Comic Review: Peabody and Sherman #1
Review by: Prof. Jenn
How delighted was I to learn of the origin story behind dynamic time-traveling duo, smart-dog Peabody and his boy Sherman. These two have long been a favorite of mine in the Rocky & Bullwinkle pantheon, and this comic delivers in style, both the witty, snappy writing and the bold, colorful art design.
In issue #1, we learn of genius canine Peabody’s early life and his reasons behind (and early struggles with) acquiring and taming a pet boy. Of course as any genius knows, the best way to keep a little boy occupied so he doesn’t mess up the house is to build a time machine, natch. This first issue is just as rollicking and quick-witted as its cartoon origin, and I’m happy these characters live on in comic form.
Bottom line: highly recommended.
Comic Review: Rat Queens #2
Review by: Prof. Jenn
You know? I *like* these ladies. I like em a lot. They are a terrific balance of chummy buddy-comedy fun, bitchy good humor, sexiness, and straight out action adventure. The pseudo-D&D setting is splendid and well drawn, and as we travel and fight (and drink) with these ladies, the more interesting, round, and complex they get as characters. Moreover, the story is unfolding sort of like a good adventure video game (like old school Thief or Assassin’s Creed) in that, the more we survive with them, the more information is revealed as to who may be behind the trouble we been getting into.
As you’ve heard me say before, the art of Rat Queens is superb. I especially like the costuming. Dark outlines, rich color, and dynamic, diverse character appearance all adds up to an adventuring group I’ll be happy to keep following.
Bottom line: yep, still good. Better and better.
Writing: Joe Hill
Art: Gabriel Rodriguez
Review by Melissa Megan
Locke & Key Omega #5 is the final issue in what was originally rumored to be the end of the series, but now we know Locke & Key will actually close with two extra long issues in an ‘Alpha’ set. This one is by far one of the most intense and harsh issues to date and that’s saying a lot.
Dodge has finally succeeded in opening the black door, trapping the graduating class of Lovecraft Academy in the drowning cave with him. The dark shadows are his army now as he begins to march the students to their deaths at the bottom of the cave. Kinsey is trapped on the walkway, being tormented by evil versions of her friends who have become terrible servants of Dodge. She does everything she can to keep some hope that her family will rescue her, but with every minute that passes death creeps in.
Tyler Locke is hanging on the edge of life himself thanks to an accidental gunshot wound to the stomach. His mother races to save him using a magical medical cabinet. Her desperate move sets up a heartbreaking and honest reunion between Tyler and his late father.
As Dodge wastes the lives of students who either refuse to follow him or do follow him but are apparently found to be unfit for the blessings of the black door, he presents Kinsey with a horrible choice. A game to set up the final scene of his plan. What is his plan? That is unclear at this point, which is a genius approach to take.
The dark shadows are moving in from every side, the black door is open and the alien terrors have begun feasting on souls. The few members of the Locke family still alive and free from Dodge’s grasp don’t seem to have the power, ability or time to help Kinsey. The entire situation is looking very grim. Without any knowledge of exactly what Dodge is doing with the black door and the only person with full knowledge of who Dodge is being the mentally challenged Rufus, Locke & Key Omega does not appear to have a happy ending.
This is a fantastic final issue for Locke & Key Omega, but obviously not the end of the story for the Locke family. Good thing, because after all the suspense and sadness this story has built up, if this were the absolute end I would be pissed. I need to see this thing to the close, even if that means watching the brutal destruction of the remaining Locke kids. The Locke & Key series has been both fun and crushing. Endearing and sweet but dark and heavy. It is a perfect marriage of writing and art, making the ultimate love child of a comic series. Locke & Key will forever be on my ‘top recommendations’ list.
Writing: Joe Hill
Art: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colors: Jay Fotos
Review by Melissa Megan
The evil, murderous Dodge has settled himself in to little Bode Locke’s body and succeeded in getting his hands on the long sought after Omega key. The “Last Dance” has begun and it’s ugly. Bode/Dodge is headed to the black door to welcome his terrible, alien friends to this world and he won’t let anyone stand in his way, starting with poor Nina Locke.
While darkness is falling over the Locke house, Tyler and Kinsey are enjoying prom with their friends. Tyler accepts what he can get from the woman he loves and comes to terms with the tragedy of being in love in high school. Kinsey revels in the unique qualities of her closest friends and as the night comes to a close, chooses the after party over home. Everyone is headed for the caves, where the final party of the year is just beginning, in more ways than the Locke family realizes.
