Papercuts: 03-22-2017

Papercuts: March 22, 2017

By Ryan “HB” Mount

This week, we take a look at the reintroduction of two fan-favorite characters, Vampirella and Marvel’s Man-Thing with new jumping on points and big departures from status quo of the characters long histories.

Vampirella #1 (Dynamite)

After reviewing the #0 issue, there was a ton of mystery of where this series was heading.  I never would have thought from #0 that we were getting Vampirella in dystopian future Los Angles.  Perhaps as comic readers, we should welcome drastic changes and see where the story leads before rushing to conclusion.

This should not come as a surprise, but it felt like Paul Cornell was writing another episode of Doctor Who and not Vampirella.  There was a huge world presented with a lot of mystery and not a lot of explanation.  There was also some future speak dialogue which was alright for an opening issue, but hopefully does not bog down the story for the long term.

The art in this issue was fantastic.  While I appreciate the mood that the zero issue had set up, this set up a much different landscape.  There are remnants of Kirby and Moebius in the design work and spoke to my sensibilities.

There is also something to be said about a book taking a lot of chances.  There appears to be another narrative happening outside the panels on the page and certainly not conventional, I again think that a book taking some risks, should be something given some praise.

While this book is anything but traditional Vampirella, there are so many interesting things happening that this new launch deserves several issues before making a full judgement.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

Man-Thing #1 (Marvel)

If you were a child of the 1990’s and you saw that teen horror writer, R.L. Stine was writing a comic book, you would naturally be excited.

While for a long time, Man-Thing has been a lumbering and haunting character with oddly defined powers of portal jumping and instilling total fear into people, Stine decided to take the character in a completely new and different direction and is bound to rub some longtime fans the wrong way.

After reading this issue, you are left wondering if Stine had recently watched the 2005 film, Man-Thing which wanted to tell a funny story of how that film came to be made.  There were certain references from character designs to statements from characters in the book that leads us to that conclusion.  I was unsure if Stine was going for a Howard the Duck type of story for this book, but there the writing was not clever enough to hook readers.  The departure was so far removed from the original character that many old-time fans will have nothing to grab onto and new readers won’t have enough either.

The art was fine and seeing Man-Thing on the page was a real treat, when it came to everything else, it seemed clunky and rushed.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

 

Quick Cuts:

Zombie Camp #1 – This is a book has its issues, but it is intended for kids. Enjoy the simplicity.  Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

The Darkness Visible #2 – Mike Carey continues to tell a compelling story of a society where demons and humans struggle to co-exist.  A couple more layers added on in this issue.  Ratings: 3 out of 5

Eclipse #5 – New Arc.  Go back and pick up the trade, then jump in. Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Grim Tales of Terror (Vol. 3) #2 – Teen horror meets idle hands. Ratings: 2 out of 5

Grim Tales of Terror (Vol. 3) #3 – New art style for the book. Typical fare. Ratings: 2 out of 5

Richard Corben’s Shadows of the Grave #3 – The art alone is enough to add this to your monthly reading, but the creeps and scares keep it essential for any fans of the genre.   Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Lady Killer 2 #4 – Dexter meets Mad Men. Beautiful art.  Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Spook House #3 – Horror Anthology for kids! Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

When not writing about horror comics, Ryan enjoys long walks on shark infested beaches or at least watching them on the screen.  If you like what you read, tweet out the link to the column and use the #papercuts.  If you want to read more, follow Ryan @hebruise and look his other comic columns and interviews over at Two-Headed Nerd.com.

Papercuts: Vampirella: Part 2

Last week we read two different launching points into the Vampirella franchise.

Check out the full article here:

This week, we take some time to examine some other famous teams to tackle the iconic vampire.

Vampirella #1 (Dynamite)

Since Vampirella landed at Dynamite, there have been four different #1 issues, including the forthcoming one written by Paul Cornell. This #1 was written by Kate Leth, of horror-writers.com’s favorite Spell on Wheels, but also known for her Marvel work on Patsy Walker, Hellcat.

While this issue carries a #1 on the cover and a new costume is introduced, it is a continuation of the previous series. That does not make it impossible for new readers to jump in, but the story telling felt a bit clunky throughout the issue.  While the dialogue was pretty much well written, there seemed to be some restraint on Leth’s storytelling that she is known for, with strong independent women.  I cannot say whether that was an editorial decision or if Leth was still trying to find her voice for the character while managing the old continuity.

The art provided by Eman Casallos and Valentina Pinto was very workman. There seemed to be nothing stand out-ish about the particular style, but nothing incredibly jarring.  Compared to the artists reviewed last week, it simply does not stack up.  Where last week Amanda Conner even at her best showed her raw talent that could not be denied.  While Vampirella #0 may not have been show stopping, it did an excellent job of setting the mood and tone for the book.  The art here in this issue was flat.

This is a hard book to recommend to a new Vampirella readers as it was fine overall, but felt compelling. If you are a fan of Leth’s other work outside Vampi, tracking down the first trade of this to see where it goes would not be out of the question.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

 

Vampirella: Rebirth #1 (Harris)

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. These creators have worked on some of the most iconic properties and delivered some of the most memorable tales.  Whether it was Batman: The Long Halloween or Daredevil: Yellow, all of them still fill the shelves of most comic fans.

It is really hard to judge this book, because that creative team only hands us an 8-page story at the beginning of the issue. While it is fun for fans of their other work, it certainly would not hook any new readers to Vampirella.

The rest of the book is straight cheesecake. While there are fans of that in their comics, it is best used sparingly and hard to continuously pick up a book based on that alone.  Due to the nature of the character there is nothing overly complicated to pick up with this #1 issue, but this barely registers as a true #1.

This is really only for the big Loeb and Sale fans, but not for those looking to jump into the Vampirella universe.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5 (3 out of 5 for the Loeb/Sale, 2 out of 5 for the rest of the issue)

 

Vampirella Lives #2 (Harris)

While, I tried to keep most reviews about “jumping on points,” I wanted to highlight at least one issue of Warren Ellis short run on Vampirella.

This issue really highlighted the fact that Vampirella is timeless and deserves her spot on the comic stands. With no real continuity memorized, hopping into this story mid-arc in the ongoing Harris publication felt like anyone could pick up this book and understand everything you need to know about the character, whether you read the recap page or not.  At the end of the day, Vampirella is a bikini clad, bad girl, who is trying to do some good.

I have to admit that I rather liked this issue. Whether it is in comics or prose novels, Ellis just finds a way to capture the reader with great characters and smooth dialogue.

The art is once again provided by Amanda Conner and it pops off the page. Although this is the same team that provided art for the Millar/Morrison issue reviewed, it really hits a stride here.  Conner does a great job of blending cheesecake with cartoon for a tone that feels right for Vampirella.  Palmiotti course corrected and really uses inks to highlight Conner’s work instead which I wanted so badly in Vampirella Preview Issue.

While this is a #2 issue, this certainly intrigues me enough to check out the Master Collection of Ellis’s work on the character. This was not a masterpiece but was very enjoyable.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

There are still plenty of more creative teams over the years of Vampirella and I had a lot of fun going over these back issues. If there is a creative team or an issue of Vampirella you would like me to review, please make sure to reach out.  Or if you love Vampirella, I want to know!  Make sure to like the article and tweet me @hebruise.