Posts Tagged With: Image Comics

Review: Jack Kirby’s Silver Star Hardcover Collection

silver-star-hcTitle: Jack Kirby’s Silver Star Hardcover Collection

Publisher: Image Comics (hardcover collection), Pacific Comics (original issues)

Cost: $34.99

Storytellers: Jack Kirby (creator/writer/pencils), Mike Royer (inks/letters, issues #1-4), D. Bruce Berry (inks/letters, issues #5-6).

Truly Jack Kirby’s wildest concept, Silver Star tells the story of Morgan Miller, a name who is the next evolution of human: Homo-Geneticus! During an engagement Viet Nam, Morgan displays a feat of incredible strength, by lifting a throwing a tank, and afterward discovers his true potential, as a super-powered being. Wearing a silver suit, designed to contain his powers, Morgan becomes the Silver Star, a man with the abilities of atom rearrangement (think Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen), he can teleport, astral project and create with a thought. He becomes aware that his father, a doctor and scientist, had experimented on many subjects, including his own son, while they were in the womb, in order to create a version of man who could withstand the atomic bomb. Morgan is connected to these “Others” and wishes to seek them out in order to stop one of their own, the villain Darius Drumm, a powerful Homo-Geneticus who was raised by a cult, which has given him many mental scars (to match his outward ones) and seeks to remake the world as he sees fit. Drumm and Morgan seek the “Others”, with Drumm killing off most but Morgan is able to find a few, one of which is a female stunt woman named Norma Richmond, with whom he starts a relationship and helps him defeat Drumm.

My synopsis on this one isn’t great, because there is a lot going on here, but if you liked anything that I mentioned, then you must read this, because I absolutely loved this story! I love, pretty much everything that Jack Kirby has created, so I can’t tell if I’m biased or not, but I thought that there were some very interesting concepts here, that could have been explored, had this been written in a post-Watchmen era. Jack’s art is fantastic and the new coloring makes each page stand out, especially Jack’s double-paged splash pages. The story is good, but most of the dialogue is a bit dated by now, but that’s to be expected. This collection also includes a copy of Jack Kirby’s original screenplay, because this story was meant to be a movie with the ability to expand into other mediums.

I picked this one up on a whim, not knowing what to expect from it and I’m glad that I did! This was the last series that Kirby did and I think that he ended his creative and professional career on a high note!

Recommended

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Monday Art Attack: Pretty Deadly Vol 1 TPB Cover by Emma Rios

Pretty Deadly Vol 1 TPB Cover by Emma Rios

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Review: Pretty Deadly Volume 1- The Shrike Paperback Collection

pretty-deadly-vol-1-tpbTitle: Pretty Deadly Volume 1- The Shrike Paperback Collection

Publisher: Image Comics

Cost: $9.99

Storytellers: Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer) with Emma Rios (artist)

Pretty Deadly is a magical/mythological tale with a western skin, it tells the story of a little girl, who is wearing the skin of a vulture, who is being chased by death. To say anything more would give too much away…if I actually understood what was going on in this one!

After reading Monstress, this paperback collection was recommended. I love the fact that Image Comics publishes inexpensive first volumes, in order to ease entry into a new title, but I really feel that this title doesn’t deserve your money!

I really have no idea what I just read (REALLY!), as both, the story and the art, are a bit hard to follow at times. While the overall art is beautiful, I feel that it doesn’t help the narrative. There were time that I had a hard time knowing where to read, as there are plenty of pages without the standard panel layout. I’ve read “artsy” comics before, but this one will only appeal to a few. While I do prefer my four-color adventures to feature super-heroes, I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone and give something new a shot, and this title didn’t appeal to me at all. It may appeal to some, but I think you should just…

Pass

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Review: Montress Volume 1- Awakening Paperback Collection

Monstress Vol 1- AwakeningTitle: Montress Volume 1- Awakening Paperback Collection

Publisher: Image Comics

Cost: $9.99

Storytellers: Majorie Liu (writer) with Sana Takeda (artist)

Fist off, I’m going to say that I love this inexpensive, first trades from Image! This book has nearly 200 pages, collecting the first six issues of this series, for only $10…that’s a steal!

