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Archive for the ‘Devil’s Due Publishing’ Category

Breakdown #3

June 22, 2012 Leave a comment

January 21, 2005

Quick Rating: Very Good

His father freed, Jeff Carey finds out one of the family’s secrets.

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Pencils: Dave Ross
Colors: Jeremy Roberts with Sunder Raj & Aadi Salaman
Letters: Robin Spehar
Editor: Mark Powers
Cover Art: Dave Ross & Jeremy Roberts
Publisher: Devil’s Due/Aftermath

Last issue Jeff Carey, once the superhero named Paragon, broke his father Brice out of prison to help him hunt down the people who murdered his wife and son. This issue, the two of them and their ally from the very company responsible for the turn their lives have taken set out for even more help. Both Jeff and Brice want vengeance. But Jeff doesn’t know all of his father’s secrets, or what they’re going to do to his life.

In the first two issues, I was a little afraid that this comic was going to meander, become just a knock-off of the Punisher plus superpowers. This issue went a long way towards alleviating my fears. There’s a lot more to the story than was really evident at the beginning. Brice’s life, frozen in place twenty years ago, was full of secrets, deceptions, twists and turns, and something tells me the two revelations we get in this issue aren’t the only ones we have waiting for us.

Chuck Dixon has been a favorite writer of mine for years, and he continues to prove himself with this series. He started out with a few characters who could easily have lapsed into stereotype, and has managed to make them a lot more realistic, a lot more fully-realized. He’s done fine work here.

Also deserving of praise is the art team of Dave Ross and Jeremy Roberts. Using the pencil-to-color process that seems to be so popular these days, they’ve managed to create a look for this series that hovers somewhere between the realistic and the fantastic. Some pages are as dark and gritty as anything I’ve ever seen, then other pages, like the one that shows the treatment that gave Brice his powers, are truly fantastic and would fit easily in a hard sci-fi comic. It’s a strange look, and one that works perfectly for this title.

This book clearly knew where it was going from the very first issue. It’s with this issue that we start to see where it’s going as well, and I for one am anxious to find out where it goes next.

Rating: 8/10

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G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (2001 Series) #38

June 15, 2012 Leave a comment

December 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Great
Title: Union of the Snake Part Three

G.I. Joe and Cobra both face schisms as they teeter towards the brink of collapse.

Writer: Brandon Jerwa
Pencils: Emiliano Santalucia
Colors: Brett R. Smith
Letters: Robin Spehar
Editor: Mark Powers
Cover Art: Tim Seeley & Andrew Pepoy
Publisher: Devil’s Due

Last issue Duke and Snake-Eyes got sprung from prison by the unlikely duo of Scarlett and Storm Shadow. This issue, as they make their escape, Zartan and the Dreadnoks plan their own jailbreak – to free the imprisoned Cobra Commander!

Devil’s Due promises that next year will feature the biggest storyline in G.I. Joe history, and Brandon Jerwa is working overtime to make that happen. The Joe team has been pruned down to just 12 members, under the command of General Rey, but the members left out (or under fire) aren’t going to go down without a fight. Meanwhile, Destro has seized command of Cobra, but Zartan’s faction has other ideas.

We get a few nice revelations in this issue, about who’s really been in Joe custody all this time, the truth about Zartan’s mysterious condition, and a powerful scene between Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, brothers too long at odds. There’s also a surprisingly powerful scene between Flint and Lady Jaye, the married couple caught up in the midst of this torment.

Emiliano Santalucia handles the pencils on this issue, stepping in for regular artist Tim Seeley, and the transition is almost seamless. The artwork looks a little more detailed, a little polished than usual, but the style is nearly exactly the same. It’s a great-looking comic book – as good as Seeley is, Santalucia would be a perfect artist on this book full-time if it came to it.

The Joes were my favorite toys as a kid, and even at the ripe old age of 27 I’m a huge fan, and this may be the best they’ve ever been. I can’t wait to see what’s coming up in 2005.

Rating: 9/10

Hack/Slash (2007 Series) #12

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

June 10, 2008

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Bumped Part One

Cassie faces the wood-demons of Hitchfield!

Writers: Mark Kidwell & Tim Seeley
Art: Tim Seeley & Emily Stone
Colors: Milen Parvanov & Courtney Via
Letters: Brian J. Crowley
Editor: Scott Licina & Mike O’Sullivan
Cover Art: Tim Seeley
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing

This two-part story was originally supposed to be a standalone miniseries crossing over with the Fangoria comic Bump, but when Fangoria went belly-up, they added a few pages to keep the ongoing subplots going and shifted the story to the main Hack/Slash title. I’ve never read Bump, but that didn’t really hurt the book at all – it reads like any other slasher that Cassie and Vlad would have to deal with.

Cassie and Vlad roll into the town of Hitchfield, where a group of 32 college students were brutally murdered at an environmental protest. As they investigate the murders, a snoopy reporter winds up hooking up with our favorite duo, and the three of them have to fight for their lives when a league of horrifying woodcarved monsters attacks them.

