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: 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

Paper Cuts: 10/21/16

If there was an Eisner for Best Week of Comics, this one would have to be nominated.

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Die Kitty Die #1 (Astro Comix / Chapter House)

The sign of good story tell can be when you are reading a first issue but you feel like you have known this character your whole life.

Die Kitty Die is the creation of two classic Archie creators who have an undeniable chemistry as a creative team.

The art in this book is simply incredible.  The book opens with a classic “throwback” style of art that resembles Archie comics of the 1960’s.  Here we are introduced to Kitty as a character.  The artwork in this section – paired with the editor’s note – really makes you think you are reading a re-print, and it is delightful.

From that intro, we fast-forward and find ourselves with modern day Kitty, complete with art reminiscent of the Life with Archie or Predator vs Archie series; no surprise considering both creators worked at Archie during that time.

Oh, and there is a beautiful two-page spread from J Bone in the middle of this issue and it is simply stunning.

The colors are bright and vibrant and it matches the story telling.  We meet Kitty, a semi-forgotten comic character who also happens to be a real life witch.  The story is accessible to anyone and is not shy about taking a couple jabs at the current state of comics.

This book was just so much fun and full of energy that I implore everyone to check out the creators’ Kickstarter happening right now.

Ratings: 5 out of 5

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Lord of Gore #1 (Devil’s Due)

The worst part about this book is having to wait until 2017 when the next issue comes out.

The art here is pretty good.  Daniel Leister definitely has an affinity towards Howard Chaykin and it comes through in the best possible way.

This was a fantastic first issue and really set up the world.  After reading the Lord of Gore background story in it, I was not too sure that this was not a real life horror franchise.

This is a fantastic tale of real life Hollywood and life of stars on the horror convention circuit.  If there ever was a perfect book for Horror-Writers, it is this book.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

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Spell on Wheels #1 (Darkhorse)

There have been many books and movies that have been trying to capture the same type of fun and coolness of the movie, The CraftSpell on Wheels finally is a worthy successor and really captures some of the same magic.

Artist Megan Levens delivers some wonderful art.  Her character design is fantastic.  Her cartooning style mixed with real-life-figure-proportions really grounds the book; no small feat, considering it is about witches with fantastical powers.

Writer Kate Leth really crafts a compelling first issue that deals with some real life fears that many women face, but still manages to keep the story light and not bogged down.

The creative team here is worthy of high praise for delivering a story of believable women in a fun road trip that really has some heart.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5