Hey there folks! Rob here! Before we get to the awesome reviews I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has continued to support us and will hopefully continue to do so in the coming year. 2015 saw IndieComiX make the move to WordPress hosted through Godaddy and I couldn’t be more happier about that. 2015 also saw numerous titles come out that were either good or bad. And I’ve no doubt this new coming year will bring us even more to enjoy and or want to strongly dislike for whatever reason.
So with that said, Happy New Year’s Eve folks!! Don’t forget to hug your mothers and say your prayers! And be sure to keep it Indie! Now let’s roll on into some awesome!
Holy Mackerel what a freakin’ debut issue! To be totally honest this wasn’t even on my radar and while I’m not sure how that happened but let me tell ya something if this what we are going to get from this company than yes please and thank you, or as Oliver said “Please sir I’d like some more.” Marguerite’s premise and characterization alongside Ariela and Bryan’s interior artwork make this one of those sci-fi/horror thrillers that stands out from the crowd in the most spectacular of ways.
I am such a huge fan of the fact that this is set in 1894’s London. So the clothes, the lifestyle and all the trappings that society back then brings in its expectations are fantastic. Then add into it that arranged loveless marriage and a lesbian love affair into the mix and that’s more than enough to capture the imagination. Then add in the title of the series and it’s implications and hello, goodbye this is unlike anything you’ll expect it to be.
Lady Bertram and her handmaiden Mariah right off the bat have this love scene that is so incredibly soft core captivating stuff. It also shows us something else that’s weird and adds that sci-fi element to the book. It also gives us this great look not only at the two of them and their love for each other but at Lord Bertram, Harry, as well, as seen through their eyes anyway. It beautifully sets the stage for the tone of the story.
The interiors here are spectacular and I really wasn’t expecting to get such an intimate, Not Safe For Work, look at their lovemaking here either. Yet it all seems so natural that we see them do this and understand the struggles they face. The party the Lady enters is resplendent in the old world gowns and suits and then of course there’s another aspect we get to see here from them as well that really shocking, gross and adds that horror element in such a way that you can’t look away because you’re too fascinated by what’s happening.
I have to praise Aftershock for letting these creators unleash their vision to the world. Unfettered, uncensored and completely enthralling the scope of what we see here is beyond imagination. It delves into some of our deepest insecurities and our darkest fascinations allowing us the chance to become lost in worlds that we rarely admit to wishing to be a part of.
Editor’s Note: Head here to find out how you can grab up a copy!
Aftershock Comics 2015
Written by: Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by: Ariela Kristantina
Coloured by: Bryan Valenza
Lettered by: Troy Peteri
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
Summary: At the dusk of a century, a pair of vengeful Victorian vixens discover a horrifying power that transforms them into rich and strange new creatures. Armed with their dark, evolving forms, they descend into a world of the cultured and occult, with new senses and new sensuality, to forge a life for themselves and the child of their love. This new monthly series is the brainchild of writer Marguerite Bennett (A-Force, Angela, Red Sonja) and artist Ariela Kristantina (Wolverines, Deep State), a comic unlike any you’ve seen before!
Red Arcis Comics
Creator/Artist: Taylor Sterling
Script Writer: Eugene Argent
Reviewer: Derrick Crow
Summary: Hundreds of years into the future the world has been overthrown by technological creatures that bond with humans known as the Mechai. A lone soldier thrust into this future, Cale, who is bonded with a symbiotic creature that fights alongside him against the Mechai searches for answers to a history he has forgotten and a world he once called home. Hearing whispers of a mysterious city called Okemus, Cale become determined to find Okemus in hopes he’ll find the answers he seeks.
Review: Going into this comic I wasn’t sure what to expect. The cover gave it a Power Ranger feeling with a team of super powered suited characters on the cover, but digging into I discovered the story was only about one guy. What gives?
Well it turns out that I don’t really care because I left this comic wanting so much more of Cale’s lone soldier story. The issue doesn’t load itself down with tons of explanation, giving us some narration at the beginning and all we need to know then on. Of course Cale narrates during the entire comic but it never feels overwhelming if that makes sense. Sterling and Argent strike a unique balance in showcasing events on the panel without having to narrate what we’re looking at. Instead giving us narration of information we need to know. From there on we get a bunch of fight scenes as Cale hunts down a powerful Mechai who he’s discovered knows the location of Okemus.
