Comics

AICN COMICS REVIEWS: THE GREEN WOMAN! 28 DAYS LATER! NANNY & HANK! DARKWING DUCK! & More Halloween treats from the @$$Holes!!!

Published at: Oct. 27, 2010, 9:04 a.m. CST by ambush bug

#22 10/20/10 #9

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) THE GREEN WOMAN HC OGN DARKWING DUCK #5 NANNY & HANK #1 DCU HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2010 ONE-SHOT MOTEL HELL #1 BRIGHTEST DAY #12 28 DAYS LATER #16 PILOT SEASON: 7 DAYS FROM HELL #1 AZTECA: CIUDAD PARADISO #1 SCARY GODMOTHER TPB THE BROADCAST OGN CHAOS WAR #2 Raiders of the Long Box presents Halloween Horror Comics! Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents MARCH STORY Vol.1 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

THE GREEN WOMAN HC OGN

Writers: Peter Straub & Michael Easton Artist: John Bolton Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics Reviewed by Professor Challenger

“You could call this the last act. Hell, you could call it the encore, it's pretty much the same to me.” -- Fielding “Fee” Bandolier
Vertigo has released THE GREEN WOMAN just in time for Halloween and it's a treat for fans of mature horror stories. Full of graphic gore and violence throughout, this book is not for the faint of heart. This is a serial killer story, so any reader needs to know that up front. For whatever reason, we seem as a culture to be fascinated by the insidiously macabre nature of the serial killer. Neil Gaiman made use of it in SANDMAN, Hannibal Lector has practically become the adult "boogey man" go to for evil, and DEXTER thrives as the ultimate anti-hero juggling life as a father and also as a man who fetishistically needs to kill people. So, yes, we are fascinated by serial killers. In THE GREEN WOMAN, Straub and Easton resurrect a serial-killer character Straub created in his "Blue Rose" trilogy of books (KOKO, MYSTERY, and THE THROAT). Fielding "Fee" Bandolier was believed dead at the end of THE THROAT, but as THE GREEN WOMAN makes explicitly clear a number of times...writers are never to be trusted with telling the truth. And in Straub's case, the implication is that the apparent death of Fee was just that -- apparent.
Anyone who wants to read of the final fate of Fee needs to read THE GREEN WOMAN. Which begs the immediate question for fans of graphic novels: do you need to read the "Blue Rose" trilogy first to enjoy THE GREEN WOMAN? The answer is a resounding "No." In fact, prior to reading THE GREEN WOMAN, I had only read Straub's GHOST STORY and his 2 collaborations with Stephen King. But I have now picked up the "Blue Rose" books to read as a result of THE GREEN WOMAN. Similar to Easton's manner of storytelling that I recognize from his SOUL STEALER graphic novel, THE GREEN WOMAN is non-linear storytelling. So, the reader needs to commit to the book as Straub and Easton let all the puzzle pieces that are shuffled around come together by the end to finish with a complete picture of each character's place and purpose in the universe.
At a glance, the plot is your standard hackneyed plot of the tortured cop on the trail of a serial killer who then gets drawn into the twisted mind of the killer. There's so much more, however, to this book than mere plot. In fact, most plots, when culled to their base concept, are rarely original. What matters in fiction is how that plot unfolds. Bob Steele is the cop. Fee Bandolier is the killer. The "Green Woman" is a pub that provides the location that bookends this story. "She" is also personalized by the image of the "Green Woman" carved into the wall and her stunning beauty and dark eyes pierce the soul (if he has one) of Fee. Her image haunts him as much as his lost love. But the "Green Woman" does more than just haunt...she tempts...she entices...she embodies the perfect representation of the darkest thoughts of man. By jumping back and forth through Fee's life, we gain insight into his repulsive, yet charismatically appealing nature. There was a time when he basically experienced joy in his "calling," but now he's getting old, he's getting tired, and like a once great hunter wolf....he is lashing out and he's losing satisfaction in his actions because within him he feels the pull to accept that his time is nearly at an end.
There is a malevolent force at work here that transcends just a mere "man's inhumanity to man" type of story. Fee survives because evil thrives within him. Steele is pushed into a heroic role he does not desire nor is he capable of fulfilling. Both are pulled down into the depths of hell within themselves and they leave a trail of horror behind them always trekking toward...the "Green Woman." In the end, both Steele and Fee confront whatever "reward" their lives have earned them. And the "Green Woman"? I swear there is just a hint of self-satisfied smile as Fee's story comes to an end...but the spirit that drove him has taken root once again.
Gruesomely beautiful art by John Bolton tells the story visually with his unmatched ability to deliver images that are hauntingly sensual and brutally horrific without any sense of choppiness to the storytelling. Bolton's panels are at times starkly sexual and other times darkly introverted and emotional. I am sure this story could be told as prose, but for me the visuals accompanying this story allow it to unfold emotionally rather than intellectually. It is one of the benefits of graphic novels by their very nature. Reading prose requires an intellectual process first before it can connect with the heart. Art, however, evokes a visceral reaction first and then the intellectualizing can begin. In a book like THE GREEN WOMAN, the art is what hits first, therefore the first reaction is emotional and the text is taken in after that. Bolton, like all great painter-storytellers, understands this need to draw in the reader/viewer emotionally. There is a lot of blood and gruesome imagery, but it all serves the feeling of the moment and the story overall. Bolton's all-important choice of the face of the "Green Woman" is a beauty with a timeless sense of perfection but a burning wickedness behind her eyes. Bolton's art here is a masterpiece and along with the writing, THE GREEN WOMAN should satisfy any fan of intelligent and grisly psychological horror.
“Prof. Challenger” is secretly Texas artist Keith Howell and he resides in the Austin area and thinks his costume idea of “Vampire Wal-Mart Greeter” is going to be a huge success this Halloween and take the country by storm.

DARKWING DUCK #5: CRISIS ON INFINITE DARKWINGS

Writer: Ian Brill Artist: James Silvani Publisher: BOOM! Studios Reviewer: Lyzard

Darkwing Duck! Let’s get dangerous! Ah yes, childhood memories abound. Just hearing his name causes his theme song to play in my head. Reading this comic was like traveling back in a time machine, to a day when there was no Facebook or (ugh) Jonas Brothers. It seemed like a simpler, happier, more carefree time, but that was probably because I was still in elementary school. Enough reminiscing. The point is, the comic DARKWING DUCK lives up to my memory of the show. However, there are two problems with that assumption. I have not seen the show in years so I do not know whether the show still stands up or whether or not I remember it correctly. That aside, I believe DARKWING DUCK holds up on its own.
DARKWING DUCK #5 takes place after the four issue series THE DUCK KNIGHT RETURNS, which was intended to be the end of the comic, like the four issue series that was done back in 1991 (thank you Wikipedia). CRISIS ON INFINITE DARKWINGS (which unless it’s a reference to another title really should be CRISIS OF INFINITE DARKWINGS) starts off after Darkwing Duck has saved St. Canard from Taurus Bulba. But trouble looms on the horizon as another one of DW’s nemeses, Negaduck, has teamed up with Magica de Spell.
The first thing readers will notice is the numerous amounts of references to pop culture featured in the comic. For instance, one of the covers features Negaduck cutting through the cover saying “Heeeeeeeere’s Negsy!!!” A nice throwback to “The Shining”, and of course Johnny Carson of the Tonight Show. There is also the character named Mr. Poe, who just happens to be a raven. I could point out more, but then what would be the point in your buying the comic?
The point would be you could see the artwork. The show translates very well onto the page. All the myriad of colors is attention grabbing and reminds readers of the Disney cartoon. That being said, there were some flaws in the drawings. Artist James Silvani seemed to be obsessed with the hunch shoulder look, as almost every character stands like this at some point.
As for the dialogue, I can really hear the voices of the characters coming through. Launchpad McQuak is a bit too smart, however, compared to his TV persona. I could never see him using the word “restructuring.” The rest of the comic is wordy at times and some of the jokes fall flat. Despite this inconsistency in the quality of humor, a majority of the comic works.
Overall, I highly enjoyed DARKWING DUCK. It is a great comic for people of my age who grew up on the cartoon, or for those younger then I who are being introduced to the “Purple Powerhouse of Principle” for the first time. The older crowd probably will find it cheesy and over the top. However, I first heard of the comic from some Dark Horse pals of mine at Comic-Con in San Diego. If they can enjoy it, then maybe other adults (not just young adults) will find some fun in reading it too.
Lyzard is actually Lyz Reblin, a film student at Chapman University. Lyz’s love for comics stems from an internship at Dark Horse Entertainment as a freshman, which may explain why some of her favorite comic book writers are Gerard Way and Steve Niles. You can find her on Facebook, but only if you follow her band: Castle Town Convicts (possibly a Zelda reference?).

