Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Image Comics Round-Up - 13 February 2013

The Image Round Up column is a new addition to The Weekly Crisis and it aims to get some words down on every single Image Comics book published for the week. These reviews are handled by Liam Jose, Hansel Moreno, William Tournas, and Chris Partin and they'll be dropping non-spoilery reviews the day before the books are available so you can best make up your mind on what to buy tomorrow. We offer this service because Image has been putting out some amazing content lately and it will be nice to shine a light on every single title they produce. This week our intrepid team looks at Bedlam #4, Clone #4, Cyber Force #3, The End Times of Bram & Ben #2, Fatale #12, Hoax Hunters #7, The Manhattan Projects #9, Morning Glories #24, Peter Panzerfaust #9, Storm Dogs #3, Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth #2, The Walking Dead #107 and The Walking Dead: The Governor Special.

This week after a silent vote involving cult rituals and a sacrifice we have decreed Change #3 the COVER OF THE WEEK!

We'd love to hear your thoughts on these books in the comments once you've read them, or you can ask our Round Up Crew any questions.

The reviews are graded according to the following scale:

Must Read. -- Do not miss this hot piece of comic action!
Buy It. -- For memories sake.
Check It. -- This is a toss up. Up to you really.
Byrne It. (skim it on the rack). -- Look at it but don't leave with it.
Avoid It. -- Steer clear.

Bedlam #4


Hansel Moreno: Sorry folks we are a bit short handed so you are going to have to put up with me a bit more than usual this week.

Bedlam is a hot mess of a city that can't seem to get it's act together. Killers seem to sprout from the asphalt. The greatest killer Madder Red has been (or maybe not?) reformed and set lose to "help" as best as he can. Frazer Irving has been doing a nice job of hiding the iconic mask of Madder Red's on every cover so far. 

Riley Rossmo is now on PETA's hit list thanks to last issue and you don't want to miss what atrocities he and Nick Spencer commit this week. While this issue does not have the ferocity of issue three or the grotesque behavior of issue one I still had a good time reading this book. I said some choice four letter words and was very much shocked. 

Verdict - Must Read.

Clone #4


Hansel Moreno: From Robert Kirkman's Skybound imprint, comes David Schulner's Clone. More sci fi action from Image! Clone is the story of Luke, a Doctor, a family man and as he has recently discovered, A clone. 

If you are unfamiliar with the series David Schulner has spun this tale out of a recurring thought. What if every version of you existed simultaneously? I think his story is in good hands with Juan Ryp explosively animating the action scenes with in. 

This issue is full of suspense! Shadowy government deals are hatched and treachery is everywhere! With Luke's family caught in the middle of not one but two genetic experiments he is going to great lengths to save his loved ones. This issue has some nice story beats expanding the plot on three different fronts while not losing the urgency of the particular situation Luke finds himself in. 

Don't miss out on this sci fi thriller!

Verdict - Buy It.

Cyber Force #3


Liam José: Well, that was... interesting.

In Cyber Force the world is collapsing, and an industrial-military complex wants to wipe out mankind and start again, only to be opposed by some sort of force of cyber people, who are called... uh... the "Part-Machine Power Fun Club," or something.

There are some solid ideas in this comic - psychic dogs! And some nice visuals courtesy of of Khoi Pham - giant volcanoes! (I'm a sucker for giant volcanoes). And the almost goofily high-stakes appeals to the little kid in me who imagines everything exploding, but there are just too many big problems in this one.

The final third of the book is a mess - there's a huge action set piece, and whether through writing or art, it is completely unclear what is happening.

Further, Marc Silvestri's writing is a bit heavy on the exposition, making this a bit of a slog to get through. Characters and their motivations are a bit hazy. But, worst of all, is the misogynistic way the characters talk. And these are the heroes. One of our "heroes" has a tendency to call all the female characters "bitch" and to equate everyone he's murdering with vaginas. I don't want these guys to win. I want them lose, badly. And I don't want to read this.

That is bad writing, and it is ugly, and it belongs to another era (or, at DC Comics' current regime).

Verdict - Avoid It.

The End Times of Bram & Ben #2 (of 4)

cover J.A.W. Cooper

Hansel Moreno: James, Jim & Rem keep the laughs coming this week with their second installment of The End Times of Bram and Ben

In issue 1 Bram had declared himself the anti-christ much to Ben's (and Heaven's) chagrin. Will Ben be able to step up his virtue to save his friend, his community and himself?

