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Posts Tagged ‘Image Comics’

The Walking Dead #100

July 25, 2012 Leave a comment

July 13, 2012

Title: Something to Fear Part Four

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
Letters: Rus Wooton
Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Cover Art: Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
Variant Covers: Marc Silverstri & Sunny Gho; Frank Quitely; Todd McFarlane & John Rauch; Sean Phillips; Bryan Hitch & John Rauch; Ryan Ottley & John Rauch; Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn, Charlie Adlard
Editor: Sina Grace
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound

Let’s hear it for Robert Kirkman, shall we? Aside from a hit TV show and what will likely prove to be the highest-selling comic book of 2012, The Walking Dead is now a member of that ever-shrinking family of comic books that have lasted 100 issues or more… and this for a black-and-white character drama with no superheroes. That’s damn impressive.

Also impressive is the story we get here. Kirkman tells a great story, but he doesn’t go out of his way to make this some huge, mind-blowing, 100th-issue extravaganza. We get extra story pages here, but a lot of it is talking heads stuff. Rick and his friends are going out to take a stand against the mysterious Negal, leader of a group of survivors demanding unfair tributes from the group Rick’s people have fallen in with. Rick and company wind up in a face off with Negal, only to wind up captured, and forced into the most horrible situation a human could place them in.

There’s so much about this comic that’s impressive to me. The fact that the drama can come not from the zombies, but from the still-living, is really just the top of the iceberg to me. The fact that, after 100 issues, Kirkman can still legitimately amp up the drama regarding who will live and who will die… the fact that this issue ends with our heroes at a new low point, a point of rage and grief and pain that the reader will share… it’s remarkable that he can still do that after all this time.

Adlard pours it on this issue, turning out some of his best work. Pain, anguish… gore… he puts it all into these pages, turning out a stark look at a horrible world that’s nevertheless wonderfully entertaining to read.

This book is hard to read. But if it wasn’t, it would be worthwhile.

Rating: 9/10

PVP (2003 Series) #20

July 18, 2012 Leave a comment

December 2, 2005

Quick Rating: Very Good

More lunacy from the gang at PVP!

Writer: Scott Kurtz
Art: Scott Kurtz
Cover Art: Bryan Hitch
Publisher: Image Comics

This issue of PVP doesn’t have any big storyline, any overarching tale – it’s just a few short storylines and a lot of gags. And that’s just fine with me, because it’s still as funny as ever.

First up, Skull is told to take his cat, Scratch to the vet. The megolamaniacal kitty jumps to the conclusion that he’s being brought in to be neutered, and hilarity ensues. Seeking an ally, the cat decides to use the machine that made him a genius on Cole dog, Kirby, not realizing that multiplying the intellect of your average basset hound still doesn’t make him very smart.

Next up is a brief look on the tug-of-war between Cole and Max Powers over former PVP employees Robbie and Jase. The two slackers are dismayed with their beloved couch is taken away, not to mention their beloved beer. The results of this vignette have been used by some of those in the “Max is really a nice guy” camp to fuel their arguments. I, however, maintain that those who think Max is nice have never really worked for a Max Powers. I have done so. I have tasted evil. Evil is Max Powers.

Next up are a few gags about Jade’s sister, Miranda, who has been coming on to Brent ever since she showed up. He tries to pawn her off on Max – with intriguing results.

We round out the book with Cole and Brent engaging in, for lake of a better term, Mustache Wars, and then some “Comic Con True Stories” from Kurtz himself.

Like I said, this is kind of a scattershot issue – Kurtz breaks with his usual pattern of giving us two full storylines in the issue and instead just gives us a lot of shorts. But they’re good shorts, funny shorts, and those who read the comic strip online every day know that there’s some stuff in here that sets up future storylines – it’s actually some vital information. And it’s all quite funny.

Groundbreaking stuff? No. But still, it’s a dandy issue of PVP.

Rating: 8/10

The Imaginaries #3

June 27, 2012 Leave a comment

August 6, 2005

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Lost and Found Part Two

Is Superhero G a hero from the past?

