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Regression #2 Review

This, the second issue of the series offers some added insight into our protagonist’s plight and showcases a darker and perhaps eviler side of him, but despite this, there are still so many questions left to be answered. While often having questions at the beginning of a comic series, novel, or film can be a good thing, I still find myself searching for the story and asking, “What’s going on here?” It feels to me like each time a door opens, another closes, and I questioned whether I was missing the point or had somehow overlooked something, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Although there was a good deal of blood, guts, and bugs, Regression #2 didn’t have nearly the same visual impact that Issue #1 had. Is this the comic’s fault? I don’t know. Issue #1 came out swinging in terms of being visually unsettling and left quite an impression on me. I went into my reading of Regression #2 expecting to be shocked, and that just didn’t happen.

Regression #2 didn’t work for me, as it wasn’t nearly as intense as I had hoped it would be.

Still, I am going to continue reading the series because I believe that it is going to be great. I see this issue as a bit of a misstep, but am confident that it will soon find its way back to being an awesome series.

6.5
Score
Regression #2
The Bottom Line
I'm unsure of whether I went into my reading of this issue expecting too much, but for me, it just didn't work. I'm hoping though that this issue is only a speed bump of sorts, and before long, we'll be back on track.
Yes!
Still has the potential to be amazing
No...
We learn more, but not enough
Lacked the 'Wow' factor that Issue #1 had

Winnebago Graveyard #1 Review

When are people going to realize that creepy roadside carnivals always represent manifestations of evil, and stopping at them at the spur of the moment never ends well? Add the overbearing Dad, obnoxious kid, whiny Mom and the last minute decision to leave the phones in the Winnebago (which is both their lodging and only source of transportation), to get exactly what you would expect to find.

In Winnebago Graveyard there is a whole lot of cliché to overcome. Not that a familiar opening is necessarily a bad thing, but I’m not left with much of an incentive to care what happens next. The characters are thin and so far at least, the plot is worn out.

In order to stand out in an already crowded field of the supernatural, there has to be a hook, there has to be something special. I see none of that here. I do like the art, though. It is suitably dark and gross where required and does more to set the tone than the writing. Overall there’s not much to see here. Move along.

5.5
Score
Winnebago Graveyard #1
The Bottom Line
I like stories about demonic cults as much as anyone, maybe more so, and I’m pretty forgiving about slow builds, but the pace and originality need to pick up right quick. This is not a promising start.
Yes!
The art is evocative and moody as it should be and does much to set the tone and tell the story.
No...
There is nothing here that we haven’t all seen before.

Black Cloud #3 Review

Zelda is a creator and destroyer and is far more powerful than we knew. In its third issue, Black Cloud has also grown to become more than just a story about mayoral politics. We’ve got a bigger picture now – a far more interesting one with time travel, multi-dimensions, and such, but it’s still about politics, isn’t it?

As the story gets broader and the worlds get wider, the role of Zelda in it all gets quite a bit more important, and more interesting. We find that the revolution has succeeded after a fashion, but what has been wrought is not the ideal the rebels strived for. And beyond that, Zelda made it worse, then ran away. There might be fantastical elements, but where an individual stands in the midst of conflict is where the drama lives.

The questions of who is the monster and the why of the monster are great themes for the continued series. Zelda is flawed and cowardly and faced with the consequences of her actions. The story is how she will deal with it all. Is she a hero and leader or just a culprit? I’m not sure where all of this is going and that is a good thing.

7.5
Score
Black Cloud #3
The Bottom Line
Quality art and intrigue. Hinkle blends the real and unreal to the right kind of unease for the reader. Latour and Brandon deliver a layered story in a complex world that defy expectations.
Yes!
Zelda is a rich character with conflicting motives and history. We can think we know what she should do, but never what she will.
No...
Zelda needs to take responsibility sooner rather than later, or at least step up. Running away only captures interest for so long.

