Paper Cuts: 2/2/17

Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)

In a rare treat, a proper Marvel U book makes it to this week’s reviews.

If you are a fan of strange monsters appearing from nowhere and causing total havoc, this comic will scratch the Godzilla-sized itch you need to have scratched.

If you are or were a fan of Marvel comics, then this comic feeds that hunger.

The premise is very simple: giant kaiju monsters are falling from the sky.  Every team across the Marvel Universe looks to defeat them with their own signatures that every fan can recognize.  For readers who are not current, it also serves as a very soft reintroduction to the current state of the Marvel universe without beating you over the head with it.

Steve McNiven on art is simply breathtaking.  His monsters are weird while maintaining the wackiness of horror monsters from the 1970s and before.  In the wrong hands this book would come across as ridiculous, but it manages to take the most absurd and turn it into threatening, real life danger for all the Marvel Universe.

There is also a little bit of mystery built into the storytelling with Else Bloodstone – the Monster Hunter – interesting and compelling even when there are not giant monsters tearing up major cities.

This is an absolutely amazing, cross-genre mash up that is great for kaiju horror fans, kids who love current Marvel comics and everyone in between.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Hook Jaw #2 (Titan)

You had me at shark.  The combination of sharks and comics – while not the easiest to execute – is the easiest sale to me that you will ever make.

Yet,  Hook Jaw is a baffling book.  While there were no hints that it was not taking itself seriously in issue #1, in this issue, it beats the reader over the head with the unsubtle self-awareness.  It mentions that Hook Jaw was once a 1970s comic book.  It highlights the fact that the hard-assed, no-nonsense character is pulled straight from an 80s movie.  It then proceeds to bring in every trope under the sun; from dolphin loving hippies to CIA conspiracies.  There is nothing to grab onto from a character or writing standpoint. Without those things, it just makes this a mindless book about sharks

If you are going to have a mindless book about sharks, the art needs to be so amazing and captivating that it can overcome a lack of a coherent story or poor writing, but the art is passable at best.

I do not like to judge books so harshly, but it’s hard not to compare this to White. Between these two shark books, one is clearly superior to the other, and Hook Jaw most definitely does not win that battle.

Ratings: 2 out of 5

Ex Mortis #1 (451 Media)

While this first issue was released back in November, the third issue comes out this week on Friday, so I thought I’d circle back and highlight this series. It’s always good to check out these smaller independent books.

There is nothing earth shatteringly original about this book.  If you are a fan of Hellboy and the BPRD, Marvel’s The Howling Commandos, or DC’s Frankenstein: Agent of Shade, this books follows in that tradition.  It’s World War 2 and monsters are being developed and deployed from both sides.

The art in this book is black and white, and is rather well done.  The artist clearly has an affinity for Jeff Lemire’s shading style.  Sometimes the line work came across as unfinished, but that could be because this was a PDF format from the publisher and not the finished comic.  The only other critique is that there was a lot of ink on the board, and I’m not sure it added anything special to the art.

Overall, absolute fun story and good art.  Give this series a read.

Check it out here.

Ratings: 3.5 out 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!