Writers: Mike S. Miller & Ben Avery
Pencils: Greg Titus
Colors: Salvatore Aiala
Letters: Bill Tortolini
Editor: Mike S. Miller
Cover Art: Mike S. Miller
Publisher: Image Comics/Alias Enterprises

After something of a wait, the third issue of Mike S. Miller’s The Imaginaries hits. When last we left Superhero G, the newest citizen of the Imagined Nation, he was standing up for an abused faceless denizen of this strange world, coming under assault by a mob of the ruling caste – militant teddy bears. It’s kind of silly, I know, but in a world populated by discarded imaginary friends, the whole thing makes perfect sense.

As he switches back to his “secret identity” and makes his way among the other residents of the city, we learn that his appearance in the city may not be entirely unexpected. Some of the long-time residents of the Nation remember another superhero, another one clad in red, white and blue, another one who bore a “G” on his chest. Could Superhero G really be the second coming of a legend?

I was a little surprised to see Millar introduce the messiah aspect of the story – it’s not somewhere I really expected this title to go, but so far it seems to be working quite well. I doubt that storyline will be resolved one way or another before the end of this initial miniseries, but we all know there will be more stories from Alias in the coming months. Ultimately there’s only two possible resolutions – either he is the “chosen one” or he isn’t – but either of those can be a good story if played properly.

The story in this issue is just as sharp as the last two, but the artwork isn’t. It looks a bit too compressed at points, like the panels are being smooshed. At other points, it’s the opposite problem – panels that look stretched out. The design and look of the city and characters is still inventive as ever, it’s just the execution that seems off. There’s no inker credited this issue and I wonder if that might be part of the problem – Miller may have needed somebody to go over this with a talented pen and give it more depth.

I’m quite enjoying this series – Miller is one of the most creative people in comics today and I love all of the different corners of Alias Enterprises. This issue is no different, it’s just a little weak in the art department.

Rating: 7/10

Lullaby: Wisdom Seeker #4

June 6, 2012 Leave a comment

July 23, 2005

Quick Rating: Great

The march to Oz continues!

Writers: Mike S. Miller & Ben Avery
Art: Hector Sevilla
Colors: Ulises Arreola & Djoko Santiko
Letters: Bill Tortolini
Editor: Mike S. Miller
Cover Art: Hector Sevilla
Publisher: Image Comics/Alias Enterprises

The inaugural miniseries of Hector Sevilla’s Lullaby draws to a close this issue, and I must say, it’s a highly satisfying end to the first story arc that leaves you thirsty for the new series, coming this fall from Alias.

As Alice, Red Riding Hood, the Cheshire Cat and the Pied Piper continue their march towards Oz, they finally meet up with Jim Hawkins, trying desperately to free Pinocchio from the bonds of the World Tree. Merged with the giant tree, Pinocchio finds himself forced to face off against a giant robotic woodsman that’s destroying the forest.

A giant woodsman? That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? As someone says in this issue, all things are pointing back to Oz, which may be one of the reasons I love this series so much. I’ve always been a fan of all things Oz, and it seems that this is the direction all of these disparate fantasy stars are going in. That’s what I enjoy, the patchwork, the thrill of seeing these characters come together. I’ve often compared this comic to Bill Willingham’s Fables – that’s because both titles have the same basic appeal, that of seeing so many different stories come together.

Sevilla’s artwork is really good here. I know some people just don’t like the manga influence, and that’s really their loss, because if you can get past that you see some really amazing things. Come on, a fifty-foot Pinocchio slugging it out with a robot lumberjack? How can you not see the appeal in that?

This issue has the most action we’ve seen yet, and it’s all well done. We get to see just how much Jim’s shark-sword is capable of, we get to see how the others will do in combat, and we get the feeling that there’s still a lot more to come.

This issue does exactly what you want in the last issue of a story arc – it gives us a satisfying conclusion for the introduction, but it leaves us wanting more, and that’s going to bring us back when the series goes ongoing in September.

