Monday, August 19, 2019

Rant-Reviews: No Theme in Particular

No Particular Theme
Sometimes when I do these capsule-style reviews there is a particular theme to it all. That honestly is not really the case here. These are just some recently-released comics that I read and had enough of an opinion about to share some thoughts. Enjoy!

Comics and Thoughts About Them

Eternal Thirst of Dracula Book 2 #1
Friend of the blog Mike Wolfer returns with his intriguing, "Dracula in the Tropics circa 1975," series, with Elmer Cantada providing wonderfully lush and creepy artwork. This issue involves a lot of talk as the character who is a descendant of Van Helsing fills his friends-in on just how crazy things have become with Count Dracula wanting his help to destroy a certain breed of vampire who want to destroy both the original vamps and humans. Compared to some of the earlier-issues this one is a bit lighter on action, but there is a nice human-vampire fight at the end of the issue that keeps the pace-up. A good read, in other words.
4 out of 5 stars.

Savage Avengers #4
There are, "Avengers," comics that are very serious and deal in heavy subjects, and then there is the gleeful madness found in, "Savage Avengers." Written by Gerry Duggan it is bonkers. Whether it was Conan the Barbarian (he's in the modern age of Marvel now, don't question it) swinging a passed-out Wolverine around like a weapon to slice people-up last issue or a weird dino-shaped Venom fighting an ancient God of blood-lust in this issue, I was right to predict, "Savage Avengers," was gonna be a weird and fun read. With Mike Deodato providing the artwork too everything looks even more simultaneously gorgeous and grotesque thanks to how the man knows his way around drawing big spurts of blood. It is a bizarre comic. I love it.
5 out of 5 stars.

Black Hammer/Justice League #2
I am a huge fan of almost anything Jeff Lemire does with his, "Black Hammer," brand of comics. Whether it is the original series, its sequel, "Black Hammer: The Dark Age," or the spin-offs, almost everything has been superb (I'll admit, "The Quantum Age," dragged a bit for me, however). That said, "Black Hammer/Justice League," is not outright, "Wowing," me but also is far from a disappointment. Essentially it has the main characters from, "Black Hammer," finding themselves suddenly swapped with some key members of the Justice League with one team suddenly in Metropolis and the Leaguers now on the mysterious farm from, "Black Hammer," convinced they've been trapped there for a decade even though its only been a day.

There are some nice little flourishes to the book, such as Gail being annoyed she can't swear freely in the DC-world and Bruce Wayne practically going-mad from how peaceful life is when he thirsts for a crime to fight, but overall nothing that, "Big," is being said other than how, yeah, it would be pretty zany if these characters switched realities. Perhaps as the book proceeds a point behind all of this (besides Dark Horse and DC making money) will become clear, but right now this is more of a, "Wouldn't it be cool if these characters swapped places," kind of story than something deeper--which is a little disappointing considering how clever the, "Black Hammer," books at times can be.
3 out of 5 stars.

Show's End #1
A new release from Mad Cave Studios, this book is focused upon a traveling freak-show when decades ago when such a thing was a common sight. Back then freak shows were both popular and looked-at with immense suspicion. Writer Anthony Cleveland portrays this well and introduces another wrinkle to the story with a young girl who seems normal and wants to tag-along with the freak show but may be the most dangerous person under the big-top. Jeferson Sadzinski provides some stellar illustration, making the, "Freaks," look different but never as gross caricatures--with the writing by Cleveland also expertly walking the fine line of portraying these people whose varying disabilities rendered them judged by a society they just wanted to survive in. I look forward to the next issue for sure!
5 out of 5 stars.

White Trees #1
Reading this comic published by Image and written by the generally-zany Chip Zdarsky with artwork by Kris Anka set in a fantasy world where a bunch of retired warriors have to rescue their kids could have been formulaic, but three things make this delightfully different.

1. The heroes once were mighty but are really out-of-practice to an almost embarrassing degree.

2. A number of characters are Queer which is nice in the often super-Heteronormative field of Fantasy stories.

3. Kris Anka draws a lot of dongs.

Now, the comic is not an, "Adult," read, but just sometimes has a dong show-up in the same manner that lots of comics seem to randomly have topless women as fan-service, but here the fan service is a big elf-penis. Between the solid writing mixed with great fight-scenes and plentiful phallus-appearances this comic has something for everyone and is a good start to the two-issue mini-series (yep, it is just two over-sized issues, interestingly). If you like fantasy stories and enjoy (or at least don't mind) illustrated dicks this is a comic you ought to read.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

In Conclusion...
To conclude, we talked about a wide-range of comics from heroic cross-overs, to the freak-shows of the past, and well-drawn male genitals. Yeah, there really wasn't much of theme at all today besides how comics are fun to read, was there?

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