Saturday, December 29, 2012

REVIEW: To Hell You Ride #1

Story: Lance Henrikson & Joseph Maddrey
Art: Tom Mandrake
Review: Will Dubbeld

Okay, I totally bought this because Bishop from Aliens wrote it. Or co-wrote it. I usually don't buy in to comics written by actors or musicians because, frankly, most of them are poor actors or musicians and I can only imagine what horror is wrought against the comic industry via Nic Cage's Confused Man or Supermegathrasher by That One Guy From System of A Down. If I want a crap comic I'm sure that Jeph Loeb or Rob Liefeld are more than willing to accommodate. No need for me to outsource into the entertainment industry and subject myself to the plotting of hack actors or guys from glorified garage bands.

Lance Henrikson got a free pass, though. It's based purely on hypocritical favoritism, but go screw.
This is Bishop from Aliens we're talkin' about here. Old Man Harley from Pumpkinhead. Frank from Millennium.
The sheriff from Piranha II...
This guy's been in comic books his entire acting career, for cryin' out loud.

Plus, I think Henrikson is awesome, so I bought his book.

To Hell... opens in 1800s Colorado as prospectors strike gold and a mining camp soon springs up around a Native American burial site, which as we all know never ends well for any of the involved parties. Due to the desecration wrought by the white man, local natives must make a sacrifice to 'appease the spirits and restore balance'. Four native braves fire arrows into the sky, run down into the mining camp, and take their own arrow to the chest as it plummets back to earth. The first two braves are successful, but the miners shoot down the last two and interrupt the ceremony and turn ritual into curse. The four warriors become spirits called Watchers and await the last two arrows to reach the ground, at which point the narrator informs us they will "come for us". So, right away the book falls into a bit of a cliche with ignorant white man despoiling the lands of proud aboriginal people and unleashing Powers He Does Not Understand.

Flash forward to present day, and our protagonist is revealed to be a down on his luck Native American named Seven George, affectionately known as "Two Dogs" to the white man who is, unsurprisingly, trying to keep him down. George lives in a ramshackle farmstead with a few animals and no real means to make a living.
Did I mention George was a down on his luck Indian? Who also drinks and drives a junked out pickup truck?

Checking off the mental stereotype checklist, I continued...
Luckily, my attention was caught by two exploding chickens. That's right. Exploding chickens and a footnote telling you the chemical reaction that caused the explosion (it's CaC2 + H2O = Exploding chicken, according to the text. Note that I in no way, shape, or form condone the practice of chicken combustion. It was pretty sweet to see in a comic book, though...)

Seven George then is off to cut firewood in his junky pickup (which has 'NDNZ' spraypainted on the side...), presumably after cleansing himself of chicken guts. The tree he's cutting explodes after being struck by one of the arrows from the prelude, finally falling back to earth. George retrieves the arrow and sees the Watcher spirit, causing him to hop in his Indian hoopty and flee.

We are then treated to a seemingly out of place interlude of a 1989 incident involving Seven George's grandfather, Five George, and the town sheriff recruiting him to find a dead white girl.
Because, y'know, he's a wizened old Indian, and those guys always have mystical spirit powers and are chock full of folksy old wisdom, and can speak to trees and mountain lions and chickadees.
Stereotypically speaking...

The interlude ends with Five George finding the dead white girl and we are led to believe that he takes the fall for the murder, thus explaining why Seven George may be such a pariah in the community.
The book ends with Seven George drunkenly running his pickup truck into a statue in town square and ending up in the hoosegow, rambling some cryptic dialogue about the black arrowhead protecting him from the curse as one of the Watcher spirits closes in on him in his cell...

Overall this was an enjoyable read as long as the numerous cliches and stereotypes involving Native Americans and Devil White Man don't color your opinion. There wasn't anything particularly insulting, no 'smokum peace pipe' or any shit like that, just played-out tropes that have been around for as long as Natives have been portrayed in media and as long as Ignorant White Man has been desecrating burial grounds. The book has quite a bit of symbolism, mostly involving birds as heralds of ill-fortune and change, and is fairly vague about the curse and its Watchers. This didn't detract from the story, and I almost always prefer books that don't cram exposition down your throat. This'll keep you guessing and, from a marketing standpoint, will hopefully keep you buying the book.

The art was very good, invoking the black and white horror magazines of yesteryear in the style, albeit To Hell... is in color and Chris Peter and Mat Lopes do a phenomenal job in that department.

I don't know that we've got a blockbuster on our hands with Lance Henrikson's To Hell You Ride, but this modern day Weird West story piqued my curiosity enough to stick with it for now. There's still plenty of opportunity to jump the shark on this one, but if I could make it through Piranha II with Lance, I can make it through To Hell... with him.
The exploding chickens didn't hurt, either...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

REVIEW:Colder # 1;2

Writer: Paul Tobin
Art and Covers: Juan Ferreyra
Review: Cody Miller

I’d never heard a thing about it. I was making my way down the wall towards the “A” section at my local comic book store. I’m sure every fan boy has their own rituals when entering their local holiest of holies. For me, it’s starting at Avengers and ending with the X-Men. So there I was doing my thing….quick Before Watch Men, look away…..then BLAM. POW. There it was…there it was. Possibly the best cover ever to grace the face of any comic….ever. Not the most iconic or the most prized and certainly not the most valuable, but most definitely the creepiest, the most disturbing, and the most deliciously hideous cover art I have been privileged to lay my eyes on. Colder……what the hell is this? Who the hell are Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra? I have no idea. Will my wife get upset when I frame this bad puppy and hang it in the living room? But do

I care? No. No. I do not. I don’t care how hard she beats me.

Declan Thomas’ body temperature is dropping. He doesn’t get sick and can’t feel pain, which more often than not has to come in handy. Declan is an ex-inmate fresh out of the insane asylum. He has been “gifted” the ability to step inside a person’s madness and sometimes cure it. Declan hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out because when his body temperature reaches zero…’s game over.

Our antagonist, Nimble Jack, is clearly not of this world. As he seems to delight in torturing the mad and eating what’s left of their sanity or perhaps the fear that one oozes when totally off their rocker. At one point our cavorting villain of sorts drags an agoraphobic woman into an internal nightmare full of “people” with giant eyeballs for foreheads……yeah, she commits suicide, but who wouldn’t?

Colder is off to a very solid start presenting a comic that stands out as something truly unique. Tobin had seemingly come up with a story unlike anything he, or many other people have written yet. If you’re into Locke and Key or Preacher, then you’re guaranteed to enjoy this one.
You can’t miss it. It’s the one with the cover of a guy shoving his fingers through his face. But if you’re expecting pure gross-out horror, look elsewhere. Colder is a wonderfully subtle, mysterious, and frequently horrifying journey into the nature of madness. Buy two of each issue…’s that tasty.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

REVIEW: Point of Impact #1;2

Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Koray Kuranel
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

I was pretty upset when I heard that Near Death was cancelled. It was consistently one of my favorite books on the rack. The writing was always right there for me. So I found myself very excited when I heard about the release of Point of Impact. The book has been pretty on point (pun intended) halfway through it's limited issue run. The cover on the first issue sold me on the art right away. Koray Kuranel can definitely draw landscapes well, as is evident throughout his limited body of work. In addition to a quality comic, Faerber brought back Under the Influence, essays that mostly consist of his musings about other works in the crime genre. If you are into crime fiction, there is probably something of interest for you there.

Point of Impact does not suffer from any pacing issues either, giving the reader a steady mix of action and plot development. This one doesn't get bogged down, but can be quite dialogue heavy. That is fine on my end, because I have always felt that Faerber's strength as a writer lies with the well developed characters more than the overall theme. My only criticism so far, is that this one is pretty much a straight up crime book. Let me explain.

What was so refreshing about books like Saga, and even Dark Horse's Axe Cop, was the originality. I know you really can't lump those books together, but a lot of the stuff I see on the rack these days seems beat to death. Saga is undoubtedly a science fiction comic, but the story and the art elevate it to something completely different even though there have been thousands of science fiction comics on the shelves in the past. Bedlam got great reviews, and for good reason, but I felt that you could have thrown Joker into that book and it would have made one hell of a Batman comic. It's an edgy read, but ultimately does not get it done separating itself from the most mild Garth Ennis book you can find. Now that guy's got some edge. I get why people love the crime genre, but Point of Impact so far suffers from this same genre malaise.

You can't really tear this one to pieces at all. The art is great. The plot and characters work. The dialogue is sharp, but I have read a lot of other crime books that are quite similar. Even the art suffers this same fate. In some of the better crime stories, the city itself almost acts as another character, in this story it is well drawn but pretty generic. This book is well worth the three dollar cover price, but this one isn't breaking any new ground.

This is a much better read than most of the stuff that you're going to find out right now. With books like Point of Impact and Fatale, the crime genre in comics is back in a big way. You go comics. I hope that Image sees the potential in Faerber's writing and signs him on again, because he could be great, and right now he is well above pretty damn good. Koray Kuranel should be around for years to come. That guy can draw. Put your money on the counter with confidence and pick up Point of Impact today.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

REVIEW: Captain America #1

Writer: Rick Rememder
Art: John Romita, Jr.
Review: Will Dubbeld

What do we want?


When do we want it?


Hey, anybody remember when Marvel and DC weren't constantly trying to one-up one another and aping each others ideas?

