One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews 10/29/14

Best of the Week


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Title:  Archer & Armstrong #25

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Fred Van Lente, John Layman, Ray Fawkes, Justin Jordan, Joey Esposito, Donny Cates & Eliot Rahal

Artist:  Clayton Henry, Ramon Villalobos, Andy Kuhn, Rafer Roberts, Joe Eisma, Juan Doe, Khari Evans, Barry Kitson

Cover Artist: Clayton Henry, Shawn Crystal, Pere Perez, Jim Calafiore, Michael Walsh

Review:  ★★★★☆

As has been the case with several of Valiant’s 25th issue anniversaries, Archer & Armstrong the title has come to an end, even though we will see the name sake characters appearing in many different titles.  The anniversary issue brings us an assortment of stories that work for newcomers and long time readers alike.  To close the series out, the main story features Archer saying goodbye to his sect, meeting his birth parents, and in general moving both characters into the next step of their lives.  The remaining tales include setups for upcoming one-shots and series along with plenty og Armstrong drunken fun.  Everything pulls of the humor we know and love about the series, but there are a few emotional slipped in as well.  If you’ve never had a chance to read Archer & Armstrong before, this really is a great chance to jump in and join the fun.


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Title:  The Goon:  Occasion of Revenge #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Eric Powell

Artist:  Eric Powell

Cover Artist:  Eric Powell

Review:  ★★★★★

Each issue in The Goon:  Occasion of Revenge has been better than the last, with the latest being no exception.  As the war between the Goon’s men and the witch clan heats up, Kid Gargantuan takes a large part of the spotlight.  We learn a great deal about his tragic upbringing and what eventually led him to the Goon.  He has been tasked with protecting Rigatti’s nephew, Rory, while he lays low after getting into trouble.  Meanwhile, the Goon creates a ploy to make it appear Rory is being held elsewhere, knowing word has gotten out to the witch clan that the alliance rests on Rory’s protection.  This leads to an all out battle between the two factions.  Unfortunately, after hearing Rory’s story as to why he needed to get out of the city, Gargantuan takes drastic action that could be the end of them all.  The issue stays focused throughout, dropping the side story that has been told in the first two, which while slightly entertaining, seemed to have no connection to the main story.  Revealing Gargantuan’s past was the highlight of the issue, but we also find out the Goon’s latest romance may not be all she seems.  It ends with a cliffhanger, making next issue seem way to far off.


The Weekly Rundown


aliensfireandstone

Title:  Aliens:  Fire and Stone #2

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Chris Roberson

Artist:  Patric Reynolds

Colorist:  Dave Stewart

Letterer:  Nate Piekos

Cover Artist:  David Palumbo

Review:  ★★★☆☆

The Fire and Stone series have been incredibly hard to follow as each book takes place a different times.  Fortunately, we are back to the beginning of it all with Aliens:  Fire and Stone #2.  The survivors from Hadley’s Hope have found themselves crash landed on a moon that was supposed to be dead, but instead is flush with life.  As we learned last issue, a chunk of this life consists of the xenomorphs which are picking the group apart one by one.  While Cale and Dione argue whether their best chances lay in evading the xenomorphs or bringing the fight to them, Russell continues to explore the moon and begins to uncover its secrets.  This, an actually all the books in this series, have been nice additions to the Prometheus, Predator, and Aliens lore.  It’s just unfortunate they are all coming out at the same time but take place during different times of a bigger overreaching story.  Being back to this part, things that were confusing before in the other books are now starting to make more sense.  If you want to truly enjoy the Fire and Stone story, we honestly suggest just waiting for the trades, as it will make the experience several less frustrating and highly more enjoyable.


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Title:  Captain Midnight #16

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Joshua Williamson

Artist:  Fernando Dagnino

Colorist:  Javier Mena

Letterer:  Nate Piekos

Cover Artist:  Dustin Nguyen

Review:  ★★★★☆

While in the process of rebuilding the town of Nightshade after the events of the last arc, the series decides to take a Halloween turn for its October issue.  While Jim is busy putting his skills to work in the reconstruction, Jones decides to buy his friend a little blast from the past, an old school radio.  The two decide to tune into an old radio station that Jim used to listen to on Halloween.  Strangely the station is still around, but even more strange the tale the radio personality reads involves werewolves which cause the citizens of Nightshade themselves to transform.  Jim and Jones must find out how to stop the transformations before they before transforms as well.  It was a highly enjoyable issue that served to break up the action before the next big arc, but also serve up some good old fashion Halloween fun.  Yes, Captain Midnight does transform into a werewolf this issue and it is just as awesome as you would hope.