Anyway, the story of Monstress, takes place in a alternate world of steampunk and magic. The story follows Maika Halfwolf, a young girl looking for revenge after a war between humans and the magic folk. Maika has something inside of her that everyone wants, some to use, others to kill, and all she wants is to avenger her mother and free herself of her hunger, which is caused by the “thing” inside of her.

The book is fantastic! The art is incredible and the story is interesting, keeping you on your toes and making you want to learn more about the world and these characters. The best comics, for me, are ones with very interesting and different setting. If I find myself thinking about how I could run this as a D&D game or wishing that there was a world supplement, then you’ve got me. The story, and setting, blend all kinds of different genres, including fantasy, Asian myth, steampunk, and Lovecraftian horror all in one incredible package. Although, I can see why this title my turn a few off, as it comes out of the gate with all kinds of new vocabulary and references to events that you know nothing about yet, but I ask you to stick with it, at least through this first collection. There is a lot in here and it’s well worth the time and price!

Recommended

 

 

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Review: Rat Queens Special: Braga #1

Rat Queens Special #1- BragaTitle: Rat Queens Special: Braga #1

Publisher: Image Comics

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Kurtis J Wiebe (writer) with Tess Fowler (artist)

While with her newest ‘conquest’, Braga tells Dave of her past, where she came from and. mostly, how she got here! We learn that Braga was once Broog, the eldest son of an orc chieftain, who has won a major victory for his people. However, Broog doesn’t enjoy the lifestyle of his people and is tired of conquest and bloodshed, and wishes to give up his duty as the next chieftain. Broog’s father is outraged by this and sends his younger son after Broog. When this plan fails, and Broog’s best friend (and possible lover) is killed, Broog hacks off his own brother’s arm and takes him back to his father. Broog is outcast from the tribe and never looks back. Which is here we are at the present, as Dave and Braga attempt to enjoy themselves one last time before heading out!

Another great issue of Rat Queens, this time focusing on a minor character, who will probably be the fifth member of the team some day. I do not mind Braga’s back story as an orc prince, and I glad that this series is constantly progressive, giving us all kinds of heroes, of different sexual orientations and identities. I’m not entirely sure how one has a sex change in a fantasy world, but I’m going to say…magic! A great story with good art (which kinda reminds me a little of Elfquest)!

Recommended

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Review: Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth Paperback Collection

Rat Queens Vol 2Title: Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth Paperback Collection

Publisher: Image Comics

Cost:$14.99

Storytellers: Kurtis J Wiebe (writer) with Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic (artists)

The girls survive the party and discover that Bernadette, the woman who tried to have them killed, is missing, but Sawyer is on the case. While following the clues, Sawyer is captured by Gerrig, who has stolen the ceremonial mask of N’Rygoth and is going to use it to summon chaos beasts on Palisades. The Queens meet Dee’s husband, also a worshiper of N’Rygoth, who tells the girls about the mask. Learning more about the girls’ pasts, they are forced to team up with Braga and some of the Daves to take down Gerrig and save Sawyer, Palisades and the world from ever last chaos!

A very brief synopsis of this wonderful collection! I’m sorry that it’s taken me this long to discover this series, but I do feel that reading it in trade format is probably the ideal way to enjoy it. This volume continues the fantastic adventures of the Rat Queens, delving more into the past of some of our heroines, while others are sidelined, for now. We get more about Dee, but not nearly enough, as I still find her the most interesting character in this series. We do get more about Vi and Hannah’s backgrounds, which primarily fill the second half of this paperback collection. I can’t wait for volume 3 and hope that it gives us more of Betty and her past!

