Alright, I am absolutely thrilled by this series so far. For new readers this is an excellent example of character building, development, and characterization for long time fans it’s like a refresher course setting up the character for a modern setting. With our world full of instant gratification this series doesn’t give that instead it’s doing things in a way that really gets you into the mind of Sykes, how he ticks and what he’s about before shoving him in a costume. It really is some of the best character development writing we’ve seen and that it takes it’s time doesn’t bother me at all and honestly I wish more people would write like this.
So that Sykes has these multiple personalities is one of those things that opens up the kind and amount of characterization we get. This issue opens with some of that on display and honestly I’d love to see more of this one as it’s pretty much the direct opposite of the Badger and yeah I’d kind of like to see this personality in bed with a lover. I do like that he’s in this institution and he befriends Thorndyke. Ah yes this is what I’m talking about here the dialogue, characterization of Hamilton Thorndyke just adds something incredibly good to the mix here that continues to flesh out the story.
So as the story plays out we learn a lot about Hamilton Thorndyke. It’s basically something of an origin story for him and that involves him telling this to Sykes and Dr. Fields well it really goes to show that you can write a great interesting and thrilling story that doesn’t have to involve the man in tights beating the you know what out of someone. His story is also one that just reinforces why I love comics because you can take a character insert him, or her, retroactively into history and weave it so that it seems completely credible. Not to mention his greatest shall we say adversary is Rasputin, though he has gone by many names, just adds to the interest factor here.
As incredible as you find his story, which also weaves in the Vikings finding North America long before anyone else, and as much you want to scoff at what he says it’s Dr. Fields who is there to do that for you. She’s easily relatable to and is seems to be the voice of reason here and will definitely need to be convinced of the validity of what is said. It’s going to be one hell of an interesting ride I can guarantee that even more after we learn who is Hamilton’s biggest rival. That while shocking is also one of those moments you realize the genius behind the writing as it would tend to explain so much in the real world.
The interiors here are simply perfect. The style and attention to detail just make me happy as it feels very much like a comic book should. The page and panel layouts are incredibly effective at keeping the flow of the story moving. Then the facial expressions and even the difference in body language for Sykes different personas make it easy to see, follow and understand what’s going on. Then there’s the glory of the last page of the story that just wows and makes your eyes pop with anticipation of what’s to come.
This my friends needs to be on your list of monthly books. Everything old is new again and this has never been better!
Editor’s Note: To grab up a copy, head here!
Devil’s Due/1First Comics 2016
Created by: Mike Baron & Jeff Butler
Written by: Mike Baron
Penciled by: Tony Akins
Inked by: Val Mayerik
Coloured by: Paul Mounts
Lettered by: Willie Schubert
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
Summary: Norbert Sykes (alias Badger) gets sprung from the asylum thanks to the influence of his new best friend, Hamilton Thorndyke, a 4th Century Druid wizard. The housewarming at Ham’s new castle is spoiled by a Russian invasion. It seems the world’s balance of power is shifting and Ham has a deadly new rival, Vladimir Putin! Good thing Ham has a trusty and no less deadly guard-dog, The Badger! Standard cover by Stephen B. Scott! Pulse-pounding Retailer Incentive Variant wraparound cover by Tony Akins!
Hushers: A Very Victorian Apocalypse GN
Writer: Andy Winter
Artist: Manuela Bassu Lebrino
Letterer: Ian Sharman
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks
Summary: England, 1848: A huge, civilisation-ending meteor, Astraea, is on a collision course with Earth. Outside of the British establishment no one knows… Except a downtrodden young woman named Sarah Buckman. Desperate and alone, Sarah teams up with enigmatic Frenchman Jacques and a band of anarchists and criminals called the Lambeth Rats. Their plan is to tell the world of the coming disaster but sinister government agetns – Hushers – dog their every step and plan to silence them for good.
