Wednesday, September 10, 2014
We're back with another addition of comic reviews. This week we have three first issues with '68: Homefront, Copperhead, and Prometheus: Fire and Stone and some other great gems from Image and Dark Horse. Hit the jump for those reviews!
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.
Imperial - Issue #2
Written by Steven T. Seagle
Art by Marc Dos Santos
CeeJay: Issue #2 of “Imperial” featured the line “I want you inside me.” Now, I don’t know if I’m side-eyeing the book for it or who ever rated the book “T” for it. Anyway, “Imperial”’s second issue is all about Mark and Imperial becoming better acquainted and it was cute.
Again, next to nothing is revealed about either character beyond Mark being curious about the prospect of taking on Imperial’s mantle and Imperial never having tried s’mores. It’s frustratingly hard to get a read on what this title wants to do with its premise. And it’d be better if there was anything interesting about the characters. There’s so much you can do with Shakespearean Superman Miyagi-ing Joe Blow so I really hope it can find its voice somewhere in the next few issues.
The interiors are pretty boring. Even the panel setup was super plain and for a book with no real narrative spark, “Imperial”’s dull art is just one more strike against it.
Verdict - Byrne It
Spread Issues #3
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Kyle Strahm
Words by Crank!
CeeJay: Justin Jordan and Kyle Strahm’s third installment of “Spread” proved to be another brisk read with it’s swift and engaging storytelling and insane interiors. Issue #3 finds No, Molly and Baby in a refugee camp packed to the brim with leper preachers, strange creatures on the menu and a crapton of shady dealing going on behind the curtain.
Image’s “Spread” is one of very few books that keep me flying back from month to month. The characters are just detailed enough to push the story forward without bogging it down to backstory and exposition and the “Mad Max”-meets-“30 Days of Night”-ness of the world is incredibly compelling. Little actually happens in this issue but it makes up for that with excellent world building and character moments that surprise, disturb and elate.
Strahm’s interiors continue to impress, as he seems to have a knack for disturbing imagery even when it doesn’t involve the Spread. Action-filled panels feel kinetic and the more graphic instances of violence bring with them a level of horror that a lot of extremely violent books like this seem to gloss over or sensationalize. “Spread” keeps getting better and better with each issue and something tells me that when the plot really kicks into gear, it’ll be in everyone’s stack.
Verdict - Must Read
’68: Homefront #1
Written by Mark Kidwell
Art by Kyle Charles
Colors by Jay Fotos
Words by Tom B. Long
Nevin: The story takes place in Harbringer, Pennsylvania where three narrative strands involving some high schoolers, police officers, and funeral home owners all intersect during the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Slow opening, typical zombie fair occurs with a zombie wandering aimlessly to almost get hit by a car and a funeral home having strange things happen. The first issue of this book hits so many tropes along the way that it’s hard to tell if it wants to be an original piece of work or more of a tribute. One moment in particular feels like it was pulled straight from Grease and shoved into a zombie book.
The lines by Kyle Charles are great. There are lots of loose thin lines used for detail and a rough gritty look. In particular he uses lines to accent the shading which adds to the grittiness. The colors by Jay Fotos bring the art into greater detail with dark shading for everything. It brings a sense of unease and urgency to the situation early on. These two artists mesh well for the kind of gruesome detail you want from a zombie book.
’68: Homefront is for fans of the series and genre who just want more zombies. If you want more zombies, but this time in 1968 America instead of Vietnam, this book is for you. With that being said, I can’t say I found anything special about it. There’s no original spark to be found in the story, and while the art is great, it’s not the kind that will carry the whole book.
Verdict – Byrne It
Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Scott Godlewski
Colors by Ron Riley
Words by Thomas Mauer
Nevin: Welcome to Copperhead, a dirty town on the frontier of some backwater alien planet. There’s a new sheriff in town by the name of Clara Bronson, and she is here to clean this town up. Now while that sounds a lot more cheesy than the actual premise of the comic, this is the basic plot. Clara and her son Zeke just moved to Copperhead, and on her first day she deals with a domestic dispute, a shady mine owner, a disgruntled deputy (a huge bad ass alien named Budroxifinicus or Boo for short), and a grisly murder. This first issue is packed full of moments that give a great sense of what we are in for, a western in space.
The interiors of this book are gorgeous. Scott Godlewski and Ron Riley really nail it from the start. Godlewski’s lines have a great amount of detail with varied shots that never feel cramped. He knows when to pull out and give us a wide shot of the bustling city streets or zoom in and show the facial tics of the conversing characters. He packs a great amount of detail into each panel that is only complimented by Riley’s colors. The palette used gives the world a sandy texture to it all that really secures the western feel of it all.
One of the best parts of this new world is how by Faerber and Godlewski hints at a greater history. There are mentions of a recent war and an interesting backstory for each character. It has the feeling of a greater established world with just one issue. The plot hasn’t nailed down what the main thread will be, but there’s been many strands presented that it could follow. I know that I’m completely down for it after this first issue. Give me more of this “Deadwood in space.”
Verdict – Must Read
Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1
Written by Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman
Art by Juan Ferreyra
Words by Troy Peteri
CeeJay: I was not a fan of the film “Prometheus.” The movie had a ridiculous amount of plot holes, nonsensical character motivations and a lot went unexplained. This graphic continuation, “Fire and Stone,” has basically the same setup. There’s a team of explorers who head to the moon that the crew from the film perished on to salvage whatever they can from the Prometheus. The rest is spoilers.
I actually really enjoyed “Fire and Stone.” They’re basically doing the film over again but everything is faster and tighter and I really enjoyed the documentary framing device. However, there were some expository issues. Some of the characters flat out refuse to speak in anything but expository dialogue and that’s always a pet peeve of mine. It gives you character information faster, but one character in particular revealed something about himself that could’ve been saved for a subsequent issue.
Ferreyra’s art is crisp and fits with in the design mold of the film. I especially loved the new creature designs; the “monkey” was pretty terrifying, but I couldn’t help but linger on the page. “Prometheus: Fire and Stone” #1 was a fair opener and left me very curious about where this new Prometheus/Alien/Predator universe is headed. My body is ready. Let’s do this.
Verdict - Buy It