One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews 09/24/14

Best of the Week

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Title:  Armor Hunters #4

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Robert Venditti

Artist:  Doug Braithwaite

Review:  ★★★★★

Armor Hunters has been an amazing event.  The main series itself has been top-notch every issue.  Sometimes though, even the best event can turn a great beginning but fall flat on the ending (I’m looking at you Original Sin.)  However, Armor Hunters not only ends with a bang, but a thunderous one at that.  The final confrontation was laid last issue and now was the time for the showdown of X-O Manowar and Unity against the remaining Armor Hunters.  The battle is devastating, completely brutal for both sides.  Of course our heroes come out on top, but the way they do serve up some of the best action scenes in a comic this year.  This is in large part due to Braithwaite.  His art has been excellent the entire series, but here it becomes a majestic nirvana of brutality that I ate up.  Not to be outdone, Venditti crafted some fantastic dialogue during the action for some truly terrific, memorable lines.  If only every comic could be this perfect, the world would be a better place.  If you only buy one comic for the rest of the year, make it Armor Hunters #4.

captainmidnight15

Title:  Captain Midnight #15

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Joshua Williamson

Artist:  Manuel Garcia

Review:  ★★★★★

Last week we were given reason to doubt Captain Midnight as he seemed captured and defeated.  Jumping right back into that point, we actually get to see his intellect in action as he envisions every possible outcome of a situation and acts accordingly.  The Captain and Tempus then test each other in a duel of speed and wits.  Captain Midnight proves more capable in both, defeating his foe and saving the day.  It makes him realize he cannot just give up being a super hero as the world still needs Captain Midnight.  It also appears we can expect a X crossover of sorts with the next villain in his sights, which makes us all sorts of excited.  Williamson does a fantastic job developing the fight between the Captain and Tempus, as they both think the same way, our hero is just that much better at it.  It was a great choice to match them in both brawn in brain for the climax.  Captain Midnight is easily one of the best super hero titles you can buy right now.


The Weekly Rundown

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Title:  Baltimore:  The Witch of Harju #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

Artist:  Peter Berting

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Things looked desperate last issue for Lord Balitmore and his companions as the witch of Harju sent a legion of un-dead to kill them.  While not everyone makes it out alive from the reckoning, Baltimore is able to track down the witch and stop her once and for all.  With the evil defeated, it is time to movie, except with one new companion who has nothing left to stay for.  The issue really drives home Baltimore’s determination, and that while he may not be flashy about it, he is the best at what he does.  The high paced action looked fantastic in Berting’s skilled hands coupled with the excellent coloring job.  The story was interesting, but the art is the real star and reason to pick up the issue.

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Title:  Conan The Avenger #6

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Eduardo Francisco

Review:  ★★★★☆

Conan The Avenger finishes up its first story arc this week and what a ride.  While initially I was extremely unimpressed after the first two issues, the series won me over and won me over hard.  It has been getting better and better, with this issue being no exception.  Conan finally confronts the pig beast summoned from hell for an amazing clash.  Being Conan, he defeats the beast and throws its body to its master, causing the true sorcerer revealed.  The entire kingdom comes crashing down as the peasants rebel, leaving Conan to escape the city with a small army of his own.  Francisco’s scrawny Conan no longer bothers me as the rest of his art is just so beautiful and fitting with the story.  Partnered with Michael Atiyeh’s colors, every page comes vividly to life. The end serves the best Conan the Avenger issue yet, capping for one of the most enjoyable Conan stories I’ve read in quite some time.

deepgravity3

Title:  Deep Gravity #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, and Mike Richardson

Artist:  Fernando Baldó

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Things just cannot go right for the survivors of the space ship.  As they try to decide what to do next, their time for thinking comes to an end as a dangerous creature from the planet below that was caged in the cargo hold is coming after them.  Several of them don’t make it, but those who do finally make it to the bridge where it is revealed the ship was sabotaged.  As they start to enter the planet’s atmosphere, things couldn’t look bleaker.  The series has jumped into a survival horror which I did not expect originally, but it is a direction I am pleased to see it going.  With one more issue yet to go I’m interested to see how much higher the body count can go.  The only problem is the characters haven’t developed much at this point meaning they truly are cannon fodder.  It is still an enjoyable experience but missed the mark at being more.

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Title:  Ghost #8

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Chris Sebela

Artist:  Jan Duursema

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Elise has had several problems as of late, two villains after here and an identity crisis of sorts.  All of that finally comes to a head, as she takes the confrontation head on.  Von Ghastly wants to use her as a key to unlock what he imagines as god like powers while Hunter actually wants her help freeing himself from his employers.  Neither get what they want, but Elisa finally comes to terms with who she is as Ghost.  Von Ghastly and Hunter both turned out to be disappointing villains, the later more so, but Elise’s journey of self acceptance was the highlight.  Ghost is a fascinating character, but now she needs a worthy opponent to step up.

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Title:  Groo vs. Conan #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:   Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragonés

Artist:  Sergio Aragonés and Thomas Yeates

Review:  ★★☆☆☆

While I expect nothing enjoyable out of this crossover anymore, it did at least pull of something a bit better than previously.  We actually were given a large percentage of the story devoted to Groo and Conan compared to the first two issues where Evanier and Aragonés have been more the focus.  When the two main stars go at it, the story is actually entertaining as both styles clash.  When the story shifts to the two writers trying to save a comic shop, it is a completely different comic that I have no interest again.  If that entire subplot was dropped, this would have been a much better series for it.  As it stands, it is a series of complete wasted potential.