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Title:  Conan The Avenger #7

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Brian Ching

Colorist:  Michael Atiyeh

Letterer:  Richard Starkings & Comicraft

Cover Artist:  Daryl Mandryk

Review:  ★★★★☆

Last time we left Conan in the series, the city of Shumballa had fallen and the king’s guard had joined the Cimmerian as his loyal men.  When we open up this month, things seem to have taken a turn for the worst as his men are no longer with him and he and his female companion are soon to die of thirst.  To spare her from a cruel death, Conan lifts his sword to finish her himself, an act of mercy.  The story then throws us back to soon after Conan and his men have left Shumballa.  The slave girl, Diana, he saved from the Queen, informs them that her sister knows the location of a glorious hidden treasure.  Her sister is a slave however, so they need to free her before they can get to the treasure.  When another hoarding band come across, they learn to of this hidden treasure and both groups reluctantly combine forces.  Is this the beginning of the end for Conan?  Throwing us to what looks like Conan’s end brings much more weight to the story to come after seeing the hopelessness of the future.  Of course it’s not like Conan will die, but his deep despair at his situation still stings the reader.  It also gives us the promise of plenty of battles and death, two things that Conan always does well.


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Title:  Cutter #4

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Robert Napton and Seamus Kevin Fahey

Artist:  Mann House

Letterer:  Troy Peteri

Cover Artist:  Christian DiBari and Michael Spicer

Review:  ★★☆☆☆

Jeremy had found himself in bind last issue having been found with the dead body of the sheriff, making him to look the Cutter to police.  His jail stay ends up very brief as he awakes to find himself covered in blood with all of the officers in the station killed.  Taking a uniform and cruiser before leaving, he decides its time to talk to Emily’s sister Abby to get the answers about what is going on.  He uncovers what really happened to Emily when they were younger, something he had blocked out of his memory.  With this knowledge, he know who the killer is and leaves for a final confrontation.  Not wanting to fully spoil the ending, suffice to say the killer has nothing to do with the supernatural which actually hurts the story. There have been many times that a supernatural aspect have been hinted out, so without it the story just looses much of its plausibility.  Could a regular human, crazy as they are, have killed everyone they killed, especially an entire police force?  Jeremy’s framing was quickly thrown out the window, and while his concern for his wife’s safety was mentioned frequently, nothing ever came from it.  The story did have some gory aspects to make it a fun horror story, but the story was just not strong enough to stand on its own.


deepgravity4

Title:  Deep Gravity #4

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, and Mike Richardson

Artist:  Fernando Baldo 

Colorist: Nick Filardi

Letterer:  Nate Piekos

Cover Artist: Gabriel Hardman and Matthew Wilson

Review:  ★★★★☆

The final issue of Deep Gravity goes all in and brings us one of the most gruesome issues in the series.  The survivors of Vanguard find themselves in a hopeless situation as the ship nears entering the atmosphere which will cause them to burn up and are still in danger as the dangerous alien creature stalks them.  They are given no chance to reflect on the situation as the alien breaks through the ceiling, devouring another of the crew.  Right when they think the end has come, they see the rescue ship coming towards them  With the sacrifice of another survivor, those that remain escape towards the ship dock, but find that the alien is not done with them yet.  The series originally was hard to pinpoint as to what it actually was, but it goes full sci-fi horror, bringing about the best issue of the series.  Throughout the entire issue you heart will be pounding along with the crew up until the last few pages.  Baldo crafts some fantastic, bloody scenes that will have your skin crawling by the end, while you flip back to see every gruesome detail.  Deep Gravity finds its footing and creates a lasting impression that can stand toe to toe with Alien.


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Title:  Groo vs. Conan #4

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Mark Evanier

Artist:  Sergio Aragonés and Thomas Yeates

Colorist:  Lovern Kindzierski

Letterer:  Richard Starkings and Comicraft

Cover Artist:  Sergio Aragonés and Thomas Yeates

Review:  ★★☆☆☆

The crossover series is finally over.  From the start it was just something that we were unable to enjoy.  After last issue made it sound as though Groo had defeated Conan, we find the source of the information was incorrect, just as when it was told that Conan had defeated Groo.  In reality the two remained in battle, Conan desperately trying to understand how he was fighting such an imbecile.  The King’s men eventually come to help Groo destroy the bakery, which cause them to stop fighting each other and battle the soldiers.  As this occurs, it cuts in and out between that fantasy world and the real world where the comic shop comes ever closer to being forced closed.  In both cases of the bakery and comic shop, those in power find out what is happening in their name and come to stop the closings.  Switching back and forth just created even more confusion in a book that has had a hard time staying focused from the beginning.  Groo and Conan are two very different and distinct characters.  There needs to be an unusual take to actually combine the two.  How it was done here was just not the way to do it as this ends as a forgettable crossover.


