Ei8ht #1

Dark Horse

Release Date:  2/18/15

Words:  Rafael Albuquerque & Mike Johnson

Pictures:  Rafael Albuquerque

The Sitch:

A lone chrononaut, Joshua, is dropped into and trapped in an inhospitable dimension in time known as the Meld.  He has no memory of who he is or why he has been sent to the Meld.  The scientists who sent him can give him no feedback on how to proceed.  All he has is a static riddled voice of a stranger and his own gut to guide him to his destiny.

The Confession:

Strange worlds, time travel, and unreliable narrators make for some excellent reading. Everyone enjoys a good mystery because the unknown is scary interesting.  Albuquerque and Johnson have built a captivating world to explore in their new collaboration, Ei8ht.  Not unlike Albuquerque’s work with American Vampire, character development is not just an important dimension of the story, it gives impressive depth to this epic sci-fi mystery thriller.  The non-linear structure of the book, on top of an already unreliable narrator, makes for surprisingly quick and fluid storytelling.

The art speaks for itself.  Albuquerque is a known constant for incredible work.  I love American Vampire for its vicious beauty.  Depicting a world of his own creation is far from disappointing, the landscapes are breathtaking and the emotion in his facial expressions are no less amazing.  The way the words and pictures in this book compliment each other is perfection.

This is one of those no-brainer reads.  Go get Ei8ht now if you haven’t already.

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Lady Killer #1

Dark Horse

Release Date:  1/7/15

Words:  Joelle Jones & Jaime S. Rich

Pictures:  Joelle Jones

The Sitch:

Lady Killer is a new miniseries introducing the character Josie Schuller.  She is the picture perfect 1960’s housewife who can balance many hats, the wholesome homemaker, the wife to an unobservant husband, the mother of two perfectly precocious girls, and the deadly assassin.

The Confession:

Oftentimes in comic book stories, it all comes down to the execution.  There have been stories depicting the typical Joe or Josie in a not-all-is-as-it-seems environment, only to turn that world upside down.  I personally love a good dichotomy story.  Lady Killer wins as a classy, fun, dark comedy, action/adventure story.  It’s a bit campy.  I love camp.  I especially love the Kill Bill-ish feel mixed with a little Mad Men.  Watching Josie switch effortlessly between her seemingly safe and idyllic suburban household and vicious killer assassin for hire is pretty entertaining.

Jones not only can weave an entertaining story with tons of potential, she can draw some sweet lines.  I would buy this book for the art alone.  I love her style.  It is so detailed you are pulled instantly into the different time of the 60’s when women were certainly not imagined to lead a double life, let alone one so vicious.  The pages of Josie infiltrating a woman’s home to sell Avon, quickly turning into a vicious fight to the death was outstanding.  I love the little bit of the fight ending and Josie realizing she’s got a bit of gore on her perfectly pressed dress.  Kudos to detail.

If you like these kinds of stories, especially ones centered on a strong female lead, get this one on your pull list already.  There is no disappointment here.

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Also, you can go to Bleeding Cool for a little Q and A with Jones and see her awesome pin- up poster advertisements she did for fun before the narrative evolved.   Someone needs to make those into a calendar ASAP and just take my money now.  It’s too hard to pick a favorite but today, I choose this one:

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Sundowners #1

Dark Horse

Release Date:  8/27/14

Words:  Tim Seeley

Pictures:  Jim Terry

The Sitch:

Meet the Sundowners, a support group consisting of superheroes who have sworn to protect humanity to the best of their super abilities.  Are they the real deal or are they just super crazy?

The Confession:

This is one of those selections that I knew nothing about and grabbed on a whim.  It’s kinda nice to be pleasantly surprised by something that isn’t from Image.  Seeley pens a refreshing take on supes that is engaging and quite funny.  The narration is solid from start to finish.  The introduction is interesting enough to hook the reader and the development at the end shows promise in the issues to come.  I enjoyed how the members of the group were introduced.  Led by Dr. Shrejic, the doctor responsible for diagnosing “sundown syndrome” in the first place and a bit of an unhinged character himself, the members speak up in group, talking about what is on their minds while, on the side panel, the reader is privy to the doctor’s notes on said individual.  That is some funny stuff.  If you are looking for some intriguing flawed characters, look no further.

Terry’s art is consistent and gives each character a unique look to go with their unique personalities.   It’s a bit dark and gritty, rough-ish but not in an incomplete way.  Maybe ‘manic’ is the word I’m looking for…. which is probably on purpose since the sort of unhinged look is in step with the unhinged vibe of the characters.

If you ever doubted the sanity of someone who could easily slip into another personality while slipping on a costume you may want to give this one a read.

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The Witcher #1

Dark Horse

Release Date:  3/19/14

Words:  Paul Tobin

Pictures:  Joe Querio

The Sitch:

While traveling the edges of The Black Forest, monster hunter, Geralt, meets a fisherman, Jakob, who seems to attract the following of some strange creatures, one of which is his dead and murderous wife.  After Geralt saves Jakob from a water monster, the two share a meal and some stories, establishing enough of a bromance to join each other in the daunting task of escaping the forest’s clutches.

The Confession:

I had no idea there existed a game of the same name before I read this book.  It’s just as well because I think this book can stand on its own as a decent horror fantasy story.  I can’t say Tobin has nailed the voice of Geralt because of the no prior knowledge thing, but the voice he does create is pretty solid and intriguing.  Geralt is the stoic, driven-for-a-good-reason type of guy, driven by what I don’t yet know but it must be something good and horrible.  Jakob is also well fleshed out, the dead wife never saying anything but always watching him thing is pretty horrible on its own and has the makings of even more possible horrors yet to come.  In only a few pages the reader is quickly drawn in, sympathetic to the characters and invested in what happens next.