Me neither, but I think it was in the 80s. Anyhow, in the wake of DCs New 52 we are gifted with Marvel Now! (exclamation theirs), a non-reboot reboot of Marvel's titles. Clean break, starting over, renumbering everything at #1 just like New 52 did, and tossing foolish sounding adjectives in the titles. Because somehow "Uncanny X-Men" I'm fine with, but "Savage Wolverine" just sounds silly. They might as well used "The Hellacious Hulk" or "The Splendiferous Spider-Man!"

Bitch and moan I may but I will still try more of these than not, much to my chagrin. Can't help it. I love comics. Every time (EVERY SINGLE TIME) I see Batman sling a Batarang at a thug or Wolverine snikt a Hand ninja I can't help but smile, just a hair, and think "fuck yeah, comic books".
So, I'm what marketing strategists presumably refer to as an easy target, and I'm inexplicably drawn into my Nerd-Soaps no matter how bad they end up. Shadowland, Before Watchmen, I'm lookin' at you...
At least Chaos War gave Alpha Flight back.

So, as Marvel Now! titles start their trickle to the newsstand, this Marvel Zombie dutifully tests the water. I've tried some Hulk and some time traveling X-Men and I shan't be back for seconds on either. Certainly my favorite piece of comic book propaganda since Chick Tracts had to have a great hook and pique my curiosity enough to lasso my interest. Certainly the Star Spangled Avenger wouldn't let me down. After all, I stuck with him through The Return of Bruce Wa...erm...Captain America: Reborn. Admittedly, I was not always a fan of Captain America. When I was younger I had him pegged as too hokey, too goody-goody. Then I smartened up and realized that it's a comic book, and it's supposed to by slightly hokey and goody-goody. We're talking about a WWII era superhero that has little wings on his head an socked Adolph Hitler on the jaw. Not everything has to be The Crow, I realized, and Cap and I were off to put the hurt on some Nazis!

Our most recent showing of Captain America gives us a glimpse of Steve Rogers as a lad in 1920s Brooklyn watching his mother suffer the abuses of his drunken father.
Because Marvel hasn't given us enough daddy issues with Bruce Banner's father,

Howard Stark, Wolverine/Daken, or Hulk and his brat pack from Sakaar.
So my optimism soon gave way to narrow-eyed fanboy scrutiny within the first couple of pages. After that I was treated to a classic Captain America clinging to a crashing plane and battling hippie terrorists led by the Green Skull, the evil hippie mastermind.
I'm hoping for a Red/Green Skull book soon. Hopefully in time for Christmas.

This was more like it, Cap beating up goons and ricocheting his shield off of things. That's kind of his deal. After a few pages of reprieve I was treated to an awkward scene between Cap and his belle, Sharon Carter. I'm all in favor of character development and drama and romantic interludes, but reading sexual innuendo between the two was a little sacrilegious, and not in that good Garth Ennis sort of way. I'm pretty sure Sharon makes an oblique comment low The Captain's...Victory Legumes hang. Even in jest, that seems wrong.

With that painful exchange, Sharon and Cap investigate a mysterious subway car that has appeared and is dropping off mystery passengers. Cap hops the subway car and is whisked away, car and all,with a flash of light.
Presumably to Hogwarts.

Lots of filler pages follow as Captain America awakens in an evil laboratory with some evil mutated fellows and is subjected to some evil experiments.
Our villain revel is none other than Arnim Zola, everyone's favorite Nazi with television set body, which I was fine with. He does a bit of monologuing and then Cap escapes from his torture chair like so much Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. He then proceeds to trash the lab and escapes into what might be some dystopian civilization or Days of Future Whatsis or alternate earth or somesuch. They don't explain it, and by this time I'm not sure I care.

Our adventure closes with Cap revealing he made off with one of Zola's clone babies/eugenics projects/future Boy From Brazil and is off to Brave New Worlds.
Because not only does Marvel have difficulty with positive male role-models, it feels the need to pair a dude and a baby up to fight bad guys. Refer to Cable/Hope and Nomad/Bucky if necessary. Next issue blurb showed us a long haired, grizzled Cap with a laser gun and holding the hand of what appears to be a young girl. On the same page is a brief editorial by Rick Rememder about the new book and the journey fans are about to embark on, and his inspirations.

Then it clicked. All the pieces fell into place. This book wasn't bad, it certainly wasn't great, but it felt like it could have been. After reading Remender's afterward it was revealed that his favorite bits of Captain America were the 1970s Jack Kirby issues with "a strange mixture of espionage, science fiction, and pure psychedelic imagination".


Having read some of those books, I can see what Remender was going for. All of the elements were there, whacked out hippie villain, weird disappearing subway car, weird Nazi scientist-robot fella, but it was like Remender was trying to make a cake, bought all the ingredients, and then didn't measure them before mixing. He was on the right track and just fell shy of the mark.

As far as JRJRs art goes, you'll like it if you like his usual fare. There are very few people in favor of his art that I talk to and I'm pretty sure at least one of those people dropped a beloved title due to Romita's art. I'm a firm believer that with an excellent inker and colorist, JRJR can do some pretty good pencils. Man Without Fear, Enemy of the State, The Eternals, and many other books he's drawn were very well done, but sometimes it just doesn't pan out for him. Darker books with a feeling of grit and visceral action suit him, whereas team books with brightly presented heroes do not. He has that muddied penciling technique and seems like he rushes his work. It also sometimes feels like he learned his craft via that "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" book.
Anyone else have that book?

The cover was very well done, but the interiors were another story. Granted, I'll talk Romita's rushed, muddied work over Liefeld's Sistine Chapel and day, but who wouldn't?

Upon finishing this book I found myself in an awkward spot, torn between my love for Captain America and the general feeling of "meh" the script and art gave me. I'll probably stick with it for a few issues or so, but thusfar I have not gotten $3.99 worth of wow from this book. It didn't matter how often he threw his shield, it just felt like the book was coming up short and I hope it'll get on track after Remender gets a few more issues of it under his belt. If it ends up disappointing, I'm sure I can get my Cap fix in any number of Marvel Now! titles that have the word "Avenger" on the cover.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

REVIEW: 47 Ronin #1 (of 5)

Writer: Mike Richardson
Art: Stan Sakai

"To know this story is to know Japan"

The tale of the 47 Ronin dates back to 18th century Japan, and is based on real events stemming from an incident involving a disgraced feudal lord and the quest of his loyal retainers to avenge his death. I'll not bog down the review with an in-depth history lesson and dissertation about the 47 Ronin, though I am sorely tempted to do so. Needless to say, it's a story about revenge, plain and simple. Samurai revenge.

This issue is all set-up for the main attraction, but is done in such a manner as to not bore the reader. The framework is laid with an (assumed) Ronin at a temple making an offering to the samurai buried there and telling his story to an inquisitive monk. Some years previous, Asano Takumi-Naganori, a daimyo, was summoned to entertain envoys who were visiting the shoguns court at the behest of the emperor of Japan. (daimyos were powerful territorial lords in feudal Japan, and the shogun was essentially a military dictator under which Japan was united. In a very generic nutshell). As Asano hails from a remote province and is largely ignorant of the intricacies of the shogun's court, he is to be tutored and thereby avoid dishonor as Japanese culture was (and is) steeped in etiquette and conduct. The problem facing our protagonist is his tutor, in fact, is a bag of dicks.

The tutor expects a hefty bribe for his efforts, and our Lord Asano refuses to pay the man for doing his duty, appointed to him by the shogunate. In response, the tutor endeavors to sabotage Asano's progress in hopes he will make errors in the intricacies of courtly etiquette in the face of the shoguns diplomats. In doing so, Asano will bring dishonor to his family, his lands, his name, his mailman, his dog, and anything else associated with him.

Because the Japanese take their courtly etiquette very, very seriously.

Matters boil over when Asano's tutor calls him a bumpkin country farmer, enraging the lord to the point he draws his blade in the shogun's palace and assaults the tutor. As the Japanese take their aforementioned courtly etiquette very, very seriously, this slight is punishable by death.

At this point, those unversed in the story should be able to divine why Lord Asano's 47 ronin embark on a mission of revenge, and on whom.

As I said, this issue is framework, merely setting the wheels in motion for the inevitable clash to come. Richardson, despite screenwriting Timecop, does a fine job here. From the opening scene with Asano and his daughter sharing a tender moment before his journey to his humble acceptance of his tutor's abuses until he finally snaps, you really feel for this hapless fellow. Richardson has a very blatant style, painting the heroes as heroes and the villains as villains without pausing for any grey areas to appear. Black and white storytelling will set the pace in this series, leaving no ambiguity as to who the good guys are and no sympathies for the bad guys.

Stan Sakai's art is, as always, excellent. I may be biased due to my adoration of Sakai's most famous work involving an anthropomorphic rabbit samurai, but I nonetheless find his art to be extremely expressive for it's seemingly simple line art style mixed with a look that is reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints. It was also a treat to see it in color, due to the fact that Usagi Yojimbo is a black and white book.

Both Richardson and Sakai have put extra care and detail into the historical accuracy of the setting and characters, complete with footnotes, and those familiar with Stan Sakai's work will notice his theme of weaving history into his art and stories.

Mike Richardson ends issue #1 with an editorial about his 25 year love of the tale of the 47 Ronin and how the book came to be published.