Cale mowes down any Mechai in his way, and the battle scene with Barnabas is actually really cool. Now, perhaps there could have been a lot more meat in this comic given it was a 38 page prequel issue, boasting a higher page count than most normal issued stories let alone most prequels. It’s mostly just finding and sets a fast pace so it doesn’t feel like its that many pages at any given time.
Normally I would complain about so much fighting and so little substance but even at the end of the prequel I never felt like I didn’t get enough and yet I still wanted more. I enjoyed the fight scenes which were very much inspired Power Rangers and maybe even Kamen Rider. It’s apparent in Cale’s suit and definitely in his new suit he gets at the end. Hell, there might even be some McGuyver influences in there, it’s definitely apparent to me that Sterling likes his anime and I’m totally okay with that.
I do hope in future issues we get to see more super powered suited people, and definitely some fight scenes between them. Sterling does fight scenes really well. They were my favorite part of this issue. I really dug his more detailed art style as well. It looks a bit rough in some panels, a bit unfinished or where he might be cutting corners, but when it comes to the money shots Sterling knows where to put his skills.
I definitely want to read more Okemus and see where Cale goes from here. This was a great primer of a prequel and did exactly what it was designed to do. Great job Sterling and Argent.
Final Score: 4 Super Powered Suited People out of 5
Editor’s Note: Interested in checking this out for yourself? Head right over here!
Writer: Pat Shand
Artist: Marc Rosete
Reviewer: Derrick Crow
Summary: After events that led to a siege on Arcane Acres, and the death of one of their own, a new year has began for the students who are learning to become Realm Knights, protectors of reality. However, things are still not as they seem… and this new year may become the deadliest year…
Review: This was pretty great issue highlighting Lance, one of the new kids at Arcane Acres as he struggles to adapt to the new life he has now and the possibility laid before him of going back in time to save his parents from being killed. Sensibly, anyone would choose to go save their parents, but how Lance goes about it is definitely worth stopping him.
This issue introduces the Sword of Calesvol, the more sentient version of Excalibur as it takes over Lance’s mind nearly dragging him into a death trap. We see his life before Arcane Acres, how he was a Prince in Wonderland and how the Ace of Spades descended upon his family leaving only him alive.
Now he wants to travel back in time and finish off Ace of Spades before he was ever orphaned. This sounds like a sound idea but the ripple effect it would have on time one can not say, but I assume it would not be a good result.
The faculty also learns of Ali’s trips out to the halls when it gets dark so that he may meet with Hailey’s spirit. While Sela ponders what to do with yet another spirit running around, Mary is ominously pondering whether she can give Hailey a body or not. I’m curious to see where this goes as I like Mary and I don’t want to see anything bad happen to her, but I also like Hailey and want to see her come back if she can – and if it works in the story of course.
The a-story here is definitely Lance’s and while I’m still not huge on the guy, and apparently he’s NOT the big baddie of the new arc in disguise like it was looking for awhile, it was really nice for Shand to humanize him and show why he’s doing what he’s doing. It doesn’t excuse him for being a dick to his fellow classmates but it is admirable to see him sacrificing everything for the slim chance he can save his family. That’s my official tether for this character in case he gets out of hand again; my tether to remember his human side.
I really like Roset’s art stye. His work is very clean and precise. He makes each still image look like a grander piece and captures the emotions of characters and scenes well. He also does action really well. I found myself excited during the entire fight between Ali, Skye and Lance as Lance tries to return back to the his realm. I feel Roset’s style fits this series well and while I currently can’t remember if he’s illustrated for GFT before (sorry!) I would definitely love to see him on the title more regularly.
