Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Image Round Up - 6 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 Mike Hunau 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 68 Battle Scars #4, Black Acre #3,  Epic Kill #8, Guarding The Globe #6, Perphapanauts Danger Down Under #4, Repossessed #2, Snapshot #1, Son of Merlin #1,Think Tank #5, Multiple Warheads #4, Mudman #6, Great Pacific #4, Dia De Los Muertos #1 and the Debris trade paper back.

This week after much deliberation and in fighting between our panelist we have decided to name Riley Rossmo's Dia De Los Muertos 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.

'68 Scars #4


Liam José: Well, I'm sure they've got story and art to worry about, but it tends to pull me out of a story when the second panel has a spelling mistake. It's unproofessional.

As for the issue - it's a bit of a mixed bag. Setting a zombie outbreak during the Vietnam War isn't a bad idea, really, although this doesn't really offer up anything captivating enough for a genre that is feeling a bit creaky after more than a decade of zombie renaissance.

The art by Nat Jones & Jay Fotos is impressively rendered and nicely styled. Unfortunately, it's difficult to distinguish between characters and the action often becomes muddled due to curious choices when it comes to the framing of actions and the refusal by the art team to offer clear transitions from scene-to-scene, which is a massive problem as this comic jumps between multiple scenes of concurrent activity. This Chaykin-esque style looks cool, but doesn't make for clear story-telling.

Mark Kidwell's script has some choice moments of dialogue, and pays off on some big moments that have been set up in the previous issues of the series, but suffers from some overwrought dialogue, and the aforementioned typos, which continued throughout. Characters' voices blended into one-another, which when coupled with the sexy but difficult art made it very difficult to tell characters apart.

In the end, '68 Scars shows potential for all the creative team, but needs more focus before it's realised.

Verdict - Check It.

Black Acre #3


Hansel Moreno: This is some dark sci-fi right here. In the vein of Orwell we see a divided society play out a power struggle between the haves and have-nots. In Black Acre we follow the adventures of Hull, a man seeking to turn the balance. 

As you can see in this Brian Churilla cover everyone is playing for keeps. Hull is reeling from a betrayal sprung last issue and tries to get back on his feet as soon as possible to track the back stabbers. 

Bourdreau and Cavalcanti keep the action at a high pace while letting us see more hardships the peasant class must endure. A truly terrifying look in to an all to possible future. 

Verdict - Check It. 

Guarding The Globe #6


William Tournas: Issue 6 of this ongoing series sees the team arrive in Mumbai, India to stop the ongoing battle between series overarching villain Set and his brother Thoth (not sure about the Egyptian mythology link).

This ongoing series has been focusing on going beyond the initial framework that Robert Kirkman set up in the miniseries, with this issue tying up a few loose ends while also laying a few crumbs for issues 7 onwards.

Unless you’ve been reading issues 1 – 5, I don’t think you can fully grasp everything that’s happening in this book. That being said Phil Hester has written quite well, that it doesn’t come off very continuity heavy.

Todd Nauck’s artwork is great in this issue, keeping it all together for the large battle scenes and the intense one on one moments. John Rauch’s colour work is great for linking it to the same feel of Invincible, but also having sticking out at the same time. 

This issue is definitely worth a gander.

Verdict - Buy It.

Epic Kill #8

story / art / cover RAFFAELE IENCO

Hansel Moreno: Epic Kill centers around Song, an assassin who has trained for years to take revenge on the man responsible for her parents' deaths - the man who has just been elected President! Recently Song's Uncle has been captured by a covert organization who has been putting her skills to their best benefit. 

This works as a good catch up issue. It starts off with a montage of Song's work leaving a bloody trail from hit to hit. As a reader we start to see Song realize she is being played and decide to move to an offensive stance. This comic has a few nice twits and a few surprises. 

I enjoyed this issue and to be honest it is my first Epic Kill. Ienco has amazing art skills playing the line between sexy and deadly while drawing Song with class.  The writing was not as strong as the art but it does help move the story forward. Overall I found Epic Kill a fun run through the spy/ass kicking genre.

Verdict - Check It.

The Perphapanauts: Danger Down Under #4

art / cover CRAIG ROUSSEAU

William Tournas: The Perhapanauts are a team of paranormal investigators and adventures that travel around earth fixing mystical faults with our world, and sending the creatures that go bump in the night back where they came from.

Now this is my first time experiencing the Perhapanauts series, but you can tell off the bat that this is a series done with absolute love by their creators Todd Dezago & Craig Rousseau.

Every issue so far has been split in two, with tales happening at the same time at various points on the globe. This issue is when both tales start to come together, in an interesting way as well.

