One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews 10/08/14

Best of the Week


Title:  X #18

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:   Duane Swierczynski

Artist:  Eric Nguyen

Review:  ★★★★★

Every single issue of X, I wonder how much more pain Swierczynski can bring to our hero.  Every issue the damage is ratcheted up ten fold and I sit there and twist and squirm as X in beaten and broken.  Yet I love every minute of it.  The latest villain our hero was chasing turned the tables and captured X.  The villain is a plastic surgeon that has been experimenting on hookers by skinning them, but is now looking to use X’s healing skin to transplant on the same people he skinned.  What this means is that we get to see X being skinned, numerous times throughout the issue.  It is graphic, brutal, and fantastic.  Nguyen’s art captures every skin slit, bone breaking moment.  I don’t know how much X can take, but I’m salivating each time for more.


Title:  X-O Manowar #0

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Robert Venditti

Artist:  Clay Mann

Review:  ★★★★★

X-O Manowar shows how to properly execute a zero issue this month.  Completely accessible to new and old readers alike.  Venditti takes us back to Aric first war, back before the Vine abducted him and his people.  Aric was born with the natural skills of the warrior, but that does not mean he enjoys the battle.  His parents tried to keep him out of the war between the Visgoth and the Romans for as long as they could.  When the time finally comes, he does not yearn to kill as his cousin Gafti does.  Yet when Gafti comes under danger, Aric willingly jumps in the fray.  This is some of the best characterization we have seen of our hero.  Aric fights because he must protect his people, not because he thirsts for the fight.  It shows us the type of man he is, and why he accepts his new status quo as protector of Earth.  If you have not yet started reading X-O Manowar, make sure to jump on board now!

The Weekly Rundown


Title:  Aliens vs. Predator:  Fire and Stone #1

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Christopher Sebela

Artist:  Ariel Olivetti

Review:  ★★☆☆☆

This is one book in which the shipping schedule has a giant part in its low review score, while the creators themselves are not as much at fault.  The story and art are fairly solid, but unless you wait to read this until December, you’re going to be completely lost as to what is going on.  The events of this issue take place between Predator:  Fire and Stone #1 which releases at the end of this month, but worst of all after Prometheus:  Fire and Stone #4 which does not release until December.  We are thrown into events of which we have not seen happen yet, resulting in a seemingly complete spoiler of what happens in the Prometheus series.  I am completely boggled as to why this book is shipping today instead of in December when the story it is supposed to be following actually finishes.  Sebela still has fun with the story and Olivetti’s art certainly shines, but the publisher really put them and the reader in an awkward position.


Title:  Dark Ages #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Dan Abnett

Artist:  I. N. J. Culbard

Review:  ★★★★☆

Dark Ages kicks into high gear this month.  The action is actually on the lighter side compared to what it has been, even with a few deaths still, but all is finally revealed to our band of warriors.  Tearing down the wall where the monks had imprisoned a man who came to warn them of the alien invasion, Lucifer finds Barnabus deceased, but he was not the one talking through the wall.  Instead, they find Barnabus’ master, an alien who had come to Earth looking for help against those now invading the planet.  For thousands of years he attempted to warn the human race of the possible invasion while also looking for allies to help him and his people fight back.  Unfortunately, humans religious beliefs kept them from accepting aliens.  Lucifer, ironically, is not a religious man, so he listens and believes everything.  Together, they make a plan and prepare to fight back.  The series skirts the line of going over the top, but luckily it never quite does.  In many other writers hands the series may seem ridiculous, but Abenett knows how to pull it off just right for one fantastical adventure.   The real war is about to begin and it looks like it is going to one hell of a battle.


Title:  The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #2

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:   Jen Van Meter

Artist:  Roberto de la Torre

Review:  ★★☆☆☆

What a fall The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage has taken in just one issue.  When the series debuted last month we really enjoyed the next take on the Doctor Mirage character.  Unfortunately in its second issue things didn’t quite come together like before.  Shan has entered the afterlife and begins her search for husband while undertaking the job for Linton March.  Things quickly become dangerous for her on her journey as many things on the other side are not fond of the living in their realm.  Meanwhile, Linton’s associates find that he has contacted Shan and want to know what he told her.  Wanting to wrap things up, they decide to find Shan’s unprotected body to stop her investigation for good.  The thing I enjoyed most about the story is you find out how Hwen and Shan meet which was much needed back story.  Shan’s trip through the afterlife though is just so jumbled it is hard to follow.  For as much as I love de la Torre’s art, here he tries to fill the page with to many things at once which intensifies this chaotic journey.  The first issue sold me on the series, so we still hope the third issue can find a little more focus.


Title:  Grendel vs. The Shadow

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Matt Wagner

Artist:  Matt Wagner

Review:  ★★★★☆

Grendel vs. The Shadow continues to be a treat that I do not want to see end.  The hero and villain face off right in the beginning, each finding their opponent more formidable than they could have imagined.  Grendel in the end is the one to flee, but of course there battle was only put on hold for now.  With their fight out of the way, Grendel goes back to consolidating his power with the mob while the Shadow continues his investigation into the villain.  Wagner’s art is fantastic of course, but watching him draw the Shadow is a true pleasure.  The only complaint I have for the series is the narration.  Grendel narrates his own actions, but the Shadow’s partner is left to narrate his.  It would have been nice to see Wagner dive into the mind of the Shadow.  At least in the end he is treating him with the same respect he shows his own creation Grendel, which would be a bias hard to shelve.

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