I'll stick with this one for the duration. It's more in the vein of Akira Kurosawa or the Lone Wolf & Cub comic than a Sonny Chiba throwdown, and the extra care that Richardson and Sakai are putting into the book show through. Although the story is somewhat folkloric, it's historical and cultural status haven't really been explored in American media thus far and it's high time Western readers were made aware of this classic tale.
"To know this story is to know Japan" indeed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

REVIEW: Lot 13 #1

Artist: Glenn Fabry
Writer: Steve Niles
Colors: Adam Brown
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Review: Cody "Madman" Miller

Oh yay! Another new title from D.C. that will likely be about as exciting as watching the golf channel; that I will end up hating. It’s not that D.C. doesn’t have any good books out (I’ve been digging Talon and still pull Dial H on the monthly). It’s just that I’m a Marvel Zombie as Mr. Will “Brass Cannon” Dubbeld put it so eloquently in his last review. Not that I buy every title that Marvel puts out, because I don’t. It’s just that Marvel’s characters are nearer and dearer to my heart than the Supermans, Wonder Womans, and most certainly Aqua Mans of comicdom. That being said, for the most part Lot 13 was better than a kick in the balls any day..

I’d never even heard anything about Lot 13 until I went to my local comic book establishment and found it had mysteriously infiltrated my folder. Shawn, the resident comic book wizard and owner of said shop, Comics Cubed, is cool like that. Knowing I write reviews he’ll randomly put the odd new titles and other books he has given the thumbs up on in my folder. Most of the times he’s justified in doing so, but, once in a while due to insufficient funds or lack of interest on my part, I put a few back. But with his “If you read it and hate it you can bring it back” policy, it’s really a win win. Anywho, let’s talk Lot 13.

Well, I believe the best part of this book is undeniably the artwork by Glenn Fabry. I liked his work on Preacher and Daredevil/Bullseye so it wasn’t really a surprise that his art stands out here as well. Most pages wouldn’t need the dialogue or side notes to understand what is transpiring. Fabry's facial expressions tell all. That is a sign of a good comic artist. Adam Brown’s color wheel is spinning as it should; his color work really sets the mood throughout.
I can’t say much about Niles’ writing. It’s not that it’s awful.It’s just this story has been done more times than you can shake a dead cat.

We start out in 1670 in the new world Fair Fax County, Virginia; for the first five pages anyway. Which happen to be the best pages in this book in my humble opinion. A man named Robert Wyatt is being posthumously tried for his apparent suicide and murder of his wife and three kids. He is found guiltily in the eyes of the court and their bodies are mutilated and dumped into a mass grave.

Fast forward to the present day. A family of five is moving out of their apartment. They get to their new house and it is being fumigated. Sans a place to stay for the night, the family hops back into their RV and goes looking for a place to rest their weary heads until the toxic fumes have gone the way of the buffalo. Then and only then can our little clan enter into their newly purchased slice of heaven. Anyway, they end up splattering some poor short bastard with a bulbous head; complete with a forehead the size of a small family car. When the family gets out to check the carnage, the splattered fellow has vanished. Ooooh. So, yeah, they pack back into their murderous RV and end up finding a couple of rooms for rent in a rundown apartment building (In the middle of nowhere).

Sooner than later, there is a knock on one of the kids’ doors. He opens it and there stands the splatter victim with an extremely pissed off look on his face. That’s it. By the time I was finished reading this book, I was glad. Being the open minded person that I am, I will read at least one more issue. Unlike some fella who writes for HCB, I can’t condemn a book after reading just one single issue, no matter how hilarious the timeline on the last page is. The verdict is in……..meh…I’ll get the 2nd issue for two reasons…

#1 I know the art will be amazing.
#2 Guy with the bulbous head. We could all use a little more head…


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

REVIEW: Marvel Zombies Halloween One-shot

Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Review: Will Dubbeld

Well, it's that time of the year again. Leaves fall off of the trees, restaurants start offering pumpkin as an addenda to every confection, latte, or baked good. Little beggars scour the neighborhood for sweets and criminal mischief, and zombies overtake pop culture more than they usually do. Granted, All Hallow's Eve will have come and gone by the time this hits the internets, but I couldn't find a Marvel Zombie Thanksgiving one-shot to review, so hear ya go.

The Marvel Zombies phenomena launched in 2005, written by some Kirkman fella who I hear is peripherally involved in the zombie field to some degree. I dunno, I hadn't heard of him...
It seems that the Marvel Zombies idea may have started as a throw away miniseries that exploded into a monster all its own. Spawned from a story arc in Ultimate Fantastic Four (of all books) and spinning into 9 (!) minis, crossing over with the Army of Darkness comic book (which I did not follow due to my rabid hatred of inter-company crossovers) and finally plateauing with Howard the Duck battling Nazi zombies.

Boom goes the dynamite.

The whole thing is ludicrous, and I can't help but buy every stinkin' one. The term Marvel Zombie is doubly applicable here, as it is an endearing(ish) term of affection (I think) for Marvel's legion of fans who will unthinkingly buy every bit of newsprint the company produces, from the drek to the gems.

I, myself, have been a Marvel Zombie since 1990 or so...

Anywho, my neverending hunger compelled me to buy this book and it slaked the ravening, if only for a moment.

Scribe Fred Van Lente was a familiar name, having written some of the other Zombie series and a pretty solid run on The Incredible Hercules. A pretty funny run, really.

His undead momentum keeps up in this one-shot, opening with exploding zombie heads and panning out to a dilapidated farmstead. Our protagonists are introduced, a mother and son who are fighting the good fight of survival horror like so many before them. The boy (Peter) finds a black kitten is the walls of the farmhouse, and soon after is explained the meaning of Halloween by his mother and she even rustles up a Wolverine costume for him.

Because, y'know, dilapidated farmhouses are lousy with child sized Wolverine costumes...
However, the mother states that Wolverine was, "always my hero", so a fun-sized snikters to anyone who guesses her identity.

Mom then boogied into town to find some candy for Peter and while she's away, Deus Ex Kitten gets out of the house and wanders off. Consequently, what's a young, plucky lad in a superpowered zombie apocalypse to do in such a clearly dangerous scenario?
Why, he sets off to go rescue his wayward kittie.

In the dark.
In a Wolverine costume.
Well, it is a tried and true horror trope...

Young Peter makes his way to town, finding it strewn with corpses and abandoned automobiles such as you'll find in every zombie movie, and goes to the one house with lights on. The door is answered by a hook-nosed, gangly bearded fellow that you would expect to find introducing the stories in a Vault of Crypt of Terror Horror comic. Of Fear.

They have a brief exchange about how foolish young Peter is and how the man prefers Devil's Night over Halloween. He then slams the door in young Peter's face without so much as a "get off'n my property!" and that's when the real fun starts.

My most favorite part of the Marvel Zombie books is seeing the familiar cast of Marvel portrayed as horrible flesh eating creatures from Hell, and in the following page Peter is assaulted by a zombie squirrel.

Time for the crazy, people.

This time around I was treated to zombie versions of Karolina Dean (from the Runaways), Darkhawk, that metal guy from Avengers Academy, one of the Power Pack, and zombie Squirrel Girl.
Zombie. Squirrel. Girl.

Peter naively asks them if the horrid undead creatures have seen his kitty and then chastises them for being unloved dead selfish stupid heads. The zombie response is pretty much, "oh yeah? Well you're dumb, kid", and prepare for noms.

Mom shows up in the nick of time, and we are treated to the glorious image of Zombie Darkhawk getting his eyes stabbed out by a child in a Wolverine costume. That alone was worth the price of admission, folks. After a narrow escape, our heroes are cornered by a horde of zombie squirrels and all seems lost as the undead b-listers close in on the pair.

Luckily, as the clock strikes midnight, the Grumpy Old Man from before appears reciting lyrics from the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For the Devil" and proceeds to smite zombie morts with hellfire.
urns out it was Mephisto.

Seems there are few souls left in the superhero zombie apocalypse and he seeks to preserve the ones that can still be corrupted, which I thought was a pretty deft storytelling move on Van Lente's part.

Our story concludes back at the farmhouse with mother and son back at the farmhouse, safe and snug. They share a tender moment and reminisce about the lad's father before embracing and reuniting with the wayward kitten.
Happy Halloween from Marvel Comics.

Van Lente does an admirable job on this one, throwing several horror cliches into the book and keeping the gallows humor that was prevalent in the previous Zombie series. I especially liked the fact that the core of his story was the importance of family, which is an excellent narrative device in the survival horror genre (see Walking Dead, World War Z, et al). The use of Mephisto as someone fighting zombies to preserve souls for his later despoilment was also really clever. I'd buy a miniseries based around that premise alone.

Vitti's art isn't bad, I've never been to fond of his style as everyone the same nose and cheeks. Nitpicky, I know, but for $2.99-3.99 a pop, I can pick all the nits I want. I didn't mind his art in this one-shot, however, as the whole ensemble cast was mostly composed of emaciated, rotting, or otherwise gangrenous characters. The cover was also splendid, depicting Zombie Daredevil, Zombie Black Panther, and Zombie Power Man partaking in some gruesome trick or treating complete with jack o' lantern buckets full of brains.
And I'm talking 70s butterfly collar-chain for a belt-tiara wearing Power Man, too.

Hopefully next year we'll be treated to another zombie apocalypse tale from Marvel. It was a welcome short story that distracted me from a bevy of mainstream capes and tights books and graced the world of comicdom with the visual of Darkhawk getting stabbed in the face, a win in my book.

