Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Image Round-Up - May 15th 2013

The Image Round Up column aims to get some words down on every single Image Comics book published for the week. This weeks reviews are handled by Hansel Moreno. He'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 Dream Merchant #1, 
Fatale #14, It Girl & The Atomics #10, The Legend of Luther Strode #5, Morning Glories #26, Think Tank #7 and the collected editions of Hoax Hunters Volume 2: Secrets and Lies, Peter Panzerfaust Volume 2: Hooked and The Li'l Depressed Boy Volume 4.

This week after waking in a cold sweat Dream Merchant #1 is declared 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.

The Dream Merchant #1

Story by: Nathan Edmondson
Art by: Konstantin Novosadov

Hansel Moreno: As much as I like The Activity (I want to make it clear I LOVE The Activity ((and Mitch Gerads <3))) I am a bigger fan of Nathan Edmondson's fantasy/sci fi work. Olympus with Christian WardThe Light with Brett Weldele and Who/Where Is Jake Ellis? with Tonci Zonjic are all amazing comics with their own special twists.

With these books in mind I delved into the pages of The Dream Merchant. First off Konstantin Novosadov has killer art. Gorgeous and sublime. The dream sequences remind me (slightly) of  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's art style. Not to say Konstantin fails to set himself apart. His art style is angular and elongated. It really helps by adding a disjointed feeling to the book.

The Dream Merchant follows the dreary life of Winslow, a young man who has sleep so troubled he goes with out it for as long as possible. This has led to many problems and he spends his days in a mental institution. There are some expressions of sleep deprivation that are captured flawlessly. Konstantin is a boon to the comic, as mentioned above, his art style helps underline the surreal experiences Winslow is pitted against.

As a first issue this comic sets up the series nicely. We have our reluctant protagonist (hero? too soon to tell), we see his adversaries/pursuers and the issue DOES NOT end in a cliffhanger. Instead it leaves off with a set up into the next steps of Winslow's journey. Nathan and Konstantin both do a swell job in this issue but I can't get over the art. Lovely and haunting.

Verdict - Must Read

Fatale #14

Story by: Ed Brubaker
Art By: Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Cover By: Sean Phillips

Hansel Moreno: Fatale is a story about a woman of mystery. You might say THE woman of mystery. Where ever Jo goes death is sure to follow. She has many talents but not many notice anything past her beauty. Men regularly fight over her, more often than not they kill for her, many are happy to die for her. 

The current issues have been visiting different time periods of Jo's life. In issue #14 "Just A Glance Away", Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips takes back to where Jo's troubled relationship from the first story started. Jo has been living in Nazi occupied Paris (Peter Panzerfaust Crossover?) and getting some control over her powers with the help of a gypsy woman, Mirela. Against the Mirela's advice Jo seeks out more knowledge from Nazi mystics. Things quickly spin out of control from here.

Issue after issue Sean and Elizabeth Breitweiser build an ever rising sense of dread. The use of shadow, inks and muted lighting help  to firmly root the story in a general tone of darkness and mystery.

Fatale is a great, goose bump inducing book. I like to read it far past my bedtime and then try not to look into any dark recess of my room. Please check out this issue, it's good for long time readers and anyone who hasn't tried the book out yet.

Verdict - Must Read

It Girl & The Atomics #10

Story by: Jamie S. Rich
Art by: Natalie Nourigat
Cover by: Michael Allred & Laura Allred

Hansel Moreno: Every week we do not review It Girl and The Atomics it is a disservice to you and to this fun adventure book. I will even go as far as to call this book zany.

In this weeks episode (Tweenage FBI) there is a break in at DR, Flem's Lab/The Atomics' Home base    Hi-jinks ensue! Double crosses! Excitement of the three exclamation point kind!!! 

I think I have such a fondness for this book because it does not take itself too seriously. There are a adventures, sure. Peoples way of life is threatened, yes.  Yet it is always done in a wink, wink, nudge, nudge way that lends itself to this comedic comic book's style/energy. Also! The colors pop! POP POP! Look at this gorgeous Michael Allred and Laura Allred cover. While the interior art is a handled by a different person, Natalie Nourigat, the same fun and fluid vibe is retained. 

