Numbers Are Always Fun
It is no secret I like doing silly little number-tricks when I review comics, counting up numbers and such. This time I thought I would start with a second issue of a comic and go on up to the sixth issue of a book. Some of these books are just starting, others are in the middle, and one actually concludes with its latest issue.
Charles Forsman is a highly-talented man who is starting to get a lot of recognition for his amazing indie-comics. His series, "The End of the Fucking World," was fascinating look at two horribly damaged teenagers, his, "Revenger," series is a stellar take on 1970's and 1980's style exploitation movies, and now we have, "Slasher." I would describe, "Slasher," as being like a horror-movie that's produced by a small independent film studio. It isn't outrageously gory or scary, instead ratcheting up tension and unease while telling the tale of two horribly fucked-up people who are slowly letting their inner-psychopath out.
The main characters are woman named Christine and a teenager named Joshua who have met online and they both have an affinity for knife-play and violent fantasies. In this issue however Christina starts to act-out these fantasies and I wonder if Joshua is going to be into it or freak-out. To Forsman's credit he doesn't demonize these people or make it clear right away they have these dark secrets, instead almost garnering some sympathy for them as he shows these lives of quiet desperation they live--be it difficult parents, a harassment-prone supervisor, or a litany of other things that clearly have driven these seemingly normal people to start doing some terrible things to themselves and others. "Slasher," is a stellar book and thankfully despite being an indie-comic is getting a somewhat wider-release (e.g. you can find it in, "Previews,") so you have no excuse to skip-out on reading it.
5 out of 5 stars.
If the aforementioned, "Slasher," is a serious study of flawed people doing terrible things, this comic from Image is more of a gross-out flick with a heavy dose of humor. This book has focused on a mysterious reformed serial-killer whom we only learn the name of in this issue as he continues his violent crusade to get back the kidnapped love of his life, Virginia. Oh, and Virginia is a sex-doll. Yes, this whole book is a bloody and pretty hilarious yarn with its psychotic man who honestly now would quit hurting people if he was just left alone, but instead he's gotta ramp-up the murder quotient in order to save his sweetheart--who again, is a sex-doll. "Plastic," is a strange and funny book that honestly surprised me with how good it is based on how the solicitations made it sound like it was trying almost too hard to be quirky and weird. It doesn't seem that way though, with all the zany elements and brutal ones actually mixing together quite perfectly to result in a book that I love. I believe this is a mini-series and only has two issues left, so I'll be sure and savor them!
5 out of 5 stars.
"Amerikarate," has been a comic that is all about a mixture of love for and spoofing of classic 1980's movies and comes to us via Action Lab. Whether riffing on martial-arts flicks, "Roadhouse," "Dirty Dancing," or a multitude of other references, this comic is good over-the-top fun even if sometimes it seems more busy trying to be silly than actually telling much of a concrete story. This issue marks the conclusion of the first story-arc although another one is coming soon, as our karate-chopping heroes kill the dictator of an island nation all in the name of Justice. Again, it is a very silly book but I like it a pretty good deal.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
R.L. Stine wrote this, "Man-Thing," mini-series which concludes with this issue. Stine is an author who is of course known for his superb young-adult series, "Goosebumps," as well as, "Fear Street." I have read a great many of his titles when growing-up and found many of them enjoyably scary, funny, and great. I'm not sure if this is his first comic-work, but if it is he's turned in an admirable if flawed effort. When you hear about a man known for his horror-writing taking on a character who has the power to make people that fear him burn at his touch, you might expect a scary comic. This series weirdly wasn't that.
R.L. Stine's, "Man-Thing," was more of a silly little jaunt full of interdimensonal travel, and jokes about show-business as the character inexplicably gains the ability to think and talk, and then loses the ability to talk shortly after but maintains his full mental capabilities for the rest of the mini-series. There are lots of jokes and this frankly reads as more of a humor-based comic than it does something scary as you might expect from Stine. Every issue, including this one, have also had little short back-up stories by him as well which feature more of a scare-based vibe even if there is still some humor, but the main, "Man-Thing," book really has been straight-up jokes. This is okay though as many of the goofy bits land well, but it all reads as a very competent comic as opposed to something amazing. This was a good mini-series and this issue ends it decently, but that's it--good, not great. It was quite the, "Get," for Marvel to have Stine make a story about one of their characters and he does a fine job, but I honestly just expected a bit more.
3 out of 5 stars.
Uber: Invasion #6
Kieron Gillen continues to write the widest variety of comics of anyone currently making books in the industry that I can think of as he balances his time between projects like, "The Wicked and the Divine," as well as this WWII alternate history with super-powered Allies and Nazis. Published by Avatar Press--so you know it gets bloody--the #6 is a bit misleading as this book went for a good number of issues when titled simply, "Uber," before being relaunched. As I read the previous series it is hard to say just how new-reader friendly these latest entries have been, but regardless of how accessible the book is I still continue to enjoy its mixture of historical fact and fictional bloodshed. When people talk about Gillen a variety of his critical and commercial hits come-up, but far few people seem to discuss his, "Uber," books. I wish that would change as this always entertains.
4 out of 5 stars.
This time I altered my counting just a bit, and as always had fun with this activity. Perhaps in the future I'll do even higher numbers, or perhaps multiples of a number if I feel extra wacky? We shall see!