Archive for Comic Review

[Comic Review] The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizza Boy

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Photo Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

An obscure title to say the least, but well worth the search. I struggled to find it in store locally, and although my efforts weren’t in vain, this title is easily picked up online, as is the follow up coming soon (slated for March of 2014).

The Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizza Boy was originally a comic released in Portugal and from what I understand gathered quite the following. This particular version is obviously the english translation and released via Dark Horse Comics.

The story begins with a little foreshadowing. One of the core characters, Eurico (who will be addressed as Pizza Boy from here on out) is late for work…delivering pizza. Out on a run, his scooter is stolen by what appear to be monsters. In a not-so-clever way, his path leads him to one Dog Mendonca, occult investigator, and is companion, a demon named Pazuul. Keep in mind Pazuul is possessing the body of a young girl.

Mendonca’s investigation and efforts in tracking down Pizza Boy’s missing scooter leads them on quite an adventure (as the title suggests). Gargoyles, vampire and Nazi zombies complete the cast of characters found throughout this title. Although pretty far-fetched and a little on the loosey-goosey side, the read is fun. If you don’t look too deep, the noir and pulp come across plenty. It’s cheesy and rather tongue in cheek, as it gives recognition and plenty of name drops from the creator’s influences and favorites.

The art is also amazing. A little dark in some places, but beautiful nonetheless. It lends to the overall feel of the book, and although at times the detail is such it is hard to discern every nook and cranny of the panel in the dark pages, what the eye can pick up is astonishing. Juan Cavia’s artwork was new to me prior to this title. And, it might be due to the combination of Santiago Villa’s colors, but I love it. Cavia expresses plenty in his panels, specifically in the facial expressions of his characters.

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[Comic Review] Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne, Volume One

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by Casey Hutton

I’ve written this a hundred times…but I have to write it once more: I absolutely adore anything noir or pulp.

It’s a genre that, although has seen a rather large resurgence lately, is still a little hard to master. The good finds involve multiple dynamics in writing styles and/or artwork, depending on the case. Much of what I encounter is hit and miss, and although at times the creators have something right, it isn’t all there.

Photo Courtesy of Red 5 Comics and Atomic-Robo.

Photo Courtesy of Red 5 Comics and Atomic-Robo.

The name Atomic Robo has been one I’ve heard floating around several times in the course of the last year or two. I first heard of the title through Ideology of Madness and the gang’s Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie podcast. Several of the guys there are fans, and every few episodes, the name comes back to blip on my radar. After almost getting my hands one the first trade, Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne, several times I finally decided to pick it up and give the series’ first six issues a try.

I would just like to say now, for the record, that I was not disappointed and regret not looking into it sooner.

The interior artwork (a mix of Scott Wegener’s pencils/inks and Ronda Pattison’s colors) is very distinct. Wegener’s influence of Mike Mignola can certainly be felt. But, instead of merely being a Mignola clone, the work stands on its own. The colors pop and each panel has something for your eyes to feast on. The covers themselves are great.

I can see why when Atomic Robo first hit the scene in 2007 (ish?) it started to work together a fan base.

Once Brian Clevinger’s witty and clever writing is thrown into the mix…it still feels refreshing and new. The six-issue trade is full of one-liners and cheeky humor and sometimes a little cheese thrown in. But it’s a combination of artistic styles that jive and come together for an overall read that left me light-hearted. I thought it was just a P.R. ploy in comparing this title’s main character to a robotic Indiana Jones…but really…that is one of the only ways to describe it. Although it has its darker moment, the feel is that of an action-adventure movie. Each issues, although sharing an overall storyline, is its own serial. Each one an adventure. Each one leading to something new. I found several memorable panels in the small collection…each one still has me chuckling as I look back to reflect. That sensation isn’t something that regularly occurs these days and is enough to warrant myself into picking up the next volume soon.

“Stephen Hawking is a bastard.”

And, if that isn’t enough, it will soon have its own RPG to go along with it. From what I understand, it’s based on the FATE system. Although I have had little to no experience with the system itself, I’m actually a little excited to delve deeper into this topic and, when the release rolls around, pick up the main book for investigation.

[Comic Review] Week of 2013/03/27 Highlights

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Photo Courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Photo Courtesy of IDW Publishing.

I have to say that I’ve been happy with IDW Publishing’s Judge Dredd title. I’ve been a fan of the character since I was a child and subscribed to 2000 A.D. Although lacking the British magazine’s variousness, the fact that this focuses on Dredd and the world in which he lives is what keeps it on my pull list.

With the addition of this weeks Judge Dredd#5, the creative team behind the title continues with their robot revolution story that we’ve seen take a slight hiatus with the clone and Judge Tarjay stories.

