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Archive for July, 2011

Reviewed By: Frosty McKenzie

Publisher: DC Comics, IDW Publishing
Writers: Steve Niles, Adam Jones
Artists: Tom Mandrake, Sam Keith (variant cover), JD Mettler (variant cover)
Colorists: Darlene Royer, Gabe Eltaeb, Jorge Gonzalez
Genre: Graphic Novel (Softcover)
MSRP: $17.99 USA
Rating: Mature
Release Date: Available Now

The truth is out there and it is Agents Fox Mulder and his partner Dana Scully of the FBI that looks into cases of the supernatural and extraterrestrial kind. Sure, The X-Files finished its impressive run on television a few years ago but that doesn’t mean their story is over as we can see from The X-Files/30 Days of Night … a story that brings together our favorite FBI duo and the world of vampires straight out of Steve Niles’ 30 Days of Night series together. Let’s just say, these two go together perfectly.

Welcome to Wainwright, Alaska in a winter that shrouds the land in darkness for several weeks. It’s the second week of this 24-hour dark as a truck driver headed for home makes a most grizzly discovery on the road. The sight of other abandoned trucks isn’t what freaks out this trucker … it’s the sight of several severed heads piled near a pole that holds the bodies in place like a grotesque totem pole.

Enter Mulder and Scully who start investigating the bodies that look to have been beheaded and drained of their blood by what Mulder believes is more than one assailant. Even the abandoned trucks show strange signs that something ripped the doors out of their hinges. Scully believes that perhaps the perpetrators might have used the Jaws of Life but what could tear the heads off the shoulders of burly truckers? Unfortunately, the FBI sent two other agents to look into the matter and one of them – Agent Daniel Robert French – has always had it in for Fox Mulder who he sees as something of a con man.

Not too far from the crime scene, though, Scully sees what looks to be a little girl buried in snow. When she digs her out and lifts her off the snow, the little girl suddenly bursts into flames. Taking the girl back into town and leaving her in the care of the town’s physician and a nurse, the agents do not witness the child come to life in the most horrific manner.

Things get even more complicated when the truck driver who discovered the bloody scene is also found killed in the same fashion on his own home. It’s clear that somebody silenced him as the bodies are starting to pile up. In the meantime, Mulder and Scully discover a stranded ship with even more bodies. This reminds Mulder of a similar case involving a Captain named Norberg who was searching for an artifact not far from Wainwright.

Meanwhile, Wainwright’s remaining law are being slaughtered by the very thing Mulder is afraid to say. They are vampires who find the 24-hour darkness a blessing as they take the town and one even attempts to kill Mulder and Scully aboard a helicopter but fails. Unfortunately, both Mulder and his partner are forced to jump out of the airplane only to crash land in Russian territory. It is there that they find their two Russian counterparts who know of their work and aid them in finding a clue they managed to uncover before they crashed.

They search of a limbless immortal and the two KGB agents take them to a creature that Scully will not recognize as a vampire. The creature’s tale is one that is fantastical and bloody and he hides the secret location of the artifact that has long been hidden from the vampires. When they leave the creature, however, the vampires manage to find him as well as the artifact that turns out to be something quite astonishing.

When Mulder and Scully make their way back to Wainwright, however, they discover that the town is now under the control of the vampires that had turned their attention on Agent French and his partner. Suddenly, what was an investigation has now become a fight for survival as they are all being hunted down. Scully finds herself overpowered and Mulder finds himself facing a familiar face.

I won’t spoil the finale that is downright intense and intriguing. It’s also true to The X-Files so fans will not be disappointed in the very least. All the credit, of course, goes to Steve Niles and Adam Jones (who is best known as the guitarist for the band TOOL). They add all the right elements that fit both themes perfectly and we also find familiar elements from the show including the appearance of Assistant Director Skinner. Along with Tom Mandrake’s excellent artwork and you have the best of both worlds.

The X-Files/30 Days of Night doesn’t fail to take two favorite franchises and make it work in ways that will please fans of both series. Adding Mulder and Scully to a bloody vampire tale makes things even more interesting in the world of 30 Days of Night as great writing and wonderful art comes together nicely. You seriously should not miss this one.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully find themselves investigating a gruesome crime scene in small Alaskan town during winter when daylight doesn’t come for weeks. When more of the town’s residents are being killed in the same way, the two agents find themselves looking into a legend that might be connected to these immortal killers as an investigation turns into a bloody battle for survival.