Recommended

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Review: Rat Queens Volume 1- Sass & Sorcery Paperback Collection

Rat Queens Vol-01Title: Rat Queens Volume 1- Sass & Sorcery Paperback Collection

Publisher: Image Comics

Cost: $9.99

Storytellers: Kurtis J Wiebe (writer) with Roc Upchurch (artist)

In this first volume we are introduced to the Rat Queens, a group of adventurers, who kinda make more of a mess than help anyone out. The girls are drunks, mushroom users and are so not the normal adventuring party you would see in a D&D campaign. The Rat Queen “leader” is Hannah, an elven mage, who happens to channel dark magic. The group’s fighter is Violet, a dwarf who has shaven off her beard, because it’s what all the cool kids are doing these days. The Rat Queen thief is Betty, a Hobbit Halfling Smidgen who loves to drink and eat ‘shrooms. Finally we get to Dee, the groups cleric, who happens to worship (or used to) an Elder, Cthulhu-like god, and has a secret past of her own. The girls have all sorts of problems, like most citizens of the town don’t appreciate them, constantly in jail because of their antics, have horrible love lives, and always get the worst quests. On a particular quest day, several groups get assignments and head off for glory and treasure, only to end up being set up and killed by mysterious assassins. Through investigation and magic, the girls stumble upon the person setting them up and have to save the town from a troll army.

I has hesitant at first, because as a D&D fan, it’s hard to find good D&D-like fantasy comics. I tend to like my fantasy more serious, but I must admit, this series is freakin’ crazy, in a good way! This comic, while featuring an entire female adventuring group, is not for little girls…or boys, for that matter, as it has a lot of cursing, violence, blood and “adult situations”. With that said, if you like modern comedies and D&D style of fantasy, then you will love this series. I think my favorite character is Dee, who doesn’t get a lot to do in this first volume, but I’ve started on the second one, and it focuses mostly on her and her religion. So if you like foul mouthed fantasy and sexy ladies stabbin’ and blastin’ monsters, then this is the collection for you!

Recommended

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Spawn by Mike Mignola

Spawn by Mike Mignola

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Tales from the Bargain Bin…Deathmate!

Deathmate PrologueIn the 90’s, comics exploded and several smaller publications gained the limelight and gave the “Big Two”, Marvel and DC, a run for their money. Two of the biggest, of these smaller, companies were Valiant Comics and Image Comics. In 1993, these two companies decided to team-up in an extravagant crossover  that hadn’t been seen before. Enter Deathmate! A six issue series of one-shots that contained the crossover goodness. There are two bookends, Deathmate Prologue and Deathmate Epilogue, both of which carried a $2.95 cover price, and four random one-shots, which could be read in any order so instead of numbering them, they went with color titles: Deathmate Black, Deathmate Blue, Deathmate Red and Deathmate Yellow. Half of the series was published by Valiant, while the other half was published by Image. These color issues carried a hefty price tag of $4.95 and were more like graphic novels than regular comics.

Deathmate BlackAs a kid, I never owned every Deathmate One-shot, only possessing the Prologue, Epilogue, Black, and Yellow. The high price tag of the color books prevented me from owning every title. I remember loving this event and ‘thinking’ it was the best crossover that I’ve ever read. Eventually I sold off much of my collection of the years, whether for space or finical reasons, but my Deathmate comics were ones that I had parted with. Just recently, my local comic store, Heroes My Mom Threw Out, was having a moving sale and had a bunch of comics outside the store in longboxes, for a quarter! In these longboxes, I found an Deathmate Bluealmost complete run of Deathmate, everything except Deathmate Red. Since they were only $0.25, I snatched them up! I’ve been in a Valiant Comics mood lately. If you hadn’t noticed that in the past month or so, I’ve read and reviewed about 7 different collections (the Volume 1s and Volume 2s) from the new Valiant Comics. So a chance to read and review Deathmate, albeit minus Deathmate Red, was on my mind when I grabbed these issues.

