Review: By Night #2

By Night 2

By Night #2
Publisher: Boom! Box
Rating: 4 Star

By Night is the second issue in a new series by Boom! Box. It’s only intended to run for 12 issues, which is a bit of a shame really. I wasn’t super convinced about the last issue, since the pace was moving along so rapidly. However, I feel like I really started getting into the plot this time around.

In the last issue Jane and Heather found a portal and naturally they couldn’t resist jumping straight into it. Okay, there’s a bit more to it than that, but you get the gist of it. This issue shows us their magical shockingly quick adventure.

What’s interesting is the two different takaways the characters had. Jane wants to handle everything scientifically. First she wants to prove that she’s not crazy, and that means proving that this place exists. Then she wants to film it, take samples from it, and so on and so forth.

Heather on the other hand sees this whole thing as a grand adventure. She also may or may not see this as an opportunity to get her hands on some cash that has yet to be proven one way or the other. Still, considering her prospects so far, it’d be hard to blame her for that.

The creature they met in the other world is an interesting one, though I do think calling him the Jar Jar Binks of the world was both accurate and inaccurate at the same time – depending mostly on which theory you support about the Star Wars character.

The highlight of the issue? It had to be the Winky reference. It’s not often you get to see people in comics mentioning Winky the house elf from the world of Harry Potter, so credit must be given where credit is due.

The conclusion of this issue, obviously, leaves us curious and wanting more. What on earth is happening, and why are we suddenly seeing it in another character’s perspective? Okay, the second part is actually obvious – it’s to obfuscate the truth of what is happening while building suspense. And it worked.

 

Review: New Challengers #3

New Challengers #3

New Challengers #3
Publisher: DC Comics
Rating: 3 1/2 Star

We’re steadily getting further and further into this mini-series, and so far I’m still curious about what’s going on. For those that don’t remember, New Challengers is a spin-off of events set in motion thanks to Dark Nights: Metal. I know there’s been a lot of that going around though, but it is what it is, right?

In the last issue we had quite the curveball thrown at us – supposedly the ‘real’ Challengers have shown up, and they didn’t believe that the Professor is actually the Professor…so they sort of killed him. That sort of felt like jumping to crazy conclusions, especially considering how everybody on the team has already died once anyway – so shouldn’t we assume that the Professor isn’t the exception to this rule?

Anyway, moving on. It’ll be nice to see how that whole mess pans out. The cover only shows the original team (as in, the team we originally met, not the original Challengers) on it, so I wasn’t sure what that implied for the newly arrived team…

Like the last issue, this one starts out with a glimpse into the past of one of our Challengers. It doesn’t tell us much about him, other than to help reinforce his stubborn nature. It did transition perfectly into what was happening in real time though. The newly arrived team of Challengers are claiming that well, the Professor isn’t the Professor and this was the only solution. They’re also claiming that they were removed from their stasis pods because of Aquaman. This raises SO many questions. Either they’re not legit, or the Professor didn’t trust them, or the other way around. One is obviously more concerning than the other.

Things get a little crazy and confusing from that point onward…but that was clearly intentional. There’s a lot going on, and while the team of Challengers we know the best are clearly the most trustworthy, they’re also the most in the dark. Right now, at least. Hopefully they’ll learn more in the near future – but you never know.

Review: Euthanauts #1

Euthanauts #1

Euthanauts #1
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Rating: 4 Star

Euthanauts is a new and interesting series by IDW Publishing. The title is both obscure and evocative, depending on how much you know about the series itself. It revolves around death, much like the characters within.

That sounds pretty morbid, and I guess in a certain sense it is. But there are many that don’t consider death to be the end of the journey, but rather another part of it. That’s certainly the case for this series. Picture death as if you were jumping out into space – there’s a whole lot of unknown, dark and black space out there, right? Well, that’s actually a fairly accurate description for how much we know about death.

