Squiddy Thought Bites #1

My comic reading has been pretty steady, but there hasn’t been anything where I could write more than a tweet or two. I just haven’t been able to find enough things to say about things-even things I like. I’d hate to see this space vacant again for so long, so I’m going to start up a series dedicated to short, likely disjointed, and probably useless impressions.

Bat Lash. DC 2008. Issues #1-4.

This is a guy that has been around since the late sixties and one of few westerns I have read despite being a fan of a good gunslingin’ cattle drivin’ bar brawlin’ scalpin’ story. This mini was okay. After each issue I wanted to continue even though it didn’t really have a unique plot. Overall, the feel of the book fell more into the soap-opera variety revolving around a forbidden romance. It is the ending what ruined things for me. I half expected something along those lines, but not so… rigid. It also felt a bit on the rushed side even as comics go. For a formulaic feeling story, it still was a good read, but I’m not so sure these good feelings hold with my disappointment over the ending.

Lady Rawhide. Topps. 1996. Issue #1

This is very 90s. VERY 90s. I’m still in shock from the exposure. The exposition is really hard for me to get through. I could tolerate it back then, but now? You don’t even need pictures to know what’s going on and that really gets under my skin these days. Unless the art is crap, I can tell what I’m looking at and what’s going on without the narration. The content of the book is also very 90s and I could barely get through it. I still groan about it having to write this little blurb. I didn’t like it. I’m not sure if I will like it once I get used to it, but I do have more of it, so I may as well read them.

Marineman. Image. 2010. Issue #1

I don’t know what this is. Our hero is a marine bioligist tv-documentary star. The bulk of it seemed more of an educational thing than anything else. An event did happen with a free diver dying under mysterious circumstances, however, this issue doesn’t go anywhere with that. You get not villain introduction, no action, no build towards anything whatsoever, and no cliffhanger of any kind. It really didn’t go anywhere. It’s like watching a horror movie for 45 minutes waiting for something to happen. Nope. Don’t recommend it. Won’t be reading anymore.

Magnus Robot Fighter. Dark Horse. 2010. Issue #1

I had read some scattered classic issues of this guy, and I liked the cross-dressing guy well enough. I liked this one well-enough, but it didn’t pop. This isn’t anything I feel compelled to keep going with and there were a few places where I was a bit lost in what was going on. My interest just wasn’t held enough for me to want anymore. Also, I would never name my crayon red cat Tomato.

Chronos. DC. 1998. Issues #1-3

A time traveling thief gets into a lot of trouble. It reminds me of old shows like Time Trax, Quantum Leap, and Sliders. It’s not terrible as far as writing and art goes, but it also doesn’t grab me, either. I’m just not interested in the story or his problems or the interesting twist that’s there. I believe I have all of it, so I will read through it, but, again, 90s. Not that there is anything wrong with words, and this isn’t nearly as bad as Lady Rawhide, I still think some of them don’t need to be there.

Deity Requiem. Image. 2005. Issue #1

This was a hefty book with some pretty good Michael O’Hare art. It seems to be more-or-less a self-contained story, but it’s evident that it’s part of a much larger whole and I’m interested in seeking out more of it. It’s a nice blend of fantasy sci-fi with religion thrown into the mix of the whole dark world vs light world thing. Yes, it is a tired concept, but I actually enjoyed this. It had a nice fold-out cover, too.

Demo “The Waking Life of Angels”. Vertigo. 2010. Issue #1

Of the batch of things I’m reviewing this post, this is the best. This book is so far above the others in terms of storytelling, writing, and art. It captivated me after just a few panels and by the end, I immediately put it on my list for my next shopping trip. It has a very almost Hitchcock feel to the story in which you weren’t entirely sure what was going on, but you knew it wouldn’t end too well.

The Devil’s Keeper. Alias. 2005. Issue #1

Terrible. Boring. Done. I didn’t even make it through the entire issue before returning it to its sleeve and filing it away. Sadly, I have more of it. Oh, well.

Doc Macabre. IDW. 2010. Issue #1

This was another big winner out of this batch. This is a different kind of Ghostbuster and I really enjoyed it. He charges a fee for his services and uses tech of his invention to deal with the supernatural disturbances. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Will be getting more of this one, too.

Doctor Solar Man of the Atom. Dark Horse. 2010. Issue #1

This is another classic character I had been interested in reading more modern appearances of. I liked this one more than Magnus, but again, I wasn’t particularly grabbed by it. I felt bored reading it and didn’t care too much for the issue’s crisis. I’ll be giving this a pass.

