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Regression #4 Review

Regression, Issue #4, Comic book, Review, Image
What’s Regression #4 about? From Image:

“Adrian has gone from tormented soul to full-on possessed murderer! And he’s got his best friend Molly in his sights! As blood is spilled and the waking nightmares intensify, Adrian is faced with the prospect of undergoing past-life regression once more. There, he must face Gregory Sutter, the human monster who is tormenting him from beyond the grave. The conspiracy, though, is deepening, as a group of mysterious figures spy on Adrian, watching his every move with sinister intensity.”

Is it me, or does Molly have some very odd friends? Yeah, I realize that all of us, occasionally, and from time to time, find ourselves hanging out in strange crowds and making interesting acquaintances, but come one. What’s the chance that Molly not only knew the person who could get Adrian into one hell of a mess, but she also knows a woman who can help get him out of it too? For me, Molly’s circle of

Is it me, or does Molly have some very odd friends? Yeah, I realize that all of us, occasionally, and from time to time, find ourselves hanging out in strange crowds and making interesting acquaintances, but come one. What’s the chance that Molly not only knew the person who could get Adrian into one hell of a mess, but she also knows a woman who can help get him out of it too? For me, Molly’s circle of odd friends is a bit too convenient, and I would much rather have Adrian seek help on his own. Regardless of what I want, Molly is involved – very involved – in this mess, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.

On a positive note, the story has definitely picked up, and while I still have some questions, Regression is moving in a direction that shows promise. I fear that the payoff won’t be big enough – once we eventually get there – but overall, readers will be entertained throughout what remains of the series.

I’m still waiting for something big to happen because believe me, Regression is the type of book that I want to rave about, but as of now, I just can’t.

7
Score
Regression #4
The Bottom Line
Regression is the type of series that I want to rave about, but unfortunately, I can't. I'm still waiting for something big to happen, but the story has picked back up at least.
Yes!
We've picked back up and were moving forward
No...
Molly, doesn't she conveniently have a lot of odd friends?
Waiting for that big something to happen...

Trinity #12 Review

Some months ago, I lost my interest in the Trinity series, but once I saw an issue with Zatanna, Constantine, and Deadman on the cover, I began to reconsider my decision to skip the series on New Comic Book Day. Figuring that the series was moving in a darker direction, I picked this issue up thinking that I would dig the dark vibes, and thus be convinced to climb back aboard the Trinity train. Was Trinity #12 successful in convincing me to keep reading?

Here’s what Trinity #12 is about. From DC:

“‘DARK DESTINY’ part one! Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman must turn to the mystic trinity of Dead Man, Zatanna and John Constantine when Red Hood, Artemis and Bizarro are sacrificed into the depths of the Pandora Pits by Circe and Ra’s al Ghul.”

Trinity #12, DC Comics, Batman, Wonder Woman, SupermanWhen Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have to call for backup, clearly, there’s a major problem. In the case of Trinity #12, the Trinity needs more than just an extra set of hands, they need some specialized help. Why you ask? Well, for starters, Red Hood, Artemis, and Bizarro are all possessed by uber evil demons. Nuts, right?

Writer Rob Williams’ newest arc, Dark Destiny, is one that promises to be epic. There pacing of this issue is perfect. I was hooked on the first page, and as the book progresses, I found myself becoming more and more vested in the story. Whether I’ll stick around once this arc ends has yet to be decided, but this issue was exciting enough to make me eager to keep reading.

Also, I especially liked V Ken Marion’s artwork. The very first panel of the book was clearly inspired by The Exorcist, and for me, a fan of William Peter Blatty’s book, seeing this was enough to make me smile. For that, I am thankful.

8
Score
Trinity #12
The Bottom Line
All in all, this issue was solid and I recommend it. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next, and as long as this series keeps moving in this direction, you can bet that I’ll be reading along.
Yes!
Great artwork and a story worth sinking your blood-stained teeth into
No...
So many trinities

Black Cloud #5 Review

Black Cloud, Issue #5, 2017, image

Zelda is all powerful, maybe in both worlds, yet no matter what she does she can never escape herself and her responsibility. That makes her a fascinating protagonist and a superior sort of anti-hero. There is a lot going on and sometimes it is hard to unpack and definitely worthwhile. Black Cloud continues the mind bending dreamscapes of here and there now that they’ve overlapped. The comic provides a fantastic juxtaposition where the audience and ultimately the giant man-boy Todd are hopelessly caught in the middle. That’s an amazing place to be.