In this issue, Judge Dredd must respond to a Droid that turned on its owner, a teenage sensation that films his adventures into the seedier side of Mega-City One and releases them for public consumption.

The biggest difference in IDW’s version compared to others is that it’s not the raw styling that I’ve grown up with. It’s not bad, by any means…it just takes me a minute or two to adjust each issue as I’ve been used to previous artists interpretations. I do, however, appreciate the direction the team has taken Dredd into.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Marvel seems to be turning themselves around a bit with their whole NOW platform. Some series, like the All-New X-Men and Superior Spider-Man have been solid since day one. When I heard they were going to be putting out an Age of Ultron, I will admit, I was a little skeptical. When the second issue was release, I was advised I needed to check the series out. After a twist of the arm (no, not really…I am an easy sell, after all) I caved and picked up the first issue. I was amazed. The art is great and the writing even better. Bendis and crew are superb at what they do and their packaging is tight. When I went back the next day, issue #2 was waiting in my pull box. When This week’s #3 came out, I was down-right giddy.

In this issue, Captain America’s big plan starts to unfold and as it turns out, a deal is going to be had…or at least, on the surface. I have to say both the route taken here, the characters involved (and I must say that even though I am not always a huge fan of all of Marvel’s superheroes here everyone gets a bit of the action). The climax is also a resounding “Huh” moment, and has me waiting to see what is going to happen next! And I have to say that I’m more than a little curious to see how they manage several ‘tie-ins’ that are on their way (Superior Spider-Man and Fantastic Four being released this week as well).

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has been one of those titles I’ve been waiting for every since I read it was coming to store shelves. Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 was a decent enough prelude to the title and I have to say that I was impressed. With Guardians of the Galaxy #1…I’m left slightly scratching my head. In a ploy, Peter Quill’s father managed a little ‘reverse psychology’ on his son, and for whatever reason and to what unknown end…managed to get Peter to be at the right place at the right time as earth was going to be attacked.

The artwork here is great. Although not a shiny as some of the others that have come out this week, this one does manage to hold its own. The writing, for what it is, is decent enough. My only complaint here is that not much ground is covered in the limited page number alotted. Unfortunately, Iron Man/Tony Stark makes an appearance and from the looks of things will be around for a while. Not that I don’t like the character, but I do often times get tired of the same handful of heroes popping up throughout Marvel’s line.

This series is worth checking out, as it’s still in its early numbers who knows which direction the creative time is going to take it. I just hope that issue #2 will have a bit more to sink my teeth into.

P.S. Rocket Raccoon Enough said.

Photo courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Photo courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

I cannot say enough concerning Dark Horse’s The Black Beetle series. Every issue is amazing and enjoyable. When I first saw Francesco Francavilla’s work, I adored it. Seeing it here, even more so. I’m a sucker for noir-style pieces and this simply screams pulp. The overall feel of it is enough to make me want more.

In this story, we find the Black Beetle continuing his search for the mystery nemesis from the previous issue. Stumbling across one another’s paths once more, we find the Black Beetle on a little bit of the receiving end the unknown character’s whim. Making some progress, the ending of the issue is in preparation depicts the Black Beetle all dressed up and heading into a club club.

The artwork is phenomenal. I dig the styling and the choice of color palette. The story is engrossing. Overall, I will most likely say this is the best release of the week and worth checking out.

[Comic Review] The Superior Spider-Man #2

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , on January 30, 2013 by Casey Hutton

TheSuperiorSpiderMan002Dan Slott and his team at Marvel Comics have done something amazing…and although I was not a Slott ‘hater’ with the wrapping up of Amazing Spider-Man, I had no idea this is what was going to be coming next.

I enjoyed The Superior Spider-Man #1 enough that I wanted to keep with it. Now, with the release of The Superior Spider-Man #2…I’m left feeling speechless.

First thing’s first. Stegman and Delgado’s finished art is eye candy. I couldn’t help but love every panel my eyes came across. It’s both gritty and dark, yet crisp and clean (I know…I don’t get it either!). A lot of times, a book’s cover can be the best part of the title. In this case, it’s the exact opposite. The cover is simple, Octo-Peter and MJ kissing with a black background. Not over-the-top and not too understated. Then BAM!! Once I cracked open the cover, my eyes were overwhelmed with artistic goodness. Stegman…you are amazing and in rare form!

And now for Mr. Dan Slott. There was a lot of “controversy” surrounding the wrap up of The Amazing Spider-Man. I, personally, thought it was an interesting way to bring in a newer embodiment of Spider-Man. Did I necessarily like every aspect? Of course not, but in my view it was a story that should have been longer that was instead shoe-horned into three releases (Amazing Spider-Man #698-700). In what could have been a release or to in and of itself was crammed into only a couple of pages (the culmination and finale of #700).

