Trade Comic Reviews – Early June


This is just the first batch. Timm will be adding a bunch soon and I have a whole stack to read and review as well. There’s some really good stuff on the shelves right now.

B.P.R.D. Garden of Souls(vol 7) and Killing Ground(vol 8)
Dark Horse Comics

Mike Mignola and John Arcudi working together really manage to create stories that are astounding. Add Guy Davis on art and you can’t lose.
Hellboy has been one of my favorites for a while. It’s fun, its creepy, even a bit scary, but it’s also as simple as good and evil. Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is the group he works for, and even without the big red fighting machine with them they kick ass.
In Garden Of Souls we see Abe reconnecting with his past via the jungles of Indonesia. People he knew back when he was strictly human during the civil war have been fooling around with science and magic. Abe is sent to investigate with Captain Daimio and the two of them working together is a bit strained. We are given a look into Abe’s past through a series of flashbacks that really explain a lot about who Abe really is.
Meanwhile back at the mountain headquarters member Johan has made some interesting discoveries, Liz is having more visions. Garden of Souls is a superb tale and does a lot to add to the whole mythos of the Hell boy universe.
Killing Grounds gives us the full story behind Captain Damio and how he can actually even be alive. The end results will be dire. Liz finds ways to help with her nightmares , but they aren’t stopping yet. An Johann has a new body and has decided to make the most of it by doing all the things he couldn’t without a body, and eating a lot is the least of it. Most of this tale takes place right in the mountain headquarters and Mignola and Arcudi manage to amp up the suspense and tension like the original Alien movie did. As much as I want to read these slowly to savor it, I can’t help but rip right through them. This is great reading.

Fables Volume 10 : THE GOOD PRINCE
2008
Vertigo

It’s no secret that in my household we love Fables. This latest collection is a bit of a prelude of the war to come and a look at how parts of it may go.
The frog price, Ambrose, has been despondent lately. His lost family distresses him and he finally acts on this. Using the well in the business office he travels through back passages back to the Homelands to restore his kingdom. His allies come from the fables who have died, he manages some magic and is able to use them to help him establish a beachhead in the homelands. His ultimate goal is not overthrowing powers but to set up a land where fables can live free and away from the war to come. It’s a long road and a hell of a tale. Part of my favorite aspects of the book was seeing some fables return to action, both good and bad. The climax is terrific and it didn’t end the way I thought it would.
Another great addition to the Fables collection by Bill Willingham.

MORBID MYTHS Volume 1
Alterna Comics

This is a horror anthology and like all good horror anthologies we have a host. Our host here is Job (pronounced JOBE), and he is a collector, of both items and the stories that go with them. Created by Hard Way Studios this first collection is entertaining. My favorite is the opening story about a librarian who uses some extreme measures to collect overdue books. The other tales vary from a different take on a classic tale, like the Bloody Mary in the mirror. There are some original stories as well. The artwork is really perfect for this kind of storytelling and thr black and white makes it work even better I think. Writers involved include: Dale Mettam, Dwayne Biddix, Jamison Kasian and Chris Carpenter. Art provided by Dwayne Biddix, Harold Edge and Jennifer Tanner.
My only complaint is that some of the stories could have been a little longer, you know, stretching out the terror a bit more. If you like horror tales, check this out.
SERENITY: THOSE LEFT BEHIND
2007
Dark Horse

This is a graphic novel prequel to the movie Serenity based on the show Firefly. The creator Joss Whedon helped plot the story for it an he also wrote a really cool article explaining the universe that these characters are living in. The crew of the ship Serenity are living in a grey area between lawlessness and frontierism, taking work when they can and doing “jobs” when they need to. There was a great war and Malcolm Reynolds was on the losing side, though not necessarily the wrong side.
This tale opens with Malcolm and his crew pulling a job and having it co-opted by some bad guys. They still get the blame and end up on the run. As it turns out there was a deeper plot involving agents working for the alliance and someone with an old grudge setting up the crew. The agents want a passenger on the Serenity, a girl named River who escaped their custody while experimenting on her. The trail leads all the parties involved to the scene of a great battleground from the war which is still strewn with bodies and ships. Not everyone will be leaving.
Whedon has a really wonderful way of weaving a story and within this universe he created he really has no boundaries. Fans of Firefly will love this, but it’s totally accessible for people who haven’t seen the show. It’s kind of sci-fi, kind of wild west and kind of a caper, all in a future that isn’t really very bright and shiny. The artwork by Will Conrad is so good that it really tells the story even without the words, the art and words combine make for powerful storytelling and a really great yarn.

THE UN-MEN: GET YOUR FREAK ON
2008
Vertigo

John Whalen and Mike Hawthorne have put together a pretty wild comic and this first arc is really a trip. Aberrance is a city founded by freaks, populated by people who are just that, freaks. Len Wein had Anton Arcane create the Un-Men way back in the pages of Swamp Thing. They are now living here with others like themselves and some freaks who came by it naturally. The town is run by a corporate structure with big plans, however there is a movement to stop the plans and things start to go off the rails. Agent Kilcrop is sent in to investigate, but he has secrets of his own.
A mystery, a horror story, and science gone wrong all collide here for a unique and really twisted in that fun kind of way read. The intro by Len Wein is really great as well.

WILDSTORM ARMAGEDDON
2008
Wildstorm

If you are unfamiliar with the Wildstorm universe this book is actually a great introduction. Told in six different parts with the six major books this uses the anthology format to tell one story and show the different titles very well. The running plot is simple, the Earth is going to experience an Armageddon that will essentially all but wipe out man kind. A character named Void one by one takes different characters to the future to show them what happened in hopes that they can come back an help prevent it.

The first one is Midnighter of The Authority. He’s brought to London where the ship he and his team travel on has crashed. Part two is from the pages of Welcome to Tranquility. The devastation there is held off by a spell protecting the town of tranquility, however once the spell stops it’s all they can do to keep people from invading and destroying them. Part three is our ragtag supernatural hunters of Wetworks. Colonel Dane is taken forward, and while he does some good, he misunderstands and probably won’t be able to forestall the tragic future. Next up is a Gen 13 tale with a battle against a league of women assassins. Part five is Stormwatch PHD, and in some respects it shows a less dangerous, but ultimately more scary future. To wrap it up is a Wlidcats story.

This is a fun book, and Christos Gage did a nice job writing all the different players. It was enough to get me to start buying everything with Welcome To Tranquility on the cover.