The surreal terrain and bizarre inhabitants seem somewhat more relatable than what we see in the “real” world. That Todd doesn’t want to go back is perfectly understandable and when Zelda returns, it turns out he was right. The ugly here is intensifying. This is one of those titles where the reader is supposed to be off balance and the story is supposed to be inexplicable.

The end of the arc has Zelda returned to a world that she has also altered to the detriment of the people who live there, again people who counted on her to solve a problem where she just made more trouble for everyone. I can’t say I’m entirely certain what all this means but I am sure enjoying the ride.

8
Score
Black Cloud #5
The Bottom Line
A crazy hallucinatory political thriller that is more than meets the eye.
Yes!
Yes! Todd is a great moronic monster. I’m sure he won’t stay subdued for long.
No... I still wish we knew more about Zelda’s history and who she really is.
I still wish we knew more about Zelda’s history and who she really is.

Winnebago Graveyard #3 Review

The best thing about Winnebago Graveyard is the artwork which is quite good. It is sweeping and cinematic, bold and evocative. It is beautiful and creepy and gruesome in all the right places. The strength of the narrative rests on Sampson’s rich ability to show rather than tell. A skill that is woefully lacking in the writing, however.

Clearly Niles must have seen some of the same B movies that I have. A fan recognizes a fan, but where he may be attempting homage or emulation, what he produced instead is derivative drivel. That’s not to say Winnebago Graveyard is terrible, it is okay, just uninspired. Thankfully in this issue we get to see some of the hell spawn that has been plaguing this stereotypical rural locale.

I just wish there was better balance and more depth. I can’t watch people that I have no interest in be in peril when there is no reason to care if they live or die. Maybe the monsters are scary, but the people, whether good or bad or misguided, are barely even two-dimensional. The good news is that I have no idea where this is going. The bad news is that I don’t see a lot of incentive to hang around long enough to find out.

6.5
Score
Winnebago Graveyard #3
The Bottom Line
Fabulous art and underwhelming story. The creep factor is there, but nothing you haven’t seen before.
Yes!
Visually stunning – as it should be.
No...
Annoying kid in an annoying family. They should have called him Carl.

Book Review: Path Into Darkness by Lisa Alber

“As ever, the way news spread through town caught Merrit off guard, as if it traveled through the breezes that brushed over drystone walls and wended their way toward Lisfenora, gathering strength to blow the latest gossip into everyone’s minds at the same time.”

What could be better reading in the sweltering months of summer than a dark and atmospheric mystery? As I read Lisa Alber’s highly anticipated Path Into Darkness, the third in her County Clare mystery series, I could almost feel the misty rain and brisk winds of Ireland sweeping over me. Although new to the series, I had no trouble becoming immediately engrossed in both the characters and plot line which centered around the murder of one of Lisfenora’s locals and a regular at the Plough and Trough Pub.

As Detective Sargent Danny Ahern reflects “Crime tended to occur because of or within people’s hidden worlds. Half the battle of investigating crimes was cracking the mirrors that reflected back people’s polite facades,” and Danny is no exception. Hiding his own turmoil, guilt-ridden Danny agonizes over the fate of his comatose wife, while others in the small town battle with their inner demons and find that the secrets they keep can return to tear lives apart.

Short chapters narrated from multiple perspectives and journal entries made this novel a quick and enjoyable read, and although grim and grisly at times, the interweaving of Irish folklore and tradition felt like rays of sunshine breaking through stormy skies. Alber’s mix of myth and murder, faith and folklore is, as Liam, the town matchmaker might describe, a perfect pairing.

Intricate and deeply unnerving, I was never quite sure how the pieces of broken lives would fit together until the very end. Now, having read book three, I’m looking forward to reading both Kilmoon and Whispers in the Mist, eager to learn more about Danny Ahern and the rest of the complicated County Clare residents.

Mister Miracle #1 Review

Mister Miracle, 2017, Review, Issue #1, Comic Book, Review, DC Comics

Darkseid is.

With depth of story being so highly regarded and appreciated by modern comic book readers, now is the perfect time to revive/revisit the Fourth World and the New Gods of New Genesis and Apokolips. When comparing Jack Kirby’s Fourth World to other comics popular in the early 1970’s, it is fair to say that Kirby was ahead of his time, and in my opinion, paved the way for comic book writers who aspired to do more than entertain—Jack Kirby, in creating his Fourth World (in releasing Forever People, Mister Miracle, etc.) challenged popular comics while simultaneously showcasing the medium’s limitless potential.

