Paper Cuts: 2/6/17

Aliens: Defiance #9 (Dark Horse)

The last time I checked in with the Aliens series was during the initial launch of the Prometheus line back in 2014.  It is not that those comics were bad, but there were a bit wordy. If I remember correctly, it was just not compelling enough to keep reading after the first several issues.

I rarely will mention cover art in these reviews, but it was beautiful, dark, and creepy.  It was drawn by Stephanie Hans whom I have enjoyed since she first appeared in the interior of a Superior Spider-Man one shot.  Hans has a water color, painted style that is soothing and haunting.

Brian Wood continues to be one of the most workman, versatile writers in the entire comic industry.  Wood can write post-apocalyptic landscapes, Viking and Revolutionary warriors, and major two characters as well as anyone else.  All of these previous stints make Wood the perfect writer for a well thought-out Alien series.  This book had all the markings of what has made the series a lasting icon.  A small desperate cast, an emotionless android, government schemes, and the lurking notion that an xenomorph is lurking on a ship in cold black space.

The interior art is not only great on its own merits, but compliments the story well.  It was done by Wood’s long time DMZ collaborator Tony Brescini.  Each character wears their emotions, or lack of, on their face across the entire book and could tell a story even without any dialogue.  Brescini’s art in this book is simple and compelling.

Not only am I looking forward to issue number 10, but also looking forward and going back and catching up on the entire series.  If one main reason for licensed properties is to get readers to further engage in the universe, anyone who reads this book will be lining up at the doors of the theaters in May.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Quick Cuts:

Zenescope launched the third volume of Grimm Tales of Terror.  It was standard affair for that series with serviceable art and Tales of Crypt one shot storytelling.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

Spell on Wheels from Dark Horse delivered a lackluster issue in what was one of my favorite miniseries of the years. I’m hoping the final issue delivers like the first three issues.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

 

She Wolf from Image launched a new arc with #5 and the art alone is worth a read, but this entire series is worth catching up on as well.  The best comparison would be a cross between Archie and Twin Peaks.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Paper Cuts: 1/30/17

 

Richard Corben’s Shadows on the Grave #2 (Dark Horse)

This book still stands out with beautiful black and white, classic horror style art.

The first issue’s strength were the chapters coming before the main overarching tale. This issue’s strength came from the ongoing and absolutely terrifying and brutal art of the Cyclops monster.

This book is for any fan of classic horror art or films like Jason and the Argonauts.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

 

Norman: The First Slash #2 (Titan)

Norman is a series imported from Europe about an 8-year-old serial killer.  It is a blend of Dexter and Invader Zim.  The premise and art lends itself to be something you would see on an Adult Swim line up.

Overall, the book is a lot of fun with bright colors that really keep the book light-hearted and humorous despite the subject matter.

The only critique is that before learning this book was translated, the dialogue felt off and I believe that is because the first language was not English, but it was still very enjoyable overall.

If you never read any of the European Editions of this series, you can hop on with issue #1 of The First Slash and be fine.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

Die Kitty Die #4 (Chapter House)

The arc finished and I still cannot say enough good things about this series.

It was my favorite mini-series of 2016.  While issue #4 was a little less tongue-in-cheek and a little more adult, it still was extremely enjoyable.  The pinups and fake ads in this issue make this a must pick up for any comic art enthusiast.

I am looking forward to the next installment: Die, Kitty, Die: Hollywood or Bust, arriving in May 2017. Make sure to pre-order!

Ratings: 4 out 5

White #2 (1First Comics / Devil’s Due)

One of the strengths of this book may actually be the digital format.  The storyboard format helps build the suspense of what lurks in the water below.

On top of the sharks circling below our main character, there is another mystery happening which compels you to keep reading and wondering what is happening.

Sharks and comics are hard, but this series is really nailing it.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Quick Cuts:

Hook Jaw #1 (Titan) was released, and, after reading White, it fell just a little flat.  It felt more like a Jaws: The Revenge or Deep Blue Sea.  Enjoyable, but missing some suspense.

Nailbiter #28 from Image Comics came out last week. It was another fantastic issue. The series is wrapping up with issue #30 and if you have not jumped on at this point, now is not the time to do it.  Check out the first trade for $10 on Amazon or at your local comic shop.  Be on the lookout while we try and celebrate the series once it has concluded!

Paper Cuts: 12/19/16

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Tales from the Suicide Forrest #1 (Amigo)

You may have not read the original “Suicide Forest” published by IDW, but you may be familiar with the story, which was turned into the 2016 movie entitled, The Forest.  It is all based around Aokigahara – or The Suicide Forest – a real area in Japan, where people go to commit suicide often and is believed to be haunted.  Whether you are familiar with the property or not, you can jump in with this one-shot by Amigo Comics.