I was sent this graphic novel awhile back and only recently had the chance to check it out fully. Which is a glaring error on my part when it comes to reads like these as I’ve come to realize. And I gotta say that it is a little on the depressing side while managing to be a little bit uplifting to a certain extent. I have to say, I certainly came to like the character of Sarah as this story went on. She went from a lady who took people’s crap to a lady who was willing to fight for what she believed in, making for some fantastic character development in my view. Even finding love with a man who actually does give a damn about her and I don’t feel an ounce of pity in my bones for her not so dearly departed husband. As that guy was just a jerk who didn’t deserve a classy lady like Sarah. Especially since the creep apparently even slept with her sister if the implications are anything to go by.
One of the things I love about this graphic novel is the fact that Manuela’s art style is done with paint/water colors over her pencils. You don’t necessarily see something like this in comics a whole lot and the fact she does it here gives the book a really unique quality all of its own. And I definitely wouldn’t mind checking out more titles that includes her work after seeing it here. The use of the Identicals (The Hushers of her Majesty’s Empire) is an interesting one and I’m curious as to how the Queen and her bunch managed to make them considering the time period their in. But where there is a will, there is a way. Especially if you got the cash to spend in order to ensure it happens! As I read Hushers, I found myself unable to put it down as I just had to keep going in order to find out what happened next in the story. From the arrival at the house, to Sarah’s encounter with an uninvited Husher at said house, meeting up with Jacques and his pals in the Lambeth Rats, Andy certainly provides us readers with a whole lot of things to experience alongside Sarah.
Hell, I wouldn’t even mind seeing this adapted into a film or perhaps a mini-series. And adapted 100 percent FAITHFULLY for that matter even though we Americans love our happy endings and what not. I’m not gonna lie, I even was surprised by the story’s ending but it actually makes sense considering the time period we’re in. Though I imagine a certain Time Lord would be rather disgusted by the good Queen we meet in this story who certainly gets her comeuppance courtesy of Sarah! Who certainly became quite the spitball over the events seen here. Hell, I wouldn’t have minded seeing what sort of chaos she could have brought on with the Lambeth Rats at her side once the good Queen brought her to what is supposed to be their salvation. Though I’m curious if whether or not the place really would have worked, even with the threat Astraea presented to the world at large.
But its a curiousity that will go unfilled most likely but I think I can live with that! I definitely recommend checking out this title for yourself as I really feel that Andy, Manuela, and Ian did a damn fine job with this graphic novel!
Editor’s Note: Interested in checking out this great GN for yourself? Then head right here!
No Gods #1
Self Published 2008
Created & Written by: Dustin Carson
Illustrated by: Armando Abeleda
Cover Colours by: Jim Vargas
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
One of the highlights of going to conventions for me is walking through artist alley and finding something I’d never seen or heard of before. At Gem City Con, Dayton Oh, I found Dustin setup and he had all six issues of this series on his table and I was intrigued. With all the companies in business sometimes you forget about the self-published folks who do this with a passion and love of the industry and hopefully after my series of reviews you’ll want to contact Dustin and see for yourself what a guy who loves comics can do.
We open with a man on his knees praying to his father, yes it’s in a church. Could he be Jesus once more resurrected or just a man suffering delusions? Either way it’s something that will stick throughout the issue and the series. It’s always interesting when a character thinks they are doing God’s will. So much can be done with that both good and bad from a reader’s standpoint, while the character thinking they are righteous do things that we would be utterly shocked and dismayed by. It’s a nice take here and as the story unfolds you don’t get much more than a sense of what he’s feeling so it’s nice in that regard.
Dustin has created a world that in many ways needs saving that much is clear. However is this man the one to save it? The first scenario we see reminds me of a Purge movie and I’m definitely not complaining about that. It’s kind of a great way to show a declining society where chaos rules and people are shown to be at their basest behavior, both good and bad people remember the difference is like splitting hairs.
The next scenario is out there but fascinating. I like the way we see this lead guy, he’s nameless thus far but he calls God his father hence whom he thinks he is, having these visions of these events. Part of me thinks he’s special, no not short bus, he’s been gifted with sight and another part of me thinks he’s just plain cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Regardless we see what he sees and this lays the groundwork very nicely. It’s enough so that as a reader you go ‘huh what?’ Then ‘hmm,’ finally ‘okay what’s next?’ It’s the kind of writing that grabs your attention and leaves you wanting more.
