A GOD SOMEWHERE OGN
Writer: John Arcudi Art: Peter Snejbjerg Publisher: DC Wildstorm Reviewer: Ambush BugA GOD SOMEWHERE starts out as a human drama --one with suburban dinner parties, angst between brothers, laughter between friends, a bit of political and racial tension, and optimistic plans for the future -- and even though the story quickly becomes a tale of tank-tossing, high-flying, all-powerful gods, it remains a human drama until the very end. A GOD SOMEWHERE is a masterpiece, a story that deserves to be read and reread and one that should be picked up by anyone who loves comics…good, good, goddamn good comics.
I could scream and rant in my most testosterone laden tone about how badass this comic is. And you know what, it really is. For those of you who love to see carnage of the highest caliber with scenes asking “what if someone with Superman’s strength really existed and let loose?”, you will not be disappointed in this book. The scenes of the sheer devastation one misguided man enacts on the world is awe inspiring and heart wrenching at the same time. If this were written by a writer less in touch with the human condition, I would say, from the carnage alone, this is a standard blockbuster tale and one willing to please the “Awww, that was so cool!” masses.
But what separates this story from most super hero stories is that there is a human center to this story that resonates off the page and tears at your heart. Writer John Arcudi has outdone himself creating a quartet of truly three dimensional characters who you love, loathe, envy, and feel sorry for all at the same time through this almost 200 page original graphic novel. It’s a story of a man given ultimate power, but even with all the power in the world, he is still just a man.
The sheer visceral impact of this book wouldn’t have packed such a Tyson-punch if not for the amazing art by Peter Snejbjerg (who also provided art for THE MIGHTY). The panels of a Superman gone wild took my breath away. There are scenes that had me gasping and honestly not believing what I was looking at. And there is one reveal in particular that is as haunting as you can get (I guarantee you will know it when you read it). Sure we’ve all seen carnage in books by the likes of Garth Ennis or Mark Miller, but nothing tops what happens in between A GOD SOMEWHERE’s covers. But even the quiet scenes pack an emotional wallop. The emotive facial expressions and moody panel work are something to be studied and admired. This is a true achievement for Snejbjerg, an artist who I first heard of in STARMAN, but after this comic, I will forever be a fan.
I want to be extra vague in this review and give away nothing. You deserve to come in to this story as fresh as I did—knowing nothing about what’s going to happen and how you are going to feel once you set the book down. I do guarantee you won’t be able to put this book down until you finish the last page and I challenge you not to flip back through it again once you finished it as well.
There’s been a lot of “super powers in a world outside your window stories” from WATCHMEN to RISING STARS to HEROES to SUPREME POWER to NEWUNIVERSE to the recent THE MIGHTY (another stellar miniseries worth seeking out), but none of them hit me as hard as this book did. There are tons of comics out there for you to choose from. Most read like summer blockbusters with all the pomp and flourish that comes along with that type of story. But if you’re the type who occasionally likes to delve into something meatier, something that truly sticks with you, something that stands out above and beyond the norm, read John Arcudi and Peter Snejbjerg’s masterpiece called A GOD SOMEWHERE. Seek this book out. Gasp and cry and feel and most of all understand what stellar comics are all about when you read this one. A GOD SOMEWHERE is comic book brilliance.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Check out his ComicSpace page for his entries in Cream City Comics’ MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 and MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1 anthologies. Bug was interviewed here & here (about AICN Comics) and here & here (on his VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER comics). Bug’s latest comic is VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #21: WITCHFINDER GENERAL (available in May’s Previews Order # MAY100828) on sale in July. Fanboy Radio recently interviewed Bug about it here. Bug was also interviewed here & here about his upcoming original vampire miniseries NANNY & HANK (available in June's Previews Order #JUN100824) due out in August.
BANANA TAIL’S COLORFUL ADVENTURE OGN
Writer: Mark McKenna Artists: The Fourth Armada Publisher: Shadowline/Image Comics Reviewer: Optimous DoucheA majority of kids books just suck. They consist of one ripped off bible parable that is then modernized by some consulting group and then homogenized for mass appeal. I’m looking at you Dora and Handjob Manny, not all kids are good with tools and boys aren’t all stupid, senorita. Sorry, that was uncalled for. I guess these childhood staples have their place, but they also follow a sameness of presentation that hasn’t evolved since I was little Douche reading “Sesame Street”. The formula is always the same: one cut-rate art team draws a big ass picture and then words are slapped underneath the picture or integrated into the picture in such a way that Mom and Dad drop half the sentence (or make it up) because the effort is just not worth the insipid one note reward.