Craig Rousseau and Eric Henson’s art is a true wonder to behold, with panels flowing amongst each other. Mike Thomas and Nate Lovett’s colour palette are full of bright amazing colours making the panels jump out.

If you haven’t been reading The Perhapanauts: Danger Down Under before, I recommend grabbing the previous three issues as well as this one.

Verdict - Buy It.

Snapshot #1

art / cover JOCK

Hansel Moreno: New art by Jock? Count me in. Add Andy Diggle and the ante is definitely upped! 

Jake is a part time comic book store operator who happens to find a phone. A single picture on that phone puts his life in a tale spin. 

The action slowly builds in this issue leaving you wanting more. I do not want to to spoil anything however, I can tell you I am eagerly awaiting for issue #2 to drop.

I put my trust in Jock and Diggle and they did not disappoint! Fair warning, this issue is a little slow but as a 4 issue mini you can already see the trajectory of the mayhem about to ensue.

Verdict - Buy It.

Repossessed #2

story/ art / cover JM RINGUET

William Tournas: Repossessed is an interesting mix bag of a book. Think a combination of Hellboy, Ghostbusters, Constantine, and you’re sort of close. It’s about Joe, Clay and Martha; a crack team working for the Dee Agency and make a living investigating demonic possessions. If you’re the unfortunate type to be possessed they work to exterminate the demon through a variety of means, but also for a price.

In the second issue of this 4 issue miniseries, our crew are still on the case they were assigned in the previous issue. Everywhere they turn though, the case to find the missing Sarah Gold becomes more complicated and problematic for our team.

JM Ringuet does a great job of laying down the mystery and intrigue in this demonic detective story. His art is very reminiscent of James Stokoe’s, with that very cool detailed style and vibrant use of colour.

Repossessed is a fun and interesting ride. Very much worth checking out especially for Ringuet’s arts.

Verdict - Buy It.

Son of Merlin #1

art and cover A ZID

Hansel Moreno: Man, I'm a sucker when it comes to myth and fantasy, especially wizards! This comic goes for the Joe Lewis of wizards, Merlin himself, err... for a bit at least. 

Trying to be a hero, Merlin gets himself in deep with the wrong people. If you have some knowledge of the Arthurian mythos you can catch references left and right.  As this comic is named Son of Merlin you can probably guess Merlin is somehow indisposed. Who is this son of Merlin? Well wouldn't you know he happens to be a scientist. CONFLICT! 

I felt this issue paced itself well and didn't bog me down with introductions of too many characters. Nice job Mr. Napton! The art provided by ZID (sounds like a wizard name to me!) is good with interesting designs for the magic effects. Overall the plot was easy to follow and I liked the theme and pacing. 

Verdict - Check It.

Think Tank #5


Hansel Moreno: Think Tank deals with military scientist. Specifically Dr. David Loren and his misadventures. Think Tank #5 starts off the second story line: Genetics. 

First of all, I love Rahsan Ekendal's line art! I first saw his work in Echoes and I've been following him ever since. Rahsan captures the expressions of the characters and helps drive the story forward while giving us gorgeous art work to ogle.

What of the story? Matt Hawkins is spinning a fine and enjoyable yarn. Then he ruins it. I can only say: Holy $#!+ I am scared. What are you doing Matt? How are you not in jail? This is a hell of a world we live in. I'm boarding up my house as we speak.  These outlandish and fantastic ideas that amuse us are not simply plucked from his imagination. After every issue Matt includes a "Science Class" where he grounds his comic in a horrifying aspect of reality. I applaud his effort to educate us through the medium while simultaneous depleting my trust in Military Science Research. Thanks Matt!

Verdict - Must Read.

Multiple Warheads #4


Hansel Moreno: This book is very polarizing. I haven't seen or heard of anyone mildly interested in it. It's either love or hate. I had my friends at the local shop read it and surprisingly they all loved it. These are mostly Marvel guys but some thing about Brandon Graham's style won them over.

Multiple Warheads deals partially with Sexica (an ex organ smuggler) and Nikoli (her werewolf boyfriend) as they're pack up their cyber-organic-hybrid car and hit the road. Add to that the trek of an assassin as s/he hunts a seemingly undying mark. On top of that the background is chock full of character and characters. Landscapes are broken and full of rust. New perspectives and old traditions clash. Land, air and water have to be inspected for poison before consumption. Life vs Death. New vs old. Puns galore. The conclusion! #4 of 4 all 4 you.

Verdict - Must Read.

