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Nowhere Men #1 Review — December 10, 2012

Nowhere Men #1 Review


On first glance, the art is simply fun. It’s bright with a vintage feel and a strong likeness to the Beatles. The four characters we are instantly introduced to are simply known as World Corp. Consisting of Dade Ellis, Simon Grimshaw, Emerson Strange and Thomas Walker, these four men are among the greatest thinkers in the world. Scientists have become the new rock stars and currently, these men are on top of the world.

Our story begins years later with some sort of radioactive monster murdering its two handlers. Turns out this is a video of an experiment gone wrong. Simon, Dade and Emerson, now older men, are discussing this experiment, with Simon fully in support of it and Dade and Emerson claiming it is an abomination. Simon storms off while Dade and Emerson contemplate what just happened. It seems money has changed Simon over time in addition to Dade doubting their worth in the world.

The story quickly shifts to a crew under quarantine on a space station. Clearly they are infected with a virus, shown physically with a new mutation on each member. They are on their own as their location is a secret from the world since they have joined World Corp. It seems the intentions of World Corp may be deeper and darker than what first appeared beginning.

I was excited to read this concept of a world where scientists have become world famous. It’s a fun twist on the concept of a celebrity and I was excited to explore this new world, especially with respect to the art work. I think writer Eric Stephenson and artists Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellaire really have a great concept and hopefully it will build into something amazing.

I’ve always been a fan of stories featuring a gang full of colourful and unique personalities. Just like “The Boys” from Dynamite, the movie “The Warriors”, The Breakfast Club or even the Spice Girls, I’ve always enjoyed a gang where you loved and identified with at least one persona. I’m excited to see how Stephenson will build each character into a strong, fleshed out individual. He’s already made it clear that Simon is the outspoken leader type. Thomas, who was missing in the future parts of the issue, is mysterious and unpredictable. Dade and Emerson are the more conscientious and self righteous of the group, and also seem to be closest

In terms art, I really like how Bellegarde and Bellaire were able to distinguish different settings from one another. From the fashion and style to the layout of the buildings as well as the colour palettes used, the art was a fascinating treat to behold.

All in all, I liked this issue as a start to a series. Characters were introduced well and each storyline held up on its own rather than being overshadowed by another. I’m intrigued but not quite in love. I give this issue a 7/10.

Chew #30 Review — December 1, 2012

Chew #30 Review

Chew #30
Chew #30

Month after month, Writer John Layman and Artist Rob Guillory produce incredible work on Chew. The art is flawless and the writing is constantly clever and witty. I always finish every issue with a feeling of satisfaction. But this month’s issue really amped up the standard for this series.

To begin, Layman depicts Toni’s marriage as a chaotic mess. There are arguments escalating into fist fights between several of the guests as well as dazed and confused guests as a result of the DJ manipulating the food. Despite the madness, Toni appears to keep a cool head, insisting everything is perfect.

Meanwhile, we discover it is not the real Toni at the wedding and in fact an imposter. The real Toni is being held captive, with her blood and limbs slowly being devoured by the vampire in order to obtain her special skill. However, for a reasons unexplained, he is unable to acquire her power, further frustrating him. Toni knows she will not get out of the situation alive and threatens the vampire, insisting her brother Tony will hunt him down and kill him. As she makes this final claim, the vampire has had enough and snaps her neck, instantly killing Toni.

As the rest of the cast mourns her death, a quick silly flashback finally reminds Caesar of his distinct memory meeting Toni in the past. As kids, they met at the park and Toni had bit into Caesar. She predicted his career to be a secret agent who will save the world, thus ending this month’s issue.

I’m still in shock. Chew always was a fun read, and now with the sudden twist of losing a favourite character, it’s really adding depth into the series. Taking a note from Kirkman and The Walking Dead, losing Toni now makes me feel like characters are not untouchable and that anyone could be next. It’s a great start into a new, more shocking element to the series. Even the bright, dynamic, beautiful art by Guillory could not hide the dark, shocking twist.

I simply cannot wait for the next issue in the series. True to Layman’s style, it will be inventive, quirky and truly incredible. I give this issue a 9.5/10.

The Walking Dead #104 Review — November 18, 2012

The Walking Dead #104 Review

In the last issue of The Walking Dead, we saw Negan and the Saviours claiming medication from the Alexandria safe zone as part of their agreement. An outraged Denise attacks Rick, wondering how he can just let them walk off with their much needed goods. In defense, Rick retaliates stating anyone is free to leave as Negan is in charge now and all they can do is continue to gather resources for themselves and Negan for his return. He leaves, with emotions still running high.

