Wednesday, June 16, 2021

"Powers Fearful & Divine, "#1 Advance Review

I always enjoy the stuff released by Blue Fox Comics, so when they reached out to ask if I wanted to read the first issue of, "Powers Fearful & Divine," I was excited to do so. It'll be launching a Kickstarter in August and the advance copy I read was quite fun.

"Powers Fearful & Divine," takes a variety of real-life historical figures and imagines them all interacting in a clever manner a bit like, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," but with actual humans. Houdini and HP Lovecraft essentially team up to try and stop Arthur Conan Doyle and the Spiritualist movement from unleashing a deadly weapon on Earth--with Nikola Tesla possibly being the best hope to create a counter-weapon. It's all very clever and fun to see various historical figures working together (or at odds) and writer Cy Dethan does a great job emulating the, "Voice," of everyone, although considering how miserable a person HP Lovecraft apparently was, he comes off a bit too likeable here. Still, Dethan clearly did their research on everyone, spotlighting how Houdini was famous for trying to disprove anyone who claimed to actually have mystical powers as opposed to doing tricks and illusions.

RHStewart is the artist and their artwork works well for the story. Everything looks suitably, "In the past," as it were and the historical characters look like their real-life counterparts, which is always tricky for artists when they are drawing actual people. Sometimes the style is very minimalist, but it looks good overall. There is a lot of dialogue in the comic, but RHStewart always gives us something interesting to look at with the discussions.

"Powers Fearful & Divine," #1 is a great first issue and has me excited to see what future issues will hold for the historical mash-up of famous figures. It does a great job drawing from actual history and inventing other elements. I'd encourage you to check out Blue Fox Comics website so you can stay updated about when the Kickstarter launches!

5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Everyone is Talking About Batman's Sex Life

The internet loves to debate things about Batman. Should he kill the Joker and his worst villains? Would he have benefited more from trauma counseling than dressing up as a vigilante? Could he beat Superman in a fight? One thing that I've never heard argued about is if Batman engages in oral sex. Well, the past couple of days the internet has gone utterly insane due to a certain snippet of news relating to what Batman does or doesn't do sexually.

In an interview with Variety, co-creators and executive producers of the funny (and very adult) cartoon, "Harley Quinn," Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker disclosed one of the few things DC wouldn't let them do. They couldn't have a jokey scene with Batman going down on Catwoman. Apparently, "Heroes don't do that." This news tidbit was picked up and started trending on lots of websites, Twitter, and the like. Are heroes the kind of lovers who don't perform oral sex on others? I know some people don't like that sex act, but I've never had the feeling it was something, "Good," or, "Bad," people did. It's just another piece of sexuality some enjoy (giving or getting) and some don't.

After last year almost nothing surprises me anymore. The blunt question of, "Does batman eat pussy?" becoming a trending topic surprised me. As for my opinion on this matter, I just know Batman has trained himself to be proficient in anything he can. He knows all forms of martial arts, is skilled in tons of sciences, and he pushes himself to the limit in everything. I would think Batman knows how to do anything sexually that a situation calls for. I'll leave it at that.

Monday, June 14, 2021

"Shadow Doctor," Has Been an Amazing Comic

"Shadow Doctor," is published by Aftershock and is based on the true story of writer Peter Calloway's grandfather, Nathaniel Calloway. It follows Nathan as he strives to become a doctor during the prohibition era, can't find work at any hospitals due to being black, and ends up serving as a secret doctor for such mobsters as Al Capone. With art by Georges Jeanty, it has been a fantastic read for the four issues that have come out so far (the final fifth issue is due in July, I believe).

"Shadow Doctor," has been intense as we follow Nathan juggling his desire to practice medicine and help others with his fear he is only helping terrible men do bad things. Peter Calloway is careful to never totally excuse his grandfather's actions or heap scorn on him, he was just a man struggling to survive who did what he felt was necessary to do the most good for others--even if it meant some questionable choices. I'd wholeheartedly recommend reading, "Shadow Doctor," by picking up the issues that have come out or once the trade is released.

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Oh Yeah, E3 is Happening

I should've realized when I posted about the new, "Jurassic World: Evolution 2," game yesterday it was part of all the game announcements we are getting as E3 is happening this weekend. Remember E3? It used to be a massive video-game showcase and announcing event but significantly shrunk over the years and then became more of a streaming event due to the pandemic. It is funny to think how massive a deal E3 used to be and now I just check my videogame news websites this weekend and casually observe, "Oh yeah, that's a thing this weekend." 