Thalia Rosewood (I love her name) is a woman that’s always been obsessed with death. Not in the too terrified to live sort of way, more like she’s always been distracted by the notion of it. So naturally when she comes across a woman who is clearly dying of cancer, she can’t help but feel herself drawn to her. She finds herself rudely staring at the woman, but she can’t help it.

Who would have thought that this encounter would change everything for the both of them? Okay, maybe the dying woman, Mercy, had a pretty good idea of what was about to happen, but that’s a whole new story now, isn’t it?

This was an interesting start to such a cerebral tale. I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of it to truly pass judgment on it, but so far I’ve liked what I’ve seen. I’m looking forward to the release of the next issue, if nothing else than to sate my curiosity for what is going on.

Review: Eden #1

Eden #1

Eden #1
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Rating: 3 1/2 Star

Like many new series I randomly pick up, I was first attracted to Eden because of the absolutely beautiful covers it boasted. The characters on the cover looked interesting (the alien reminding me very much of a certain race from Mass Effect) and the color palette is exquisite.

So this is meant to be a four issue limited series. With those pretty covers I’m sure they don’t have to worry about them selling, but my bet is they’re not printing them in the normal numbers one would expect to see (thus ‘limited’). I love mini-series like this, as they’re fun to get into, but don’t require a multi-year commitment to get the whole plot.

I’ll admit that it took me a little while to get into the swing of things. Actually, after a couple of pages I had to stop and double check that I was in fact reading the first issue in the series. You see, they went with the storytelling method of having us dropped into the plot while it’s well in motion. That means that our characters already know each, already are on their mission, and don’t feel compelled to stop and explain any of that to us.

I don’t mind that storytelling technique at all, but sometimes it does result in some confusion. Once I started figuring out who was who, and what the driving motivation of our group is (hint: it’s the missing/kidnapped kid) I was much happier with what I was seeing.

I loved the epic scale of some of the alien races we’re shown, like the giant Dune like worm, or the thing that ate said worm. When being shown an alien planet, you don’t typically see them in this scale (though it does happen). I’m personally pretty fond of it, so it was nice to see. Granted I have no idea how the characters are going to succeed in their quest, but at least now I have motivation for reading the rest of the series, right?

 

Review: Dead Life #1

Dead Life #1

Dead Life #1
Publisher: Statix Press
Rating: 4 Star

Dead Life is a new series by Statix Press, and it’s perfect for any Walking Dead fans out there. I’ll admit I started reading this with a certain sense of trepidation – I feel like zombie stories can be really hit or miss, but in the end I was pretty happy with it.

When I say that fans of the Walking Dead will appreciate this series, I want you to understand my full meaning of that statement. We’re only one issue deep, and I can already tell you that the creative team is not willing to pull punches. This is good and bad. The good news is that it adds to the plot, gives the world consequences, and adds a sense of realism to an otherwise unbelievable situation. The bad news is that it can be heavy, graphic, and upsetting. So keep that in mind before you read.

I’ll admit that the cause for the zombie event here (okay, they never once actually call the creatures zombies, but we all know that’s what they are) was unexpected. I love that something so small and unremarkable caused all the ensuing mayhem. It fit perfectly, when you stop to think about it.

What I loved the most though was the unpredictability of it all. When I first started reading, knowing that at some point the characters would be overrun by zombies, I made an assumption of the type of story they were going to be tell us. My assumption was based on the few first pages and the character interactions within them. I was completely off the mark though. While I was a bit sad that was wrong (mostly for the characters sake) I’m thrilled that they managed to surprise me like that. So it was a bitter sweet moment, to be sure.

I will say that there is a decent amount of gore here – I mean, it’s a zombie comic, what do you expect? But it actually isn’t that bad, all things considered. I’ve certainly seen worse. Most of the gore is shown with blood, with implied damage being hidden under it (okay, not every time, but a lot). The more disturbing scenes, if you ask me, had less to do with the gore and more to do with the subjects being harmed. It’s never fun seeing animals and kids hurt, but unfortunately a ‘realistic’ zombie series would do just that. I don’t think they went overboard though, and while I was particularly upset about the dogs I think I could probably continue the series.