Plus, Zombie Squirrel Girl was a treat.

Marvel Zombie Halloween was corny and dripping with cheese in places, but I'm eagerly awaiting the next book like a good Marvel Zombie...

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Shotgun Blast

Review: Frank McGirk


Pick of the Week: Bedlam. Okay, I’m not really going to steal any headlines here. Great art, not your standard serial killer schtuff, and a lot of book (double sized) for the $3.50. The only reason not to pick this up is because you can’t. Went into a second printing almost immediately, and the first printing was selling for $10 on Ebay a day after it was released.

Holding Strong: A vs X Consequences #4. With the relative dreck of the Marvel Now line that’s been shat out, I’m still amazed at what a nice narrative this is. It’s not easy to jump around and just give two pages of story to a character like Colossus or Namor and let someone really feel like they know what’s going on, but Kieron Gillan has been doing just that. And really, who doesn’t like Magneto best when he is lacing up his shit-kicking boots.

Why Won’t People Buy This Book: American Vampire #32. Okay, I know why. I wouldn’t have checked this out had not my favorite, doughy, comic reviewer hadn’t recommended it. Vampires have been played out. But though I recommend to the three people who frequent my comic shop, no one has moved towards it. Tight writing, nice art, and a great retro feel...nope, not for me, they say.

Still Pretty, But Not Much Else: Happy #2 and Fashion Beast #3. Both of these are mini-series, so I’ve gotta cut them some slack. I assume the writers focus less on making each issue accessible, but these both have a real “connective tissue” feel to them, rather than feeling like a functioning muscle. Happy #1, besides being a pretty book, had a clever way of setting folks up to be an assassinated, and the introduction of the little blue horse, but issue two...well, I guess we had to see him escape. As for Fashion Beast, I LOVED the first issue, which could have been a stand-alone comic, and even the second was intriguing in where the plot was going. #3, well, it just didn’t tickle like the first two, but I’m still going to take the ride to the end.

What Now? A+X #1. Did anyone really lament the lack of a Marvel Team-Up comic? Mediocre Marvel. One complete story, and one ongoing arc...both about time travel, which I generally find to be lame outside of Dr. Who. However, it does allow two Wolverines and two Hulks to fight, and I’m sure Marvel’s mighty marketing machine thought that was a good idea.

More Mignolia: BPRD Hell on Earth #100. Okay, every Mike Mignolia comic seems the same. That’s awesome! Buy it. Read it. Love it.

Huh, You Don’t Say: The Origin of Skeletor #1. Not courting the kid market with this one, DC gives up a hand painted, lovely comic with a pretty thin story. But if you like your men with swiveling hips, I suppose you’ll be into this one

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Shotgun blast...a quick look at what’s newly on the rack...

Review: Frank McGirk

Top Pick: Multiple Warheads. A beautiful book, its 3.99 but takes awhile to mosey through. Brandon Graham takes his time too...thankfully the book is so beautiful you don’t mind the diversions and nigh incessant punning (often done in the margins of the pages). I’m really not sure why one of the main characters has a werewolf penis, or who the assassin who dominates the second half of the book is, but I’ll be happy to check out the next three issues.

The Biggest Disappointment: Ex Sanguine. Okay, I wasn’t expecting much, but this was pretty crappy. A vampire meets up with a serial killer. Yawn. And how the hell did she get off of her waitressing shift so damn fast? Crap. Not up to Dark Horse standards (though the Star Wars titles are fricking awful, so maybe I’ve been ranking them too highly.)

Biggest Surprises: Punisher War Zone and A vs. X: Consequences (1-3): I tried jumping in to the middle of the A vs. X stuff but it was too chaotic for me to follow and I sloughed it off, but I’m surprised that I enjoy following the aftermath, namely the imprisonment of Cyclops. Likewise, even though I had the first 12 issues of the original Punisher War Zone, it was at the end of the height of my comic buying and may have lead to it me quitting comics cold turkey back in the early 90s. Both series have a concerned Wolverine going out to council (Is that the appeal? I wasn’t overly impressed with seeing him say “fuck” in Wolverine Max).
Consequences is already a little off as Cyclops is at first trying to goad Wolverine into killing him and making him a martyr, and then fighting off the prisoners trying to kill him (perhaps he’s too vain to be offed by non-mutants?). Punisher doesn’t do a lot in the first issue of his series, but eludes Spider-man, who then gets the Avengers to decide to take him out. While neither is stellar, both have gripped me with little in the way of action, something Marvel hasn’t done to me in quite a while.

Surest Bet: I will read anything that ONI puts out. The new Stumptown series has impressed me and The Sixth Gun is as good as anything Mignolia does with Hellboy, and it’s a full half-step better than Dark Horse’s Billy the Kid title (which ain’t bad either.) As you’ve might have guessed, it’s kind of a reality blended with magic kind of Earth. I definitely want more. Bad Medicine was released as a Trade, but I’m not sure any more issues will be coming out, which is a real shame.

Wait and See: Talon and Ghost. I really liked the 0 issue of Talon, but number one has got some lame-ass dialogue and the revenge story won’t have legs on its own. Likewise Ghost had a strong 0 issue but shows signs of stumbling in the future. Really, it was just the last page of Ghost #1 that soured it for me...and I could very well be wrong.

REVIEW: Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness #1 (of 4)

Writers: Eric Powell & Tracy Marsh
Artist: Kyle Hotz

I didn't want to like Eric Powell. I really didn't. I'd read a review or a newsbyte, or one of Wikipedia's numerous misquoted or just plain wrong articles, and he came across as a real prick. Or was unnecessarily rude to a fan, or somesuch, I honesty don't even remember at this point. In any case I thought, "who the hell do you think you are, Eric Fancydan Powell? All high and mighty with your creator owned book and high falutin' pencils and script..."

It really galled me, too, because The Goon seemed right up my alley. All pulpy and supernatural, like Marv from Sin City had a smartass baby with Hellboy or something.
But no! Powell had...somehow...offended my tender sensibilities, so he wasn't getting a dime of my moderately hard-earned money.

Then the sneaky bastard wrote this Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities comic.


First a supernatural pulp book, and now a book about a cowboy outlaw and a band of circus freaks? This guy was really starting to get on my nerves, writing all these books about some of my favorite things in some of my favorite genres. Probably really good books, too...
But hell no, I wasn't going to buy them! Gimmie that mediocre Marvel book or some DC reboot crap or another!

A year or so later, Chris, one of my comic nerd alumni, says to me, "Hey, have you read this Goon book?"

Here we go, I thought...

After going a few rounds back and forth on the matter, he says, "Dude, it's so good. What if I GIVE you copies of it to read?"

Well, I do like free. And this way I'd only be supporting the villain Powell in an oblique sort of way. I relented, and after reading a few issues I'll be damned if this Powell fella was alright!

And just like that, my reaction shifted from Hostile to Friendly. I couldn't stop reading that damn Goon book. It jumped on to my pull list, and tpb's were ordered to get me up to speed.
Well played, Powell.

Since he already had his hooks in me, I figured I'd give his Billy the Kid comic a shot. I'd already missed out on the first couple miniseries, but as fortune would have it a brand spankin' new mini was out: Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness.
Which I promptly pre-ordered.

When the book arrived I was double pleased to learn that it was illustrated by Kyle Hotz, who's work I loved in Marvel's The Zombie and Annihilation: Conquest- Wraith. (ironically, The Zombie's second series was co-plotted by Powell and I loved it even though I was still on my Eric Powell Hate-Train).

After reading the issue, I was admittedly behind the curve as it alludes to prior event and doesn't recap events or reintroduce characters. I actually appreciated this, as far to often a book will fill space with "last time in Camelot 3000..." or other flashbacks that waste page space.

The story starts off with a mysterious crab-clawed man visiting a gypsy caravan outside of Louisville, Kentucky, who seeks information on Billy's troupe of freaks from an archetypical gypsy soothsayer.

It seems that one of Billy's Old Timey Oddities has been kidnapped and the rest of the lot is off to rescue him. Evidently this transpired in the previous series which took place in the British Isles, putting us in a convenient position to address this Orm of Loch Ness business. One of the scholarly Oddities relates to the reader the tale of Saint Columba and his encounter with the Loch Ness Monster, which was fairly close to the "real" legend of St. Columba (as if I wasn't off-kilter enough, I fancy myself a bit of an amateur cryptozoologist. Which is a bit like proclaiming yourself a professional gum chewer, I suppose)

The root of the tale involves heathen Scotsmen (the best kind, in my opinion) cowering in fear due to a Hellish beast that haunts their lake. Saint Columba appears and censures The Beast with the power of The Lord. All the heathen Scots rejoice and accept Jesus as their lord and savior and the beast slinks into the darkness of the loch only to appear every few decades for the viewing pleasure of a tourist or addled fisherman. Powell tells the same story for the most part, albeit his version involves more fire and ass-kickin' Irish monks.

Billy and his Oddities extrapolate that there is a connection between the lake monster and their missing companion who resembles some sort of lizardy, swamp monstery kind of fellow.
A bit of a bold leap in logic, I know, but what the hell.

Billy and Co. track their erstwhile companion and his captor to a picturesque Scottish hamlet and are promptly captured by the pitchfork and torch wielding locals who curse them as 'abominations from the loch'. Our heroes are promptly judged corrupt by the light shed from a relic lantern crafted from the skull of St. Columba, and the town's wrinkly old hateful priest condemns the lot of them to death by beheading...