Mudman #6

story / art / cover PAUL GRIST

William Tournas: This latest issue “This is a Test”, comes 6 months after issue 5 of the Mudman series. Paul Grist opens the book with an apology, explaining the delay was due to family illness and promising regular schedule for Mudman this year.

This issue has Owen Craig (Mudman), dealing with his growing powers and turning to the mysterious Mister Gull for help and training. It’s a great jumping on point for new readers as it sets up the new storyline, and issues 1 – 5 are easily accessible in the first trade.

Each issue of Mudman is fantastic piece of artwork and storytelling, with issue 6 being no exception. Grist’s art has a smooth stylised feel that invites you in and leaves you hanging for more. Paul Crabtree’s colour palette is well suited to the book, leaving you staring at all the pretty colours.

Mudman is a traditional style superhero comic, but created with more of an independent feel to it. It’s well worth time and money. Make sure you grab this issue and first trade if you haven’t read issues 1 - 5

Verdict - Must Read.

Great Pacific #4

art / cover  MARTÍN MORAZZO

Hansel Moreno: If you had almost unlimited funds what would you do? In Great Pacific Chas Worthington decides to take a large floating garbage patch, some modern technology and elbow grease to colonize it and along the way reduce, reuse and recycle in a HUGE way. This issue continues the first story arc and follows the adventures of Chaz, a few other key players marooned on the island (New Texas) and family members back in his home state of Texas.

Issue 4 works well as a single issue and as a bigger part of the narrative. Joe Harris is bringing us scifi that reflects our world. We are looking into a dingy, dirty mirror and sadly seeing an image very similar to reality. This issue is very educational and informational. Harris exposes Chaz's motives and plans while the action flows and ebbs around him. The sins of pollution, oil dependency and possibly a chance at redemption motivate Chaz. The path forward is not easy and no one seems to come to his aid. As I read and enjoy this comic I can feel the weight of the waste I create. These bigger issues are for us to ponder in our own way, but I am glad Harris is bringing the topic in to light.

All that aside, Martin Morazzo really hits his stride and the art is looking better than ever. The piles of trash on New Texas sometimes look like a alien landscape, other times you can pick out soda cans, wires, trash bags, aluminum siding and other refuse that the ocean can pick up. The art team brings the continent of New Texas to life, slimey, filthy life. Huge thanks to all involved!

Verdict - Must Read.

Dia De Los Muertos #1 

art / cover RILEY ROSSMO

Liam José: Riley Rossmo is good. Like, his art is ninja-stars-bouncing-off-some-chiseled-oiled-up-abs good.

And people know it, too. So much that they've given him an outlet where writers will create shorts for him to show off, like the new anthology series Dia De Los Muertos, featuring Mexican-tinged stories of the afterlife mingling with the world of the living.
Dia De Los Muertos, which translates to "Day of the Dead", features three shorts where Rossmo creates wet dreams of art that act like confused metaphors of yes to the writers.

Of the three, the first story "Dead, But Dreaming" is the weakest, featuring a young girl trekking into the afterlife in her dreams searching for her loved ones. Its a slight tale that doesn't really hold much weight. I'm not sure if this character is going to be revisited in future issues, as it's not a bad concept, but other than stunning art, not much is done with it here.

The second story, "Reflections", is strong, featuring a sort-of paranormal detective and vengeful spirits protecting their descendants, however doesn't do much to distinguish itself from so many similar stories.

The last piece, "Te Vas Angel Mio", came really close to being something special, as a musician is perhaps visited by the spirit of his deceased lover for one night, but faltered largely due to the irritating decision to have the spirit speak only in hackneyed maxims. Through all this, though, Rossmo's art shines through and makes this almost worth the price of admission.

Verdict - Buy It.

Debris TPB


Liam José: Ah, more Riley Rossmo, sweet, sweet Riley Rossmo. This guy's art is astounding. I will now check out just about anything he's attached to.

Luckily, Debris has stronger writing overall that the other Rossmo offering this week, thanks to Kurtis J. Wiebe. Wiebe is a name I've been hearing a lot of good things about, but Debris is the first comic of his I've checked out. I'm glad I did.

Debris is a post-apocalyptic story about the last humans struggling to find water while being attacked by weird techno-dragon things. 

Rossmo draws this thing so hard its guts fall out. Seriously, I imagine this whole comic was just an excuse for Rossmo to draw those techno-dragon things. And it's totally worth it.

Wiebe's script is strong, and he's created some great characters and a great  setting. However, the story takes too long to really get going, and its denouement is rushed. 

Still, this thing is gorgeous and worth your time. I look forward to whatever these two do next.

Verdict - Buy It.

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