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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

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Image United #2

May 15, 2011 Leave a comment

December 25, 2009

Image United #2 (Image Comics)
By Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri & Jim Valentino

After a lackluster first issue, I was willing to give this event series one more shot before calling it quits, and I think this is pretty much going to do it. We start things off with Jim Downing, the new Spawn, facing Al Simmons, the original Spawn. Al, apparently mad with power, has decided that he’s sick of being a pawn in the game between Heaven and Hell, and he’s going to just take control of the world himself. So far, so good, but after this we get drawn into another sequence of seemingly random attacks, with villains and other heroes from the six participating creators’ personal stables brought in to fill things out, all while Youngblood sits around and debates whether they should trust Fortress. It doesn’t really amount to much, and the conflicting art styles are far more noticable this month than they were before. Image has announced a spin-off one-shot that’s going to focus on Image heroes outside of the founders’ stable (Invincible, for example), and since I’m far more interested in those characters than the ones we see here, I may pick that up. But as far as the main series goes, I don’t know if I’ll have it in me to bother with issue three.
Rating: 4/10

Image United #1

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

November 28, 2009

Image United #1 (Image Comics)
By Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri & Jim Valentino

The long-awaited collaboration between the remaining six Image founders (or even all seven, if you got the Jim Lee variant cover) finally kicks off. The strange new hero, Fortress, is having visions of himself standing side-by-side with Youngblood, Spawn, Shadowhawk, Witchblade, Cyberforce, and the Savage Dragon, facing some terrible threat. As he tries to figure out what’s happening to him, Youngblood and the Dragon team up to face Spawn’s old sparring partner, Overt-Kill, on the streets of Chicago. To be honest, I wouldn’t have even considered getting this book if it weren’t scripted by Robert Kirkman, producer of most of Image’s best titles these days. Even with his stamp, this first issue was a disappointment. I expected things to be a bit cryptic, a bit of a puzzle as to why, exactly, all this disparate heroes are being drawn together, but the story in general and Fortress himself, as the narrator, are so cryptic that I quickly finding myself losing interest. It doesn’t help that, with the exception of Shadowhawk, none of these are characters I’ve ever had any deep affection for to begin with. On the plus side, the bizarre jam-style of the artwork actually succeeds pretty well. Each of the six creators is doing the artwork for their specific characters, meaning you can see up to all six of them working on one page if all the characters are there. The styles don’t clash as much as one would expect, and while you can certainly tell that the artists change frequently, it doesn’t really hurt the story. The trouble is, there isn’t really enough story here yet to be in danger. If that doesn’t change with issue #2, I doubt I’ll be back for issue #3.
Rating: 5/10