In stores in today!

NANNY & HANK #1

Writer: Mark L. Miller Art: Steve Babb Publisher: Bluewater Comics Reviewed by: superhero

It’s not often that I come across a vampire idea that seems original to me. Granted, the idea of sparkly vampires walking around in daylight seemed pretty unique but walking around in daylight sort of cancels out the concept of a vampire to me so I don’t know if I’d consider the TWILIGHT “vamps” original. Then again, I’ve never read the TWILIGHT books or seen the movies so I can’t judge TWILIGHT too harshly. I’m only going by what I’ve heard…but what I’ve heard doesn’t sound too good.
When Ambush Bug a.k.a Mark L. Miller gave me a slight hint about what NANNY & HANK might be about at Comic Con about a year ago I just know that my instant reaction was “Now, that sounds interesting.” Back then, it was just an idea that he was trying to see if he’d develop with someone else and as we all know, ideas tend to fall apart and not necessarily manifest into art as cool as the initial thought that spawned them. I’m happy to say that NANNY & HANK is a great first issue that’s got me reacting as positively as I did when Bug first started a sentence with, “It’s about…” almost a year ago.
What’s it about? Well, ever since the LOST BOYS it seems that almost every new vampire that’s come down the pipe has been one of the B.P.’s…the Beautiful People. They’re all young and toned and hot and…well, you get the idea. It makes it seem that almost every vamp has been turned in the prime of their lives. When they were at their best. Almost every modern vamp (with an exception of a couple here or there) just looks like they are forever 21…ready to pose for the next Abercrombie and Fitch catalog at the drop of a hat. But what if…what if you were turned when you were in your golden years? What if you were made into a bloodsucker at age sixty, seventy, or eighty? What would that be like? Would it, for lack of a better term, suck or would it be like revisiting your youth all over again?
This is the idea that seems to be at the heart of NANNY & HANK and it’s one that is really fascinating to me. As a culture, we’re obviously obsessed with youth and most fiction that involves any kind of immortality basically freezes its subjects in their late teens to early twenties. But what if you were stuck at an age when you were supposed to be starting to think about the end of your life rather than just beginning it? What would that be like? That’s a great question and it looks like one that’s going to be explored in the pages of NANNY & HANK.
Miller does a great job of setting us up with this first issue. In so many vampire dramas, the person that the vampire was before they are turned is ignored. Their history is gone the moment they are changed, like they never had a life before they were switched. With an elderly vampire it’s impossible to ignore the life that came earlier…because they’ve already lived so much of it. It’s because of this that NANNY & HANK comes across so well. By making the two leads an elderly couple settling into their sunset years we are able to imagine two full lives lived and it makes the book very touching and sweet when they interact with each other. In much of the vampire lore that I’ve read many of the vamps were people with not much to lose or with little desire to deal with the lives they were leading. In NANNY & HANK we’re given two people who obviously love each other and have a stake in each other’s lives. They enjoy their lives together which, to me, makes them unique in vampire fiction. It’s the lead characters that make NANNY & HANK such an interesting read and Miller should be congratulated for fleshing them out so well. There are some great character bits in this book and it makes the story all the more believable. This is the most poignant vampire story I’ve read in a while…if ever.
IIt’s a poignancy that’s almost lost, however, because of the artwork. Don’t get me wrong…I love this artist’s work. I’m just not sure that it’s the right style for this book. Steve Babb’s style is cartoony and original but some of the key emotional moments tend to get a bit lost with the flair that Babb adds to his pages. The art style of NANNY & HANK is bit more style than substance. It doesn’t take away from the story completely; I just felt that there were some moments that could have been better served with a more straightforward artistic approach. But make no mistake, Babb is a fantastic cartoonist. His style is like nothing I’ve ever seen and at the very least his pages pop. The mix of artwork and color in NANNY & HANK make for some really nice looking visuals.
So all in all NANNY & HANK is more than worth reading. Not only is the story original but the artwork is as well. NANNY & HANK is all around a different kind of vamp book and if you ask me that’s a good thing.
Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. He's been an @$$hole for three years. Some of his work can be seen at www.kristianhorn.com and check out his blog at www.parttimefanboy.com.

DCU HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2010 One-Shot

Writers: Billy Tucci, Joe Harris, Alex Segura, Vinton Heuck, Bryan Q. Miller, Brian Keene Artists: Billy Tucci, Lee Garbett, Kenneth Loh, Dean Zachary, Trevor McCarthy, Stephen Thompson Published by: DC Comics Reviewed by: BottleImp

Here we are again, another Halloween, another Halloween special, and once again I’m forking over my picture of Abraham Lincoln in hopes that the creative teams at DC will inject a little horror into the standard superhero mix. This time around they wisely nixed the one and two-page filler material and focused on just six stories. But once again, the end result is a rather mild collection of tales that don’t count for much in the scares department. Here’s the rundown:
“Batman in: Trick for the Scarecrow” Billy Tucci, who wrote and illustrated my favorite segment of last year’s special, returns with a story that turns the tables on Batman’s foe The Scarecrow and has the “Master of Fear” held prisoner by a couple of kids dressed up as—you guessed it—the Caped Crusader. It’s a very “cute” story, and if the art had been handled in a similar style the whole thing would have come crashing down as a saccharine-sweet mess. But Tucci’s realistic drawing style and the limited color palette elevate the story to a level of maturity and save the reader from diabetes, making this entry charming rather than cloying.
“Batman and Robin and I…Vampire! in: Robin the Vampire Slayer” Excellent art by Lee Garbett in this chapter that pits the contemporary Dynamic Duo against a vampire cult, but at the end of the story I was left feeling a little cheated. Aside from the splash page of Robin staking one of the undead, the vampires themselves are relegated to the backgrounds of the panels, and what might have been a more traditional horror story is instead a superhero fight scene that just happens to involve vampires. But for what it is, the story is well-told and has nice drawings, so I guess I can count this chapter as one of the successful ones.
“Flash and Frankenstein in: Time or Your Life!” This is a weird one. First off, unlike Batman, the Flash does not easily lend himself to supernatural and/or horror elements. Second, Frankenstein shows up, the Flash fights with him in the obligatory fashion, then out of nowhere it’s revealed that another character is in actuality a life-sucking vampire-demon-thing. Then Frankenstein kills her with a shotgun and just walks away and the Flash just lets him go, while the dead vampire-demon-thing (which has morphed back into human form) is being cradled by her stunned boyfriend. I know that she was draining people’s life force or whatever, but that’s still some pretty cold shit… you’d think the Flash (especially this incarnation of Barry Allen—the POLICE scientist) would at least try to uphold some sense of due process. It’s a strange mix of characters and situation that just doesn’t feel right. Kenneth Loh’s artwork is decent, but the blame has to be laid on writer Alex Segura for his bafflingly bizarre choices.
“Wonder Woman & Deadman in: A Night to Remember” The situation is standard horror mixed with standard superhero stuff: Felix Faust is summoning a horrifying monster into the world, and Wonder Woman and Deadman have to stop him. I’ve gotta give points to writer Vinton Heuck for making the monster Lovecraftian in a subtle way (Faust chants, “KOOTOOLOO” at one point), but overall this segment feels lackluster, and I’m sorry to say that it’s because of Dean Zachary’s drawing (along with Guy Major’s coloring). The style of rendering color over pencils to mimic a painted look can work and has worked in other instances, but here the combination falls flat. Zachary’s pencils are a little too rough, and a bigger problem is that at times it’s difficult to decipher the action happening on the page. So not terrible, but not great, either.
“Teen Titans & Klarion The Witch Boy in: Medusa Non Grata” This is my favorite segment of this year’s One-Shot, a fun Halloween romp featuring the Titans’ Miss Martian and Blue Beetle crossing paths with a trick-or-treating Klarion. Writer Brian Q. Miller makes the encounter suitably goofy without falling into the trap of becoming cheeseball (although Klarion’s cat familiar thinking, “I can haz ur soul?” comes dangerously close to skirting that line), and Trevor McCarthy provides complementary kinetic artwork to go along with the action. Plus, you’ve gotta love the fact that one of the trick-or-treaters that unwittingly helps resolve the fight is dressed as Alex DeLarge from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.
“Superman and The Demon in: Fears of Steel” The last entry in this anthology sees The Demon Etrigan coming to Superman’s aid as the Man of Steel is tormented by his greatest fears, caused by a minor demon trying to steal Superman’s soul. Brian Keene’s story is good, and Stephen Thompson’s artwork is good, but this is something that I’ve seen done before more effectively in both comics and the JUSTICE LEAGUE cartoon. It would have been nice to see the creative team push the envelope a bit more—maybe go in a more horrific direction with the depiction of Superman’s visions—but I suppose that they wanted to stay with a more all-ages feel.
All in all, I guess that last sentence I wrote sums up the entire One-Shot. The overall tone is fairly benign and suitable for all ages of readers. Unfortunately, that means that (much like last year), the HALLOWEEN SPECIAL fails to deliver any real thrills or chills. But meet me further down the column and I’ll show you some comics that capture the Halloween spirit that WON’T set you back five bucks a pop.
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.

