AICN COMICS REVIEWS: ART OF IRON MAN 3! STORMWATCH! GRIMM! STAR WARS! & MORE!
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: STORMWATCH #20
THE ART OF IRON MAN 3 HC
MARS ATTACKS #10
Indie Jones presents THE MAN WITH NO LIBIDO! OGN
Advance Review: DREAM THIEF #1
Indie Jones presents THE BEAST OF WOLFE’S BAY OGN
THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #8
STAR WARS #5
Indie Jones presents DEVIL MAY CRY: THE CHRONICLES OF VIRGIL OGN
Advance review: In stores today!
STORMWATCH #20Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist: Jonas Trindade
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
We live in an era of customization and personal targeting, from the shows we watch to the ad choices therein, this glorious age provides specialization for anyone and everyone. Nothing about STORMWATCH has made a lick of sense since its new 52 inception, but issue 20 finally illuminated the purpose, path and target demographic of this title. From Apollo’s gargantuan flat forehead, to Jenny…uhhh…Psychic’s eyes living on two different latitudes, to dialog so clichéd you would think you’re watching a John Wayne film festival…it’s eminently clear DC has created its first book to be read on very small buses.
I’m not saying STORMWATCH 20 is bad, I’m saying it is so awful I’m willing to subject myself to a mind wipe that would also erase the good things that happened to me yesterday simply to forget this book.
I don’t understand what’s so damn hard about writing STORMWATCH from an editorial and execution standpoint; it’s been done before. Take bad ass heroes with the utmost moral superiority and have them run the multiverse. I understand this harkens back to yore, but for fuck’s sake, why is that so bad? A trope resonates because it is bound by truisms; clichéd themes are simply part of the human existence. And I don’t mean the cliché of noobs finding their way--I’m sick of the goddamn perpetual befuddling of teams in the DCU. The joke is over. JLA and JUSTICE LEAGUE have run it into the ground. A learning curve is one thing, and that time has passed. These heroes are simply all wrong for the job.
If Stormwatch had stayed on task with their initial mantra of being the team that watches the watchmen they would have been great. It wasn’t really a bad idea. Sure, it doesn’t provide a lot of universe hopping, but I’m OK with change…good change. What we got was a team without purpose, and I didn’t think it would be possible, but they are even more directionless with this reset.
Seriously, they literally have no idea what they are doing. This is written into the actual story. If the team doesn’t know what they’re doing, then how will the audience? And why should anyone care? Apollo and Midnighter do go to war in this issue as touted on the cover, but it’s on a planet no one knows about and the war is an age old-conflict between two species we never met before. Plus it happens at the end of the issue after the two go shopping for a vegetable peeler. No lie, folks--this is written into the script. First mission and Apollo and Midnighter not only call each other darling, but they go looking for frigging crafts (could you guys swing by and pick up Mrs. Douche next time so I don’t have to go?). Couple this with a team half of which we don’t know and the other half have had more personalities than Sally Field in the 70s, and again it’s a big bucket of who gives a fuck.
I know there’s an overarching mystery brewing, but even that is convoluted. There are after two issues three different mysterious figures pulling strings behind the scenes. WE DON’T KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE!!! THEIR SCHEMES MEAN NOTHING TO US. There’s mystery and then there’s a cloud of confusion that is denser than the pot cloud that suffocated my freshman dorm room. Lobo appears for a moment or two, and I could smell wafts of redemption, right up until some trite bravado about his origin.
I’m tired of helping DC for free; I called for a universal reboot halfway through FINAL CRISIS (not how they did it, but still), I begged for a world where Johns was the sole EIC three years before it happened (nothing against Didio or Lee; I think too many cooks might be crammed in the kitchen, though) and I even gave fixes for this very book during my last evisceration…I mean review. I really want to work in comics, so I’m keeping my shit close to the vest until I’m at least a contractor, but this book can be redeemed. The question now becomes will anyone care from being twice burned.
