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 William Tournas, Ricardo Guajardo and 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 A Distant Soil #40, Aphrodite IX #2, Artifacts #28, Great Pacific #7, The Manhattan Projects #12, Peter Panzerfaust #11, Dream Merchant #2 and The Walking Dead #111.
This week deciding to take aim and head out on an adventure the declares Great Pacific #7 the COVER OF THE WEEK! Read Ricardo'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.
A Distant Soil #40Written, Drawn, and created by Colleen Doran
Ricardo Guajardo: A Distant Soil is a tale of two sibling teens with psychic powers that are used as pawns in the battle between an alien race and resistance fighters.
The story is as strangely fascinating thanks to psychedelic visuals of Colleen Doran. There is so much detail to the black & white art. While there are no colors to the comic, the reader will still enjoy the art nonetheless as so much love was put into it. Colleen really displayed the tension and importance of the situation that is certainly out of this world.
While new readers will probably not enjoy the story due to being close to the end, they will appreciate the visual treats that the comic brings as much as those that have been following the series from very beginning.
Verdict: Buy It!
Aphrodite IX #2Written by Matt Hawkins
Art by Stjepan Sejic
Letters by Troy Peteri
Ricardo Guajardo: Merging the genres of science fiction and fantasy can be tricky to pull off, but in my opinion Matt Hawkins makes it work in a strange but fascinating way. What makes this comic work can be credited to the vibrant art by Stjepan Sejic as it does add more color to the already excellent art and Troy Peteri for a great job in the lettering.
The general premise is that enhanced humans are feuding against cyborgs in a fantasy world. The main character Aphrodite is an assassin android that is in the midst of an undercover job behind enemy lines. The twist in the middle of the story threw me off but in the grand scheme if things it makes sense, pulling me into the story after finishing this issue.
I enjoyed how not everything is what it seems and thus kicks off the next phase of the story. If there was one takeaway from the comic its that the cliffhanger really made me want to see the next issue despite my unfamiliarity with the comic. For new readers, I thought I didn't miss much due to the comic being the second issue of the series. That being said, if you are bold enough to try this comic out, you will be pleasantly surprised how entertaining this comic can be.
Verdict: Buy It.
Artifacts #28Written by Ron Marz
Art by Marco Turini
Colors by Bill Farmer
Lettering by Troy Peteri
Ricardo Guajardo: The idea of a universe of characters from various comics in one title sounds like huge undertaking to write/read, though the concept shows some promise. Luckily for new readers who are joining the series Ron Marz does a good job recapping the story between Magdalena and Tom Judge seeking artifacts against Jackie Estacado aka The Darkness, whom was responsible for creating the universe they are currently in. The plot is pretty straightforward while maintaining its sense of mystery until the very end of the comic.
Despite the potential, that can only take the book so far, as the art by Marco Turini has its rough spots during fight scenes but is adequate throughout the issue. There were moments where I had to look at a page for a good while so i can try to wrap my head knowing what happened in that same page but had to chalk it up to design flaws in the creative process. Overall, the book still retains its promise to be enjoyable but its has its moments where it stumbles in visuals and sometimes the cheesy dialogue hurt the book as well making this most folks can breeze through just to pass the time.
Verdict: Byrne It!
Art by: Nick Pitarra
Hansel Moreno: Ok! So we're 12 issues in and the basics are: What if The Manhattan Project was a front for scientist to run with crazy ideas and mad with power? This leads us to Jonathan Hickman's The Manhattan Projects idea. On top of that we have the gloriously, grotesque art of Nick Pittarra and the AMAZING colors by Jordie Bellaire.
It's the worst! Are you familiar with the Mirror Mirror universe? Well we have a drunk, stupid Einstein, a narcissistic Robert Feynman and a war hungry General Groves. Each character has a unique flaw that just really makes you hate these bastards.
Last month when issue 11 came out I was so happy about a reprieve Hickman gave us from the madness. This issue there is no mercy. Hickman digs the knife in deep, twists and smiles. The dynamics of the team are re explored and revisited through a new perspective. Sit tight loyal readers. It gets messy.
Verdict: Must Read!
Story by: Kurtis J Wiebe
Art by: Tyler Jenkins
Dream Merchant #2Story by: Nathan Edmondson
Art By: Konstantin Novosadov
William Tournas: The mystery and intrigue continues in the latest issue of Dream Merchant, as it takes us further down the rabbit hole and showing us that Dreams may not always be what they first seem.
I need to tip my hat to Nathan Edmondson. Ever since his debut he has not put out a bad book, and i'm glad to say he continues the trend with Dream Merchant.
The mini series is only in it's second issue, but Edmondson has already managed to weave a captivating thriller. The pacing of the characters and world of the comic is seamless making hang for more.
Konstantin Novosadov's art stylings suit the story to a T. The art style combined with the mix of Dark & Bright colours enrich the story further, to the point that it reminds me of past dark animated tales like The Secret of NIMH and The Sword in the Stone.
If you haven't read the first issue, do yourself a favour and hunt it down from you local comic store or buy it digitally, then read this issue.
Verdict: Buy It!
The Walking Dead #111Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones by Cliff Rathburn
Lettering by Rus Wooton
Ricardo Guajardo: After reading this issue I have to give credit to the creative talent of Walking Dead for building a world where tension is key to delivering the best experience in comics today. Robert Kirkman has been writing comics since early 2000's and hasn't missed a step. Charlie Adlard completes the storytelling by adding emotion to those characters. While zombies are usually the selling point for readers, that is never a focus of the dilemma as its always about the struggle of the cast and their adaptation to the madness the world pits them against.
This issue is so unpredictable you anticipate what the next page is and find yourself either having a sigh of relief or gasping at the gruesome details that Charlie Adlard delivers. While I will admit this is not a perfect jumping on point for new readers as it is in the middle of a story arc, reading this issue can make any person want to start at the beginning to find out where it all went wrong and thank Kirkman for writing the best and worst of humanity.
Verdict: Must Read