I love the flowy cartoony art that Rem is putting out and the puns, innuendos and quips are bountiful. I read this comic grinning ear to ear. This comic is not for the easily offended but enjoyable, not for mocking religion, but mocking the human condition of these mildly sinful slackers.

Verdict - Must Read.

Fatale #12


Hansel Moreno: Wow. Guys this is the horror/fantasy/noir book I never thought could exist or knew I wanted. First off: Grade A creative team. Phillips, Brubaker and Breitweiser are hitting it out of the park this month. 

This issue is a little different. Leaving the main story line behind we are introduced to a different time and a different lady? Set in 13th Century France "A Lovely Sort of Death" has strife, some respite and action that leads to full out mayhem!

Great effort from both Brubaker and Philips shows in every page of this issue. We are introduced to new characters and we see them interact and really come alive in only one issue! Dollar for dollar this is some of the best story telling this week. I am intrigued and want to know what happens next! I am on the edge of my seat!

Verdict - Must Read.

Hoax Hunters #7

art / cover AXEL MEDELLIN

Hansel Moreno: Hoax Hunters is yet another Sci fi title from Image. This book has it all. Cryptids. Experimental Science. Aliens. Monsters.  All the world’s most bizarre secrets. Hoax Hunters is a show with in the comic that publicly disproves all variety of lore while the team secretly segregates the normal from the paranormal.

Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley spin a fast paced tale this week. In Haunchyville part 2 the story and the team is split and they are put to tests of wit, strength and survival. Axel Medellin is able to portray the urgency of the situation in the characters expressions and posturing. 

The cast is stuck in a horror movie situation and they are well aware of it. This issue is jam packed with kidnapping, lies and betrayal!

Verdict - Check It.

The Manhattan Projects #9


Hansel Moreno: The Manhattan Projects is a history redux of The Manhattan Project if everything went wrong. Everything. Alliances, personalities and intentions. Science. Bad.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeaaaah! I love this comic. If you remember last week I jumped at the chance to tell you about all the scifi books Image put out and I got to say THIS is the scifi gem. Nick Pitarra is putting out some of the most entertaining background details that have nothing to do with the story but add layers of enjoyment for you, the reader!
Jordie Bellaire, currently coloring 10,000 comic books, lends her talent to the series and adds trippy, psychedelic colors. Jonathan Hickman's vision is a horrifying and disastrous mix of all the worst traits in humanity. Thank God it is not real. Right...?

This issue deals with recovery and revenge! The American scientist are digging their fingers in deep and without mercy. Do not miss this or any issue of The Manhattan Projects!

Verdict - Must Read.

Morning Glories #24

Hansel Moreno: Morning Glories is about this group of kids who are the lucky (unlucky?) few accepted into Morning Glories Academy. Recently the already expansive cast was almost doubled by adding a second set of kids called The Truants. The story so far is available in trades and I recommend reading those before reading this issue. Although issue 26 will be a great jumping on point.

This issue is 100% Ike-centric! We delve into what he is up to now and get some good details from his past. Worry not long time fans, Ike still remains a cocky little bastard! 

Joe Eisma and Alex Sollazzo rock it! The expressions, the colors, the mood. I love it. The art team has really hit their stride 24 issues in. If Nick Spencer has his way and this series has 100+ issues I look forward to seeing the evolution in Joe's art. Apologies to Rodin Esquejo as the cover shown here to the side is not the final cover. 

Verdict - Must Read.

Peter Panzerfaust #9
art / cover TYLER JENKINS

William Tournas: Issue #9 is the penultimate issue of the “Paris” arch, currently taking place in the Peter Panzerfaust series. This issue starts some time after the events of previous issue, with Peter and the boys captured by Kapitan Haken better known as The Hook.

Even though they rescued their friend Felix in their previous adventure, Peter and the Lost Boys now face the horror of a Nazi interrogation at the hands of Kapitan Haken, with no escape in sight.

If you’re not familiar with the series, Peter Panzerfaust is a retelling of Peter Pan set during World War 2 by Kurtis J. Wiebe. Peter, The Lost Boys, Wendy and others are working behind the scenes to destabilise the German takeover of France.