Optimous Douche has successfully blackmailed BottleImp to draw purty pictures for his graphic novel AVERAGE JOE coming out in 2013 from COM.X. When not on Ain’t It Cool, Optimous can be found talking comics and marketing on robpatey.com and just marketing on MaaS360.com.
THE ART OF IRON MAN 3 Hardcover SlipcaseEditors/writers: Marie Javins & Stuart Moore
Artists: Phil Saunders, Ryan Meinerding, Adi Granov, Rodney Fuentebella and more
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Ambush Bug
Say what you will about the film itself (and I'll say that I loved it because I did), but Marvel knows how to release a movie art book, that's for sure. I've checked out most of the previous Marvel movie art books (IRON MAN 2, CAPTAIN AMERICA, and THOR) which compiled and showcased all of the gorgeous artists behind the making of Marvel's successful run of new films, and all of them are treasures to behold. Not wanting to be outdone, the new ART OF IRON MAN 3 hardcover slipcase is a gol-durn masterpiece.
This 280-page hardcover not only has art from influential IRON MAN artist Adi Granov, but also designwork from Phil Saunders, Ryan Meinerding, Rodney Fuentebella, and others which prove that Granov isn't the only one who can paint a gorgeous Iron Man. Each concept sketch and painting is frameworthy and will have you on the fence between wanting keep the pages pristine and fiendishly cutting it out and framing it for the wall.
One of the coolest things is that it takes some of the cooler moments of the film which for the most part only get a few minutes’ screentime and gives it the attention it deserves. For the most part, I'm talking about the 42 different Iron Man suits that we really only get fleeting glimpses of in the film. Here, each one is highlighted and differentiated, showing how much hard work goes into the film.
Equal attention is given to the Mandarin and Killian's various stages of design and the decision-making process on how Killian's Extremis troops were created--again, pausing scant moments of the film and allowing us geeks to soak in all of the little cool details.
If you haven't gathered by now, I love these Marvel Art books and recommend them all to those who can save the sheckels for them. The book is available on Amazon here If you're a fan of the film, this is going to be a must for you.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 3. He has written comics such as VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He has co-written FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND’s LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in 2013 as a 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment & GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-81. Look for GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES available in February-July 2013 and the new UNLEASHED crossover miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS WEREWOLVES: THE HUNGER #1-3 available in May-July 2013! Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitter @Mark_L_Miller.
MARS ATTACKS #10Writer: John Layman
Artists: John McCrea
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Masked Man
John and John have wrapped up another story arc in this series of Martian mayhem. Oddly enough, like the first story arc, this one wraps up a bit too conveniently as well.
Still, it was a lot of fun.
The past five issues have dealt with a scientist discovering a weapon that can destroy all Martians, a boy genius who tried to warn people of the Martians, a mobster looking to sell out the human race, and a Martian who actually thought humans and Martians might actually live together. As you might expect from any good monster picture, no one really got what they wanted. And while it's not quite a comedy of errors, it's pretty fun to watch all of their plans go up in smoke.
Layman does a really nice job of tying plot lines together, which usually causes the trouble for the characters without the story getting too complex or thick. McCrea continues to draws all the drama and carnage in his usual madcap way. And while I thought the giant robot bowling splash page could have been stronger (wrong angle), his work always hits the perfect spot between drama and comedy- much like Layman's script. The action is very dramatic, but Layman's text boxes always put the action in perspective that allows you to see the Murphy's Law-like humor to it all.
Anyone wishing for the days when comic books were fun should be reading MARS ATTACKS.
Learn more about the Masked Man and feel free check out his comic book CINDY LI: THREE OF A KIND at www.Toonocity.com
THE MAN WITH NO LIBIDO! OGNWriter: Jason Browne
Artist: Steve Kearney
Publisher: Quiet Hell Comics
Emergency meeting, girls! They’ve figured us out. Our trusty friend-zone plot has been exposed. No longer can we dismiss the nice guys for the jerks who will cheat on us, though inevitably we shall try and return to those same @$$holes after confiding in our male best friend.