Final Score: 3 Sentient Sabers out of 5
Action Lab: Danger Zone
Written and Illustrated by: Mia Goodwin
Reviewed by: Derrick Crow
Summary: Addison is sixteen. Today is her birthday. She’s been really looking forward to it, especially spending it with her best friend Nick, whom she has a not-so subtle crush on. There’s only one problem… Nick has been murdered, and something stirs within Addison to take revenge on his killers. Thus begins a psychological tale of a broken girl who transforms into a “magical girl” before taking on her adversaries. A downward spiral is imminent.
Review: Two issues into Tomboy and I’m loving it. Mia already has a great grasp on her characters, and I know I said this a lot last issue but what stands out to me the most is Mia’s use of subtlety to her story. The way her characters move, the way they speak, the way they react. Nothing feels left out when it comes to information, yet there’s no pronoun game either of characters saying “that” every time they want to emphasize something important without revealing it to the reader.
The characters react and talk like real people. And the way Mia showcases Addison’s descent into madness with the personification of magic sprites from Addison’s favorite TV show added in with her seeing the spirit of Nick who cheers her on to be an avenger of the night is my favorite part of the issue.
We also get the introduction of a lot of new characters this episode including some detailed information about what is on the USB everyone is after and will literally kill for. It’s nice to see Mia not beating around the bush on that matter and waiting several more issues until we learn why it’s so important. From there the story can go and we don’t have that annoying mystery lingering in the background.
As always, Mia’s artwork is astounding. I just love looking at all of it. Everyone looks great, everything looks great. If I had to think of something I wasn’t too huge on I think every character has too well defined cheek bones and some could probable benefit from rounder faces, but that’s about it.
One thing this issue does introduce us to that I found myself just slightly apprehensive about is the revelation that of course Mia is heir to some sort of mercenary work that her grandfather use to do back in his prime. She can’t just be a girl who committed a crime, but now there’s something larger in the mix. But I’m willing to give this series the benefit of the doubt and just roll with it. This series so far reads like Mia knows what she is getting herself into and what she has planned, so long as everything pays off in the end then I don’t care at this point.
While I am a bit apprehensive about the “connection game” that these stories like to play I still find myself interested in the characters, both good and bad, and I’m very curious to see how everyone plays out. I’m especially interested in Grandpa’s past because of a few little tidbits we get in conversation when he’s talking to someone he used to work with.
I also really enjoy the horror and psychological bend mixing with a rather unique take on the magical girl. It has me excited for what comes next, these are the kind of tales I love. Issue #3 can’t come soon enough.
Final Score: 4.5 Corrupt Coppers out of 5
21 Pulp, Inc. 2015
Written by: James Patrick
Illustrated by: Carlos Trigo
Coloured by: Alex Sollazzo
Lettered by: ET Dollman
Cover by: David Dumeer
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
Summary: Welcome to Hero Hourly! If Saul thought that working as a superhero would be any different than asking if you want fries with that, he was sorely mistaken. Now he has to deal with bad pay, passive-aggressive bosses, work politics, and that one jerk who never carries his weight. We all have to start somewhere, and Saul’s going to learn that the best thing for a person might just be a hard-day’s work.
I love these little independent books there’s a real creativity and love of the medium on display here that brings me joy. This is one of those great examples the writing James brings is great and the characterization and realization of one man’s life, in this case his name is Saul, and the really versus his expectations well it’s good stuff. Plus there’s more to this than you’d think and as the issue ends we get a larger picture happening and a future for him that even he couldn’t have seen.
There’s some great tongue in cheek humor here to go along with a more serious look at what happens when things don’t go as you plan. The employees of Hero Hourly don’t have individual codenames unlike their villain counterparts and while that makes it easier for James since he doesn’t have to keep coming up with identities, the bad guys’ names are guaranteed to make you giggle a bit. So we see Saul kind of getting his butt kicked in the opening but how did he end up being a Hero Hourly employee and find himself here?
Let’s go back and review some of his life that led up to this shall we. Saul graduates from college with a 4.2 GPA, he’s a white male and his thesis was partly published so of course he’s high on himself and his prospects. You know the cocky arrogant guy getting out of school thinking the world’s his oyster yeah that’s him to a T. So right after graduation heading home to his roommates he unloads his frustration and is ready to go out and get a job.
