[Image Comics] First issues, part 2.

Horizon #1

Horizon #1 (2016)
Author: Brandon Thomas

Eh… Not the worst one in the pile. But very messy, confusing and weird.

And worst of all, completely forgettable. I will illustrate: I read it yesterday before going to bed. Today, I couldn’t remember whether I read it. Then I was sure I didn’t. I opened the file again and realized I’m on the last page. I backtracked through the entire book to remember what I had read. Remembered. Closed the file. Now I have a very vague recollection again.

The illustrations are very neutral, because I neither liked them much, nor disliked them in any particular way. The story, as mentioned, is nothing special. It, just like the illustrations, is just there, without provoking any specific emotion. In other words, mediocrity at its best.

Cannibal #1Cannibal #1 (2016)
Author: Jennifer Young

Alternative history, cannibals and swamp hillbillies.

There’s nothing that I gave a damn about in this book. It felt like a sad, exhausted attempt to come up with an original idea. There were a lot of angry, aggressive dudes and one slutty female character.

In general, this was a very testosterony read, and that’s very strange once you notice that the author is female. Which means she’s trying too hard to make it in the big boys’ world, by making a very mancentric book.


Moonshine #1Moonshine #1 (2016)

Author: Joe Harris

More wolves, and more hillbillies. In fact (and this is not a spoiler because it hasn’t happened), I can see this book turning into werewolf hillbillies vs. Italian mobsters.

I am very much over mafia books/movies. This glorification of one of the filthiest layers of scum in society is extremely unnecessary and it makes it seem like these people are “cool”, which they aren’t, “classy”, which they aren’t, and “worthy of attention”, which they could be only if they are securely locked up in a prison to fight among themselves and rid humanity of their lowly presence.

Thanks, bye.


She Wolf #1She Wolf #1
(2014)

Author: Rich Tommaso

You guessed it.

The cover gives nothing away about exactly how UGLY this comic book is. The art was beyond intolerable. It felt like a big joke, or a random strip of rookie comic book drawing for a fanboy website.

And the story is not much better. Young Madonna and her werewolf boyfriend have a fight. Details are unclear because of bad dialogue and horrible illustrations. Oh, and this is from the times people hated Madonna, I guess. She was universally hated by all of the people around her.

Don’t trust me on this one? At the time I’m writing this post, the GR rating of She Wolf is 2.

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Sons Of The Devil #1

Sons of the Devil #1 (2015)
Author: Brian Buccellato

I’m not sure what to even say about this one. I would rate it like this, in reality:

Art: 0
Story: 0
Characters: 0
How much % I cared: 0

I feel sad that people take their creative potential and shove it into such cliched, boring stories, which have no soul in them. There are so few stories with demons and devils in which there’s any twist, any originality, or any reason for the reader to keep on reading. This one is definitely not one of them.


Southern Cross #1Southern Cross #1
(2015)

Author: Becky Cloonan

Art: nope.

Story: potentially.

I strongly disliked the main character. By strongly disliked, I mean that I hated her. She is quite possibly the bitchiest, most annoying main female character that I have ever had the misfortune to read about. She was incessantly rude, and always angry at people, however, when we know nothing about the character, there’s no way to redeem such asshole-ish behavior.

The only thing connected to her that could grow into a half-decent story is her mission and if I were forced to pick one story out of this entire sorry bunch to follow, I would probably go with this one.

Surgeon X #1Surgeon X #1 (2016)
Author: Sara Kenney

When I saw this I had some hopes, relying on the Winter Soldier look and the Repo atmosphere.

Nope.

I felt strongly that I could not care ANY LESS. This book is trying too hard. It’s offensive to feminism of any kind. This is what really bothers me abut women trying to empower women in media. They make them out as harsh, bitchy and insufferable jerks. “We need a strong woman!” “Okay, here’s this asshole.” NO! This is counterproductive. I would not like this person if they were male or female.


The Fix #1The Fix #1
(2016)

Author: Nick Spencer

I knew I will hate this, and I did. Read the summary and you can tell right away.