The Divided States of Hysteria #1 Review

Howard Chaykin has always styled himself as a snarky and provocative critic of the American Reality. He is both gadfly and confessor. In The Divided States of Hysteria, he goes all in, using familiar characters and targets and lack of restraint. He tells us right away what this story is all about:

“Unable to raise their eyes from their self-mythologizing, self-serving, self-obsession to shake off the post-crisis malaise and move on to whatever shitstorm lies ahead.”

From there he pulls no punches. Once again, Chaykin courts controversy, has no desire to be politically correct, and will gleefully point out the hypocrisy of every stripe. If the intent is to piss you off, then the debut issue is a roaring success. The horrible and profane are here to save the world. Get used to it.

There are callbacks to American Flagg and Black Kiss, but the problem is that for all the commentary on the state of the nation and ruthless inflammatory characterizations, will there be a worthy story beneath it all? That remains to be seen. Still, there’s nobody like him and stylistically his art is sharp and evocative.

9
Score
The Divided States of Hysteria #1
The Bottom Line
Howard Chaykin is back whether you want him or not. Expect a fist in the face and a face full of provocation splashed onto every page. You are dared to look and dared to look away. You are warned.
Yes!
Audacious, outrageous, and incendiary. You’re gonna love it.
No...
Audacious, outrageous, and incendiary. You’re gonna hate it.

Extremity #4 Review

The pursuit of vengeance has led to a hand-to-hand confrontation and the destruction of a family. The endless cycle of fear and anger is inhuman and Rollo will have none of it. Ironically, it is the indestructible machine Shiloh that teaches the lesson of mercy.

Extremity is still the violent and action-packed splatter fest that it has always been, only now we see the deeper emotional conflict that makes for a richer story. Jerome is still driven by his desire to wipe out the Paznina and now he may have found the means to do so. Now that Rollo is on his own, though, the story is taking a wider view of what the world is like beyond the battle.

The pages are full of amazing battles and fantastic creatures, but the added personal story and conflict will sustain the series with the more immediate and relatable stakes.

8
Score
Extremity #4
The Bottom Line
I came for the gore but stayed for the story. Extremity gets more interesting and nuanced with every issue and the artwork remains vivid and superior.
Yes!
Great battles and fight scenes.
No...
The turn towards the family drama was expected, but maybe unwelcome.

Monstress #12 Review

Takeda’s phenomenal artwork sets the stage for a truly epic story. The battle with the Blood Fox on the Isle of Bones is rendered in such a way that it looks and feels multi-dimensional. Maika and Zinn are heroic, broken and untrustworthy all at the same time, a combination that sets the tension high all the way through. Maika’s ultimate desires weigh heavy on her and the story, but it is her journey through, and where she comes to terms with her heritage that remain fascinating and exciting.

There is a vibrant action that commands attention, yet the art and words within provide a sense of meaning and portent to it all.

In a market where novels and comics splash sorcery and demon fighting everywhere like so much dishwater, Monstress truly ups the game. Liu creates complex psychology, history and mythos rolled into a pure fantasy world that holds together within its own logic and manages to be emotionally satisfying as well. This is crafty storytelling populated by fascinating characters, each issue adding to the overarching story but never overwhelmed by it. Soft and contemplative when it needs to be and explosive when required— this is extremely well done.

9
Score
Monstress #12
The Bottom Line
Ambitious and epic, one of the most sophisticated and detailed stories around. Rich in lore and color in every sense.
Yes!
Great Artwork, great storytelling, partnered in the kind of epic that others should strive to be.
No...
A lot is going on from panel to panel and it does tend to get confusing especially in flashback.

Paklis #1 Review

Image gives us another artist-writer-creator controlled anthology, this time with three stories. The first one called “Mushroom Bodies” is a stomach churning psychological horror story that explores a soon to be married young man’s fears and insecurities and is mostly successful with it.

The second “Sagittarius A” is a short introduction of a space opera of some kind. Hotshot pilot/war hero, mysterious accident in a science lab, but not much else to go on. I would have liked to see a lot more of this story, at least enough to gauge if it was any good. The third “Amnia Cycle” is also science fiction with maybe an extra-dimensional/time travel twist to it. Of the three, the horror story is self-contained and appropriately creepy. The others are intriguing, but still too early to tell.

