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Ex Sanguine #3: A Lonely Word Review — December 22, 2012

Ex Sanguine #3: A Lonely Word Review


Saul Adams is a vampire, but not one that we usually get shown in the likes of True Blood or the old Bela Lugosi movies. He wants nothing to do with his instincts. He has struggled to keep his bloodlust at bay and live as normal a life as possible in a small town. This all went well, until a serial killer struck the town. The Sanguine killer has drawn undue attention to him. Diner waitress, Ashley, has taken a macabre liking to him. She sets him up with one of the murders, but this only feeds his instincts, bringing them back to the fore. The end of issue #2 shocked us when we saw Saul and Ashley making love in front of a mirror, allowing her to see Saul in his true form. The story itself is like a twisted love story, but with a horrendous edge, as Tim Seeley has hit the reader square in the face with a gritty story and fantastic artwork. The story’s main subject in the first two issues is a pen, but what is so special about it? Why has Ashley been killing people associated with it?

Agent Quinn was investigating a case years ago and was held captive by the perpetrator. He tortured her and drank her blood. This is something she has never forgotten and has had a severe impact on her. So much so that the case of the Sanguine Killer has brought back horrific memories for her. Saul Adams sits in his darkened room reading and looking after his tropical fish. Spotting one dead on the surface, he takes it to the sea to bury it, so to speak, but he is alerted to a rat running by. This is no normal rat, though, as it changes to near-human form as he captures it. We now know that there is more than Saul trying to keep their true form hidden from the general public. They exist side by side, but the rats have invaded Saul’s territory. Something that he won’t put up with.

Ashley is in the diner, having a laugh with two local guys, but her mood soon changes to one of hatred. Throughout Ashley’s life, she has always been accused of lying. Something that has stuck with her all through her life. This time is no different, as she accuses a customer of stealing money. But, again, nobody believes her. She storms off and thinks back to when her father dealt with her lies by using her blood to write his books. This is where the pen comes in. It’s the same pen that her father used to write his books. Now she does the same to write on the walls, using her victims’ blood. The woman who accused her of lying is her victim, as Ashley slits her throat. Saul appears angry with Ashley, as her actions are still drawing undue attention to him, However, seeing the woman’s body with blood everywhere, he decides to have a little snack while he is there. As the diner’s boss is locking up, we see a knife-wielding shadow ready to claim another victim.

Tim Seeley really has invented a good storyline. With the introduction of the rats to the story, it will only get better. Vivid and colorful artwork really does the murder scenes justice. This makes them stand out. It’s another 8/10 again, as it keeps the pace really well.

The Crow #5 Review — December 18, 2012

The Crow #5 Review


This issue brings the current story arc to an end. A story that could have been a bit better in its substance, but one that has picked up the pace a little towards this concluding issue. John Shirley has still managed to capture the overall feel and character of The Crow well throughout. The dark, moody atmosphere is there, which is good. Without it, the story wouldn’t have worked. Kevin Colden, on the other hand, has done a fantastic job with the artwork. It’s dark, moody, and really atmospheric. Everything you could ask for in a Crow story. Back to the story, which is sometimes a little hard to follow, as it jumps about quite a bit, but not without reason. As we know, the character of The Crow is an embodiment of the crow spirit. One of vengeance that brings ultimate revenge to people who have wronged. In this case, in revenge to his fiancée being kidnapped and her body being possessed by another spirit. He has now been transported to the underworld, where spirits are helping him find his loved one.

At the end of issue #4, The Crow is up against an Ikiryo, the only thing that can kill him. In a few beautifully drawn pages, we see The Crow struggle to kill his foe. Even dismembering and decapitating fails to finish him off. He unexpectedly gets help from Majo, the spirit that has yet to make an appearance in the flesh, as she has been imprisoned in a casket all through the story. Eagerly, she leaves her prison and feasts upon the Ikiryo, leaving The Crow to continue his quest for Haruko. Mount Osore and the depths of Hell is his destination. Toko’s spirit has found her, but he warns him that she is guarded by an enormous beast, which has been promised Haruko’s soul by the next moon. Toko cannot follow, as his time is near. His soul is almost drained of life and The Crow must battle for his loved one on his own. Soro is told that Biotrope will no longer cover up his madness, but he now has the power of the underworld to help his cause.