I wish the above was a joke, but I have a string of exes and ill-treated male friends that prove otherwise (as do most other girls and don’t you go trying to deny it either). In no way have writer Jason Browne, artist Steve Kearney, and letterer Billy Browne intended to start a war between those possessing a Y chromosome and those of us that have abused our feminine wiles. And for those eccentric feminists that take issue with a comic that sheds a light on an all too true practice, I’d rather you focus your time on complaining about the artistic depiction of comic book heroines. At least there you would have a legitimate argument.
As for the rest of humanity who have even an iota of a sense of humor, THE MAN WITH NO LIBIDO exemplifies why I love indie comics: originality. From the absurdist plot to the artistic style all its own, THE MAN WITH NO LIBIDO is like no other comic I’ve read during my three year tenure at AICN. In fact, I’ve left books for review lying around my apartment plenty, but this was the first that I had to berate my friends for hogging it before I could write my review. Luckily the graphic novel is an intensely fast read, and I could afford to part ways with it knowing that it would end back up on my coffee table by the time my friends left.
The most obvious strength of the book is the premise. Tired of being the nice guy that always finishes last, Mitch Daily undergoes a radical procedure to have his sex drive removed. No longer driven by lust, unable to be tempted only to end up brokenhearted, Mitch seems to have found the path to true happiness. His actions then inspire other men to follow suit. But like with all untested scientific experiments, there are unforeseen consequences.
A quick caution: The comic’s first chapter is weighted down by exposition and on-the-nose dialogue. I’d say it features the worst elements of the book, such as confusing layouts (you know the paneling is off when they’ve had to insert arrows to guide your eyes). The good news is that come chapter two, it only gets better. Of course, every once in awhile there’ll be a little hiccup such as a joke that falls flat or awkward body positions/movements/or layouts. But for every misfire you get a bullseye, whether it be the chapter pages featuring an ever-more depressing cupid or a panel featuring celebratory priests freed from lure of…well, I’m not gonna go there.
THE MAN WITH NO LIBIDO is dedicated to “all the women who screwed me over.” I too would like to thank those women for the emotional turmoil you caused these three men. Their suffering led them to create a comic rich in irony, hidden gems, and (most importantly) laughs a plenty.
You can purchase THE MAN WITH NO LIBIDO! here on Amazon. or find a free preview on their site here.
Lyzard is actually Lyz Reblin, a senior screenwriting major with an English minor at Chapman University. Along with writing for AICN, she has been published twice on the subject of vampire films.
GRIMM #0 & 1Writers: Marc Gaffen and Kyle McVey
Artist: Jose Malaga
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
Generally it’s readily apparent that TV properties turned comics are for that rare breed of fandom that A) still reads comics and B) loves and adores characters so much that even non-canon doings are an engaging read.
I’m a huge fan of GRIMM the TV series. When it launched the same time as ONCE UPON A TIME on ABC I decried both series were ripping off Willingham’s FABLES and I would have none of either. Mrs. Douche, ever the voice reason and staunch disbeliever of the comic medium, coerced me into giving both a shot. I dropped ONCE UPON A TIME faster than you can say convoluted soap opera. GRIMM kept me, though; it wasn’t a FABLES rip-off despite the spilling over of Germanic fairytales into the real world. The cop drama element of it where lead character Nick is a real cop for the Portland PD and a cop of the fantastical Wessens (pronounced Vesens) was different enough to provide sheer enjoyment for the better part of two years. First off, FABLES focuses on all fictional characters and each is an immortal version of self. GRIMM takes the stance that there wasn’t just one big bad wolf or sentient rabbit; they are collectives and for the most part they simply want to live normal mundane (or mundy) lives. Secondly, it has turned into a character piece focusing not just on Nick’s dealings with the Wessens but also all the elements of humanity like love, friendship and fear of the unknown. And sadly, it’s on these points the comic simply fails.