If you’ve been reading Locke & Key, by now, if you have a heart, you should be desperate to see this family come out on top. At the least see them stop hurting. The Lockes have lost so much and struggled so hard to keep their family whole, it kills me to watch them be defeated by the weasley, arrogant Dodge. And as much as I really, really hate to see Locke & Key come to an end, the suspense of how it will all end is becoming unbearable. Oh please, please let the Locke family stop the demons. They deserve that much.
Writing: Steve Niles
Art: Christopher Mitten
Issue #2 of the Criminal Macabre / 30 Days of Night crossover continues the clash of Cal Mcdonald, hunter of everything supernatural and evil, and vampire leader Eben Olemaun. Eben is building a huge army of blood sucking monsters in hopes of taking over the world from humans. Cal and his ghoul sidekick, Mo’Lock, have teamed up with a pretty female FBI agent named Alice Blood. For the first time, Cal is actually getting some assistance from law enforcement, mostly because the vampires have been massacring agents and police officers all over L.A.
Cal is a ghoul now and having some challenges adjusting to that, but it hasn’t stopped him from carrying on his business or living hard. Eben Olemaun is kicking ass inside his circle to reclaim the remains of his wife and to express his rage over her death on the human race. Very soon, these two will clash and the battle will be ugly.
Crossovers are a tough thing in comic books; stories are not written to melt in to each other and combining them often takes something away from one or the other. This combination is working, maybe because the backdrop of supernatural power struggles are so similar in Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night. The personalities of Cal McDonald and Eben Olemaun are both intense and raw, there can only be an explosion when the two are brought together.
Steve Niles has been rumored to say that only one of these characters (and their series) will survive this crossover. Personally, I’m betting on Cal McDonald and Mo’Lock. I’ve been a fan of the Criminal Macabre series for years and it would be a terrible loss to comics to see his story end. Do you hear me, Steve? Let Cal live!
Writing by: Steve Niles
Art by: Christopher Mitten
Eben’s vampire army is growing by the hundreds every day. He’s driven to get revenge for the brutal death of his love, Stella. he is also attempting to forge some kind of alliance or at least a truce with the deceitful European vampires. At the same time, FBI agents are crossing lines to find an advantage in their fight against the blood thirsty creatures. They’re bringing big guns and no fear, throwing rules and protocol to the wind.
Scary tale spinner extraordinaire Steve Niles continues the trek of Eben and his immortal tribe of vampires in 30 Days of Night #10. This series has been going for a long time now, and it’s featured a few artists along the way, but the work of Christopher MItten feels really harmonious here. Issue #10 doesn’t bring much action, really, but instead takes a slow burn to build up the tension for upcoming confrontations and likely messy battles.
30 Days of Night is one the best horror series on the shelves today, so if you aren’t already reading it, start now. There’s plenty of material out there already.
Womanthology, if you haven’t already heard, is a large group of all female creators who put together a huge anthology of work and funded the publication through Kickstarter last year. The fundraising and the book were a huge success, shining a spotlight on many talented ladies in the comics industry, at all levels of accomplishment. After the success if the original anthology, IDW has decide to support a new 5 issue series from Womanthology, starting with Space!
Womanthology: Space offers five short stories from industry talents such as Bonnie Burton, Rachel Deering, Ming Doyle and Alison Ross, just to name a few. Some of these stories I liked better than others, but they were all well thought out and creative. Since each one is very short, I don’t want to say too much in the way of spoilers here, but I will touch lightly on each.
“Waiting for Mr. Roboto” is a cute take on the ‘searching for Mr. Right’ theme and takes place in a space diner. The characters are all either alien or robot. Trixie is a bored waitress hoping for something new and exiting to walk in the door. This was probably one of my favorite stories, simply because it’s easy and light hearted, the artwork simple and clean.
“Dead Again” is a creepy ghost story taking place on a lonely ship, just one man left to keep it afloat. He made a mistake one day and that mistake hasn’t let him rest ever since. I also enjoyed this one for it’s spooky, sci-fi vibe and nicely colored and textured art.
“Scaling Heaven” follows the efforts of American and Chinese astronauts to beat each other to the moon. The art of this story is soft and flowy, layered nicely; I really liked this particular style. I will say, however, the story itself was not my favorite. It just felt a little disjointed and open ended.
“Princess Plutonia” reads and looks like a silver age comic, very vintage and brightly colored, the story full of fantasy alien names and space creatures battling for survival and love. It’s a super short but entertaining little adventure.