This issue, The Superior Spider-Man #2 was what I’ve been waiting for, and if this is a taste for what is to come I do ever foresee myself wanted to put this title down. Here we have Octo-Peter struggling with his old habits. That villain shining through in moments where Peter would have given into his emotions. The tech-savvy genius trying to make the most effective use of his time even go so far as “making an app for that” approach which had me chuckling. Not to mention (SPOILER) the next villain being introduced. Who doesn’t love the Vulture…especially one in a world revamped where we may not know what to expect!

If there were any doubts to fanboys…I hope this issue quells some of the internet hatred of the creative team. If they can bring out an issue like this that I felt was knocked totally out of the ball park…I think that alone speaks volumes to both the dedication and future the team sees in this title.

Rating: 10/10 Gingered Digits!

Reasoning: Artwork (2/2), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (2/2).

[Comic Review] The Black Beetle #1

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on January 27, 2013 by Casey Hutton

TheBlackBeetle000One word for you: AMAZING!

That pretty much sums up this series, and this title, put out by Dark Horse Comics. The title and the man behind it, one Francesco Francavilla is one part genius, one part artist for a total of three parts stupendous. For once, I have to admit I’m a fanboy…and it’s not a “classic” title that has garnered my admiration. It’s something new and completely fresh. If you haven’t had the opportunity…and yes, I mean opportunity…to have been given a chance to read this title…you have no idea what you’re missing.

I have been a fan of pretty much anything with a “noir” feel to it. Dark Horse and Francavilla seemed to have timed this title at just the right time, as that artistic/literary taste of mine hadn’t been filled in some time.. Piquing my interest with The Black Beetle #0, (collection of shorts released previously in Dark Horse Presents), I couldn’t wait until The Black Beetle #1 hit the shelves. So much so that I didn’t want to wait to see how the title would pan out before I added it to my pull list.

TheBlackBeetle001But…enough drooling and down to business. In The Black Beetle #1, we see the first in a four part series that has our hero…or rather masked vigilante…out to bring down two of the local La Familia families in Colt City. However, it appears that he is not the only one, and his carefully lain out plans were disrupted as another was one step ahead of him, killing the two men in question via an explosion just as he was swooping in to deliver his own brand of justice.

Thus, we are led on a bit of a chase, only to wind up in Colt City’s heavily fortified prison and still the nemesis that had foiled the Beetle’s plans has struck yet again.

This book is put together great. The art. The writing and dialogue. It all works together and breaths with an air direct out of the era it’s meant to be set in. I simply love it. Francavilla has outdone himself and I hope this will be a series that will be around for some time to come.

Do yourself a favor and pick this title up while you can (from what I understand, it sold above expectation), read it…then read it again, taking in every panel as you go. For once, it may finally be a title you won’t regret investing your time and money in.

Rating: 10/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (22), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (2/2).

[Comic Review] Uncanny Avengers #3

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on January 25, 2013 by Casey Hutton

UncannyAvengers003Oh Marvel, Marvel, Marvel…exactly how many Avengers and X-Men titles are you going to come up with? Better yet, how many of them will be able to hold their own and continue with decent story and art? That is a question that seriously needs to be considered.

In Uncanny Avengers #3, I’m still left on the fence about this particular series. Each issue has its moments to shine, and, in my opinion, seems to come up just a tad short of spectacular. This one is no different.

I have to say I have a part of me that loves the Red Skull character. Within the pages of Uncanny Avengers, things are taken one step further and the Red Skull has transplanted Xavier’s brain into his, making him a telepath with rather immense and twisted powers.

In this issue, we find the Red Skull in New York, causing a riot amongst the masses as he controls the “normal” humans into lashing out at mutants. I love this. As a matter of fact, when our Avengers team, led by Havoc, arrives, I had hopes for something epic. When Captain America started giving into the Red Skull’s powers, I really wanted to see this character fall from grace and lash out, making him a mind-controlled villain, if only for a little while. Instead, I was sorely disappointed when the focus shifts and Thor ends up being the duped super hero. Although I’m still tickled to see one of the big-named Avengers fall…I still wish it had worked out different. But, at least I had some satisfaction in seeing Wolverine getting smeared! Yes…I do indeed have a love/hate relationship with many of the mainstream heroes.

The artwork in this title is satisfactory. There are a few panels where I’m not really sure how faces and bodies of characters could contort in such a fashion…but it’s not enough to take away from the book as a whole. One thing I can say is it’s very poppy.

Rating: 4/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (0.5/2), Character Development (1/2), Climax (0.5/2), Plot Development (1/2), Story (1/2).

