Juice Squeezers #1

Jan 2014 | Dark Horse

Writing | Art | Creation: David Lapham
Colour: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover: David Lapham | Lee Loughridge

The Great Bug Elevator

Weeville, CA, has a bit of an underground bug problem-a giant bug problem. A group of tweens, called the Juice Squeezers, prowl through bug tunnels to take care of their vermin problem. Weeville has a bit of a problem, though. Valley May Farms was purchased by an agricultural engineer and his son and they have no idea the bug menace that lurks beneath the valley. It’s up to the Juice Squeezers to take care of the bugs and protect the Farnsburgers, but one can’t exactly easily hide giant bugs. Already, Billy Farnsburger has sighted giant bugs and things won’t end well when the digging starts.

I can’t get over the name Juice Squeezers. It’s so filthy and disgusting, and yet totally perfect. Of course a bunch of tweens would call themselves something like that. It is a bit amazing that they have the job they do, you would think the adults would get their panties all in a bunch at the thought of children doing dangerous things, but since they’re the only ones that can fit in the tunnels, what choice do people have?

This is really good stuff. I’m somewhat saddened that it’s only a four-issue mini, and I have half of it already, but I realize some things just evolve into crap if carried on to long and that would be a sad end to this great series. It doesn’t feel like a whole lot happened, I think because it went by so quickly. The kids return to the school to report what they had done and then learn about the selling of the farm. We then get a history lesson of what happened there and why it’s terrible and we pretty much know to expect the worse. When our tweeny heroes are prowling through the tunnels to make sure they’re all accessible and the family is above with construction equipment ready to dig out irrigation for their fields, I pretty much expected bugs to come swarming out like disturbed ants. I didn’t expect anything to happen to Billy despite his bug sighting.

I really like the art and I’m a big fan of comics that look like they could be animated. That’s turning into a new deal for me. I’d have to say, the weevils are my fave of the beatles I’ve seen. I’ve always liked how alien they look with their long faces and oddly bulbous bodies. I also like how our location is named Weeville. *snicker*

So, this is obviously on my pull list. I want to read the second, but I also feel like I should wait until I have all of it. I could just read through the rest of it in one go and not pine after it. Who’m I kidding, though? Issue #2, here I come!

 

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.

Crawl Space XXXombies #4

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Apr 2008 | Image

Writing: Rick Remender
Art: Kieron Dwyer
Story: Rick Remender | Tony Moore | Kieron Dwyer
Colour: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Rus Wooton

Our surviving porn stars have made it to Jenny’s apartment, but our angry mobster pays a visit to settle a score and increase death count. Who will survive the zombie apocalypse?

XXXombies comes to a close with more sex, violence, and zombies with humorous ending I should have expected.

It was a fun ride. I was almost right about who the survivors were. I just picked one too many. I’m not too sure I liked the whole mobster side. I had hoped for more zombie fun, but most of the violence came from them instead. That was disappointing, and Wong Hung Lau and his new little zombie venture. His end wasn’t very satisfying either.

I feel conflicted. The only reason I didn’t like this book was the lack of zombie action. I felt the mobsters were a bit anti-climatic. We’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and this mobster is going to risk his life and mess up a truck driver and his daughter? Couldn’t we have thought of something a little better?

Overall, I did enjoy this series. The art, the story concept, dead zombie babies, I couldn’t have asked for more. It just didn’t quite deliver to the end. Though the very final scenes almost make up for it all, giving some love to old school serialized horror shows and books.

I’ll be looking forward to the next story.

Crawl Space XXXombies #3

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Feb 2008 | Image

Story: Rick Remender | Tony Moore | Kieron Dwyer
Writing: Rick Remender
Art: Kieron Dwyer
Colour: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Rus Wooton

The porn stars still struggle to survive in zombie-angeles. Jenny’s dad manages to get answers of his daughter’s whereabouts from the goons, and everyone else is pretty much screwed with the city quarantined.

The scene at the hospital with the babies was priceless and one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen in all my zombie-loving life. It was funny, too and the best part of this series. The rest of this book is just a blur of boring violence outshined by dead zombie babies. I can’t really remember anything else, I’m too hung up on that scene.

With one issue left, I don’t know if this book can top dead zombie babies. I’m a bit disappointed that I had to get so far to get a quality scene like that.  I can only hope it has a horribly violent ending.

Crawl Space XXXombies #2

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Dec 2007 | Image

Story: Rick Remender | Tony Moore | Kieron Dwyer
Writing: Rick Remender
Art: Kieron Dwyer
Colour: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Rus Wooton

Hollywood has gone to hell in a hand basket and our little smut crew struggle to get out unscathed. Their numbers are dropping quickly. Tony wants his money from Wong, and Jenny’s father is hot on her trail and he ain’t playin’.

The first thing that amazed me was despite the fact that Johnny was dead, his thing broke, and his skull had a whole punched through it, we’re still oblivious. When Mitzy, the girl of the shot turns into a zombie, they just think she’s dope sick. Wow. These guys deserve to die.

This issue wasn’t as entertaining as the last, but is still good enough for me to keep going. I want to see these guys devoured and see who lives, if anyone does. I’m starting to like Jenny’s father. He’s one tough dude. I love how nothing phases him.

Just two more issues left, then it’s waiting for the next story to be released.

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