Being that it’s the Halloween month of October there are a lot of new horror titles hitting the shelves this month and I love a good horror comic. This week was a really great mix of books, so lets get started.
The October Faction #1
IDW Writer Steve Niles, Artist Damien Worm, Letterer Robbie Robbins
Niles and Worm are back in a new book and I was really looking forward to it. The plot from IDW is, The creative team behind Monster & Madman would like to introduce you to the ongoing adventures of retired monster-hunter Frederick Allan and his family… which include a thrill-killer, a witch, and a warlock. Because sometimes crazy is the glue that binds a family together. I was a big fan of their Monster & Madman book and so I went into this book with pretty high expectations. Thankfully it was even better than I hoped for. Niles is the best horror writer in comics now and really knows how to set up a story. He really does a great job of introducing the family and revealing a bit about each one of them while still moving the story along and not feeling like the exposition is dragging the story down. What I really liked is the subtle hints at the back story of Fredrick and Lucas and how their past is catching up with them. I will be honest to me it had a bit of a riff or homage to The Addams Family or The Munsters but only on the surface. Yes they are a “monstrous” family but that is where any similarity ends. Niles sets up a really interesting story here and I am really looking forward to see where he is going to take the story. Worm’s art continues to impress me and is perfectly suited for this book. He really gets to spread is artistic wings with this book. Monster & Madman was a more interior confined story but October Faction there is more action and wilder things in this story. One of his great strengths as an artist is his use of the color palette that sets this book apart from other horror books. This is a really great looking book.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really love this book and Niles and Worm have set up a really interesting idea and a nice cast of characters and the idea that the family doesn’t seem to all be on the same page I really liked. This is a good set up to the series and hopefully they will deliver the good in the future issues. I really like this book. RECOMMENDED!
Punks The Comic #1
Image Comics Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, Artist Kody Chamberlain
This has to be one of the strangest comics I have ever seen. The plot from Image is, Dog, Skull, Fist, and Abe Lincoln live in a house, beat the shit out of each other, and frequently humiliate themselves. There is bleeding and sadness; Morrissey would likely approve. The cult hit comedy returns with new stories and a classic in the back. From Eisner/Harvey nominees JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV (The Bunker, I, Vampire) and KODY CHAMBERLAIN (SWEETS, The Ride). This book is more surreal than linear storytelling. The only way I can describe this book is a more adult version of MAD with Abraham Lincoln. This is one of those books that you are either going to like or hate. I don’t see a lot of middle ground on this one. Fialkov lets the story just go in every direction at once. There is a lot of great humor to the book but you really have to have an odd sense of humor to appreciate it. Chamberlain’s art looks like cutouts from magazines and then pasted on the pages. The visual style fits the oddball stories very well and helps visually to help make sense of the chaos.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a rare book that just does whatever it feel like doing and in a way that is what makes it so damn fascinating. In a weird way I’m not sure that I loved the book but I did like it. I guess it’s that sick and twisted side of me that dug it. Fialkov and Chamberlain unapologetic create a book that does what it wants and in the end is the charm of the book. If you’re looking for something that is way outside of the box, you should check this book out.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1
Archie Comics Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Artist Robert Hack, Letterer Jack Morelli
This is a companion book to Afterlife With Archie. The plot from Archie is, Terror is born anew in this dark reimagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s origin. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda. Archie Comic’s latest horror sensation starts here! I have been a big fan of Afterlife With Archie and with Aguirre-Sacasa writing this book also had a really high bar set for this book. While the book does take place in the “Afterlife” universe, it does strike out in a different direction. The great asset to this book is the same as Afterlife, it still feels like Sabrina. It still feels like the Sabrina that we all know and love but Aguirre-Sacasa gives here a more solid background than she had previously. The story pacing for the first issue is very well done and get a lot across without felling bogged down with exposition. Having the reader grow up with Sabrina was a really wise choice and shows how she wants to just fit in but understands the dark side of her heritage also. Hack’s art brings a nice style to the story that gave a nice DC House of Mystery type old school feel from it. His color palette is simply perfect and uses very muted colors to really bring the story to life. He really understands how to use color to not overwhelm the art. It was also a nice touch to reprint the first Sabrina story to show where the character fit into the Archie universe.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a great addition to the “adult” Archie line and a solid start to the series. Aguirre-Sacasa sets up a great story that did all of the right things that a first issue needs to do. Give the readers solid characters so that when you start to get into the strange stuff the audience will buy it. Hack’s artwork perfectly captures the story and brings Sabrina’s world to life. This is another winner from Archie. RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics/Skybound Writer Joshua Williamson, Artist Andrei Bressan, Colorist Adriano Lucas, Letterer Pat Brosseau
An oversized first issue from Image Comics. The plot from Image is, For the Rhodes family, losing their son was the most devastating thing that could’ve ever occurred… but it couldn’t prepare them for what happened when he returned. Williamson of Nailbiter fame scripts this book and liked it but the first issue was a little shaky. As with some books I had sense of familiarity that felt like other story elements. The other thing is that not a lot really happens in the first issue and is mostly exposition. While it was a good read I just wasn’t bowled over by the first issue. Most of the plot ideas like kid getting lost, dad blamed as killer, wife wants divorce, older brother won’t give up seemed a bit basic and a little to formula for me. The story does have some promise but Williamson will have to steer the story away from the average tropes that plagued this first issue. Bressan’s art really saved the book for me. He does a really nice job on both the characters and the backgrounds that really lift the book higher than the story. He gave the book a nice lush feel in both worlds.