This reads just fine as an issue of Hack/Slash regardless of the crossover trappings. Bump creator Mark Kidwell, who wrote most of the issue, handles Cassie and Vlad’s voices just as well as the series creator Tim Seeley, who provides most of the artwork. The gore this issue may be even harsher than a usual issue, with things like a face being bitten off to provide plenty of blood for those of you here for that sort of thing.

Rating: 8/10

Halloween: Nightdance #3

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

April 11, 2008

Halloween: Nightdance #3 (Devil’s Due Productions)
By Stefan Hutchinson & Tim Seeley

This miniseries is really proving itself worthy of the Halloween name. This issue, Lisa lets us in on her tragic history, specifically with the child she used to babysit. Sean, meanwhile, finally gets wise to Nikki’s feelings for him, but it may be too little, too late, as our cast of teens wind up on the business end of Michael Myers’ knife. Hutchinson really amps up the action and the terror this issue, crafting a comic that’s genuinely frightening. There aren’t a lot of slasher comics that are really successful in translating the feel of the movie onto the page — the best many of them achieve is campy fondness — but this works. He even works in the requisite amount of cheesecake, which Tim Seeley does a great job of illustrating. This book gives you everything you could want in a Halloween story.
Rating: 8/10

Spooks: Omega Team #0

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

May 30, 2008

Spooks: Omega Team #0 (Devil’s Due Publishing)
By Ryan Schifrin, Larry Hama, Adam Archer, Jim Daly & Grant Goleash

The solid Spooks mini-series spins off a new ongoing, begining with this 99-cent zero issue. If you missed the mini, this is still a pretty good place to jump on board. Spooks is the nickname for the Department of Supernatural Defense, and Omega Team is the “baddest of the bad” that make up that department. This issue we travel with Omega Team into the depths of the Amazon rain forest, where they take on a few zombies just as the warm-up for a much bigger nasty in the depths of a pyramid. I don’t know know if it’s entirely fair to compare this to Hama‘s most famous creation, the classic G.I. Joe team, but if the Joes went after monsters and ghoulies instead of Cobra, the result is pretty much Spooks. That isn’t a criticism, mind you, it actually makes for a very entertaining comic book. It’s a neat combination that works very well, and the monsters we meet in this issue could most certainly prove to be really exciting down the line. For 99 cents, it’s well worth picking up this zero issue to see if this is a comic for you — especially if you’re an old-school G.I. Joe fan like me.
Rating: 8/10

Hack/Slash (2007 Series) #11

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

May 30, 2008

Quick Rating: Great
Title: The Coldest Dish

Cassies’ newest target reminds her too much of herself.

Writer: Tim Seeley
Art: Emily Stone
Colors: Courtney Via
Letters: Brian J. Crowley
Editor: Mike O’Sullivan
Cover Art: Tim Seeley & Jeremy Roberts (Cover A); Jamie McKelvie (Cover B)
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing

For too long now, Cassie Hack’s approach to slasher killers has been to stab first, ask questions later. Rumors of a new killer – a man with a gaping hole instead of an eye – draw her to Portland. When she encounters the suspected slasher, however, she finds someone that seems disturbingly familiar.

Most slasher movies are pretty simple – fight, fight, stab, blood, boobs, dead teenagers, roll credits. There is rarely much character development, and almost never any real depth to the story. Hack/Slash manages to take the concept of the slasher and use it in really unique ways. Cassie’s moral dilemma here is something you’d never see in a “typical” slasher flick, where the bad guy is your average killing machine with a blade and no personality.

The supporting cast gets to have a little fun this issue too. One of the Hellhounds sent to track Cassie has gone astray, and Chris is sent to investigate. This is a really funny little subplot, one that shows us how Earth may be Hell for a denizen of the depths.

There’s the usual great artwork by Emily Stone and Courtney Via. The Hellhound alone is a great visual, but the baddie of the day has a unique look all his own, something a lot creeper than most of the usual bad guys. As always, this was a really solid issue.

Rating: 9/10

Halloween: Nightdance #2

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

March 4, 2008

Quick Rating: Very Good

Michael Myers’ reign of terror spreads!

Writer: Stefan Hutchinson
Art: Tim Seeley
Colors: Elizabeth John
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Stephen Christy
Publisher: Devil’s Due Productions

The first issue of this new Halloween miniseries was pretty good. This issue really amps up the terror. Most slasher comics play up the campier aspects of the genre, but this book is all-out horror, and it does it beautifully.

Again, this is a title that seems to weave several stories – a babysitter receiving frightening drawings from one of her former charges, a man trying to make sense of his wife’s tragedy, a couple investigating a house in the middle of nowhere. There doesn’t seem to be much connectivity between these stories, except for the fact that characters in each of them are haunted by the specter of Michael Myers.

And that specter is really omnipresent here. The Shape pops up in most unexpected places, and as is the case in truly great horror, you can never quite be sure if he’s really there or if the character is seeing things. Tim Seeley deserves just as much credit for that as writer Stefan Hutchinson – there’s a particularly chilling panel here where the Shape is formed by naked tree branches that just sent shivers up my spine.

Hutchinson plays on a lot of natural and common fears here, and the combination of smart writing and startling artwork makes for a powerful, evocative horror story. Definitely recommended.

Rating: 8/10