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X-O Manowar #1 Review

X-O Manowar #1

After reading just the first issue, I am convinced that current rendition of X-O Manowar will be celebrated by casual fans and comic book enthusiasts alike for years to come. In every way, X-O Manowar #1 is a living, breathing, stunning work of modern fiction which takes hold of its reader and refuses to let go until it’s finished. And once it is fished, I assure you that you will not look at comic books the same way ever again.

X-O Manowar #1So, what’s X-O Manowar about? From the publisher:

“Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day.

“But that was a lifetime ago.

“Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.

“But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!”

X-O Manowar #1Okay, so I know that that ‘about’ section is significantly longer than the publisher produced descriptions that I normally share, but if you’re unfamiliar with X-O Manowar, I think that it is imperative to have some idea of what you’re getting yourself into before you start reading. That, and frankly, I didn’t really feel like explaining it on my own—this way, we both win. Anyway…

One of the first elements that readers will notice is Tomas Giorello’s pencil-heavy artwork which makes this book not only visually appealing but also causes it to stand out from the crowd of thick-lined, ink soaked comics. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a well-inked comic book, but Tomas Giorello produces some amazing panels without the heavy ink or thick outlines, and for me, this softer, less-polished approach comes as a welcomed change.

Tomas Giorello’s landscapes captivate the senses while his dynamic character work—both in and out of action scenes—leave the reader believing that the people they see on the pages before them are living, breathing creatures with hearts and histories to match.

X-O Manowar #1And much like Tomas Giorello’s artwork, Mat Kindt’s writing is worthy of great praise. This NYT best-selling author knows a thing or two about a great story, and from the looks of things, as they stand now, X-O Manowar is going to turn out to be another award-winning work of his.

Mat Kindt’s pacing is utterly impeccable, and at times throughout my read, I was completely engulfed in this issue, and when it was over, I was terribly sad that there wasn’t more. Thankfully, we will all get more in a few weeks, and seeing as though the entire first year of issues is already planned, I have a feeling that I am going to relatively pleased for the next twelve-or-so months.

At this point, all the team behind X-O Manowar has to do is keep up the good work. X-O Manowar #1 is an amazing comic book that you NEED to read.

 

10
Score
X-O Manowar #1
The Bottom Line
X-O Manowar #1 is an absolutely amazing comic book that elevates the medium. Do not miss the opportunity to be a part of something great, Read this comic.
Yes!
Amazing Artwork
Amazing Writing
Read X-O Manowar #1 Now!

Batman #19 Review

Packed with non-stop, skull-cracking, back-breaking action, Tom King and David Finch’s Batman #19 is an onslaught of entertainment. This, the fourth chapter of the ‘I Am Bane’ arc hits incredibly hard and is the perfect follow-up to the amazing Batman #18. And while I believe that it lacks the overall depth of its predecessor, Batman #19 is still a brilliant work that will leave Bane fans begging for more.

So what’s Batman #19 about? From the publisher:

“’I AM BANE’ part four! Batman is losing…Bane is going to break him for good this time. The Dark Knight must turn to a very unlikely weapon to beat Bane once and for all!”

This, the fourth part of the ‘I Am Bane’ arc, picks up with Bane passing through the doors of Arkham Asylum in search of the Dark knight. As Bane makes his way deeper and deeper into the asylum, I am, as I am sure it was Tom King’s intention, reminded of Dante’s hellish descent. Hell, if it wasn’t King’s intent, would he have started the issue out with a quote from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno? I think not. King also ends the issue with some rather fitting lines taken from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Spotting these references made my heart beat faster and more intensely than it normally does while I read comics, and for that I am thankful.

While I was very impressed with King’s smart, classically inspired writing, I was more so impressed by David Finch’s stellar artwork. I love nothing more, as far as my comic book villains go, than seeing Bane, all pumped up with Venom, kicking ass and taking names. And thus far in this arc, Finch has delivered some utterly amazing artwork, and in Batman #19, the ass-kickery is off the charts thanks to Finch’s illustrations.

I could sit and write about this book for hours, and go on and on about how great it is, but unfortunately, there are other issues calling my name. The bottom line here is that I absolutely enjoyed my time spent with this issue, I am looking forward to Issue #20, and I recommend buying this one even if you haven’t read any of the current Batman issues leading up to this.