Now, I not totally oblivious to the fact, that most things that I loved as a child, with the exception of the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, don’t hold up as well as I remember. So going into this ‘Deathmate Experiment’ was scary. I didn’t want to tarnish something that I remember being good, but I also know that pretty much everything from Image Comics that I loved is utter, utter crap. However, to my surprise, Deathmate is not as bad as I was expecting, although, its not as great as I remember either.Deathmate Red

Most of the story occurs in the Prologue and Epilogue, where the heroes and villains prevent a split Solar from embracing…mating…no, Deathmating with Void, an Image WildC.A.T.S character. ‘Deathmate’ Solar and Void meet in the Prologue and the two company’s universe merge because of their love. However, the two universes should not be combined and all of reality is collapsing in one itself, from both the future and the past. The four colored one-shots give us a glimpse into this combined universe, however I can’t tell at times if Deathmate Yelloweach book is a separate world, or if they all take place on one combined Earth. Deathmate Black is a full issue tale about the the Gen 13 Resistance fighting back against Mother May I and her servant X-O Manowar. A bleak setting where characters die or are already killed. In this story, the heroes free Union, an Image character or instrumental in Deathmate Epilogue. In Deathmate Yellow, we get several stories, which involve: Armstrong and Ivan time jumping and witnessing the end of the future, an attempted assassination of Harada by Zealot, the end of the H.A.R.D.C.A.T.S., a battle involving Shadowman and Grifter and Master Darque making his plans to use Deathmate to his advantage. In Deathmate Blue we get more short stories, mostly involving Geoff, a Geomancer, and his quest to warn Harada about the Deathmate problem. Once young Geoff is able to convince Harada, the Harbinger calls on Solar for help. Solar then acquires Supreme for his assistance and the two meet up with Master Darque and his lackey, Doctor Eclipse. Together, the four make their way into Unreality and try and stop ‘Deathmate’ Solar from meeting Void. Everything ends in Deathmate Epilogue, where Solar, Supreme, Master Darque and Doctor Eclipse are meet by Union who joins them in stopping Deathmate. However, Master Darque has plans of his own and wants Deathmate to happen, so he can claim the power and become THE supreme being. Deathmate EpilogueEventually, Darque’s plan is foiled and Union and Solar prevent Deathmate and restore each universe.

OK, not great but not bad! While the story feels lacking, because they only have so many pages to tell a pretty epic story and because Image’s creators are mostly artists and not writers. On the art front, I find that the 90’s/Image art style is very dated and does not hold up well. The art in the beginning of the Prologue, which is penciled by Barry Windsor-Smith, and the art in the Epilogue, which is penciled by both Marc Silvestri and Joe Quesada, are amazing and hold up very well. I have a place in my heart for the art of the original Valiant Comics, which is featured heavily in Deathmates Yellow and Blue. There’s something about Valiant’s art that I love! Being a bigger Valiant fan, it was easier for me to know who all the major players were, but most of the Image characters have faded from memory and I didn’t know who some of them were.

All-in-all, I still like Deathmate! It had a fun premise, interesting characters and a lot a different creators. With all of the stories being one-shots, you can read this series in any order and still understand what’s going on. Also, Deathmate is STILL the biggest crossover event in comics history…in my opinion, anyway!

Recommended

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Spotlight: Krishna: A Journey Within

Krishna A Journey WithinTitle: Krishna- A Journey Within Paperback Graphic Novel

Publisher: Image Comics

Cost: $29.99

Storytellers: Abhishek Singh (writer and artist)

Krishna: A Journey Within is a paperback graphic novel published by Image Comics, from writer and artist Abhishek Singh, an artist, graphic novelist and animation designer and director. Krishna tells a very human story of Krishna, a Hindu deity and one of the avatars of Vishnu. Through out this graphic novel, we witness Krishna’s birth and “death” and see several important trials he faced in his life. I do not claim to be an expert on Hinduism, hell, I’m not even a novice, but I’m always attracted to other mythologies and religions. At first glance, I thought this title was over priced, but once I flipped through it, I couldn’t put it down. While walking around the comic store, I would pass by this title several times and picked it up each time. This is truly a GRAPHIC novel, but it’s not graphic in nature, in fact this title could be used to introduce Hindu mythology to young students/readers. This IS the most beautiful book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and owning. Every page…every panel is worthy of framing and displaying. I originally wanted to review this title, but I felt that a review wouldn’t do it justice. This is without a doubt a recommend, but you shouldn’t dive into this one without some knowledge of Hindu mythology or access to Google or Wikipedia. I’ll include some samples of Singh’s artwork, but if your interested in more, you can find his site here.

Krishna 01

Krishna 02

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