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Archive for March, 2011

Reviewer: Evelyn Finch

Publisher: (Vertigo) DC Comics
Writer: Mike Carey & Peter Gross
Artist: Mike Carey & Peter Gross
Genre: Graphic Novel (Softcover)
MSRP: $14.99 U.S.
Release Date: Available Now

The Unwritten is what you get when two masterminds in the field of comics come together to create an epic story that just continues to get better with every release. It’s one of those rare series that I can’t help but recommend to everyone who stops to chat about comics and the reasons are obvious … The Unwritten really is that good. In this third collection called The Unwritten: Dead Man’s Knock, the saga continues and takes a most shocking turn.

The air is thick with the anticipation of the latest Tommy Taylor book and the media knows it since it is constantly updating the hordes of Tommy fans on the day of the new book’s release. The coverage is that of some global phenomenon of epic proportions as they detail the books’ arrival at stores, the security measures that will unsure nobody gets to the book before the release as well as some background on its author – Wilson Taylor – and his son Tommy as well as Wilson’s mistress, Sue Morganstern.

However, as we found out in the last release, the supposed 14th book in the Tommy Taylor series (called Tommy Taylor and the Emerald Telescope) does not come from Wilson Taylor. As it turned out, the book was conceived by none other than Challendar who is head of the secret society that is at war with Wilson Taylor. Having used book editor and Wilson’s close friend, Ernest Cole, the cabal made sure that Cole be in charge of the book’s release.

While Cole and a certain book reviewer already know, this fake Wilson book is not only a joke but it is also a rip-off of just about every fantasy book out there from The Lord of the Rings trilogy to Harry Potter and even some Golden Compass tossed in to complete the number of clichés the book has to offer. On top of that, Cole has to deal with the supposed rumor that Wilson Taylor himself will be attending the book’s launch event at the very store where Cole will be on hand to welcome Tommy Taylor fans.

Meanwhile, the real Tommy Taylor is still believed to be dead after the events that went down in Donostia. Having escaped the blaze, Tom is back in London with Lizzie Hexam and Richie Savoy who know the truth behind Tom and his father as well as what the cabal wants out of them. First, however, they must find a safe house and Savoy manages to secure one while Tom gets some information from a very interesting source. While Savoy tries to get more information on his own, though, he encounters none other than Ambrosio who attacks the young journalist.

In the safe house, Lizzie uses a trick that Wilson taught her using her favorite book, Dickens’s “Our Mutual Friend” to contact Wilson and ends up using the door knob to jump into the story she has long taught was her world. Unfortunately, traveling into Dickens’ London, Lizzie makes a startling discovery and when she is transported back to the actual London she is placed in front of a moving vehicle.

With Lizzie in the hospital, Tom and Savoy follow clues that lead them to Merlin’s Cave where both men encounter none other than Wilson Taylor who reveals something important to his son. It is in this short reunion that Tom learns a number of truths about himself that will not fail to astonish. However, this pales in comparison to what happens next when the cabal’s agent, Pullman, arrives. Saying that this chapter will change everything is the understatement of the year.

The truth about Tom isn’t the only secret that is revealed in this graphic novel, we finally learn the truth about Lizzie Hexam as well. Oh, but her past isn’t revealed in the normal sense, mind you. Mike Carey and Peter Gross decide to reveal her back-story via a Pick-A-Story format that is a nod to the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books from back in the day. I won’t get into it but expect a tragic story that is heartbreaking and downright intriguing.

There’s more but revealing it would spoil the finale that both Carey and Gross crafted with much care. Things will change from here on and the story can only get more interesting now that some key players are gone and new events arise in the form of Wilson’s real Tommy Taylor book. You’ll also love the story-within-a-story that comes in the form of the pages from the Tommy Taylor book.

A true achievement in storytelling with touches of pure brilliance, Dead Man’s Knock is one of the most thrilling chapters in The Unwritten saga. A lot happens here that will change everything and there is no doubt in my mind that Mike Carey and Peter Gross have something truly epic in store for us after this one. If you haven’t already checked out The Unwritten you must either hate good literature or are allergic to brilliant comics.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
With ravenous Wilson Taylor fans not able to contain their excitement about the release of the latest Tommy Taylor book, Callendar and the rest of the cabal are keeping an eye on the possible rumor that Wilson himself might make an appearance. Meanwhile, Tom and his companions are caught in the middle and the truth about Lizzie Hexam is finally revealed as a tragic event changes everything.