Various games are being announced from vampire hunting ones to space RPGs to slime ranching sequels. I don't have time to play games as often, but I do still enjoy keeping up-to-date on what is happening in gaming. E3 may not be as big of a deal anymore, but it is useful for hearing about some new stuff.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

"Jurassic World: Evolution 2," Announced for...This Year?

Normally when a game is announced you can expect it to be in development for some years. That's why I was surprised to read that, "Jurassic World: Evolution 2," is due to come out before the close of 2021. The first game was a fun park-builder with the major selling point that you weren't just building rollercoasters or concessions stands, you were making your own Jurassic Park/World. I quite enjoyed the first game but did eventually grow a bit tired of how it could be clunky at times. A sequel that fixes up the kinks and introduces new elements (underwater Dinos and building customization sound snazzy) is quite welcome. It'll be out on various consoles and PC before we enter into 2022.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Check out the Grand Opening of STL Comics at their New Location This Weekend!

STL Comics has had a physical presence before, but now has moved into an awesome brand-new location! They will be doing a grand opening event starting tomorrow (Saturday) and running through this Sunday. Between 10AM and 5PM this weekend you can go to 4117 Old Highway 94, Saint Charles, 63304, and have a great time. I know I'm gonna swing by for a bit and see what goodies I can find!

Flashback Friday OutKast Edition Volume 4: Stankonia

 Intro

OutKast entered the year 2000 with a new LP. It featured Andre now going by Andre 3000, he and Big Boi actively being involved in every step of the tracks being created, and it was named, "Stankonia," after the name of the studio OutKast had purchased together to make this latest album. It was--as Wikipedia tells it with some reliable sources, "A word created by André 3000 as a portmanteau of the words 'stank', a slang synonym for, 'funky,' and, 'Plutonia,' the title of a poster in his bedroom depicting a futuristic city. He explained, 'Stankonia is this place I imagined where you can open yourself up and be free to express anything.'"

Stankonia

"Stankonia," has some of my favorite OutKast albums ever. It is also my least favorite album by OutKast overall. This leads to some complex feelings about the album and I won't be doing my usual track-by-track examination so much going in-depth with the highlights and lowlights. It is an album with a lot to unpack after all. Without, "Stankonia," we probably would not have gotten the masterpiece, "Speakerboxx/The Love Below." I say that as this features the first hints of Andre moving away from rapping and instead doing more singing or sonic experimentation. It has more instances than in the past of he and Big Boi both doing some tracks solo. Plus, while the earlier OutKast albums don't, "Feel," exactly like they come from a specific time period, "Stankonia," undoubtedly sounds like a 2000-era LP in one big aspect of how it is overloaded with skits.

Skits on albums seemed to be extremely huge in the late 90s and hit an apex of sorts in the 2000s. Rock albums, rap albums, they were there a lot. They've evolved/mostly faded away in terms of being comedy-focused and OutKast even had them somewhat on their earlier albums, but they were more sporadic and less comedic--they often just were used to introduce or segue into songs. The skits on, "Stankonia," range from some potty humor, to jokes about sex, drugs, nothing awful but little to amaze your ears. There are some tracks that utterly astound listeners, however.

I said, "Stankonia," has some of my favorite tracks ever made by OutKast, and when I say some of those songs you understand why. "So Fresh, So Clean," "B.O.B." AKA, "Bombs over Baghdad," and of course, "Ms. Jackson." These tracks are just masterpieces. "So Fresh, So Clean," is a little raunchy without outright being filthy and has the best little beat. "B.O.B." is a kind of rap-meets-rock combo that was about the futility of war and became all too topical when America invaded Iraq a second time some years later. Then, "Ms. Jackson," what else can be said about that track that others besides me haven't said better? It's vulnerable and a bit angry. It was a very real song as Andre came up with it as a ballad to the mother of Erykah Badu. He had a child with Badu and wanted the mother to know he felt he was doing his best as a father (for those curious, Badu's mother loved the song). I won't spend this whole post just talking about that one song, but know that I could.