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Title:  Halo:  Escalation #10

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Brian Reed

Artist:  Ricardo Sánchez

Review:  ★★★☆☆

This issue brought something that I never thought I’d see, an enemy that was too much for Master Chief.  Instead of him kicking some butt, things got turned the other way around as he was defeated and saved at the last moment by a monitor.  If nothing else, at least Chief got the last laugh, possibly finally killing the Didact (maybe.) It seemed like a cheap and to quick of a way to finish the Didact, just lacking the little punch it should have had. As a continuation of Master Chief’s story from Halo 4, this was a nice addition, but it should have been given a grander finale than this.

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Title:  Harbinger:  Omegas #2

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:   Joshua Dysart

Artist:  Rafa Sandoval

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Harbinger:  Omegas most likely will feature the last of Toyo Harada.  So seeing an entire issue narrated by him is a wise choice as it lets us better understand his inner workings.  The problem here was with the execution.  Going through he mind mainly recapped what has come, which we really didn’t need in this second issue.  Yes we now know how Toyo sees himself and the world, but it brought us no further in the story which is disappointing.  This issue looked as though it would focus on Peter, but he was more of an afterthought.  The series is building to something fantastic, but this was a slowdown too soon in that it didn’t need.

pariah8

Title:  Pariah #8

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Aron Warner and Philip Gelatt

Artist:  Brett Weldele

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Pariah has really become a series you cannot predict.  As soon as you think things are one way, the tables are quickly turned.  I love it for this unpredictability.  Maudsley manipulated his way back to Earth and has now given the Vitros a decision:  join him on Earth or stay on the space station with Lila.  The decision causes everyone to internalize and decide what they truly want.  Some of those that leave are fairly shocking departures.  Now the question remains as to whats next; will the story follow those in space, those on Earth, or both?  Right not that’s uncertain, but either or both options look to be exciting.  This is a title that really flies under the radar, but it is one of the best books being published.  Its one roller-coaster ride that you do not want to be missing.

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Title:  Pop #2

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:   Curt Pires

Artist:  Jason Copland

Review:  ★★☆☆☆

Pop is a strange tale, in more ways than one.  The corporation that grew Elle wants her back and have sent two of their best agents after her.  As they close in, Coop decides to get Elle high in hopes it will help her remember where she came from.  The two operatives show up soon enough though and leave plenty of destruction and death in their wake. The story itself is fairly bizarre, following an escaped would-be pop star who was grown in a tank.  Then you the tone of the series.  Is it trying to take itself seriously?  Is it trying to be a parody?  Is it trying to say something about the music industry?  Two issues in, I’m not convinced Pires knows exactly.  Right now the art is the best reason to give the book a chance as Copland’s art with Pete Toms colors really do “pop” off the page.  Other than that, this is a series to skip right now.

sundowners2

Title:  Sundowners #2

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Tim Seeley

Artist:  Jim Terry

Review:  ★★★★☆

There was one comic this week that left me scratching my head and wondering what the hell is going on, and that book was Sundowners.  The book is one giant mind f*** to put it mildly.  The heroes of the Sundowners support group pick themselves back up after their fourth member Karl Volf was abducted.  The issue finds them all going their separate ways to find out what happened to Karl, but the question still remains whether the group is completely crazy or actual heroes that are seeing something that others can’t see.  At this point either could be argued to be true and sound correct.  Another hero, Mr. Outsider, enters the fray while narrating the issue and is able to track down Karl.  Unfortunately for him he was not meant a pretty end.  Sundowners is turning into a fantastic series as Seeley plays operator on our sense of reality.  The series will keep you guessing an contemplating long after you’ve put it down.  Be prepared to be hooked.

tombraider8

Title:  Tomb Raider #8

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Gail Simone and Rhianna Pratchett

Artist:  Derlis Santacruz

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Lara’s latest adventure has brought her to Chernobyl in search of Alex’s sister who had gone missing.  Several misunderstandings occur once Kaz is found.  Kaz knows who Lara is, but blames her for Alex’s death, but the two are able to get past that by talking it through.  With that cleared up, Kaz’s friends come to her rescue, believing Lara has been sent to kill her.  By the time that is resolved, the real villain of the story enters the picture who seems slightly off kilter.  If you were hoping the comic series would have Lara searching for lost treasure, it looks like you can just give up on that.  If you want to see Lara kick butt like she did in the remake, you will get plenty of that here.  The series just has not been able to find a balance of the two, or leave Yamatai behind.  It is just disappointing knowing how good this should be coming from Simone, but each issue just barely hits the mark, if it does at all.

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Title:  X-O Manowar #29

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Robert Venditti

Artist:  Diego Bernard

Review:  ★★★★☆

If you read Armor Hunters #4 and were wanting to see some of the aftermath and loose threads tied up, you have no wait at all.  X-O Manowar gets back to the present, showcasing the fate of the two armor wearers, Aric and Malgam.  It is a fitting jumping point as we saw Malgam’s story play out and now finish (or start fresh perhaps.)  It will be interesting to see what comes of the character in the future;  will he be a hero or villain?  While not as exciting as what it is following, it does push the title forward, showing another party is interested in obtaining an armor and while the government is set with playing nice with Aric as a member of Unity, they still are keeping their options open.  While it is not an issue to blow you away, it does give us some quick answers we want.

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