The Fix is basically every corrupt, bad cop cliche and then some. Vulgar, cheap lifestyle, drugs, women, crime and mobsters.

I’m not even going to kill any more brain cells writing this review.

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Throwaways #1Throwaways #1 (2016)
Author: Caitlyn Kittredge

Pfft… I don’t know. This comic book is a mess. Spies, secret agencies, super secret camps, sleeper cells, war veterans, weird punk guys with green mohawks and seizures. Is this supernatural? Is it brainwashing? Science fiction?

One thing I do know: I’m not reading anything else from this series.

[Image Comics] First issues, part 1.

Last year I did two separate lists, The Good and The Bad. This year I will separate the posts, but not based on quality, as much as the fact that there are just too many of them. I will still order them by rating, but the rating is as much objective, as it is a comparison between the best and the worst. The reason for that is that, honestly, there wasn’t much good to pick from. I might be getting pickier with my comic books, but I noticed that the stories in at least half of this year’s batch were so similar that they could have been from the same universe. Also, there were two main trends that were entirely too visible: cults and werewolves. As well as the fact that I found the art on most of the issues just plain ugly.

Snotgirl #1Snotgirl #1 (2016)
Author: Brian Lee O’Malley

As gross as the title sounds, Snotgirl is absolutely the best first issue I read from this year’s Image comics Humble Bundle.

For starters, the art is gorgeous! Even when it’s kind of disgusting, it’s also drawn with style.

I had theories about the plot, but I didn’t manage to crack what’s actually going on with Snotgirl, but it a completely positive way, because I’m now very excited to continue reading on.

And also, happy to say that Brian Lee O’Malley is as awesome as ever!

Demonic #1

Demonic #1 (2016)
Author: Christopher Sebela

Not a spectacular one, but definitely enjoyable. Also, the fact that a lot of the rest were so bad made it stand out.

It’s a classic story of possession, confusion and a feeling of impending doom, but somehow, it offers a nice twist on the regular story. I felt almost claustrophobic, following the hardships of the main character, and having to experience how doomed he is when his family is on the line. It was not a pleasant feeling, but I think the story was built well enough to create it, so it must be doing its job well.

Also, I am still curious about some of the things that the character mumbled about only vaguely. Even though I smell a cult coming in the future.

Rockstars #1Rockstars #1 (2016)
Author: Joe Harris

This one is related to the cults and gods that I mentioned earlier. There have always been theories about rockstars being devil worshipers, about secret meanings in their music, songs being played backwards, etc. The protagonist of Rockstars is especially interested in that and is trying to solve the disappearance of two girls who went to a rock concert, one of them to later be found dead and the other one never to be seen again.

I was curious, still am, about where the story is going to go, so I would say that this is the second best issue from the bundle. The art was also very pretty, especially the way they drew the female characters.

My problem with Rockstars is that this story was not necessary. People could have continued their lives without needing it. I will probably forget I read this, despite my interest. And also, I hated the main male character. He was just such a weirdo, and not in a cute way. (I imagine him as those people who stare at you on the bus, only to make you uncomfortable.)

Shutter #1Shutter #1 (2014)
Author: Joe Keatinge

Now this comic book has great art and lots of potential!

From the vert first page I knew this is different than the other things I read until I got to it. I really enjoyed the art as well as the concept, or what I got from it.

My problem with Shutter is not what I did find in it, it’s what I didn’t. For a comic book set in a world so much different than ours, there should have been a bit more introduction, and there was none. I just got the major idea that this is not our world, at least not our world today, and that the main character and her father used to be adventurers. Aside from that, it still remains a mystery to me.

However, I would say that if you are a fan of Saga, this might be a good comic book for you!

Black Road #1

Black Road #1 (2016)
Author: Brian Wood

Viking frontier? That’s what it felt like. The story takes place after the spread of Christianity in Norway (Norskk).

There’s nothing really spectacular about the story itself. It really reminded me of the setting of one of the comic books I read last year, The Goddamned. A tough, war-hardened viking takes a journey on a road full of dangers, blood and enemies.

