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 East of West #3, Savage Dragon #188, Ten Grand #2 and the collected editions of The Walking Dead Volume 18: What Comes After Trade Paperback and Moriarty Deluxe Hardcover Collection.
This week we really feel the nostalgia of yesteryear. Savage Dragon #188 is declared 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.
East of West #3Story by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Nick Dragotta
Colours by: Frank Martin
William Tournas: After the cliffhanger reveal at the end of the last issue, East of West continues with more mystery and intrigue to wet our appetites in its third issue. More characters are revealed, as other characters motives for their actions are explored.
Jonathan Hickman continues to weave an interesting spin on the end of the world, mixing science fiction with the old west and making it work amazingly. His unique take on the Horseman of the Apocalypse is a fresh take as War, Famine, and Conquest continue their bloody rampage to try and find their brother. Death meanwhile continues his mission of vengeance as he gets very close to seeking what was taken from him.
Hickman’s work is always mind-bending and always requires a second read for myself. That’s not a fault, but shows more how bold, crazy and challenging his stories tend to be. Nick Dragotta’s artwork and Frank Martin’s colour work is astounding in this series. I couldn’t picture the detail in which Dragotta has gone into this work done by anyone else. Martin’s colours bring the right kind of mood to each page and flesh out characters and scenes to their full extent.
This series is well on its way to being one of my favourites from this year.
Verdict - Must Read!
Savage Dragon #188Written and drawn by: Erik Larsen
Colors by: Nikos Koutsis
Letters by: Chris Eliopoulos
Ricardo Guajardo: Erik Larsen has been in the comic industry for awhile now. Working at several companies by delivering his unique take on superheroes. What makes Savage Dragon different from his previous work is that his passion for comics has made him determined to keep pushing the envelope in terms of storytelling while delivering quality art in his books at Image comics. That being said, Savage Dragon is a book that often is under the radar due to the release of other great books and in my opinion is a shame because i find this comic to be an underrated gem.
It is ironic that while it has the Savage Dragon title, the titled character is not seen very much due to actions in the previous arc. This issue mainly focuses on his son Malcolm and the remaining cast as they deal with a threat that could destroy the city. I appreciate that Larsen uses two characters that most veteran readers will recognize such as Daredevil (not THAT one but a classic character whom has been used for in Larsen in the past) as well as a classic villain The Claw whom Daredevil has had many battles in the past.
I had a blast reading this, as the battle gave off a vintage comic feel while giving it its own identity.
The witty dialogue took me by surprise by what was said by certain characters, which made me have more respect for Larsen who is always keeping it fresh with cast & plot. While i am late jumping into the story, i really am eager to dig through back issues as there is plenty of intrigue, comedy, & action which I am very much looking forward to checking out more.
Verdict - Buy It.
Ten Grand #2Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Art by: Ben Templesmith
Letters: by Troy Peteri
Ricardo Guajardo: Joe Fitzgerald is a former mob enforcer who was murdered by a supernatural-powered target in a botched hit and was brought back to life by an Angel to help others so he can see his love Laura for 5 minutes. While the premise does seem too far fetched to be entertaining, the creative team of J. Michael Straczynski and Ben Templesmith pull it off with ease.
The reader tends to sympathize with Joe as he is investigating a lost person whom is involved with forces that may or may not be telling him the truth.
The characters that get introduced in the story range from the weird to disgusting to tragic. The art compliments the storytelling as it is a dark comic that should be portrayed in no other way, from the gritty details and gruesome deaths is something Templesmith (30 Days of Night) is no stranger to in his work in comics. I was pulled in by the struggles of Joe and really felt his pain which most readers will agree after reading the issue, which is impressive considering this is barely the second issue.
This comic has its unique twists and turns but it's the complete package that makes this comic worth checking out and is essential to any reader who loves supernatural horror. I am amazed that not many folks are talking about this comic as I do feel this could be a potential gem for comic of the year if the quality continues to be this excellent. Folks, no more talk: Buy it & enjoy this comic in the dark.
Verdict - Must Read!
The Walking Dead, Vol. 18: What Comes After Trade Paperback
Story by: Robert Kirkman
Art By: Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
Letters by: Rus Wooton
Hansel Moreno: As much as I kid around that Robert Kirkman is the devil and he should all hate them it all comes from my heart. My heart which he has broken time and time again. SPOILERS: When he killed Dale. When he killed off those little girls so many years ago. Kirkman is a monster, but goddamn can he write a tale of suspense.
A tale of bone and marrow and gristle. I read the singles with clenched teeth and an unsettling fear in my gut.
Kirkman is not alone. Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn draw life like expression that convey the fear and terror directly into my adrenalin producing glands. These guys amp um my heart rate every issue. I love you AND I hate you. Special shout out to Rus Wooton for the lettering, I could still read it through all my tears.
This collection brings us closer to the monster known as Negan. Buckle up kids, it gets rough. Collects issues 103 - 108
Verdict - Must Read!
Moriarty: Deluxe HC
Story by: Daniel Corey
Art By: Anthony Diecidue
It is the dawn of World War I, and Sherlock Holmes has been dead for 20 years. Professor James Moriarty is a lost man, but he's called back into the fray when MI5 blackmails him into finding Holmes' long-lost brother, Mycroft. What at first appears to be a routine case leads to a web of intrigue that involves a psychic box and its creator, a woman from Moriarty's past, and a new villain that threatens to be greater than Moriarty ever was.
Hansel Moreno: Moriarty is a fun spin on the Sherlock Holmes mythos. Instead of focusing on Sherlock Holmes Daniel Corey asked himself, what if Sherlock was dead? With his greatest foe out of the picture Moriarty becomes lax and discontent. It takes a case from MI5 to put him back on his game.
Although the book starts off as a inversion of Sherlock's approach to life, Moriarty finds himself a distinct and clever new life crafted by Daniel Corey and Anthony Diecidue.
In our reality Moriarty will always live in Sherlock's shadow. In The Dark Chamber and The Lazarus Tree we can see how he has out paced and out matched Sherlock's life but internally Moriarty strives to be the better man every day. Of course this term of "better" is his own so we the audience may not see him as "good"
This hardcover edition collects issues #1-9, the first and second story arcs of the acclaimed series, THE DARK CHAMBER and THE LAZARUS TREE.
Verdict - Must Read!