Aside

iZombie – Dead to the World (vol 1)

coverMar 2011 | Vertigo

Writing: Chris Roberson
Art: Mike Allred
Colour: Laura Allred
Letters: Todd Klein
Cover: Mike Allred

Collecting issues 1-5 and short story printed in House of Mystery Halloween Annual #1.

After consuming her monthly brain, she seeks to resolve unfinished business of its previous owner and stumbles upon something bigger – an ancient egyptian mummy who tells her of her true state and how to retain her unlife and warnings of hunters lurking in the city.

This was really cool for a zombie story. We have Gwen, a gravedigger who happens to be a zombie. She must consume a brain once a month in order to retain her memories and prevent herself from turning into a slack-jawed brainless shambler. She also ends up with the memories of the person and a voice in her head. She has a ghost as a friend as well as a were-terrier nicknamed spot. We also have like a sorority of vampire chicks living on a reservation which is their paintball business who limit their feedings to the grounds. Unfortunately, one of them ventured off rez and fell victim to those monster hunters the mummy spoke of which conveniently saved a co-worker and friend of Spot.

Lots of stuff happened and we have lots of supernaturals running around a modern-day earth. I wonder if Dixie is anything special. I half expect her to be the way Gwen speaks of her, but it could just be the book trying to get me to think that way to surprise me by being otherwise.

The ghost is my favourite out of the group, though. I really like her. Ghosts are probably my favourite supernatural thing because of how versatile they can be.

There’s only one thing I disliked about the book, really. That’s how the mouths, lips, of people look. Some of them look a little duck-faced to me in certain panels and it really stands out to me. Emo duck-face.  That’s my only criticism, really. The book remains awesome and I intend to get the rest of this.

The Witching Hour #1

CoverOct 2013 | Vertigo

A collection of nine horror stories penned by various creators.

Since the book contained nine stories, I thought I’d do each of them individually rather than have some crazy long credits list and discombobulated babbles of my reactions.

Daniel

Story & Art: Steve Beach
Colour: John Kalisz
Letters: Taylor Esposito

After saving three sisters from a bully, Charles is asked to a seance held by the girls he saved.

This was an interesting tale, but the ending didn’t really jive with me. I don’t expect horror to have happy endings and in most cases I don’t like it when they do. There are some exceptions to this, and that’s usually when they break stereotypes and formulaic plots and give me characters I can actually give two cents about. It just-I dunno. I just didn’t feel it. I expected things to get worse since they brought his preference into play, but it just didn’t. The seance happened and we just mellowed out into an ending.

Birdie

Writing: Lauren Beukes
Art: Gerhard Human
Colour: Giulia Brusco
Letters: Steve Wands

Heksie, aka Birdie, is a strange girl with a gift. Seagulls scavenge items and bring them to her for her to pass on to people as if they were letters, but they are reminders for people, of past times and not all of them are pleasant.

Despite my not liking the previous story, this one really hit the mark and uplifted me giving me hope that I wouldn’t completely hate this book. It went where I wanted it to and did things I wanted it to and at the end it left me feeling warmth. I really enjoyed it. I liked how it ended.

First To Mars

Writing: Brett Lewis
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

A mars colony funded by reality television goes bust and the members must survive on their own and battle the monsters they brought with them.

Well, these stories are just getting better and better. This one is even better than the last. It had me thinking about that Colonize Mars project that was taking applications not too long ago. Truthfully, I seriously considered applying for the one-way trip, but something in my gut knew it would be a bad idea, especially if I were accepted. This story pretty much brings several of the worries I had to life which made it hit a little deeper. It is a story that will linger with me for awhile.

This Witch’s Work

Art & Writing: Annie Mok & Emilie Carroll
Letters: John Workman

And I hit another sinker. This one didn’t do much for me and not because of the content matter. It just left me confused. I wasn’t sure if the newsradio story about Thomas, a man who killed the school principal which abused him, were some kind of flashback for Rheina giving some reason behind him changing genders, or reasons for abuse which seemed to be from his mother in his dreams. Could it more have been just similar situation, abuse from a person of trust at a young age which zhe suffers in silence? I lean more towards it just being a similar story, but Rheina didn’t chose a violent outcome, it seems. That’s what the ending has me lean to. Bleh.

Legs

Writing: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: Ming Doyle
Colour: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Sal Cipriano

A girl once told she must cover her ears while she sleeps lest a spider lay eggs in her ear or burrow to her brain to spin web around it, grows up to study spiders and we see just what effect her mother’s story had on her.