What I did not dislike was the art. In comparison to some of the other issues, it was great. And that is to say, objectively speaking it’s not much more than mediocre. However, as a fan of the Vikings TV show, I saw a familiar setting and background, so I was cool with it.

The Black Monday Murders #1The Black Monday Murders #1 (2016)
Author: Jonathan Hickman

Another cult one!

I think there might a bright future ahead of this comic book. However, the first issue was so overwhelming. Remember what I said about Shutter above? Well, this is the opposite. There’s too much information, even though you have no idea what is happening. There are diagrams, sketches, names, dates, dictionary entries, historical facts.

Yeah, sure, the reader gets the gist of the story, but there’s also so much information that remains just hanging there, because you don’t know the characters, you don’t know the settings, you don’t know the symbols. What about the girl who kept talking gibberish? There was a family tree of the Rothschild line with some someone added with every generation? Was that her? What is that supposed to mean for me, as the clueless reader?

Also, there was a stark difference between the drawings of the men and the women. The females looked well drawn, while the males were usually a lot of messy lines and just blackness.

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And last, but not least: WHY IS TAYLOR MOMSEN IN THIS?

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The Discipline #1The Discipline #1 (2016)
Author: Peter Mulligan

*** 1.5 stars ***

CULTS.

Here it starts getting bad all over.

The Discipline, solely based on the cover, seemed somewhat spooky, so I was pretty excited for it.

It’s just SO CHEESY!

I would say it’s more or less Supernatural 50 Shades of Gray. The main character is a neglected, dumb 23-year-old housewife who is sorely lacking sex, so she, instead, likes to gaze at paintings with elements of bestiality. Until a mysterious stranger comes along, flashes his D(iscipline), and starts training her for a sex pet. Or something.

Romulus #1Romulus #1 (2016)
Author: Bryan Hill

*** 1.5 stars ***

Wolves! Secret orders! Cults!

The art is not bad. On the story I call bullshit. A secret order has super-ninja wolf-women, even though they also have much more formidable soldiers, and they keep the wolf-women until the women themselves are about to cause problems. Which implies that before that, they were preferred, instead of the super-soldiers. Okayyy…

Also, lots of angst, insecurity and “I’m not my mother”s.

Basically, I lost my patience with this one. I don’t see the point behind it being made. The story doesn’t have anything touching or badass, or even a thing you could root for.

Kill Or Be Killed #1Kill Or Be Killed #1 (2016)
Author: Ed Brubaker

This one begs the question: BUT WHY?

An extremely pathetic guy decides to kill himself because… because… well, uh, I guess because his best friend, a girl, is not in love with him? Or because she pities him? Something like that? And he is so f*cking pathetic that he fails at that too, by the way. As a result of his failed suicide attempt, a monster/demon starts visiting him to ask for souls, in exchange of his. And he finds out that he is a bloodthirsty psychopath.

There you have it. Whether you would enjoy something like that, or not, is up to you. I was facepalming the entire time.

“Revival, Vol. 1: You’re Among Friends” by Tim Seeley

Revival, Vol. 1: You're Among Friends(Author: Tim Seeley) + (Year: 2012) + (Goodreads)


Review:

Pretty good, in comparison with a lot of the things that I have read recently. Revival is not mind-blowing, but it definitely has a lot of potential.

What is original about Revival is that it’s not your classic zombie story. Yes, the dead come back. But they are not this:

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Not totally, anyway.

The dead have risen, and they seem to be acting normally. Have they received an extra life? Does everyone get a second chance? Are they okay? They seem to be. Until they don’t. Until people start noticing something off about them. Something in their behavior. A strange spark in their eyes…

If you have read Pet Sematary or Handling the Undead, you would not regard this as an original concept. However, the approach is different, especially in the medium of comic books.

