Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Image Round-Up - 27th 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 The Legend of Luther Strode #3, Comeback #4, HACK/SLASH #24, Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #4,  Uncanny Skullkickers #1, Prophet #34,  MacGYVER: Fugitive Gauntlet #5,  and the paperback collection of The Activity Volume 2.

This week after consulting with our future selves we have declared Comeback #4 the COVER OF THE WEEK! Read Hansel's review for more info!

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.

Uncanny Skullkickers #1

Story by: Jim Zubkavich Art By: Edwin Huang Cover By: Edwin Huang & Misty Coats Variant Cover by: Chris Stevens

William Tournas: Uncanny Skullkickers #1 is the sort of cheeky relaunch of Jim Zub's creator owned series. As he mentions in an interview here with Weekly Crisis's own Grant McLaughlin: 

"Reaching 19 issues on a creator-owned series is becoming less and less common nowadays. A lot of creator-owned projects are mini-series or short run books. With that in mind, it's hard to gain new readers and generate press interest when the story is continuing, the creative team is the same and the plan is consistency. Press outlets rarely run articles headlined with "Series Continues And Is Still Worth Reading!" so I knew that we needed to bang the drum in a creative way to remind people we're still here and kicking ass."

I think his gambit will pay off! To be honest before getting to review this book, Skullkickers had flown under the radar for me. After reading it I've already rung my local comic store to put the first three trades aside for me.

Zub combines various elements of the fantasy genre while at the same time making you laugh yourself silly. The book is just plain old fun! Edwin Huang's artwork is clean, dynamic and full of vibrant life. The characters look like they come alive as your reading the issue.

Do yourself a favour and go get this series!

Verdict - Must Read. 

Comeback #4

Story by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Michael WalshColors by: Jordie Bellaire

Hansel Moreno: Comeback is a scifi series dealing with a black market time travel group (best black market job ever!) that can save your loved ones from death... if the price is right. What can I say about this Brisson-Walsh-Bellaire cocktail that has not been said elsewhere? Let's run with this metaphor!

It should be made from good-quality, high-proof liquors.Did you see the talent involved? Check!

It should whet rather than dull the appetite. I'll say! Every other page I'm are given tidbits of the story that leave me wanting more but the plot is moving along at such a speed that Brission & Co.can't spell everything out.

It should be dry, with sufficient alcoholic flavor, yet smooth and pleasing to the palate. Swapping out "dry" for frustrating suspense and  "alcoholic flavor" for kick-ass action and this comic is definitely pleasing to my mind's palate. It is a smooth mix of Timecop and Blade Runner. HIGHEST praise I am physically able to give with out spontaneously combusting.

It should be pleasing to the eye. Big ol' CHECK here. Walsh and Bellaire are so amazing that they deserve a buddy cop movie together so we can say Walsh and Bellaire as many times as humanly possible. The art is jazzy and mellow and spikes up to a fervent pitch when we see the action jump to an 11. Jordie's colors are very well used in this issue an add layers to both the story and the time travel aspect. Keep an eye for that this issue.

It should be well-iced. Fair warning, several people get iced this issue.

I hope this silly review gets you to go out there and buy this issue. I love the series and I hope Brisson, Walsh and Bellaire come back together for a sequel or any other project where they work together. 

Verdict - Must Read. 


Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Elena Casagrande

Liam José: It's hard to believe that the Tim Seeley who wrote this comic is the same one who wrote the pretty dire issue of Witchblade I reviewed a few weeks back. Sure, the off-the-wall imagination is present in both, but this is just a much, much better comic. Seeley makes it easy for me to come into Hack/Slash for the first time, as he's obviously building to some sort of big finale. Cassie was a 'final girl', so now she hunts slashers. I feel like my life got better just having typed that as a synopsis. It's pretty solid. My life is still pretty awful, but thank you, Mr. Seeley, for tricking me for a moment.

This issue features the beginnings of the final showdown between Cassie and her allies and an assortment of Big Bads. It was easy enough to follow even having not read previous chapters, and it's all pretty groovy. That is helped in no short amount by Elena Casagrande on art, who just kills it. Absolutely murders those pages. If having good art was a crime, she would be guilty of breaking the law. I liked her art, I guess I'm saying. It's fluid, pops, has excellent design sense and gave me a sort of rictus grin.

I haven't even gotten on to the mime group 'Happy Gathering' which is a pretty direct send-up of Juggalo culture, which can not be teased enough, really, homies. However, this issue still features some of the problems I had with Seeley's other books - chiefly - pretty shocking dialogue. It's often tin-eared and pulls you out of the story. But all the nice positives in this one make that much easier to forgive.

Verdict - Check It.

The Legend of Luther Strode #3 

Story by: Justin Jordan
Art by: Tradd Moore
Colors by: Felipe Sobreiro

Hansel Moreno: Buckle UP MOTHER TRUCKERS!!! This non stop train ride is an express to kick-ass-ville!

