Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Comics Round Up: Week of January 5

Eunuchs review Juice Squeezers #1,BAD BLOOD #1, and Revelations #1.

The Comic Round Up column aims to get some words down on comics published for the week. This weeks reviews are handled by Karnataka Business Owners! There's just too many great books coming out from Valiant, BOOM!, Monkeybrain, IDW, 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 Juice Squeezers #1,BAD BLOOD #1, and Revelations #1. With the right collaboration and education we can achieve anything.

Juice Squeezers #1

Written and drawn by David Lapham 

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Gord Cummings: This is great. This comic serves as a teaser to the news that was received a couple weeks back about the return of David Lapham to Stray Bullets. In Juice Squeezers, we get a soft sci-fi story about a group of kids who are the only ones big enough to fit into the cavernous dwellings of giant insects. The grown ups only act like they're the ones in charge, but it's really our crew of Juice Squeezers who operate in the best interests of humanity with complete autonomy. Cool stuff.

Lapham delivers that same level of charm and depth that he offered in Stray Bullets and is a welcome back to form for him. It's like he's warming up for that return and is taking the game seriously. Not to say that his other work has lacked. He's had that same pedigree with his work on Valiant back in the day, but now we get him in his truest environment.

You might say that this being a sci-fi comic is not his truest environment. The thing with Lapham however is that the sci-fi context is almost inconsequential to the spirit in which he writes. The same was true with Stray Bullets. I guess we could call that a crime comic, but it was much more complicated to classify. In Juice Squeezers the fact that these kids are squishing bugs is irrelevant. What is relevant is the way that these kids interact with grown ups and each other. It's universal that way and gives us a glimpse into something fun, innocent, and deeply tragic. If you take the Juice Squeezing aspect out of this comic you have yourself simply a compelling story of the new kid in town. It just so happens that Lapham has chosen a backdrop of sci-fi to tell it in.

It's okay to be giddy about the return of Stray Bullets. I am. I may pee myself with anticipation. If you are as excited as I am, pick up the mini Juice Squeezers. We've seen the path that Lapham's created in his career and the hints of solidifying his mastery can be found here in Juice Squeezers. It is the dose to get us through to the next big thing.
Verdict: Must Read

Written by Jonathan Maberry
Drawn by Tyler Crook 
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Mike Newhouse-Bailey: When I learned this was another vampire book, I must say that my expectations dropped.  There are a lot of projects in popular culture that are merely cash grabs by hopping on the latest bandwagon.  It does me great pleasure to report that this title is both fresh and highly entertaining.  A nice twist on a tired theme does wonders for BAD BLOOD.

Jonathan Maberry weaves a realistic tale about a senior in high school who has been dealing with cancer.  His sickness has impacted not only him, but his peer group as well.  Old friends treat him different and most people feel that if they breath on him too much he will break.  Tyler Crook does a great job portraying the protagonist as a frail individual.  When he is attacked by a vampire, the vampire is disgusted and promises revenge (apparently the cancer in Trick's body poisoned the beast).

It is not too shocking that if you were ever attacked by a vampire you might struggle finding an ally that will believe your tale.  Especially if that same vampire is hunting down and killing your friends.  Trick's only hope is to take matters into his own hands and it will be interesting to see how this sickly individual deals with a vampire threat.  Maberry does a great job establishing a scenario that is plausible, the writing of his characters is believable, and he delivers a great hook in this debut issue. Mix in the art from Crook and you have a great issue for what will hopefully be an entertaining series.  Crook walks a fine line of not going too dark or too light with the scenes he produces. Had he gone too dark, it would have been less real, and if he hadn't provided the level of gore he did, the threat of the vampire wouldn't be threatening enough.

This is #1 of 5 and I would highly suggest picking this title up if Maberry and Crook can continue to deliver material of this quality.

Verdict: Must Read

Revelations #1
Written by Paul Jenkins
Drawn by Humberto Ramos 
Published by Boom!
Mike Newhouse-Bailey: Maybe it is the new year, maybe it is a coincidence, but there appear to be quite a few #1's debuting already in 2014.  Revelations is a murder mystery that takes place at the Vatican.  Cardinals are involved, secret oaths are sworn, and a former Catholic detective is attempting to figure it all out.

Paul Jenkins delivers an interesting mystery premise as a high-ranking Catholic official has been murdered at the Vatican.  According to those in charge, the case is closed, but one Cardinal invites his conspiracy theories friend to investigate.  The juxtaposition of detective Charlie Northern and the folk at the Vatican is an enjoyable aspect of this comic.  Jenkins utilizes Charlie's inner monologue to provide insight and inject humor into this title.  He does a nice job of hooking the reader early on in the title and generating enough interest to check out the next issue.  Nothing mind blowing, but solid writing if you have any interest in the Catholic church and the Vatican.

The title truly shines with the art of Humberto Ramos.  His range of panels is astonishing.  I did not expect the level of humor he could achieve with his characters given the macabre open to the title.   Ramos effectively evokes high levels of emotion from his characters and his style compliments the writing of Jenkins in a positive manner.  At times it feels quite vaudeville, but it works as I think there is no issue with the reader knowing who the villain is.  The tension exists among the characters that Jenkins and Ramos have created.

Verdict: Buy It!

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