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 '68: Jungle Jim #1, Bedlam #6, The Mice Templar IV: Legend #1, Mind The Gap #9, Repossessed #4, Savage Dragon #186, Son of Merlin #3, Spawn #230, Super Dinosaur #18, Witchblade #165, and Glory #34.
This week after fighting back oh so, so many tears TWC Image panel awards Glory the coveted prize of the COVER OF THE WEEK! Read Hansel's preview for more info!
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 #6Story by: Nick Spencer
Art by: Riley Rossmo
Cover by: Frazer Irving
Liam José: Bedlam, by comic book writing human being Nick Spencer is an interesting high-concept beast. Basically - what if the Joker was cured. Now the series' Joker stand-in helps police bringing down other over-the-top Batman-esque rogues.
Spencer doesn't quite sell me on this concept, though. The tight-rope he tries to walk on this thing between hoary cliched villain dialogue and super serious psycho-drama is not an easy one, and he falls on more than one occasion. Luckily, he has super-artist/net/malleable-human-metaphor Riley Rossmo to catch him.
Oddly, I'm a bit cool on Rossmo's work here. Normally I go bananas - hotdogs, even! - heck! any type of phallic-food - for the guy, but while I dig the sketchier style he's employing, certain scenes just are incredibly stilted and almost boring (mainly, the scene that takes half the issue, set during a hospital massacre).
Spencer wrangles with the premise of the series - has Fillmore - the lead former-psychopath - really reformed, or is he faking it? It allows some nice moments of tension, and also an interesting wrinkle, but in order for this to work, it leads people to behaving in completely unbelievable ways around Fillmore, to an almost frustrating degree. However, this seems incredibly unsustainable, and after six issues, is already making me itch. I don't know how Spencer is going to keep momentum on this plot, and I'd probably be more forgiving if the individual issues and story-arcs gave me more to grip.
Another thing that frustrates me with this comic is the seeming insistence that it is a "realistic" take on superheroes that equates realism with hyper-violence and a lack of compassion. By the cognitive dissonance created by being "realistic" and also having really, REALLY stupid logic that I might buy if it felt like the world of the story, or the spirit of the story, merited it, is almost too much to get past.
Although, having leveled all these criticisms, I've gotta say, there's something in here that is kinda goofy and fun and compelling in its own dumb way.
It's fun, but it missed its bus when it was meant to meet you half-way.
Verdict - Check it.
The Mice Templar IV: Legend #1
Story by: Bryan J. L. Glass & Michael Avon Oeming
Art by: Michael Avon Oeming & Victor Santos
Cover by: Michael Avon Oeming
Variant Cover by: Victor Santos
Hansel Moreno: Prepare your self for blood shed. Bryan J. L. Glass and Michael Avon Oeming return to the Mice Templar in Legend and it is brutal.
This is an epic tale and deserves your attention. The art is amazing! Dynamic and powerful, you can see the action unfold before your very eyes!
Long time readers, I'm sorry for the heart wrenching tale you are about to read. New Readers, be brave. There are four other collected editions to sate your hunger if this issue is to your taste! (I know I should save all food metaphors for CHEW but I could not resist.)
I was lucky enough to get an early copy at Fablescon and meet both Bryan and Michael and thank them for their various works in person. Buy this book if you love adventure, action, excitement and truly epic tales of wonder.
Verdict - Must Buy!
Repossessed #4Story/Art by: JM Ringuet
William Tournas: Repossessed has been a surprisingly little gem from JM Ringuet. through out it all this series has felt like it could fit well in the Supernatural TV series, with its equal mixture of Suspense, Horror, Action and Dark Humour.
Issue #4 takes place straight where issue #3 left off and doesn't skip a beat from the get go. Ringuet continues to do an amazing job of keeping the suspense going, while doing an astounding job on the visuals.
Mind The Gap #9Story by: Jim McCann
Art by: Rodin Esquejo & Dan McDaid
Cover by: Rodin Esquejo
Variant Cover by: Sonia Oback
Hansel Moreno: Hello gang. We have here another installment of Jim McCann and Rodin Esquejo's Mind The Gap.
Mind The Gap is science fiction that is strongly grounded around a mystery. The main character, Elle, has been beaten near death and is in a coma. Her attacker is unknown and on the loose. 9 issues in and we are no closer to knowing who has done the deed, BUT we are starting to see key players ever so slightly tip their hands. This book is on a slow simmer but the mystery keeps me coming back for more.
Aside from the who dunnit we know that Elle can astral project and has been raising hell in the hospital she is receiving treatment. Helping those who have no one to speak for themselves and fighting her memory loss Elle is trapped between the world of the living and the dead.
Speaking of those who can't speak for themselves, this issue we have a special "Silent issue" that uses very little text. Additionally we have Dan McDaid, and series regular Rodin Esquejo on art. As usual this installment adds another layer to the mystery and the drama!
Verdict - Buy It.
Glory #34Story by: Joe Keatinge
Art by: Ross Campbell
100 Years Later. Goodbye.
Hansel Moreno: Here at TWC Image Round Up we try to bring you the good word on the comics Image provides us for review. It is an honor and privilege to do this for you folks. We did not receive a copy of Glory but that does not matter to me. If you have been following this series with the same ferocity as I you are counting the seconds until your local store opens and you can consume this issue.
Joe, Ross. Thank you so very much for the story you have crafted. You made me laugh, cry and truly feel for these characters. Thank you for the journey you have taken us through and I equally dread and look forward to tomorrow's final issue. Cheers guys!
Verdict - Must Buy!