MOTEL HELL #1

Writer: Matt Nixon Art: Chris Moreno Publisher: IDW Publishing Reviewer: Ambush Bug

Imagine my surprise when I saw a MOTEL HELL comic book was coming out soon when I looked at the upcoming releases at my local comic shop. As shown above, I hold the 1984 film in high regard. It was officially on my radar. So as I was zombie-ing around the booths in the Artist’s Alley at this year’s New York Comic Con, my ears perked as I passed Chris Moreno’s booth which sported a pic of a pig-headed chainsaw wielder in plaid. Upon further investigation, I found out Chris was the artist on the new MOTEL HELL comic. But he wasn’t at the booth! I lingered for a bit, until finally, the guys next to Moreno’s told me that he was signing copies of MOTEL HELL at the IDW booth. Well, I screamed “Thanks!” as I high-tailed it to the IDW booth for my copy of the book.
Moreno and writer Matt Nixon were at the booth. I chatted with both for a bit and we all geeked out about their chance to write a modern take on the cult horror classic. The two seemed to have a deep love of the film and I was looking forward to reading it when I got home from the con. Sure as shit, MOTEL HELL #1 was the first comic I read when I got back to my Bug Abode and it turns out it wasn’t a bad read.
The basic premise of the story follows a group of people who receive an invitation to a spa and resort in wine country sent by Farmer Vincent Smith, the creator of a delectable wine that no one knows the secret ingredients of (you know where this is going, right?). Anyway, a group of pretty annoying folks are gathered together and we are introduced to Farmer Vincent and his portly sister Ida. Vincent has a cruel streak as exemplified in a scene straight from the film as Vincent scares the piss out of a pair of girls by screaming in their faces. The first issue ends ominously as our group of soon to be fritters spot the silhouette of a figure wearing a pig’s head and carrying a chainsaw.
Though this comic didn’t blow my socks off, it did have a lot of the elements that worked in the MOTEL HELL movie like the aforementioned scene where Vincent scares the children. The iconic look of Vincent in the final scenes of the original is utilized to full effect in this issue and there looks to be a promising set up for some of the other cool stuff from the film to make appearances in future issues of this four part series.
Some of the scene transitions are a bit jarring. Scenes change pretty quickly in this issue with not even a “Later” caption box to help set the timeline for the reader. The story is simple enough that I never lost my place in the story, but as one location changed to another, I found myself looking back to see if a page stuck together as I read through it a few times.
The characters are somewhat flimsy here, but hell, they were in the film, so I can’t complain about that much. You end up kind of giving a shit about the reporter sent to investigate the secrets of Farmer Vincent’s “special” wine, so the story does its job in establishing a protagonist to follow.
The amazing cover by Tim Bradstreet isn’t really fair to interior artist Chris Moreno. Moreno’s art is definitely good and creepy, but Bradstreet is a modern master of mood and dread. It made me long for a Bradstreet drawn series. But again, Moreno does a great job, especially in the creepy scenes toward the end as the danger looms closer in the shadowy form of a pig’s head and a chainsaw.
Though not as good as the original, MOTEL HELL #1 from IDW does a good job of capturing a lot of the elements that made the original film unique while placating my hunger for more of the cult classic, at least until the new film can finally be made. The first issue is in stores now!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the titles for purchasing info)! MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 & MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1. VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER #1 and #2 (interview, interview, preview, & review) VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #20 WITCHFINDER GENERAL (preview, review, in stores now!) NANNY & HANK miniseries #1, #2, #3, and #4 (interview, interview, interview, preview, & review, in stores October 2010! Check out the NANNY & HANK Facebook Page!) Zenescope’s upcoming WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 (in stores in October!) THE DEATHSPORT GAMES miniseries #1, #2, #3, and #4 (in September Previews Order #SEP 100860, in stores in November 2010! Check out THE DEATHSPORT GAMES Facebook Page!)

BRIGHTEST DAY #12

Writers: Geoff Johns & Pete Tomasi Artists: Gleason, Clark, Reis. Tomasi Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

I received a hell of a lot of flak for my review of BRIGHTEST DAY 11. My concern was that the issue was trying to spin too many plates at one time, making all of the little experiences seem like no experience at all, just a lot of cool brouhahas with nothing under the surface. I’m sticking to what I said; if an issue forces me to down a bottle of Ritalin to feel calm afterwards, there’s something wrong there. However, I will also admit the issue was focused on two of my least favorite resurrected characters – Aquaman and Firestorm. So, perhaps I was a little harsher than necessary.
Issue 12 brings some nice mea culpas and a return to a fully fleshed idea. At the close of issue 11, we will all remember a patch of greenery on the surface of Mars shaped in the form of the White Lantern emblem accompanied by the ominous narrative box, “Mars Rise.” And as indelible link sauce will prove, that was my favorite part of the issue. Without missing a beat Issue 12 starts where 11 ended and we get to see one of my favorite DC characters, Martian Manhunter, being “seduced” by the only other surviving Green Martian, the lovely and oh so evil M’Kay…sorry was watching South Park…I mean D’Kay. This is truly Jonn Jonzz’ issue, with only two small one-page diversions to check in on the whereabouts of 80s cover band Deathstorm , and a very tender moment between Dove and Deadman (I really hope these kids hook up just for the alliteration alone).
D’Kay is playing some fun mind games with the green Superman; after all isn’t that how telepaths should do battle? Why throw punches when you can wound someone’s soul? On the surface it looks like D’Kay is looking to restart the Martian population with ol’ MM, but methinks there will be far more nefarious motives that will surface as this sadistic seduction continues to play out.
There were quite a few nice touches in this issue (but again keep in mind I am a 25 year fan of Martian Manhunter). The opening scene with a candlelight dinner inside J’onn’s Pyramid of Solitude would have been trite if not for two reasons: one, both of these aliens struggled for years to try and be human, so it’s understandable our customs would become their customs, and there was a huge freaking plate of Oreos smack-dab in the middle of the table. Like most psychotic women, D’Kay sets every emotional and physical trap she can to lure J’onn into her web of copulation to restart the Martian race (of course Darwin is spinning in his grave right now gasping the words gene diversity, but let’s not worry about the grandkids yet).
Doing what Johns (not J’onzz) does best, we get a wonderful moment of ret-con where we finally learn just how the hell another Martian ended up in the universe. The dialogue here was sharp, witty and poignant -- essentially nothing short of what I would expect with two master wordsmiths at the helm. More importantly the entire interchange was given enough page space and real estate to breathe, something I have truly been missing in past issues of this series. Sometimes we need more than two pages to truly build tension--at least I know I do. A few great mind games later, including a tussle with the trinity, and J’onzz is left in a state of confusion and bewilderment believing his wife and son are once again alive.
My interest is truly piqued on whether Mars will become a habitable planet at the close of this thing--one can only hope. It would be a nice shot in the arm for existing DC continuity.
The only point of confusion in this issue and yes, this is also a carryover from issue 11, is how the fuck are the Black Lanterns back? Somehow Deathstorm (breaking the law, breaking the law) was able to heft the immoveable White Lantern and resurrect the already resurrected coveted 12 as Black Lanterns. Again, I’m going to go into fantasy mode here and roll with it in the hopes that more answers are on the way. I know it’s hard to convey such epic scope in 22 pages, but please remember guys--a few extra pages focused on a single story is drawing the line between loving and loathing at this point, at least for me.
Optimous has successfully blackmailed fellow @$$Hole BottleImp into being his artist on Average Joe. Look for Imp's forced labor on Optimous brain child in mid-2011 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.