Let's flip this review upside down! Felipe Sobreiro colored Talent of Luther Strode with mellow, peaceful colors that made me feel something when everything turned gruesome towards the end. In Legend of Luther Strode the story starts gruesome, where do you take it from here? Sobreiro adds a lot of blacks and whites to his color scheme which gives this issue (and the series) a metallic sheen that intensifies the dynamic feel of Tradd Moore's line work.

Justin Jordan does his word thing and does it well. The story isn't rushed and the fight scenes are the real main course so all that gab is enough to get you by but not too much to cover up the pretty art. 

Tradd Moore! YEAH! Tradd rocks this issue. The art is served bloody and raw. When Luther or the other combatants make a move you can see the fluid motion their bodies are intending to take. The misplaced hair, the flow of blood, the bumps and bruises it all looks amazing. Way to go Tradd!

This issue Luther fights that old biker looking dude, we learn his title and a new villain is introduced/unleashed.

And last but not least, this issue has some sweet pin ups from Yale Stewart, Kate Leth, Patricio Betteo, Felipe Cunha, Matthew Warlick, Ricardo Venancio, Jorge Coelho. Worth every penny!

Verdict - Must Read. 

MacGYVER: Fugitive Gauntlet #5 

Story by: Lee David Zlotoff & Tony Lee
Art by: Will Sliney
Colors by: Owen Jollands
Cover by: Andie Tong & Ciaran Lucas

Hansel Moreno: I'm back baby!!! Well MacGyver 4 was a fun read (for me) so I had to grab issue 5 as soon as I could to see how it ended. Over all I had a few good laughs in this installment but I was taken a little a back when some deaths were rationalized in less than a few sentences. MacGyver does not break his oath but some of his allies are missing moral fiber in the crunch. 

The art was just as good as compared to last issue and the panel arrangements work in the stories favor. Kudos to Will Sliney and Owen Jollands!

Verdict - Byrne It.

Prophet #34

Story by: Brandon Graham, Simon Roy
Art By: Simon Roy
Cover By: Malachi Ward & Matt Sheean

William Tournas: Prophet continues it's amazing journey this month by returning the story to New-Father John Prophet, not seen since a cameo at the end of issue #32.

11 months has passed for this John Prophet since the end of Issue #23, and much has changed. As Prophet Brothers of various forms from all over the universe continue to assemble, New-Father John has to survive an assassination attempt.

This reinvention of the series keeps moving at fantastic pace, as Brandon Graham fills each issue to the brim with amazing ideas and concepts. At which point the issues overflow with amazingly overwhelming art by a crew of rotating artists who include Simon Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, Farel Dalrymple and Graham himself.

Roy's art in this issue continues to astound with the amount of detail, which reminds me a little Moebius and Geof DarrowYou can tell he has a love of Sci-Fi in these pages. Graham continues leading us down each Prophets path, dropping bread crumbs this issue of things to come for New-Father John.

Verdict - Must Read.

Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #4

Story by: Brandon Seifert
Art by: Lukas Ketner
Colors by: Andy Troy 

Hansel Moreno: This comic answers the question "What if Dr. House was Sorcerer Supreme?" 

Brandon Seifert manages to create a lead character that I both hate and managed to be impressed by. Dr. Vincent Morrow is trying to preserve life while simultaneously being completely reckless with any and all life, including his own! Especially in this issue.

Lukas Ketner and Andy Troy have a great chemistry together and I love how they riff off each other and make the over all art work so well textured, both in actual back ground textures and the depth characters have in their shading/ shadowing on their faces. For instance this issue has a scene in a crack den and the place is drawn so dingy and dirty I could feel the grime on my finger tips. Other scenes have weird magical and medical equipment strewn about and it really helps with the world building. Well done guys! This issue picks up right after 3 and leaves plenty of seeds for the rest of the series and beyond.

Verdict - Must Read. 

The Activity Volume 2 Collection

Story by: Nathan Edmondson
Art By: Mitch Gerads & Marc Laming

William Tournas: As I've mentioned before on the site, I have never been fan of military/modern warfare style comics. The Activity took my opinions and BLEW THEM OUT THE WINDOW, to the point where I can't stop talking about this series. IT'S THAT GOOD.

The Volume 2 collection includes issues 6 - 11 of this series, which focus on Team Omaha taking on high-octane, globe-trotting missions. It also includes a flashback on the character Leslie, Codenamed: Fiddler.

This second volume of this has kicked it up a notch, with Nathan Edmondson keeping you on the edge of your seat with intrigue and excitement, while dropping crumbs of things to come. Each issue starts with a new mission, acts as a perfect starting point for any reader to jump onboard.

Both guest artist Marc Laming (Issue #6) and regular series artist Mitch Gerads do a fantastic job on art duties. Their work helps fuel the intensity of Edmondson's writing and keeps you enthralled with the issue. Both Laming and Gerads work compliment each other.

Honestly why are you reading this. GO BUY THE TRADE ALREADY!

Verdict - Must Read. 

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