The writers made a valiant effort, but the simple nature of the comic medium coupled with trying to be all things to all readers new and old left this is as an unsatisfying “just the tip” experience for all. My cervix is simply too deep when it comes to GRIMM, as it is for most of us who have watched the series since day one. And the fact the comic is picking up from season 2’s finale provides a very confusing experience given the current happenings on the TV show.
New readers, I fear, simply won’t care. Who is Nick, his Blutbad friend Monroe, his partner Hank and their Hexen Beast Captain? Why do they all know about this world, and how come it’s so easy for them to fly off to Germany to hunt down demonic coins when I have to go through 12 HR requests to take my dog to the vet? It stretches lines of credibility even for comic fans. Longtime fans will understand the discovery of this world, how Hank found out about the Grimms, how the Captain was once believed on the side of evil and just how unique the relationship is between Nick and Monroe.
I’ll admit the inclusion of a new female Grimm was pretty cool, and I would have appreciated it ten-fold if I hadn’t just watched Nick get back together with his estranged girlfriend Juliette. That’s called timing, folks….bad timing.
Issue Zero actually had things right: it provided a moment in time that could easily coincide with the show’s chronology. It held no consequence, but it was fun. Issue 1 simply sets up too different of a universe. Sadly, issue zero was a free comic day giveaway that probably won’t make it into any of the right hands.
On art, Alex Ross’ cover is gorgeous and really captures an emotional visage of the real-life players. As for the interior art…it lives behind a spectacular cover by Alex Ross.
GRIMM isn’t a failure, and I think there are corrective measures that can take place, but I’ll certainly be walking away from this first arc so I can go on enjoying the show.
Advance Review: In stores today!
DREAM THIEF #1Writer: Jai Nitz
Art: Greg Smallwood
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewer: Ambush Bug
I don’t know if it’s a good thing that I relate just a bit too much to the main character of this book…
The book begins with John Lincoln waking up in some strange bed with no recollection of the drunken night before, wondering who and what he got himself into. Now, having experienced this more times in my lifetime than I care to admit, usually I find myself taking a break from the nightlife when this occurs, but our hero doesn’t really learn his lesson, as in this book he blacks out a few more times before the issue is through. Now, some of it is because he most likely is an alcoholic. But some of it might also have to do with some very potent weed he bought from his dealer and some of it also might have to do with the aboriginal dream mask he stole on a drunken dare when out drinking at a museum opening with his best friend.
Though not a lot of answers are provided in this first issue, a lot of solid character work is at play here as we really get to know John Lincoln, and though he is a very flawed man, because of the down to earth way writer Jai Nitz writes his inner dialog, I couldn’t help but root for the guy despite the fact that he’s a drunk, an asshole, and a moron.
Or maybe, like I said, this character just hits a bit too close to home for me since I’ve been known to be all three at times...
Either way, one thing is for certain: Nitz has partnered himself up with a rock solid artist in Greg Smallwood. Reminiscent of GOTHAM CENTRAL’s Michael Lark by way of THIEF OF THIEVES’ Shawn Martinbrough, Smallwood offers up some gritty yet solid panels which results in some fantastic storytelling. Though the look of the mask John comes into possession of is simplistic and pulpy, he makes all of the panels vivid and eye-catching. There are a couple of double page spreads in this first issue where Smallwood is able to communicate volumes that stand out as some of the most memorable of the issue, incorporating aboriginal designs with trippy marijuana- and alcohol-induced hazes. Smallwood goes surreal and trippy in one second and harsh and stark reality in the next. Solid art, through and through.
DREAM THIEF will be available today from Dark Horse, and it really is an impressive debut issue opening with a solid mystery, some pulpy anti-heroism, a shady main character you can’t help but endear yourself to, and art that makes you salivate for the next issue.