The book is a groovy fluid blend of fun and action. This issue is part one of two. A quick, easy way to see if this series is for you.

Verdict - Check it.

The Legend of Luther Strode #5

Story by: Justin Jordan
Art by: Tradd Moore

Hansel Moreno: 

Petra versus Jack.

Luther versus Binder.


Verdict - Must Read OR DIE!!!

Morning Glories #26 

Story by: Nick Spencer
Art by: Joe Eisma
Cover by: Rodin Esquejo 
Colors by: Alex Sollazzo 

Hansel Moreno: If you have yet to dive into Morning Glories issue #26 "The Waiting Game" maybe just the issue to jump in. 

For loyal readers this issue answers some long lingering questions while (DAMMIT NICK!) adding more mystery to the story. For new readers it is an introduction to the many, many, many mysteries that surround our sprawling cast.

Joe Eima's work is top notch. He's done hundreds of pages in the Morning Glories series and it is paying off. While I liked his work from the get go, put this issue side by side with issue #1 - #15 and you can see he just keeps getting better. The rest of the team is just as wonderful. Look at that glorious cover by Rodin Esquejo. Jump on board as this series ramps up for Season Two starting on issue #27!

Verdict - Must Read

Think Tank #7

Story by: Matt Hawkins
Art by: Rahsan Ekedal
Cover by: Rahsan Ekedal & Brian Reber

Hansel Moreno: One day some one will call me on which comics I am brave enough to put on my "Top Ten comic books from Image". It's not that I can't easily pick ten amazing books from Image, its that there are so many great books I don't want to limit my self to ONLY ten.

Think Tank started as a fun and thrilling miniseries and (thankfully) broke into an ongoing. This issue continues the Genetics story line but dumps "fun" right out the window. 

Dr. David Loren, under the thumb of good ol' Uncle Sam, has currently been working on a virus that targets specific genetic strains. David always wonders if his designs will ever fall into the wrong hands. Turns out, we are the wrong hands. David throws together a desperate plan to stop the use of his virus. Despite his great intellect things do not go as he tries to orchestrate.

Matt Hawkins and Rahsan Ekedal have cleverly crafted a story with cutting edge science. Sometimes the tech they cover (both in the story and the backmatter) is truly terrifying. I enjoy the information Matt adds in the back of the comic. I'm sure he is on a few government watch lists by now.

Verdict - Must Read

Collected Editions

Hoax Hunters Volume 2: Secrets and Lies

Story by: Michael Moreci & Steve Seeley
Art by: Axel Medellin & Brent Schoonover
Cover by: Joe Eisma

Why should you buy it? Mysteries! Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley build on their team of covert agents that publicly debunk the very phenomenon they are investigating. The blank + blank pitch would be X Files meets Reality TV, but this book is SO much more than that. The main cast each hold on to secrets and this volume brings them to light. My only complaint? In volume one Michael and Steve introduced Murder, a dead astronaut that projects his spirit into a murder of crows that live in his empty space suit. I'd like 10000% more stories about Murder.  Thanks!

Secrets and Lies Collects Hoax Hunters 6-9

Peter Panzerfaust Volume 2: Hooked

Story by: Kurtis J Wiebe
Art by: Tyler Jenkins

Why should you buy it? Adventure! Blend Peter Pan, Out numbered Parisians and Orphans outwitting Nazis and you have a thrilling adventure! 

This volume introduces Nazi Captain Hook, the happy go lucky gentleman you can see here to the left. 

Can Peter and the boys survive this blood thirsty mad man?

Hooked Collects Peter Panzerfaust 6-10

The Li'l Depressed Boy Volume 4

Story by: S. Steven Struble
Art by: Sina Grace

Why should you buy it? Romance! Heart stomping sadness! Dead end jobs with cool people! We may not have all been there but this story can still play with your heart strings. Mr. Struble and Mr. Grace poor a lot of raw emotion in to this wonderful book and it pays of beautifully.

"LOVE IS A PLACE" Collects The Li'l Depressed Boy #13-16

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