Friday, January 14, 2011

Free Comics Review for 01/12/11

Welcome to another edition of Free Comics Review! This time around we have one of the shortest editions of this column so far, with only two free comics for me to review. Nothing from DC this week, and Marvel only released a short suicide prevention/awareness comic, which while nice, does not warrant a review. In any case, we still have some pretty good comics, so hit the jump to see reviews.

Box 13 (Vol. 2) #9 (ComiXology App)

Written by David Gallaher
Art by Steve Ellis

Box 13 seemingly gets back on schedule with these past two issues, after what seemed like to be a very long wait. It feels better to read this on a regular basis, as it helps me remember what came before more easily.

Olivia learns more about the mysterious Boxes, and what she needs to do with the one remaining. While we don’t see it directly, we also learn that Dan Holiday is on a world trotting tour and he is causing all kinds of troubles.

The plot seems to be reaching it’s final leg, as all the elements move toward a confrontation. I’m interested to see where it is all going, but I still feel somewhat lost with some aspects of Box 13 (which are probably because I did not read the first volume).

If you are the one that cares about this sort of thing, a gorilla gets punched in the face during this comic. Had this been the silver age, people would be all over it!

I was particularly impressed with the art in this issue. I don’t know if artist Steve Ellis is doing anything significantly different, but the facial expressions look quite expressive this time around. As it is a mostly talking heads issue, he carries a lot of the comic by himself.

Vision Machine #3 (ComiXology App)

Written by Greg Pak
Art by R.B. Silva

The final chapter of Vision Machine was released this week. If you remember, the whole thing has been released completely for free, so it could be read by anyone.

In this final chapter, the resistance against the global corporate domination of Sprout moves towards its final stage. Our protagonist, Buddy, allies himself with some rather strange company.

Sprout is not taking it on the chin, and deploys it’s most effective agent: Jane (who happens to know Buddy from way back, as it is). She has the power to remake anything in the network to her whims, sort of like Neo in The Matrix.

There is a really cool scene where Jane fights Buddy and not only does she utterly destroy his digital persona, but all of the realms he has ever visited that were off-the-grid.

In the end, though, Jane revels against her captors, who we learn were keeping her against her will. She sides with the rebellion, but the U.S. government (and allied of Sprout) tries to put a stop to it.

If it all sound complicated to you, it’s because it really is. There is a whole lot going, and considering it’s the final issue, it has to settle all the open plots.

As with previous chapters, Greg Pak turned this issue of Vision Machine into a sharp critique of current technological modus operandis. It’s not a warning of future things to come, it’s a call to arms for people to fight the issues of today. From privacy to piracy, this series as a whole has touched on a lot of the hot-button issues in the world of emerging technologies.

R.B. Silva’s art continues to be spectacular. He has a very good eye for page-design and the expressions of the characters. I’m sure that after this, he will land some higher profile jobs.

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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Zdenko said...

R.B.Silva is drawing the Jimmy Olsen Back-Up, if I'm not mistaken.

Matt Duarte said...

@Zdenko: Yeah, that's him. I'm not sure which assignment came first, though.

David Gallaher said...

Thanks for the kind words. Box 13 was on holiday break for December. It just returned to it's fortnightly schedule.

Matt Duarte said...

@David: Thanks for dropping by and explaining what was going on.

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