ART: B+
The artwork isn’t gorgeous but it is more than satisfactory and admirable anyway you look at it. This series always did have great cover artwork as well.

OVERALL: A+
The Unwritten: Dead Man’s Knock is one of the more compelling and nail-bitingly intense chapters in a series that is turning out to be a work of pure comic book genius. This series continues to push the envelope and isn’t afraid to go beyond the boundaries of the literary works that helped inspire this story. If you’re not already a fan of the Unwritten you soon will be, I assure you that.

Review copy provided by (Vertigo) DC Comics

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Reviewer: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Michael Allred
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $14.99 U.S.
Release Date: March 16, 2011

I have to admit that I’ve been totally into the zombie theme since The Walking Dead first found its way in comic book stores so as a result I had found myself looking forward to the iZombie series from the very beginning since it’s definitely a fascinating and unique kind of zombie story. For those who missed it the first time around, iZombie: Dead to the World covers the first five issues and makes this the perfect opportunity to meet an interesting cast of supernatural characters.

Dead to the World introduces us to Gwen Dylan, a beautiful pale young woman who paints and has a list of things she hates that’s much longer than the list of things she likes as well as possesses a witty charm. When we first see her, she’s out trick-or-treating as Shaun from the movie “Shaun of the Dead” along with her two best friends. Sure, she didn’t want to go but stopping by a strange house she finds that the man wrapped in bandages is quick to get them out of his front door.

Oh but that’s not the only strange thing going on here because Gwen and her friends are not exactly normal either. You see, her best buddy, Spot, changes during the full moon into a – ahem – Were-Terrier. Then there’s Elle, a beautiful blonde whose outfits cry 1960s … which might very well be the era when she died. Elle, you see, is a ghost. Then there’s Gwen who isn’t exactly alive either because she happens to be one of the walking dead. Sure, she’s not one of those foot-dragging, drooling creatures but if she doesn’t eat a human brain once a month she will turn into one of those decomposing and incoherent freaks.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Gwen works with a grave digging crew in the local cemetery in Oregon. It gives her the perfect opportunity to dig up the deceased and devour their brains (which she says tastes even more horrible than we can imagine) but with each meal comes not only flashback memories of the deceased but also their voices that cry out for her to carry out their unfinished business.

When she ends up snacking on the brain of a dead family man she just recently helped bury, his memories point to murder and the dead guy wants vengeance. Along with Spot and Elle, Gwen starts looking into the mystery that points to a mystery redhead that isn’t the dead man’s wife. Meanwhile, another supernatural element is afoot in Eugene and that is a group of hot vampire women who are feeding off lonely men (in a non-lethal manner) and making a profit while they’re at it. Unfortunately, one of them is going off the reservation an killing her prey and the group’s leader is super pissed off.

Then there’s the hot Horatio and his partner, Diogenes, are a part of an ancient order calling themselves the Corporation that specializes in hunting monsters of all kinds and now they are here to wipe out these vampires. While Diogenes is all-business and the veteran monster hunter, Horatio is no slouch either although he’s not quite by-the-book. Nursing a broken heart, Horatio runs into Gwen who is immediately smitten by the guy as well.

In the meantime, Gwen and her friends continue to unravel the mystery of her dead meal’s memories. Said memories lead them to the same house they stopped by during Halloween with the man in bandages. Elle, being a ghost, enters the house but doesn’t come back. When Gwen comes in to find her friend, she encounters the man who turns out to be a mummy who also knows exactly what they of zombie Gwen is as he shows her via his power.

I won’t spoil things by saying more since the final chapter of this graphic novel reveals a lot but I will say that it also touches on the Gwen-Horatio relationship that develops early. Just as things seem to go smoothly for our girl, she finds out Horatio works for the Corporation and with her being a monster the relationship will surely get complicated.

Chris Roberson is an excellent writer and handles the dialogue perfectly but one of my original complaints about the series still sticks. The first five issues of this series served more like setup for the events to come as well as introduction to the cast of colorful characters. I love the fact that spot isn’t a werewolf and I love that Elle’s attention span as well as her ignorance of modern things makes her actually believable. Best yet, however, is Gwen who is one of my favorite female lead characters in a comic book so far.

There’s also Michael Allred’s art, which has always been amazing and even more so when implemented just right. Allred’s art finds a good home here in iZombie as the characters and backgrounds look spectacular so the visuals are quite impressive.

