Comic Review – Quarry’s War #1


Max Allan Collins is an experienced writer whose works span across multiple formats. He is probably best known to mainstream audiences as the author of The Road To Perdition graphic novels, which inspired the 2002 Academy Award winning movie staring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. He’s also notable for having been entrusted with completing a number of Mike Hammer stories that were unfinished by Mickey Spillane at the time of his death. Max Allan Collins also wrote the Dick Tracy comic strip for a number of years and has written more than a number of mystery novels and novels based on popular mystery television series.

Quarry’s War #1 marks the first time Collins has adapted one of his earlier works into a graphic novel format. The point of view character here is Quarry – a former U.S. Marine Sniper who becomes a professional assassin for hire upon returning home from The Vietnam War.

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Quarry’s War #1 tells two stories, with the setting shifting between every alternating page. The first story, set in Chicago in 1972, sees Quarry and one of his partners (a man with the code name of Boyd) sent out to dispatch a Chicago mobster who slept with the wrong man’s side-piece. The second story, set in Vietnam in 1969, shows Quarry and his spotter, Lance Corporal Lance Roberts, as they are shipped out to clear out a village that seems to be a front for the Viet-Cong.

Those who are unfamiliar with the character of Quarry don’t need to worry about not having read Collins’ earlier novels. This comic proves to be a wonderful introduction to Quarry’s character. Both stories are easily accessible and sure to please those who enjoy action stories with anti-heroic leads, realistic military comics or true-crime thrillers. It will also appeal to fans of the recently canceled Quarry series on Cinemax.

Collins found a perfect artistic partner in Szymon Kudranski. Best known for his work on SpawnArrow: Season 2.5 and various Batman books, Kudranski boasts a gritty yet photo-realistic style which suits both the suburban jungles of Chicago and the rain-forest jungles of Vietnam. The action is crisp and clear throughout, with well-choreographed action sequences and some memorable character designs that give each and every character a distinctive and unique look. Colorist Guy Major does a fine job of varying his palettes, using different color schemes for one story than he does for the other. The lettering by Comicraft is nice and legible, with distinctive balloons used for each character’s voice-overs and Quarry’s own thoughts rendered in regular text rather than all capital letters.

While mostly of interest to fans of Max Allan Collins’ earlier works, Quarry’s War #1 offers wide appeal to a number of genre fiction enthusiasts. If you enjoy comics or short stories about manly men who work in the shadows, dealing with decisions that most people hope they never have to hear about, you’ll want to enlist in Quarry’s War.

8/10.

Quarry’s War #1 releases on November 29, 2017.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Doomsday Clock #1

The world stands poised on the brink of another World War.

God is not dead but he is absent.

The smartest man in the world is Public Enemy Number One.

The black and white man who died rather than compromise his code of honor lives again.

It is November 22nd, 1992.

Or maybe it’s the 23rd.

Either way, this is the day the world ends.

 

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Those who come to Doomsday Clock #1 expecting immediate resolution regarding anything in any on-going DC Comics story line will be sorely disappointed. There are no stunning revelations regarding the Machiavellian schemes of Mr. Oz and his plans for Superman. There is no new data regarding the odd button which Bruce Wayne found embedded in the wall of The Bat Cave. There are no clues as to what force was responsible for trapping Wally West outside of time. And there’s certainly no explanation for that giant light-blue hand that created The DC Universe and whose hand it might have been.

What Doomsday Clock #1 is thus far is the first chapter in a straight-forward sequel to Watchmen – the classic graphic novel by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. The sheer audacity of such a thing has already turned many readers against this book and this is completely understandable. Writer Geoff Johns has been accused of strip-mining the works of Alan Moore for his projects before, the most famous example being Moore’s Green Lantern story Tygers providing the seed of the ideas which informed Johns’ run on Green Lantern and his redevelopment of the DC Universe’s cosmology.

It is far too early to draw comparisons between Watchmen and Doomsday Clock textually. Taken on its own merits, unfortunately, there’s not much to Doomsday Clock so far. Anyone who hasn’t read Watchmen will be rendered hopelessly lost by the story and Johns’ dialogue reads like a parody of Moore’s textual style rather than a pastiche of it. There’s far more comedy at play in this issue than its original source material and most of it falls flat. When the jokes work, however, they work incredibly well.

Gary Frank’s efforts to emulate Dave Gibbons are far more successful. Ignoring that Doomsday Clock #1 utilizes the same three-by-three, nine-panel grid structure as Watchmen, Frank’s detail-driven aesthetic is a good match for Gibbons’ visually. It’s truly stunning how much Frank depicts in each panel of this comic and eagle-eyed readers will no doubt reread this book several times trying to winkle out every last Easter egg. Brad Anderson’s colors provide the perfect finishes and Rob Leigh’s font selections deliver a little extra punch every time Rorschach speaks.