I can’t deny that I was very curious about the peculiar representation of death and what lies beyond; and also, of how people, the “normal” ones, that is, act when they are put in such a situation. From the ones who try to rationalize it, to the ones who turn it into a sign of providence. So undeniably, Revival has interesting and colorful characters, the development of whom I will enjoy following in the other volumes, as well.

And although we get a lot more of Dana, than of Em, I’m pretty sure that Em is the character to follow in this series. She is, I think, the face of the moral issue in this comic book. I don’t necessary say that she is likable, as a person, but she is definitely the more vivid and deep character. And, of course, the crazier one.

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What did I not like about Revival, then? As I said, it’s not mind-blowing. It works, but it could also not work. There’s a story going on, but the first volume is separate incidents that have yet to add up to a story. The protagonist, Dana, is not the most consistent character. She’s a good caring mother and a dutiful cop in one scene, a random lady looking for casual sex in a bar at the next. (And honestly, how is that supposed to work in a small town in Wisconsin? Who do you think you will meet there, woman?)

However, I’m more than eager to continue reading and see where this journey goes…

“We3″by Grant Morrison

We3(Author: Grant Morrison) + (Year: 2005) + (Goodreads)


Review:

Not my thing at all.

A friend told me about this, so I decided “Why the heck not?”. But even just the three issues really burdened me. And, sadly, it was not an emotional burden coming from feeling bad for the characters. It was an “I don’t want to read this” kind of burden.

First of all, I hated the art. I couldn’t find a single thing that made me go “Oh, nice”. I’m not sure how to pinpoint what bothered me exactly. I’m not into manga, so my generalization might not be correct, but I felt like this story had this manga style: too glossy, not very artistic, lacking depth, simplistic. I mean… It does the job, sure. But I would never call it good. So I started losing interest from the very beginning.

And then there was the story. I knew the direction in which we were supposed to go, maybe a shy tear going down one’s cheek, or maybe even a small waterfall. But knowing and feeling are different things. Partially because I could feel the emotional manipulation, and partially thanks to the bad art, I just didn’t feel right. Therefore, as much as I wanted to be sad for the poor animals, I wasn’t. If it makes it easier for you, I can say I did. Because I couldn’t really care either way.

This story could have been built in a much better way. Theoretically, the idea behind We3 is both worth writing about, and could make you stop and think. But the execution is so bad that I just wanted it to end as soon as possible, because I could see it’s not doing the proper job.

“Wolf, Vol. 1: Blood and Magic” by Ales Kot

Wolf, Vol. 1: Blood and Magic(Author: Ales Kot) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)


Review:

Not the worst comic book I have read, but definitely going somewhere down there at the bottom.

Wolf is this annoying guy that we all know, who is always trying to tell a story, but is either too drunk or too high, so he can’t really remember what happened, so he just keeps blurting stuff out without any sense or correlation.

Let me explain it to you: “Oh man, there was this burning guy looking at L.A, and then there were these dead dudes, and the creepy little girl, and the dude was talking to the police, and there was the creepy lady, and also a mind-controlling guy in the bus, and this guy got kidnapped, and there was also that other guy who had… whaddaya call ’em… tentacles on his face, oh and there were also some vampires, and the dude is actually immortal, ya know the one who was burning, but he hadn’t always been immortal, because he was in the war in Afghanistan or somethin’, and there was a chick, but forget about the chick ’cause I never met ‘her. And the little girl was the Antichrist, and her grandma was a ghost, and her dad was that evil dude, but not her dad who raised her, her other dad, but there were also these other evil dudes, and the burnin’ guy stopped burnin’ and killed some people… Ah, shit man, I have no idea what happened.”

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If what I just did annoyed you, don’t bother with Wolf.

The illustrations themselves were pretty, but I wasn’t a fan of the coloring methods they chose. Almost every page was in a limited palette of colors, specifically chosen for the page, for example only yellows and browns. Which, I think, took away from the story, because it all looks really toned down and the people are more similar than they should be.

Overall, I didn’t hate it, but I have no intention to go on with it. I would be interested to get some closure, but seeing how the first volume offered only questions and not a single answer, I don’t want to go through another volume that does the same.