He makes his way through the many hells that stretch out in front of him. The Fifth Hell of Crushing Desire is first as he escapes a dragon. He then faces The War Maker’s Hell, fighting off many dead soldiers. As he passes through the Realm of Animal Minds, he meets up with Majo, who gives him something to help guide him the rest of the way. A dead crow will be his guiding light. The Realm of Hungry Ghosts is next. As he reaches the end, he is greeted by the sight of the last thing to stand in his way. The Great Lord of Cruelty is ready to feast on Haruko. The dead crow tricks him into showing Haruko to him. The Crow offers himself as a sacrifice, as he can’t live without her. Without hesitation, the Great Lord accepts this and quickly swallows him. Inside, he finds the spirit of Haruko and promptly exits through the head of the Great Lord. As he does this, we see him actually exit the body of Soro. One bullet kills the body of Haruko, finally setting her spirit free to rest in peace. They can be together again to join the spirits once and for all, because, as we know, The Crow is already dead and the spirit of Jamie Osterberg can now join her.

A good ending to this story arc, especially the way Jamie made his way through the various depths of Hell. Well-drawn and a fitting ending. 8/10

Random Nonsense Review — December 10, 2012

Random Nonsense Review


We were kindly asked to review this short comic, written by Chris Fry, which is described on the cover as “a quaint little comic book.” First off, I want to say that this is not my usual cup of tea. I mainly read superhero comics, so this is something new for me. But, every once in a while, I like to expand my horizons and go outside the box a little bit, with varied results. Let me just say that, in this case, I’m glad I did. It’s 30 pages, which is about the standard amount for a comic, but it’s a very quick read. Bear in mind that it’s called “Random Nonsense,” so you can’t read something like this and expect a grim and gritty annotated Alan Moore graphic novel with deep philosophical meaning.

I’m glad to say that this book totally lives up to its name, in every sense. Is it random? Check. Is it nonsense? Yep. What it also is is very entertaining. To start off, we’re given a sense of what to expect with the introduction by Chris, which already had me smirking to myself. First, we’re introduced to Jimmy the Beaver, who spills the beans on why the other animals in the forest love his moonshine so much. Next, we’re introduced to a mad scientist and his very special canine pal, The Terrifying WienerWolf, who is anything but. Thirdly, we are given a special glimpse at the “beauty and magic” of Mother Nature, in my favorite part of the book that actually had me laughing out loud. And, lastly, in the most amusing and lengthy of the segments, we are introduced to “The Partially True Story of Opposite Land,” which is actually quite an accurate portrayal of odd human behavior, involving freeloading Becky and her well-meaning friend, Sue. The author invites us to decide “which parts are true?”, so I would imagine this might be a personal account of events that transpired in his own life. I will say that I can attest to knowing that people like Becky exist. She and people like her are, most certainly, all too real. There are lots of crazy loons out there, in fact. This actually attempts to explain why they exist. Makes sense to me.

What’s also interesting about this book, besides the hilarious subject matter, is the various styles of art used throughout, ranging from cartoony renderings to more abstract styles, in certain segments. This type of comic isn’t everyone’s type of humor and may have some readers scratching their heads in bewilderment, but I have to admit that I did enjoy it for what it was, considering how short it was. You can find it on for $0.99, so you can’t really complain about not getting your money’s worth. Despite this reading more as a sampler of what Mr. Fry has to offer, it is an entertaining read, nonetheless, and shows a lot of promise. Particularly, if you like this type of bizarre and twisted humor. While I do wish it had been a tad longer, I very much look forward to hearing more from this writer.

You can buy this book for your Kindle here:

Give it a try!

Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 Review — November 27, 2012

Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 Review

This issue continues from the last with Emma under the control of the new Hellfire Club and Steed in a struggle to save his partner. Fans of the TV series might remember part of this story from a black and white episode of the Avengers called “A Touch of Brimstone” when Emma is brainwashed by the Hellfire Club and is named the Queen of Sin. Steed finds a way to break her free, then a battle between two of the world’s greatest spies and the Hellfire Club emerges. Steed and Peel discover that the nuclear attack that hit London was a hoax and the Hellfire Club goal was to used it to take control of London. Another plus with this issue is how unlikeable the villains are depicted. While reading this issue I kept waiting for Steed and Peel to get their revenge on the arrogant new Hellfire Club. Sometimes it’s good to have clear-cut bad guys versus good guys in a story.

Waid and Monroe do an excellent job capturing the relationship between Steed and Peel with the dialogue. Although they are not a couple, there is a very subtle romantic atmosphere surrounding the two that really pays tribute to the television series. Will Sliney’s art may not be what many would consider great, but it certainly is different from other artist out there. The flat, two-dimensional characters give the book a retro look which I really like and thinks it fits well with this type of story. My only complaint is I would like for him to capture the look of the actors from the original series more often, but that’s just a nitpick.

For someone who almost stopped reading this comic after the first issue, I am really surprised at how much I have enjoyed it. I give this a 9/10. Steed and Mrs. Peel have certainly become series added to my pull list.

