Boom! Studios Writer Saladin Ahmed, Artist Sami Kivela, Colorist Jason Wordie, Letterer Jim Campbell
I wasn’t sure what to make of Abbott flipping though it at the comic shop this week but boy was I glad that I picked it up. I love that Ahmed went old school with this book that gave it a rich flavor of both the time period and setting it in Detroit. He starts the story off nicely with setting up Elena’s story by giving the readers her back story but didn’t slow down the flow of reading the issue with excessive exposition. We get to know Elena and that really makes this book work really well. So many times writers forget to give the readers an opportunity to get to know the main characters so that when the weird stuff happens your invested in their struggles. Ahmed also takes the old school approach to the mystery and monster elements of the story harking back to Kolchak: The Night Stalker and X-Files that gives the book a flavor that you don’t see very often in todays comics. While there is gore in the book he doesn’t play it for shock value alone. There are reasons for it and that makes it work so well. I liked Kivela and it reminded me of more old school art that fits the story very well. While it may not be flashy artwork that type of style would have not worked as well here and that made me appreciate Kivela’s style that much more. He gives the story the perfect mood that is needed for it to work and does a very nice job on Elena.
Is this book worth your time and money? I was very impressed with this first issue and loved the nostalgia and smartness of Ahmed’s story and along with Kivela have crafted a well executed story that gets this book off to a very solid start and definitely will have you coming back for the second issue. RECOMMENDED!
Doomsday Clock #3
DC Comics Writer Geoff Johns, Artist Gary Frank, Colorist Brad Anderson, Letterer Rob Leigh
I’m still not totally sold on this series but do find it intriguing non the less. I think that part of the issue is that I don’t know if we needed to find out the After Watchmen story. Now I didn’t mind the Before Watchmen stories because they were pre Watchmen and some were good and some were mediocre but they stood on their own. Johns seems to feel the need to answer questions that I don’t think that readers of Watchmen had a burning desire to read. On the other hand the idea of the Watchmen characters in the DC Universe is not a horrible idea either. That is pretty much where I am landing with this book. I like for the most part Johns script but I’m just not in love with the book and that is where I struggle with it. The one thing that I really loved that Johns brought back to the DC Universe is Nathaniel Dusk a brilliant detective character from the 1980’s and loved seeing him again even if it was a movie version that they were watching. There are obvious other seed that Johns is planting for relaunched from this series that I won’t spoil here that are intriguing. As always Frank’s artwork is gorgeous here and a huge selling point for this series and gives it a great visual punch that does make it a grand visual feast. He fills every panel to the brim with lots of great detail and nice little clues to add to the mystery.
Is this book worth your time and money? I still enjoy reading the book so far but I just don’t know how I feel about it yet. I like the aspect of the Watchmen in the DC Universe but not that fond of the answering of the questions to the seminal series is wholly needed. I don’t think that the book is bad by any means but, I’m just not overwhelmed by it either. It is worth reading but what you will get out of the story is entirely up to each reader and how they feel about Watchmen.
Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #4
Dark Horse Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist/Colorist/Letterer David Rubin, Flats Kike J. Diaz
This wonderful mini series spin-off from the main Black Hammer series has been a sheer delight and adds so many more layers to the overall mythology of the books. Lemire has crafted a great mystery with this story that ends but leaves many questions to the Black Hammer Universe. We finally get to find out not only what Sherlock Frankenstein has been up to with the mystery that Lucy has been trying to discover about the disappearance of her father but his origin also. Lemire has crafted the perfect villain origin that captures the tragedy of a great classic villain and gives it such great human heft and soul that is quite touching that Lemire pulls off brilliantly. He also shows that things in life are not always black and white but mostly lie in the grey areas and that is what really sets the Black Hammer Universe apart in the over saturated superhero market. We also get to learn about a surprise connection that Sherlock has with one of the lost members that adds even more layers to the story that you had every thought. How can a praise Rubin’s artwork even more than I have before. He brings such a wonderful touch to this issue that shows his great versatility in being about to shift quickly to Lemire’s script that keeps the reader both entertained and in awe of both the scope and smallest detail of the story perfectly. There is so much to digest with this issue and Rubin delivers some of his best work yet and that is saying quite a bit there. Not only is his line art wonderful but his color work on this particular issue is simply stunning and shows how important color is in comics and how to use it to its fullest.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have been a fan of the Black Hammer series and spinoffs and this series was simply amazing. Lemire and Rubin give this story such great emotions that when I finished this last issue it left me with a great sense of satisfaction that you rarely get in superhero comics. In short this is a grand story with a deep emotional core that will admire for a long time to come. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Kid Lobotomy #4
Black Crown/IDW Writer Peter Milligan, Artist Tess Fowler, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Aditya Bidikar
I had nearly given up on this book that started off pretty solid but lost its footing for the past couple of issues only to deliver one of it’s best stories to date. I think the problem that Milligan had been that the past two issue had real focus issues that really lost me as a reader because the story didn’t feel as if it was moving forward but just spinning it’s wheels. With this issue focusing on Ottla he was able to tell a story about her and the hotel that gave you a reason to care about them both. That has been the struggle with this book is that there are a lot of things that Milligan has been throwing at the wall but very little has been sticking well. I think that the other thing that has been an issue is that the characters have not been fleshed out well and readers struggled to connect with them. Well this issue does solve both of those issues but will he keep in this path that the book desperately needs is an answer that the next issue will be either sink or swim. Fowler does a nice job on the art and has been one of the few reasons that the book has been keeping me going. She does a nice job here with the visuals considering that it’s mostly drama and dialog and she pulls it off quite well in this story.