It remains to be seen precisely what manner of beast Doomsday Clock will be in the end. This first issue gives readers enough reasons to be optimistic, with amazing artwork and a story that is gripping so long as you’ve read the original Watchmen. Hopefully the series will continue to build momentum in the coming year.

7/10.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

New Comics for November 22, 2017

This is it, kids. The moment that DC’s Rebirth has been leading up to. DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1 comes out tomorrow, but the first 20 people to come out to The Multiverse at 11:57pm TONIGHT can score an AMAZING variant cover!

Come get some awesome comics. Click below to see what else is coming out. See something you like? Let us know what you’d like us to hold. Did you miss out on that rad new book? Be sure to ask us about our free subscription service!

https://retailerservices.diamondcomics.com/Widgets/NewReleasesComics/cce1ca7279464f6ba2a32c1bf62df5b9

Comic Review – Tomb Raider Survivor’s Crusade #1


Lady Lara Croft is on the move again! Tracking the sinister organization known as Trinity – an ancient society that seeks to find and destroy ancient artifacts of great power, lest they be used to corrupt modern society or challenge the official history laid down by the rich and powerful – Lara has come to the Italian village of Cornigila. The city hosts a small chapel to Saint Christopher – the patron saint of travelers – but Trinity believes the church hides a greater secret than that.

As much as it pains her to see historical artifacts destroyed, stopping Trinity’s destruction of the chapel is not Lara’s first priority. She seeks the name of the Trinity agent who killed her father, whose work as a scholar threatened to expose Trinity’s existence to the world. Lara may have to settle for thwarting their plans, however… assuming she survives!


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Those who are unfamiliar with the current state of the Tomb Raider franchise – either having missed out on the series’ reboot in 2013 or only being vaguely familiar with the character from the classic video games or the Angelina Jolie films – need not worry heading into Tomb Raider: Survivor’s Crusade. The story by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (JoyrideHacktivist, Gotham City Garage) is written to be easily accessible to new readers. Everything you need to know about Lara’s motivations is explained in the opening pages.

Everything you need to know about Lara as a character is shown in the following pages, as we see Lara take on several Trinity soldiers in close-combat. This action sequence does a great job of replicating the experience of playing the game. More, it shows Lara’s skills and ferocity in battle far better than any exposited internal monologue ever could.

Unfortunately, this action sequence is also simultaneously the weakest aspect of the book. While the artwork for this issue isn’t bad, the art team involved might not have been the best choice for delivering Lara Croft to the comic page. Artist Ashley A. Woods can draw great action sequences with strong female leads, as the series Ladycastle proved. However, with thin inks and limited shading coupled with the light colors of Michael Atiyeh, the aesthetic here seems entirely too bright for the world of Tomb Raider.

This light touch results in some pages that look just plain goofy, such as when Lara shoots several Trinity soldiers in the head with arrows. The red on the arrow heads looks like red tempera paint and there’s no blood around the entry wounds. Lara herself is shot at one point and the bullet wound looks like a black dot with some light cross-hatching around it!

While Lara herself is well-drawn and the character designs and poses look amazing, one expects more realism in terms of how damage is depicted in something bearing the Tomb Raider name. Fans of the games will probably love this comic despite the issues with the art, but this Survivor’s Crusade is unlikely to develop many new fans for the franchise.

5/10.

Tomb Raider Survivor’s Crusade #1 is due out November 22, 2017.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

TP Review – Batgirl: Son Of The Penguin

Batgirl: Son Of The Penguin Cover

Newly returned from an extended vacation that proved anything but relaxing as she made her way across east Asia tracking down a cabal of criminal martial artists, Barbara Gordon is happy to be back home in Burnside – the Gotham City borough that houses most of the city’s tech-savvy and trendy.

Unfortunately, while Babs was out of town, the neighborhood became a whole lot trendier. Her favorite coffee shop was turned into a pet supermarket specializing in fat-free, gluten-free, all-organic dog food. Her roommate and business partner just elected to move in with her girlfriend, leaving Barbara paying all of the recently doubled rent. Throw in the fact that Barbara is going back to school to start work on a Masters Degree in Information Science and its a lot to cope with at once, even ignoring her getting back into the swing of things as Batgirl at night!

Thankfully, Barbara seems to have found a sympathetic soul in Ethan – a fellow tech-genius and entrepreneur who seems more interested in what Barbara has to say than in how well she fills out her swimsuit when the two meet at a charity pool party. Ethan is smart, kind-hearted and, well, let’s be honest, really cute. In fact, there’s only one thing that gives Barbara any reservations about Ethan apart from her rules about mixing business with pleasure – the fact that Ethan’s last name is Cobblepot. As in Oswald Chesterfield Copplepot – the crime boss known as The Penguin.