Ex-Sanguine: Penthouse #2 Review — November 18, 2012

Ex-Sanguine: Penthouse #2 Review

Issue #1 introduced us to vampire, Saul Adams, who has been set up for a murder he didn’t commit. Only wanting a quiet life, he had integrated himself into his town, mixing freely with the locals and enjoying a life without the pain that being a vampire brought on him. This has all been turned on its head after he met diner waitress, Ashley. She knows what Saul is and feels an attachment to him. She is also the Sanguine Killer, who has been murdering countless people in and around the town. Saul spurns her advances, so she sets him up when she kills her ex-boyfriend by planting Saul’s journal at the scene. Whether Saul wants to or not, he is being dragged deeper and deeper and, the further he gets, the more chance his bloodlust will be awakened with horrific results. Tim Seeley is not messing about with this story, as we already know the identity of the Sanguine Killer and the truth about Saul. The only thing that was left open from issue #1 is the past of Agent Quinn, as we were teased with a page or two, which has only deepened the mystery.

Realizing that he has been set up by Ashley, he sits in the interrogation room, plotting his revenge. He knows he is innocent and the fact that his journal doesn’t phase him at all. He screws with the minds of Quinn and Franks with macabre pleasure. The agents have no evidence, apart from the journal, and are forced to let him go. Meeting Ashley and thanking her for the alibi, he realizes that his primal feelings for Ashley are growing stronger by the minute. Something has been awoken in him that has lain dormant for decades. His past is about to rear its fangs again.

Ashley persuades Saul to break into a penthouse with her, which they easily do by turning into smoke, enabling them easy passage. Inside, Saul is immediately drawn to the deep sea fish the owner has in the room. As we saw in issue #1, Saul has the same fish in his own flat. The occupier appears, firing at them both. Ashley dives at him with her knife and bites a huge chunk out of his neck. Firing at her again, he smashes the fish tank, which immediately turns Saul. He easily kills him and feeds on the dead body. This is when the story flips again, as we are shown Ashley getting sexually aroused by the dormant vampire within Saul. So much so that she demands they make love in front of a mirror, so she can gaze upon his true form. Ashley wants to be turned, but Saul talks her out of it, as he regards immortality as a curse, seeing loved ones come and go and the boredom factor kicking in after a few decades.

So the Sanguine Killer has claimed another victim, with the help of Saul. He is in this up to his neck, but it doesn’t bother him, as he has fallen under Ashley’s spell. Two questions remain unanswered, though. Why did she pick that specific penthouse to break into and kill its occupant? What was she after? We find out at the end of this issue, as Franks works out that it was a fountain pen she was after all the time. Which raises more questions. What’s so special about it and why did she go to so much trouble for it? The pen connects her ex-boyfriend, Lesser, and the penthouse owner, Williams, together and it, no doubt, has a connection to Alvarez at the beginning of issue #1. This pen must be something very special. Roll on issue #3.

A twisted and dark story, well-written by Seeley and Emmons. One that is full of tension and surprises, cleverly created and illustrated by Seeley. Another 8/10.

Ex-Sanguine: The Hollow Man #1 Review —

Ex-Sanguine: The Hollow Man #1 Review

I was originally drawn to this comic when I heard that Tim Seeley was collaborating with Joshua Scott Emmons on the story and also creating the cool artwork. Tim has also contributed to “Hack/Slash” and “Witchblade,” which I also enjoy, but it’s “Revival” that I think has been his best work up until now. So I was looking forward to see if this story is of the same standards and I need to say I wasn’t disappointed. Anyone who has read “Revival” and is expecting the same subtle approach to the Horror genre is in for a shock, as Seeley is going all out to shock, but not in the expense of a strong story, I’m glad to say. Right from the opening page, you get the feeling this is not for the faint of heart, as we are witness to torture and murder. We don’t see the killer, so it gets you thinking straight away. I somehow have the feeling that this is just an appetizer of what’s ahead. Read on and decide for yourself if Ex-Sanguine is something you want to get your teeth into.

Saul Adams is a vampire who has been around for centuries. Boredom and familiarity have replaced his natural bloodlust, but all that is about to change, as he finds himself mixed up in the Sanguine serial killer case. Two F.B.I. agents are investigating the case and have arrived to question Saul, asking where he was the previous night. He is completely innocent and tells them he was in the diner and he has plenty of witnesses to back him up. Saul finds himself getting dragged back into his horrible past. The worst thing being is the fact that this is something he doesn’t want. Quinn is one of the agents questioning Saul. She is a profiler and seems to have a dark past that, while it doesn’t come to light in this issue, I’m sure it will be a relevant factor in the story to come.

