Sunday, September 22, 2013

REVIEW: Brain Boy #1

Writer: Fred Van Lente
Pencils: R.B. Silva
Review: Arthur Black

My Grandfather, and fishing buddy, once told me when I was a child “to catch a great fish you have to use the right bait.” Fred Van Lente must have had a similar lesson in his life. Brain Boy #1 is a great story and the perfect hook. Even though this comic line is based on the original six issue Brain Boy series that premiered in 1962, Mr. Van Lente has done it justice.

I have known about this comic’s introduction for a couple of months, my admission is I had not considered reading it, but when I saw it on the shelf, I decided to take a chance on it. This comic is a jewel.
The main character, Matt Price, is a multi-dimensional character with a funny wit and complicated background. He is a subcontracted agent for the government called a “reader asset,” referring to his psychic and telekinetic abilities. Price is assigned to the Secret Service to escort and protect a foreign leader. When a CIA agent presents a deal to extract information from Matt’s assignment, his day begins to spiral out of control.

My favorite part of the comic was right at the beginning. Matt Price is sitting in traffic and identifies loving an activity called “Hate-Surfing”. He reads the thoughts of all of the frustrated motorists and refers to it as “like speed metal and talk radio had a dirty love child that snorts adrenaline.” This is a great use of imagery. I stopped for a moment to think of what a mess of chaotic thoughts bounce around a huge traffic jam. That would be so much better than reality TV, if we could tune in on them.

The artwork within this book has a very unique style. They use coloring and shading in the panels that really support the story and help depict how Matt senses his world. The artist’s focus on eyes is really intriguing. At first this focus seems a little weird, but by the end of the book, the realization hit me that this is helping to communicate the psychic world in the comic as well. Then it all seems brilliant.

Reading this issue seemed to fly. I was truly heartbroken when I reached the last page. It hurts that I have to wait till next month for the next part of the story. If anyone has not read this book yet, get out, buy it, read it, and love it. You will not be disappointed. I am thankful I took a chance on this one.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

REVIEW: Hit List #1 of 5

Writer: Ralph Tedesco
Pencils: Sami Kivela
Colors: Bryan Valenza
Review: Arthur Black

The cover Hit List #1 really attracted me to picking this book up. Who could resist two very well drawn ladies standing ass-to-ass in short black skirts holding pistols? Since my return to reading comics, this has been my first book from Zenescope.

Sami Kivela and Bryan Valenza have done a great job with the art. It contains page after page of great panels. Next to the cover, my favorite is page one. It is a full page drawing of one of the ladies (the one on the right from the cover to be exact) sitting in a car. The image is one I would love to have as a full size painting on the wall in my living room.

The action scenes are very well drawn with great detail. I am a great fan of comic blood shed when it is drawn in good taste. This book is a perfect example.

The first time I read this comic; I had a hard time following the story. The writer seems to bounce around a lot and does not concentrate on developing a cohesive narrative. All of the clichés used in the story detract heavily from the dialogue.  

I gave it a second read to see if maybe I missed something or forgot the English language temporarily. Nope. Actually the second read showed no depth to the characters at all. Another thing I noticed was the lack of a real plot. Seriously, this seemed like combination of a few good ideas that were never fleshed out properly, akin to a ball of Play-Doh made by a child by mixing three or four different colors. The story is obviously about hit men and a supposedly botched hit. The problem lies in the lack of details and reasons.

As stated before, the cover tempted me to pick this one up, and fortunately, I feel the cover is worth the $2.99 I paid. It is my personal opinion that Mr. Tedesco should do some research on the meaning and purpose of a plot. He has written other titles for Zenescope, and I would hope that they were better works than this.

Props are to be given to the artists as they are supporting the book. Great job on the artwork, Sami Kivela and Bryan Valenza.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

REVIEW: Pathfinder Goblins! #1

“The One-Eyed Goblin King”
Written by Adam Warren
Illustrated by Carlos Gomez
Colored by Ted Gonzalez
Lettered by Marshall Dillon

“Prize Pupil “
Written by Erik Mona
Illustrated by Shane White
Colored by Mark Roberts
Lettered by Marshall Dillon

Review: Cody "Madman" Miller

The Gobos have landed. Thank you Dynamite and thank you Paizo! I stopped reading the Pathfinder title in the middle of issue #6. It was horrible. It was one of those times when you keep reading a title just because of an attachment to the source material. I was blind but now I see just how awful you are. I had hoped you would grow up into something worthashit but you didn’t, you died in infancy. Shame.

