Friday, November 26, 2010

Free Comics Review for 11/24/10

Everyone is probably out shopping today, as it is Black Friday and every store is having all kinds of sales. Those may be good, but there is one price that they can’t beat: free!

It’s time for another edition of Free Comics Review, your guide to all the free comics that are uploaded in the ComiXology apps. This week is a big one for Image, as there is all kind of goodies to be found there. Surprisingly, there’s no free comics from Marvel this week, but we still have plenty of comics to be found. Hit the jump to see the review.

Artifacts #0 (ComiXology / Image app)

Written by Ron Marz
Art by Stephen Sejic

In this week’s first of many 0 issues, we are greeted by Artifacts, a year long event in the Top Cow universe, spearheaded by Ron Marz who has been writing a bunch of their titles in the past year or two.

Despite the fact that I have never read a Top Cow universe comic before, this comic did a good job in briefing me as to what the series is going to be about. A good portion of the issue is primer-type images, explaining the involved players.

Every major character in this particular universe is going to be involved: Witchblade, Darkness, Angelus, Magdalena, etc. Apparently they are all connected to each other (I don’t know if this is a new development or not)

The framing device involves a mysterious character that is going to attempt to gather all of these artifacts, and for that he has recruited a character named Aphrodite to help. He needs all 13 of them, and it is not going to be an easy task.

As a whole, this issue was quite interesting, though I obviously didn’t get all the references. I’m sure if you are more well versed and familiar with the characters, this is bound to become a more riveting read. It also looks very good, though I did find the coloring to be a bit too bright for my taste at times.

Mice Templar: Destiny #0 (ComiXology / Image app)

Written by Brian J.L. Glass & Michael Avon Oeming
Art by Victor Santos

Another issue zero! This time it’s from the critically acclaimed Mice Templar series (not to be confused with the equally rodent-y Mouse Guard). I believe this is from the second series, but do correct me if I’m wrong.

I had a harder time to follow what was going on here, as there are a lot of references to previous events and characters. Things picked up towards the second half of the book.

The series follows a group of mice, who by the looks of it, have organized themselves into a a religious brotherhood that protects them from threats. As it tends to be with these kind of organizations, fractions start forming inside of it and clash with each other.

Right in the middle of this conflict is Karic, a young mouse that appears to be quite symbolic and important to every one else. Karic has just been made a Templar (and doesn’t seem to be quite ready for it) under the tutelage of the older Cassius.

The relationship between Karic and Cassius (older jaded mentor with naive and idealistic youngster) is what makes this comic shine, and I felt the other parts that did not involve them were not quite as entertaining.

Pilot Season (ComiXology / Image app)

Written by Various
Art by Various

Pilot Season is actually five different comics, all created by different creative teams, and they are all first issues of potential series. It’s pretty cool of Top Cow to do this.

I’m not going to review every individual comic, as Ryan recently did an overview of all of these titles. I found myself pretty much agreeing with his assessment, so head over there and read his reviews.

There is a nice selection of comics, ranging in genre, approach, and quality. There is bound to be one for you, and part of the fun is finding out which one is the one you like the most.

Uploading all of Pilot Season for free is a sure way of reaching a wide audience and a potentially larger pool of readers than the single issues. It’ll be interesting to see who wins this season.

Project Superpowers: Chapter Two #0 (ComiXology App)

Written by Jim Krueger & Alex Ross
Art by Edgar Salazar & Alex Ross

What do you know, another prologue zero issue. This time around it’s the Alex Ross-driven Project Superpowers, about a group of super heroes from World War II coming back to life after disappearing, originally published by Dynamite Entertainment.

The cast of Project Superpowers is a varied bunch, and together they have started a mission to overturn corrupt politicians in Washington. This obviously does not still well with the people in power, and a secret council plots their revenge on the heroes.

A whole lot of the issue involves exposition in what happened in the first series (since this is the second volume). There is quite a lot going on, and not a whole lot of space to explore everything that the extended cast is going through here.

I can’t say this felt very original, it is both nostalgic of older times and feels derivative of modern works like The Authority. Maybe this would be more appealing to readers that are not very familiar with other influential comics.

Minor complaint, but some of these character’s name are quite silly. I know that this is because they are all golden age characters, but it’s hard not to giggle every time “Fighting Yank” or something like that shows up.

Spooks: Omega Team #0 (ComiXology App)

Written by Larry Hama & Ryan Schifrin
Art by Adam Archer

And the final zero issue of the week is Spooks: Omega Team, about a bunch of mercenaries taking on very high risk jobs. This one was originally published by Devil Due’s Publishing.

If you had to ask me what this comic is about, I would tell you that it is about a group of mercenaries, and little else. If there was any motivation whatsoever behind them, it was completely lost on me. The characters do what they do because someone thought it would be cool to have them go through those scenarios.

The team is in the middle of a jungle, when they are attacked by a group zombies in the middle of the Amazonian jungle, which are controlled by some Shaman type of character, which in turns leads the team to a temple where giant creatures attack them.

Every one of the characters have a personality, though they are basically just archetypes that never break past what is on the surface. You get the fearless leader, the tough action chick, the kinda crazy dude, the comic relief guy, and techie. They are basically walking, talking, action movie cliches.

It’s not helped by the art, which manages to look stiff and confusing. It even has some Liefeldian qualities to it, such as oddly placed eyes, and a disregard of basic human anatomy.

As a whole, I did not enjoy this comic a whole lot, but I’ll give props where they are: the final page is executed quite well, and it creates a quite creepy and unsettling image.

That's it for this week's column! Any ideas, tips, or advice are welcome. Remember that you can always read the comics in the ComiXology web reader (with the exception of the Marvel ones). We always try to improve our content based on your suggestions, and with a new column, it's good to hear back from the readers. So, comment away!

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buddy said...

what did you think of blackest friday?

Dave said...

I don't really like the spooks comic either - it is a bit tired and labored for me - not particularly groundbreaking!! I am so glad i did not go any where near any stores today!!

Matt Duarte said...

@Buddy: To be honest, I found it to be a smart move with one aspect that failed. I appreciate the effort to offer lower prices, and the marketing, etc. was all done rather well. The one thing that killed the whole move?

Each comic had, in their description "Part X of 79"

Who the hell is going to buy 79 comics (and drop 80 bucks) to get the whole picture? We all know that not all of those comics were essential reading. I think it might have been better to concentrate on making the main BL title, along with the two Green Lantern titles, the center of it all, and leave the rest of the tie-ins as just that (still with the lower price, mind you).

buddy said...

yeah I guess your right but they introduced rucka wonder woman and secret six!!! and was actually surprised how good the deathstroke ravager two issues was in teen titans

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