Is this book worth your time and money? I am sure that this book will be a crowd pleaser but I felt it fell into a far too familiar territory and needs to really strike out on its own soon. While there are a few original ideas the book fell into the good but not great category. The next couple of issues for me will be make of break to keep it on the pull list.
DC Comics Writers Cameron Stewart (and breakdowns) & Brenden Fletcher, Artist Babs Tarr, Colorist Maris Wicks, Letterer Jared K. Fletcher
DC is finally bringing some fresh blood into the New 52. First last weeks Gotham Academy and now the new creative team on Batgirl. The plot from DC is, Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes… so when a fire destroys everything she owned, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life – and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl… and discovers all-new threats preying on her peers! It’s a re-invention of Batgirl from the boots up, by the incredible creative team of Cameron Stewart (BATMAN INC.), Brenden Fletcher (WEDNESDAY COMICS), and rising star Babs Tarr! This is another book this week that is probably really divide readers. I always look forward to change in comics especially when it’s done to superhero books. I hate to say the average superhero reader is stuck in the same rut and just want more of the same thing. While I am sure that a lot of people are going to bitch that Batgirl has gone all hip and young, I say is that a bad thing? While change can be both good and bad I think that the change in Batgirl is for the better. The script by Stewart and Fletcher is a little heavy on the exposition in their first issue there was enough freshness to mostly overcome it. Batgirl now seems more grounded and real in this incarnation. She has normal people issue that we all deal with on a daily basis, but in her case she also is a superhero to add to her life. They have given her the one thing that has been missing from the character lately is a world for her to live in. While this issue is not entirely a home run it definitely hit a very solid triple play that nearly came all the way home. The really big story with this book is the art of Babs Tarr. Talk about a breath of fresh air at DC Comics. She really gives this new Batgirl a great style and look overall that is very impressive to look at. Tarr does a great job on both the dialog and the action with great ease. Stewart gives her some really great breakdowns for her to work from and the layout of the book is a visual feast. The only minor thing I noticed that a few time the backgrounds were a tad sparse but that is a very minor issue. Wicks color work really complements Tarr’s artwork very beautifully.
Is this book worth your time and money? I was really impressed with the direction that the book is taking. While not perfect but a really solid start to what I hope to be a long run for all involved. This is a nice outside the box book that DC desperately needed. The story while a basic set up does give some glimpses of what is hopefully to come. Tarr really gives the book a great visual look that I really fell in love with and truly knocked my socks off. This is a book to watch and I really hope that it succeeds because superheroes really need to get out of their current rut of been there and done that. Not every character can be done like this, Batgirl is looking to break out of that rut. RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writer Scott Snyder, Artist Jock, Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer Clem Robins
The horror books continue with Wytches. The plot from Image is, Across the globe, century after century, men and women were burned, drowned, hanged, tortured, imprisoned, persecuted, and murdered for witchcraft. None of them were witches. They died protecting a terrible and hidden truth: witches, real witches, are out there. They are ancient, elusive, and deadly creatures that are rarely seen and even more rarely survived. There was a lot of build up to this book and Snyder has been on a real hot streak lately. His script here is solid but the idea is pretty basic but there are enough twist on the idea to help it. The one gripe I did have been that I wished that Sailor’s character was a bit better fleshed out. While it’s really obvious that she is a witch the whole she doesn’t know she really is a witch was a little too predictable. That is what I think hurt this first issue was that it was a very by the numbers first issues. It’s not to say that it was bad but there were absolutely nothing that I didn’t see coming a mile away in the story. I will give Snyder that they cliffhanger at the end of the issue was intriguing, I was disappointed that the rest of the story felt too much of been there and done that before. On the flip side Jock’s art really helps the predictable story look really good. This book looks great I just hope that the upcoming issues stories rise to the level of Jock’s great artwork. Hollingsworth’s color is wonderful and enhances the fantastic art.
Is this book worth your time and money? The book gets off to a decent start but the average story does hurt it more than I would have expected from Snyder. Jock really saves the day on this book and while the art is gorgeous the story really needs to step it up in the next issue because this book is on shaky ground now.
Image Comics Writer Jay Faerber, Artist Scott Godlewski, Colorist Ron Riley
I was not overwhelmed by the first issue so let’s see where the second issue lands. The plot from Image is, As Sheriff Clara Bronson and Deputy Boo continue their investigation of a multiple homicide just outside the Copperhead city limits. Meanwhile, Zeke Bronson gets in way over his head in the Badlands. I will say that Faerber’s story did pick up in the second issue but there is still a little familiar story territory that the book is heading in still. I still like the western feel of the story and the mystery of book is one of the better things that it has going for it. The issue that I am having is that there has been little character development going on in the story beyond the basics. The plot is OK but I am not really feeling much beyond the surface. Faerber needs to develop the characters a little faster or I am going to be leaving the book in the next few issues. Godlewski is doing a nice job on the artwork and visually helping the story along to at least make it a bit more interesting than it really is.
Is this book worth your time and money? The book is starting to spin its wheels and that is really starting to bother me. The book is far from terrible but on the other hand it’s not really going anywhere that I haven’t read before. The setting is different but that is about all so far. I give it one more issue to see if can be turned around.