The final story is called “Space Girls” and it’s presented in a web comic style, all black and white, very simplistic. Sort of a silly portrayal of an all female spaceship that encounters a very special sort of alien presence while exploring new planets. There’s not much to say about this one, it’s basic, cartoonish and should make you smile.
All in all, Womanthology: Space is a nice little collection of tales of space exploration, by a mixed pot of creative women making their names in the comic industry. The first Womanthology book was created to benefit a charity called Global Giving Foundation. The new series of books are being created to get some exposure and creative props to the many skilled women in the comics industry. Regardless of the quality and enjoyment you get from these stories, one of those should be reason enough to support Womanthology.
Available now from IDW.
It’s another two-fer review, readers!
Axe Cop: President of the World, Part 2
If you are a regular reader, you’ll know I am already an Axe Cop fan. President of the World delivers all the strange, fresh fun and weirdness that makes Axe Cop so entertaining. It’s interesting, though–remember when I interviewed Ethan Nicholle, and asked him what he predicted would change about Axe Cop once his little brother starts getting older? I noticed two things right away about President of the World that are significantly different than older Axe Cop issues: one is, Axe Cop actually has a female best friend (she’s “one of the only girls he [does] not think of as dumb”). And she’s pretty cool, too–though she appears so briefly in this story, I’d like to see more of what the Water Queen can do.
The other most significant difference in this recent Axe Cop might just be me, but it strikes me that this issue is much more violent than previous stories. It’s, well…kind of dark in some places. The bad guys really are working with complex psychology, and there’s lots of mass devastation, too. This is a good thing–I think the more Axe Cop evolves, the more compelling it will continue to be.
Also, it’s really cool to have Axe Cop in color.
Star Trek TNG/Dr. Who Crossover, Assimilation2 #4
Wil Wheaton is right when he shares memories of the future that Star Trek TNG is quite talk-y. This could make for a very static, text-heavy comic, even with the eccentric action of the Doctor thrown in. However, the almost-Impressionist style of art in this comic makes for much emotion and movement in every frame, even just in discussion scenes. The painterly style with its rich jewel-toned color and broad brush strokes is lovely to look at.
About the premise: does the idea of the Borg and the Cybermen teaming up terrify the bejeezus out of you as much as it does me? Also: duh, of course Guinan and the Doctor are sort of a breed alike. Actually, I’m now convinced Guinan is actually a Time Lady.
This issue is sort of a detective story, in that the crew and company are investigating what happened down on a planet between the inhabitants, the Borg and the Cybermen. So we do the classic away team and go investigate. It’s got the Star Trek and the Doctor Who tropes I want as a reader, along with the novelty of the mashup, and the story rolls along like a good episode of either. I found myself hoping Amy’s red hair didn’t make her a redshirt.
Really, when I first heard that they were going to do a comics mashup with Dr. Who and Star Trek, I thought, “Why hasn’t that happened before?” This is delivering.
I recommend both of these comics, highly. ~Prof. Jenn
Art by: Gabriel Rodriguez
Review by Melissa Megan
This week the Locke & Key team gives us a little bonus, stand alone story called Grindhouse, which tells yet another utterly creepy tale of some of Keyhouse’s earlier occupants. It’s a violent tale of a Canadian trio of gangsters pulling off their grand finale of heists, robbing some rich resort patrons and then planning to hide out on an exclusive island and enjoy their new wealth. In order to pull off their escape, one of the gangsters suggests they use the boat launch owned by a wealthy family who occupy an isolated mansion. Unfortunately for the brutal group, they chose the wrong family to victimize, and the wrong mansion to hide in. Keyhouse is not a safe haven for those who are not invited as guests.
The art style is very Silver Age, a change of look for Gabriel Rodriguez, but it works well for the story. If you’re a fan of Locke & Key already, which I am, Grindhouse is a special treat. The book also includes a very detailed “Guide to Keyhouse”, with notes and locations of each room and the secret rooms contained within them. As Joe Hill explains, the house has been continuously added on to and more developed through the various story lines of Locke & Key, and special attention was always paid to an accurate representation of the architecture in each story.
If you’ve been keeping up with Locke & Key then you already know these books are top notch, and Grindhouse is no different. It’s quality writing, great art and some of the most creative stuff on the comics market right now. If you aren’t familiar with Locke & Key, what the hell are you waiting for? There are multiple books out there, I suggest you get to reading them right away. Definitely required for any self respecting comic fan, especially if you enjoy your comics with a healthy dose of creep factor.
Locke & Key: Grindhouse is available this week from IDW Publishing.