By and large, I have no objection to this multiple story format, but that two of these are ongoing they have the unintended consequence of competing against each other. To work, they would all have to be extremely strong so as not to blend together into a bland noise. Unfortunately, Paklis would have worked better to concentrate on one story as a standalone.

7
Score
The Bottom Line
A nice taste of some decent science fiction melodrama. The artwork exceeds the writing by a fair bit making the overall impression unbalanced.
Yes!
The first story is the best of the bunch with gruesome enough body horror and twisted psychological and emotional notes throughout.
No...
Characters are somewhat two dimensional, maybe as the chapters unfold they will become more fleshed out.

Plastic #2 Review

Plastic #2

Plastic #2 is beautifully absurd. This love-fueled bloodbath is the kind of comic that despite being unsafe to read at work—or anywhere else where the prying eyes of squeamish onlookers can make or break your day—you’ll find the time to read it repeatedly, smiling and shaking your head with each flick of the page.

Plastic #2Having read this issue several times, I can’t say that with each re-read I was able to gain added insight or pick-up on details that I had previously overlooked. No, that’s just not the case. I, as I am sure you will too, re-read this issue several times so that I could re-experience my favorite parts with the hope that they would stick with me and influence my reading of the remainder of this series, as well as everything else that I read and review.

Issue #2 of Plastic starts off with both the bloodshed and excitement that Issue #1 had promised. But more so than just the be-headings, I appreciate that effort that Doug “potty mouth” Wagner is putting into showcasing the fact that our serial killing protagonist isn’t the only ‘bad guy’ in this story. In fact, the more that I read about Edwyn the more that I can justify his, now questionably, terrible actions.

I am convinced that Issue #3 will yet again up the ante and will continue to impress readers with gratuitous amounts of heart-warming violence.

9.5
Score
Plastic #2
The Bottom Line
Issue #2 of Plastic is wonderfully absurd, and it makes good on the promises of Issue #1. This is another must-read.
Yes!
The energy levels remain high, and by the end of the book, you will be begging for Issue #3
No...
Yeah...I've got nothing...still

Magdalena #3 Review

Magdalena Vol. 4 #3The struggle of good versus evil continues and the wielders of the Spear have made some progress in their struggle. Over the weeks Maya has come along in her training, though maybe not fast enough as Patience is still wounded. A delivery of Holy Swords should help, but there seems to be strings attached. Blackwood continues to be a threat, but he is merely a nuisance compared to the real threat.

The conflict is demon driven. The human actors are pawns and though they survive it is a wonder as to how long they can continue. There is a larger battle unfolding, but it is unclear how far the conspiracy stretches. We have to be patient, I guess.

The dialogue is smart and the pop culture references are applicable. The action moves the story well and the levels of mystery prop up the otherwise familiar story. As far as story about the diabolical go, this one is engaging and clever.

8
Score
The Magdalena #3
The Bottom Line
A nice take on the relic holding defender of humanity, with good dialogue and vibrant artwork.
Yes!
Modern sensibilities and humor.
No...
Familiar and somewhat predicable.

The Old Guard #4 Review

The breakneck pace of The Old Guard sustains the story and holds together from issue to issue. The reader is swept up in the action of a tightly woven narrative that is as good as any summer blockbuster. A few flashbacks let us know that as deadly as Andy can be, and even after surviving for millennia, she is still somewhat sentimental even though she tries not to be. Maybe too, after all these years, she has gotten complacent and missed the signs of betrayal. The newbie Nile, doesn’t catch on right away, but when she does it is too late.

Merrick is as wealthy and ruthless as he says he is and as it turns out he is shaping up to be a formidable villain. I am looking forward to see how they pull off the rescue and escape the trap.

7.5
Score
The Old Guard #4
The Bottom Line
Consistent action and smooth story telling.
Yes!
Andy is more than just the boss but also a fully developed three dimensional character. Plenty of action and surprises.
No...
We’re not going for anything deep or unique here.
General-DC Comics

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