Saturday, December 7, 2013

Comics Round Up: Week of December 4


The Comic Round Up column aims to get some words down on comics published for the week. This weeks reviews are handled by a handful of former Russian AT-AT pilots. There's just too many great books coming out from Valiant, BOOM!, Monkeybrain, and Dark Horse that don't get enough attention. We hope to rectify this issue and inform you on what it is you should be reading and what makes it to the tops of our buy piles.

This week we are reviewing The Victories, Six Gun Gorilla, Shadowman, Hawken: Melee, Suicide Risk, and Herobear And The Kid: Inheritance. All with a sweet piece of ptichie moloko. Delicious!


The Victories #7

Story by Michael Avon Oeming
Art by Michael Avon Oeming
Cover by Nick Filardi
Lettered by Aaron Walker

Mike Newhouse-Bailey: Issue 2 of the new arc is going to be remembered for some time.  The Victories are currently locked up and their leader is a traitor.  D.D. Lau is their only hope. 

In an issue that features a large number of heroes in their underpants, Oeming manages to pack in the action mixed in with a good amount of heart. I won't play the spoiler on this one, but there is a shocking and powerful scene that will have a major impact on the series going forward.

This series is a fresh take on the superhero genre that has been a fun ride thus far.  After the events of this issue take effect, I am really excited about the direction this series is moving.  Fans of Powers should be reading this title. 

The second arc appears to be as good, or even better, than the first arc and I hope this ongoing series has enough of a fan base to move forward.

Verdict: Buy it


Six Gun Gorilla #6

Story by Simon Spurrier
Art by Jeff Stokely
Cover by Ramon Perez
Lettered by Steve Wands

Mike Newhouse-Bailey: The final issue of this series brought a fitting ending to a series that I struggled with.  I loved the concept of it, but felt it seemed forced at times.  I am pleased to report that the conclusion to this series was both exciting and satisfying. 

Blue wanted to die and sold himself to the psychic television show in order to perish in front of a viewing audience.  He was saved by a gun wielding gorilla and is the biggest threat to the BlueTech-PV Corporation.

Spurrier did a marvelous job pacing the growth and development of Blue.  Blue finally grew into the character the people wanted him to be and was able to effectively take down BlueTech-PV.  Stokely's art is fitting for this series and does a nice job executing both emotional scenes and the over-the-top battles.

This issue has reinvigorated me on the series and I think a re-read is in order. Spurrier left the door open for this to transition to an ongoing title and it will be interesting to see if it continues.

Verdict: Check it out

Shadowman #13

Story by Peter Milligan
Art by Roberto De La Torre

Gord Cummings: Valiant has some great stuff coming out monthly and some not great stuff. Shadowman was the latter. In fact, after the first arc of the series I dropped the title from my pull list. Well, it's now time to add it back to my subscriptions. Now that comics legend Peter Milligan (yeah he's a legend, haven't you ever read Shade or X-Force?) has joined the Valiant bullpen along with the artistic stylings of Roberto De La Torre, Valiant has on its hands a quick classic. I can't wait to see how this arc goes forward and I really hope Milligan is here to stay. 

Milligan gets right to it by adding some much needed depth to the Shadowman character. We gets hints into the past which are not as altruistic as we have been led to believe. We also get a sense of his suffering, and much like his childhood we get the sense that Jack Bonifice is on his own. He is alone against the newly introduced Mambo, alone against the Abettors (who were supposed to protect him), and alone against himself. Milligan gives the characters his stylistic bend as we journey through the Bayou sniffing glue and talking to human skulls. Doesn't that sound awesome? If you're a fan of Milligan like I am it does. 

This review would be incomplete without giving De La Torre some love too. He's done a great job adding to the script given to him by Milligan. He takes the tone and runs with it, giving us a setting that's both beautiful and eerie. The landscape of the bayou looks like a hallucinogenic syrup that you will want to drink. Because you're curious. De La Torre's scenery just looks that breathtaking from the dark lit squalor of the Ninth Ward to the cemetery that's tended to by...well... necrophiliacs. 

That's where I'll end this review. On that very note. 

Verdict: Must Read

Hawken: Melee #1

Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Federico Dallocchio
Colours by Chris Northrop
Cover by Tim Bradstreet

Gord Cummings: This series is based off of the free online game of the same name. In this first issue we get a guy in a mech who is blowing up other mechs and we're not too sure as to why. I suppose they are providing some kind of challenge to him, but it's not entirely clear. Through this battle of cool looking mechs we have the mech pilot Draden Lusk experience the "slow" of the battle. The idea is that during the thick of it all time will slow down and what is five seconds will feel like minutes. Cool idea. 


A cool idea is as far as this goes, and that cool idea is not enough to sustain a whole issue of the comic. The protagonist experiences it and that's really the sum of this comic. It's incredibly disappointing too given that it's Dan Abnett who is currently burning it up over on DC's Masters of The Universe. That's two licensed properties going for him right now and given that BOOM! is truly the masters of licensed properties, you'd think that Hawken might have turned out differently. I mean, look at that cover! Tim Bradstreet!

And that isn't to say that the artistic content of the comic is lacking. Dallocchio is competent enough and the splash page inside gives us a great view of this futuristic world where Hawken exists. The mechs looks cool too in that they aren't the Cadillacs that they're often portrayed as. The trouble is that this isn't enough. Sure, Kraft Dinner is alright, but if there's something better around you're likely not going to reach for the KD. You might eat the KD, but you're going to know that that meal could have been better had you ponied up and cooked that steak. Cook the steak, man. You deserve it. As long as you don't...

Verdict: Byrne It.  

Herobear and the Kid: The Inheritance #5

Story and Art by Mike Kunkel

Brad Brown: If you hate earnestness, you will hate this comic. You cynics will roll your eyes so hard it’ll snap your neck when you read this comic’s big reveal. But let’s be honest—if either of those describes you, you weren’t touching a book with “Herobear” in the title anyway.

This is the conclusion to The Inheritance, but it’s also a holiday issue which provides a twist that is equal parts charming and ludicrous. Mike Kunkle’s art has a personal quality to it which is fitting for a book about optimism, friendship, and a toy bear that becomes a superhero.

This story treads (retreads) well-worn ground for Christmas stories; the moral that Herobear teaches Tyler feels derivative of The Santa Clause, which is derivative of hundreds of other schmaltzy Christmas specials. However, those clichés are clichés for a reason, and if you can overlook the re-gifted messages, the unusual wrapping of bizarre plot reveals and good-hearted earnestness makes this an enjoyable Christmas comic.

Verdict: Buy It
  
Suicide Risk #8

Story by Mike Carey
Art by Elena Casagrande
Colors by Andrew Elder
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Tommy Lee Edwards

Brad Brown: Suicide Risk #8 is a comic of cool scenes. Children deal with a monster peering through a hole in reality in their bedroom, a superpowered dictator coerces the United Nations, and a group of supervillains deal with the threat of oncoming stealth bombers.

All of that is awesome, but Mike Carey has steeped his story with that mid-2000s “trying too hard to be cool” mentality that almost ruined comics. Carey shows his skill at crafting cool comics moments, but they are joyless and lacking in fun. If only things weren’t so serious.

Elena Casagrande does a fine job drawing character reactions, and her monster/demon designs are particularly well done.  She gets to draw several big, comic-book moments in this issue; they just aren’t allowed to feel like comic-book moments.

Overall, Suicide Risk is a decent comic, but it feels like it has come five years too late.

Verdict: Check It


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