Friday, February 18, 2011

Free Comics Review for 02/16/11

Welcome to another edition of Free Comics Review! Today we have another rather large edition, with plenty of free comics to read on all fronts! Marvel has uploaded their usual three, a couple from DC, and even two more from smaller publishers. Hit the jump to see more.

Amity Blamity #1

Written by Mike White
Art by Mike White

Amity Blake is a black and white comic published by SLG. It stars a pig and a young little girl as they go about their strange days.

The name of the girl is Gretchen, and the pig is called Chester. Most of the comic features them playing around pretending to be adults at an office. Gretchen is there to be interviewed for a “job”, and Chester is the “boss” looking to hire her.

This book is very silly and fun, clearly intended to be read by young readers. The art style is very simplistic, the kind you would find in a newspaper strip (think Garfield or Dilbert).

Laughs are cheap and there are puns a-plenty, which for sophisticated readers is probably a bit too much. However, keeping in mind the target audience, these things are perfectly normal.

There was one of the jokes that is probably more for adults to understand, as I don’t think kids will get it. There is a very zealot-y character, who is concerned about security and spies, and at one point he shouts “Don’t make me use the sodium pentathol on you”. A character later remarks that “his mind hasn’t been right since he made brownies and watched that 9/11 documentary”.

Other than that, the book is great. Just a fun gag-filled all ages comic.

Box 13 Vol. 2 #11 (ComiXology App)

Written by David Gallaher
Art by Steve Ellis

Our favorite “Free Comics Review” staple food delivers another issue this week. Box 13 is racing towards it’s conclusion soon.

This issue centers mostly on Dan Holiday as he makes his way to and through the Orjol. He airdrops directly into the place, only to be quickly gunned down. Well, that was anti-climatic, wasn’t it?

No, wait! He gets up seemingly none worse for the wear and takes the fight back to the forces that are trying to stop him. He has plenty of accomplices to help him take out the soldiers surrounding the area.

No sign of Olivia though...

It is mostly an action-focused story, so there is not a whole lot of new story to go on. A quick read? Definitely, but a very good-looking one. Gallaher steps back and lets Ellis do most of the heavy lifting, which he is more than capable of doing.

I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this series, which is surely just around the corner.

Captain Britain & MI:13 #1 (Marvel App)

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Leonard Kirk & Jesse Delperdang

This comic was previously reviewed in the 11/17/10 edition of Free Comics Review. Click here to see it.

Daredevil #82 (Marvel App)

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Michael Lark

This issue begins the story called “Devil in the Cell Block D”, the first arc by Ed Brubaker after taking over Bendis’ long and revolutionary stay on the Daredevil title.

The comic starts with Matt Murdock in prison. His life, usually pretty miserable, has reached all time lows. He is trapped in there, with the federal government doing all its best to keep him in there without a trial.

To make matters worse, he shares the prison life with other guests of the penitentiary systems such as Hammerhead, the Kingpin and ,Ryan K. Lindsay’s favorite, Carlos LaMuerto (also known as Black Tarantula). Everyone is out to make his life impossible.

And what about the Daredevil outside of prison? Who could that be? (I’m not going to spoil it in case this is your first time reading the story).

All in all, this is an incredibly strong debut issue by the creative team. Not only were they up to challenge set by Bendis of putting Daredevil in jail, but they rose above it creating an incredible issue (and arc, which I have read before).

Michael Lark does a fantastic job on the art duties. In an ideal world, he should be the only one drawing Daredevil, he is that good (even better than Maleev, if you ask me).

Human Target #1 (DC/ComiXology App)

Written by Lein Wein & Peter Johnson
Art by Bruno Redondo & Chris Sprouse

The modern re-imagining of Human Target was uploaded for free this week. It’s the first issue of a six-part miniseries, based heavily on the show that was created from this property. There is a back-up by tale by one of the executive producers of the show.

Apparently there are quite a lot of changes from the original Human Target character. However, having never read any of the character’s previous appearances, I had no frame of reference it to compare it to.

The story centers around Christopher Chance, a highly skilled bodyguard for hire. In this story, his mission is protecting a famous mafia boss that wants to leave his lifestyle behind. Quite a complicated task, but Chance is a clever (and well-connected) guy.

I was quite interested in reading this, and it turned out a very interesting pulp adventure type of story. It’s not exactly a crime story, just lots of shootouts and fight scenes. However, it is dressed with a rather interesting story around it.

Art-wise, this is quite good as well. The characters are realistic without bordering on the photo realistic. The main story gels quite well with the back-up.

Imaginary Boys #1 (DC/ComiXology App)

Written by Carlos Lopez Bermudez
Art by Carlos Lopez Bermudez

Imaginary Boys is a former Zuda competitor. It is written and drawn in its entirety by Carlos Lopez Bermudez.

The comic stars Elise Dawn, a young girl that has just died. She find herself in the afterlife, which is not quite what she imagined.

The afterlife is not simply divided into hell and heaven, but rather into different realms for different people, all of whom choose where they spend the rest of their time. It’s quite an interesting mythology, and I’m interested in seeing in what direction it’s taken.

The afterlife is a very whimsical place, where imagination is the most important thing. You look as you imagine yourself, and you get a “survival bag” that carries everything you imagine in there. That is, as long as you don’t turn it over and empty it. It’s a very crazy idea, and I love it.

While this description might sound quite morbid, it’s actually very heart-warming (in an odd way). The tone and art of the comic is very light hearted and quirky. Elise is not scared by the afterlife, but rather confused by it.

I can’t say that the art is in a style I would like anywhere else, but it fits the story interestingly. If it had gone in any other route, the tone might have been completely different.

Thunderbolts #110 (Marvel App)

Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Mike Deodato Jr.

The story arc “Faith in Monsters” begins with this issue, the revolutionary story by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato. It was a huge shift in tone (and perhaps relevance) for the Thunderbolts.

Norman Osborn takes over the leader of the Thunderbolts, and he fills the team with a group of psychotic and irredeemable criminals like Venom and Bullseye. It’s also mixed up with some old characters like Songbird and Radioactive Man.

It’s very much a “get the team together”, and everyone gets a small psych profile scene where we learn how crazy they are. This takes place immediately after Civil War, and their first objective is Jack Flag, an unregistered hero.

Osborn clashing words with Moonstone is probably the highlight of the book. The two personalities in conflict are a wonder to see.

Ellis’ take on the series is quite biting and sarcastic. Consumerism and American news outlet (“Fix News”) among others are on the receiving end of his satire.

Deodato’s art is just as important on setting the tone for this book. The villains are on the center of this series, and the dark tones help establish the fact that the villains and protagonists of this piece are a dark twisted reflection of what heroes are supposed to be.

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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Midnight Monk said...

I really miss Captain Britain & MI:13, they should really come back but mostly I miss Blade & Pete Wisdom

Matt Duarte said...

@Midnight: Yeah, they really changed Blade's personality when they moved him to the X-Men side of the world, didn't they?

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I'm starting to draw comics, and as a result I tend to read other comics more frequently. To me, Amity Blamity and Imaginary Boys seem pretty cool!

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