Back to business after this weeks side track of the great April Fools Fiesta at Pop Culture Maven. There were some new books this week and some returning books. Lets see how if there are some keepers this week.
The Premature Burial One-Shot
Dark Horse Comics Based on the stories by Edgar Allen Poe, Writer and Artist Richard Corben, Letterer Nate Piekos
When it comes to horror comics there is none better than Richard Corben. He continues to adapt Edgar Allen Poe stories and when they are released it’s always a cause for celebration. The plot from Dark Horse is, The fear of being buried alive is presented in two horrifying Poe adaptations by Eisner Hall of Fame inductee Richard Corben—“The Premature Burial” and “The Cask of Amontillado.” Corben was born to adapt Poe’s stories and these two stories are simply delightful. The thing that I loved about these two stories is that they have a nice dark sense of humor sprinkled into the story. Corben has masterfully adapted the stories in to tight short stories that play on people who try to get what they want but in the end pay the price. Corben really nails the visuals of the stories with such rich detail that brings them to life. As usual his color work shows how is brilliant he is. If you want to see how color should be used, this book shows you why he is so great at it. This book is two master story tellers doing what they do best.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are a fan of Poe and Corben then you know how great this book is. If you have not experienced Corben’s adaptations of Poe this is a really good starting point. The thing that makes this book is that this is real old school horror. It’s not about blood and guts it’s about getting under your skin and into the dark parts of your fears. This is a horror readers feast. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Monster & Madman #2
IDW Writer Steve Niles, Artist Damien Worm
Steve Niles is THE modern horror comics writer that has been the sole island of great horror comics of late. The plot from IDW is, After a brutal journey, the Frankenstein Monster arrives in London. The year is 1888 and the area of the city known as Whitechapel is about to become a slaughterhouse. Eleven women will be murdered. Only five will be attributed to Jack the Ripper… discover the secret history of the Ripper and the Frankenstein Monster! I was a big fan of issue #1 of this book and eagerly awaited the second issue. Thankfully I was not disappointed. The blending of these two characters is a stroke of genus and there worlds are blending together quite nicely. My favorite thing in the book is they way that Niles portrays Frankenstein as the tragic character that he is. He is also bringing a side of him that you rarely see and that is he is a monster with a soul. Worm continues to impress with his artwork. He really delivers the mood that the book richly deserves and needs to work. It’s rare now days that an artist understands how the entire scope of the art is important. Worm uses the backgrounds with art and color to really envelope you into the world of the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? Niles lately has really perfected the great mini series. Between this and Breath of Bones they have been my favorite books that he has written. I really don’t know how he is able to fit so much story into only a three issue mini series. This book really defines how a writer and artist collaborate like a well oiled machine. I hope with the final issue I might just say that this book is perfect and with fingers crossed I hope that I am right. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Moon Knight #2
Marvel Comics Writer Warren Ellis, Artist Declan Shalvey, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Chris Eliopoulos
The second issue of Moon Knight should have been the first issue. The plot from Marvel is, Why are random people being hunted down by a sniper? Moon Knight must find out why and try to stop him. While I like the first issue this second issue story really showed how to tell the same old story but in a really fresh way. For most of the issue you are unsure of what is really going on but it is all tied together in the end. The only gripe that I had with the issue is that the first eight pages needed to be continuous without the ads disrupting the flow of it. The idea of using panels to show each persons story was just brilliant. Ellis does well by telling this done in one story and brings back the more classic Moon Knight than the first issue did. I hope that the next issue will start to deal with where the book is going to go. While this issue is really good I am unsure of the direction that the book is going. Shalvey’s art really brings the story to life. He masterfully does the eight panel page with such detail in each panel that you immediately get it. In a nice nod to the Sienkiewicz days he brings back the mile long cape that nearly takes up one whole page. It’s very impressive how Shalvey can handle both dialog and the big action scenes with such ease.
Is this book worth your time and money? While this issue is a really nice step up from the first issue I just wonder where Ellis is going with the book. I’m just not feeling any real subplots yet. If you missed the first issue you can certainly read this issue with no problem. Hopefully the momentum with this issue will bring good stuff next issue. A good improvement but still not sure about the long-term prospects.
Avatar Press Writer Garth Ennis, Pencils Facundo Percio, Inker Sebastian Cabrol, Colorist Hernan Cabrera, Letterer Kurt Hathaway
I’ll be honest that I don’t really read any Avatar Press books because while I like horror I do not care for gore blowout that most of their book suffer from. Most Avatar books are just a bloodbath just because most of the time. The plot from Avatar is, Caliban – a horror filled romp through outer space on a freighter hurling through the universe. The new series explores the lives of the crew of the Caliban. When the ship unexpectedly encounters an alien derelict while hurtling through hyperspace a horrifying claustrophobic chain of events begins to take place. Ennis is best known for his books Preacher and his run on Hellblazer heads in to the science fiction and horror realm with this new book. I did feel that the first act of the story that was introducing the characters seemed really disjointed and I didn’t feel as if I was getting to know the characters. While the issue was OK it did feel a bit too familiar. While it’s a bit early to tell it felt a bit too much like Ridley Scott’s Alien. The artwork by Percio and Cabrol is definitely a step up from most Avatar books and has very good detail to the art. They did capture the mood that the book needs and nailed it.
