Review: Ever since I read the first issue of this series way back in February I have been hankering for more. And it wasn’t until recently I had my wish fulfilled courtesy of Joe himself! I have to say I am really liking what he’s doing here with this title. As not only do we see all the stuff the Liberaider has to deal with, but we also get to see other new members of the new Zodiax come around. Which is neat cause we basically get four stories altogether while the main (first of the four stories) storyline for the Liberaider is on going. In the second issue we got to meet the Lion Zodiax and he’s a rather long lived fella too! Though I found it a shame we only got such a short story about him and I hope Joe will be coming back to do more on this guy!
Issue 3 gives us a girl who deals with ghosts who haven’t left the Earthly plane just yet for whatever reason and in this reviewer’s view of things, it seems even she and a ghostly fella she knows has trouble letting go. How that gets resolved is anybody’s best guess but I look forward to seeing how that all plays out. And as for part 4? Well it features what is quite possibly the last bit of civilization left in the universe. Which, you know, sucks hardcore but thankfully there’s no demented Time Lord around to take advantage. Though there is a bunch of aliens out to destroy the nice folks residing in the area. Why is a bit unclear (though its possible I missed something there) but its evident they are due for a good butt kicking!
Which sadly comes in the form of one woman’s sacrifice that involves an interesting transformation and I have to wonder just how permanent that is since Technology at this point could likely find a way to reverse it. And considering the future era of this character, I am curious to see how she and the other two will all wind up meeting the Liberaider if there’s even any intent on doing so. But hey, at least ol’ Tech Boy won’t be alone in the weirdness department! But I have to wonder how receptive he’ll be to them once he (hopefully) manages to get out of the situation he’s currently in during issue 4.
Joe gets me wondering about the Wizard fella we meet in this issue since he seems to be the lead man (or possibly one of the leaders) of the Dregs group as a question he asks our main leading man is entirely random and then acts like it never even happened while some poor guy is having a most horrible night with the other Dregs. Something I’m curious to see what Liberaider will do about now that he’s had some proper motivation to get himself free. Which I found somewhat amusing and once you’ve read this issue you’ll get what I’m talking about and no longer consider me a horrible little man!
I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I am darn ready to see it happen! Joe is doing a terrific job with this book even while being a one man creative team for the most part and I highly recommend giving this a look at!
The New Zodiax #4
Created, Written, Drawn, Colored, and Lettered by: Joe St. Pierre
Color Assists by: Atomic Paintbrush
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks
Summary: A tale told in the spirit of the Kaiju, the last bastion of civilization is protected by the New Sagitarius, the colossal lava monster named Multaa! Also inside, the Liberaider is caught between the blood-thirsty Dregs and the mercs for hire Greenback and Pyrotek!
NODE – Vol. 1
Summary: Within the confines of E. City, the girl known simply as Node fights beasts of all enchantments in order to bring the city back from the brink of darkness. All the while also fighting to find a way out of E. City, for she has not found herself there of her own free will… but taken, enslaved, and forced to be a hero that she doesn’t want to be. This is the saga of Node…
Review: Reading David’s forward about why he became a writer to produce his own manga really hit home to me. Sure, my parents didn’t do what he did, but I did live in a world where this kind of entertainment was looked down upon by many. It also touched my soul as it was his genuine love for this medium that also drove him to want to create stories of his own. The same as with me.
So I was really looking forward to getting into Node, something from the heart and a love letter to a medium that thankfully is still flourishing today. But also the art looked gorgeous straight from the cover. Thankfully Node isn’t a bad story overall with some rather interesting story elements and a really cool premise. However, the execution of it all often walks the line of stellar and mediocre – generally falling into mediocre storytelling territory.
I’m not saying this is a bad comic. No, no, I actually enjoyed Node in the later half of this volume and even early on there are interesting developments to keep one hooked. Node herself is interesting because she’s a very modern mahou shoujo (for all intents and purposes) sporting the side-of-the-head-is-bald-while-the-rest-of-the-head-remains-filled look and being much more proactive and fierce than most magical girl heroes.
Her main power does make her pretty over powered though as she has the power to master any weapon, and often times she’s able to use that power against her opponents. There were plenty of moments where I didn’t really fear for her safety simply because of this power, which it in itself isn’t a bad power to have it just depends on how you incorporate it into fights.