ART: A
Tom Mandrake sets the mood perfectly and his vampires are downright frightening but I have to give him props for doing a great job making Mulder and Scully look just like they did on the show. It’s a bloody and violent book true to the 30 Days of Night books.

OVERALL: A
Fans of The X-Files and 30 Days of Night will find a lot to love about this title and thanks to the solid writing and excellent art; it should be among your collection if you’re a fan of both beloved franchises. It’s always great to see Mulder and Scully back and even more so in a case that can only come from the minds of Steve Niles and Adam Jones. You really should not miss this one if you like a bloody vampire tale with two recognizable faces.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso, Dave Johnson (Cover)
Colorist: Patricia Mulvihill
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

The Batman we have come to know and love is gone, replaced in a Flash (pun intended) by the Flashpoint events that have turned Barry Allen’s life upside down and twisted into a seemingly unrecognizable alternate history. Instead, Thomas Wayne is Gotham City’s Dark Knight but unlike his son – who, in this new reality, was the one killed that fateful night – this Batman is a different kind of hero as we can see from Batman: Knight of Vengeance #2.

The world has changed dramatically and this is evident in the Gotham City that is still a dark and dangerous place but changed enough thanks to this older and colder Wayne. So different is this Gotham City that there is a Wayne Casino that is managed by a very familiar character who, in the old reality, was a foe to Batman instead of a trusted Wayne employee.

As it turns out, Jim Gordon also confides in this recognizable figure who reveals that Gordon is one of the few people that Thomas Wayne can call a friend and that seems to be rare for the man. Worried about Wayne after last issue’s events, Gordon also tells him that he’s about to see Oracle who might have a lead on the Joker who Batman is desperate to find and stop.

The issue reveals the identity of the Oracle and I won’t spoil things by giving you a hint but it’s evident that she’s not who we think it is thanks to the fact that this Jim Gordon never had kids or even found time to get married. The Oracle reveals a corpse was pulled out of the river with its eyes removed and Gordon believes strongly that this could only be the work of the Joker. We can tell that Oracle has a history with the Joker that is tragic. Following a few other clues, Oracle points to a connectable clue that leads Gordon to look into it on his end.

Meanwhile, Batman follows another possible lead the takes him to a dirty little dive that proves the Joker was indeed there. You see, the killer clown has left a live one who – judging by the sight – has certainly been poisoned Joker-style. What Batman does to this survivor is shocking and further proof that this Batman definitely has no code. It’s also clear that he is wants to find the Joker for reasons other than to stop a lunatic.

As it turns out, the Joker is even more diabolical and insane in this reality as well. The twisted grin has not changed at all but this Joker has it in for children and sets them in a sick death trap. It is Jim Gordon who finds this out and when Oracle informs Batman that Gordon isn’t picking up it could only mean he found the Joker. This leads to one of the most terrifying and surprising reveals that will make you really wish that this series lasted longer than just three issues.

Brian Azzarello makes great use of the Flashpoint event to tell a story that’s unique and filled with surprises that will not fail to make jaws drop or make you flip back to the beginning of the story. Meanwhile, Eduardo Risso adds his own personal touch to the familiar Batman characters that have very different roles to play in this other reality.

Batman: Knight of Vengeance is turning out to be a highlight in this Flashpoint saga and I’ll even go as far as saying that this Batman is proving to be downright cooler and more fascinating. This second issue doesn’t pull any punches and there are more than enough reveals to make you wish that this would become an ongoing series. We definitely cannot wait for the third and final issue of this interesting Flashpoint take on Batman.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
With the help of Oracle, Jim Gordon gets a step closer to finding the Joker whose diabolical plan is just unfolding. Meanwhile, Batman follows the clues connected to a dead body that washed ashore but when Gordon’s phone is off the Dark Knight of vengeance rushes off to an inevitable and shocking confrontation.

ART: B
The artwork by Eduardo Risso works well for the series and he does a great job conveying emotion in his art, which makes the characters – even ones we’ve know well despite this alternate take – even more interesting.

OVERALL: A
Without a doubt a truly unforgettable second issue, Batman: Knight of Vengeance is a great addition to the Flashpoint titles as the world of an older Dark Knight is turned upside down in ways that makes this series a genuine page-turner. Issue #2 is shocking to the point that you will certainly not want to miss the final issue of this series.

