laveau Voodoo Child #3 (Vertigo)
- Vampirella #17 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Chew #26 (Image Comics)
- Prophet #25 (Image Comics)
- Rebel Blood #3 (Image Comics)
- Marvel Zombies Destroy #2 (Marvel Comics)
- Crossed Badlands #6 (Avatar Press)
- Hellraiser #14 (BOOM! Studios)
And in graphic novel news...
- Adventures Into The Unknown Archives: Vol 1 (Dark Horse Comics)
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8: Vol 1 - The Long Way Home (Dark Horse Comics)
- Netherworld (Image Comics)
- Artifacts Origins First Born (Top Cow Productions)
- Caligula Vol 1 (Avatar Press)
- Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse: Helldiver - Vol 1 (Heavy Metal)
That about does it for this week's edition of Funny Book Splatter. You've heard my thoughts on the horror comics for the week, but I want to hear yours. Sound off in the comments!
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