Thursday, September 12, 2013

Image Round-Up - September 11th 2013

The Image Round Up column aims to get some words down on Image Comics book published for the week. This weeks reviews are handled by Ricardo Guajardo and Hansel Moreno. 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 The Manhattan Projects #14, Prophet #39 and Sidekick #2.

This week the team decided PROPHET #39 is the Book and 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.

The Manhattan Projects #14

Story by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Pitarra
Colors by Jordie Bellaire 
Letters by Rus Wooton

Hansel Moreno: This week Nick Pitarra and Jonathan Hickman take the powder keg that is The Manhattan Projects and give it a nice shake up.

The boys land in the sites of their most dangers enemy so far: The Oppenheimer.

How do you take down the smartest think tank in the planet, maybe the galaxy?

Read on to find out. Hickman and Rus Wooton lay out some of my favorite dialog so far and Nick and Jordie Bellaire color up a fun and least gruesome issue so far!

Verdict: Must Read

Prophet #39

Story by Brandon Graham and Simon Roy
Art by Simon Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, Jodeph Bergin III, Matt Sheenan, Malachi Ward. James Stokoe, Aaron Conley, Lando, Ron Wimberley and Brandon Graham
Letters by Ed Brisson
Cover by Helen Maier

Hansel Moreno: Not having read Prophet before the Extreme relaunch Brandon Graham has laid out all I know about this universe. 

This issue gives us a closer look at Diehard and the nigh immortal life he has led. 

The story is touching but it is the incredible amount of art talent that makes this issue unforgettable. As each phase of Diehard's life passes by a different artist takes the reigns and lets us experience that new chapter.

Leaving earth, leaving behind war and eventually leaving his humanity, Diehard has experienced a multitude of lives. An excellent issue by an excellent team.

Verdict: Must Read

Sidekick #2

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Tom Mandrake
Colors by HiFi
Letters by Troy Peteri

Ricardo Guajardo: Barry Chase a.k.a. Flyboy has been struggling to get his life in order ever since his partner in crime fighting The Red Cowl got assassinated a few years ago. Things keep kicking him down emotionally and the citizens that he protects can't take him seriously due to him being more known as "The Sidekick". He even has to resort to faking a crime so he can get the praise. As he goes to the folks that can potentially help him, there are other factors he hasn't encountered yet...namely the fake death of Red Cowl.

As the second issue still sets up the characters, I had mixed feelings as the comic still hasn't grabbed me in terms of plot development. Yes, the last issue cliffhanger grabs the reader as a big shocking moment, however I was disappointed it was never followed up on in this issue. I wasn't sure it was necessary to keep hammering down the misery of Flyboy as it somewhat got tiresome in my opinion, though I will still give it some space to build up the characters. Tom Mandrake's art was fairly drawn well but I felt was missing its own identity in terms of style that stood out from the rest of the comics out there in the marketplace.

Will I give the comic another chance? Sure, but it's more of a cautious tone as as we head to the third issue, we still haven't gotten many answers to the motivations of certain characters other than the emotional beat down of the star character of the book. JMS has done a great job in other books such as Ten Grand but Sidekick is another comic entirely, given the success of the writer I have to see where the payoff is despite my reservations for now.

Verdict: Check It

Walking Dead #114

Written by Robert Kirkman
Drawn & Inked by Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones by Cliff Rathburn
Letters by Rus Wooton

Ricardo Guajardo: There are no other ways to explain the last couple of issues but this: Rick slipped up. Of the the times where i have invested myself into the comic, this is where things got pretty serious once again for the characters involved. Kirkman grabs the reader by putting Rick Grimes through a tough dilemma where he has the opportunity to take out Negan. Of course nothing goes as planned in Walking Dead as the second most hated character since The Governor thought 10 steps ahead of Rick leaving us anticipating where it goes from there.

Charlie Arlard brings in the tension to 11 as the facial expressions nail down the tone of the comic as well as the action scenes pulled me in. Add to that the emotional torment everyone goes through, which you have to give credit to Kirkman, after going through 114 issues as he finds new ways to keep the comic fresh by setting up the next storyline & further. The dialogue was dark but at times uplifting as it gave not only the drive for these characters more motivation but the reader as well to look forward to the next phase of Walking Dead.

I will admit that this issue isn't reader friendly if they jumped in now, however the title is so good i don't think its a huge concern due to high quality in writing & art. As the comic heads to another direction, I'm curious on a personal note where these characters are going in these upcoming issues. Can Rick and the gang survive? Who knows, but that's part of the excitement of finding out as Kirkland has many surprises up his sleeve.

Verdict: Must Read

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