The issue ends with Callahan (our kidnapped Oddity) being forced by his captor to swim down to the bottom of the loch into an underwater cave full of coffins and we are treated to a full page reveal of our villain who may also be the Loch Ness Monster.
I'll give you a hint: his name rhymes with Mackula.

For all the Powell-hating I've done, I sure aim to make up for it. Billy the Kid et al has all the irreverent humor and snappy dialogue of The Goon, albeit dialed down significantly, and although not much time is spent on exposition or character development it doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the book and helped the pacing.

Hotz's art is, per usual, excellent. He has a certain grotesque/Art Nouveau/Aubrey Beardsley quality that really makes it stand out uniquely amongst a sea of artists looking to ape one another's style.

This first issue was an extraordinary start to a promising miniseries. Of course, I'm a bit biased due to my aforementioned fondness for cowboy outlaws and circus freaks, but if Powell insists on writing comics with the sole intent of my purchasing them, so be it.

Now if he'd get cracking on that science fiction Lovecraftian chop-socky book we'd be in business...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

REVIEW: Non Humans #1

Writer: Glen Brunswick
Fancy Drawings: Whilce Portacio
Letters: Rus Wooten
Colors: Brian Valeza
Review: Cody Miller

Sometimes you see a cover so good or mind-numbingly interesting that you have to take a chance on a new title. This is one of those books. Portacio’s art throughout this first issue alone, being top notch, as his work usually is, is the major selling point that will keep me pulling Non Humans off the rack. My only real concern is the duration of Whilce Portario’s presence with this title. Whilce has developed the reputation for being pulled from projects because of his inability to keep ahead of his scheduled release dates. So hopefully he will keep his mind fixed on the task at hand and finish the series. Non Humans is slated to be a short four issue mini so I have a hard time believing he won’t be around for the duration. You have probably seen his work in the Punisher, X-Factor, or most notably, the uncanny X-Men. He has also done work on Image’s Spawn and DC’s Batman Confidential. His list of credits goes on and on. After all, Whilce is a jack of all trades of sorts, as he does it all: ink, pencils, colors, and just about anything else comic book related. He is even credited with the creation of Marvel’s character Bishop, not to mention he is one of the seven original founders of Image Comics.

Well I guess I should at some point actually get around to talking about this issue, besides the magical eye candy found throughout. Glen Brunswick’s writing and character developments were also above par in my humble opinion. Most writers, try as they might, can’t accomplish this feat in one issue. You either end up with watered down or page after page of inner dialogue that never really seems to help the hapless reader identify with the character or characters ( that they are trying to get the world at large to invest in) at least on a personal level. Which, I’d have to say, is kind of the damn point, is it not? That being said, Brunswick has the rare talent for writing an entertaining ditty, not about Jack and Diane, but about inanimate toys, dolls, mannequins, and everything else “human like” given the spark of life and born into being.

Imagine a future Los Angeles snuggled into the world of Blade Runner where the androids are swapped out with toys. A “disease” has caused these “things” to be born of a person’s DNA and pieces of their personality, found mostly in adolescent kids. Because of this, the entire teenage population is forced by law to take drugs to keep the Non Humans from taking over the planet.
And that’s the low down dirty on Non Humans. It’s sure to be full of morality issues, racial issues, conflict on top of conflict, and of course fancy drawings. It’s going to be a great title and one I hope that helps me find respite in the soon to launch Marvel Now and one I can use as a crutch to limp through the wasteland of Before Watchmen, which undeniably is a cesspool of horse shit and cancer.


Monday, October 8, 2012

REVIEW: Minmum Carnage Alpha #1

Story: Cullen Bunn, Christopher Yost
Art: Lan Medina, Karl Kesel, Cam Smith, Walden Wong
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover: Clayton Crain
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

Remember the days of foil covers, blood orgy supe books, Spider-Man clones, and Maximum Carnage. Ahhh the 90's, the decade that almost killed comics for everyone.

I recently picked up Scarlet Spider #1 from my local shop for a dollar. Those that know me can attest to the fact that I harbor more than a little spider bias. At the end of Scarlet Spider (Hated it!), there was a quick synopsis of the whole Spider-Man clone storyline that literally almost had me in tears. That must have been a memory that I blocked out to retain my sanity...some of the most absurd shit I have ever read in all honesty.

At the time I was at a local pub, and I gave it to an AM DJ that also runs trivia night at Flat Rock. He was thankful, but when I ran into him again later the man seemed visibly butt hurt. Stu told me he couldn't give that book away. So I'm not alone in my opinion on that one.

Continue rant. Maximum Carnage completely sucked. Mostly I wanted to write a review of Minimum Carnage to bash it and rile up Cody "Madman" Miller. This would almost assuredly instigate a huge argument on our ongoing Facebook thread. But fans of this humble blog, let me tell you, nothing equals the writers of the HCB going back and forth about a topic passionately. That's why we fucking write this thing week after week. It's all about the buzz.

So here we arrive at Minimum Carnage Alpha. The art was really good, but they had three different inkers on this book. Three. So there was a noticeable difference in the art towards the end. Not a huge deal though. This one had style for sure.

The story was actually really solid as well. There was the problem of the completely moronic dialogue for Carnage. I actually said to myself twice: "Are these people fucking serious?" But the story itself was compelling.

Carnage escapes from maximum security prison and Venom is sent to track him down. They find a connection to Houston, Texas and bring in the Scarlet Spider. While I can't say that I love team up books, especially one with two emo Spider-Man wannabes giving each other reach arounds between panels, the heroes played off each other well. I was a tad disappointed that they decided to call this book a "one shot", when it was basically just a setup issue for an ongoing series. The last great one shot I read, believe it or not, was Grodd of War in the Flashpoint series. If you haven't read the review where I ripped DC to shreds on Flashpoint check out the archives. The fact that I would give a book from Flashpoint a DAP is seriously astonishing, even to myself.

I hate to admit it, but this one tickled my nuts a little. It was just mysterious enough to keep me hooked. The story and the art both were well above average. So guess who has two thumbs and is going to continue to follow this series: This guy. You win Madman.

REVIEW: The Art of Failing Buddhism

Writer and Artist: Ryan Dow
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

The web comic has officially arrived, and has ushered in a welcome addition to monthly floppies and graphic novels. It is an undeniable truth that the internet completely changed the business forever. If you have internet access, you can easily become a comic creator in less than a week, for better or worse. Where there were once only comic con booths and word of mouth, there is now Kickstarter, ComiXpress, and Twitter. And thank God for that, because burgeoning comic creators like Ryan Dow really benefit from the internet and get much more exposure these days. The Art of Failing Buddhism is not as much about religion as it is being human, and flawed, and searching for answers, any answers, in a world full of so many painful questions.

The introspective bio-comic is hardly a new concept, ever since Spiegelman and Pekar there have been many incantations, some brilliant, and some that exist merely to wallow in their own self pity. What makes The Art of Failing Buddhism stand out, is that while the book is full of human moments, both highs and despair alike, it rings with authenticity, and deals with everything from developing romantic relationships to dealing with mental illness. And this authenticity, and these real human moments are what will really sell this web comic for readers. For we all share similar problems in life, and the face that we show to the world is a much different one that we show ourselves on a Tuesday night in our apartment alone. There are whole industries dedicated to helping us facilitate the denial of the humanity in ourselves. The reason why drugs and alcohol sell the way they do is that life is painful and we want to forget, even if for one night; even if it is all there waiting for us in the morning.

It takes courage to write a book like Failing the Art of Buddhism. When we can not just confront that pain, but make a connection with others using that inner sorrow, to me, that is the mark of a true artist. It is not a perfect book by any means. It leans heavily on dialogue, and even though the art is very basic, somehow this one just works. The site is usually updated on Wednesdays, but is sometimes delayed due to Ryan Dow having to grind it out on a 9 to 5 while working on a comic at the same time. I think most of us can sympathize with that particular predicament. I can't even remember the last week that all three HCB writers got their reviews and interviews in on time, so we have to cut the man some slack there.

The Art of Failing Buddhism can be found online, and collections of the web comic can also be purchased through the same website. Check it out here:

You can read everything here for free, but I encourage you to buy the collected works and support independent comic creators that produce quality work like Ryan Dow.

Until next week, or maybe nine days (I dunno).



Friday, October 5, 2012

REVIEW: Happy! #1 (of 4)

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Darick Robertson
Review: Will Dubbeld

Well, everyone's (and no-ones) favorite Glaswegian writer is at it again, this time for Image comics. Say what you will about ol' Wacky Grant, the man certainly knows how to make an impression on his readers and consequently most people love or hate Grant Morrison's work. You'll find very few people who are on the fence in their opinion of his efforts. Having read quite a bit of Grant in my day I find myself one of the odd fence-riding few. Before I knew who Grant Morrison was (and, frankly, before he was anyone to speak of) I read his 'Gothic' story arc in Batman: Legends of the Dark Night and remember attempting to wrap my brain around the subtleties and implications of the work. As the years passed I realized that is what Morrison does: tries to wrap my brain around things.

His work runs the gamut as far as I'm concerned, from brilliant (his Dan Dare comic, We3, Marvel Boy) to so-so (New X-Men, Vampirella) to utterly self indulgent or nigh-incomprehensible garbage (Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, Doom Patrol, The Invisibles). Consequently I find myself almost inexplicably drawn to his comics out of almost morbid curiosity. Part of me yearns and hopes that the next story will prove as provoking and entertaining as All-Star Superman, and part of me dreads what could be the next Final Crisis.

