Category Archives: Reviews

Monster Vol. 4 (Spoilers)

I just finished Vol 4 of Monster and I have to say I think this series gets better with each installment. Not just the entire volume but also with each chapter inside each volume.  Usually for long stories like this one, you can tell when the creator is just phoning it in to hit a certain page count.* With a story as complex and layered as this one, I wouldn’t blame him if he took a shortcut or two. Instead of being lazy when he introduces minor characters, he fleshes them out and makes them more like people instead of plot devices who are there to move along the storyline of the main characters.**

The only problem I had with the story is that it has been a long time since I read Vol. 3 I forgot a few of the characters, namely Dieter and Heckel, but after a few pages even if I had forgot their details, I understood who they were and why Tenma was dealing with them.

I’m really looking forward to the next volume and highly recommend this series to anyone who wants to read a good manga that is non-science fiction/non-fantasy/non-yaoi/non-superpowered teenage highschool stuff.

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* – As much as I liked Shamo, the random full pages of crows and rabbits were unnecessary. Very good looking but ultimately unnecessary. US comic artists do the same with that full page panel of the hero facing the ‘camera’ looking determined with gritted teeth and balled fists.

** – The weepy diner owner is a perfect example of this. He could have just been there to pick Nina up from the police station, but instead we get a rather interesting backstory for a character I’m not sure we will see again.

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Quick Review of Marvelman Classic Primer

I read the first article which was a brief history of Marvelman’s origins and sort of skimmed the rest of the articles and the interview with Mick Anglo. The selling point of this book for me was the artwork. I liked them all, the new and old stuff, but for me “Young Nastyman and Gargunza” by Mike Perkins & Laura Martin and “Young Nastyman” by Khoi Pham & Brian Reber are my favorites.

When Marvel gets around to making original Marvelman stories, I can only hope they don’t make Young Nastyman into their equivalent of Eclipse Comics’ Johnny Bates and he has an entirely different personality.

Recommendation: This has gotten me more psyched for Marvel’s version of Marvelman than anything else so far. Take that for what it is worth.

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Review – The New Avengers #2

I was a bit wary about the beginning of this series because Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen took a team made up of primarily “street level” superheroes and put them in a story that was heavily influenced tied into magic. I thought it might have turned into a big misstep, but the creators have really surprised me with the way they are having the characters react to something they really aren’t known for.

I’m not sure that I like the way that Spider-Man and Ben Grimm get treated like a couple of chumps, but oh well, at least they look good. Stuart Immonen has become one of my favorite Ben Grimm artists after only two issues.

Recommendation: If you liked the first issue, then you will like the second one. If you like some of the other Avengers books more, then this will probably not change your mind, but you are wrong about it. The others are OK, but The New Avengers has the potential to be great.

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Review – Pale Horse #2 (of 4)

This series is a Western about a black former Union spy who is roaming the untamed West shortly after the end of Civil War. In the first issue, Cole survived an attempt on his life. The second issue features his search for the people who hired the gunmen and their attempts to have him killed again.

The story by Andrew Cosby is very good, but in spots it moves a little too quick for my taste. I guess this has a lot to do with the fact that it is a four issue miniseries instead of five or six issues.  Michael Alan Nelson’s dialog  is very strong and doesn’t rely heavy on exposition, but I am a fan of his work on 28 Days Later and I’m not really surprised how good he is on this title.

I had never heard of Christian Dibari, but his artwork reminds me of Don Heck or Joe Staton. The color pallet is mostly brown, tan and orange, so I am unsure if it is the best example of Andres Lozano’s work. Johnny Lowe’s lettering also doesn’t stretch the boundaries of the craft, so I am reserving judgment on the coloring and the lettering.

Recommendation:  If you are a fan of movies like The Outlaw Josey Wales, books by Louis L’Amour or Forest Carter, then you should like Pale Horse.  I’m not really sure if fans of Jonah Hex or old school western comics like Kid Colt Outlaw or Two Gun Kid will like it though.

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Quick Review: iZombie 1

Part of me was hoping that I wouldn’t like it so I could blame Vince B for recommending it, but I liked it enough to add it to my pull list. The writing was really strong and the art was by Mike Allred (a future member of the Derek Coward Hall of Fame).

The only complaint I had about it was the $1 price tag. Cheap bastards are probably not going to pick up the second issue because it will be full price. This will cause a drop in sales and some will think the problem lies with the comic book and not the cheap bastards who picked it up but dropped it so they could continue to get the same warmed over stuff they get every month.

Strongly recommended

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Quick Hit Review: Orc Stain #2

Written, Drawn and Colored By: James Stokoe
Lettered By: Unlisted
Publisher: Image Comics

If the fantastical world, title or insanity of the artwork has not gathered enough attention; then, let me add that there is some actual subtext in development within the pages of Orc Stain.

With this second issue Orcs are no longer just a high concept but more of a metaphor – a metaphor for humanity and the typical male persona. We live in a world that prides itself on the ideals of the “macho-man”. The guy who can bench-press two hundred and twenty-five pounds and bong plenty of beer is the one who seems to rule the social atmosphere, and that is what Stokoe finds interesting to comment on. His commentary is not positive but more cynical. The character of PointyFace is a slime ball who prides himself on his ego and his loud attitude, and Stokoe uses that to show the reader that this “ideal” male persona…it is not such a great idea to be. It is more savage than anything. Just like the Orc is a savage creature.

Stokoe also begins to explore in this issue the idea that society will only accept the “ideal” male. You see, execution in this world is not death (in a literal sense) but (for lack of a better word) being neutered (when falsely accused, our hero One Eye is sent to the chopping block to have his “gronch” taken away). A man having his manhood taken from him is a worse punishment than death itself because a dude without his dick does not meet the standards of the “ideal” man. With this event in the book, and the extreme circumstances it is under, Stokoe is commenting on the fact that too many men, and society in general, focus a bit too much on that aspect of the body. In the world of Orc Stain, an Orcs’ “gronch” seems to be his soul, and without one, an Orc may as well be dead. I think that idea probably holds true in our world as well. How many times have we all joked with our friends and said, “Oh, dude, if I lost my dick, I’d kill myself!” Again, Stokoe wants us to see the oddity of this mindset: the idea that our entire person is in our dick, in our manhood.

The artwork is simply a beautiful work of cartooning. Imagination has run wild on these pages. Nuff’ said.

I truly loved this issue – pure imagination and a bit of depth. People, you must find this title and read it.
Posted by Max at 4:56 PM 0 comments

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Quick Review of Milestone Forever 2

Great ending to a story I wish wasn’t ending. McDuffie ended the characters of Hardware and Static by taking their stories to completion in a satisfying way. No matter what DC does with characters of the same look and name doesn’t really matter to me because “my” Milestone ended with this issue.

I remember when Crisis Of Infinite Earths ended and a lot of old timers at my comic shop were griping about all of the changes, while I saw the same changes as something that made me excited to read the next issue of any and everything DC decided to publish. Now that Milestone is done, I haven’t made up my mind if I am going to be a griping old timer or someone who is excited to see what happens with these characters now. Like I keep saying, it all depends on what DC does next.

Highly recommended.

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