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Title:  Harbinger:  Omegas #3

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Joshua Dysart 

Artist:  Rafa Sandoval

Inker:  Jordi Tarragona

Colorist:  David Garcia Cruz

Letterer:  Dave Sharpe

Cover Artist:  Lewis Larosa, Brian Reber, Glenn Fabry, and Adam Brown

Review:  ★★★☆☆

While Harbinger:  Omegas has been an interesting three-part series, after finishing this last issue, you cannot help but wonder if it could have been told in just one issue.  Toyo continues to consolidate his power, this time having a one on one talk with the President of the United States.  There, he explains why he is taking control of Africa and that as long as everyone stays out of his way, there will be no further problems.  Peter on the other hand continues aimlessly wandering around in a drug fuelled bender while the world continues searching for his to help stop Toyo.  His subconscious finally reminds him that he knows Kris has been imprisoned in jail.  Going to the jail he frees her, but she refuses to leave and go with him after seeing his current state.  With him unable to help, Toyo returns to his new nation for what he believes to be the betterment of it.  This of course all leads into the upcoming ongoing series, Imperium.  Each issue has been really well done, but at the same time, Toyo took control in the first issue while Peter was a mess.  Now at the end, Toyo still has that control and Peter is still a mess.  As good as everything has been, it is a little disappointing that the story never really fully moved anywhere from where the first issue took it.  Even so, it at least has given us an idea that Imperium is going to be a series that you will not want to miss.


Rasputin01_CoverB

Title:  Rasputin #1

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Alex Grecian

Artist:  Riley Rossmo

Colorist:  Ivan Plascencia

Letterer:  Thomas Mauer

Cover Artist: Riley Rossmo, Ryan Stegman, and Nick Pitarra

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Rasputin stands to cover the life of Grigori Raputin, while taking some liberties with his story along the way.  It begins with Rasputin sitting around the dinner table, surrounded by his closest friends, whom he tells us are about to murder him with poisoned wine.  This makes him reflect back to his childhood, growing up with an extremely abusive father.  One day his father nearly kills his mother, if not for Rasputin’s amazing healing powers.  It is not soon after that his father is in need of these healing powers and Rasputin has a choice he must make.  Right out the door, the story is an interesting take on a historical figure, but with a twist.  We should know the how this ends already, but with a bit of mysticism already added in, can we trust for sure to know what will happen?  Griecian and Rossmo have crafted an unusual story that has us intrigued enough to come back to find out more.


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Title:  Southern Bastards #5

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artist:  Jason Latour

Inker:  Jordi Tarragona

Colorist:  David Garcia Cruz

Letterer:  Dave Sharpe

Cover Artist:  Lewis Larosa, Brian Reber, Glenn Fabry, and Adam Brown

Review:  ★★★★☆

We’ve known that Coach Boss was a pretty big bastard since the beginning, which with his latest murder, was all but assured.  Now though, there can be no mistake as we find how Boss deals with the very public murder.  He wears it like a badge of honor.  The bloody bat he used is like a great trophy, meant to be displayed.  He even goes to Earl Tubbs funeral just to make his point that he is untouchable.  Everything is bookend with him as a teenager, not giving up on his dream of being on the football team.  A fairly heinous crime is perpetrated against him, but that does not seem to be the reason he became who he is.  Even before that, we see that determination in his eyes, that nothing and especially no one will ever get in his way.  The issue is almost disturbing as it shows us the man who Boss is.  Yet the entire time you cannot look away.  It just helps us know that if and when Boss is taken down, it will be just so sweet to savour.  Hopefully it doesn’t happen to soon though.


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Title:  Sundowners #3

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Tim Seeley

Artist:  Jim Terry

Colorist:  Sean Dove

Letterer:  Crank!

Cover Artist: Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Sundowners started off as what appeared to be an interesting psychological mindbender.  As the series goes on, each issue seems to lose just a little more focus.  Citizen finds himself not knowing where to go, so he decides to try to go to his ex-wife.  Having had enough of his antics, she sends him away.  He decides to track down Arcanika.  She has actually found herself in a dangerous situation after her stalker ex boyfriend tracks her down, ready for a violent night.  Crowlita’s plunge into possible madness continues as she begins to see more unbelievable things and turns to pills to drown it out.  They all seem less and less like super heroes, even though something is definitely going on out of the normal as Karl Volf finds himself receiving a very generous offer from his abductors.  What is going actually going on?  We are no closer to finding out, and if anything left with more questions.  While we still find ourselves intrigued by the series, it needs to start to focus before we lose interest.


 

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