This is why I love Wizard World. Not only is this the one time of year I can become exposed to the wellspring of new ideas coming out of the traditional comic format, but I also get time to see the new boundaries some pretty well-established creators are forging to hopefully keep this grand hobby alive for at least one or two more generations.
Last year I met Joe Kelly who turned me on to his book for the late elementary school set. Sure, I wanted to talk about Joe’s work in the BAM POW realm, but Joe was seriously all about getting the word out on his new title. I took the book and surprisingly enjoyed it; I could imagine one day explaining the deeper meaning behind the fantastic world to a little shitlin of my own. But basically Joe’s insistence on me reading his book made it quite easy for me to give a hearty yes to McKenna when he asked me to take a pass at BANANA TAIL.
Tweaked from a creation originally by his father, McKenna originally conceived of BANANA TAIL as a character to amuse his then 4 year old daughter. Almost fifteen years later the fully realized product shows that this was a story meticulously crafted over time, because even though it’s geared toward the toddler pre-school set, the story is actually layered. The art is a buffet of hyper-colored CGI, perfect to stimulate burgeoning imaginations. And, here’s the big one in my eyes, it’s presented in panel and word balloon format. Yes, they are big ass panels and big ass balloons, but BANANA TAIL could very well be your kid’s first trade.
At its heart BANANA TAIL is a piece on morality; when the eponymous protagonist monkey shows his hyper color t-shirt rhino friend his favorite shell, she/he accidently breaks it and tries to bury the accident in the sand. Literally! Lesson one is of course we all fuck up, but what’s important is owning up to your mistakes.
Before we reach that end though, Banana Tail notices his friend’s change in mood based on her new color hue (great device by the way – Daddy just learned that emotion has color as well in BLACKEST NIGHT), and tries to cheer her up by making her partake in all of the activities he enjoys. Kids are narcissistic little egomaniacs, the sooner they learn the rest of the world is not exactly like them the better. And there’s your lesson number two.
Finally the story ends with the Reena the Rhino fessing-up, and we learn Banana Tail is not all that upset at the loss of his favorite shell. Lesson number three. Possessions are fleeting; friendships, though, are forever. If every kid gets their hands on this book, perhaps we can avert the credit crisis of 2025.
I applaud anyone that breaks out of their comfort zone like McKenna has for BANANA TAIL. For a man that has brought the demented world of DOOM PATROL to life on the page, you would not expect the duality of cuteness and light that is BANANA TAIL. It just goes to show, never judge a creator by their past covers.
Optimous' book AVERAGE JOE is being published by COM.X. AJ is a tale that explores what our world would be like today if everyone was gifted with super human abilities in 1938. The guys are looking for top shelf art talent to partner with on this project. Reach out to Optimous on FaceBook for further details.
ULTIMATE COMICS X #3
Writer: Jeph Loeb Artist: Arthur Adams Publisher: Ultimate Marvel Reviewer: KletusCasadyThis book is two “X’s” away from a porn parody. Speaking of which, has anyone seen the Batman TV show porn parody? I’m debating watching it because I know once I see it I’ll never be able to look at the original the same, however Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt were pretty attractive in their day…sooo maybe I can…oh right…the review. Jeph Loeb has the ability to write some really heartfelt emotional stories in the vain of DAREDEVIL: YELLOW (or as I say Yella), SPIDER-MAN: BLUE (my personal fave of the color series) and the really really awesome BATMAN: HUSH (at least until the “reveal”) which mostly benefitted from Loeb’s spot on internal dialog from these heroes. I realize that a lot of people don’t really like him for some reason or another (maybe it’s just people on this site) but I think he’s put out some damn good work (ULTIMATES 3…nope never heard of it). His team ups with Tim Sale are flawless and are no doubt in the Batman hall of fame. I love the tone of this series and the art by Art is pretty damn awesome.