Discovering Grant's latest endeavor was a miniseries for Image gave me some confidence, as I could read it without fear of Xorneto's or any number of other horribly conceived and executed assaults on my beloved superhero books. Learning that Darick Robertson (The Boys, Fury) was pencilling sealed the deal.
It was time to get Happy!

Happy! opens with a pair of mob guns-for-hire on the way to snuff out a man named Nick Sax, only to discover they are being hunted by their prey. The first twelve or so pages are a dynamic melange of bloody violence, graphic language, farcical sex and dark tone that seem to be lifted straight out of Garth Ennis' playbook.

After a shootout and a fairly inventive use of a newspaper and a prostitute we find Nick Sax wounded and in an ambulance on the way to a mob hospital. At this point Morrison pulls his David Lynch twist and Nick is visited by a cartoony blue, fuzzy, flying horse creature.

And we're off to the races...

We learn via some cliche exposition that Nick Sax used to be the 'best detective in the whole department. Medals. Citations. A beautiful wife and a golden career' and something clearly happened that turned him from the path of righteousness down that dark road of bullets and alcohol.
Well getting a bit dry, Mr. Morrison?

After the aforementioned spoon feeding of Sax's backstory, we learn that the magical winged horsey is the imaginary friend of someone named Hailey (who is in some need of rescuing) and Nick Sax and said horsey are meant to team up and save her.
The real kicker is the imaginary equine's name is Happy the Horse. It's kind of amazing.

Issue 1 ends with Nick and Happy the Horse attempting to break out of the mob hospital before a squad of men arrive to torture information out of our hero.
For a four issue miniseries, Grant spends an awful lot of space on set up, and hopefully this doesn't press the story for space in the remaining 3 parts. The script seems well thought out and doesn't seem to betray any of the pretentiousness that seems to plague Morrison's weaker works, however. Robertson's art is excellent, as always, although I don't see the same dynamic synergy between Morrison's script and Robertson's art as I do with Morrison and Frank Quietly.

After reading through Happy! a couple of times I found the book to be engaging enough to keep buying, especially since it's not bogged down with continuity or any other baggage. It keeps you wondering (will Hailey be saved? Will the whole series just chronicle Nick's escape attempt? Is Happy a figment of his imagination?)
And Happy the Horse alone is almost worth the price of admission. He's pretty durn cute.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

REVIEW: The Judas Coin

Written and illustrated by Walter Simonson
Review: Will Dubbeld

Loathe though I am to admit it, I find myself enjoying DC comics more and more these days. I still despise their policy of rebooting the entire line every so often (5 times by my count. 3 crises, a Zero Hour, and a Flashpoint, kids). Imagine my chagrin as a youth trying to untangle DC continuity with only my wits and a stack of Who's Who of the DC Universe at my disposal.

It was not easy, but at the end of the day I knew my Earth-1 from my Earth-2 and my Calendar Man from my Calculator. Since then I've suffered through their Crises Infinite and Final, and have come to realize that the only constant in the DC Universe is Power Girl's bra size.
But certainly not her origin...

So once again, loath as I am to admit it, despite DCs jacked up history and editorial foibles, I'm enjoying National Periodicals a bit more than Timely Comics. I've tried to care about the mega-events and crossovers, but I just could give a Bamf less about AvX, Spider-Man's sidekick, or how many Cosmic Cubes are in play right now.
I think it's like three.
(caveat: all of the above is still better than Before Watchmen)

So this brings us, in an oblique fashion, to Walt Simonson's The Judas Coin. The basic plot follows one of the pieces of silver that was used to pay Judas Iscariot through history from Roman times to the far-flung future of the DCU. I'm going to dispense with an impromptu history/theology lesson and surmise that everyone reading knows the tale of Judas Iscariot, Jesus of Nazareth, and thirty pieces of silver. If any of you are ignorant of this story due to a neglected religious or historical education feel free to take a break and read up on the subject. I'll be here.

Back? Okay, so The Judas Coin starts off with a brief account of the story of Judas and follows up with six vignettes in different periods of history and six different characters gleaned from DCs library. All of the characters come into some sort of contact with the titular Judas Coin, and in various forms of Monkey's Paw-like plot twists, ill-fortune and tragedy befall them or those around them. Brief synopses are as follows:

The first tale takes place in Roman-occupied Germania and stars the Golden Gladiator, a character I was wholly unaware of. He was evidently a star in the Brave and the Bold comic from the 50s. Anywho, the Golden Gladiator runs afoul of Germanian rebels intending to assassinate Emperor Vespasian and through happenstance encounters his true love, long since lost.

The second and third tales star Viking Prince and Captain Fear, respectively. Viking Prince is a fairly self-explanatory figure and Captain Fear is an archetypical swashbuckling pirate. These fellows I was familiar with (thanks, Who's Who!). Our heroes are forced to deal with evil Celts and their Druish magics and mutiny on the high seas, again respectively.

One of my favorites was the fourth story. It featured Bat Lash, DC Comics favorite roguish cowboy and star of perennial favorites All-Star Western Cowboy Shoot-em-up Two Gun Comics!
Or something of the sort.
Bat gets himself into all sorts of trouble involving the trifecta of drinkin', gamblin', an' whorin' that seems to be omnipresent in fine tales of the Old West everywhere.

Story number five stars some character called The Batman, and he tangles with some other guy called Two Face who's trying to steal the Judas Coin from a museum. Fairly formula, but it strikes a familiar chord and manages to feel pleasantly different at the same time.

The sixth and final story takes place in 2087 AD and stars Starker, the Manhunter of 2070. Starker is a space bounty hunter and we find him Cowboy Bebopping around the galaxy after two green women that would make Captain Kirk envious and their stolen cargo of ancient coins.
One guess as to which coin is amongst the booty.
A particularly good bit in this story involves a telepath who gets a bit of a shock when he handles the Judas Coin, but the ending of this vignette is by far the best and even gave me pause as I read it. Well played indeed, Mr. Simonson.

I liked this book a great deal. Simonson was able to craft entertaining and at times thought provoking mini-stories within the context of an overlapping central driving force, the coin. With the exception of Batman, this is accomplished using archaic and seldom seen or heard of characters. This could turn off some readers, but I loved it and they can lure enough people in by displaying the Dark Knight prominently on the cover.

Although the book is masterfully and entertainingly written, I found the highlight to be the art. Simonson illustrated each story in a slightly different style, making it look unique without deviating from his distinct method. The Golden Gladiator story resembled the Prince Valiant newspaper strip and the Viking Prince story looked like it was ripped from one of Simonson's old Thor comics. Marvel's god of thunder would have looked right at home amongst the panels, and the Viking Prince's longship is a fantasy/steampunk creation reminiscent of Simonson's Asgard. The Captain Fear and Bat Lash stories reminded me of the Western and Adventure books that Dell Comics used to produce, and the Manhunter story was drawn to look like a Japanese Manga or Korean Manhua. The Batman story stood out as the only black and white entry in the book, and the layout was panoramic (for lack of better term), requiring you to turn the book sideways in order to read it. Which I found slightly agitating...

The Judas Coin is a 96 page hardcover with dust jacket, brilliantly written, illustrated and colored, but I'm afraid the 22.99 price tag that accompanies it will discourage some potential readers. Hopefully the book gets a more modestly priced tpb in the future. In any case, I would highly recommend this book to anyone suffering from event fatigue, but still skittish about straying too far from the Big Two in their purchases. I also would recommend the book for fans of the Golden Gladiator or the Viking Prince, of which I'm sure there are one or two of in the world.

Monday, September 24, 2012

REVIEW: Wayward #1-4

Created by: JSB
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

Wayward is a 5 issue limited horror series that can be purchased on comixpress. Issues one through four are now on sale, with the fifth and concluding issue coming soon.

The world of Wayward takes place in a haunted boys dormitory, and this book is as dark as it gets. This is mainly due to the artist's style, that puts the story in an almost foggy, Orwellian, nightmare. There are barely any backgrounds at all, and the characters seem to float like apparitions lost in a pool of black. They are as cryptic as their creator, whose name changes from issue to issue. Although I met the creator of this book personally, he really has no discernible identity.

Until issue three, there are no solid backgrounds at all. It is an innovative concept, but ultimately distracting. While this is a unique book for all of the reasons listed above, the art detracts from the already confused, disjointed story. The book does not tow that fine line between great spartanistic style and a coherent story.

The characters lack development. After three issues I cannot tell you character names, or really anything relevant at all regarding their background. Good horror comics are able to get the reader invested in the characters, and then their untimely deaths actually carry weight. With Wayward there really isn't that much to love in terms of the story. But for the following reasons I will be purchasing ish 5 when it goes on sale.

One: Out of a morbid curiosity, and an appreciation for the uniqueness that this one brings to the table. Two: There is also that crippling OCD of having four issues in a five issue series that I am currently struggling to cure. Wayward is ultimately a dismal effort to date. The issues do progressively get better, but the improvements are minor, and the art was in the ICU unit from jump street. In true HCB fashion, I have to say that it's still not as bad as Before Watchmen. Fuck Before Watchmen.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Axe Cop: President of the World
Issues 1 & 2
Story: Malachai Nicolle (age 8)
Pencils, inks, and lettering: Ethan Nicolle (age 31)
Colors: Dirk Erik Schulz (age 29)
Review: Cody "Madman" Miller

Axe Cop first appeared three years ago as a web comic by brothers Malachai (age 5 at the time) and Ethan Nicolle. Dark Horse picked it up, and well, here we are.

