One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews 10/01/14

Best of the Week

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Title:  Burn the Orphanage:  Reign of Terror #5

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Daniel Freedman

Artist:  Sina Grace

Review:  ★★★★★

Admittedly, I am coming into Burn the Orphanage very late in the game as this was my first issue.  With that said, just this one issue has compelled me to go back and pick up the first volume and the rest of this second volume.  It blew me away.  I could hear the 80’s music in the background as I read this and felt like I was reading a top notch story in the world of Final Fight or Double Dragon.  If you either of those video game series were part of your childhood, this is going to knock your socks off.  Rock and his friends find themselves in the middle of their final battle with the evil MannCorp.  Everyone gets into the fight and it is spectacular.  Rock’s final battle with Mann seemed a little anticlimactic considering the length and intensity of the other fights in the issue, but with a finishing move like that, you can’t really complain to much.  Not everyone makes it out alive or un-scarred in the end.  It is one hell of a ride that you don’t want to miss!

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Title:  Dream Thief:  Escape #4

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:   Jai Nitz

Artist:  Greg Smallwood

Review:  ★★★★★

The subtitle of this latest Dream Thief chapter ultimately serves two purposes.  First, of course John Lincoln has had to help his father, in the body of another dream thief, escape from jail to avenge his death.  The next point though, is that this serves as a little bit of a reset from John as he escapes his life.  Not wanting to endanger his friend or sister, John ties the two together as he and his father finally track down Brown-Eagle.  The climax is short and sweet, leaving John on his own so no one else can get hurt.  Dream Thief is always fantastic and this finale is no exception.  John’s sister finally has the chance to tell their father what she thinks of him, even though she is in the dark about the dream thieves, not realizing her father is the one she is talking to.  It leads for some tense emotional pages which then get contrasted with John and their father getting to bond together since he knows all two well the curse being a dream thief can be.  The issue was solid and there was nothing more we could have wanted from it, except for the hope that another volume will not be to far off.


The Weekly Rundown

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Title:  Alex + Ada #9

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:   Jonathan Luna

Artist:  Sarah Vaughn

Review:  ★★★★☆

Previously Ada had decided to leave Alex as he could not come to terms with their relationship.  With the help of her friends, she sets out to begin a new life for herself, but she quickly finds out the world is not a nice place for androids as her plans quickly crumble.  Alex finds himself unsure of what to do or how to feel about everything still.  While trying to come to terms with it, he finds himself surrounded by the world’s prejudice against androids.  The story does as always does a fantastic job of mixing in the romantic emotional complexities of the characters with the inequality and prejudice of the real world.  Everything gets comes together perfectly with Luna’s stunning as usual art.  The ending will surely hook you for next month with a couple of last minute surprises, just when we think the two will come back together.

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Title:  Angel & Faith Season 10 #7

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Victor Gischler

Artist:  Will Conrad

Review:  ★★★★☆

Angel has one of his old “friends” back in town, with Amy Madison trying to convince him to help her bring back her deceased boyfriend, Warren.  For now she is playing nice about it, but it most likely is only a matter of time until she starts trouble.  The first step towards that had her eyeing bringing Willow into the fold.  As for Faith, her hunt for Riley has left her in charge after her team leader was killed in the last issue.  Good for the group Faith knows how to handle a vampire problem as she inches closer to what they’re looking for.  The issue was fun, especially on Faith’s side of things.  It is nice to see her take a leadership role and actually perform admirably at it.  Angel got the slower end of the stick this time, but if Amy is looking to contact Willow for her resurrection, things will be getting interesting quick.

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Title:  Armor Hunters:  Aftermath #1

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Robert Venditti

Artist:  CAFU

Review:  ★★★★☆

The amazing event that was Armor Hunters has come to an end, but that leaves us with a few questions.  There were a few loose ends at the end of the series and it also begs the question as to what is next in the Valiant universe.  Armor Hunters:  Aftermath is really a Unity book, showing the shape the team is going to take after these devastating events.  The team remains intact as it was before the incident, but it has two new additions coming on board.  We are happy to see the Armor Hunters sentient ship/weapon, Gin-Gr will be sticking around as a new teammate/possible transport.  While we don’t see her, it gets hinted that Faith from Harbinger is being brought into the fold very soon.  The fate of two of the last Armor Hunters are revealed, which we imagine means future rogues for Unity to face at some point.  As for the shape of the world after such as traumatic event, Unity is put front in center for the cameras to ensure the world they are its protectors.  While is was not as big and flashy as the main series it follows, it was still cleared some things up and had a few surprises thrown in that we honestly didn’t expect.  The event may have come to an end last month, but this issue is still crucial for you to see the wrap-up.