Each issue has focused on a mutant and how they are regarded in this post ULTIMATUM world. I know I reviewed UNCANNY X-MEN last week (no I don’t have an X-hard on…actually maybe I do) and we find the mutants facing a world that hates and despises them because of Magneto changing the magnetic poles or what ever the fuck he did and causing a massive flood. Now mutants are pretty much outlawed and get locked up or killed when confronted, so it’s in their best interest to stay out of sight and keep their mutations to themselves. This issue deals with a mutant with wings who is secretly doing somewhat heroic acts all the while trying to keep his mutation hidden from his family. I won’t go into who they are because that’s part of the fun in reading this book. At first I was kind of lost as to who was giving the dialog but by the time I got to the end I had the same sinking feeling I had when I got to the end of SPIDER-MAN: BLUE. This where Loeb excels and I hope every issue follows the format of the previous two. The narration is pretty much done though an ancillary character who has some sort of close dealing with the main character.
The last issue had to do with a mall security guard who had fallen in love with Jean Grey with a new look (she purposely has gone in to hiding); unbeknownst to him that she was a mutant and had evil mutants looking for her. The way that these stories are told is great because the internal dialog shows these people as “normal folk” who are just going about their lives and end up having a chance encounter with a mutant that changes their lives in some way, which is sometimes a good thing and sometime they could end up with their stomach getting ripped out. “Tough times call for tough decisions” could be the tagline for this issue because damn if a whopper of a decision wasn’t made in this issue. Combine that with they angle from which this story was told and you have some classic badass emotionally story driven Loeb and Kletus is digging it. I love that the writers at Marvel were like “Umm...the Ultimate Universe sucks…let’s blow it up and start over,” because it’s given way to some awesome opportunities to create something new.
Art Adams is a legend and I didn’t know that he had been around for a while (I know I know shoot me) but I got one of his older comics and he was way above the curve then just like he is now. The detail is amazing but I have to give it to Peter Stiegerwald the colorist because everything really just pops off the page the colors are vibrant and every panel I could actually image myself at these places.
I really hope the format of this book stays the same mainly because of the emotional angle this book has which kind of forces you to feel for these characters whether we have seen them before or not. There’s still somewhat of a mystery as to why Jean is gathering these mutants but I image it’s to secretly rebuild the X-Men with fresh faces which I’m totally ok with. The art is amazing and I would place this book among my top 5, speaking strictly from an art standpoint. I highly recommend the first three issues of this book; some people may have a problem with the first issue’s reveal but hey at least he’s not Daken. If you’ve ever liked something Jeph Loeb has done, do yourself a favor and check this out; also Art Adams is doing some beautiful stuff here that is also worth a gander. Oh yeah and Jean Grey’s breasts have also grown to an enormous size Post ULTIMATUM…I guess that’s another side effect of reversing the magnetic poles. Was this Magneto’s endgame?!?!?!?
CHARMED #0: BOOK OF SHADOWS
Writer: Paul Ruditis Art: Derek Baron, Dan Haberkorn, Carol Wood, Dave Hoover and David Seidman Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment Reviewer: Mr. PastySomething Wicca this way comes – to an Android’s Dungeon near you. Worst comic ever? Not by a long shot. In fact, CHARMED #0 is a nice way to reacquaint yourself with the witchy adventures of the Halliwell sisters, or to be introduced to them for the first time. Or maybe you just like ogling hot chicks that show a lot of cleavage. Hey, whatever you fancy, this book seems to have you covered. I was actually surprised at how thorough it was in laying the foundation for this ongoing series. Of course most of this background information is available on the CHARMED wiki but it’s just not the same as reading it under your blanket after 10pm with a Playskool flashlight.
As you would expect from an issue #0 (in any series), there isn’t much of an arc in place or a narrative to follow. Instead, the BOOK OF SHADOWS reads almost like a witch’s handbook, carefully mapping out the five W’s of CHARMED. Not only do you get first-person bios from each character, you also have detailed sections that explain different types of witches, spells, heroes, villains and my favorite – a year-by-year synopsis of each season from the television show. As an added bonus, “Year Five” is accompanied by another look at Alyssa Milano in full Mermaid regalia. Hubba hubba.
