Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rant-Reviews: Image Firsts and Seconds

The Beginning (or Near it)
I enjoy first issues as well as second issues of comics (which sometimes help further flesh-out a story). I also am often a fan of books released by Image Comics. How about we combine these elements and review some Image first issues and second issues?

Starts and Seconds
Paradiso #1
I found this book both fascinating and mostly indecipherable. Best I can tell, there is a city known as Paradiso that everyone wants to get into but many have died trying. We have a protagonist who may have an, "In," with a special mechanical tool, but its stolen by some weird robotic dudes. Look, I was really lost reading this but it looked darn good and was still fun, so I ain't mad. Still, this is actually a title that maybe it would benefit me to have been able to already read the second issue--or even further ahead as this seems like a really slow burn of a book. All of my confusion aside, the artwork and atmosphere have my interest piqued enough I would rate this a worthwhile 3 out of 5 stars. You can get a copy of, "Paradiso," at Things From Another World, on eBay, or via MyComicShop

Sleepless #1
Now we go from a really confusing book to this one that is actually really straightforward. Basically, we have a daughter of a deceased King who is illegitimate (e.g. the King made a baby with somebody besides his wife) but still a part of the court. Her uncle is taking over and she may be in danger, but has a member of the Court to protect her whom she clearly has some romantic chemistry with. The whole thing read kind of like a Young Adult romance novel with an elaborate fantasy world, PG-level affection, and while I'm not really the target demographic I still actually liked this a good deal. Our princess (affectionately nicknamed, "Poppy," by some) is a fun character, her protector is a pleasant guy, and the mystery of who might want to assassinate her introduces enough conflict to keep things interesting. I quite liked this and would eagerly rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Get yourself a copy from eBay, at Things From Another World, or at MyComicShop.

Hack Slash Resurrection #2
I've been reading the, "Hack Slash," series off-and-on since its early days at Devils Due (before the company folded and then was reborn) and when it moved to Image. Original writer Tim Seeley had an interesting concept in a girl named Cassie Hack who went around with her friend Vlad killing, "Slashers." Kind of the super, "Final Girl," her job was to take out those supernatural killing machines that we know so well from horror movies. A whole elaborate continuity was built up over many, many issues, but for this re-launch of the series with new writer Tini Howard (whom Seeley has eagerly endorsed) the series has clever dropped much of the baggage and just told us what we know to tell an interesting story. Cassie killed Slashers because her mother once was one, her friend Vlad died, and she quit.

The first issue showed Cassie being recruited to come work at a camp and this issue follows her as she learns the camp is actually a place for kids who have lost loved ones to Slashers and want to be trained in killing these supernatural monsters. The second issue is as strong as the first with a mixture of humor and the clever way it shows how world-weary Cassie has become. When she confronts someone reanimating dead bodies she declares she doesn't even care about the fact the man is making zombies because she is exhausted debating the ethics of such things, she just wants him to keep the damn things contained so the camp she works at can be safe. This example of a darkly humorous scene encapsulates much of the comic's charm. Whether you're a long time fan of this series or brand-new to it I would for sure recommend this book with an eager 4.5 out of 5 stars. Grab this issue at MyComicShop, on eBay, or at Things From Another World.

Void Trip #1
It's the future (I think) and humans have the ability to travel through space. Some, like our two main characters in this comic, use that power for little more than getting high off various alien fruits. Yeah, this is clearly a quirky little book and I found it very silly (in a good way). Still, like Paradiso I found myself a little confused just what exactly was going on and didn't feel much of a connection to the main characters. The great amount of humor and jokes kept things entertaining however so I'd say this squeaked into a 3 out of 5 stars rating with future issues potentially scoring more or less depending on how much more characterization and plot development we get. The first issue of, "Void Trip," can be bought from eBay, via Things From Another World, or at MyComicShop in addition to all other finer comic stores.

Witchblade #1
I've only read bits and pieces of the old classic, "Witchblade," comics from back in the day, and this is a complete re-launch in a whole new Universe completely removed from any connection to the old stories outside of the most basic concepts of what the Witchblade is (a mystical tool, obviously). I'll be honest and tell you that not much about this issue grabbed me. The characters were bland, the art was passable but unimpressive, and the whole thing was just purely passable. Nothing was about this book, but I didn't start getting interested until right at the end when the powers of the Witchblade manifested in a spectacularly violent fashion. It was alright and I'd give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. Visit Things From Another World, eBay, or MyComicShop to buy yourself a copy.

No. 1 With a Bullet #2
I absolutely loved the first issue of this comic and having read the second I continue to be fascinated. This slightly off-kilter version of our world with technology having become even more intrusive than it already is presents a stark view of the kind of path we're heading down. The protagonist, Nash, is dealing with the fallout of a sex tape leaking that she didn't even realize was being made because the person she was having sex with happened to be wearing special contacts that can record anything the wearer does. The result is Nash feeling violated and really, really pissed. There are clearly other malevolent forces involved in utilizing this technology and I continue to be excited to see where the story goes next. This stellar book easily achieves 5 out of 5 stars. Buy this latest issue at MyComicShop or on eBay.

Done with the Ones and Twos
These newer books from Image either were okay, quite good, or just plain stellar. The best part is that as all of these comics are only brand-new debuts or in their second issues it's incredibly easy for you to start reading and enjoying them too (at least, the ones I liked and would recommend). Now the only hard part is waiting patiently for the next issues of these books!

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