George R. R. Martin’s Skin Trade #1

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Release Date:  7/10/13

Words:  Uh, George R. R. Martin but adapted by Daniel Abraham

Pictures:  Mike Wolfer

The Sitch:

An adaptation of the short horror story of the same name by George R. R. Martin about werewolves.

The Confession:

I enjoy a good horror story just as much as the next freak and I especially enjoy Martin’s story telling.  Adapting a short story to a comic is difficult to do right and I don’t feel this one has proven me wrong.  The story itself is awesome.  The story as a comic, not so much.  Basically, Randi Wade is a private investigator looking into the savage killing of an innocent that brings up the personal past trauma of her father having been killed in a similar manner when she was a child.  #1 is the set up, hinting at various people in Randi’s life that may or may not be werewolves.  None of this is confirmed in issue #1.  If you expect some gruesomeness in the first issue you will be sorely disappointed.  There is a depiction of a wolf straight away and it seems like it’s going to be a good start but then it just sort of fizzles out.  There is no real horror depicted in this horror comic, with the exception of a page of dog dismemberment, but the rest is a disappointment.

As for the illustrations, it’s good stuff.  It’s visceral and colorful and pretty to look at but a bit wasted because, like I said, nothing takes off here.

If you are a die hard fan and would just like to have pretty pictures to go along with the original short story in your head, go for it.  Maybe the next issue or two will flesh out better.  If you have a serious pull list, however, I really would not waste time and move on to better, more original books.

The Extinction Parade #1

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Release Date:  6/19/13

Words:  Max Brooks

Pictures:  Raulo Caceres

The Sitch:

Humans are losing their war against the zombie plague and the vampires finally realize their food source is dying off.  It’s like a chapter out of “World War Z” but told from a vampire’s point of view.

The Confession:

This first issue drops the same week as Brooks’ World War Z movie adaptation opens.  Nice.

I personally have not seen much in the way of vampires vs. zombies with the exception of that one episode of Deadliest Warrior.  Someone had to do it and who better than Max Brooks?  I enjoyed World War Z so this story sort of feels like a lost chapter, the chapter told from a vampire’s point of view.  The zombie apocalypse affects them, too, after all.  No self respecting vampire wants to turn “vegetarian.”  This issue is basically the setup for the ultimate showdown.  I still say the vamps will win out but what makes it interesting is the how.  Like with humans versus the zombies, it will be interesting to see how vampires react to the threat the zombie horde pose to their reality.  That’s the story.

The art is what is to be expected from Caceres.  It’s bold and beautiful.  At the same time it is terrible and gut wrenching, mostly gut wrenching as in, churn worthy.  Ick.  It gives me the same feels as a George Romero film.  A queasy ride for sure.  I like it.

This is easy.  If you want to know the answer to vampires vs. zombies, if you appreciate the world of Max Brooks or Raulo Caceres, or are a fan of Avatar just pick this one up already.

Uber #0

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Release Date:  4/3/13

Words:  Kieron Gillen

Pictures:  Caanan White

The Sitch: 

Nazi Germany develops super-soldiers in the last days of WWII.

The Confession:

In an effort to venture out of my comfort zone of pretty prose and pictures, I forced myself to read this hefty 44 page #0 monstrosity from Avatar.  This is definitely made up of stuff I try to avoid:  torture, rape, murder, dismemberment… Well… okay… maybe I don’t always avoid those things because I did enjoy The Boys, much to the dismay of my inner militant feminist.  What I don’t enjoy is when it’s depicted so brutally unapologetic.  I get enough of that from real life.  Also, for the record, I never like seeing rape depicted in any story, but if it is going to be used it had better have some kind of point besides shock value.  Back to the story… it was a bit confusing at times to distinguish between characters and there was a lot going on in both the writing and the art, but that may just be me.  I admit I’m just not that interested in war stories that aren’t more character driven.  This read felt more like an uber-harsh lesson in history.  The super soldiers are weapons of destruction, devoid of humanity.  The characters are not much better.  I appreciate that there are a lot of interesting things you can do with a story that asks the “what if” history took this turn instead of that question.  The art seems to be what is expected from Avatar, which to me seems to be too highly detailed, dark, and chaotic for my taste.  I can appreciate the beauty in the horror but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.   I was left curious as to where the story is going but at the same time I don’t think I will be able to stomach going through more rape and torture to get there.