Gravel #4

Mar 2008 | Avatar

Writing: Warren Ellis | Mie Wolfer
Colour: Juanmar
Art: Oscar Jimenez
Cover: Mike Wolfer

Ascension By Assassination

After collecting half of the Sigsand, Gravel stashes the manuscript in a protected location only to have his next target find him first.

A good bit of action in this issue. Some poor acolytes got killed in a variety of satisfying ways bringing me back to my happy place and making up for lost time from all the talking previous issue. I really needed some of that.  This and Vampirella currently have the most action of what I’m currently reading that I can think of off-hand, but it’s far more viscerally satisfying in Gravel. It’s all about the graphic gore and Avatar is usually good for this which I why I love them so much. It’s like what you see in the goriest movies in print.

I’m still enjoying this book. The second issue had disappointed me with the ghost horses and lack of a horrible to top the one in the first issue, but now things are interesting plot-wise and there’s still a satisfying level of violence when I need it.

Dead Space #4

Dead Space #4 Cover

Jun 2008 | Image

Writing: Anthony Johnston
Art: Ben Templesmith
Letters: Rus Wooton

The marker is being shuttled to the Ishimura and the planetcrack is on shedule. Things go even more sour once the planet is cracked.

The last page will be engraved in my mind forever. That wonderful monster hovering behind the colony manager as the truth of the marker is revealed makes me feel all warm in my chest. That’s the only real moment I had through this entire issue. It seems like I waited for that one image for a long time. Everything else didn’t matter to the point where reading felt like a chore. I just wanted the art to direct me without the burden of words.

I dont’t know what else to say. I’m too anxious to see the chaos and carnage that is to follow. I just want to move on. This is great movie material.

Dead Space #2

Dead Space #2 Cover

Apr 2008 | Image

Writing: Anthony Johnston
Art: Ben Templesmith
Letters: Rus Wooton

The crazies escalate and casualties increase over the artifact. While it is obvious it is all the doing of the strange symbol covered rock, the big man is unwilling to listen to reason.

Tom, Natalia, Neuwmann and the Commander seem to be the only ones not obsessed with that thing. I know it doesn’t end well, but I still can’t help rooting for them, which is not like me. I don’t like happy endings in my horror. I also get very aggravated with stuff like this, when people are too blind to see the real source of their problems.

Some people get the colony crazies, and suddenly it’s because we found a rock?

Those bastards deserve what’s coming to them and I look forward to seeing it. But, damn, this issue went by way to quickly. We’re starting to get into the meat of this conflict and this Unitology stuff is pretty whacked and creepy. When the pilgrims gathered at the site to pray, and the hallucinations people are experiencing. Reminds me of Tommyknockers, in a way.

I enjoyed this issue. The descent into madness is going at a nice pace and I’m wondering just what everyone plans to do with the artifact. Hopefully the four remaining issues will be enough for me.

Dead Space #1

Dead Space #1 Cover

Mar 2008 | Image

Writing: Anthony Johnston
Art: Ben Templesmith
Letters: Rus Wooton

The Aegis VII colony discovered an unusual object at a dig site. Unitologists believe it to be a marker and several colonists have been suffering insomnia and ‘bad thoughts’. Hanford Carthusia just got orders to safeguard it at all costs until the arrival of the Ishimura.

Dead Space happens to be one of my favorite games. When I caught wind I’d be able to enjoy it in comic form, I felt ecstatic and finally I’ve gotten around to delving into this 6 issue gem. The cover would have old me, regardless.

Our story begins with a transmission from a grim security officer warns the danger of coming here and the only course of action involves nuking the colony. Then the story goes back to address the finding of the marker and the events that led up to the massive disaster before the arrival of the Ishimura.

At first, it felt a little jumpy. Lots of short segments of events happening all over the colony and at the dig site. However, there is cohesion. Despite knowing the outcome of the game, the mystery of how and why are being presented really well to the extent I wish I were watching the movie. The stage is set and the ball is already starting to bounce down the spiral of disaster. It seems pretty clear to me once that ball gets rolling, things will be moving pretty quickly. Already, people are suffering the mental effects. I can’t wait to see the fallout. More-so, I’m really interested in the politics and Unitology.

“But in case you hadn’t noticed, we already conquered Heaven, and guess what? God wasn’t home!”

“Your God, perhaps. Our God is very much in residence.”

Ben Templesmith was an excellent choice of artist. There is a dark and bleak beauty to his art that matches up perfectly with the game. I really couldn’t picture it any other way. His name attached to this book meant I’d never be disappointed by all the wonderful violence and horribles. His art was perfect with 30 Days of Night. I really hope to see some horrible thing in the next issue. I have such a soft spot for horrible things.

Overall, this was a great beginning and I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Blood Bowl – Killer Contract #1

May 2008 | Boom!

Writing: Matt Forbeck
Art: Lads Helloven
Colour: Lads Helloven
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: Lads Heloven | Moritat

It’s the Bad Bay Hackers versus the Orcland Raiders in the ultimate grudge match. There’s more than just the game, to worry about, there’s an assassin on the Hacker’s team. In order for him to get a chance to take out his target, the Hackers must advance.

I’m a huge fan of Games Workshop and practically everything they produce. I remember playing the Blood Bowl game with friends over lunch breaks and while I’ve never been a fan of football, playing this violent strategic version was always great fun. It’s been years, though, since I’ve had anything to do with it. I had sold all my miniatures off a long time ago. Seeing this comic on the shelf, I thought I’d give it a go. It left me grinning.

The comic opens in the middle of a Blood Bowl game between the Bad Bay Hackers and Orcland Raiders with some wonderful violence and commentary.

What I love about this comic is how true it is to the game. It isn’t Blood Bowl without death, extreme violence, and some heads mistaken for footballs. It really brings back some fond memories. Matt Forbeck has done some great writing, especially with the commentary, and I like the care he’s taken to flesh out the world and place this sport in the fantasy setting where it lives. Thousands of spectators watching the game in their crystal balls, it’s just so creative, and the sponsors got a chuckle from me, too. It was a fun read.

Those undead teams get all the best players — eventually!

The messy style of art goes well with the brutality of the game and the gore is quite satisfying. With a cover like that, I was certain I’d be pleased with the interior.

All-in-all, this was entertaining — purely gratuitous, but entertaining. I’ll likely pick up more of this mostly to see what the next team like, but I must admit I am curious to know more about our killer’s contract.

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