Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Comics Round-Up (Apr.4)


A very good, diverse week of comics: spies, twisted fairy tales, undead kings, real American heroes, superheroes, and also zombies. Covers most of the bases.


Reviewed Herein: Danger Girl: Revolver #3, Fanboys vs. Zombies #1, G.I.Joe #12, Grimm Fairy Tales #71, Grimm Fairy Tales: April Fool’s Special 2012, Grimm Fairy Tales: The Library #5, Incorruptible #28, Infestation 2: 30 Days of Night, Supurbia #2, Valen the Outcast #5, The Waking: Dreams End #1, Wolverine & the X-Men #7

[Supurbia #2 review delayed until later in the week]

Danger Girl: Revolver #3/4 (IDW)

IDW-DangerGirl-Revolver-03AWriter: Andy Hartnell | Artist: Chris Madden | Colours: Jeromy Cox

While on target to recover a missing Peruvian treasure, Danger Girl Abbey Chase encounters a deadly new rival who may beat her to the punch. Will Abbey reach it first, or will the sudden involvement of Peru’s most powerful villains prompt her to stand clear of the inevitable explosion?!

This series is quite an interesting one. It’s like a mixture of Indiana Jones, Mission: Impossible and James Bond. On a train. It’s a lot of fun, but isn’t the best series IDW publish. The Hochi Sun Medallion – the artefact that’s been causing the Danger Girls all their trouble – has fallen into the hands of some of Peru’s dangerous smugglers, who are currently on a train heading… somewhere. The Danger Girls attempt to sneak on board, but they realise their quarry’s on to them when they… start firing missiles at them. I must say, this is not the wisest tactic if you are on the train at which you are aiming your missiles…

The artwork is reminiscent of one of Disney’s styles – a mixture of angular faces and curvaceous figures. It’s a colourful and very dynamic style, with a lot of nice touches throughout the issue.

Overall, a fun issue.


Fanboys vs. Zombies #1 (Boom)


Writer: Sam Humphries | Artist: Jerry Gaylord | Colours: Penelope Gaylord, Nolan Woodard

One is a decrepit mob of gurgling, ravenous fiends… and the other is a zombie outbreak. When there is no more room in Hell, the undead shall take over Comic-Con! A crew of feuding best friends find themselves trapped inside America’s largest comic convention transformed into a seething cauldron of zombies. Is a horde of starving brain-eaters any match against reflexes battle-hardened by video games, nerves tested by horror flicks, and courage crystallized by comic books? Find out as an unlikely band of nerds use their genre savvy to survive in Fanboys vs. Zombies!

Hah. This was a lot of grade-A dork fun. There’s geek-posturing, techno-babble, l33t, and lots of Jay-&-Silent-Bob-esque moments. This issue is really just setting the scene, introducing us to the characters (Amanda and Jenna are the best characters – think Kristen Bell in… uh, Fanboys). It’s almost unnecessary to talk about the premise of the series – it’s a) in the title, and b) so obviously awesome. And the comic lives up to expectations. This is a great, fun read, and I can’t wait for the next issue(s). It’s endearing, nostalgic, and funny. Highly recommended.


Also on CR: Interview with Sam Humphries



G.I.Joe #12 (IDW)

IDW-GIJOE-12Writer: Chuck Dixon | Artist: Will Rosado | Colours: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

Cobra Command Aftermath: It’s a new day for the Joes – as they crawl from the ruins of Cobra Command, they find a new status quo… and a change in command! Who will lead the Joes into this new, deadlier, downsized future?

Scarlett leads an op into one of the wildest wildernesses on the planet to uncover a Cobra facility that threatens the very balance of the universe as we enter… Deep Terror!