Now, in what would have been the year of Kirby’s 100th birthday, Mitch Gerards and Tom King—two of the industry’s best—are tackling one of the Fourth World’s most interesting characters, Mister Miracle.

Darkseid is.

Initially, upon finding out that DC had slated a new (12 issue) run of Mister Miracle, I could hardly contain my excitement, and now, upon reading the issue, I can say that Mister Miracle #1 far exceeded my expectations—Mister Miracle is a masterclass in modern visual storytelling.

Mister Miracle, Comic Book, Issue #1, Review, 2017, Mitch Gerards, Tom KingSo, what’s Mister Miracle #1 about? From DC:

“Scott Free is the greatest escape artist that ever lived. So great that he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, the former female fury known as Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, which counted him among its ranks.

“You might say Scott Free has everything…so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick—except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out.”

Darkseid is.

While there is so much that I would like to say about this book, the greatest compliment that I could give it, as well as its creative team, is that the King himself, Jack Kirby, would have been proud to have read this. Mister Miracle, and the rest of Kirby’s character, hell, the rest of Kirby’s world, has landed in great hands.

This twelve-issue run is set to explore one of the deepest, darkest corners of the human psyche—the inescapability of death. Already, just a single issue in, Mister Miracle has showcased great depth and emotion, and there is no doubt in my mind, that Tom King and Mitch Gerards are going to usher us deeper down the rabbit hole to a place that will leave us readers feeling changed.

This is a fantastic work, and readers should buy it. It’s as simple as that.

10
Score
Mister Miracle #1
The Bottom Line
Mitch Gerards and Tom King—two of the industry’s best—are tackling one of the Fourth World’s most interesting characters, Mister Miracle, and this first issue has far exceeded my expectations—Mister Miracle is a masterclass in modern visual storytelling.
Yes!
Perfect

Redlands #1 Review

Redlands, Comic Book, Image, Issue #1, Review, The Brazen Bull

For me, there’s nothing like picking up the first issue of a new series, because going in blind, and purposefully avoiding any previews or descriptions of said series, is thrilling. The fact that an issue begins a new series is enough justification for me to settle down with it and give it a go. Redlands #1 is the type of comic that I hope to stumble across when I go out on a limb and pick up a book that I know nothing about. Packed with action and shy of uninteresting exposition, Redlands brings the blood and promises to thrill for issues to come.

So, what’s Redlands #1 about? From DC:
“A brand-new horror book from the minds of Eisner Award-winner JORDIE BELLAIRE (PRETTY DEADLY, Vision, Batman) and critically acclaimed artist VANESA R. DEL REY (ZERO, Scarlet Witch, Constantine) brings you to the sleepy, sunny town of Redlands, Florida. The police are failing to maintain control of their old-fashioned town, and a coven of killer witches plan to take everything from them. This summer, hide your bibles.”

Jordie Bellaire’s writing—and color work for that matter—is outstanding. Despite being relatively light on words, the script is sharp, measured, and laden with purpose. Every word counts—every word is effective.

Vanessa R. Del Rey’s artwork reeks of raw, untapped energy, and at moments, is truly frightening. There is a certain sense of chaos in her line work that causes panels to leap from the page, and despite a somewhat reserved page and panel layout, each turn of the page adds to the overall excitement of the reading experience.

As far as story, it’s odd, it’s strange, and there is so much yet to learn. In fact, I have almost no idea what is happening, but I’m intrigued to continue. Terrible things have, and will continue to happen, and this unspoken promise is enough to keep me coming back for more.

Buy this comic.

9
Score
Redlands #1
The Bottom Line
It's been quite some time that a first issue has gotten this excited and this eager to continue. reading. Packed with action and shy of uninteresting exposition, Redlands brings the blood and promises to thrill for issues to come.
Yes!
Beautifully chaotic artwork
Sharp writing

Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 9 “One Fettered Slave” Review

The penultimate episode tries very hard to pull many threads together. Considering how many have been loose it has done a reasonably good job doing so. At least we have a story that is leading up to something big, something maybe we were waiting for since the first season. Will the Neos finally be destroyed? All the surviving clones seem to on board to ensure that occurs, but not without loss.