Review copy provided by Vertigo

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Reviewed By: Ian Mintz

Publisher: DC Comics
Writers: Geoff Johns
Artist: Andy Kubert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

This summer’s Flashpoint series is really starting to turn out to be one of DC Comic’s more intriguing and thrilling events that will eventually lead into a very promising DCU reboot that all of us here in this office cannot wait to check out. However, as far as this mini-series is concerned, what started off as an exciting beginning is – with issue #3 of Flashpoint – starting to feel rushed to the point that the story is getting too big to pile on the surprises.

This third issue in the series finds Barry Allen in real bad shape as he attempted and failed to recreate the lightening-induced event that turned him into the Flash in the first place. Barry is troubled by the fact that his old memories are slowly being replaced by those of this new reality so, obviously, he’s worried that he would forget everything about his old life and the people in his life that helped shape his life. When I say bad shape, I also mean physically because the flesh from his body looks worse than fried chicken.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States can no longer wait for Cyborg to pull off the ultimate miracle of banding all super-powered heroes together. With the Resistance never receiving the message from Colonel Trevor, the President suspects that maybe Cyborg’s recruit, The Outsider, might have been traitor that intercepted the message. As far as the American government is concerned, Cyborg is left out to hang and relieved of his duties.

Still, Barry isn’t one to give up and has Batman assist him for another attempt and this time the results are quite different from before. The hero we know as The Flash is back again and he’s even healing thanks to his power being restored … although, personally speaking, he looked damn cooler in his burnt up state. He even manages to make his old costume but Batman brings up a good point about his powers that should very well be at the same level as Reverse-Flash.

While he’s healing up nicely, his power isn’t fully regenerated yet to pull off a feat like turning back time. Instead, he suggests they find more allies … something that is becoming harder due to events having changed to the point that even the Green Lantern known as Abin Sur never passed on his ring to Hal Jordan. This leaves only one of the most powerful heroes he has ever known … Superman. Of course, the Man of Steel hasn’t made an appearance in this reality and Barry Allen wants to know why.

As it turns out, the ship that brought Kal-El to this planet didn’t quite land where it was suppose to and, as a result, the American government got their hands on him. Batman believes that the government might have this powerful being so he turns to the only person capable of accessing the government files … Cyborg. In an interesting twist, Batman strikes a deal with Cyborg if the Detroit hero could help them find the hero Barry calls Superman.

What Cyborg finds is a top-secret government project known as Project Superman and his exact location … an underground base somewhere in Metropolis. So the three heroes join together to break into an installation with some shocking revelations Superman fans will immediately recognize. Fighting off armed security the break into a vault holding a frail, pale figure who Barry Allen recognizes … to his horror. I will say no more about the thing that’s been locked away because you really have to see it for yourself. Let’s just say that you’ve never seen Superman quite like this.

There’s more as we get a glimpse of Lois Lane searching for The Resistance while trying to avoid being spotted by Wonder Woman’s soldiers. She manages to find them but I have to say that it’s not very impressive unless you’re a Canterbury Cricket fan or like The Grifter. In fact, I was somewhat disappointed how Lois Lane in England, err, New Themyscira was handled. It felt a bit rushed, like the rest of this issue’s story.

And this is the problem, the story is pushed ahead to obviously meet the five-issue demands but the story suffers for it slightly. I might be being a little nitpicky but this new reality is so interesting that it should take its time to sink into the readers’ minds. Sure, the Flashpoint event is linked to other comic book series but this series was meant to be the big picture. Geoff Johns is one of our favorite writers so I suppose we expected much more from him.

Flashpoint #3 isn’t a bad issue at all considering the big reveal that is Project Superman and Batman and Cyborg coming to an agreement is good stuff but it all just seems to be crammed in to the point that it kills the story. Still, this is the third issue so we hope the remaining two will keep up on the edge of our seat and yes, we want to see how this Superman will play a role in the tale.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: C+
Attempting to regain his Flash powers, Barry Allen makes yet another attempt with Batman by his side and it’s a success. However, he still isn’t strong enough to attempt changing the damage Reverse-Flash has caused the world and realizes what they need is the most powerful man on Earth. With the help of Cyborg, Batman and the Flash find the location of Project Superman and what they find is very surprising, indeed.