28 DAYS LATER #16

Writer: Michael Alan Nelson Art: Alejandro Aragon Publisher: BOOM! Studios Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

Spin off comics, while always a lucrative avenue, have really come into their own over the past few years. Where there was once just a small rack led by five different ALIEN and PREDATOR mini series, now there seems to be a comic spin off for most television series and films. One of the most apt adaptations has been 28 DAYS LATER, a natural fit for a continuing series. Taking place between the end of 28 DAYS and the beginning of 28 WEEKS, the series focuses on Salena reentering the rage-infested British countryside as a guide for a quickly dwindling number of American reporters. A little over a year old, the series has been consistently good, and has showcased a very impressive willingness to subvert itself. It's one of the few series out there where you honestly don't know what to expect next month. This issue is just as good, but not as good as some of the past ones.
Writing (4/5): The main character of the series has been Salena, who for some unseen reason has reverted back to her cold self from the start of 28 DAYS. Salena remains your ideal horror story heroine, cold and calculating, but with a heart buried very very very very deep. It's brilliant reading a story where the hero isn't a complete prat. The other major player is Clint, the lead reporter and the resident everyman for this story. His evolution continues to be interesting, as he clings to reason and the like, even in times of duress. He plays off the newest character, The King, well. The King, the latest in a line of good antagonists, provides something new for the characters - someone who's actually benefited greatly from the infection. It's an interesting turn, as his punishment for Salena. The Mannequin. Well just...just fuck. I realize it could seem narmy to some people, but it's a brilliant little plot device. Just...fuck. While some of the issues dialogue is weak (the little twat named Angus slows everything down), stuff like the Mannequin are good enough to make up for it.
Art (3/5): Alejandro Aragon has a knack for doing grand scenes and attacks, but his faces lack consistency sometimes. Seeing how this is primarily a talking head issue, you can assume who is who. Whenever the book focuses somewhere not on someone's face, it looks great. The King looks good sometimes, and the Mannequin is utterly heartbreaking, but Raj and Clint don't really work. Very hit and miss.
Best Moment: The Mannequin. Fuuuuuuuuuck.
Worst Moment: Angus. I hate this stock character every time he appears.
Overall (4/5): I wish more people would find this book. It's a consistently good read.

7 DAYS FROM HELL #1

Writer: Bryan Edward Hill & Rob Levin Artist: Phil Noto Publisher: Top Cow Reviewer: Lyzard

For those unaware of what Top Cow’s Pilot Season is, as I was a few months ago, let me enlighten you. Pilot Season is a competition in which teams of artists and writers create a one-shot comic that if it wins by audience vote will become an on-going series. Essentially, the comics have to grab you within the first issue or else you’ll never find out what happens in the next book. I reviewed CROSSHAIR for another website and was less than impressed by the Manchurian Candidate rip-off. So going into 7 DAYS FROM HELL I didn’t expect much. Despite my lack of expectations, I wasn’t blown away by the comic, but it was not nearly as bad as CROSSHAIR.
The story for 7 DAYS FROM HELL is fairly simple. An assassin, John Bishop, is killed while on the job and lands in hell, but a demon wishes to help him and offers John a deal. He has one week to kill a target (by pulling a Dexter: killing supposed bad guys) and if he succeeds he won’t go back to hell. However, he’ll have to keep on this cyclical path until God forgives both him and the demon. Good luck with that.
With a basic concept, I feel you need interesting characters to create drama. John Bishop is not completely rounded out, but he isn’t flat either. He doesn’t want to be a “man who kills children” and we are given a bit of his history and drive through a flashback. Mandy, the demon, on the other hand, is a mystery. The reader learns very little about her. Sure, she was once an angel that fell and now seeks redemption, but this is hardly original. Just think of NANCY IN HELL.
As for the art, it is simple like the story. The style is minimalistic, but I think it works. The comic is violent but not gory. Neither is the sex explicit. Clearly, Phil Noto believes that less is more. The amount of colors reflects the artistic choice. Though I got used to the lack of detail in the comic, the breaking of the fourth wall seemed off to me. There are numerous panels in which characters look directly at the reader. But they are not used to address the reader or for irony’s sake.
At the end of the book there is a preview of ECHOES #1. The creator of 7 DAYS FROM HELL should be happy that this was added to the end of the comic, because it makes his story look that much better. ECHOES is confusing both in story and artwork. There is one page that literally has a panel in the center of two pages, covering drawings and making it difficult to follow. I wish I could tell you what ECHOES #1 was about, but I can only guess that it’s about a son coming to terms with his dying dad’s actions.
7 DAYS FROM HELL isn’t an extraordinary comic, but it isn’t a bad one either. Nonetheless, when in a competition where you only get one chance to impress the readers, I feel that you need a much stronger introduction. 7 DAYS FROM HELL simply lacks anything special or original.

AZTECA: CIUDAD PARADISO #1

Writer: Enrica Jang Art: Jhazmine Ruiz Publisher: Red Stylo Media Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

Remind me never to go to Mexico. If heading south of the border is anything like it’s portrayed in AZTECA, then I’m likely to be humiliated, sodomized and left for dead. I should probably be used to it by now as a reviewer for AICN, but at least here I can do it from the comfort of my own home. AZTECA has a great premise: “Set in Mexico, about a vigilante serial killer, Nicho, who believes he can stop the world from ending in 2012. Instead of killing innocents, Nicho stalks criminals and drug cartel soldiers, killing them in ritualistic human sacrifice as blood offering to forgotten Aztec gods.”
Here’s the problem. I only know that because I read the press notes prior to writing my review. Without it, I’m not sure how committed I would be to the story after wrapping up the first issue, which seems to be nothing more than a series of chapters that showcases how close innocent people come to getting unspeakable horrors inflicted on them before a hooded hero swoops in and chops up their assailants. It was reminiscent of that scene in the movies where a bad guy is pointing the gun at his victim, a gunshot is heard and then the bad guy falls to reveal a hero behind him with a gun of his own after making it just in the nick of time. I hate to pull the old “rinse and repeat” routine but the narrative seemed to be stuck on a loop, skipping after every intervention. I also have a problem with Nicho’s ability to show up in so many different places at just the right time. At least Bruce Wayne had the bat signal.
I guess my frustration with the story is that it doesn’t really do anything other than draw a distinct line between who’s corrupt and who isn’t in the CIUDAD PARADISO. If you’re keeping score at home, every city official is dirty while Nicho and the townspeople are “good.” Yes, Nicho is a Mexican slap-chop, but this is comics and killing evil scum still makes you a good guy. But there is a marked difference between “good” and “interesting.” Like Nicho, DEXTER is a serial killer that preys on other killers, but it’s not the killing that makes him so complex. It’s his life outside of the murders that people want to see. So too, do I want to know more about Nicho, but all I got was a funky symbol drawn in blood that credits him for the kill.
What is AZTECA? It’s a book born from a great premise with solid art that suffers from stunted execution. And believe me, I’m all for slow playing your hand, but in today’s crowded comic book landscape, you rarely have more than one issue to sell the reader on where you’re going or why they should care. Should they? I saw nothing that indicated Nicho’s urgency towards the 2012 countdown or even a nod to the Aztec Gods that he’s trying to appease. In fact, if I was coming in cold, I wouldn’t even know that either of those things mattered. Without them, AZTECA becomes nothing more than your standard vigilante hero type of book and that’s a shame, because it has the potential to be so much more.
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.

SCARY GODMOTHER HC OGN

Writer/Artist: Jill Thompson Publisher: Dark Horse Books Reviewed by Professor Challenger