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Title:  Bloodshot #24

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  B. Clay Moore

Artist:  Will Rosado

Review:  ★★★★☆

Bloodshot as a character is at a crossroads as where to go next.  He is out from the thumb of Hard C.O.R.P.S.  He finished helping contain the Armor Hunters and does not appear to be sticking around with Unity.  Now it is time for him to jump back into his own series.  Instead of showing us where he goes next, we get to see a mission he was assigned to by his creators, Project Rising Spirit many years ago which serves to tie into real world events today.  Sleeper agents are awoken throughout Ukraine and try to take back power for the Communist party.  Bloodshot is sent in to access the situation and neutralize it.  What he finds is that the sleeper agents are part of a scientific experiment completed before the end of the Cold War.  What he doesn’t know is that he creators are involved deeper in the situation then he believes, something which also bleeds into the real world events in Crimea today.  Trying to add this tie-in to the real world is a nice hook, but felt a little off in this universe.  It did create a situation for us to see Bloodshot doing what he does best which is kill many people to complete his mission.  Not only is it action packed, but the events also cause him to reflect on himself and his actions in a way we don’t typically have time to see.

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Title:  Concrete Park:  R-E-S-P-E-C-T #2

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

Artist:  Tony Puryear

Review:  ★★★☆☆

This week found a lot going on in Concrete Park.  Isaac has found himself in the company of Silas, who wants him as extra muscle.  Luca is able to find sanctuary from friends after having the Potato King trying to kill her.  If this isn’t enough, Yu rallies together her people to start a war with Silas, meaning Isaac finds himself in the middle of things once more.  There is just a little to much going on for the stories own good.  Just like the characters, we get no breather from any of the events as it is out of the frying pan, into the fire.  Not only that, but there are just to many characters running around for us to get a proper handle on whats going on.  On the other side, Puryear’s art is gorgeous enough to get you engaged in the story, hiccups and all.  Hopefully things can take a breather next issue so we can have a chance to play catch up with everything that is going on.

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Title:  Cutter #1

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:   Robert Napton and Seamus Kevin Fahey

Artist:  Christian Dibari

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Image’s new four issue, weekly horror series for October has launched and it is a mixed bag.  Fahey has written for some of my favorite shows including Battlestar Galactica and The Following, so I had fairly high hopes for what he would bring comic stands.  Unfortunately it does not quite live up to that expectation, but it doesn’t fall completely flat either.  Jeremy finds that two of his high school friends have recently been brutally murdered by someone the media is labeling “the Cutter,” because of the numerous cuts on the victims.  He believes that the killer is someone he and his group bullied during high school, Emily;  the only thing is that she supposedly died years ago.  Now while the cops try to catch the murderer, Jeremy tries to warn the others from his group.  One problem that pops up immediately is that the two victims have already been killed, so we really get thrown right in the middle of the things.  Next problem is that Jeremy immediately jumps to the conclusion that Emily is behind the murders.  If he has a reason to believe someone thought dead is alive and killing her former bullies, we are given no indication as to why.  Finally, for a horror series, it is surprising how light on violence it is.  We see two deaths in the issue and the art opts to cut away from the grisly acts, leaving us with just shadows and hints.  With this all against it, it actually remains fun, but it just has several missed opportunities to really wow us.

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Title:  The Fade Out #2

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Ed Brubaker

Artist:  Sean Philips

Review:  ★★★★☆

Further proof that Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips cannot make anything less than an exceptional book.  With the death in the first issue of up and coming starlet Valeria Sommers, not everyone is so convinced that she committed suicide.  With her death, the show still must go on, the studio needs Charlie to do massive rewrites to the script on a tight deadline.  Problem is that we come to find Charlie hasn’t written anything himself since the war, instead having his friend and partner Gil write everything and then submitting it under his name.  Gil has become a drunken wreck with the news of Valeria’s death and is in no shape to keep writing.  It is simply amazing how many layers Brubaker can pack into one issue while never making you feel the book is becoming unfocused.  The cast of characters keep becoming more well defined with little details he packs into their back story, especially as we learn much more and Charlie and Gill.  They slowly become real, living, breathing characters in front of us.  Brubaker and Philips have noir story telling perfected and are crafting a new masterpiece in front of us.  Make sure you pick this up before it flies of shelves.

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Title:  God Hates Astronauts #2

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Ryan Browne

Artist:  Ryan Browne

Review:  ★★★★☆

God Hates Astronauts is the most irreverent fun you will find this week in any form of media.  You want killer crabs from outerspace?  You got it.  You want to know why those killer crabs are so angry?  You’ll find that here too.  How about the Anti-Mugger finding his passion in stopping muggings again by knocking a mugger’s head literally off?  Yep.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg too!  You surely will not want to miss the “advertisement” for Minternets either, which seems like a even more bizarre version of the parody G.I. Joe PSA’s.  Pick this up and get ready for a face palm here and there (in the best way you could face palm) with your sides hurting from laughter.