As for the ending of the issue…wow. I was certainly not expecting that! I know I already said that, but seriously. I had anticipated the slower form of zombies, the ones incapable of muscle memory, let alone any advanced tricks like opening doors or holding objects. I actually think this was a brilliant move on the creative team’s part – it insures that their zombies will stand out against the latest wave of media about them.

Review: The Thrilling Adventure Hour #1

The Thrilling Adventure Hour

The Thrilling Adventure Hour #1
Publisher: Boom! Box
Rating: 4 Star

The Thrilling Adventure Hour is Boom! Studios latest series and I’ve got to say so far I love it. It’s kind of a silly, fun, and casual spin on paranormal investigations. So in other words it’s exactly the sort of spin I would expect (and hope for) from Boom! Studios.

Our main characters, Frank and Sadie Doyle, well they deal in the supernatural. But they’re really not what you’d expect from ghost hunters. They actually look and act exactly like one would expect socialites to behave. That sounds really weird and a little off-putting, I know, but it’ll grow on you. I actually ended up really liking the couple. They’re cute and quirky in their own ways. Sort of like a bright and cheery version of the Addams family (minus children, of course). I do believe that there’s more going on with them than we’ve been shown, but only time will tell exactly what that is.

There’s also a disgraced (I think) reporter on their tail, but it seems like his interest in them is more incidental than not. I’m not quite sure how he’ll tie into everything just yet, but my bet is either he’s going to get pulled into their world (thanks to his nosiness) or he’s going to screw everything up for them. I’m hoping for the former, but one never knows.

The art style is bolder, with more shapes than shading, and solid color backgrounds. While there isn’t an excess of detail, you can still immediately identify when the perspective has shifted. The reporter’s pages are more muted, with hues of blue, gray, and yellow taking over the palette. Meanwhile the Doyle’s happily have all bright (but sophisticated) colors on their pages.

Boom! has a habit of creating such interesting yet oddly relaxing series. I’m hoping this one becomes a hit, as I’d love to see more of it. If we’re really lucky it’ll end up as long running as Giant Days (which I also love).

 

Review: Nu Way#1

Nu WAY

Nu Way#1
Publisher: Aspen Comics
Rating: 4 Star

Nu Way is a new series by Aspen Comics, and it’s been interesting so far. I love the artwork of the cover. Actually, if I’m being completely honest with you that’s probably the reason why I picked up this comic to begin with.

The artwork for this issue was absolutely striking. I loved everything from the details in the cities shown, the cybernetic implants, the facial expressions, to the color palette. It was all sharp and showed a high attention to detail. That alone made this one worth reading for me.

The plot took me a little bit longer to really get into. Everything started off with a fight, which is okay, of course, as it does a wonderful job of grabbing one’s attention. However it also sews confusion and takes a little longer for us to establish who the main characters are. At least that was so in this case.

Once I figured out who was who, and more importantly who I was supposed to care about, things got a lot easier for me. Zihao is one of those characters that you just can’t help but feel for. He started on the bottom, and while he certainly isn’t on the top yet, he’s working for it. It’s hard not to respect that. The problem is he’s taken a rough and dangerous route to get there. Likely he thought it was his only option (and since he knows his world better than I do, I can only assume he’s correct).

The hint at a love interest/complication was a nice touch. It brought Zihao’s humanity and past up to the forefront, giving us even more reason to care for him. Plus now we naturally care for Cassi as well. Like Zihao she also came from the bottom. It looks like she’s made it, but we all know that looks can be deceiving. I have a feeling we’ll learn more details about her and her progress in upcoming issues.

The cliffhanger at the end was an interesting choice. I would have guessed that they were going to keep Zihao as organic as possible, to help keep his human appeal (to both us and the fans watching the fights). We don’t know how Zihao feels about the idea though, so there’s still a chance things won’t go that way. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next issue.