Well, this was a nice surprise. I didn’t expect it to be what it turned out to be. It wasn’t terrible, but it also didn’t do much for me. Birdie and First to Mars still stand out as the shining gems of this book, but there’s still more stories to go. I wish I would have seen more, let the story play out a little bit longer before reaching the ending it did. It’s just missing a solid punch that I think a few more panels could have nailed it.

Fellow Travelers

Writing: Matthew Sturges
Art: Shawn McManus
Colour: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual

The present world is magical one, but Norma Jean wishes things to be different. Being pursued in a car, Arthur writes the play that will change the world.

Weird. Mildly amusing. Mostly weird. I just don’t have anything more to say about this one besides that.

Little Witch

PPL: Ales Kot | Morgan Jeska | Sloane Leong | Travis Lanham | Gregory Lockard

A little girl born must masquerade as a boy in order to keep honour for her family.

Ah! A good story again! It had me feeling anxious mid-way through and I felt warm relief when i got to the end. I half-expected it to go weirded than what it had, but I’m glad it didn’t.

The Dead Boy Detectives in Run Ragged Part Three: Gone to the Dogs.

Writing: Toby Litt
Colours: Lee Loughridge
Layouts: Mark Buckingham
Finishes: Victor Santos
Letters: Todd Klein

The Dead Boy Detectives free a class of children from their abusive teacher and something about a cat.

The Dead Boy Detectives are a Neil Gaiman creation and his is part three of something I’ve not read previous parts of. Having not read the previous parts, I had no idea what exactly was going on and didn’t enjoy it much. In December it gets a book of its own. I think I’ll pass.

Rise

Writing: Mariah Huehner
Art: Tula Lotay
Colour: Tula Lotay
Letters: Dezi Sienty

A girl travels to the UK to do soemthign with her life and, well, certainly does.

We close this book with a great story with an amusing, though dark, ending and I would’ve liked to have seen more of our two girls and what happens next. Ah, well.

All in all, I’m left feeling pretty satisfied for picking this up. The stories I liked out of this outnumbered those which I hadn’t so it’s a good day. If this wasn’t a one-off, I’ll add it to my pull list. I’d like a book like this to read to offset the ongoings.

Scalped #1

Cover Image

Mar 1 | 2007

Writing: Jason Aaron
Colour: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Phil Balsman
Art: R.M. Guera
Cover: Jock

Bad Horse returns to Prairie Rose Reservation after 15 years causing a scene that attracts the attention of Chief Red Crow who hires him to join his police force.

Holy crap, what a shocking cliffhanger! It didn’t even occur to me to question why Bad Horse had been away, or his reasons of return, especially since he stated he was just passing through, but the cat is outta the bag now. This is probably going to turn into a big, bloody conflict pretty soon, since we’ve had scalps and violence already and Vertigo is always willing to please.

Guera’s art is always a joy to stare at. It just really puts the icing on our visceral modern western. That it’s even a modern western tickles me. I love gritty westerns, so it’s nice to see something like this in modern times and I do love the crime element. I can’t wait to see what happens to out big chief.

TPBs of this are in my future. I need more of it and hopefully it will continue to deliver over the next 59 issues I missed merely because I didn’t know what it was and thought I wouldn’t like it…

I have a lot to catch up on.

Saucer Country #4

Cover ImageAug 1 | 2012

Writing: Paul Cornell
Art: Ryan kelly
Colour: Giulia Brusco
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover: Ryan Kelly

Michael learns more of the secrets of his abduction and shares what he’s learned under hypnotherapy with Alvarado and her team and the opposition starts a-mounting.

Well the crap is sure starting to hit the fan. When Michael told his story, I wondered if it was really true and not just fabricated with the suggestions the therapist supplied. It seemed to be guiding him to specific things, important things. I certainly felt there was an agenda there, and then to see him with the radio guy… Very suspicious. It also ended with a shock I’m curious to see play out.

This issue was over way too quickly, too. it seemed I had just sat down before it was over. I’m not even sure what’s really happening at times, especially when Michael and Fausto -seemed- to have been abducted, since he saw rabbits everywhere. It’s really making my head spin. In good ways, of course. There’s a place for comfortable predictability, and it’s not with this book and it’s a reason I like it so much. It’s also pretty believable. I like how it’s following modern classical views on the UFO mythology.

Can’t wait to read more.

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