ART: A
Andy Kubert has been a favorite of everyone in this office and it’s no surprise he continues to make this series 100% pure satisfying eye candy. Add Alex Sinclair’s coloring work and Sandra Hope’s inking and you have a trio made in comic book heaven.

OVERALL: C+
The Flashpoint event is something worth savoring so trying to cram in as much as possible holds back this particular five-part series and it becomes evident in this issue. Sure, the Project Superman part of the story is awesome but other events seem mishandled. We love Geoff Johns but Flashpoint #3 could have been a lot better than what is seen here.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Eden Zacarias

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: R.M. Guera, Igor Kordey, Tim Truman, Jill Thompson, Jordi Bernet, Denys Cowan, Dean Haspiel, Brendan McCarthy, Steve Dillon, Sal Cipriano, Jock (Cover)
Colorist: Giulia Brusco
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: M (Mature)
Release Date: Available Now

 

It really is hard to believe that the Scalped series has reached a milestone fifty issues, then again, considering the talent involved, it shouldn’t be surprising at all. Jason Aaron has not disappointed in the very least and, with Scalped #50, we find that the story of the Prairie Rose is still as rich as it was when this series first started.

Scalped #50 isn’t a particularly lengthy issue. In fact, it’s a rather short one considering the fact that the series reached its fiftieth issue mark. Still, this is Ok considering the fact that it makes up for it with quality and a number of gifted artists that lend a hand in completing the picture that the two stories reveal. As I said, Jason Aaron has not disappointed in the very least and the two tales he offers are powerful, heartbreaking and even uplifting.

The issue opens with a scalp hunter by the name of Jebediah Churt teaching his young son, Alfus, the fine points of cutting a scalp off an “injun.” The boy watches attentively as his Pa puts a blade to a brave’s scalp and rips the hair right off. Jeb doesn’t kill because there are plenty more scalps to take from the look of the massacre that’s going on around them.

The older Churt tells his son the long history of his kin hunting the natives of this great land for many a century from the Churt who killed Cherokees with Andrew Jackson to killing Apaches in 1835. They have a long history of killing and scalping and that leads to this expedition to slaughter any Sioux in the area that had something to do with the killing of General George Armstrong Custer and his men on Little Big Horn.

Oh, but an end comes to the Churt family’s scalp hunting days as the tables are quickly turned by Sioux warriors that have come for some payback. As the story of one father-son team ends, another begins as we find a Sioux warrior teaching his young son the same scalping lesson that Jebediah was teaching his son. This young brave is none other than His Many Bad Horses, the direct descendant of Dash Bad Horse.

It is several years later that His Many Bad Horses finds himself in chains as Union soldiers drag him kicking and fighting out of a wagon. Savagely poking him with a bayonet, the Sioux brave is left to die right in front of his people in the Prairie Rose rez where he is given a vision of the true strength of his people. It is in his vision that he sees defiance, great beauty and – more importantly – the survival of his people.

As I said in the beginning of the review, Scalped #50 is not a lengthy issue but it makes up for it with a story that is powerful, heartbreaking and uplifting as the same time. Jason Aaron captures these themes easily in this short issue and yes adding a roster of talented artists to compliment R.M. Guera’s fantastic art is a plus in my book. If you’ve been reading Scalped for a long time, this fiftieth issue is a Must Have.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
There are two sides to every story but, as we can see from the brief tale on scalping and scalp hunters, sometimes the differences aren’t very dissimilar as we meet two father-son teams. It is on this land that blood is shed and Dash Bad Horse’s ancestor finds himself seeing the fate of his people that will make up the Prairie Rose reservation.

ART: A
How do you celebrate 50 issues of an amazing series? You invite a number of brilliant artists like Igor Kordey, Jill Thompson and Dean Haspiel just to name a few who lend their talents on this single issue. N top of that, you just have to love R.M. Guera’s work.

OVERALL: A+
While it’s a bit on the short side, Scalped #50 feels epic and, yes, hauntingly beautiful as it tells the story of the spirit of a great people who takes pride in who they are and where they came from as we look at the past and the present. Scalped is truly one of those unique and marvelous comic books worth reading so here’s hoping to see fifty more issues.

Review copy provided by Vertigo

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