Rather bombastic synopsis (I took out a couple exclamation points). After the Cobra Command story-arc (which was very good, save a slightly flat ending), Washington does a big re-evaluation of G.I.Joe’s funding, and things don’t go well for the unit. With huge cut-backs, no replacements for the Joes who died in Nanzhao, this leaves them effectively incapable of fulfilling their mandate as a fast-response force. In the meantime, we learn of Cobra’s lobbying efforts in D.C. (although, one gets the feeling that they are using ever corrupt trick in the book, and aren’t as squeamish about propriety…), and the Commander begins consolidating Cobra’s place at the very top of the global drug trade. The final page, however, suggests that the Joes are experiencing just at the beginning of their difficulties…

This is a great issue, setting forth the parameters for the series going forward. The creative team is pretty great, too, and I like their clean and sharp style. It’s not as vibrant as some other comics, which is fine as it suits the tone and genre of G.I.Joe. This was a very strong start to this story-arc.


Grimm Fairy Tales #71 (Zenescope)

GFT-71AWriter: Joe Brusha | Artist: | Colours:

Free from limbo and once again on her own in the realm of Myst, Sela is desperate to find a way back to earth and save her daughter from the Dark One’s evil designs. Her quest to find her way home leads her deep into the heart of a forbidden part of Myst... to a place where it is said that no one has ever returned from... a place known only as the Tomb of Death.

I think, while I enjoy this series, Myths & Legends is a far superior series. Given that it features some of the same characters, I wonder how long they’re going to be able to keep Grimm Fairy Tales going. It’s still good, but doesn’t have the darkness that Myths & Legends has, which to me makes the newer series far more attractive and interesting. Ultimately, I suppose, they do different things, and GFT #70 does the trick: it’s fun, entertaining, full of weird and wonderful magic and creations.

That being said, Limbo is a pretty dark, horrific creation – and in this issue, because the Mistress of the realm’s plans are starting to pick up momentum, it’s a pretty bloody land as well. Perhaps it’s the artwork that robs the series of some of its ‘grit’? It’s a little more cartoon-y and also quite brightly coloured, which doesn’t exactly evoke a sense of foreboding or tension.

Sela’s a great, strong character (she’s also in The Library, below), so it’s always nice to read about her (mis)adventures. As an aside, it’s only just occurred to me that Sela’s outfit makes her look like a cross between Wonder Woman and a sexy librarian. It is entirely impractical for the sort of adventuring she seems to keep getting herself into…

For me, the Myths & Legends series offers stories in a tone closer to my (twisted) tastes. I’m still intrigued to know where this series will be going in the future, and it is clear why it remains so popular. The series has come a very long way since the first couple of years, too, when the stories dealt with re-tellings of Fairy Tales.


Grimm Fairy Tales: April Fool’s Special 2012 (Zenescope)

GFT-AprilFools2012-AWriter: Patrick Shand, Ralph Tedesco | Artist: Eric J, Scott Woodward, David Seidman & Claudio Sepulveda | Colours: Nei Ruffino, Andrew Mangum, Mark McNabb

The sophomoric yet hilarious foray into the Grimm Fairy Tales universe makes a return! The first two editions left most fans wanting more and left others wondering if we’d completely lost our minds. But we’re back at it yet again so read at your own risk! Some of your favorite stories from the Grimm Fairy Tales Universe are completely re-lettered to create brand new story-lines that will have you laughing out loud. Grimm Fairy Tales once again gets the ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ treatment and you don’t want to miss the fun!

The dangers of a cleaning slave discovering how to magically animate a broom to do the work for you… Fairy tale cougars… Creepy-ass puppet-makers… Stalker mermaids… A diverse range, to be sure.

This is a good bit of silly fun. Taking the original artwork and changing the dialogue and narration, the writers poke fun at some of the dafter elements of fairy tales and fantasy comics. It’s good to know not everybody takes themselves too seriously.


Grimm Fairy Tales: The Library #5 (Zenescope)

GFT-Library-05AWriter: Joe Brusha | Artist: Giovanni Timpano | Colours: Timothy Yates

The wicked witch of the west has come to earth and she doesn’t plan on leaving without a fight. It’s Hercules, Robin Hood and a fourteen year old girl to send her back to the land of OZ before her evil destroys the world?

This is the final issue in The Library mini-series. And it’s a pretty fun, action-packed issue, too – the creatures and heroes from literature are still duking it out in the Library, having been set free by Sela and also the Wicked Witch. Only, unbeknownst to the Witch, she’s been played, and another power attempts to gain control of the real world.

