Sunday, September 27, 2020

Rant-Reviews: Some New Series to Examine

 Always New Comics

Basically, any week with comic-books being released will have some new titles coming out as well. Whether they are from bigger publishers or the indies, new stuff abounds. You can't always judge a comic/movie/show by its first issue or pilot, but you can still review it and get a general idea, right? I hope you agree with me because that's exactly what we're going to do today.

Heavy #1

Ah, Max Bemis. He has written some comics I liked such as, "Oh, Killstrike," and penned books I absolutely hated such as his take on Moon Knight. Where does his latest book published by Vault, "Heavy," fall on my scale of loving-or-despising? Well, I thought it was pretty good. "Heavy," is a mish-mash of ideas, involving a multidimensional World where people try to save others in various realities in order to get into the pearly gates if they died and weren't evil enough for Hell or good enough for Heaven. Our protagonist goes and beats-up shitty people in the hopes he'll qualify for heaven, but a twist at the end of the issue (that I saw coming from a mile away) throws a wrench in that plan. I was entertained by the more wild ideas in this comic even if certain plot points were telegraphed way too obviously early on. As I said, it was pretty good. I'll see where its going, I think, and if it keeps my attention I'll continue reading it!

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Hotline Miami: Wildlife #1

I've written about the first, "Hotline Miami," and how bizarre a game it is before. There is almost no plot until some last-minute reveals at the end if you've gathered puzzle pieces, otherwise the game is mostly a mystery of a secretive group finding a way to get people to start committing mass-murder. Murder of gangsters and other bad guys, yes, but still some violent stuff. How do you make a comic based on that with more than just a ton of bloody violence? Well, this comic starts out with a ton of gore, but then interestingly delves into what kind of people might get drawn into a weird conspiracy of answering phone calls, wearing Halloween masks, and committing murder. Namely, people who are already a 

When the protagonist of our story is obsessed with patriotism, does a lot of substances, and seems prone to anger, it seems maybe whoever is wanting to use him as a violent tool has some advantages in picking him compared to some other random person. There isn't anything revelatory in this first issue, but it is a decent start that does get you thinking a bit.

3 out of 5 stars.

Black Widow #1

Every year or two Marvel seems to launch another, "Black Widow," solo comic in the hopes this one is a hit. Usually, the routine is the same of her doing spy-stuff and beating people up while fighting another evil spy organization. It can get a bit rote. This issue actually starts out just like that, but then suddenly swerves. Natasha seems to suffer a surprise assault with a bunch of tranq-darts to the neck and then its three months later and she's going by a new name in San Fransico with a new job, a boyfriend, and a strangely peaceful life. Does she know what's going on? It seems she isn't undercover so much as being tricked--especially with the reveal of a surprise villain at the end who I'm 99% sure has never interacted with Black Widow before. This twist in the usual, "Black Widow," comic formula has gotten my attention, as instead of the usual spycraft something much weirder is afoot. I'm here for it.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Fishkill #1

Written by Dan Fogler and Laurence Blum, the fact this was illustrated by Ben Templesmith is what caught my eye as I'm a fan of Templesmith's work. It looks gorgeous for sure in this issue, which is a solid debut following a detective named Bart Fishkill who ends-up working as a bridge safety officer as punishment for repeated insubordination. The synopsis for the comic actually lays-out everything that is going to happen in this issue and future ones, which is interesting and indicates there is a big plan. We witness a terror attack on the bridge and the opening text indicates Bart will be blamed and hated by some and greeted as a revolutionary by others. This issue just ends with the bridge having the explosion, however, so it is hard to gauge much of the story besides that. Still, Templesmith's art is stellar and I liked what I read, even if it was just a snippet of what is indicated as coming.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Stillwater #1

It takes till the end for the main point of the comic to make itself known, but once it arrived I was very interested. Chip Zdarsky wrote, "Stillwater," the latest Image release, and while he's quite known for his humorous writing or art, he can do drama well too. With Ramon K. Perez on art we follow the story of two men arriving at a town where nobody can actually age or die within the city limits. I'd say that's a spoiler, but the comic was solicited with that as the big interesting hook the book would explore. It takes until basically the end of the issue for everything to become apparent, kind of like the above-reviewed, "Fishkill," but there's nothing wrong with some good lead-up. What exactly is due to happen now that some outsiders know the secret of the town (or if one is actually less of an outsider than one would think) remains to be seen. It was some good stuff, however.

4 out of 5 stars.

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