Those are some amazing songs, but I said that, "Stankonia," was my least favorite OutKast album, and the lack of much that outright astounds me the rest of the LP is why. Other stuff is perfectly good, but with OutKast you normally expect everything to be more than good, generally. We've got the political, "Gasoline Dreams," the trippy, "Humble Mumble," an early appearance by Killer Mike on, "Snappin' & Trappin," but some tracks really drag. "We Luv Deez Hoez," sound more like a rejected, "2 Live Crew," track than something OutKast would have made. "Gangsta Shit," is dull, "Spaghetti Junction," lacks oomph too. I just find myself alternating between amazement at my favorite tracks and being horrifically underwhelmed with many other songs. The fantastic songs are some of the group's best, however, as I keep saying.

Conclusion

It's an odd experience, listening to Stankonia more than 20 years after its release and finding my first impression of when I heard it (a bit after it came out) is basically the same. There is cream that rises to the top and a lot of tracks I consider to be okay, but a bit skippable. Following, "Stankonia," was something that wasn't quite a, "Greatest Hits," album or a brand-new LP, it was, "Big Boi and Dre Present...OutKast." I'll cover it next week.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

I Greatly Enjoyed the First Three Issues of, "Harrier."

I always love supporting indie comic creators and here in Saint Louis I met Thomas Moran--the creator and writer of the comic, "Harrier." With artist Andrew Henry (issue 1) and Diego Albuquerque (issue 2 & 3) they have been able to put out three issues so far of, "Harrier," and I like what I have read! The series follows a detective named Olvia Jones who becomes embroiled in a massive conspiracy between shadowy organizations and the CIA--of which her father was once a member.

The first issue lays out who Oliva is and puts her through a lot of danger which she recovers from in the second issue (as best she can) and then the third issue is loaded with action as Olvia becomes the experimental, "Harrier," in order to protect a fellow detective from danger. I liked the third issue the most as it was full of cool super-powered fighting and felt like a big release after all the build-up in the earlier issues.

Andrew Henry's artwork is solid, sometimes a little minimalist and abstract but in a manner where everything still looks quite good. Diego Albuquerque is great as well and I love the action he illustrates in the third issue, as I mentioned. Between Moran's writing and Herny's illustrations, I found, "Harrier," to be an engaging read. You can find digital copies on Comixology or visit the Facebook page and message it for physical copies.

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Chris Harrison is Done with the, "Bachelor," Franchise

To quote a clever comment I saw online, "Chris, take a moment and say your goodbyes."

That's right, after being with the franchise from the start, Chris Harrison is officially leaving, "The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise/etc." I honestly thought he would be back after a taking break, but per Deadline, he's done and getting a fat check to keep his mouth closed about all the dirt he has. Is it wrong a piece of me wishes a deal weren't reached and he wrote a tell-all book? I mean, this guy undoubtedly knows where the bodies are buried and (allegedly) demanded 25 million to go quietly. For those who don't follow all the hot gossip about this show, Harrison made some mistakes a while ago when he defended a show's participant for attending a racist party and it was all quite awkward.

If I may steal another quote, "The rose has wilted," but at least we are getting some fun guest hosts in the meantime. David Spade, Lil Jon, Lance Bass, and other random people who apparently love the show and answered the phone when they were called shall be present for the upcoming, "Bachelor in Paradise," season, so that's nice. I've always had such a love-hate relationship with this show, but damn if it doesn't entertain me--whether it's the on-camera antics or all this behind-the-scenes drama!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Television Tuesday: " Loki," Premieres Tomorrow

 

It's about the end of Tuesday and I'm about to discuss a show coming out on Wednesday. That show is, "Loki," the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe offering in Disney+ episodic form. Early reviews are enthusiastic and Tom Hiddleston is always a treat on the screen whether he's a trickster God, famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald, or he could read a phonebook and it'd be great. Now, this version of, Loki we see in, "Loki," is one who didn't pop up in a chunk of the other films as that iteration died in, "Infinity War," and then this one was in, "Endgame," when they traveled through time and accidentally gave the tesseract back to the Loki from way back in the first, "Avengers." Yes, it is confusing even if you read a whole article explaining it. I think the main idea of this show is that we get a mischievous Loki, there's time travel, and we're going to have some fun. 

Plus, Owen Wilson is present, he's a good actor too and actually worked with Hiddleston in the aforementioned, "Midnight in Paris." How weirdly cosmic that movie involved time travel and now here we are again with a vaguely similar theme. Anyways, Loki drops in the early morning of tomorrow. I'll be snoozing at the official release time but plan to view it soon after, perhaps with some breakfast toast!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Bad Idea Comics is Ending, but is it Really?