I like the way it ends as it takes another turn entirely. Hmm it makes you question everything we’ve seen until then, go flip through the issue and pretty much confound you. It’s good solid storytelling and it’s almost never what you’d expect. I like it this keeps you guessing and on your toes.
There are many moments Armando’s interiors really shine and showcase some unexplored talent. Other times you realize it’s very indie work but the potential is there for him to grow become more confident in his skills and really shine. There’s a two page spread that’s really something nice to see.
This is a promising series that I think deserves your consideration you can get em by sending off an email at him at [email protected] Check him out today.
Papercuts & Inkstains #3B
Madius: We Are Comics
Writers: Rob Jones, Mike Sambrook
Artists: Dan Butcher, Brian Burke, Mike Smith
Reviewer: Derrick Crow
Summary: Anthology book of 3 different stories by various writers and artists set in several different original worlds. The first is a first person viewpoint dystopian adventure, the second is a trippy superhero caper, and the final tale are the continuing adventures of the Prophets of Doom.
Review: Much like issue #3A I do believe this series of anthologies could do greatly to divide issues up into themes, however like issue #3A I do appreciate these comics are giving creatives a place to create indie work. And having a running story such as the Prophets of Doom is also a great way to tie each of these issues together.
Prophets of Doom wasn’t in issue #3A but the story is continuing from earlier issues and seeing as how both #3A and #3B are supposed to tie in to one another as one big issue I don’t see why they needed to put a PoD tale in both. Overall though I felt this issue was an improvement on the last as I enjoyed 2 out of 3 of the stories quite a bit. And was sort of… perplexed by the third.
Starting out with FPS, I like first person stories because they’re still so uncommon. And if they’re done right the reader can honestly immerse themselves in the story through their own eyes. A really down to Earth foot soldier perspective. In FPS we get just that as we experience the tale of soldiers in a city seeking out enemies whom they see as degenerate simpletons.
However there’s a reveal at the end that perhaps the guys we’re on the side of may in fact be the villains of the story when one of the other soldiers reveals to us that genocide of these simpletons may be the best answer to getting rid of them. But that’s still not even the biggest drop. Through the entire comic we see the story unfold through our main character’s visor.
At the end the visor is removed and through a reflection in the final panel it’s revealed that we’ve been an alien race this entire time hunting down humans. And I think that’s really awesome. I really enjoyed this story. The art isn’t absolutely wonderful but for this it was passable and easy to look at it. Which is important. But the art was definitely my least favorite part of the story.
The Perplexity was just that. Perhaps it was meant to be its namesake, but since there is a hero in this comic called the Perplexity I wish the story itself could’ve been a lot less confusing. Right from the beginning the tale begins more or less straight forward with a robbery taking place and a narrator telling the reader that their day was about to get crazy.
Things get bizarre – even for me – once a superhero named the Perplexity enters the story halfway through to bring a fallen citizen back to life in order to kill the robbers robbing the bank. And then when the police tell him to give up he refuses, but simply in the most perplexing way. By offering up himself as a sort of obstacle for the police to overcome in the future.
But I’m stretching to find a reason because the way the Perplexity talks feels so forced to ‘different’ or ‘unique’ or perhaps ‘deeply intelligent’ that it all just falls away into pieces. I really didn’t like this story and I really didn’t like the art for it either. Overall this was the weakest story in both issues.
Finally we have the continuing adventures of the Prophets of Doom. Which this is a really fun series they got going here. It’s a comedy parody making fun of end times tales. With incredibly wonky and satisfying ideas of what it’s like to go through a demonic end times scenario. And the Prophets themselves are all bumbling, fumbling loveable idiots.
They’re the reason the world is coming to an end, they’re on a mission to save everyone, and they’re just not succeeding in a way that’s really funny to watch. I would definitely watch an animated web series or even a live-action b-movie of these guys. And of course the art is really well done. It’s the most detailed and defined of all the stories I’ve read thus far. Prophets of Doom is just a really fun and unique story with smart comedic writing. I loved it.
Final Score: 3.5 Human Katamari Balls out of 5
Editor’s Note: If you haven’t picked up #3A just yet, why not do so when you grab up #3B!?