That’s one of the problems – the body count keeps stacking up with no real consequence. Another is that Sarah hasn’t really learned anything in five years either –clearly evidenced when she comes up with yet another harebrained scheme to infiltrate the bad guys and rescue Helena (again). Lucky for her Hell Wizard is a full-time member of the team and is able to save the day having had all that security experience at Dyad.

My biggest complaint is that since we first saw the tapes of Rachel’s childhood we have known what the clones looked like growing up. Now, though, we have a new actress (Habree Larratt) playing young Helena instead of Cynthia Galant who has played Charlotte and Rachel. The switch is odd but annoying because they look nothing alike and Cynthia is the better actor.

Despite what I see as flaws, this is still one of the better episodes all action packed and fast moving. We know what has to happen. We know who in direct peril. We know the clock is ticking. We know the big bad must be destroyed.

8
Score
Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 9 “One Fettered Slave”
The Bottom Line
For all the things the show runners get right, they still have a huge blind spot to Sarah’s behavior. She may be impulsive but she isn’t stupid.
Yes!
Honorable mention to Ari Millen. Mark was always my favorite Castor.
No...
Wearing a Rachel wig and eye-patch and climbing into the trunk and thinking that was a plan with any hope of working is as far off the rails as this show has ever gone.

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13 Review

in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Courtesy of SHOWTIME

There is something different and something surprising every week. I don’t know what to expect and as much as Lynch continues to make me uncomfortable and impatient, The Return is by far the most amazing work of television I have ever seen. It is truly in a class by itself. It is everything I loved about the original series and everything that I found brilliant about his other works. Additionally, Frost has composed a mythos and example of world building that are as absorbing as they are original.

We are reminded that as much as things have changed in the twenty-five years since Laura Palmer was found wrapped in plastic, some things stay the same. Norma, just like Shelly, still has questionable taste in men, and with the stars still crossed, none will ever be Big Ed. Although he is still wearing his wedding ring it is clear that he as in love with Norma as ever.

The strangest and most interesting part of this chapter is in the Audrey scene. The argument with Charlie is still going on in a weird room with strange colors and she claims to not know who she is and doesn’t know where the Roadhouse is. Charlie asks “am I going to have to end your story too?” The audience is left wondering if we can take any of this literally. My guess, not so much.

9
Score
Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13
The Bottom Line
A fairly conventional installment with just enough weirdness around the edges to convince me I’m in the right place.
Yes!
James headlining at the Roadhouse! James was always cool!
No..
. Richard in Montana and the look he gave Bad Coop leads down a line of reasoning I hope isn’t true.

The New Gods Special (2017-) #1 Review

The New Gods Special (2017-) #1

Mention the name Jack Kirby and watch as the knees of comic book fans within an earshot begin to quiver. Rightfully named “The King,” Jack Kirby is undeniably one of the most important figures in the history of comics. Thus, when a new issue of The New Gods hits spinner racks in celebration of what would have been Kirby’s 100th birthday, fans, like myself, rejoice.

While admiring the cover of this feature length story, I grew concerned that what I had in my hands was a reboot of sorts and would ultimately lead to a new series, accompanied by a new explanation of the fall The Old Gods and the rise of The New Gods. And while I wouldn’t be surprised if this series was continued some time in the future, this issue, thankfully, is nothing more than a well-crafted tribute to Jack Kirby.

Shane Davis, tackling both the script and the illustrations, did one hell of a job on this book, and his respect for Kirby, and Kirby’s characters for that matter, is apparent.

The New Gods Special #1 gets off to a slow start but seeing Orion fly through space in his astro-harness was enough, for me at least, to keep the excitement levels high. Once the ball gets rolling and Orion comes face-to-face with Kalibak, the book takes off. Speaking of Kalibak, I especially like Davis’ rendition of the favored son of Darkseid.

Overall, Davis did a great job paying homage to one of the most important figures in the comic book industry, while also producing a work that, despite being clearly inspired by Jack Kirby, is a work that only Shane Davis could create.

I didn’t even touch on either the Jack Kirby reprint or the Walt Simonson story that are also found in this issue but trust me, this one is definitely worth picking up.

9
Score
The New Gods Special (2017-) #1
The Bottom Line
The New Gods Special (2017-) #1 is an awesome tribute to one of the most influential men in the industry. A definite must-read.
Yes!
A stunning tribute fit for a King

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