Wiebe does a fantastic job of weaving history and predicaments faced by French resistance within the folklore of a Peter Pan style story. Tyler Jenkins art and Heather Breckel’s colours are amazing in this issue, with the dark grey tones really making you feel for the bleak situation our heroes are in, especially so in the final three pages of the book.

If you haven’t been reading this series I highly recommend you pick up the first trade (collecting issues 1 – 5) and catch up on the rest of the series. A really great read.

Verdict - Must Read.

Storm Dogs #3

Liam José: It's been a while since I've read a David Hine comic. I've always found him a little bit hit and miss, but with Storm Dogs, Hine has created something pretty special. It starts of reading like a fairly generic space opera/western - lots of colonisation, intrigue, double-crossing and what-not. 

But Hine colours his world in interesting little ways, makes the characters compelling, and draws you in.

And Doug Braithwaite's art is just stunning. I've missed this guy! Where has he been? Certainly not returning all those love notes I've been sending. Maybe I came on too strong. I do that sometimes. I can change, Doug, but please don't you ever change. Your art has such fluid, beautiful flow, and your line work is unique and impeccable. Your sense of design and world building is amazing. Less than three.

If you dig shows like Firefly, or even more traditional westerns, sci-fi and what-not, you could do a lot worse than Storm Dogs. I'll certainly be tracking down those earlier issues.

Verdict - Buy It.

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth #2 (of 4)
art / cover MK PERKER

William Tournas: I'll start straight off, this comic isn't for everyone. It’s a very dark and twisted black comedy about a kid who is so ugly that he has to wear a paper bag over his head, and also manages to have the worst luck in the world. That being said, I'm finding it bloody hilarious.

This issue starts some time after the first one ended, with Todd in Jail for a murder he didn't comment and his parents not even noticing or caring once they do.  Throughout this issue Todd’s heart crushing sweet innocence prevails even as life keeps dumping on him.

Ken Kristensen writing is fresh and witty, while firing up the violence and debauchery. This is a great achievement for his debut in comics. M.K Parker art resembles a cartoonish style, with twisted distortions of characters that fits this world he and Kristensen have created perfectly.

If you haven’t managed to get the first issue do so. This series is at least worth a gander to see if it’s you type of thing.

Verdict - Must Read.

The Walking Dead #107

Chris Partin: Negan’s arrival last issue set up a confrontation that may not have been what Rick wanted but had to deal with when Negan revealed Carl’s fate in the only way Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard can.

Without a doubt, the introduction of Negan brought a fresh breath of life into this series. Robert Kirkman has written some amazing stories when Rick has had someone to truly hate and that drives him to the edge.  Kirkman isn’t trying to recreate the Governor with Negan as has been speculated.  No. Negan is something completely different, and this issue shows just how different.

Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, and Rus Wooton continue to produce some amazing work in the pages of “The Walking Dead”. This art team never seems to slow down.  The action sequences in the early part of this issue are particularly strong.  While that is true, it is those character moments that Kirkman writes that tests Adlard and Rathburn’s mettle and they never fail.  This issue is no different.

Over the years this series has had its highs and lows, and I feel we’re at one of those climbs up to something big and as much as I’d like to walk away and wait for the hardcover collected edition, issues like this remind me that there’s always something brewing in Kirkman’s head and you never know when it will come spilling out onto the page.

Verdict - Buy It.

The Walking Dead: The Governor Special

William Tournas: This special issue couldn't have been released a better time. With the TV series only just arriving back on air from a mid season break, this is perfect for fans of the show to find out more about the background of fan favourite character The Govenor.

The special reprints his first appearance from The Walking Dead issue #27, and his brief origin story from the 2012 CBLDF Liberty Annual.

It's also a great chance for regular readers of the series to read the origin story if they missed out the Liberty Annual last year. It's an interesting look at the warped mindset behind this character that helped shape a turning point for the series.

If you're heading to Emerald City Comic-Con next month (March 1st - 3rd) a green foil variant with The Governor's famous "KILL THEM ALL" slogan will be available at the Skybound booth for $10 and limited to 1,000 copies.

Verdict - Buy It.

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Adam said...

There is just so much goodness coming out of Image comics right now. It's a great time to be a fan.

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