As he returns home, he calls for Carl who is nowhere to be found. We quickly find out he has hidden amongst mattresses in a wagon returning back to Negan’s base. Meanwhile, Dwight has returned to a post of the Saviours and is startled by a fellow Saviour who informs him he has been followed. Jesus has been tailing Dwight and is quickly captured. He is tied up and soon to be taken to a base, which turns out to be a factory, when suddenly he has managed to escape. It is quickly agreed upon that no one informs Negan what just occurred.

As the supplies from the Alexandria community are unloaded, the Saviours quickly discover Carl. He demands to see Negan and immediately shoots two members. Negan arrives and Carl shoots, killing several more Saviours until his ammo runs out. Dwight quickly appears and intends to kill Carl. However, Negan stops him, wondering how he can kill a defenceless child. In addition, the plot thickens at the end of this issue, as Negan states “Is that any way to treat our new guest?”

Writer Robert Kirkman has a knack for flushing out characters. Recently, I like how Kirkman has shaped Carl’s character. Growing up in this survival based world, he knows nothing but to eliminate his enemies and protect his loved ones. Starting when he was young, he killed Ben, who murdered his twin, in order to protect the group from his psychotic ways. Once again, now that there is a threat no one in the group will step up to kill, Carl is taking it upon himself to remove the threat. With the ending of Negan welcoming Carl, I can’t wait to see where Kirkman will take it.

Furthermore, as us readers are aware, Kirkman isn’t afraid to kill off characters. When Jesus was captured, I was immediately afraid as he’s become a quick favourite of mine. I definitely breathed a sigh of relief to see him escape from Dwight and his captors.

With regards to art, I thoroughly enjoyed the scene featuring the factory completely surrounded by chained up, mutilated zombies. The zombie barricade just makes sense. Much like Michonne’s zombie escorts, the smell or sounds won’t attract herds of zombies and the fact that they are mutilated greatly reduces any risk of being bitten. Furthermore, artist Charlie Adlard cuts no corners in this issue. Character work is incredible, with emotions being perfectly captured. Sharp lines and attention to detail really shows the work put into this issue. Simply put, the art and story were exceptional in this issue.

The Walking Dead has shifted its attention from zombie threats to human threats. Negan has already proven himself to be quite the match for Rick. With Carl and Jesus both driving the story with difficult adversities to overcome, this issue has really amazed me. I give it a 9/10.

The Boys #72 Review — November 11, 2012

The Boys #72 Review

With the release of issue 72 of the Boys, there is a bittersweet feeling. This series has been a fun ride full of vulgarity, humour, and incredible story telling with a colourful cast of characters. I remember the first few issues being extremely difficult to get through. Writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson really pushed boundaries, introducing such offensive, distasteful themes, right at the start. However, if you stuck with the series, you were indeed rewarded with a raw, gritty, humorous story, often inserting playful shots at the superhero genre. The Boys was truly an amazing series, with issue 72 being a nice end to it all.

Issue 72 serves as a wrap up to the series. Taking place sixth months after the death of Butcher, Hughie seems to be in a better place in his life. Appearing confident and sure of himself, we watch as he visits sites of the city being rebuilt. He even writes the initials of the members of the Boys into cement as a nod to their deaths. Soon after, he has a meeting with James Stillwell. It appears Vought America is rebranding itself as American Consolidated. As a preventative measure, Hughie blackmails him, insisting he has plastic explosives that could bring them down if they ever reattempt the ideals of Vought America. Stillwell leaves, insisting that even if he can’t make money off superheroes, he will surely find another.

Another loose end entailing Susan Raynor, once head of the CIA, quickly wraps up in this issue. A scene demonstrating her running for senator is sabotaged as her speech is interrupted by a recording of her having sex with Butcher. Instantly ruining her career, Monkey and Hughie have plotted against her as revenge for Monkey not being promoted.

Meanwhile, back at American Consolidated, a new superhero team, akin to the Seven is being rebranded as True. With experiments involving the superheroes creating abominations, it seems this new company has a bad product that Stillwell cannot support. Thus, a repeat of Vought America does not appear to be in the near future.

Of course, to wrap this series up on a positive note, Hughie is reunited with Annie. Professing their love for each other and excited for a new start, a scene with Hughie and Annie spinning, just like the scene where Hughie lost his first girlfriend occurs. Luckily, nothing happens to her and in the end, the couple end up kissing thus happily wrapping up this issue.