This is a really fun mini-series, taking us back to Sela’s earlier experiences with the weird. It’s part adventure, part fairy tale, and ends with a nice family-story – triumph over adversity and the family are brought closer together as a result of their ordeals. As a book-lover, it also has a very happy ending.


Incorruptible #28 (Boom)


Writer: Mark Waid | Artist: Marcio Takara | Colours:

Coalville has become one man’s sanctuary. St. Lucifer, one of Earth’s cruellest and most manipulative villains, rules the city with an iron hand, and Max hasn’t yet stepped in to shut him down. Now, however, Max has finally been motivated to intervene by the tragic and unexpected suicide of his one true friend, Police Lieutenant Louis Armadale. Lucifer is using Armadale’s death to further his own ends... but Max won’t stand for that.

This was a more sedate and thoughtful issue than some of the more recent, action-packed issues. Because of St. Lucifer’s actions, Max decides to free the man framed for Armadale’s death – a man who knows the truth about the radioactive cloud that is heading its way towards North America (the cloud was released by something the Plutonian did in Irredeemable – it’s a bit of a long story). While Max goes about his business, we see that society in Coalville is starting to collapse, as people take to the streets in mobs, giving in to their baser tendencies.

All of this leads up to a final, intriguing page that bodes very well for the final two issues. I can’t wait to see how this series is brought to a close. Overall, though, I’ve really enjoyed reading it.

[Important Announcement: Incorruptible #30 will be the LAST issue!]


Infestation 2: 30 Days of Night (IDW)

IDW-Infestation2-30DaysofNight-OneShotAWriter: Duane Swierczynski | Artist: Stuart Sayger | Colours: Jay Fotos

December 1952. An Air Force pilot and civilian photographer embark on a top-secret mission to investigate a possible Russian installation near the North Pole. They discover they’ve been beaten to the punch by another team, and they’re not Russian. But they do have a fondness for red...

This is the first comic I’ve read in the 30 Days of Night series (haven’t seen the movie, either), so I wasn’t at all sure what I should expect. Our female narrator (who’s never named, interestingly) has been to this mysterious place in the North before – her memories of the past haunt her, and as she and her companion stumble across a group of vampires in the “Monster’s Playground”, things rapidly start going badly for them. Events escalate, as vampires, and Elder God and the US Air Force start duking it out over the frozen wilderness.

Given the premise – vampires hunting in the dark northern regions of the world – I’m not sure why I haven’t tried this series in the past. I quite liked this, and definitely want to read more of it, so I’ll try to get a collected edition to read and review.

I really liked the artwork, too – it’s very atmospheric, gothic and I liked the limited colour-palette. Thought it suited the story and general tone perfectly. It’s a bit hard to describe beyond that, though, so here’s an example from this issue, which also nicely shows the Swierczynski’s sense of humour (click on image to en-biggen):



Valen the Outcast #5 (Boom)


Writer: Michael Alan Nelson | Artist: Matteo Scalera | Colours: Archie Van Buren

The King is dead — long live the DEAD KING! King Valen Brand was a just ruler and a great warrior until he was killed in battle by the necromancer Korrus Null and resurrected as one of the walking dead. Now he's considered an abomination in his own realm, an outcast with only one purpose: to restore his lost soul...

This issue sees the start of a new story-arc. Our heroes are at sea, continuing their journey to the stronghold of Korrus Null. However, they aren’t going to have an easy time of it, as they are attacked first by Furies (a very cool, if unexplained and underdeveloped idea). Valen is separated from his companions, and is confronted by a ghost from his past. He’s then attacked by undead and a sea-monster. All in all, a difficult issue for our zombie hero – confronted by one of his most painful memories. And, just when we think things are going to get better, it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire…

Continue to enjoy the series, and I’m continually impressed by the writer’s imagination and what he does with some classic fantasy tropes. Everything is just that little different, while still be familiar. It makes this a very accessible comic. Great fun, still highly recommended.


