I am happy to say that this is my second experience with Guardian Knight Comics and it has been great. And if you’ve been around with me for a while you know by now that I love finding new companies to read and promote, if you’re new, well now ya know. So first a big thank you to Guardian Knight Comics for working with me! I’m also a huge fan of horror movies, stories, novels, etc so this one felt right up my alley, as ironically enough I watched Haunting of Cellblock 11 as I read this. So if you like the bizarre and strange not to mention a tad frightening you’ll enjoy this.
The opening with Dr. Stenson welcoming us to the Sanitarium has that classic feel like the opening of the Twilight Zone or the Crypt Keeper and it sets the mood perfectly for what we’re about to see. Also I have to say I really like that the good Doctor seems more like a fellow patient than healer here it lends more of that ominous feeling. A large part of that is thanks to Juan who nails the tone, feel and mood to get us underway.
Now when the story starts there’s a young man looking for a “good” case he can research for his paper. I am gonna go out on a limb and say he’s an intern and is under Dr. Stenson’s tutelage for this rotation. That’s where we get to see and learn all about Case #26: “Monsters are Real.” I like the dialogue here as he goes in search of a case, he’s either young and kind of stupid with that schoolboy mentality that he’s going to be someone huge someday or he’s just an idiot who has no social graces, either way he’s a good one to be learning about this the way he is.
Thanks guys for naming the kid Steven btw yeah as if my name isn’t used enough for these kinds of things–kidding! Poor Steven is just a kid and he’s shy, awkward, and seemingly abused. His teacher sees the marks on him and while his father is a brute and drunk he’s more verbally abusive than physical, I said more not only. However there’s something else at play here with Steven and there’s a man only he can see that frightens him greatly. Kind of like a ghost or boogeyman that lurks watching him, distracting him and helping to increase his anxiety and social awkwardness.
So I have to say I love that Mrs. Lorne looks out for Steven like a good, caring and attentive teacher would and notices his bruises and takes the action she does. Only Steven’s not talking and won’t tell her how he got them. Of course we see as the story plays out that yeah he’s got this raw deal at home but that can be overcome. When Steven is face to face with his… well, stalker for lack of a better word something weird happens and it’s frightening for a young boy to have to have that happen to them.
Then the world comes apart and things happen that defy explanation. The writing here is exceptionally good and it’s creepy and really leaves a lot open ended so that you can interpret what’s happened in a variety of ways. Suffice it to say however that Steven now resides in the Sanitarium and has shut himself off from the world at large and how can that be good for an 8 year old boy? Was it all in his imagination? Or does he have a friend no one can see or was he capable of doing these acts on his own? That is up to you to decide.
I look forward to seeing what else these folks can throw at me because honestly I’m excited to have found them if this and Moon Streak are anything to go by!
Editor’s Note: Head here for a print or digital copy!
Guardian Knight Comics 2015
Written by: Bryan Ortiz, James Hartz, Evan Boston & Scott “Diablo” Marcano
Illustrated by: Juan Romero
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
Summary: For every terrified scream and wale of pain echoing in the halls of this insane asylum, there is a horrifying back-story that brought them to the odd Dr. Stenson. Like the young boy struggling to survive his abusive father and a nightmarish entity that appears to be stalking him. Is the monster real, or a figment of the poor kid’s tormented imagination? Welcome to the Sanitarium.
The interiors are almost seemingly next generation computer graphics. Making Agent 1.22 nearly impossible to distinguish between android and human in nature. With the narration of her emerging from stasis the distinction becomes less obvious. I will say though that it’s really quite fascinating to see and hear her mission parameters. Of which to my eye tell of a viral outbreak on a planet outpost which was trying to be contained. They’ve, are who as yet un-revealed, lost contact with the outpost personnel and that’s why she’s been sent down.
My initial response to this was it felt like some sort of first person shooter game kind of like an outer space Resident Evil. Which by the way wouldn’t be a bad thing cause I love the whole thought of viral outbreaks and how they can change people. Then there’s our main character; the very beautiful and bold Agent 1.22 who has been upgraded and programmed to deal with planetary conditions and what she might find there. That isn’t normal stuff but it’s still the kind of information that makes her a mute badass version of the genetically modified and cloned Ripley was.
I have to say that part of me really liked this whole her being silent thing and seeing her mission unfold through the events and characters she encounters. Even the introduction of Director Miller and her mysterious agenda only adds to the mystique of the story. That she didn’t have a clue who Agent 1.22 was is a nice touch but that facial recognition software (?) can find out who she showed that more advanced stage of what we’ve got now. This was told through inventive and creative means and I now have high expectations for it.
The action sequences here are amazingly portrayed. Seeing Agent 1.22 in action against this security droid able to really let loose, see no human collateral damage, was some of the most fun to be had. Plus the colouring really grabs you, the brightness of the shine of metal or fabrics or seeing through the exhaust or whatever the droid is giving off it really kind of surprises you how much you can do these days to create these effects.
Definitely something I would recommend for anyone with an inclination towards Science Fiction, or even games like Resident Evil and it has the promise of movies like Alien in its future so yeah it crosses over to a lot of folks.
Amigo Comics 2015
Written b:y El Torres
Penciled by: Nacho Tenorio
Inked by: Sergio Mora
Coloured by: Veronica R. Lopez
Lettered by: Malaka Studio
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
I don’t care that I’m so in love with this book and what Torres does with it. I mean seriously, this issue is chock full of cute subtle and not so subtle homages to some of the best fantasy novels and comics in the realm. After losing the baby to the Vampires Three last issue Bram and Weasel go home where they collapse and take a respite. All the while talking about how the baby is nothing but trouble and not rewarding enough for them to still be involved with the usual we’re gonna try to talk ourselves out of this then weapon up and get him back. The dialogue is superbly done and the characterization is one of the main reasons this transcends any kind of genre regardless of the setting.
Meanwhile Malikita has her men enslaved on the bed, one looking happy and pleased the other shameful and it’s too bad we don’t see enough of them, yes I mean that front or back. Though I do have to admit that finally seeing a hairy man in comics like this is fun. I mean c’mon Malikita is running around stark naked talking to everyone and yeah boobs I get it but seriously this is 2015 folks stop being afraid to show gender equality. Though I loved how the Chief Magistrate dealt with her. God I’m telling you the writing here cannot be beat it’s really some of the most you’ll have.
So while Bram and Weasel scour the city for mages who might know something about the baby that’s where the homages come in heavily. Last time out I told you how Dikotomous was dressed, well here we get a bevy of different characters not named but ya know, close enough. Oh yeah, there’s one moment that shines above all others as well and if you read this you’ll see it and from then on out you will devour reading this series. Oh, and it’s not about the Tower of Fisting!
I love the absurdity of Weasel taking on Dikotomous in a duel. Thank you Yu-Gi-Oh for the inspiration because it lends itself beyond perfectly here! You’ll have to see how the duel goes to really appreciate it and seeing Diko at the end of it. Though I really wish in that position we’d have found out he’d been violated as well.
That these two honest outlaws continually find themselves in situations that they should never survive let alone thrive in and remain as broke and well not notorious as they could be is fantastically done. You’d think by now they have this reputation that would be more akin to what they’ve been through instead of the down on their luck nothing worth troubling about. I guess that’s what makes them so likable though.
This is the kind of stuff that makes you smile as you read it. You just enjoy it so fully and it’s a constant reminder why you love comics!