AVENGERS #11Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artists: Mike Deodato/Frank Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Mighty Mouth
Every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from all the galaxy-hopping, earth-shattering storytelling and have a more simple & intimate tale. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some threats of cosmic proportions with mind-twisting plots, but AVENGERS #11 gives readers a much-needed chance to catch their breath. This issue features a group of B-list assemblers undertaking a clandestine assignment in Hong Kong. The cast features Black Widow, Cannonball, Captain Marvel, Shang-Chi, Spider-Woman, and Sunspot.
Since taking over writing duties on AVENGERS, Hickman has shown readers that he has a strong aptitude for creating cataclysmic event-style stories with complex schemes. Issue #11 shows that he is also quite capable of letting his hair down and having some fun with the characters. It’s not often that you see an issue of Earth’s Mightiest where the heroes dress in style, gamble and get intoxicated with agents of AIM. Sounds crazy, I know, but Hickman pulls it off.
AVENGERS #11 features some great tongue-in-cheek moments Cannonball and Sunspot have a blast at the craps table; they even get a couple of AIM agents to let their guard down and have some fun. Things get a little hot for Black Widow and Spider-Woman when they use seduction as their weapon. Captain Marvel takes some real chances with her reputation. Best of all, while the other five are getting shit-faced and hobnobbing with the enemy, Shang-Chi (drinking and gambling ain’t his thing) stumbles upon a group of assassins and before you know it, everybody’s kung fu fighting. Oddly, it’s Shang’s direct approach that uncovers more than all of the others’ covert efforts combined.
Mike Deodato’s art has never looked better. The coloring provided by Frank Martin really enhances Dedodato’s panels in a way we haven’t seen before. Not that I ever disliked Deodato’s work, but I will admit I felt he could be a little vicious with the cross-hatching at times. The collaboration of these two artists only served to further the enjoyment of this divergent little tale.
I’m not sure exactly how this issue will tie into some of the more recent events seen in previous issues of AVENGERS, and honestly I don’t even care. The candid storytelling and light-hearted characterization made me forget all about intergalactic events and allowed me to simply enjoy this issue for what it is intend to be... just a fun little read!
THE BEAST OF WOLFE'S BAY OGNWriter: Erik Evensen
Artist: Erik Evensen
Publisher: Self published
Reviewer: Masked Man
So do you like Bigfoot stories? Do you miss the X-FILES? Well, my friend, this book is for you. THE BEAST OF WOLFE'S BAY is Erik Evensen's second graphic novel (the first being GODS OF ASGARD) which nicely captures the feel of an X-FILES story. I suppose I should update my lexicon and say it's like those 'paranormal chasers walking around the woods at night’ reality shows instead, but that would be a disservice to this book. So while THE BEAST OF WOLFE'S BAY might not be as strong as the X-FILES, it is solid indie work and well worth a look.
In a small Northeastern town called Wolfe's Bay, there has been an increase of Bigfoot violence, though most people don't believe in Sasquatch. The local sheriff calls in anthropology graduate student, Brian Wegman whom he knows, to help him makes sense of it all. Wegman has no interest in going on a monster hunt but goes along anyway, since he doesn't have much else happening in his life. The sheriff’s daughter, Winifred Roth, is a more successful academic, getting her PhD in folklore and teaching at a local college. Winifred and Brian become the brain trust helping the police figure out what the heck is going on--which of course leads to pay dirt: Bigfoot himself. Now, the story isn't quite so clear cut--there are some twists along the way. Suffice to say if you tune in next week you will see our heroes investigate Bigfoot and have a run-in the with the creature.
As I mentioned, Evensen has put together a solid book here. The art and story all work at about the same level of professionalism, which I feel is stronger than your average indie book. Paranormal fans will appreciate the fact that Evensen spends a lot of time fleshing out the story with enough facts and techno-speak that you can believe in the characters. It really feels like two academics out on an adventure--even the climax is very scientific. The leads, Winifred and Brian, have good chemistry together in a Fox and Scully way, which is what holds most of the book together.