With the last 10 pages of this issue, different artist renditions of the members of The Boys are displayed, as well as all the covers of every issue featured in a chronological fashion. What a great visual way to end this issue, allowing the reader to relive every character and every story arc all at once. It was a smart move on the creators’ part as it made me want to reread certain story arcs and visit issues that once contained the lovable dog Terror.

Furthermore, I really liked how this issue displayed Hughie’s character change. From a once bumbling, nervous Scotsman whose life shattered in one moment, Hughie has truly demonstrated a confident, new found way with words despite catastrophe after catastrophe surrounding his life. It seems he has kept true to himself but also taken a note from Butcher in regards to his career. It’s also nice to see him finally get the girl and not be so afraid of the world.

With every loose end tied up, I can’t help but simply be speechless. For this comic series to be so extreme at some points, a nice, simple ending is all a reader could ask for. In the end, the simplicity of this issue really won me over. I will miss this series but of course, all good things must come to an end. I give it a 9/10.

The Walking Dead Magazine #1 Review — October 23, 2012

The Walking Dead Magazine #1 Review

With the return of the highly anticipated third season of The Walking Dead, Titan Publishing has officially released a magazine prominently featuring the zombie franchise. Because it has expanded into so many markets, including comics, television, video games, books, toys and so much more, this magazine is a great way to remain current on everything and anything related to The Walking Dead.

At 100 pages, Titan Publishing has put out a solid read. This first issue features interviews with prominent figures of the record breaking, Emmy-winning television series including creator/writer Robert Kirkman, actress Danai Gurira who plays the fierce newcomer Michonne, and executive producer/show runner Glen Mazzara. Each article is a great read, showing the passion that goes into the show and dropping tidbits here and there towards this upcoming season. Of course, if you ever need more insight into the show, an article with Chris Hardwick, the host of “The Talking Dead”, reminds us that his show dissects episodes, highlights deaths and answers trivia, all with fun and interesting guests.

I think the best part of this magazine is the wide appeal to fans of the franchise. From video games to books, there’s a little bit of something for everybody. In regards to games, two show great promise. With the upcoming release of a game featuring the Dixon brothers story leading up to the events in Atlanta as well as the fourth episode of The Walking Dead: The Game, fans will be able to put themselves into a zombie ridden world and face events requiring critical thinking in order to survive the apocalypse. Much like in the show, you will face situations where using less ammo and stealthily avoiding zombies will contribute to survival. In terms of books, an exclusive story by Jay Bonansinga is included in this issue. It’s a fun read for fans of the Governor, diving more into his character and past. For more regarding the Governor, you can read “The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor” and “The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury”.

With every page turn, the reader is welcomed by a decaying, flesh hungry face. Photo after photo of zombies featured in the show remind us of how talented the makeup artists and set designers are to the television series. Also, an interview with Charlie Adlard really opens your eyes to the abilities of this artist. Not only does he get a lot of freedom in the art because “Kirkman is not a detailed writer”, but it’s fun to learn the methods behind his art. For example, Adlard is aware that the zombies must look more decayed as the series presses on and shows the progressive decomposition issue by issue. Furthermore, he opts for drawing by hand than anything digital. Considering it is a monthly comic, it really gave me a deeper appreciation for Adlard’s abilities.

Considering all the articles and photos featured in the first issue of The Walking Dead magazine, it is such a great buy for lovers of the franchise. By reading it, you will lose yourself discovering everything there is to know about The Walking Dead. Because this series has lasted for so long (about 10 years!), the magazine also offers a great refresher course for long-time lovers of the comics or a great summary for those who haven’t quite delved into that world but want to anticipate events in the third season.

Truth is there is so much more featured in this magazine than what I’ve been able to cover in this one article. Pick this magazine up for yourself and discover all there is to the Walking Dead. I give this issue a 9/10.

Chew #29 Review — October 17, 2012

Chew #29 Review

With Tony stumbling around the hospital on crutches, he walks up to the nurses’ station and asks if anyone has come to visit. Disappointed, he wonders where his loved ones could be. We quickly learn a case has occurred that is so special, it requires the teamwork of Toni from NASA, John from the FDA and Cesar from the USDA.

The crime involves Judy Heinz- Campbell who is a victuspeciosian; she has the ability to take food preparations and create facial masks with transformational abilities. Criminals would go to her in order to hide their true identities while committing a crime.