“Anybody who's all about monsters an' spiders an' candy is the perfect girl for me. Besides...you're never too old to be a new friend.” – Jimmy
For ghouls and goblins of all ages, Jill Thompson's gorgeous new SCARY GODMOTHER book collection has hit the stands to usher in the Halloween season. Dark Horse has beautifully packaged Thompson's first four SCARY GODMOTHER children's books into a large hardback evocative of the classic MOTHER GOOSE book...complete with a “This Book Belongs to ____” plate on the checkerboard endpapers. SCARY GODMOTHER collects in one volume: “Scary Godmother”, “The Revenge of Jimmy”, “Mystery Date”, “The Boo Flu”, and adds in the short story “Tea for Orson.” Also included in this package are lots of treats including Thompson's initial sketch work for the characters, some of the original covers, and her character expression sheets for the animated specials developed for Cartoon Network based on her first two SCARY GODMOTHER books.
Fans of Thompson's comic book work may only be familiar with her Scary Godmother character through the series of comic books with the character. So, this book is an opportunity to encounter her in a different type of format that really gives Thompson's lush watercolor art the focus. And each story is a joy to read. Thompson really understands how to tap into that wonderfully open spirit of childhood and craft stories that will connect with anyone. The bottom line as to why I recommend this book so much is simply how much FUN they are. They bring a smile to your face and a chuckle to your throat as you read it. You can't help it. My own daughter is 13 years old and was instantly drawn to the cover when she got in the car after her gymnastics class. “What's that?” she asked with a crinkle of her nose. I replied “Check it out. I bet you will love it.” And needless to say, she didn't put it down until she had read the entire book and declared she “loooooooovvvvvvves SCARY GODMOTHER....especially Bug-A-Boo!” She just about jumped out of her skin with excitement when we came across a DVD copy of the “Scary Godmother: Jimmy's Revenge” animated special. Guess what daddy bought and we are waiting to watch together on Halloween night?
Scary Godmother is basically the patron saint of Halloween. She is the guardian of the spirit of Halloween and she comes onto the scene in these books to protect sweet innocent little Hannah Marie from the “monsters.” As each story progresses, Hannah Marie, her cousin Jimmy, and her friends become increasingly more familiar with Scary Godmother and all her friends who live with her on the “Fright Side”. The sweet-natured characters that populate the “Fright Side” include the closet skeleton, Mr. Pettibone, the ghostly cat Boozle, and the monster under your bed, Bug-A-Boo. Harry is a scene-stealing werewolf and Hannah Marie quickly becomes best friends with Orson, the bespectacled boy vampire.
Thompson's character designs are appealing with that slight creep factor that makes them all feel right for Halloween. I love the consistency in design elements that run through all her illustrations...including the cute curly-cue element that shows up everywhere including the logo design. In the age of digital art, I am particularly drawn to Thompson's colorful washes and brushed textures in the color work. I especially enjoy how she is willing to let the watercolors flow and absorb into the paper softening and stylizing many elements such as the moon in the night sky. Never a perfect circle, she lays down the deep purples and blues of the night sky around the moon but never makes the effort to tighten it up. I love that choice and she makes many confident artistic choices like that in her storytelling. She has the experience and the eye to always know the most effective (whether dramatic or comedic) way to communicate the scene to the reader.
Even though these stories were designed for book form rather than comic form, she is essentially working with a large-form panel design. So, the fan of comics and graphic novels should have no problem with her approach here. In fact, they may see this as a chance to expand their thinking as to what can be accomplished within the panel-to-panel style of story.
Halloween is the time for tricks and treats, and Jill Thompson's SCARY GODMOTHER is a treat that even beats finding a full-sized Snickers in your trick-or-treat bag.

THE BROADCAST OGN

Writer: Eric Hobbs Artist: Noel Tuazon Publisher: NBM Comics Lit Reviewer: Lyzard

October 30th this year is the 72nd anniversary of Orson Welles’ radio dramatization of H.G. Well’s WAR OF THE WORLDS. Though the amount of panic this radio broadcast caused has become hyperbole, it is a story that has become part of our media culture. I have a recording of Orson Welles reading BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, and I can tell you that it is one of the most frightening things I have heard. Welles has such charisma and talent that I can see how his performance of War of the Worlds caused fear and chaos for some.
The comic, THE BROADCAST, takes advantage of the tales of hysteria caused by the CBS show. In a small, rural Indiana town the lives of several of the farm folks are altered when a power outage prevents them from learning that the program is, in fact, a hoax. The chaos of their lives is heightened by the imminent threat of Martians.
What THE BROADCAST does best is create stories we, the reader, are interested in. There is more to this story than Orson Welles’ fictional reading, which is merely a background for the main action. The true A story is focused on the tension between the farmers and the rich man that “saved” them. Times are tough and few are as well off as Mr. Shrader. One of the farmers’ sons, Gavin, wishes to marry Mr. Shrader’s daughter. Of course, Mr. Shrader feels that there is too much of an economic divide between the young adults. Another B story is that of the African-American Marvin, whose appearance in the area is filled with mystery. The tension grows to a peak when a storm knocks out the power right in the middle of the radio broadcast. Paranoia and bedlam follow, but as Sartre said, “hell is other people,” not Martians.
The characters are well developed. You get a feeling of their pasts, without the use of too many flashbacks. Technically the story is done as a partial frame story, where the comic starts off at one point of time, then flashes back to another time for the majority of the comic, before returning to its starting point and continuing on. There is plenty of mystery and suspense involved, which is slowly unraveled with remarkable pacing.
I just wish the artwork were as good as the story. Don’t be fooled by the cover, the art on the front is nothing like the rest of the comic. I said RYDER IN THE STORM had storyboard quality. I take that statement back. THE BROADCAST looks exactly like a detailed storyboard, from the black and white colorization to the pencil strokes. The problem with this is that at first it is hard to distinguish characters. For instance, I did not know Marvin was black until we saw him for a second time. In the beginning, I merely thought he was in shadow. This art style could have been chosen so as not to take the reader away from the story. A stylized look would not have fit the tone of the comic. A realistic design is necessary to backup the feel of the book.
Overall, Eric Hobbs takes an interesting approach to the tale THE BROADCAST. He could have made it pathetic that these characters did not pick up on the three warnings given in the broadcast that it was a hoax. But instead, he plays up the irony, and does not make them appear as fools, but as humans. It’s long, at 175 pages, but it does not take as long as you would expect to read. There is minimal dialogue; most of the time the writer and artist choose a visual storytelling approach rather than on the nose, explicit wording.
For some radio stations, it is a Halloween tradition to re-play Orson Welles’ WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast. If a station near you doesn’t play it, try picking up this comic. It’s just as good.

CHAOS WAR #2

Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente Art: Khoi Pham Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

And just like that, I remember why INCREDIBLE HERCULES was one of my favorite titles in recent history. This issue of Hercules' new event plays off of the concept of having the greatest gods in the Marvel universe teaming up, and it's a thrill to read. The book improves on last week’s opening issue in both art and writing, and reads as an event should read.
Writing (5/5): This issue is able to juggle the appeal found in INCREDIBLE HERCULES with your basic big event book and manages to do it expertly. The removal of the various heroes from the plot to give way to the God Squad is necessary, but is done well. It also lets the Gods take over, and gives an excuse to showcase Hercules' new power. It's a well done sequence, and highlights up Hercules’ new power level. The scene in hell is brilliant, with the return of one of my favorite dead gods (oh Ares, it's nice to have you back), and a nice reminder of the Chaos King’s last battle with the Greek pantheon. Hercules' recruitment drive is fun as all hell to read; instead of doing the usual sodding "Oh, we must recruit the greatest of the gods, so let's just start with my contacts list", it instead starts with Eternity and ends with Galactus. It's such a great moment. But it's also nice to see that Hercules is back to being Hercules. One of my problems with the last issue was that Hercules didn't always read like Hercules. But here, he's back with his old smirk and laugh. There were no weak scenes. The book is a fun read.
Art (4/5): Khoi Pham, while not the best Hercules artist, is still fantastic here. While some of the art in the beginning (especially Hebe) is very unflattering, the art improves over the course of the issue. Thor saving falling planes looks great, and it all builds up to the awesome moment of Eternity and Galactus appearing. The art is, for the most part, good with expressive faces, and interesting designs as with Hercules and equally good with big moments such as the arrival of Galactus and the coming of the dead. It's not perfect, but it comes close.
Best Moment: Recruiting Galactus. Goddamnit that's awesome.
Worst Moment: The cover. That's just....that's just ugly.
Overall (5/5): This is everything I was hoping for, and more.

Every comic shop has them… battered long boxes jam-packed with dog-eared titles ranging from forgotten heroes of the 1970s to multiple copies of chromium-covered “collector’s item” comics from the Big Bust of the 1990s. But if you are patient, and dig deep enough, you just may find something special…

Greetings once again, kiddies! It’s your old pal BottleImp here, ready to dust off some decayed flesh from the old bones that I’ve unearthed whilst digging through the moldy old boxes down at the local cemetery… er, I mean, local comic shop. Hope you’re in the mood for cheap thrills, ‘cause I’ve got some terrifying treasures that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Let’s delve in, shall we?

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT One-Shot (1999) THE BLAIR WITCH CHRONICLES #1-4 (2000) Oni Press BLAIR WITCH: DARK TESTAMENTS One-Shot (2000) Image Comics

Remember how huge THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT phenomenon was? Books, fake television documentary specials, a sequel film (that apparently nobody but me liked) and these comic book tie-ins. Rather than simply re-hash the movie, the people at Oni made the smart decision to instead write stories AROUND the film, stories that fill in some of the ancillary details surrounding the Blair Witch legend, or stories that simply added to the so-called “history” of the Blair Witch curse. Jen Van Meter writes all the Oni stories and does a great job of capturing that sense of growing unease and terror that works so well in the film. The Image One-Shot, an exploration of the Rustin Parr character by writer Ian Edington and artist Charlie Adlard, is slightly less effective, in my opinion. Edington’s style is a little more straightforward, and misses that blurred sense of reality and fiction that the movie and Oni titles possess. Even so, all of these comics make a great complement to the film and should be relatively easy to find in the bargain bin.