[Comic Review] Lot 13 #3

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on January 8, 2013 by Casey Hutton

Lot13003When I started reading DC ComicsLot 13, I had my reservations. A horror comic from a rather family-friendly company (it’s more risqué titles shuffled over to Vertigo), I thought I was going to be in for a laugh. However, with Lot 13 #3, my opinion is starting to change.

The story is starting to ramp up, and what has been lacking from the two previous issues is not being filled in.

The hotel the family found themselves in is on the border of living and the dead. Although why all of this is happening now hasn’t been touched yet, it have become obvious that whatever is going on the family is stuck right in the middle as the dead have come alive and have started haunting this building. Layouts change, doorways open into times past. I found myself rather impressed, and although there isn’t much in terms of story the thrill is enough to more than make up for it. Plus, the ending is not one that I saw coming.

The artwork here is also good. Although more pencil/colored pencil in appearance, colors still leave a striking image on each and every page. Blood and gore stand out clearly when in contrast with the rest. The dead…or rather undead…leave me feeling a little uncomfortable.

Rating: 8/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (1.5/2), Character Development (1.5/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (1.5/2), Story (1.5/2).

[Comic Review] Morbius: the Living Vampire #1

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , on January 7, 2013 by Casey Hutton

Morbius001There have already been several sketchy titles in Marvel’s “Marvel Now” lineup. I do my best to pick up first and second issues of almost everything that is released, even Avengers, but unfortunately, not many have made the list of must-reads for me.

With their latest release, Morbius: the Living Vampire #1, I thought it was just going to be another title to throw into the pile of disappointment. Instead, I reached the back cover with a feeling of content and happiness. After reading Spider-Man #699.1, I was intrigued enough to get #1, so in essence, this is really the second issue revolving around the Morbius character. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the character. I’ve wanted to like the character for so long, but he’s always been written coming up short. This time around, however, I think I may have finally found the Morbius I’ve always wanted.

In this issue, we find our new hero settling into a suburb of New York called Brownsville. It doesn’t take long before he gets a taste of exactly what kind of world he’s stepped in. This issue is mainly his adjustment to freedom and his “death”. What I love most is, this book has a very Spider-Man feel to it as far as the writing and the abuse the character goes through. He tries to be a good guy, no matter how much he has to go through and if that’s a trend that keeps up, this will be a series I will keep buying.

The artwork also has the same Spider-Man feel to it. I didn’t take the time to note the artistic team behind this yet, but they have the lines and inking that strike a cord with me, and the motion panels are reminiscent of the web-slinger as well.

Rating: 9.5/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (2/2), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (1.5/2), Story (2/2).

[Comic Review] The Flash #15

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on January 4, 2013 by Casey Hutton

I have to admit that, since I started reading DC Comics’ “New 52” The Flash, I haven’t been overly disappointed in any release.

TheFlash015However, in The Flash #15, I’m left not really feeling sated like I have in previous issues. This issue is part three in its “Gorilla Warfare” story arc. I am unsure what exactly what was meant to be accomplished by the release of this issue other than some story depth because it doesn’t really go anywhere. We see Gorilla Grodd’s motives and plans for coming to Earth. We see different potential outcomes as mentally, the Flash witnesses these during his comatose state. But, as far as anything else, it doesn’t happen here. It make me excited, however, to see how the next issue plays out.

The artwork here also keeps up with previous issues. Great lines. Great inking. Very pretty on the eyes. I picked up this title for the eye candy and am still pleased by the substance I can sink my teeth into as a result of the storylines.

Rating: 8/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (2/2), Character Development (1.5/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (1.5/2), Story (1/2).

[Comic Review] Invincible #99

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on January 3, 2013 by Casey Hutton

Invincible099I am a little late on the bandwagon to Image’s invincible line. I actually decided to start picking up the series due to its relation with Guarding the Globe. So, I don’t know all there is to know as far as what’s going on and who is who (other than the few that appears in the branch off series), but what I do know is…this series is AMAZING!

In Invincible #99 the end of the world is nigh! Or at least, that’s the direction we’re led to believe. No matter the outcome (and doubtful we’re going to see a large portion of the population wiped out by Dinosaurus’ master plan) it’s going to be interesting. Although this book is heavily revolved around Invincible and Dinosaurus’ battling it out in Los Angeles, it has enough panning around to other members of his team to break it up. This factor is one I find endearing of this series.

The artwork is also phenomenal! I love the inking and the color…it literally pops off the page. From what I can tell from flipping though the volumes of previous issues, it has remained as such since relatively early on. The full page panels are outstanding. I love the final full page panel with Invincible’s head being mushed by Dinosaurus’ giant mitts. If I could get this as a print, I would, that how much it struck a cord with me!

Rating: 8/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (2/2), Character Development (1/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (1.5/2), Story (1.5/2).