Rat Queens Vol. 2 Issue #1 Review

What better way to start the newest volume of an adventure story than with a massacre scene showing dozens of bodies strewn across a field. A closer look, however, reveals ubiquitous red cups (among other things) and a banner reading “Party Party Party.” The girls are back in town and we’ve missed them, for sure!

So, what’s Rat Queens Vol.2 Issue #1 about?

“‘CAT KINGS AND OTHER GARYS,’ Part One. The Rat Queens are back! Betty, Violet, Dee, Braga, and Hannah return! Palisade is still a rat-infested troll’s ass, and everyone still hates Gary. It’s been a while since the Queens have done a good slaughter, so join them as they get back to the basics of killing monsters and drinking away the profits.”

This opening image is and has been what Rat Queens is all about. On the surface, we are given the expected crew of adventurers hewing foes and derring-their-doing. A magic user, a thief, a fighter, a healer make of the usual fantasy races to fill out the party. Composed of the near demonic, very small, dwarflike and human and maybe something monster-ish, all the components for a successful campaign are in place. But in addition to the fictional representations, these are also the familiar personalities of our gamer friends. It just so happens that on these pages they are all beautiful and powerful women. “Blindly to the bloodletting, my Queens!” shouts Violet, the ginger dwarven warrior as they burst into the abandoned structure drawn by the sound of combat.

This issue has our Queens find a group of so-called “Cat Kings” infringing on their turf led by Vi’s brother Barrie and looking like quite a poor copy, cowardly and not very bright. The final boss a goose dragon that hurls beams and sonic bolts and spews gas of some kind.

With artwork of excruciating detail and manic energy, Gieni captures the spirit and personality of the Queen with a beauty and simplicity that is easy to enjoy. Wiebe gives us sharp dialogue and expertly turns our expectations upside down.

All fun and games until somebody gets hurt, but mostly all fun.

Batman #18 Review

Batman #18 Review

Brutally entertaining and deceptively thought-provoking, Tom King’s Batman #18 is a triumph of modern ‘superhero’ fiction—a comic book tour de force reminiscent of the great Victorian tale of human duality: Robert Louis Stevenson’s, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and while the Batman/Bane foil may not be perfect—it’s damn near close.

Aside from the fact that Batman and Bane aren’t one in the same (like Jekyll and Hyde) the similarities are there—the depth is there; these two men are essentially cut from the same cloth, but since their paths were riddled with challenges unique to their individual situations Batman and Bane ended up in wildly different places, as wildly different men…or so it may appear at first look. In reality, Bane and Batman aren’t all that different, in fact, Batman isn’t all that different from any of his villains and that’s why Batman’s villains are some of the most compelling villains in the business.

But I’m going to stop there, because I have a feeling that this ‘review’ is slowly turning into a thesis paper that will eventually end with me saying something like, “Comics ARE Literature Goddamn it!”

Issues like this are the reason that I am passionate about comics, so thank you, Tom King, David Finch, Danny Miki, Jordie Ballaire, and John Workman, thank you very much.

Back to the review…

So what’s Batman #18 about?

“’I AM BANE’ part three! Bane broke the bat before, but it wasn’t enough—now he’s going to break everyone else! Bane is coming, and no one is safe!”

From that opening, I am sure that you’re already aware that I very much enjoyed reading Batman #18 and will absolutely be recommending it to you, but I’ll say it again anyway, this book was amazing, and you need to read it. Throughout the issue, King does a wonderful job creating a side-by-side telling/re-telling of Bane and Batman’s unique—yet surprisingly similar—back stories. The emphasis placed on properly foiling hero and villain here pays off.

David Finch’s art in Batman #18  is some of his best to date. Finch’s Bane, is now my Bane. The amount of gritty detail that Finch incorporates into Bane is astounding, and there is nothing that I like more than seeing a ripped, Venom-fuelled Bane kicking the living hell out of Batman. Just take a look at the detail in the preview page below—look at Bane’s hand—it’s absolutely amazing.

Batman #18 is everything that I want in a Bane-centric Batman comic and more. Please read this comic.

The Wild Storm #1 | Review

Going into my reading of The Wild Storm #1, I was as anxious as I was hopeful. The re-imagining of universes typically goes one of two ways in the comic book industry: wonderfully right, or terribly left wrong. Thankfully, this re-imagining is heading in the right direction. But, before we jump into the comic, here’s a brief history lesson to bring newcomers up to speed.