Querio’s art is perfect for that subtle, creeping approach to the horror of a story.  The scenery is worth lingering in.  It’s dreary, twisted, and full of dead things.  His forest hag is just the right kind of creepy.  How he depicts facial expressions and action give even more weight to the character development already depicted in Tobin’s words.  Querio’s style brings an awesome sense of mood to the pages.  Again, I don’t even know what the game looks like but if it’s anything like this book I’d be interested in giving it a try.

If you are looking for a good horror fantasy read with some equally good horror fantasy images, I found a book for you.  Just take a gander at this beauty:

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #1

Dark Horse

Release Date:  3/19/14

Words:  Christos Gage

Pictures:  Rebekah Isaacs

The Sitch:

Following the game changing finales of BTVS Season 9 and Angel and Faith, Season 10 opens with a reunion of sorts for The Scoobies.  Buffy and the gang are cleaning up the mess of the almost zompire apocalypse side by side with non-zombie vampires and a whole new set of rules.  This first issue of the “New Rules” arch is a refresher as much as it is a tease for what to expect this season.

The Confession:

I’m really trying to be objective here, but I give up.  If you are a true Buffy fan, this is already a no brainer – go get it already.  Put it on your pull list before you regret it.  If you are new to the Buffyverse or the Whedonverse you can comfortably jump on here where the rules have changed… but you won’t get all the feels that go along with it.  The story itself can engage the noobs well enough, but ultimately, I would strongly urge a start at the beginning for full effect.

As I am a fan, I got the feels.  Gage knows his stuff, he knows these characters and the world they live in.  The dialogue is perfect.  Each Scoobie’s voice is spot on, as is the plot development, how the big bads are foreshadowed and handled and what each character brings to the story.  More so than Season 9, Season 10 is more in touch with the Buffy we fell in love with, feeling familiar and new at the same time.

Isaacs has already proven herself with Angel and Faith.  She has a knack for drawing the likenesses of the characters that we expect, what we want and deserve.  She has their mannerisms and movement down cold.  Dan Jackson provides the colors, giving Isaacs work its full capacity to shine, showing visual depth, boldness of style, and beauty.

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So yea, let’s put this one in the file marked DUH.  Go get your Buffy fix on.

Veil #1

Dark Horse

Release Date:  3/5/14

Words:  Greg Rucka

Pictures:  Toni Fejzula

The Sitch:

A beautiful, naked girl wakes up in an abandoned, rat infested subway station with no memory of how she got there.  Who is she?  Where did she come from?

Best mystery ever.

The Confession:

It’s been awhile since I was this excited about a new comic.  I knew nothing of this book before I read it.  Greg Rucka didn’t disappoint me with Lazarus and he didn’t disappoint me with Veil.  I really enjoy his depictions of strong female characters.  I also like how he isn’t one to spoonfeed his readers.  We are not given a lot of what we expect as story here, back or otherwise.  In fact the first few pages are silent, making the art not only stand out on its own, it carries it, and does so quite well.  I love it when the words and the pictures of a story are so seamlessly interwoven that you don’t notice where one ends and the other begins.  That’s beautiful story telling in this medium.  Also, Veil’s speech, the things she says, that’s some intriguing trickery right there.

Fejzula does some rad (Yes, I said ‘rad.’) work.  In the silence of the first few pages he manages to quickly instill a sense of the whimsical wonder of this beautiful girl.  She seems almost an innocent in a dangerous and ugly world.  Yet, at the same time, we know she is the center of something dark and magical, blood-tinged and beautiful.

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Are you looking for something new and different?  Are you looking for something smart and bold?  Do you like mysteries?  How about gritty urban drama?

Get.  This.  Book.

Tomb Raider #1

Dark Horse

Release Date:  2/26/14

Words:  Gail Simone

Pictures:  Nicolas Daniel Selma

The Sitch:

Lara Croft is dealing with the aftermath of her time in Yamatai.  The story is one of those “the past refuses die” type of stories.  The reader does not have to have played the recent game to completion to jump on to this story.  Gamers, of course, are on more familiar ground.

The Confession:

I have not played the last game to completion so I am pretty much in the noob category of readers.  I’m familiar with Lara Croft, not just the Angelina Jolie version.  When I heard Gail Simone was going to write it I had to read it.

I can’t say I was all that excited after reading this first issue.  I feel like I have to read the second one before I can give a solid ‘yay’ or ‘nay,’ which seems weird because Gail Simone is not one to let me down.  I’m wondering if it is because I’m not a big fan-girl, gaming just isn’t my strong point.  Maybe I’m missing something.  It’s not that it’s bad at all, I just wasn’t as excited as I thought I’d be.  Strong female characters shine in Simone’s hands, only this time it didn’t feel as fleshy.  I am willing to give it a few more shots before I know what I feel.

The art is more cartoony than I would have liked, probably because the game animation is so realistic.  This works in a way that the book feels like it’s something of its own, something apart from the game.  Yet again though, I think it was a bit disappointing because, again, I expected more detail due to the game being so realistic.  The color palette is also brighter than the dark nature of Yamatai which makes me feel a little off.  I think I expected something more befitting an icon because Lara doesn’t really stand out, she looks more like the average Jane.

If you are a longtime fan of Lara Croft you may want to get this now.  If you are new to the Tomb Raider story, you my want to proceed with caution.