Unfortunately, the story is also rather dry. In a story with Bigfoot and two charismatic leads you'd expect the book to be more entertaining. Instead, scenes drag on as characters interact and fail to move the plot forward. I also found the nerdspeak a bit overwhelming. Winifred's character is a big nerd, but she quotes nerd culture every time she opens her mouth. Other characters who are not 'nerds' also speak the language of the nerds a little too well. In all it feels like Evensen is pandering to his audience rather than writing character dialogue. Evensen also seems to have it in for college underclassmen, too, as every single one of them is portrayed as a waste of space, and it feels heavy-handed.
One important thing to know going into this story (which I didn't) is that the whole thing is a riff on BEOWULF. I'm reasonably familiar with the story of BEOWULF, but I caught none of it reading the book. If I had known in advance I feel all the Easter eggs would be much more enjoyable. To clarify, this isn't a retelling BEOWULF; it's more like how the movie OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU was a riff on the ODESSEY. If you keep this in mind while you're reading the story, I'm sure you'll enjoy the story even more.
So while I wouldn't pit THE BEAST OF WOLFE'S BAY against anything from Mike Mignola, Erik Evensen does knockout a good paranormal tale that will please the genre lovers.
THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #8Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Esad Ribic
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Mad Mercutio
Crank up some Led Zepplin. Go ahead. Go get some “Immigrant Song” blasting, a flagon of mead, grow a beard, and buy a sword before you sit down the read the latest issue of THOR. You’ll need it.
This run by this creative team has been so much fun. It scratches me just where I itch. I work in a professional setting where it is the norm to mind your ps and qs and to get your work done and not to shake the boat while you are doing it. I get home, and I want a release. Now, besides a physical release of, say, bare-knuckle boxing a bear on a mountaintop while shirtless, this comic provides the next best thing. This comic makes fun of the beardless and the unmanly. This comic has violence, blood, arrogance, swords, lovely ladies, strong men and ships that fly through space. God, it feels good. I’m sorry…By Odin, it feels good to read.
The art is perfect for a THOR book. Thor looks ready to step off the page (in any of his incarnations) and smite those who oppose him. The ladies look beautiful and the backgrounds make me want to go run down a hobbit.
The writing is just fun. I saw a little bit of a writing conference where Jason Aaron pitched the idea, and everyone in the room seemed to be behind it, which is apparently a very rare thing. Now that I’m reading it, you can tell why. This story has the right amounts of spectacle, suspense, action, humor, beards, and machismo. I already mentioned the fun, but you’ll have to excuse me when I say Aaron is having fun writing THOR. He just really seems to be doing what he loves, and it comes through in spades (or hammers, as the case may be). Seeing Thor interact with his own past and future selves with such dry, acerbic wit is worth the price tag alone.
I can’t help but compare this book to the Old Robert E. Howard Conan stories. I freakin’ loved those old stories in all of their bloody unpolitical correctness. This run on THOR has that great epic dangerous feel that Robert E. Howard captured so well.
I hope this creative team stays on the book for a long time. I love this storyline, but I can’t wait to see what is next on their agenda for the thunder god. I only hope they approach it with the same amount of godly goodness that has been infused in this run. I have not seen much in the way of advance previews, so if they plan on leaving the book, don’t tell me. I prefer not to know right now.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Thor gets hit in the face with a space shark...by Thor. Really, go ahead and pick it up and see what I’m talking about. Thor hit Thor in the face with a space shark while Thor simply watched and cracked wise. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.
STAR WARS #5Writer: Brian Wood
Artists: Carlos D'Anda
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
Whenever I want to give a comic book a shot, it has five issues to impress me. That's my make or break point, and unfortunately STAR WARS just broke.