What we have in iZombie: Dead to the World is a worthwhile graphic novel that serves as the perfect starting point for anyone looking for a unique comic book series with a tongue-in-cheek supernatural twist. Filled with great characters, fun story and amazing art, the iZombie series is a good read that we highly recommend. While this isn’t exactly the perfect beginning, give this one a shot and you will not be disappointed, I promise you that.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
On the surface, Gwen is a modern girl with a scornful view of the world around her and who can blame her since she also happens to be a different kind of walking dead. Along with her friends, a cute behind-the-times ghost and a likeable Were-Terrier, Gwen finds herself in the middle of a mystery involving an Egyptian mummy, an ancient monster-hunting order and a coven of really bitchy vampire babes. Oh yeah, she also has to eat brains that leave a most unusual aftertaste.

ART: A
You just have to love Michael Allred’s pop art work that makes everything he’s worked on look so interesting and even more so in iZombie. His characters are just so stunning that you will find yourself loving every panel in this book.

OVERALL: B+
Serving more as an introduction to this entertaining series, iZombie: Dead to the World is the best starting point for those who always wanted to jump into the series. Sure, the first five issues this graphic novel covers takes a long while to get to the point but you’ll find yourself so involved with the characters that you might not mind it at all. Trust me when I say that iZombie is definitely worth a look.

Review copy provided by Vertigo (DC Comics)

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Oh yeah, 2011 is starting to look like an interesting year for comic book-related movie releases with Marvel rolling out the big guns from the First Avenger to the Mighty Thor and even some an X-Men prequel. In the beginning of this year we also got some Spider-Man news as well. Oh but Marvel isn’t the only one we have our eyes on because DC has our favorite Dark Knight with an announcement a while back revealing the familiar face that will be assuming the role of Catwoman. Plus, there’s Ryan Reynolds as The Green Lantern.

First off, X-Men: First Class has me more than intrigued thanks to the list of characters that will make an appearance in the movie such as Emma Frost (played by Mad Men’s January Jones), a young Mystique, Beast and Havoc (not an original founding member of the X-Men but alrighty) just to name a few. Better yet, James McAvoy (from Wanted and Last King of Scotland) as a young Professor Xavier and Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds) as young Magneto is just perfectly cast in my opinion.

Then there’s Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, two very different movies starring two powerhouses that make up The Avengers … that has been hinted at since the ending credits tease in the first Iron Man movie. I have to say that I’m not a big fan of the God of Thunder but the trailer makes the movie look decent enough popcorn affair.

I am, however, a fan of Captain America and not for the usual patriotic reasons but because I always thought the idea wasn’t very farfetched. I mean, as far as government military experiments on our fighting men during World War II are concerned, of course. Anyway, loved the idea of seeing Cap clash with our red skulled friend on the big screen and it actually looks decent enough.

Ok, enough about comic book movies hitting the big screens. Let’s talk about comic book movies that SHOULD be hitting the big screen as well. I’ve come up with a short list and while it leave out a few serious contenders, I should remind you that these are movies I want to see on the screen. Here it is in no particular order.

1. HellBlazer – Ok, a movie has been made with (big groan) Keanu Reeves but if Spidey gets a reboot I think this one should too with an Englishman as John Constantine and set in the U.K. without that kid from The Transformers (who is the same guy in every movie, come to think of it). I wouldn’t be upset of Garth Ennis wrote the script.

2. Groo The Wanderer – So I was thinking that a movie should finally be made about our favorite cheese dip-loving barbarian with ultra-violence and idiocy aplenty with Jack Black as Groo. I chose Jack because I’m not a big Seth Rogen fan (hence my dislike for The Green Hornet) and think he could pull it off if the movie had the right crew behind it and, of course, Sergio Aragones’ blessing.

3. Sweet Tooth – This one shouldn’t just be made into a movie but it HAS to be made into a movie. With great storytelling, a perfect cast of characters and a setting that is genuinely frightening, I can certainly see this as one of those original and brilliant post-apocalyptic movies.

4. American Vampire – I know what you’re going to say before you say it since I empathize with the bitter aftertaste left over from the overkill of too many vampire movies and shows already available but American Vampire is a different kind of vampire story. This one will definitely make a good series of movies in my opinion.

Anyway, thank you for your continued support of our revolution. You are true comrades and we thank you for all the wonderful e-mails we’ve been getting from many of you. Your words of encouragement definitely makes us want to work even harder to bring you even more content.

Long live the Comic Revolution!

Eden Zacarias
Editor-in-Chief

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