Is this book worth your time and money? Not sure yet. While the first issue was not a wipeout it did seem a bit to much of something that you have read before. It’s worth checking out but hoping that it does bring some original ideas to the table in the next issue. Solid artwork really helped this book be a bit better than it could have been. Not sure yet and will give it at least one more issue.
Marvel Comics Writer Charles Soule, Artist Javier Pulido, Colorist Muntsa Vicente, Letterer Clayton Cowles
This is really becoming one of my favorite reads with each new issue. The plot from Marvel is, We the people find you DOOM! When the son of Victor Von Doom seeks extradition, Jen Walters will go to the ends of the earth for Justice! All hail Charles Soule for bringing the fun back to superhero comics. It’s been so depressing lately with dark and brooding heroes that She-Hulk thankfully is bucking that trend in style. Soule is doing a wonderful job of that fine line between fun and silly. He is keeping the book fresh and snappy but still laying an underlying story that is giving nice momentum to the book. I want to thank artist Pulido for showing how to do art for the print medium. I feel sorry for anyone who buys a digital version of this issue. There is no way that you will be able to really grasp the incredible layouts that he has done for the story. The story has multiple pages that are double pages that uses both pages to the fullest. I must point out the great lettering that Cowles is doing on this book and this issue in particularly is very impressive. Marvel has really been surprising me with some of their books lately and showing that they are willing to take chances on different types of books lately.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is a steal at $2.99 and is bringing back fun superheroes in a really big way. Solid stories and great art are making this book a really must read every issue. While the book is not going to cure cancer but it will tickle your funny bone for sure. RECOMMENDED!
The Field #1
Image Comics Writer and Letterer Ed Brisson, Artist Simon Roy Colorist Simon Cough
The Field is one of those books that leaves you scratching your head a little bit. The plot from Image is, A man wakes in a field wearing nothing but his underwear. He’s got no idea who he is or how he got there. His only connection to the outside world a cell phone on which he receives mysterious texts warning him of impending danger. Danger like Christian, an ex-bible sales-man in the middle of crime spree fueled by Christian Rock, dirty sex, meth, murder and keeping this underwear clad, nameless and pastless man close by his side. The main reason I picked up the book was because of Roy’s art that was really fantastic on the Prophet revival. The problem with the first issue was that I get that Brisson is purposely not trying to give things away he didn’t really give the readers a character to latch on to. You have to be able to care about something and I really didn’t. Roy’s artwork was the only thing that salvaged the book and is very good considering the story that he was working with.
Is it worth your time and money? I didn’t hate the book, I just didn’t really feel it did much either. I felt as lost as the guy in the field that does not remember anything. Christian just came off as an ass and the whole WTF ending was where the whole thing just fell apart. Ultimately the book fails to go anywhere and with nobody to hang on to emotionally I doubt that I will be visiting The Field again.
Dark Horse Comics Writer Greg Rucka, Artist Toni Fejzula, Letterer Nate Piekos
How ironic that I review Veil #2 after The Field. The plot from Dark Horse is, A conjuring doesn’t work out as planned, and one man’s life is in danger . . . but when you have the powers of the devil at your fingertips, how bad can it get? Double-crossed and angry, the mystery man is on the hunt . . . and Veil is his target. This is how you do mystery in a book. While we still do not know who Veil is the difference between this great book and The Field is CHARACTER. Rucka give us characters that you give a crap about. You don’t have to give everything away but you need to give the readers something to grab onto with the story and Rucka continues to do so. So of the mystery is starting to slowly gel together but is still keeping a nice pace with the story. I really loved the introduction to Mr. Scarborough because he knows things that we do not and the dark magic angle is really intriguing. Fejzula art and color adds so much richness to the story and his layouts and panel design are wonderful. This one of those books that is on a path for possible greatness and definitely one to be reading.
Is this book worth your time and money? Rucka knows how to unfold a mystery and Veil is no exception. There are more questions than answers right now but I am loving the questions that he is asking in the book. It is leaving me with wanting more with each issue and with Fejzula masterfully brining this story to life it’s well worth the $3.50 cover price. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writer Mark Millar, Artist Goran Parlov, Colorist Ive Svorcina, Letterer Markl Sunjic
Mark Millar continues with his version of Flash Gordon. The plot from Image is, Duke McQueen once saved an alien world from destruction—but it happened in a place nobody believes in, during a time nobody remembers. Surrounded by memories of his late wife and his happier past, Duke’s days as a hero are long gone…or so he thinks! Now, a young visitor from the world Duke once saved is coming to him with a desperate plea for help. It’s one last chance at adventure for Duke. Issue 2 continues the set up of Duke deciding to relive the adventures of his visit to Tantalus to help them again. While the book is not super deep and it’s basically the old man version of Flash Gordon, it’s not the most stunning book you are going to read this week by any means. It has snappy dialog and fun story. The art by Parlov is the real reason to but this book. The art has a nice european feel to it that is very rare in American comics and that is the real treat. I do hope that the story does pick up a little next issue. The second issues is just an extension of the first issue and between the two feels a little padded.
Is this book worth your time and money? The second issue story wise did tread on water a bit but had some nice dialog. The book is worth $2.99 for Parlov’s beautiful artwork alone. I will give it a few more issue to see if Millar will pick up the pace with the story. It’s an OK read but hopefully Millar has some twist coming up for the book.