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Title:  Hack/Slash:  Son of Samhain #4

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley

Artist:  Emilio Laiso

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Hack, October, and Delroy begin to prepare for what they believe to be the final battle with Morinto and his forces.  Only thing is that they have no idea just how large the army they are facing is.  When the showdown occurs, they are overrun which results in not everyone making it out alive.  The survivors are forced to flee to fight again another day.  There is plenty of monster blood shed galore inside.  It lacks a little personality and gets a bit mindless, but an enjoyable romp for what it is.  Laiso’s art definitely saves the day though, as he creates some beautifully graphic battle scenes.

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Title:  Li’L Depressed Boy:  Supposed To Be There Too #1

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  S. Steven Struble

Artist:  Sina Grace

Review:  ★★★★☆

Li’L Depressed Boy has taken a long break from comics, having last been with us in May of last year.  The time away has not diminished our fondness of the character.  He has a new girlfriend and his life seems to be good.  Deciding to go out on a date to see his friend Drew perform his act on stage, the two arrive at the club only to run into Spike and stir up his troubled emotions regarding her.  The title has always been unique and charming for it.  The character himself is an oddity, but finds him facing regular situations that we all could potentially found ourselves in.  Its this realism with such a surreal character that makes it so endearing.

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Title:  Madame Frankenstein #6

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Jamie S. Rich 

Artist:  Megan Levans

Review:  ★★★★☆

Madame Frakenstein is turning into quite a twist on the classic tale.  Vincent is ready to cast aside his latest creation so locks he in a room with a lit candle to scare her into submission.  Leaving her, he goes off to confront his brother for meddling in his lab.  The two end in a violent confrontation, which is only the first in the issue.  Victor’s latest girlfriend decides to go see his creation and things end very badly for her.  Apparently Vincent’s creation learned to overcome her fear of fire.  Everything has begun to fall apart and its a delight to watch.  The series has been good so far, but this week brings us the best yet.

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Title:  Masterplasty (One-Shot)

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  James Harvey

Artist:  James Harvey

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Masterplasty was originally a web comic that Image has not put together in a one-shot.  The issue is a bizarre tale of one man trying to use extreme plastic surgery to change his life.  He undergoes numerous procedures to change his appearance and finally looks like he always wanted.  He gets a likewise plastic girlfriend until money issues arise and things begin falling apart around him.  It’s a strange tale that adheres to the age old adage that beauty is on the inside.  The art is strange and beautiful as the story, full of some bright, vivid colors.

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Title:  Nailbiter #6

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Joshua Willamson

Artist:  Mike Henderson

Review:  ★★★☆☆

The opening arc of Nailbiter was fairly intense so the creators now bring us more of a character piece.  Alice is enjoying a cup of coffee at the local diner when a pregnant girl comes in looking for the burned down Murder Store.  The woman tells Alice she came to Buckaroo to give birth to her baby, hoping that it will become a serial killer.  If her child is a serial killer, it will de facto make her famous for it.  When Alice tries to take her to a hospital once contractions start, the girl runs away leaving Sheriff Crane and Alice to find her.  During their search we get a little deeper into their conflict and why Crane is so hard on her.  While it might not be as grand as the initial arc, it was a nice personal piece before things get crazy once again.

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Title:  Usagi Yojimbo:  Senso #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Stan Sakai

Artist:  Stan Sakai

Review:  ★★☆☆☆

Going into Usagi’s latest adventure, your enjoyment is going to depend on whether you can get over the main villain of the story.  As presented at the end of the first issue, aliens have begun an invasion of the world, leaving our cast of characters at a severe disadvantage technologically.  If you can accept an alien invasion is this series, then you’ll probably enjoy the story much more.  As for myself, I do not think aliens fit in this world very well, so there is no getting around that bias.  Lord Noriyuki begins a counterattack against the aliens as they begin to fear this is just a scouting party for a larger invasion force.  The battle goes as well as it can, but many characters do not survive this assault.  Usagi and Tomoe receive much less attention this week as they ride ahead trying to warn the nearby towns of the attack.  They cannot stay ahead of it and run into trouble themselves.  Jotaro, Usagi’s son, gets to really shine this issue has he helps in the charge against the aliens, yet I would have preferred to see more of the title character who has been relegated to the side for a large chunk of this story so far.  More of our lead character could inject a little extra life into a story that has simply jumped the shark.

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