So, what’s the big deal?Image Comics (the comic book publishing company) was founded in 1992 by comic book illustrators, Todd McFarlane (SpiderMan), Jim Lee (X-Men), Rob Liefeld (XForce), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine), Erik Lasrsen (The Amazing Spider-Man), Jim Valentino (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Whilce Portacio (Uncanny XMen), and although comic book legend Chris Claremont was also initially listed as one of Image’s founders, his project The Huntsman was cancelled and he ended up not being a founder after all…

Anyway, these illustrators founded the publication due to frustrations that arose from working as an artist for Marvel. Thus, it was decided that comic book creators, for Image, would retain ownership of their work, and, Image partners wouldn’t interfere with one another’s work. With Image up and running, each partner, save for Whilce Portacio who dropped out, founded their own production studio.

Why am I telling you this?

Jim Lee’s production studio was named WildStorm Productions, which got its name from combining two of Lee’s series: WildC.A.T.s and Stormwatch (Now we’re getting somewhere). I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but it is important to know that these two series eventually had a major cross-over event (Wildstorm Rising), and at the end of said event, Alan Moore began writing for WildC.A.T.s, and after a second crossover, Warren Ellis began writing for Stormwatch.

In 1998, DC acquired Lee’s Wildstorm Productions and began to re-launching and re-working titles. Fast-forward to 2010, the Wildstorm imprint was shut down, and in 2011, characters from the Wildstorm Universe began to re-emerge in the new DC Universe…

Okay, I think that’s enough information for now. Onto the comic!

The Wild Storm #1, is a unique read that, despite having a rich history, is inviting and doesn’t—as of yet at least—require much from the reader. Regardless of its accessibility, I do recommend readers familiarizing themselves with, at the very least, some of the WildC.A.T.s cast and arcs, because what makes this series so interesting is that it re-imagines and modernizes the Wildstorm Universe.

Award-winning and NYT bestselling author Warren Ellis, whom I mentioned previously, is writing The Wild Storm and is apparently set to do so for at least two years. It is important to note here that Ellis typically doesn’t re-visit any of his previous work. When he’s done with a title/series/character, he’s done. Thus his return is a pretty big deal. His writing in The Wild Storm #1 is sharp and engaging and the book is balanced very well.

Artist Jon Davis-Hunt’s clean and almost subdued style teams well with Ellis’ writing. And although The Wild Storm #1 isn’t filled with epic two-page splashes or eccentric panel layouts, Ellis’ simple, orderly layouts are quite effective. Over-the-top panel and layout designs aren’t necessary here, the writing and illustrations get the job done just fine. The Wild Storm #1 reads and looks nothing like a superhero comic.

I’d rather not dive into the plot, but I will say that after reading The Wild Storm #1, I am very much looking forward to the remaining twenty-three (and hopefully more) issues of this run. This re-imagining shows great promise, and I absolutely recommend it Wildstorm fans and newcomers alike.

Green Lanterns (2017) #16 Review

Darkest Knights, uh, hell yeah! I love both the title of this arc and the concept. Since Bane is making his merry way to Gotham, and will most likely do some very bad things when he arrives, Batman must enlist the help of the two newest Green Lanterns, to solve a mystery. And why are Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz the ideal candidates to help out Batman? Well, it appears as though someone is instilling fear in the fine folks of Gotham and in doing so, is causing them to commit seemingly random crimes.

Clearly it’s the Scarecrow. No, clearly it’s the Sinestro Corps. Clearly, it isn’t clear who is making mischief in Gotham…thus, the Darkest Knights are on the case.

More so than the concept, I am thrilled with the team behind this issue’s art. The pencilling, the inking, and the coloring is all amazing. The layout work is spot-on and the team, as a whole, creates some serious shots that are worth taking a look at.

Now that I’m done gushing over the issue, I will say that the timing of this arc feels a bit odd. While I do think that the concept is solid, I feel as though ‘Darkest Knights’ is being forced to fit in with the current ‘I Am Bane’ (Batman) arc. Does Sam Humphries not feel as though ‘Darkest Knights’ can stand on it’s own two feet without being supported by a Batman arc, which really, only serves as justification for the arc’s existence? Whether or not this is the case, I don’t know. Regardless of why the two arcs are being tied together in this way, I am glad that we have ‘Darkest Knights.’

General-DC Comics

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