THE BATMAN FAMILY Volume 4 #17 (1978) DC Comics

The Batman is one of those characters that is very easily nudged into the realm of horror—the use of fear as a weapon, the tragic past, the psychological aspect that permeates not only Batman but nearly his entire Rogues Gallery; the combination of these qualities easily lends itself to darker sorts of stories than, say, the average Superman comic. By far, one of the best examples of The Batman as Horror Comic is in the feature story of this anthology title. “Scars,” written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Jim Aparo, finds Batman and a college-age Robin tracking missing Gotham City celebrities to a carnival freakshow, where these beautiful people are twisted and deformed by a man who calls himself “Scar.” It seems that Scar was once one of these beautiful people, until his face was irreversibly ruined by an accident during a football game. Driven insane, Scar decided to take revenge upon the world by twisting beauty into ugliness. The story draws to a close with a TWILIGHT ZONE-like twist ending which enhances the overall sense of horror. Sure, there’s still some goofy superhero stuff in here—a visit from the Earth-2 Huntress, and Batman hanging out in full costume at the carnival without anyone really paying attention to him—but at this point in publication, Batman was still getting back in touch with his dark side after the long period of goofy 1950s and ‘60s comics, so those small touches can be forgiven. And as a bonus, this issue also includes an amazing Michael Golden back-up story featuring The Demon and Man-Bat trying to stop demons from possessing newborn children, so this comic is chock full of horror-tinged goodness and definitely worth picking up if you spot it in your local long boxes.

MR. MONSTER’S WEIRD TALES OF THE FUTURE #1 (1987) Eclipse Comics BASIL WOLVERTON’S FANTASTIC FABLES #1 (1993) Dark Horse

These comics reprint some of the extraordinary work of Basil Wolverton, an artist who is probably most well known for his humorous strips like “Powerhouse Pepper” and his sci-fi “Spacehawk.” Most of the stories reprinted here are nominally science fiction, but all of them are marked by a strong sense of horror; it’s almost as if the EC science fiction comics mated with their horror titles and birthed some unholy amalgamation. Wolverton’s drawing style is a huge part of the creepy feel—his use of solid blacks and meticulous, textural hatched lines, combined with his knack for drawing the grotesque, imbue the panels with an air of eeriness and dread. You can see Wolverton’s influence in Richard Corben’s work, especially in the way Corben also chooses to ink in that tactile, hatched line. Corben fans should check out these cheap reprint comics and discover one of the lesser-known masters of the horror genre.

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 27, 2010, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Hope this week shuts up the people...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...who are always complaining about too many Marvel reviews.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 9:11 a.m. CST

    1st

    by BilboRing

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 9:12 a.m. CST

    FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!

    by BilboRing

    Thought I had it. :(

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Spider-Woman

    by hst666

    Actually, there was some creepy stuff near the end of her original series as well. That's where Daddy Longlegs was introduced and and I remember a few other macabre characters.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Hey

    by Joenathan

    Where's all the MArvel comics? You guys never review enough Marvel. BOOOO!

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    tapping the vein

    by foree forehead

    those clive barker comics from the 90s? there were a few volumes of them, beautifully drawn and based on his short stories if i recall correctly. might be good for another look/review.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Spider-Woman, Blair Witch, Batman/Robin

    by Homer Sexual

    Well, the Long Box is my fave this week, because it features a bunch of comics I read, and some of which I actually still have. Those Blair Witch books rock! They were just as evocative as the movie. Unfortunately, I am missing issue 3 from the mini,but I still re-read those books on a regular basis. If only it existed in collected form. Also, I like Blair Witch 2 and it is why I learned about AICN... Harry liked the movie and got quoted on the ad. Initally, I didn't like BW2 because I felt it disrespected the original, which was the ONLY movie to actually scare me since I was in high school (the 80's fyi). With some distance, it holds up pretty well on it's own, with the only drawback being the asylum scenes that were put in at the studios behest. <p> I often state that Spider-Woman is my favorite comic character, and the early run of Spider-Woman is exactly why. She was an outsider who alienated most people. Infantino's art was perfect. And she actually kinda returned to her roots in the brief Nocenti/Postman run right before the book got cancelled with issue 50. <p> I am glad to see recognition of Batman and Robin, because this is the issue where it all comes together. I often (not always) feel like Morrison needs a lot of patience, and sometimes (not always) it pays off. I feel like we are now reaching the payoff of Batman and Robin, and I says Hell Yeah! <p> OTOH, all the ads about the relaunching of the Batman line after the current "return of Bruce" ends do not thrill me. While I am glad to see Dick will continue, and I will at least try that book, I expect to drop Batman and Robin. I will pick up Batwoman, since it's still JH Williams and probably won't end up lasting very long. The other books, even Batman Family or whatever that one was called, don't look like they're gonna be all that. <p> Also, the New Teen Titans: What is up with Nikola Scott's art in the previews? It's totally retro and I'd think that is the worst possible idea. He's done great stuff in Secret Six, so why the Titans looks so awful is beyond me. <p> Missed last week, but I wonder if anyone read Knight and Squire. I quite liked it, it was very different and entertaining. While I don't think something so very British could work as an ongoing, it seems to be a very solid mini.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Brightest Day

    by glitchwraith

    Don't know how no one mentioned this through two separate reviews, but the symbol on Mars was a Black Lantern Symbol, not White. Black has five straight lines on top of the triangle, forming a hand. White has seven lines radiating from the triangle with an arc through them, like light shining through a prism. The reveal was supposed to be sinister. Also, why in the world are you getting so hung up on the Black Lanterns? Out of all the comic book logic going on in the stories, this was the hardest to swallow? Let me list a few facts to maybe clear it up a bit. 1. It's been shown that Black Lanterns can regenerate from the smallest amount of physical remains. 2. Deathstorm, who only managed to survive by clinging to the Firestorm Matrix, has the power to transmute matter into any other type of matter he wants so long as he knows the chemical formula. 3. He has captured and is corrupting a lantern that contains the essence of all life in the universe, and shares an intimate connection with the twelve it resurrected. Is it that much of a stretch to assume that Deathstorm, using the White Lantern, could recreate a small chunk of each of the hero's Black Lantern corpses, at which point they would regenerate fully?

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Henry Higgins

    by maxwell's hammer

    Props to you, Mr. Higgins, for much less clunky reviews this week. I'm a Higgins-Hater, but I'll give credit where it's due. You still use too many ill-placed adjectives (you used the word 'brilliant' three times, but your 'fantastic' count was down to only one!) but overall, much better.<BR> <BR> This review of a review is brought to you by OxyClean.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Batman and Robin #15 - straightforward?

    by SteadyUP

    http://tinyurl.com/269reud

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:16 p.m. CST

    The Prawn...

    by Prof

    typo in B&R was hilarious, btw.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:20 p.m. CST

    I don't think Prawn was a typo...

    by Homer Sexual

    It was a joke. Joker's jokes are never actually funny.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Great stuff ....

    by fpuk99

    Thes reviews are consistently the best thing on this site, and I'm not even a comic fan.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Blue Rose Trilogy

    by Arkhangelsk

    Peter Straub is a really underrated writer. I discovered him through his correspondance with Dave Sim, and I have just been hooked on his books since then. I'm glad Straub gets to explore his universe in a graphic novel. It just sucks that it's in hardcover form. I don't really feel like overpaying for two pieces of cardboard that don't add anything to the final product.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Prawn read as a joke to me, too

    by Laserhead

    And the talk about the double, the duece, and double-u is reference to 'W' for Wayne, as in Nathaniel Wayne, Thomas Wayne's double. And I don't know who that was saying 'lovely covered in dirt.' Just rolled with it as atmosphere.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Morrison's Masterful Run

    by wilsonfisk89

    This is truly a golden age of Batman mythos.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Arkhangelsk

    by Prof

    For someone like me, I just love books...not just the words on the page. Everything about them, including the book design and printing. THE GREEN WOMAN is a beautiful piece of art to hold in your hands too. The hardback is solid with an embossed image of the "Green Woman" and the paper stock and printing for the slip cover is also a tactile sensation that I love. Sometimes it is all about the printed words...but oftentimes it is the fuller experience of the entire package that makes me love something. It's something "digital" can never capture.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:35 p.m. CST