Tales features two stories told in beautiful black and white art that had some of the most compelling story-telling since Scott Snyder’s Severed.  Very rarely do horror stories weave such stories that leave the reader engrossed and genuinely terrified, but this issue should be read and admired by any fans of the genre.

The characters were so compelling that I forgot where the stories took place and left me genuinely surprised with each ending of the two narratives.

With a small publisher, make sure you get to your local comic shop and ask them to order this book.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

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Chimichanga: The Sorrow of the World’s Worst Face #3 (Dark Horse)

Part of the fun of picking up a book with Eric Powell is never knowing what you are going to get.  Eric Powell has two very different story telling styles: one is clearly intended for adults with mean, tough violence, while the other has a juvenile sense of humor.  Chimichanga is on the more fun side of things and intended for all ages.

The other part of picking up a book with Eric Powell is always knowing what you are going to get.  Incredible art.  Whether Powell is on art duties himself or brings someone in – Stephanie Buscema in this instance – there is always a certain style and feel that is familiar, yet absolutely stunning and jaw dropping.

Ratings: Ratings 4 out of 5

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Richard Corben: Shadows on the Grave #1 (Dark Horse)

Shadows on the Grave is a new anthology series from Richard Corben, who most notably worked on Heavy Metal magazine and received several awards for his work on Hellboy.

The first two short tales in this book were absolutely terrifying and may have been even too creepy and disturbing for Tales of the Crypt.

Although Corben has been an artist for many years, the old school art feels fresh amongst many of the horror books currently populating the shelves.

While this book was truly beautiful and told some great tales, the final tale was a bit wordy and disjointed.

Ratings: Ratings 4 out of 5


Overall, this was a big week for horror comics.  Feel free to check out some of the other books that came out this week that did not make the cut.  Die, Kitty, Die #3 came out and still continues to be a fun poke at the comics industry.  If you need some adult Eric Powell books in your life, check out Hillbilly #4.  And if you need your weekly fix of cheesecake, Cinderella: Serial Killer Princess #1 came out from Zenescope.  And those were only some of this week’s horror books.

Paper Cuts: 11/17/16

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Die Kitty Die #2 (Chapterhouse)

This may have been a little less impressive than the first issue – which was one of my stand-out books of the year – but still delivered a solid read and worthy of any pull list.

The story format continues to delight as the reader is first given a “flashback” comic to our main character Kitty’s heyday in comics, which sets up the story to come in the rest of the issue.  The writing in this issue was little more on the nose with its jokes and jabs at the overall comic industry.  The language was also turned up a little more. That aspect – combined with a couple of drug references – took away from some of the light-heartedness, but still continued to charm and deliver laughs.

The art shone throughout the entire book.  The flashback portion felt like an Archie book of the past, while the present story remained in that updated – yet classic – Archie feel.  Art this well done really helps move the story at a fantastic pace and never get bogged down.  There continued to be a little cheesecake to the art, but it added to the overall fun of the book without making it feel like staring into a 90s long box or a slightly creepy deviant art page.

The two-page spreads by J Bone are worth the price of admission alone.

Overall, this was still a treat to read and was easily the first book off my stack this week.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

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Spell on Wheels #2 (Dark Horse)

Spell on Wheels is doing something very special and commendable.

It gives the reader a fun tale of strong independent women, while delivering a feminist message that is not meant to be beaten over anyone’s head.

These characters are real women – living in this current day and age – but just happen to be a bunch of spell casting witches looking to reclaim their stolen items.

The X-Men taught a lot of us that it is alright to be a little different when we were growing up. Spell on Wheels is teaching us all how to live a little bit better.

It’s a great message.  A well written book and absolutely stunning cartooning.

I want more of this in comics and want to give those books to my nieces.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

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Lady Killer 2 #3 (Dark Horse)

At one point, Dexter was the best television show out there.  When the show was at its best, we knew who Dexter was and that was not going to change, but it was the pieces around our main character that made the show compelling and interesting.

While I enjoyed the first two issues of Lady Killer 2, it felt like perhaps this was just another romp in the world of this 60s mom serial murderer.  It’s always a fun time, but nothing super compelling.  Luckily, issue #3 added some new wrinkles and dropped in a little lurking mystery around some of our supporting characters.  Those wrinkles made it feel like a whole new world while still keeping us connected to our main character, whom we have come to root for.

Michelle Madsen on art continues to kill on art duties and gives this book a distinct feel.  The first two-page spread of this book is meant to be marveled and poured over.

Ratings: 4 out of 5