Malachai creates the world, and the insanely wonderful characters, and his big brother brings his younger brother’s imagination to life. Is it funny or is it sad that an eight year old is a more entertaining writer than half the writers working for the big 2? Malachai never disappoints. In every issue, he throws a new fantastic hero or villain at you…and his big brother can draw a very good boss….
In the first issue of “President of the World,” Axe Cop is made; you guessed it, president of the world. We are graced by the first appearance of Goo Cop, a man made entirely of green goo. Goo Cop can turn his arm into a goo cannon that shoots mind controlling goo loogies. Goo Cop becomes the first member of Axe Cop’s bad guy bashing crew.

Next, we meet Junior Cobb. Junior is a talking Gorilla who happens to have robotic gun fists; can grow as big as he wants, and he can also shoot anything he wants out of the gun on his tail (awesome). He has already produced jet airplanes and a volcano, with said tail cannon. For villains, in issue #1, we get evil aliens and an army of evil robotic penguins...not a bad start at all.

In issue #2, we learn that over a zillion bad guys are attacking Earth. That’s a zillion vs. three, if you’re keeping score. Enter Chee-Rex, a giant, motorcycle riding monster that is half cheetah and half T-Rex who can shoot you into space with his spring tongue. Enter a pair of blood thirsty robot brothers that kill the devil and the evil aliens are back shooting up a “Wall Mart”.

If you love to laugh and to be entertained, then you NEED to read this book. It’s true, the only reason I pre-ordered the first issue was because it was written by an 8 year old, but the reason I ordered the second issue and added it to my pull list was because it’s damn good. Just in case you are not convinced to spend the $3.50; cleansing the Before Watchmen stench off your soul, let me recap. Cop with an axe, talking gorilla with gun fists, evil aliens, evil robot penguins, the devil, gorilla with gun fists………… gorilla with gun fists………gorilla with gun fists.

“Not right now, Goo Cop. Right now I need you to turn into a Goo rocket and fly us to planet Weird Gorilla”…..Axe Cop



Monday, September 17, 2012

REVIEW: Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #12

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Alberto Ponticelli
Review: Will Dubbeld

In the wake of DC's most recent ctl+alt+del reboot of what can loosely be called continuity, I've discovered a few gems (Suicide Squad, Shade) amongst the chaff (Stormwatch, Deathstroke). Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. is one of these gems.

The current incarnation of Frankenstein in the DCU is based on Grant Morrison's reimagining of the character from his Seven Soldiers of Victory maxiseries mixed with the Creature Commandos feature from the old Weird War Tales book from the 80s. Having been a lifelong fan of Universal Monsters I immediately took a shine to this book. Frankenstein leads a team of monsters that consists of an archetypical werewolf, vampire, ancient Egyptian mummy, and a female Creature From the Black Lagoon-like gillman (gillgal?). The mummy is a wise king-priest sort of wizardy fellow, the gillgal a scientist, and the werewolf and vampire round out the team as roguish front line fighters along with Frank, who wields the sword of Archangel Gabriel or somesuch as the team roots out otherdimensional evils and supernatural weirdness under the auspices of the S.H.A.D.E. organization. I was initially drawn to the book due to the similarities with Marvel's dearly departed Howling Commandos series from the early 2000s that operated under a similar premise of monsters working for a clandestine organization. Having come to terms with the fact that the Big Two continually ape each others plotlines, I proceeded undeterred.

Buying this book is as good as buying a one way train ticket to Wackytown, I kid you not. The first arc found the team waging war against mountain-sized otherdimensional critters on their home turf and the book hasn't slowed down in the slightest. The current arc (titled 'Son of Satan's Ring) has Frank and Company on the trail of an agent of S.H.A.D.E. who has gone rogue and is hiding out in a community for secret agents that is in the belly of some sort of biblical leviathan.

As I said, Wackytown.

Sword in hand, Frankenstein throws himself like so much Jonah (or perhaps more accurately Pinocchio) into the belly of the beast and sets out to find the traitor.
Allow me to share a passage from the issue:

"The leviathan graveyard has been the mystical resting place of dying leviathans for millions of years. The enchanted marrow from the thousands of leviathan bones creates a wet-membrane that generates a perfect underwater paradise within its protective bubble."

Admittedly, this book is full of oblique commentary and dialogue like the above passage, but it spins it in such a way as to not alienate the reader. Peppering the pages with scenes of Frankenstein's Monster cutting a swath of destruction through mobs of giant insects (called Scare-ebs) helps to counteract the sometimes sluggish narrative. Interspersed throughout the book is panels of Frankenstein having flashbacks to the past lives of the donors of his various pieces-parts, providing an interesting facet to the character that I'd not seen previously. The book ends with a full page spread showing Frankenstein at the head of a S.H.A.D.E. army on it's way to wage war against Victor Frankenstein and The Rot. I'm lead to believe this is the harbinger of some sort of Frankenstein/Swamp Thing/Animal Man love triangle crossover, and I'm fine with that.

Once more, my spirits are snatched from the gnarled talons of horrid comic limbo by an off-the-wall treat like this book. In the current status quo of Watchmen prequels and Marvel's bright idea to give Spider-Man a sidekick, it's a breath of fresh air to find a book that isn't reliant on mega events or super gimmicky storylines to drive the plot. Granted, I'm a sucker for monster books and supernatural goings-on, but I'll recommend this Frankenstein comic to anyone looking for a break from the regular capes and tights routine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

REVIEW: Abe the Aborted Fetus

Creator: Z.M Thomas
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

Today I am writing a book that goes beyond controversial, and celebrates in middle school, adolescent, button pushing. Abe the Aborted Fetus is the only book to ever be banned from Facebook. And while the title rightfully foreshadows subject matter most heinous, the tale contained within has something to offend people on both sides of the argument.

While I do not necessarily condone the content, I did have a chance to meet Z.M Thomas and discuss this project with him and get his opinions. And even after all of that I feel like Abe the Aborted Fetus has some pretty effective satirical moments, but is deeply flawed.

As a reformed Catholic myself, the book centers around the inherent hypocrisy of the Catholic church, a repetitive, forgotten dogma whose literal translation eludes even the most devout Catholics. In addition, the corruption of the childhood sex scandal and subsequent coverup will never fade, as did the once all encompassing tableau and political machine that once ran the medieval world. Both have made the church much less relevant today. This is a work that aims an arrow at the absurdity of the modern day Catholic Church. That might have been the only part that I had no problem with when I finished reading the final panel.

Abe the Aborted Fetus saves himself from "Dr. Choice", and then donning Men in Black style spy wear, catches himself in the middle of a very real abortion war between the right wing of the United States Government/ the majority of Christian religious sects, and the political left. I find myself conflicted, and I'm not even sure if that synopsis even makes any sense to someone who hasn't read the book. To slightly stray into politics a bit, I am pro-choice, but not a fan of abortion. This one went a little far in it's juvenile one liners about a subject that causes real women very real pain. The condescending sabre rattling got old quick here, but as a fan of dumb humor I felt that the jokes themselves were solid. There were in fact moments where Z.M Thomas got in some nice digs on the left as well, but those were peppered with a few "Dixie Normous" toss outs that kept this one from ever getting close to the next level.

The truth is that I hate discussing this issue because women will never relinquish control of their own bodies regardless of legislation. It can be argued that writers like Garth Ennis are way more controversial in terms of their content, but the difference between Ennis and Thomas is that they're both actively trying to offend the reader in different ways. While Ennis is page after page of sick, twisted, sex and violence, the political overtones in this work do not seem to accomplish their goal. I understand that opening a dialogue with Jesus Camp attendees may seem to be a fruitless task, but there is a tendency to bash Christianity in all forms in America, and for that to be acceptable to the liberal masses. These are the same people that would be enraged if the subject were switched to a book about the absurdities of the Muslim religion, or the Jewish one for that matter.

Dr. Choice uses a coat hanger as a medical tool in the first few panels. That I found to be in extremely poor taste. Depicting doctors that perform abortions in this manner fuels the ignorant views of the right wing, and is extremely hurtful to the writer's cause here considering that before this medical procedure became legal this was how abortions were frequently performed.

And here I am talking about the story the entire time for obvious reasons, but I have to say the art was excellent, almost Guilliory-esque. There are panels here that are hard on the eyes though due to the subject matter. I could have lived without Abe waking up in a garbage can of aborted fetuses. Yeah, caveat emptor on this book. While the book was well thought out, masterfully drawn, and had a few redeeming factors, I could have left this one on the shelf. I am even filled with hesitation to post the cover on our website, but the work deserves a review, however milquetoast. If you like humor that reads like Weird Al without a soul, than this book is definitely one you want to buy right away. Anyone standing up and willing to debate ideas deserves respect, but this book does not do that. Z.M. Thomas seems more concerned with prodding the religious right/Catholicism than making a valid and cogent argument. If you want to debate abortion on any level, you need to have respect for the subject matter. Period.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man #692

Alpha Part One: Point of Origin
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Humberto Ramos
Inks: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Edgar Delgado

“Spider-Man for a Night”
Story and Art: Dean Haspiel
Colors: Giulia Brusco

“Just Fight”
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art: Nuno Plati

Review: Cody "Madman" Miller

So the web slinger has turned the big 50. In this day and age of throw away entertainment, that’s quite an accomplishment in any medium. Amazing Fantasy #15 is where it happened, Aug 1962 is when it happened. As a die-hard Spidey fan, I am damn glad it did.