Node really feels like an old 80s/90s OVA with a lot of style and minimal budget usage to get in more fights rather than exploring the main facets of the city. Also creating a very small cast as to maximize your experience with the main character. The cast for Node is really tiny. It consists solely of Node, Prophet (her captor), and whatever bad guys she comes across each issue. Which also lends itself to a baddie of the week sort of format, with a few two-parters in there as well.
The monsters themselves are generally taken straight from fiction, and allows for more abundance in baddies. Which is good, variety is good, however majority of them are usually throw away baddies or one-note suckers. The most interesting villains are the last ones Node fights in this particular volume as she is sucked into a mish-mash world made up of elements from the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland.
Node herself I mentioned is interesting. While she is op to some degree, I find it fascinating that she really doesn’t want to be a hero. In fact during this entire volume the whole hero facade doesn’t even grow on her. She wants out, and she wants to go home. Usually with these kinds of storylines the whole “being a hero” and “saving the city” track begins to grow on the main character and they think: “Well, this might not be so bad.” Node is so not like that and I like that about her throughout the entirety of this comic.
The art in Node really is nice to look at. If anything I could read this comic alone because Olympia infuses this story with so much style and edge. As for the background artists, his assistants, it’s a shame that there wasn’t more detail given to the backgrounds. Much of this comic is filled with empty white sky backgrounds which again gives this a feel of an 80s/90s anime OVA where the budget was cut for more emphasis on the action. But Olympia’s art really makes this comic for me.
Node isn’t a bad comic, but it isn’t a great comic sadly. It’s heavily, heavily influenced by manga and I’m totally in love with that as it does capture the heart of being a manga made in Japan. But I don’t know if I could bring myself to read more Node past this first volume. Sure, I would like to find out if she ever gets out of E. City, but that’s really the only big story draw. Everything else is fluff, and I don’t want everything else to be fluff. I want it all to count. And I don’t think I could wade through it all just to find out the answer.
Final Score: 3 Evil Enchanted Unicorns out of 5
Editor’s Note: To find out how you can grab a copy, head here!
Rapid City: Below Zero #3
Written by: Josh Dahl
Illustrated by: Shawn Langley
Cover Colours by: Micah Faulkner
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
Summary: Coil betrayed the rest of his crew, left them for dead and made off with the loot. Icicle and Claw Hammer survived, but Icicle’s boyfriend was not so lucky. Coil then used the stolen good to buy his way into the super-villain Syndicate and rise to the top of Rapid City’s underworld. Icicle emerges from hiding with only one purpose… find Coil and make him pay.
Review: So while Icicle is revisiting the apartment she shared with Piledriver reminiscing about times past Coil is up to his neck in setting up the new status quo of Rapid City’s criminal element. There’s one among them that I liked instantly that’s Stretcher, he’s got the wherewithal to actually want clarification and to ask exactly what is going on here. Not content to be steamrolled by Coil he shows his own smarts in making him explain just what this new system will be like and how it will work. He’s not the sharpest tool inthe shed by his own admission but neither is he stupid from what we see. He’ll make an interesting player in this new drama.
I’m pretty sure he isn’t going to like working for or under Coil’s direction and if word gets out about what Icicle’s up to i’m not sure where he’s going to side but it should be interesting to see what happens. Josh has managed to create quite the little world here full of interesting characters and yes he’s focusing on the villains but that’s a view we never really get to see portrayed so well. The fact that Coil is such a wannabe hardcore bad guy and with all we’ve seen of him thus far it really does go to that darker place with him.
Icicle’s story as it’s been unfolded has been great to see. I mean had she been shown love and affection she could have turned out differently and as it is she’s on that fence of what is good or bad. As she contacts those people she thinks she can trust and turn to for help we get some of the best characterization on her to date. Her frustration at one and understanding of another as she finds herself still completely alone in her quest will either strengthen or weaken her resolve.
Then there’s the cops involved in all this and I can almost see something coming with them and Icicle but I’m not sure I wanna go to that place yet. It would be her turning point of leaving that life behind, again, once and for all. The fact that she and Piledriver were going to be leaving all this till Coil betrayed them well perhaps that’s the true catalyst she needed to finally out who she is deep down. The time for the lost little girl inside her to grow up and become who she was meant to be seems to be now.
This is a really solid little book and it is just another example why I continue to be impressed and a fan of self-published books. There’s a great story here being told and the characters and the characterization keep you interested in what’s happening and you find yourself in Icicle’s life and rooting for her before you realize how far she’s gotten under your skin. This is a highly recommended series from me if you want some good solid story driven entertainment.
Find em all at www.rapidcitycomic.com