Bad Idea Comics is a publisher I have followed with a close eye. They release comics directly to stores with specific rules and their comics have been quite good--although that fact is often overshadowed by the FOMO of how they can be hard to get. That has resulted in them being a huge market on eBay and the like. Has the company itself been successful though? It seemed that way, but suddenly today I and others got a press email stating that at the conclusion of 2021 we would see the end of Bad Idea. I don't buy it.

Bad Idea loves to do weird promotions or otherwise troll people. Much of the internet is convinced this is all a ploy--despite what some creators for the company may claim--and 2022 will see this publisher perhaps, "Relaunching," with a new name or different distribution methodology that is more traditional. Basically, almost everybody is saying stuff like, "Guess we're getting, 'Good Idea Comics,' in 2022, eh?" Even the email says, "...as we know it," in regards to Bad Idea ending. This isn't a complete death of a publisher as we have seen on many occasions, this is most likely a rebranding. There is a 1% chance the company is actually folding, but I'm pretty sure Bad Idea is doing this to get people talking about it again, and here I and the rest of the web am, doing just that. Well played, Bad Idea, well played.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

June 2021 News and Links

 Hot as Summer...but not Quite Summer

It isn't officially Summer in terms of the laws of science until June 21st. That said, it has been as hot as Summer here in Saint Louis after a May that started cool and warmed up with gusto. Now we've got some heat and while you're hopefully kicking back someplace cool you can enjoy these links.

News, Links, You Know the Drill

Penguin Random House is really working at appealing to comic shops as the go-to resource for Marvel publications--and more! They'll be selling comic-book supplies such as bags and boards (with no shipping costs, unlike Diamond). Considering how mediocre a discount Diamond will offer stores on Marvel products who buy wholesale from them it just makes sense to go with PRH in most cases.

This article about how, "Sinead O'Connor Remembers Things Differently," points out how we maybe should've listened to her more in the past as she was right about a lot of stuff--remember when she spoke out against the Catholic church for sexual abuse before that became a big story? Now she's basically living in isolation and just enjoying a quiet life between working on music--although she plans to retire from that soon too--I'm glad she is happy.

NFTs always seemed dumb, and the market has collapsed compared to other months. Is anyone surprised?

I've always enjoyed our local Chesterfield Mall, but it has been struggling and is going to be heavily retooled in the near future, as this article discusses. This story could apply to many malls in America.

In other Saint Louis regional news, native of the area Ellie Kemper didn't win a KKK beauty pageant at age 19 before entering acting, but she did win a contest our city holds for only wealthy elites (most of whom are white) that I never even knew existed as I'm not a wealthy elite. It's called the, "Veiled Prophet Ball," and it sounds bonkers.

Wait, Netflix spent 200 million on that, "Jupiter's Legacy," show that everyone said was awful and looked cheap? I mean, the main draw of the first series for me was Frank Quitely's artwork and as live action show obviously lacks that. Mark Millar just often doesn't write very good stuff but his adaptations tend to better than his actual comics. That didn't happen this time, but maybe with the next Netflix endeavor based on his work, "Supercrooks." Maybe.

Record Store Day this year is actually two days--June 12th and July 17th. As someone who has an affection for music in a physical format (love me some vinyl, cassettes, and CDs) I would encourage you to support your local record store on these days--or any day, really!

"Cancel culture!" is often a cry hollered by those mad about being held accountable for their actions/statements. Comedian Katt Williams is a man known for being outrageous and confrontational in his humor and he especially for loves to get a rise out of others. He was asked for his thoughts on the subject of, "Cancel Culture," and before you worry he said something tone-deaf he gave an extremely thoughtful and reasonable response. It shows how you can be edgy or controversial without being a jerk.

Finally, I must admit that the, "Cruella," movie did not utterly bomb as I thought it might. It did decently in theaters and as a Disney+ extra-cost rental. That said, it took a great villain who didn't need a complex origin or to be redeemed and still tried to do so for reasons that seem more like a cash-grab than anything else.

Enjoy Summer Once it Officially Starts!

Soon it will truly be Summer and I hope we all have a good one!

