Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rant-Reviews--Discussing Comics in Numerical Order Again, Now with a Zero Issue!

Counting Again
Remember that time I reviewed a first issue, second issue, third issue, and fourth issue of some different comics? Yeah, that was fun. Let's do it again, but this time just to keep things fresh we'll throw in a zero issue!

Start The Numbers!
Vampirella #0
I haven't ever read too much Vampirella-related comics in the past, but have enjoyed what I've tried. When I heard a writer with some stellar comics under his belt, Paul Cornell, was doing a new take on the character that wasn't a reboot, but a bit of a fresh start, I was intrigued. I then saw that the debut #0 issue was just a 25-cents, literally a quarter (and sales tax depending on your state), and I knew I wanted to give it a try! This clearly is more of a prologue as we are told its the future, but only get a few hints of that. Then, some people revive Vampirella in an underground tomb because she needs to save the world from itself, or something, and that's about it. It's a fast read and the book ends as she escapes her former resting place to go into the new world. If I had paid $2.99 or $3.99 for this I maybe would have felt a little short-changed, but for just a quarter this is a great intro to the comic, and the way it acknowledges how Vampirella's twisty history may have truths as well as lies is clever too. This makes me interested in trying the next issue for sure, but it better reveal more or I'll be a bit perturbed!
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Crypt of Screams #1
I've of course enjoyed reading a number of works by Mike Wolfer and have interviewed him on various occasions for the blog. He's a great guy and as this first issue of, "Crypt of Screams," shows, a stellar creator as well. Drawing inspiration from the old horror comics of the past, he writes and illustrates the stories in this one-man anthology (with assists by other creators on tones and lettering). Thanks to getting funded via a Kickstarter, Wolfer was able to take this series to American Mythology Productions, a newer publisher who has put out other titles by Wolfer and will be putting out new works by him in the future too! Within this first issue with have three tales, with two clearly being full-on horror the last being a bit more of a sci-fi comic but still quite intense. 

The comics are in black-and-white but this is not at all to their detriment, as Wolfer masterfully plays with bright-and-dark, as his first story, Speed Demon," casts creepy shadows between bursts of light and fire in its tale of a horse-race in the Wild West that features a supernatural twist. The middle story, "The Pond," is a lot quieter and mellow, and seems to be heading in a pleasant and sweet direction before some really depressing and horrific reveals at the end of the yarn--with Wolfer again, "Staging," everything fantastically with the black, white, and gray tones. "Burn Out," features a human fighting some gigantic monsters that have demolished his home city in the far-flung future of 1998 as envisioned by the 1970's (the comic jokingly acknowledges that 1998 has come-and-gone, of course). It's quite action-packed and good fun. I loved this first issue and find that Wolfer as always is killing it (pun intended) with his spooky tales. I know this book is more of an occasional release as opposed to being on a set schedule like some of his other titles, but if upcoming issues are as good as this one a little waiting won't hurt me!
5 out of 5 stars.

Dollface #2
I discussed the first issue in some reviews not too long ago, and liked it enough I came back for the 2nd! This issue unfortunately drags a bit more, spending most of its time filling us in on the history of Dollface. It still has plenty of cool fighting, T&A, fun artwork, and other stuff people expect from Dan Mendoza (the creator of, "Zombie Tramp," a character who is in this book too). It just was a bit duller than the first issue in my opinion, and the ending was sudden not in a cliff-hanger way but a, "Oh, the issue is done now?" kind of style. So, this wasn't as good as the first issue, as I stated, but still was a decent read. If you love Mendoza and his works you'll adore this comic, but if you're not a die-hard fan of his stuff your mileage may vary.
3 out of 5 stars.

Motor Crush #3
The plot in this book could suck and I'd still enjoy it because the art-team of Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart make comics so pretty and luscious in their design and colors the art practically melts off the page with its delicious glow. However, with Brendan Fletcher also being on the team (he writes, and they contributed to the story too) the story ain't bad at all either. Set in the near future and featuring a protagonist named Domino Swift who I at first found dull but have been more and more intrigued by with each issue, this book is a fantastic blend of motorbike racing, mafia intrigue, and an ongoing mystery about just what makes Swift so special (because clearly something is going on with her).

While Swift has turned out to actually be quite interesting, arguably the most fascinating character is the world everyone lives in. It's a futuristic place full of neat technology, strange drugs, and is drenched in bright and beautiful colors thanks to the stellar art team. It's a bit like if the design sensibilities of a high-octane action-manga had a baby with a 1980's racing movie and the main character were a queer woman of color who is as good at kicking ass and taking names as she is at driving absurdly fast. If that description doesn't found like a great comic I am unsure what would sound fun to you, so give it a try!
4 out of 5 stars.

Doom Patrol #4
Gerard Way is someone who doesn't get mad at comparisons of him to Grant Morrison, he actually welcomes them. From his earlier, "Umbrella Academy," stuff I adored to now being the curator of DC's Young Animal line of comics and writing what is arguably the flagship book, "Doom Patrol," the man clearly has the storytelling sensibilities of Morrison and flexes his raconteur muscles expertly. The Doom Patrol is of course a property that has been around for a long time, but ever since Morrison wrote it in the days of the 1980's almost any attempt to follow-up on his work has failed to varying degrees. So, if you can't beat Morrison's style, why not join it? Seriously, if Morrison did what many people think is the best-ever, "Doom Patrol," then get the man often compared to Morrison to do his own take that is both fresh but builds on the old stuff! DC did that, and Hell if it hasn't been working from its wild first issue to the delayed-but-finally out, #4.

With Nick Derrington supplying amazing artwork as a perfect compliment to Way's writing, this is one stellar comic. Whether he's drawing a quiet moment of good ol' Niles Caulder sitting around, or drawing otherworldly villains trying to harvest the constructs of, "Danny," to make cheap meat (I told you this was weird), everything just flows perfectly, and art this is good easily excuses the delays the fourth issue faced. Derrington's drawing and Way's writing creates a comic that is for sure confusing, weird, and otherwise strange, but then again what else would you expect from the person who arguably comes closest to being Grant Morrison in masterful writing ability without actually, you know, being Grant Morrison? This isn't to say Way lacks original ideas, because he is overflowing with them, it's just that when the most popular version of the Doom Patrol was written by Morrison and you take over and write it in that style that comparisons will be invited--and it is a great thing these comparisons are glowing! Clearly I love this book, and I only hope future issues don't face too many delays.
5 out of 5 stars.

Counting Concluded
Well, I counted to four again, but this time I reviewed five books thanks to a handy zero issue. As my reviews illustrate, there are some good reads out there and a wide array of genres to read for sure. I hope you enjoyed my latest counting exercise and will join me in doing another one sometime!

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