Some graphic novels don’t need to blow your mind (or your load) with stunning visuals. But if you’re trying to sell this demographic on a comic book that centers on a trio of demon-slaying sisters, you had better come heavy or not at all. BOOK OF SHADOWS does not disappoint. The lettering is gorgeous. Artwork is paired with screen captures from the WB series but the pencils are where the meat and potatoes of this book are. I liked that Piper, Phoebe and Paige were drawn with an air of dignity and elegance and not just with big-breasts and snappy dialogue. Yes, Prue and Cole are here as well, each with a brief eulogy to honor their contributions to the CHARMED universe.
What you get out of CHARMED #0: BOOK OF SHADOWS all depends on how much you enjoyed the television show. It will probably also appeal to Wicca fans and readers with an interest in the occult. I don’t really fit into any of those categories but I do like cute girls and interesting storylines. To that end, I enjoyed reading it because I came away with a better understanding of what lies beneath surface. On the top you have a group of attractive starlets who vanquish evil. Beneath that is a trove of engaging stories that while not exactly groundbreaking, do manage to keep things fresh and entertaining. I’ve become intimately familiar with the CHARMED ones thanks to the BOOK OF SHADOWS and will confess to my underlying eagerness to scoop up issue # 1 when it hits stores. CHARMED, I’m sure.
Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at MMaMania.com here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.
JOKER’S ASYLUM II: MAD HATTER #1 (One Shot)
Writer: Landry Walker Art: Keith Giffen & Bill Sienkiewicz Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: BottleImpOne of the wonderful things about a third-tier Batman villain like the Mad Hatter is that he’s never really been given a definitive version. Of course, one might argue that the same could be said about the Joker, seeing as how he’s vacillated over the decades between being a cold-blooded murderer, a less-lethal buffoon, or a twisted psychopath, but no matter how the Batman’s main nemesis is written, the Joker remains the Joker. The Hatter is a much more mutable character who has been written to serve a variety of writers’ needs, ranging from criminal genius to child-like schizophrenic to sicko pedophile, but none of these tags has ever really stuck to define the Hatter in his capacity for villainy. This is a good thing, because it gives creators a chance to put their own spin on such characters without being bound by the same strictures that would be faced when writing the more established rogues (such as the Joker).
Walker ably blends the elements of the Hatter that have been presented throughout the character’s publication history to create a portrait of a man who is at the same time brilliant yet simple, pitiful yet frightening. The Hatter’s mind-control devices are used to kidnap “Alice”—in actuality, a convenience store clerk named Cathryn—and force her to play out the Hatter’s Wonderland-inspired fantasy, but Walker also suggests that the mind-control technology has as much control over the Hatter’s own psyche. “I become who I need to be,” the Hatter writes. “Whoever the hat commands me to be. Fireman. Chef. Doctor… Madman.” In Walker’s incarnation, the Hatter is as much a victim as he is antagonist, which leads the reader to view him more with pity than with fear. That is, until a few pages later when we see what happened to all the other “Alices” the Hatter has kidnapped. I’ve never before read a story centered on the Mad Hatter—or any of Arkham Asylum’s other inmates, for that matter—that depicts his insanity so effectively.
Walker can’t claim all the responsibility, though—a lot of credit must be given to Giffen’s and Sienkiewicz’s jittery, nervous linework. Their Hatter is quivering dwarf with teeth that jut out from his mouth like a half-demolished roof, a creature that looks more ludicrous than terrifying… which of course, makes his final descent into murderous rage all the more disturbing. This comic is one of those instances where the artwork and words perfectly complement each other; I can’t imagine any other artist that would be able to realize the Hatter’s madness so intensely.
In this time when Batman is mired down in continuity and the grandiose plans of DC’s writers and editors, it’s nice that a reader like me who eschews that kind of thing has been given an alternative like these JOKER’S ASYLUM One-Shots. If you too like the Batman but have been out of his current loop, you should try plunging into the warm insanity of the Batman’s world with this excellent issue.
When released from his Bottle, the Imp takes the form of Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from the Northeast. You can see some of his artwork here. He’s given up comics more times than he can remember. But every time he thinks he's out, they pull him back in.