Because The Vampire, a long standing villain of the series, is collecting abilities, it is believed that Judy will be his next target. Thus, John, Toni and Caesar go on a stakeout to observe Judy’s beauty shop. Suddenly, they spot the Vampire attempting to kidnap her in order to steal her ability. As the three approach the pair, the Vampire takes off. As John and Caesar chase after the Vampire, Toni stays behind to calm Judy down. Utilizing her ability, Toni bites Judy and quickly discovers this was a set up. The real Judy is dead in a freezer and the two posing as Judy and the Vampire are part of the set up.

As the crime is wrapped up, Toni gets a surprise engagement from her boss. Taking a bite out him to learn his true intentions, she discovers he truly loves her and she says yes. As she hugs him, we quickly realize the victuspeciosian ability has once again been utilized in this issue.

Although this issue was still entertaining, I can’t wait for writer John Layman to get back to focusing on Tony and his life. The storylines always felt more driven and focused than these last few issues revolving around John and Toni. I much prefer Toni and John featured in side stories rather than starring in the main storyline. Toni is always a great source of humour in this series. Her light heartedness, her goofy smile and her overly tenacious sense of joy brings a smile to my face. It feels somewhat overwhelming to see her character so much in an issue, especially since her character isn’t developed further than a bubbly personality.

Furthermore, I fear they may be running out of ideas for abilities. The latest abilities, including the ability to manipulate chocolate into weapons or the ability to transform faces with food feels flat and forced. They should be introduced and featured in an issue or two for it to feel special, such as the ones Toni and Tony possess.

There is never an issue with the art in this series. The character work is great. They are always massively expressive and fully detailed. I am a tad disappointed the background antics were minimal in this issue, but otherwise, the art still brought a smile to my face.

All in all, this issue was alright. The current story arc is taking it’s time, slowly building. I hope once Tony is back to work, this series will pick up and return to its typical awesomeness. I give this issue a 7/10.

American Vampire #31 Review — October 15, 2012

American Vampire #31 Review

Issue #31 of American Vampire continues to portray the soap opera that Pearl Jones’ life has become. Torn between the two men who have come to define both her human and vampire sides, she finds herself in difficult situations often choosing to go with her heart and make decisions on a whim. In the last issue, heartbroken over the possibility of losing Henry, she loses herself in a moment with Skinner and now faces the horrible task of admitting her mistake to Henry.

This issue begins with a sweet emotional trip through the past. With Henry finally awake, Pearl falls apart and admits her difficulty with the thought of losing him. She’s really struggling with the idea of not turning him, as it is clear, she will fall apart once Henry is dead. The photo sequence (which I loved) illustrated their relationship over the years. Narrating a story with every picture, it painted a sugary sweet, perfect relationship. Once the trip down memory lane is complete, Pearl feels the need to admit her mistake with Skinner while Henry was in a coma. Coincidentally, a nurse interrupts Pearl, who is told by Henry that they will discuss the issue later. Pearl leaves, meeting up with Skinner to discuss what happened between them and furthermore, which vampire is next on their hit list.

True to his lone ranger attitude, Skinner brushes off any emotional bond to Pearl. Pearl pleas with him to simply wait an hour so she can deal with unresolved issues with Henry. Angry, Skinner insists Pearl means nothing to him and leaves to assassinate the next vampire on the list.

Pearl wanders around the VMA, where a conversation with agents quickly leads her to believe the vampire coven they have been searching for is in the desert, where the prop graveyards are located. She follows this lead, which turns out to be correct. A great twist is thrown in at the end of this issue, as the leader the vampire coven who Pearl, Skinner and the VMS believed to be, is not right at all. The leader is someone very familiar from Pearl’s past who saved the coven and personally knows Pearl’s weaknesses.

Writer Scott Snyder continues to do an incredible job with the story progression of this series. He takes his time, fully divulging readers on the emotions and motives felt by each character. At the same time, he is able to develop the story at such a quick, yet fulfilling pace. Nothing feels rushed or thrown in. He truly is an incredible story teller.

The art displayed in this issue is alright. Although the action sequences and character work with the vampires are a marvel to view, the human character expressions felt relatively flat. There were shadows and pencil lines all over the page; often covering characters faces’ in intense, emotionally draining scenes. The art definitely had a rougher feel to it but I think the dialogue more than makes up for it. Simply reading the words of pain and agony between Pearl and Skinner and the scared tone Pearl takes on when she begins to tell Henry the truth rounded out the art displayed in this issue.

I really like the direction Snyder is taking with this series. He’s taken the vampire genre and turned it into a fantastic, emotional narrative. Pearl’s character is insanely well written and I can’t wait to see where Snyder takes her. I give this issue a 9/10.