In the diner, Saul mixes with the usual selection of people, but seems to have developed a strange connection to Ashley, one of the waitresses. She looks like an innocent girl, but that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. When her ex-boyfriend comes in and stirs trouble, it’s left to Saul to sort him out. In the back alley, he shows his true self by bearing his fangs for the first time in years. As he gets ready to kill Toby, he is beaten to it by Ashley, as she slices his jugular. A shocked Saul realizes that she is the Sanguine killer. This doesn’t sit well with him, as the whole situation has drawn too much attention to the town… the place where Saul felt ordinary and where he could easily keep his bloodlust at bay. Angrily, he leaves Ashley to clean up her own mess and disappears. In his haste to get away, Saul had left his journal at the scene and Ashley will make sure the police find it and tie him to the murder. As the agents knock on his door again, Saul looks through the peep hole and notices his journal in Quinn’s hand. He now realizes what had happened and the fact that he has been framed.

I really enjoyed this story, as it gets turned on its head with the introduction of Ashley and the realization of her secret. Also, the way that Saul is an unwilling vampire desperate to live a normal life. The past of Quinn that was hinted at is also cool. Seeley’s artwork is good, especially in the close-up frames, well drawn and clear as it gets the twists and turns of the story across without a problem. 8/10 for issue #1.

Punk Rock Jesus #5 Review — November 16, 2012

Punk Rock Jesus #5 Review

The second coming of the Messiah hasn’t really worked out the way people may have perceived. He now fronts one of the last punk bands in the world, which is not the acceptable behavior of someone held in such high regard by so many people. Right from the day he was conceived, by fertilizing an egg with DNA from the Turin shroud and implanting it in a virgin, this whole concept has been frowned upon by the world’s religious leaders. Kept a prisoner by the J2 Project, he was brainwashed into believing he was Jesus, causing all sorts of problems for all involved, but the tables have been well and truly turned. With his mother murdered at the hands of Slate and his bodyguard, Thomas, hot on his heals, Chris has seriously rebelled against all he is meant to stand for and the world is going to have to deal with the consequences. Sean murphy has created such a controversial character, but, as the story has developed, I can’t stop feeling sorry for him. His pre-scripted life and the death of his mother has flipped a switch in his head and I, for one, can’t blame him. The artwork deserves a mention, too. It’s really well-drawn, including the close-up scenes and the larger frames are also handled well. So read on to see if Chris continues kicking the world’s ass!

The Flak Jackets carry on their gig, while telling their fans to turn on the reporters that are there to try and get a scoop… and they’re certainly going to get one. The riots that ensue wreck the venue, causing the management to lock the band in their dressing room until J2 pays for the damage. As they argue, a familiar face appears. Thomas has tracked Chris down to take him back to the J2 Project, but that isn’t going to happen. Chris persuades Thomas to be the band’s security for the upcoming tour. Thomas didn’t have a chance, as thousands of fans wouldn’t have let him leave with Chris. The world domination meticulously worked out by Chris can begin. People are starting to turn against religion and even the world’s scientists are respecting his views. Daisy Milton and her NAC (New American Christians) will do their best to put him back on the righteous path, but it’s too late for that. Rick slate has been conspicuous in his absence since Chris joined the Flak Jackets… in the public eye, at least. Behind the scenes is a different story, offering him money and all other incentives and threats, but to no avail. Even Sarah has taken her daughter, Rebekah, to see Chris in the slim hope of halting this madness. They, too, fail, as Chris leaves them standing and wondering, fearful of what lies ahead.

The Flak Jackets start their tour with Thomas as head of everything, it seems, including the tour bus they are on. The back of the bus contains weapons and Thomas’ motorbike. With the pull of a lever, a ramp drops and Thomas appears on his bike to tackle the NAC that are on their tail. Thomas easily takes them out, but Daisy Milton is injured in the process. He takes her to the hospital, much to the disgust of Chris. Thomas tries to reason with Chris by saying that the NAC will never stop chasing, but that is exactly what Chris wants. He desires anarchy throughout the world and it’s him against religion.

A flashback shows Thomas in Ireland again, planting a car bomb for the IRA. A bus full of children rolls up, just before detonation. Thomas tries to move the bus, but the bomb goes off, killing innocent children. This is why I think he has had a close relationship with Chris. He thinks all the bad he had done throughout the years was setting a path for him to meet Gwen. Now, he can do some good. Daisy is awake and tries to reason with Chris, but he blames her and religion for everything. This is the final straw, as Chris states that The Flak Jackets are going to tour every religious hotspot, starting with Jerusalem. Even his band members are starting to think Chris has gone too far and, for the record, so do I.

“Fantastic,” “controversial,” “inspirational”… these are words to describe this story, depending on your beliefs and, with only one more issue to go, it gets another 10/10, because it makes you think.