Rating: 9/10

Madman Atomic Comics #7

April 11, 2012 Leave a comment

March 15, 2008

Madman Atomic Comics #7 (Image Comics)
By Michael Allred & Laura Allred

Following up on last issues truly astonishing death of Joe, Mike Allred takes a shot at the great creative challenge of a silent issue. As Frank Einstein takes a voyage through space, his ship runs aground on a distant world. As he seeks fuel or alternative transportation, he finds himself on an even more bizarre journey of the mind. While I always admire the skill necessary for a silent issue, I’m not really sure how well it works here. Madman is such a bizarre, cerebral property already, that I’m not really sure I understand what Allred is saying with the conclusion of this issue. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on with It Girl, how it relates to what has happened before, or how everything pieces together. I can really only hope, at this point, that next issue will start to clarify things once we get the dialogue back.

Rating: 7/10

The Manhattan Projects #1

March 28, 2012 Leave a comment

March 18, 2012

Title: Infinite Oppenheimers

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art:
Nick Pitarra
Letters:
Rus Wooton
Colors:
Cris Peter
Publisher:
Image Comics

The Manhattan Project: the US think tank that helped develop the atomic bomb and win World War II. But what if there were more to it than that? What if the Project was just a cover for something even bigger – a chance for the greatest minds in the world to carry out virtually any sort of experiment the mind can conceive? And what if, like the project itself, not all of the minds involved were exactly what they appeared?

The Manhattan Projects, the new project by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, starts out with an intriguing premise and then goes to a very different place. As a sort of alternate history project it starts with Oppenheimer – in real life one of the minds behind the Manhattan Project – and takes him to some very unexpected places. Well… unexpected before you start reading the book, anyway. I heard a lot about this issue’s big twist ending, and to be honest, it was a twist I suspected pretty early on.

That’s not to say it isn’t a really great issue, though. If it was nothing but the twist, there’d be no real reason to come back for issue two. The very concept is clever, original, and plump with potential to take the characters and their world into weird, unexplored, totally unique circumstances. That’s what has made Jonathan Hickman’s work on Fantastic Four so great, and it’s wonderful to see him bringing a similar sensibility to these other characters, who feel totally new despite a bit of familiarity that comes when you attempt any sort of alternate history project.

Nick Pitarra, Hickman’s partner on the recent The Red Wing miniseries, returns with this book as well. There’s only one real scene of sci-fi weirdness for him to illustrate, and he does it well, crafting robotic creatures that look time period appropriate and excitingly bizarre at the same time. Hopefully future installments will give him even more of a chance to branch out and cut loose.

It’s a promising beginning, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future.

Rating: 9/10

No Place Like Home #1

March 7, 2012 Leave a comment

March 4, 2012

Title: Home Again Part One

Writer: Angelo Tirotto
Art:
Richard Jordan
Letters:
Angelo Tirotto
Colors:
Paul Little
Cover Art:
Richard Jordan, Ian Churchill (Variant)
Publisher:
Image Comics

A killer tornado strikes a small Kansas town, summoning home a young woman whose parents died in the disaster. Dee Dee Hamilton has been in Los Angeles for five years, but Emeraldsville is the same, dull like town she left… until a lunatic disrupts her parents’ funeral. Then, of course, there are the murders…

Fan as I am of all things related to L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, I always like to give a peek at unique interpretations of the Oz mythos. By the end of this issue, though, I’m not really getting a feel for what kind of comic this is supposed to be. The Oz connections are tenuous, to the point where if I hadn’t been promised there was a connection in the solicits for the series I would start to doubt they were even intentional, or at least any more than a quick homage. Is this supposed to be a horror story? A murder mystery? A small town soap opera? Some combination of the above? I’m interested in the book, but I think this first issue needed something a little stronger to hook us. By way of comparison, think of the first episode of Lost. It could have simply been a drama about plane crash survivors, but you at least had that quick appearance by the Smoke Monster to let you know something weird was going on. The closest thing to that in this issue is some animal behavior which, while unusual, isn’t even unheard of in the real world.

Helping out the story is some very nice work by Richard Jordan. His cover is really striking and evocative – perhaps a little on the cheesecake side, but the “surrender” tattoo across Dee Dee’s chest and the crow feathers in the background really help to establish the tone of the book. His interior work, as is usually the case, isn’t quite as polished as the cover, but it’s still really well-done, marvelous at setting the tone and effective at giving this book a certain feel.

I’m going to keep reading a few more issues before I decide if I’m sticking with this series or not. It has potential, but it’s important I get a feel for where this is going before the first story arc ends.

Rating: 7/10