I feel Wood and D'Anda are trying their best with this book. The story is richly layered and gives all the popular characters good 'screen time'. The pages are all richly detailed and nice to look at, but it just hasn't been anything better than mildly interesting.
To a degree it might be because Wood is cramming so much into the story. We've barely had time to spend with Vader as he is on the outs with the Emperor, or Han and Chewie as they are on the run with Boba Fett stalking them. The bulk of the story has been about Leia's shadow squadron searching for a new rebel base and the mole in the rebellion. Unfortunately this just leaves me flat, and none of the new pilots seem interesting, even if Luke is seemingly shagging one of them.
Also I must be an idiot, because I can't follow the X-wing scenes at all. I always have a tough time telling characters and ships apart, or who's even talking to who in the radio bubbles. Wood seemed to be trying his hardest to help me out, in this issue, but when I have to work this hard to comprehend what's going on, my public school-educated brain gets bored.
Well, I never was one for STAR WARS comics so c'est la vie . I suppose I'll just have wait for J.J.’s movie to get my next STAR WARS fix.
DEVIL MAY CRY: THE CHRONICLES OF VIRGIL OGNWriter: Izu
Illustrator: Patrick Pion
Publisher: Titan Comics
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty
The fact that I keep getting comic books to review that are based on video games I've never played leads me to believe I'm getting trolled by Titan Comics. There's an outside chance they like my perspective, reviewing each book on its own merits instead of how faithful it is to the franchise, but I'm cynical enough to believe they enjoy it when I get feedback like, “Bruh, do you even own a PlayStation 3?” I don't. It's a sad fact that I'm still stuck in the nineties, which is why I spent my Saturday night playing GOLDENEYE on Nintendo 64 and why I still think RESIDENT EVIL (RE) 4 on GameCube is the greatest game ever made. With that in mind, I was kinda pumped to get my hands on DEVIL MAY CRY (DMC) because like RE, it was also developed by Capcom and at one point in the early stages of development, was expected to be the next installment in the RE series. It wasn't, primarily because the storyline was so different than what RE fans were used to that the Cap crew figured it was best to just make DMC its own game, one that has been wildly successful and spawned several sequels.
One of those sequels introduces Virgil, who is the brother of Dante, both of whom have a demon daddy and human mommy. Naturally, that has bestowed upon them certain talents, least of which is the ability to massacre large hordes of supernatural villains. Since this book is titled THE CHRONICLES OF VIRGIL, it's all about the younger sibling, who must gain entry into hell by some incredibly convoluted method that is barely explained in a sea of exposition. And not the kind of sea you gently sail across--rather, the kind that sucks you down via raging whirlpool. Seriously, I know there is a bit of a learning curve having not played the video game, but it took a concerted effort from page to page to try to find out what the hell was going on. I know the writer has a good story here; I could see its outline lurking somewhere beneath the surface, but there's no cohesion to his storytelling, no beat or rhythm. The dialog was sharp, but the timeline had too many areas unaccounted for. Nothing kills the experience faster than having to go back a few pages to find out why (or how) things got to be where they were at that particular time. It was frustrating.
The good news is, Illustrator Patrick Pion hits a home run with his art. Actually, he hits a grand slam and Robin Recht, charged with layouts, easily jogs in from third. The characters really come to life. A lot of artists are exceptional at drawing large scale but falter when it's up close and personal, and vice versa, but Pion is a master at both and I can't think of a better example of how to use illustrations to capture the mood of a story. I have to imagine drawing hell, demons and other such gratuitous incarnations is challenging, as they've been realized a hundred times over by now in probably every form of pop culture. Apparently, Pion is unfazed by such trivial obstacles such as those and just lets it rip with reckless abandon. That shit was money, and you could argue that it saves the book. Having said that, I can't recommend VIRGIL to readers unfamiliar with the DMC universe, as they'll likely encounter the same issues I did, but I don't expect that to be a problem for gamers, who can probably answer all the questions I was asking based on their experiences playing the game.
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.
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