This double issue is jam packed full of good times.
We are introduced to a new face in the 616, Andy Maguire. Andy is an outcast bottom feeder at Midtown High. Andy’s science class is on a field trip to Horizon Labs to watch a demonstration by none other than Peter Parker. He is demonstrating a clean, affordable, near limitless hyper-kinetic form of energy, thoughtfully named “Parker Particles.”

The demonstration goes horribly wrong and Andy is bombarded with Parker Particles and instantly becomes superhuman……de ja vu? Sound familiar? Horizon’s top dogs bring in the world’s greatest super-human specialists: Dr. Henry PYM (Giant Man), Tony Stark, Dr. Hank McCoy (The Beast), and of course, Prof. Reed Richards…..Mr. Fantastic himself. After studying the MU’s newest super, Reed Richards reveals that Peter’s Parkers Particles have indeed transformed Andy into the Marvel Universe’s first known Alpha-Level super-human. Greater than the Hulk. Greater than the Phoenix’s puny Omega ranking. Andy Maguire is the Alpha.

Alpha becomes, in effect, Spidey’s side kick. He learns the in’s and out’s of the super hero biz. The issue closes with the Fantastic Four sending out a call for help to Spider-Man. When Spidey shows up, the F4 are battling Giganto, whom Alpha takes out with one punch. The last panel of the last page gives us a glimpse of devilish things to come. Enter the Jackal (possibly the scariest villain in the Spider’s stable. Not that he’s an Alpha or even an Omega, it’s because he’s the “clone maker”).

All in all, very good issue. Ramos’s art was great as usual and Dan Slott’s writing was refreshingly engaging.

We were also blessed with two shorts at the ass end of this book. The first “Spider-Man for a Night,” takes place right after Spidey throws his costume in an alley trash can in ASM #50. A bank robber, running from law dogs, finds it and uses the Spidey duds to elude the police. He wears the costume on another failed robbery. In the end, we learn that he’s really trying to get enough money to pay for surgery for his granddaughter. He ends up putting the costume back where he found it. Meh……they could’ve left this one out.

The second short, “Just Right,” is better than the last, but in the end just another “feel good” piece. Spidey and a young boy just tooling around a bit. The Thing shows up and makes a few funnies about a pigeon dropping a bomb on Spidey’s head. That and Nuno Plati throwing in the Spider Buggy on his two page spread being the highlights. After reading the letters page (which is very good in this issue) I found myself wondering if Spider-Man would be around for another 50 years. I truly hope so. Happy Birthday Spidey.

Monday, September 3, 2012

REVIEW: Pecos #1

Writer: RJ Casey
Artist: Eric Roesner
Review: Will Dubbeld

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Wizardworld comic book convention in Chicago with the rest of the Hammond Comics Blog crew. This was the first 'con I'd attended in quite a few years, and I made up for lost time by spending way more money than I should have.

Numerous booths were present, highlighting the artistic efforts of talents ranging from luminary Neal Adams to those unheard of by the general populace. One of these booths belonged to an independent publisher called Yeti Press. I have a soft spot for indy books (although many of them are admittedly horrid) and the young lady hawking the wares at the booth convinced me to purchase the first two issues of a book called Pecos, described as a 'comedy western'.

Pecos spins the yarn of American folklore figure Pecos Bill. For the uninitiated, Pecos Bill is prominent character in tall tales from the turn of the last century, similar to Paul Bunyan or John Henry. The comic seems to paint Pecos Bill as less of a folkloric hero and more of an outlaw cowboy who would fit right in to the finest Spaghetti Western. The first issue finds Pecos around a campfire with three other cowpokes who take turns telling tall tales about Pecos Bill in exchange for the remainder of a can of beans. Exploits ranging from killing over a hundred men to robbing a bank during a tornado are told to the reader, and at the end of the book our three storytellers are left to share the remainder of Pecos' supper (consisting of a single bean) as he finishes out the cowboy trope by walking into the sunset.

Pecos was a rather short (16 page) book, but this is understandable considering the artist and writer are probably paying for it out of pocket with whatever money they can cobble together. The book is oversized with a color cover and black and white interiors, and the penciling quality is fairly good. It isn't up to the caliber of most books, lacking a true understanding of depth and shadow, but it has an endearing cartoonish quality that puts it head and shoulders above many other independent books that have a slapdash, almost lackadaisical approach to the art. There's some fairly good gags in the book also, my favorite involving Pecos lassoing a bullet out of the air during a gunfight.

According to the Yeti Press website Pecos only has two issues available, but it did have a smattering of other titles available that might bear looking into. Although the art and writing aren't as sharp as what you might find in a larger press book, I found myself enjoying Pecos much more than several books I could mention from world famous publishers.

Namely the Before Watchmen prequels...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

REVIEW: The Creep #0

Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: Jonathan Case
Review: Frank McGirk

Okay, really. In our heart of hearts we know that most comics are crap. We can defend it only by pointing out that most of all mass entertainment is crap.

But it does irk one when hugely hyped projects (and projects with great potential) fail: like the Before Watchmen series, which so far has had a bright spot (Nite Owl #1) and a few dim spots (Nite Owl #2, The Comedian #s 1 and 2 and the Ozymandias #1), but is mostly dreck.

In Ozy #2, which is still a beautiful book, I can no longer forgive the somewhat trite background story of issue one, now that I’m forced to read interior dialogue from the “Smartest Man in the World,” which reads like it was written by a precocious 6th grader:

“I pulled my sleek sports car to an easy stop outside the city’s most exclusive club.”

You think a man of his intellect would have read a freshman creative writing primer to learn that adjectives don’t make for compelling writing.

Oh, and he makes numerous quips referring to criminals as “garbage.”

But my purpose here is not to praise, nor bury, a man who dresses like Caesar.

Rather, I come to tell you of The Creep #0, the best book I’ve read in the past few months.

And really, it’s harder to praise this work than criticize others, as its quality seems effortless. Story and art work together to tell a story that lets me know what I need to know.

It’s a pretty straight forward noir piece about a detective, but I know how the protagonist feels, and I know how he came to be where and how he is. And I actually care what happens next. The incidentals of his malformity, and the plot of an ex-lover and her son who committed suicide are the excuse for this particular comic, but the idea is less important than the implementation, and it’s somewhat sad that something routine has become for me the greatest breath of fresh air on the comic racks.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

REVIEW: Punk Rock Jesus Issue #1

Story and Art: Sean Murphy
Letters: Todd Klein

“Wow”…..that’s what I said when I came across this little gem. The title alone made me snatch it off the shelf and the punk rocker screaming into his microphone, dog tags flying, his liberty spikes standing in defiance of not only gravity, but the world at large, made me want to snuggle with it and make it my own. Having limited funds at the time, I had to put the newest comedian book back, but I can always pick up one of the twenty or so copies that still fill the shelves…or not. I have to say, the BW had been more than a little disappointing to say it nicely. Comedian’s title being the best so far, in my humble opinion.

Now beyond the shock value, at first glimpse the title and cover of Sean Murphy’s new creator owned book, there was the fact that in my misguided and angst filled youth I once wore the spikes, studs, patches, and combat boots that are the standard uniform of punk rock. I have no regrets. We raised a lot of hell and had many epic journeys traveling around to various punk rock shows. So yeah, now we have a bad ass cover, catchy title, and smoke tendrils of nostalgia. But what about the steaming bowls of Punk Rock Jesus? What about the comic Jerk off? Just how Punk is the son of God?

The first page of the comic (not the Bible) opens with a man and his wife and son having prayer before they eat their vittles. The first page ends with the father unloading an assault rifle over the table out the window. When the shooting ends, the boy, Thomas, is the only one still alive. I’ll get back to Thomas in a few.
Twenty-five years later, a company named Ophis has come up with the J2 project. Ophis has made some kind of a deal with the Catholic Church to use the shroud of Turin to extract Christ’s DNA. With the help of Noble Prize winning scientists, they plan on cloning the first human in history and filming it for their new reality show. It just so happens that this first human clone will be Jesus Christ. Ophis held auditions across the country for a teenage virgin female to carry the egg full of controversy to term. Now we get back to Thomas. Thomas McKael, ex IRA terrorist, now head of Security for the J2 project. To be honest, Thomas really didn’t have much to do with this first issue, except that his family was murdered and he beat up a few Christian protesters. He didn’t really get much face time. Maybe he will in the next issue.

Well, the day comes and (live on TV) out comes the clone of Jesus. They name him Chris. After the cameras go off, we learn that Chris has a twin sister. She was hidden because the network wants a blue eyed man clone of Christ, not a daughter, after all, that would be bad for ratings……..on the last panel of the last page, we see the network goon dump the baby girl into the ocean.

So yeah, “Wow” is what I said when I first found this comic and “Wow” is what I said when I finished reading it. I love controversy and this title is packed fill of it. I want more and I want it now. This first issue is sans all things punky, but hopefully that comes later. Well done Sean Murphy, well done. Now if you need me I’ll be at church and in the meantime ask yourself WWPRJD.