 

Review: Revenge of Wonderland #1

Revenge of Wonderland

Revenge of Wonderland #1
Publisher: Zenoscope Entertainment Inc
Rating: 3 1/2 Star

Revenge of Wonderland is a new and interesting six part series. As you can tell from the title, it’s building heavily off of Alice in Wonderland. Now, I personally loved Alice in Wonderland and all of the imagery that went along with it. That means this series will likely go one of two ways; either I’ll love the direction they’ve taken this already expansive world, or it’ll drive me absolutely bonkers. I imagine most fans will feel the same way, and find that it will fit in either one category or the other.

Also, it’s probably worth nothing that this is actually a sequel to another Alice comic series. I personally haven’t read it, so I can’t compare and contrast right now. I can however say that I had no trouble following what was happening. I am curious about some of the past events/characters referenced, so I’ll probably look into the original.

So far, for me at least, the jury is still out. It has potential – I like what I’ve seen and am curious with where they’re going with it. However, since this issue was mostly introducing us to the characters, world, and plot, I don’t really feel like I have the strongest grasp of it yet. So we’ll have to see.

Like Alice In Wonderland, this tale starts in the real world. It doesn’t take long before our cast of characters are introduced. We quickly have a good idea of who the villain is, or rather who one of the villains is (let’s be honest, even before seeing her we know the Queen of Hearts has to be involved somehow, right?), though calling him a ‘bad guy’ certainly helped identify him. Violet and Callie are the two main characters and protagonists of the series. Even without having read the past series I can tell that these two have a history (they didn’t really try to keep that bit subtle, which is fine by me). Hopefully we’ll see them reconciling in future issues, as I have a feeling they’re going to need each other.

I found the way the queen was introduced to be interesting. She almost reminded me of the queen in Snow White – with the mirror and everything else. I know that obviously isn’t the case, but I like that they’re pulling elements from it. I’ve always loved mirror imagery in context of antagonists.

There’s one character that’s a bit concerning, and some would honestly find her potentially triggering, so I just want to mention that. After seeing her motivation and actions, I can’t say for certain if she’s self-harming for psychological reasons or if it’s ritualistic. If I had to guess I would say the latter, though most likely it’s actually a blend of the two. Regardless, I am concerned about her. I don’t think she had bad intentions per se, but she certainly hasn’t put herself in a good situation…

 

Review: The Mall #1

The Mall #1

The Mall #1
Publisher: Scout Comics
Score:

4 Star

The Mall is a new series by Scout Comics, it’s about, well you can probably guess that it has something to do with a mall. Have you ever looked at a large property like a mall and wondered how the ownership of something like that is handled? Well, according to this series it’s a world that’s open to inheritance and corruption, what a fun combination

Lena, Diego, and Dallas couldn’t possibly be more different from one another. Well, with one potentially major exception. That exception is the reason that they’re all finding themselves mixed up in this mall business. You see, they all supposedly have the same father, and he’s gone and left them each a chunk of the mall he once owned and ran.

Of course it isn’t actually that simple, we know that. In this case it’s actually worse than what we would consider the worst case scenario; I mean, I don’t know about you but if I inherited a mall I’d be more concerned about taxes then the possibility of somebody trying to kill me for the property. I’m betting I’m not in the minority for that one either.

Even though little time was spent with each individual kid, we already know their driving motivations for wanting the business to succeed. They all have their own heartbreaking backstories, but I won’t take away from them by ruining the surprises. I will say that they’re surprisingly real and deep issues.

Being that we’re only one issue in it’s hard to say for certain, but this series certainly looks like it has potential. Despite the oddly light sounding theme this series has already proven that it isn’t afraid to get heavy. The first scene literally depicts a murder (we can safely assume that it was the supposed father being killed here), plus mobsters, children trying to fit in/make their own path in life, sexual abuse, and so much more. So far everything has been pretty well balanced, let’s hope that continues!

Welcome!

Hey everyone! I’ve finally decided to go ahead and make a review blog specific for comics. Make sure to check in every Wednesday for New Comic Book Day, as well as throughout the week for some randomness.

I may or may not be switching my graphic novel reviews from my other review site to this one, I haven’t fully decided yet. If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to say so!

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