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Marvel Is Announcing Various Comics and Some Caught my Eye

Marvel has been announcing new comics and creative teams. One that just was revealed and which has scant details so far would be, "The Death of Doctor Strange," which sounds ominous but also unlikely to actually happen as he's got that movie coming up--perhaps we'll be surprised. Jonathan Hickman stopped writing the main, "X-Men," title but will be doing, "Inferno," as Mystique goes and tries to burn everything the Mutants on Krakoa have built to the ground. Al Ewing and Ram V are both fantastic writers and will be taking on, "Venom," (art by Bryan Hitch) while Donny Cates is going to writing a new, "Hulk," comic with Ryan Ottley on art. If upon reading that you asked, "Wait, are Al Ewing and Donny Cates essentially swapping books/characters?" then the answer is yes, yes they essentially are.

Considering how amazing Al Ewing has been on, "The Immortal Hulk," I'm excited to see what he and Ram V have in store for, "Venom." I usually like Cates stuff so I'm hopeful for his, "Hulk," run but he has quite the act to follow after Ewing's stuff. Marvel probably has more stuff coming down the pipeline for the Fall, so we'll see what else is revealed these coming days.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Flashback Friday OutKast Edition Volume 3: Aquemini

 

Intro

OutKast had taken us on a space adventure in 1996. Afterward, Andre's style started to change and become what some online have described as, "Bohemian," and eccentric. Big Boi and he started using more live instrumentation and experimentation with their tracks with Andre doing most of the production aspects and Big Boi handling the hooks. The result was an introspective and deep LP titled, "Aquemini." The title was a combination of how Big Boi was an Aquarius and Andre was a Gemini, two unique personalities that still made magic.

Aquemini

September 29th, 1998. That was the day, "Aquemini," officially released. It went platinum just two months after release and was double platinum before a whole year had passed. It's a fantastic album but whereas with, "ATLiens," you have straight fire at first before things get choppy, "Aquemini," has some incredible hits and an assortment of notable misses. It is still an incredible album and depending on my mood ties with, "ATLiens," and, "Speakerboxx/The Love Below," as OutKast's best LP, it just is interesting how when it works, it's incredible, and when it doesn't work, it is still interesting.

The LP begins with, "Hold On, Be Strong," a soft little hook of a song that states what the title says. Then we segue into the stellar, "Return of the 'G'," which beings with Andre addressing all the rumors about how he isn't on drugs or gay, he's just starting to dress in wild styles, quit actually doing any drugs (around the time of the first album he was a prolific smoker of Cannabis and I once read Big Boi remarking how Andred was the one who taught him to roll and smoke a blunt), and it just a regular guy who admits to being bit eccentric. Big Boi shares his concerns about life as well and hoping he can just kick back and, "Watch my little girl blow bubbles," on a hot day relaxing--but assures us he's ready to do whatever it takes to protect his loved ones. Then the Southern boogie of, "Rosa Parks," arrives and has a killer harmonica solo.

The fourth track features the first guest artist, Raekwon the Chef of Wu-Tang Clan fame. It is titled, "Skew It on the Bar-B," and moves at a shockingly fast pace, showing off how even if Andre and Big Boi were known for their steady Southern drawls when rapping, they could speedily spit verses if called for as well. This leads us into the titular track, "Aquemini," which has a beautiful melancholy melody and is a real treat for the ears. After that is the future-predicting, "Synthesizer," with none other than the Funk-master himself, George Clinton. The song describes a future ruled by the internet, plastic surgery, and everyone being fake. For a song from 1998, it is eerily predictive of the times we live in now. "Slump," has Big Boi with fellow Souhern rappers Backbone and Cool Breeze discussing life on the streets, selling dope, and generally trying to survive--it's a bit of a throwback to the first album,  "Southernplayalisticadillacmusik," with the following track, "West Savannah," being introduced by Big Boi as being a track cut from that debut LP for those who want a bit more of that vibe. It's an interesting little interlude of sorts from the more heavy topics and tones of, "Aquemini."

"Da Art of Storytellin' (Pt. 1)," arrives with its tale of a good friend of Andre's who died of a drug overdose--it is very solemn. After it is  "Da Art of Storytellin' (Pt. 2)," which despite the similar name is thematically quite different. It is loud, abrasive, and sounds apocalyptic--something Andre remarked in interviews was intended. "Mamacita," happens and has some solid lyrics but the actual sound of it isn't for me. I am totally here for the next song though, "SpottieOttieDopaliscious." Yes, its another mouthful of a title, but it is so damn good of a song. It has some amazing horns, a great beat, and tells the story of a beautiful night of romance at a nightclub shattered by some men getting in a massive fight over their pride. "Y'all Scared," has Goodie Mob guesting and is just a slog to get through. I feel like I'm seeing a trend with these posts where when Goodie Mob is on an OutKast song it either is amazing or awful, there is no in-between. 