Thankfully Goblins is nothing like its whore of a mother. Goblins is destined for a long and epically prosperous run of five issues. I know. I know. What the hell? That is way too short. If you’ve read the first issue then you’re probably saying that very thing at this very your favorite neighbor, Eggert. High five Eggert!

The book contains two shorts with both different styles and basic interpretation of what it means to be a goblin. I hope this is the format the book takes for the brief duration it stays remotely relevant. Seriously though, this book takes me back to The Thing’s Two-in-Ones. I love those books with the polka dotted art and all. One book. Two stories. Two writers. Equals Auto Win.

 “The One-Eyed Goblin King “ is the first story in the book and just so happens to be my favorite of the two.

Adam Warren is one with the goblin. He crafted a great tale of adventure and self mutilation thru the eyes of a goblin. That fact alone has me nominating him as President of the World. The driving force of the story is a dark and powerful artifact. The artifact indeed turns out to be that last remaining eye of the Arch-lich Kalzaroth. The artifact was stolen by an adventuring party and on their way out of the underground the party get ambushed and cut down by our beloved goblins. It turns out the might War chief Guchkk knows how the Art-fak works. Guchkk decides the test the magic eye on the lowest on the henchmob totem pole…poor poor Urngle. Urngles buddies turn on him and pop out one of his eyes into which Guchkk deposits the magic eye. Urngle becomes a god like alpha gobo for about five seconds until the chief cuts Urngle’s head clean off. The hijinks continue with more eyes being popped out as the goblins turn on one another for the chance to be the one to claim the all powerful magic eye. The writing and art are both very well done on this one. Standing ovation. Loved it.

The second story “Prize Pupil “was good but not great. In fact after reading the first part of the issue I definitely felt the loss of momentum. This story is way less a satire and has more of a fable kind of vibe to it. To be totally honest, Shane White’s art totally killed this one for me. His facial expressions are possible the worst I’ve ever seen. Meh.

Another cool thing about this book and the main Pathfinder title are that snuggled way in back on the last couple pages are full of useful stuff for all you RPG fans….the magical items, blueprints, stats and profiles of most of the characters.

High five Eggert!     

Monday, September 2, 2013

REVIEW: Uncanny #3

Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Review: Arthur Black

For those of us with a taste for stories featuring secret agents and spies, Uncanny written by Andy Diggle is a cross between X-men and James Bond.  The story is centered on Dominic Weaver, a man with an interesting ability and a gambling problem. Dominic has the ability to gain the skills of others by a simple touch. For instance, if he touches a martial arts grand master, Dominic would have all of the martial arts skills of the grand master. Unfortunately the gained skills only last for a short time.

Uncanny #3 is a very captivating book. Dominic is being recruited by Damian Styles to assist the mysterious and luscious Maggie Ford for a mission of the utmost importance. Although Weaver does not trust Damian, he can’t turn down the half of a million dollars offered for the mission.

The mission is made to sound simple enough. He just needs to steal a briefcase from a scientist of Cadre, an organization of Think Tanks.

Dominic and Maggie are known in as “actives”. Actives are people with special abilities. At this point in the story, we have not been provided with much information about these people. Although, this issue does allude to a cryptic origin for the “actives” and Damian is trying to uncover it.

This book has a quick flow as compared to the previous two issues. Prior to this issue, I had thoughts of dropping the series from my pull list. My hope is that each of the following issues will be as equally exciting. There are so many different aspects of the story that have just started to develop, such as the introduction of Cadre and the search for origin of Dominic Weaver’s ability.

Aaron Campbell has created some great art in this book, and a few panels really pop exceptionally well. One of these panels depicts a helicopter landing on top of a building. The detail of the cityscape at night is incredible. Another, (and my favorite) features an “active” mentally juggling cards in the air.

Other than a lettering mistake on the first page, on which a word has been left out of the bottom left panel, this is a fabulous comic that has me hooked for a long haul. I admit that the first two had me wondering whether to continue getting this book, but I feel the wait was worth it. It is a great time to start a new comic.