Is this book worth your time and money? I will give this book one more chance with the next issue but it’s on a very short leash. If Milligan can keep the book on the right track like this issue then there is some hope but with the last two issues being nearly a train wreck. I’m not holding my breath. Fowler has been the most consistent factor on the book but she can only do so much. I can’t recommend the book because of the inconsistency but if it gets back on track then there might be hope for this book after all.
The Ruff and Reddy Show #3 & 4
DC Comics Writer Howard Chaykin, Artist Mac Rey, Letterer Ken Bruzenak,
OK were going to play a little catch up with this title and the good news is that it’s moving along quite nicely from the first two issues. Chaykin is building the story up well and while it’s a more low-key approach that he always takes with the pacing of his stories, it is really paying off nicely for this book. While some will find the pace tough he tends to always writes his stories as a whole and then tries to lay each issue out that will go from beginning to the end. After going back and rereading the third issue it made the fourth issue flow together very nicely. The one thing that you start to notice are the little story elements that seem trivial but Chaykin has a wonderful way of making all of them count as the story goes along. What makes his take on Ruff and Reddy so fascinating is that he really captures the hypocrisy of Hollywood and how good is bad and bad is good. You can never make sense of how the system works because the is no way to really explain it but, Chaykin has found a way to use that to his advantage with this book. The Hollywood system is like a drug you both use it and be a user and that is what makes the road to their comeback such a wild ride. While I love Chaykin’s artwork, I’m so glad that he is teaming up with Rey as the artist on the book. His style that is a mix of animation and reality that is really bringing this book to life. He uses a lot of “camera tricks” with the art where he plays with focus and perspective that is giving this book a unique look that captures that Hollywood style of the old studio days with a lush visual punch that is the perfect match to Chaykin’s script.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is. Yet another home run with the DC reimagined Hanna-Barbera classic characters that is one of the wildest spins yet. Chaykin has taken the Tom and Jerry clones and developed them into both caricatures of the originals and have transformed them into social commentary of the bizarre nature of the Hollywood beast machine and when you add Rey’s stunning artwork to the book you have a real winner here. RECOMMENDED!
Frankenstein Alive Trio
IDW Writers Steve Niles & Bernie Wrightson, Artist Bernie Wrightson, Letterer Robbie Robbins
It’s been a long road to the finish line for Frankenstein Alive series started four years ago and sadly we now know why it took so long to finish because of Wrightson failing health slowed the release of the first three issues to a craw and with his passing it was unclear if the book would be finished. The good news is that the final installment will be out in a few weeks with Kelley Jones finishing the book at Wrightson’s request and IDW has reprint the first three issues to catch both old and new readers up to speed before the final chapter. It was great to go back and reread this story because I had nearly forgotten the story due to the lateness of the individual issues but to read them in one sitting really makes me want the final chapter that much more. Niles is one of the best horror comic writer in the business and had worked with Wrightson in his final years and they were a perfect match. He wisely tailored the story to him and what I love about this story is the delicate balance of epic scope and intimacy of soul that he told with the story. You can also tell that his scripting collaboration with Wrightson is very noticeable in this story. Wrightson has written many scripts over the years and is intimate with the Frankenstein characters and his mythology and you notice that they complement each other perfectly in this story. What they have crafted here is a monster with a soul story that has been told many times before but not as good as this one. What you will love about this story is that Frankenstein is the most human character in the story and has so much heart and soul makes this a very emotional book to read. It’s fitting that Wrightson’s last artwork is with one of his most famous, Frankenstein. While he is known for many great characters over the years it been his association with him that is one of his finest works of art. This story delivers some of his finest work and knowing that this is his pencil work the level of detail that it has without his inking is simply incredible and breathtaking. He fills every page to the brim with lush detail that you can easily understand the time and effort that he put into the art and why it took so long to finish. His use of grey tone is astounding and give the art a subtle color look that delivers the mood and tone that really makes this a visual treat to savor every page of this book.
Is this book worth your time and money? Even if you had bought these individual issues previously at eight bucks this book is an incredible bargain and gets you ready for the final issue. It also reminds you of the power of Wrightson’s work and the incredible loss of his talent. You can also see the love and friendship between Niles and Wrightson that fills this final collaboration with sentimental beauty. They are two masters of the medium and is giving us one final gift to say goodbye. There are many reasons to get emotional about this book and one is simply that we get one last great story from Wrightson. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!