THE WALKING DEAD #73
Writer: Robert “the Man” Kirkman Art: Charles “Up Chuck” Adlard Publisher: Image Reviewer: KletusCasadyWell…I literally just caught up to this issue this week. I bought the first trade probably about 5 months ago and upon seeing there was a TV show in development and having countless number of people in the comic shop say I should read it, I embarked on THE WALKING DEAD journey. This journey lead me to go to my local library, which has a pretty extensive trade paperback section, to see if they had the trades I was missing…which…was pretty much all of them. Much to my dismay I did not find them…but I decide to check the computer anyway…only to realize that they did in fact have them but in the fiction section under KIRKMAN...THEY HAD EVERY FUCKING TRADE…including the big omnibus books. God bless you library god for thou hath shined your radiance upon me.
So I checked ‘em out, all except Vol. 8 which I bought because it was checked out by some heartless bastard. After getting my girlfriend to read the first trade, she was hooked (I also got her hooked on Y: THE LAST MAN)…we would read THE WALKING DEAD together and bump uglies thinking about sweet rotting Zombie flesh…at least that’s what I was thinking about…she was probably thinking about Gerard “crooked mouth” Butler. After getting though all 11 trades and 7 issues…I now find myself very disappointed. Now I have to sit around with all the other poor saps and wait issue by issue month to month to see what’s going to happen next…and that sucks.
If you haven’t read this comic then you probably shouldn’t be reading any reviews on any issue…seriously…stop. This story arc, to any one who doesn’t know better, appears to be a good welcome change of pace for Rick and the gang. They’ve found a large community of “normal” folk, who have kids, lots of food, houses, weapons, a horny leader, a barrier to keep the undead out, a pretty good size city close to them to which they can grab supplies, and a pretty good system to do it. So why does something seem like it’s not right? It’s because in this post Zombie apocalypse world, people have lost their fucking minds and do what ever the fuck they want to whoever the fuck they want (Governor anybody?...I think he’s the “Davidson” they’ve been referring to but I could be wrong).
So Rick and his gang are a little apprehensive about this “too good to be true” scenario that they’ve found themselves in. The problem here is that it seems as though most of these people have been living in this community for a long time and Rick’s gang have been out there on their own for a long while so they’re still in shell shock mode akin to a Vietnam vet who can’t relax because his nerves have been trained to be on guard 24/7.
That’s really what makes this comic tick--the seemingly realistic approach to things we think we’d be able to handle. Every situation this group finds themselves in is another challenge and this story arc is no different. This is awesome from a story point of view because now they are faced with normalcy and it doesn’t jive with them. They almost seem like they would rather be out there barely surviving than in a community worrying about whom they can and can’t trust. As Carl put it “This place is going to make us weak…” They’ve already come to grips with the outside world so much so that getting too comfortable is actually a scary place and that’s kind of sad really. Something stinks in this community and I can’t put my finger on it but Rick feels it in his phantom limb and I imagine within the next few issues we’ll find out where exactly that smell is emanating from.
This comic is gold…Zombie gold…which I guess would be brains seeing that gold wouldn’t do a Zombie much good beyond looking hella fly. What I mean is I haven’t really seen any other Zombie stories explored with this much depth and I’ve seen and read a lot of Zombie shit. I guess maybe WORLD WAR Z but that shit ain’t got no pictures in it, thus rendering it inconsequential to this symbiote’s senses (take that Mel Brooks Jr). This book is the stuff you fantasize about in a zombie apocalypse and the stuff you don’t want to think about in a zombie apocalypse…it’s everything and then some.
I know I’ve talked about the story arc more than the issue itself but the reward of each issue is the ongoing tale of this group of people, so yes this issue is good, if you just want to read just this issue fine…but you are doing yourself a big disservice by not reading the rest of this saga. It would be like watching the entire scene in” Star Wars” where Luke and everyone is about to get fed to sand worm thing, and not wanting to watch anymore…yeah I know! It’s impossible! I’d brutalize someone if they turned off the TV after that scene, then I’d explain it to the judge and get off scot free. THIS BOOK IS THAT GOOD! I know you haters are out there and have a bunch of negative things to say but you guys are always out there and always have negative things to say so…suck it…and yes I did the Degeneration X move when I said that.
This issue alone is great but it thrives on the previous adventures we’ve experienced with this group and the emotional investment we have with each of these characters. The artwork is solid; it’s not going to change your life but honestly this book could be drawn with stick figures and not lose a beat.