"Nathaniel," is a short acapella rap that was in fact recorded from a Georgia prison and serves as the introduction of sorts to, "Liberation." "Liberation," is a phenomenal eight-minute-long masterpiece of rapping, singing, spoken word, musical inventiveness, and just deserves a listen by anyone who has good taste. It is my favorite song on the album, I'd say. We shift into the closing track, "Chonkyfire," which has some heavy synths and guitars along with a fascinating moment where the whole sound shifts into a piano and back again. The song concludes with Andre's speech from the Source awards when OutKast won best new artist (for, "Southernplayalisticadillacmusik,")  and insisted how the South had something to say. Thanks to OutKast drawing attention to the South and helping other artists launch their career as they kept releasing amazing albums, that was clearly true.

I would be remiss to not mention that while there aren't dedicated tracks for certain skits, they do happen at the end of a number of tracks. They sometimes feature a record store where Outkast (playing regular customers) make remarks about how odd a band OutKast is in a humorously self-aware manner. Some skits lead into tracks (like a failed weed transaction before, "Slump,") and none or terrible or especially amazing, they just work fine.

Conclusion

"Aquemini," was smashing success and featured OutKast hitting their stride in many people's opinion--although as I've said, "ATLiens," is a masterpiece in its own right even if it is extremely weird. "Aquemini," was incredible, and represented a further evolution of OutKast. Things were about to get even wilder however once 2000 hit and brought us, "Stankonia." It'll be discussed next week.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Give a Listen to, "The Carpenter Rants," Podcast!

Some months ago I started chatting with another parent at Clarkson's preschool during drop-off and pick-up. He wore a ton of cool horror and retro shirts. I also wear funky t-shirts, though mine usually are video-game or comics-related. Since then we've become friends and often discussed movies, comics, and so forth. His name is Doug and he is actually 1/3 of a really neat podcast called, "The Carpenter Rants." It started out as the way for Dough, Caleb, and Kendall to discuss the amazing works of John Carpenter, but after they covered everything they expanded to discussing neat horror works in general. I've listened to some episodes and enjoy the podcast a lot. 

Doug actually gave me a shout-out in the most recent episode where they covered 1988's, "Child's Play," AKA the movie with Chucky. "The Carpenter Rants," can be found on quality podcast platforms including but not limited to Audible, Apple Podcasts, Podbean, and so forth. Give it a listen if you enjoy horror movies and/or fun banter.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Happy Pride Month!

Before too much of the month passes, I just wanted to be sure and wish everyone a happy pride month! I am a proud ally and am always ready to help fight for and work towards an equal world for everyone who falls under the LGBTQ+ umbrella! Perhaps with COVID-19 hopefully on the decline, it will be possible to actually have some fun pride events this year. We shall see!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

"Red Room," #1 is an Immensely Disturbing and Readable New Comic From Ed Piskor

The first issue of, "Red Room," by Ed Piskor and published by Fantagraphics is horribly disturbing and fascinating. Perhaps that is one reason that being about modern technology and cryptocurrency, it heavily reminds of the underground comics of decades past in how, "Have no cares," it is about its content. Each issue is its own self-contained story set in a World where online streams or murder and general depravity have achieved some mass-market awareness and despite being illegal do quite well online thanks to untraceable cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and identity-hiding tech. 

The comic features some of the grossest illustrations of violence I've seen in a comic for some time (it makes sense Piskor mentions Tim Vigil as an inspiration because, "Faust," pushed the limit of gore too), but it isn't just torture-porn, there is some humor and statements about society and its pathos mixed in too. The black-and-white style and over-the-top nature of the gore made me think of those old extreme underground comics that Crumb, Spain, Wilson, and so forth would do that pushed the envelope of taste--although those comics were generally more in hot-water for sexual content as opposed to just violence, and there ain't anything especially sexy in, "Red Room."

The mysterious underworld of internet-streamed torture and murder found in, "Red Room," is not for the faint of heart and I am still somewhat astounded a mainstream-ish publisher like Fantagraphics is putting this out (they did publish some wild stuff on their, "Underground," imprint, but this is the main line). That said, if you can stomach how grotesque some of Piskor's illustrations can be, there is an intriguingly twisted story to be found here. Sometimes it seems to just be shocking for the sake of shock, but it overall impresses. With each issue telling its own story I am curious where things will go next.

4.5 out of 5 stars.