    I don't think the Prawn thing was a joke...

    by Prof

    ...there was no set-up, context, or follow-up. A simple typo that wasn't caught.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 12:37 p.m. CST

    The "Prawn" typo is about as much a "joke"...

    by Prof

    ...as Marvel accidentally having Doc Ock call Spidey "Superman" in Doc's first appearance.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 1:36 p.m. CST

    This is a weak batch of Pilot Season stuff

    by gooseud

    This particular 5 book batch was pretty weak. Crosshairs was awful, 7 Seconds to Hell was weak. The last batch, the one with 39 Seconds in it, was great, all 5 of those books were ones I would have read.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Radical Comics

    by gooseud

    I have no idea why I read them. They are never really that good. They always have some kind of weird funky art. FVZA, a premise that you would think was inpossible to screw up, sucked by the end. Somehow though, they always draw me back. The premises always sound so cool. Last Days of American Crime was the only one that really lived up to the hype for me, although Driver for the Dead has been decent so far, and Ryder on the Storm was ok, although that title is god-awful. I'm just a sucker, I guess.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 1:58 p.m. CST

    HC vs SC

    by Arkhangelsk

    Prof, I completely uderstand and respect your point of view, but for someone who'd rather use that extra cash to buy another book instead of paying for the hardcover, it feels like a ripoff. Just wish they'd give us the choice, y'know.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Holy shit!

    by Sailor Rip

    As a huge fan of the Blue Rose trilogy(The Throat being one of my favorite books ever written) I can't wait to read the Green Woman.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 3:17 p.m. CST

    I thought the prawn thing was funny

    by kungfuhustler84

    Like Robin's a shrimp, duh

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 3:38 p.m. CST

    file this TB away

    by gooseud

    to be used whenever people complain about the choice of books they review on a weekly basis. They gave you all new books from different companies this week and its a ghost town in here. Anti-Marvel zealots, if you dont speak up on a very non-Marvel week like this, then your concerns are kind of moot, arent they?

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Darkwing Duck

    by Cinemanimetal

    Somehow I missed that issue 5 came out! I need to get that now! Also need to get the new Incognito.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 3:56 p.m. CST

    That's right

    by Joenathan

    New Incognito!<br><br><br><br>And it looks like Goose is right, apparently Bendis, Millar, and Joe Q are the fuel that runs the @$$holes' engine... Marvel uber alles.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Sailor Rip

    by Prof

    I suspect you will love it. I have THE THROAT read to read. Since I started with THE GREEN WOMAN, I'm actually going to read the trilogy backwards starting with THE THROAT. :) Let me know what you think of THE GREEN WOMAN when u get around to reading it.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:14 p.m. CST

    The reviews this week are not mainstream enough...

    by Homer Sexual

    The only book I buy on todays list is Chaos War, which is ok but not as good as Incredible Hercules used to be. Ish 2 is waaaay better than sucky issue 1, I will say. although I am considering buying Green Woman, none of the other reviews interest me in the slightest, except for the longbox reviews (which only appeal to us old timers) and the Batman and Robin cheap shot. <p> I have certainly posted my share today, and B&R is just soo much better than anything Millar Bendis etc are doing nowadays. If there were a Superman or Wonder Woman review, ther'd probably be a lot more action as well, since everyone loves to hate those books (me included) <p> Infinity War or whatever that book is called came out again last week, and for all the people who say how great it supposedly is, there's no review or reference except by me.... and I think it is totally weak! So there! <p> I spent $45 on comics last week, so more should stick in my mind than Batman and Robin. I remember reading Power Girl... it was pretty good... and DV8, which is uber-excelente and if you ever read about these characters, I promise you will love it. Unfortuantely, if you don't know who the characters are, it may not be as compelling.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Loki!

    by Homer Sexual

    Yes, the first issue of a four part Loki mini came out, and while it isn't as incredibly intense, awesome and current while being set 100% in Asgard as the current Thor of Asgard mini, it was also very beautifully drawn, true to the legends while still being fresh and new, and another book I highly recommend.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Daredevil, Power Man, Deadpool

    by Homer Sexual

    I can't believe I am blanking on the name of the Daredevil crossover currently occuring, but both books from last week were solid but unspectacular reads that advance the storyline but still feel very status quo and reinforce the feeling that this whole brouhaha is much ado about nothing. <p> Deadpool was ok, but not worth talking about.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:21 p.m. CST

    X-Factor and New Mutants

    by Homer Sexual

    Maybe New Mutants was two weeks ago. The current story is good, liimbo-related and all, but this issue was just a bunch of "beat up the heroes before they triumph" <p> I had dropped X-Factor but started picking it up again recently because all the sexual shenanigans of Shatterstar/Rictor/Wolfsbane are very interesting to me. The rest of the book, not so much. Layla... not at all, but she's absent this issue.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:23 p.m. CST

    I can't keep this column alive by myself, people!

    by Homer Sexual

    The rest of you must have bought some comics last week. didn't the horrible Avengers 7 come out yet, with Rulk joining the train wreck?

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Morning Glories

    by Homer Sexual

    I don't care it MG is overhyped, it rocks! Boarding Schools are rife with potential, and the characters are amazingly developed for such a short number of pages. I actually find myself caring about what happens to them.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:36 p.m. CST

    B and R

    by Joenathan

    That is a great comic, although I just read the Morrison is jumping off son... so I will be too. <br><br>Also, Homer, I'm planning on picking up DV8, I'm just waiting for my LCS to fill in a gap. You're right it does look really good

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Tower Prep

    by Joenathan

    Seems to share alot of stuff with Morning Glories. Tower Prep is by Dini though.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Yes, they're re aligning the whole Batman line...

    by Homer Sexual

    From the ads I see. Morrison is gonna write something like Batman Family but with a name I also keep blanking on. Starts with O. Art looks bad. B&R does look underwhelming w/o Morrison. really only the Batman book with Dick and...maybe...Dark Knight with Bruce (as well as Batwoman) look good. I guess we'll see once the current arc is over.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 5:42 p.m. CST

    see here is the thing...

    by sonnyhooper

    ....it really dosen't matter which books get reviews each week. mavel, DC, Image...whatever... because the talkback becomes about marvel regardless. or a debate over garth ennis vs. mark miller and if either of them actually has any talent, or something else equally as .... unintresting. <p> sorry, that probably sounds way more harsh than i want it to be, but thats just the way it is. sadly the comic section of aint it cool has become just like the rest of aint it cool..... a bunch of dudes talking AT each other, more intrested in trying to show how clever they are, instead of having a discussion. <p> *shrugs* what are you gonna do, it is what it is.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Morning Glories

    by gooseud

    had one of the best first issues in ages, it was the shizzle. Thor of Asgard is also amazing, that book rules. It has to, to make up for the complete cliff-fall of the main title, which has gone from JMS/awesome to Fraction/terrible in the space of like 6 issues.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 7:38 p.m. CST

    You really think so, Sonny?

    by gooseud

    I never talk at anyone. In fact, I hate that. I actually go out of my way to make sure I'm not showing blind prejudice or nut hugging towards any title. In fact, I'm probably the least nut-huggingest comic guy on the planet. Thor, Cap America, X factor, Astonishing when Whedon left, the second any book goes in the shitter, I drop it. Likewise, if any book or writer sucks and suddenly gets good, I'll give full credit. If you would like to steer any discussion in the direction you would like to take it, by all means, post away. Maybe your just upset we arent talking about the books that YOU personally read?

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 7:40 p.m. CST

    And for the record

    by gooseud

    70% of the books I read are non-MArvel, and 100% of my top-of-the-stack books are all non-Marvel. I just dont talk about them because no one reads them or cares. I'm about 70% non-Marvel, 29% Marvel, and 1% DC (Secret Six). I've tried a million times to discuss American Vampire, any of the Radical stuff, Scalped. No one really wants to talk about it (shrugs).

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 10:55 p.m. CST

    Gotcha

    by Tall_Boy66

    Bats can be a real dick when he wants too, eh?

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Laserhead

    by SteadyUP

    I'm certain the double/deuce line had *some* meaning to it, but I can't see how you'd have arrived at the explanation you suggested other than purely a a guess. I mentioned the prawn line because of how random it was, but yeah, it's pretty obvious that it's a deliberate pun. If not, why would he have said "plate" instead of "board"?