Because things will happen they way the character wants them to you’ll have to see the circumstances behind the string of events that ultimately lead him to Hero Hourly. Though there’s some great straight guy humor in this that well if it’s true i’m laughing if not then it’s only something James has done and that’s even better. There is one scene with Saul’s uncle that’s rather gratuitous and not very revealing but hey the family connection kind of keeps the characterization going the same route.
Hero Hourly is a corporation that gives it’s employees superpowers and sends them off like rent a cops. There’s a handbook/manual and a wide variety of people wearing the costumes. How this came into being is told here and glossing over it is okay since it doesn’t seem to have any real consequences in how things progress. So we get to see Saul taking a job he never wanted, that he more than likely thinks is beneath him and tries to make the best of it. With low hourly wage and little in the way of benefits too I might add. It’s a good little book with solid writing, characterization and plot development.
The interior artwork is normally not what I gravitate to but is completely well suited to this book. It really has the perfect amount of fun, whimsy and outrageous with a tad seriousness that comes with the territory. I like how Carlos and Alex bring this to life. The use of pages and panel layouts move the story along nicely and keep us highly entertained.
Find this at your local shoppe, if they don’t have it ask em to order it or hop online and head to www.21pulp.com because this is 5 Star Fun!
Action Lab: Danger Zone
Writers: TMChu & Dan Mendoza
Reviewer: Derrick T. Crow
Summary: She used to be Hollywood’s hottest high priced call girl, until the bite of an undead john changed her into something deadly different! Now Janey Belle – the street walking dead with supernatural abilities and a copy of the infamous Necronomicon – roams the highways searching for answers as the… ZOMBIE TRAMP!
Review: Wow, now this was an issue. Written by TMChu and drawn by him as well, the story becomes a perfectly in sync tale between story and art as Janey crashes into a summer camp and discovers a slasher that represents much more than a well worn horror trope.
The creature is given no background, no identity, it’s just a hunchback of a beast that likes to wear its victims faces. But because of the nature of this issue it doesn’t need to be given any of those. This creature not only wears the faces of his victims but also takes the identity of them as well, changing personality drastically with whatever face the creature puts on.
Why this is so interesting is the content that arises from it. The whole of the first half of the issue features Janey being completely annihilated by this creature as it continues to cut up any body she tries to take over. I’m pretty sure she goes through like three bodies during the course of this issue. Also I feel bad for the two girls she took over, as their souls got dragged to hell afterwards and neither of them did anything bad. But this wouldn’t be the first time she’s done something like this so it’s easier to overlook.
There’s quite a large body count this issue when you take in Janey and the creature combined, quite a lot of teenagers get killed gruesomely.
The later half of this issue however turns emotional and psychological. Janey discovers the beast will respond to one of his earlier victims who were a part of a family of three and he just so happens to be wearing the faces of the other two members. Seeing his “mother” in Janey as she wears the mother’s face the creature breaks down and questions “mommy Janey” why she left her and daddy’s family. It becomes a disturbingly heartbreaking moment as the slasher becomes vulnerable and filled with despair while lamenting over a broken family’s history.
There never needs to be an answer for what this creature is or where it came from. Because TMChu writes this issue so delicately you feel instantly heartbroken for the creature when it falls to its knees begging for mommy to come back to their family and when Janey ultimately has to put the creature down.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this issue is when Janey somehow takes away from that entire event that the creature was trying to give her a personal message. That it was making her out to be some abandoning witch that needs to die. Which isn’t at all what was going on and I’m not sure why TMChu decided to go this route for Janey’s reaction to the preceding events. It’s not a solid ending to an otherwise truly solid issue and made me a bit disappointed when reading it.
The art in this issue is the strongest TMChu has drawn for this series and was well worth him going on hiatus in order to bring us this issue. Janey has never looked so good! And along with a solid story we got genuinely solid art? Yes please. I really wish TMChu could stay on this title every single month because I love his style just way too much. If you don’t read any other issue of Zombie Tramp – for shame! – at least read this issue. It’s emotional and subdued as well being entertaining with plenty of action and amazing art. It’s the whole package and probably the best issue of this series to date.
Final Score: 4.5 Ruined Families out of 5