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.
Invincible Returns #1 (Image Comics)
By Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker & David Finch
With Invincible getting ready to head into space to fight the Viltrumite War, Kirkman gives us this one-shot to get all the pieces in place. The book does an excellent job of recapping the series to date, advancing all the main characters, and giving us a big revelation about Atom Eve. Very often, a book that’s intended as a good “jumping-on point” is just recap or just setting the stage without giving you anything for the devoted reader that’s been with the title for years. This is one of the exceptions, this is a book that genuinely will work for the reader, no matter if it’s the first issue of Invincible you’ve ever read or the seventy-first. Also, as you may have gauged from the cover, this issue features the return of Invincible’s original costume. I couldn’t be happier about that. The blue-and-blacks weren’t bad, but I always felt like it was missing something. That splash of yellow really makes the costume stand out, makes it look like a classic uniform. If you’ve never read Invincible before and you’ve always wondered what the fuss was about, this is the issue to get.
Quick Rating: Great
The PVP crew heads to the San Diego Comicon!
Writer: Scott Kurtz
Art: Scott Kurtz
Cover Art: Ryan Ottley
Publisher: Image Comics
What’s more dangerous than a bunch of geeks at a video game magazine? A bunch of video game magazine geeks at the San Diego Comicon. This issue Scott Kurtz packs up his usual gang of loons and sends them to one of the world’s biggest comic conventions. The results are… well… frighteningly true to life.
Kurtz usually works in a few stories per issue, and in fact, before the Comicon strips he does have two short sequences — one with Francis getting a job as live action Spam and one with Cole and Brent teaching him how to drive. They’re both among the funniest of the really short sequences this strip has produced.
Even once he gets the convention storyline rolling, though, Kurtz still has plenty of different tales to tell. Skull needs to raise funds to make more copies of his alternative comic, which turns into a hysterical parody of Fantagraphics’s plea to comic stores and readers to buy their books when it looked like the company may face bankruptcy. (This is a sequel of sorts to issue 6’s “Graphamaximo” story, which was itself a parody of the Fantagraphics mindset).
Kurtz also works in his buddy Robert Kirkman and his partner Ryan Ottley, creators of the Invincible comic book (hence the cover). When Cole’s arch-nemesis Max Power shows up, these two stories collide in a classic comedic misunderstanding.
This issue of PVP may be a little more accessible to the hardcore comic fans than the casual reader, but that’s not a problem once in a while. It’s still a hysterical comic that even a non-Invincible reader like myself can enjoy. (Yes I know, it’s the best superhero comic in the universe. Everyone keeps telling me that. I promise, I’m looking for the first trade paperback.)
Quick Rating: Good
Chucky’s back – and he’s after an old friend…
Writer: Brian Pulido
Art: Josh Medors
Colors: Wes Dzioba
Letters: Brian J. Crowley
Editor: Mike O’Sullivan
Cover Art: Ryan Ottley
Publisher: Devil’s Due Comics
It’s not that long ago (last summer, in fact) that Brian Pulido was writing the New Line Cinema horror comics for Avatar. Those books left me kind of disappointed – it seemed that he was just throwing the slasher movie stars at random groups of victims without really strong plots. For the first few pages of this issue, I was afraid that Chucky would be the same, but I was happily proven wrong.
After attacking (yes) a random group of victims, the murderous Charles Lee Ray – still in the plastic Good Guy doll body he uses as Chucky – finds out that one of his most hated adversaries is about to retire. Seeing an opportunity, Chucky sets out for revenge. Pulido has picked up on a plot thread left dangling from one of the movies, and he’s constructed a pretty strong story to go along with it. Sure, there’s plenty of gratuitous gore and swearing (although Devil’s Due pulls back on the sex as compared to Avatar), but at the heart Pulido has really succeeded in crafting a good story that makes sense in the context of the characters. He even recognizes the time that’s passed since the movies came out, aging the characters appropriately. This is definitely a major step up since his work on the New Line books.
Josh Medors’s artwork is pretty solid too. He’s impressive with the gore, and although he doesn’t go overboard, he manages some sexy women as well. The only real beef I have is a character (not Chucky) who looks like he has a plastic helmet instead of hair – it’s just a pet peeve of mine.
I liked this book, and I think fans of the Child’s Play series (or horror comics in general) will be perfectly satisfied with this miniseries.