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 4:19 a.m. CST

    well gooseud...

    by sonnyhooper

    ....i'm not saying everyone does it, just an observation in general. and yeah, every once in a while a good discussion can be had here, like i said...... it probably came out harsher than intended. <p> it's not like it matters much anyway because quint or beaks or whoever runs AICN nowadays will be trying to get the comic storys off the front page as soon as possible by posting "news" about the top gun sequel or something else equally as riviting. *shrugs*

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 5:05 a.m. CST

    oh, and also for the record...

    by sonnyhooper

    .....i NEVER come here expecting any of the books i read will be reviewed. i actually check out the reviews to find new stuff to read, stuff i might have missed or sometimes didn't even know about in the first place. <p> and trying to "steer" a discussion in a given direction never seems to work. people are intrested in what they are intrested in, the chances i could get people to talk about stuff they don't wanna talk about seem remote at best.

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 5:27 a.m. CST

    It's "riveting" sonny

    by kungfuhustler84

    and all the ridiculous rumors are what make AICN the malformed creature it is to this day, so quit ur bitchin'.<p>But sonny has a point. Talkbackers! Talk about the fuckin comics the a$$holes review instead of babbling ceaselessly about the bored mainstream creators that bombard us with weekly tripe! Bendis is boring but writes silly dialogue! Millar is predictable but gets cool artists! yaddayadda-yah!<p>Did anyone read Tomb of Terror this week? It had prose!<p>P.S. Batman and Robin doesn't count because of course we're all readin that shit 'cause it rules!

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Finally got my hands on a copy of Superman Year One

    by Snookeroo

    I've been looking forward to this comic for a while, especially after reading the review here last week.<br>There are a couple of things I don't understand about the comic -- is this an on-going series to be published in this format, or was this a one-shot?<br>Is this the one continuity for Superman going forward? Is Superman Secret Origins moot now?<br><br>Frankly I didn't mind the (so-called) emo Clark Kent - at least to a point. I think JMS did a good job of portraying a being like Clark in a real-world setting, at least in the first act.<br>It seemed like a lot of set-up for a resolution that happens way too fast -- especially for the price, this book should have been twice the length. As much trouble as JMS went to to set the story in real-world surroundings, when other-world creatures show up and start trashing the planet, the issue seems to jump into standard-comic-world reality with aliens and world-wide destruction being accepted as almost commonplace.<br><br>The artwork is excellent for the most part, but kind of wonky in some places (the artist REALLY has a problem drawing hands). The main Big Bad comes off as kind of silly (picture a male version of Silver Banshee), who, by the way, is dispatched fairly easily. Clark too often is drawn to look like Keanu Reeves with one expression (maybe an homage to Tom Welling, who also only has one expression).<br><br>I'm a huge Superman fan, so I'm sure my opinion is tainted, but I enjoyed the book -- I think it's worth a buy; however, it was not as good as I expected.

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 2:53 p.m. CST

    *sigh* see what i mean.....

    by sonnyhooper

    apparently i made a good point put the subject line has to focus on a typo. again.... AT not TO. and please don't take it personal kungfu, i'm just illustrating my point. <p> and BTW, whos bitching? again, just pointing out a reality that the staff at AICN seems to want the comic stuff off the front page as soon as possible. how else do you explain the 3 "storys" about tom fucking cruse "news" posted since this morning?. NO ONE cares about that midget THAT much. hell, i bet tom cruse is sick of tom cruise.

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 3:01 p.m. CST

    "at this day"? ...nawwww

    by kungfuhustler84

    I spelled your "ur" so do you think I really care about typos? AICN is the least personal thing in my life sonny, so no worries<p>It is kind of weird that they bury the comics column on the main news page, but you can always just scroll down to the comics section, and there it is!<p>What's worse for me is how quickly the talkback fizzles out. Back when I had more time for this stuff, I used to chat with these guys on the same talkback for weeks, so it was always in the top talkbacks. The comics crew moves on a lot more quickly.

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 3:12 p.m. CST

    ah, maybe it's a chicken and egg thing...

    by sonnyhooper

    .....is the talk back dying out BECAUSE it drops off the front page? in much the same way we all wonder how many licks it takes to get to the center of a toostie roll pop..........the world may never know. <p> and while we are at it.... a couple other foods for thought....what ever happened to the "topic for discussion" the 'holes used to throw out? those were usually pretty cool. and why don't they mix it up in the talkbacks more often? it really did have more life around here when they did.... kind of a shame really.

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 3:46 p.m. CST

    ... yeah

    by Joenathan

    Goose is right again...

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Hey sonny, let me jump in then..

    by Thalya

    Question for everyone: what's missing from comics right now? What aren't you getting from whatever you're reading that you want to get? Not actually titles that you're not reading, just, storytelling beats and the like.

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 5:22 p.m. CST

    whats missing? now thats intresting...

    by sonnyhooper

    well, for me personally it's any sense of wonder. that WOW factor. i read stuff and it's intresting, it holds my attention, but it's been a hell of a long time since i read sometning that knocked me on my ass or made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. <p> the last time that happened was probably in Kingdom Come, the full page splash panel when superman decides to get off his ass and make with the law and order allready. he has all of the disorderly metas in hand and just floats there in the air with that look. fucking awesome. i could hear the movie theme in my head, the neck hair was at full attention. i had, in that moment, a sense of wonder, that WOW factor. <p> but now that i say that.... maybe my lack of wonder is my fault. maybe i'm just a old jaded comic fan? maybe it's a case of been there, done that? or maybe there really is nothing new under the sun? <p> i dunno........ but i do want that feeling back.

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 5:29 p.m. CST

    one small exception...

    by sonnyhooper

    .....the last panel of Y:the last man was fucking awesome. kicked all kinds of ass and gave me that old feeling. that sense of wonder. <p> but i dunno if that counts because it was fucking Y: the last man.... which was just awsome in its own right.

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Talking About Mark Miller At My LCS

    by Buzz Maverik

    Me; "Yeah, Mark Miller's a friend of mine."<p>Clerk with the piercings:"Mark Millar is not a friend of yours.'<p>ME;"I didn't say Mark Millar is a friend of mine. Mark Miller is a friend of mine."<p>PIERCING GUY:"The Ultimates Guy is a friend of yours?"<p>ME:"I don't think Bug has written the Ultimates...yet. Yet."

  • Oct. 28, 2010, 10:21 p.m. CST

    I plan to read Scalped in trade form

    by kungfuhustler84

    I already have the first volume and love it, but I rarely have 15 extra bucks to throw down, although I do get trades on discount all the time. Just recently I got the first volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for six dollars. I like how the story doesn't take too lon to introduce the team, but it does have this slow burn leading up to finding out what's really going on. And any comic featuring Fu Manchu is cool in my book.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 2:22 a.m. CST

    Man, I'm always late for this shit.

    by loodabagel

    1. Morning Glories-Love the story, hate the art. Wasn't crazy about the first issue. It felt a little formuliac. The "twist" at the end wasn't even really much of a twist. We all knew something was going to happen. We had barely spent any characters. Everyone was just a cartoon outline. However, I loved the second issue because stuff. Happened. 2. "Wow!" Moments-Does Punisher #54 count? 3. I am enjoying comics just fine right now. There's always something out there that I haven't read.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 2:24 a.m. CST

    For example...

    by loodabagel

    I recently snagged some cheap Dark Reign/Siege Stuff. Dark Avengers was great. Also enjoyed The Initiative,though it could've done without the Avengers Resistance.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Lood

    by Joenathan

    If you liked Dark Avengers, check out Secret Warriors (and Avengers). They both have the same tone. And you read Ellis's Thunderbolts run, right? RIGHT? If not, get on that.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Of course I read Thunderbolts!

    by loodabagel

    Best thing Warren Ellis's done.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST

    So I was reading New Avengers last night...

    by Homer Sexual

    Yeah, it's not even new but for some reason I hadn't gotten around to reading it. It was ok, but it did make me think I should stop buying some of the books I buy... <p> Why? Because there was this whole thing about Hawkeye and Mockingbird on different teams and Spider-Man being miffed because he didn't get the Avengers Priority call although he's on both teams, and I was like, its hard enough to get over this absurdity without Bendis making a whole huge point of it.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Lood

    by Joenathan

    And I meant: Read Secret Avengers too, not plain Avengers. Just clarifying

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Avengers/New Avengers

    by Joenathan

    I agree. They should be on one team or the other. For some reason, I'm okay with Wolverine going between the X--men and Avengers, but having him on both Avengers teams in the same city bugs me.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 7:49 p.m. CST

    righ,t nevermind...

    by sonnyhooper

    ...got it now. marvel zombies all the way. *shakes head*