Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Image Round-Up - March 20th 2013

The Image Round Up column 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 Chew #32, Comeback #5, Elephantmen #47, Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1, Invincible #101, and Saga #11

This week after our column crew did some deep soul searching we have heard from beyond the veil and CHEW #32 is deemed 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.

Chew #32

Story by: John Layman
Art by: Rob Guillory

Hansel Moreno: Man, Tony Chew has been through the wringer. He's lost a lot and learned tough lessons. He's improved his skills while his world throws him endless curve balls.

I feel John Layman is at the top of his game in this book because I do not notice him. Every character (and there are a lot) has such a unique voice that there is no John Layman. Tony, Toni, John and for god's sake don't forget POYO, each are a completely fleshed out individual with their own set of goals and motivations. Layman is building a world for us to see, feel and enjoy. Layman is love.

Rob Guillory is the opposite. While I do enjoy other artists interpretations of Tony and Poyo I can not envision a CHEW universe with out Rob. His pencils have a life of their own. Flowy and delightfully cartoony there is pure joy in the lighthearted panels and a sick distortion in the darker scenes. 

This amazing duo have shown great dedication to their book and are telling a deeply fulfilling story that merits your attention. Buy it in singles, paperback or the amazing Omnivore editions. 

This particular issue shows Tony getting back into the swing of things but centers on John Colby. Read it and then lets talk about it.

Verdict - Must Read!

Comeback #5 (of 5)

Story by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Michael Walsh
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire

Hansel Moreno: This is it. Comeback's conclusion. Some 'em if you got 'em. This goodbye is bitter sweet. 

Jordie Bellaire and Michael Walsh are aces this issue. The action is fluid.The expressions are spot on. Michael is leaving it all on the page. Jordie does some stunning work. There are several splashes that left me stunned. Beautiful, amazing work.

Ed Brisson has written an almost seamless love letter to time travel, police procedurals and quick cons. I can't help but pine away for a sequel. What ever happens I'm following Ed to his next book.

In this issue there were some twist I expected and thrilling twist I didn't see coming. I loved it. If you haven't kept up with the series go ahead and order the trade. I can't say much about issue 5 with out spoiling the fun. 

Verdict - Must Read!

Elephantmen #47

“Sleeping Partners” – Part Six

Story by: Richard Starkings
Art by: Axel Medellin
Cover by: Camilla d'Errico

Chris Partin: When you give me the chance, I always recommend Elephatmen to people because it really is like nothing else you’re reading for a variety of reasons.  There is a universe being built with intriguing characters and interweaving plotlines from the present and the past.  This world of characters is so rich and has so much potential I find myself wishing this series was out every week just to see what Richard Starkings has planned and what his “bigger picture” is for this series.

This issue is “Part Six” of a fairly involved story arc, but don’t let that keep you away from this issue.  Starkings does a good job at giving new readers a quick wrap up in the first couple of pages of what’s going on and provides a number of issues you can read to get more information.  I applaud Starkings for doing this because any issue can be someone’s first and as this series gets closer to issue fifty, people will be curious what this series is about if they haven’t tried it already.

The story developments in this issue are pretty interesting with the Chinese scientist Hip finds in the moon base.  The story of China’s quest to outdo Mappo at their own game really paints a bleak picture of what the world was like during the development of the Elephantmen if you didn’t already think it was bleak.  The decision to create the moon base by the Chinese was brilliant, but that decision looks like it may be more trouble for Hip and his partners as this issue reaches its last page with a cool reveal.

The art by Axel Medellin is simply amazing in every definition of the word.  Medellin was born to do this series and every issue the art just blows me away.  The coloring for this issue is mind blowing and puts a depth to Medellin’s art that just puts it so far above so many other books on the shelf – this week or ay week. 

Elephantmen is a great series that really does not get the buzz that it deserves.  If you’re in the comic shop this week and want something that knocks it out of the park on nearly every level – grab an issue of Elephantmen.

Verdict - Must Read!

Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1

Story by: Frank J. Barbiere
Art by: Chris Mooneyham

William Tournas: The first issue of Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray first debuted at New York Comic Con 2012 as a self published title. It then caught the attention of Image Comic Publisher Eric Stephenson, and now we have it being released by Image to a much larger audience.

The main character Fabian Gray, is a treasure hunter (thief) who is possessed by the ghosts of five literary characters who grant him access to their unique talents. The Wizard grants him to ability to use magic, The Archer quick reflexes and expert accuracy, The Detective gives him expert intuition and deduction, The Samurai grants and expert in the deadly katana as discipline, and The Vampire grants him subtlety, allure, and deadliness.

Gray was possesed by these ghosts do to a tragic accident with an artifact known as the "The Dreamstone". In this same accident Gray's sister Silvia was affected, leaving her in a catatonic state. Gray is on the run to try and save his sister, but is running out of time as the ghosts are slowly taking over him with each day.

Where Frank J. Barbiere is weaving this story full of intrigue, suspense and fantasy, Chris Mooneyham is pacing the narrative perfectly well, with deep shadows, dark colours and intensely filled panels. The book has a very European feel to it as well. Barbiere Mooneyham have created an amazing first issue in what is set to be a great series, a real love affair of work. 

A real combination of fun, intrigue and adventure this series is surely worth a Read.

Verdict - Must Read!

Invincible #101

Story by: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Ryan Ottley & John Rauch

Chris Partin: After the events of Invincible #100, readers were probably wondering what Robert Kirkman would have in store for not only Mark and Eve’s news, but what would happen in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Mark’s choice to trust Dinosaurus. 

What Kirkman provides readers in this issue are a lot of set ups and plot moments that move a lot of subplots along without overrunning each other.  There is a nice, and then serious moment with Mark and Eve when Eve realizes what Mark has done and who he has gone to in order to help them along.  There is a nice exchange of dialogue between the two that felt very natural and shows the maturity of their relationship.  A lot has happened to these two along the way, and there’s only more to come.

The aftermath of last issue left a lot of destruction and chaos in its wake from Dinosaurus and I did find it kind of funny that after what ended up happening with Mark and surviving the events at the beginning of Invincible #100, Cecil had forgotten to let the Guardians in on everything.  Obviously, seeing Mark I costume would cause all of them to react defensively regardless of what Mark said to them.  But these events lead into more with Omni-Man deciding to live on Earth.  Kirkman really does a great job with using elements of the subplots in this issue to crossover into the other subplots and tying the whole issue together.

The art in this issue by Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, John Rauch, and Rus Wooton continues to be some of best on the shelf.  While there isn’t a leap in difference from issue to issue, there is a familiar and expressive style that this team puts together each issue and it brings these characters to life.  

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been reading Invincible for the last hundred issues or this is your first, Invincible #101 is a great for everyone to jump in and enjoy.  

Verdict - Must Read!

Saga #11

Story by: Brian K. Vaughan
Art/Cover by: Fiona Staples

William Tournas: After last months tear jerker in issue #10 of Saga you would think they we would get a moment to rest. Nope. Get a box of tissues ready readers. You are going to be shedding some tears with #11. Well I did.

Brian K. Vaughan opens up the issues with another glimpse into the past of Marko and Alana. Set some time just after they went on the run, we get to glimpse into another layer of relationship and their different views on the subject of children.

As I've mentioned before Vaughan's work with his characters is what keeps me drawn to this title every months. The family unit reunion of sorts from last issue has to be put on hold as they still have to escape the recently awoken Newborn Timesuck.

The Will also get's a special spotlight as he deals with the heartbreaking events of the last issue, and deal with it he does. Seriously, The Will is a total Badass!

Fiona Staples artwork continues to amaze with each issue. Her artwork is more focused on character work rather than world building this issue, with one amazing character interaction after the other. The 1st and Last page of this issue I would love to see/own as a print.

Saga is amazing as always and you should definitely be reading it.

Verdict - Must Read!

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