The Waking: Dreams End #1 (Zenescope)

WakingDE-01AWriter: Raven Gregory | Artist: Novo Malgapo | Colours: Michael Garcia

The hit series that redefines the Zombie genre returns! Years have passed since the events of The Waking took place. Murder has become practically extinct in a world armed with the knowledge that those who are murdered will return from the dead to take the lives of those guilty... But within a new world comes a new kind of killer. And he must be stopped!.

This series has a pretty interesting concept: murder victims come back as zombies to seek revenge. Nobody really knows why it happened, but murder rates have plummeted 90% as a result. Only now, a serial killer appears to have figured out how to “avoid” the Waking – or, at least, that’s what the cops believe. The first three pages tell the reader a different story (won’t spoil it).

With country-wide murder rates plummeting to near-zero, former NYPD homicide detective Vanessa Pelagreno has to find a new occupation. She’s moved to Chicago (not unlike Sara Pezzini, the protagonist in Witchblade, come to think of it…), in an attempt to distance herself from her investigations around the beginning of the Waking. Along with her new partner, she is assigned to the serial killer case, with strict instructions to keep everything on the down-low. (It doesn’t do, after all, to be the only county in America experiencing a rise in homicide…) All the while, Vanessa is still haunted by the daughter of a man she killed in the first series – so, I unfortunately don’t know the full significance of her being around.

I haven’t read the original Waking series – largely because of my original apathy when it comes to the zombie genre. But, since enjoying a couple of zombie novels (Chuck Wendig’s Double Dead, V.M. Zito’s The Return Man), Key of Z and also the TV adaptation of The Walking Dead, I’m starting to come around to the genre. After read this issue, and having a fair few questions, I expect I’ll go back and pick up the first Waking series – possibly before the next issue in this series comes out. This was a lot better than I was expecting. I’m really looking forward to the next issue, now.


Wolverine & the X-Men #7 (Marvel)

Wolverine&XMen-07Writer: Jason Aaron | Artist: Nick Bradshaw | Colours: Walden Wong, Norman Lee, Nick Bradshaw & Justin Ponsor

A pregnant Kitty Pryde, Broo the Broodling, and an army of BAMFS Vs. a new, Alien Foe!

Beast, Iceman, and Rachel Grey shrink down inside their friend to deal with her condition!

Meanwhile, Wolverine deals with a problem you never thought he’d face.

This is another fun, very action-packed issue: Wolverine and Kid Omega are fighting their way out of an intergalactic casino (they were cheating, to be fair); Kitty Pride and Broo (with the aid of the impish Bamfs) are battling what turns out to be a massive, alien anthropology professor who wants to kill Broo for going against his nature and not conforming to the Brood “type”; meanwhile, the rest of the X-Men faculty and a few students are inside Kitty, attempting to deal with her Brood “pregnancy”. All in all, a lot of pretty weird shit going on. And weird shit that’s very colourfully rendered – very bright, vivid artwork. I’m becoming a fan of Nick Bradshaw’s style – really must find out what else he’s worked on.

The series continues to be quite fun, if still a little sillier than I normally like my comics. It also made me feel really sad for Broo by the end of it – the two last frames he’s in, he looks so crushed…! I Wolverine&XMen-04-Artcontinue to find the “Bamfs” quite endearing and amusing (right) – they’re like little Nightcrawlers, and cause a lot of random mischief – until this issue, when they actively participate and help Kitty and Broo. And something weird happens to Wolverine at the end – the synopsis makes it seem like it happens early enough to feature in the episode, but in fact we only realise what’s happened on the final page (this seems to be a common thing with many comics synopses).


Still to come this week: Avengers vs. X-Men #1 (Marvel), Brilliant #3 (Icon), Danger Club #1 (Image), Detective Comics #8 (DC), Fairest #2 (Vertigo), Hell Yeah #2 (Image), Night Force #2 (DC), Ramiel Wrath of God #1 (Ape), X-Club #5 (Marvel)

List Subject to Change, of course


  1. Fanboys vs. Zombies #1, Infestation 2: 30 Days of Night, The Waking: Dreams End #1 sound amazing for first issues.

    Will keep in mind.

    1. Oh, wait - this 30 Days of Night issue is a one-shot tie-in for the Infestion 2 event. There is a 30 Days of Night series, however.