Friday, December 23, 2016

Rant-Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4

A 1st Issue, 2nd Issue and so Forth
With my affinity for numbers I'll often discuss first issues, or penultimate issues, and so forth. This time I thought I would count-up to four and review a debut issue of a comic, a 2nd issue, 3rd, and 4th. Why am I doing this? For no reason really other than it's fun!

Let the Counting Commence!
Atoll #1
This is a strange little comic from what I believe is a newer publisher (Creative Mind Energy) and has Tim Daniel (of "Enormous" fame) writing it. There are two different concepts here being smashed together in a way that maybe shouldn't work, but at least in this initial issue it does. We have two people who are a couple as well as rich and famous for very different reasons--a female professional athlete who has won Olympic gold and a genius programmer behind a popular app--and they've been abducted to witness and (I assume) take part in a twisted arena-contest broadcast over the Internet to a rich paying audience, where people "fight" against a Great White Shark. I put the word fight in quotation marks because it isn't a fair contest--the people are naked, covered in Chum and given only a sharp knife to protect themselves whilst swimming in deep ocean-water.

So, we've got the, "Rich people kidnapped by a evil mysterious entity that one of them may have wronged," plot as well as the, "People forced to fight and die for the entertainment of others in a sea-based Gladiatorial-style-but-with-a-shark," motif. It's a little bit, "Taken-meets-Saw-meets-Deep Blue Sea," with no Liam Neeson in sight coming to save the day (or Samuel L. Jackson to suddenly be engulfed by a shark). The overall conceit is arguably, "Rich people are terrible, especially to other rich people who have wronged them," with a big hungry shark thrown-in to bolster the drama further. For now there are a lot of unanswered questions (the couple clearly wasn't taken at random, who funds these shark fights, etc.) but this first issue presents the mysteries in an entertaining enough way I am genuinely curious what happens next.
3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Widow: Progeny #2
This book is a spin-off of Mike Wolfer's main, "Widow," comics that focuses on the island that created the horrific spider-human creatures. I quite liked the first issue of "Widow: Progeny," as a ton of cool stuff occurred. This issue has a lot more time spent laying the ground-work for what I imagine will be some big fights (inner-quarrels among the spider-people are becoming obvious) and therefore is a bit quieter in terms of events. Writer Mike Wolfer knows how to build suspense though, and this issue isn't without some gross bloodshed and more examples of how the ability of the spider-folk to seduce and then kill humans can lead to results that quickly go from sexy to grotesque. I'm just getting worried about if any members of the Coast Guard will be able to survive the island at this rate, and I imagine upcoming issues will answer that query with a bloody, "No, things are gonna just get more violent and scary." Superb stuff!
4 out of 5 Stars.

Jessica Jones #3
Some time ago writer Brian Michael Bendis and illustrator Michael Gaydos gave us the amazing comic, "Alias." A part of Marvel's then-new, "Max," line of comics, it took place in the, "Regular," Marvel Universe but was decidedly more adult. Full of uncensored swear words up to and often including the first official Marvel use of, "Fuck," Alias also had some nudity, and extreme violence. It was truly, "Mature," too however, covering the complicated life of former superhero Jessica Jones as she dealt with having powers she couldn't quite manage (she can fly but can't land well, is strong but gets hurt easily, etc.) and tried to figure out her relationships with other super-folk. It was really good, but ended and had a kinda-sorta follow-up known as, "The Pulse," before Jones just sorta popped-up in various, "Avengers" titles getting married to Luke Cage and having a baby with him. It was okay, but not the same. Until now!

"Alias," is back, thanks in part to the successful Netflix show, but because there was that television show about a spy with the same name it simply is called, "Jessica Jones," like the aforementioned Netflix show. A lot of changes have happened in Jones life since the series ended, but having it be Bendis and Gaydos doing the comic feels like a nice return home (they occasionally teamed-up on the other stuff but not on a true return to, "Alias," I would say). Since we are only on the 3rd issue a lot of mysteries are in the air, but clearly Jessica did something to alienate a lot of the super-hero community, and is keeping Luke from seeing their child for what may be good reasons or dumb and hurtful ones. In order to have some feeling of normalcy she has attempted to take on cases, but one case has taken a dark and murderous turn. So yeah, everything is going horribly wrong for her in a very interesting way, just like as with the old, "Alias," comic. It is some stellar stuff and even if Bendis occasionally has turned in hot garbage (the man just should not do team books or events) when he is writing a solo character he cares about, he does it masterfully.
5 out of 5 stars.

Glitterbomb #4
I'm not sure when fifth issue will be coming out, but the end of this comic indicates the story will be continued. I'm curious where it will go next because things ended in a quite nasty way for many of the main characters in the book--to the credit of writer Jim Zub I did not see something that monstrous coming. I said in my review of the first issue I wasn't sure if I would want to keep following it, but I did as each issue continued to get more and more interesting until the bloody climax in this final(?) for now issue. The plot has basically been how Hollywood ruins people, and is especially awful to women (a motif furthered by articles written by actual women who worked in Hollywood). Therefore, when an evil energy gets inside an angry, desperate, and sad actress, it is only all-to-easy for a lot of shit to go down. A depressing but solid read.
3 out of 5 stars.

Done Counting
I'm done counting for now, but enjoyed how this went. Maybe I should do something like this again in the future with the same numbers or even higher ones? Could be a good time!

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