When questioned about his name, Ethan admits that he is The Penguin’s illegitimate son. He’s quick to add, however, that his infamous father wants nothing to do with him and the feeling is mutual. So why does Barbara still get a bad vibe from Ethan? And why is it that all of the apps funded by his company that are meant to fuel community outreach and help people seem to keep finding ways to be exploited by Gotham’s super-criminals?

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Despite being the second volume of Batgirl following DC Comics Rebirth revamp, Son Of The Penguin is a perfect entry point into the world of Barbara Gordon. Author Hope Larson does a fantastic job of establishing the new status quo of Barbara’s life, as she tries to balance work, school and being a superhero. The overall effect is reminiscent of the classic Stan Lee-penned Amazing Spider-Man comics where Peter Parker faced the same struggles. Larson’s stories feature the same smooth balance of comedy, action, romance and drama.

Larson’s story is brought to life by an equally skilled art-team. Chris Wildgoose boasts an animated aesthetic that proves a perfect partner to Larson’s script. His inks are largely thin, barely outlining the original pencils – a choice that gives the artwork a light, airy aura. The color art by Mat Lopes is wonderfully varied, with a plethora of vivid palettes breathing life into the finished artwork.

10/10.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

New Comics for November 08, 2017

New comics release tomorrow. Who’s ready for more Dark Nights Metal? This week: Batman Lost #1. In case you HAVEN’T been reading Detective Comics lately, Tim Drake is back! But can he make it out of Detective Comics #968 alive? Few can boast taking Venom in a fight. Who in their right mind would actual HUNT him? Kraven. Freakin’ nut job. See how that goes down in Venom #157. Wouldn’t it be great if aliens established contact under the promise of peace and technology in exchange for a port on Earth? Yeah. Until it’s no longer peaceful. Check out Port of Earth #1! I don’t think I really need to give you much on this one. New Tank Girl. Yeah. The Wonderful World of Tank Girl #1 hits shelves this week.

Come get some awesome comics. Click below to see what else is coming out. See something you like? Let us know what you’d like us to hold. Did you miss out on that rad new book? Be sure to ask us about our free subscription service!

Comic Review – Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1 Cover

With a TV series based upon him in the works on The CW, Black Lightning’s star has never been higher. Yet despite being one of the most prominent Heroes of Color in American Comics, few fans know much about him and his complicated history.

It all began in 1977 when writer Tony Isabella – who had written Luke Cage for Marvel Comics – was brought in to create an African American hero to headline his own series for DC Comics. Enter gold-medal athlete turned inner-city teacher Jefferson Pierce. Born with the power to generate and control electricity around him, Jefferson repressed his powers until the day one of his students was killed by gang violence the police were reluctant to address. Inspired by a quote which said “Justice, like lightning, should ever appear to some men hope, to other men fear,”, Jefferson created his Black Lightning persona and began fighting the one-man war on crime his neighborhood needed to survive.

Tony Isabella’s relationship with DC Comics would wane and wax over the years, due to problems stemming from the rights to the character and Isabella’s belief that he was being treated unfairly due to his contract granting him a cut of any merchandise or licensing that came from the character. As a result, despite being used as a frequent guest star in other comics, Jefferson Pierce has only had his own comic twice and then never for longer than a year!

Isabella was also vocal in his disapproval when writer Judd Winick decided to create two super-powered daughters of Black Lightning for his own book, Outsiders. This occurred despite Jefferson Pierce having never been depicted as having children. Indeed, he once directly said that he would he’d give up his heroic life if kids entered the picture because it wouldn’t be responsible for him to risk leaving behind orphans.

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Thankfully, DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns approached Isabella about his past mistreatment and made amends. Not only did Isabella agree to write a character guide for the upcoming TV series but he agreed to come back and write a new Black Lightning mini-series that would reintroduce the character for modern audiences – a task which Cold Dead Hands accomplishes with style.

This first issue comfortably establishes Black Lightning’s status in the world of DC Rebirth. Fans of the classic character may wonder at changes like Jefferson Pierce now being based in Cleveland rather than the Suicide Slum neighborhood of Metropolis, but such modifications are merely cosmetic. The core of Jefferson’s character – an uncompromisingly moral man who believes in Power and Responsibility as immutable forces just as strongly as Peter Parker – remains untouched.

Even in this first chapter Isabella’s script is not afraid to tackle big issues like racism and police brutality but it does so without getting preachy about them. This issue also takes care in establishing Jefferson’s supporting cast, his arch-enemy Tobias Whale and Jefferson’s status as a peer of The Justice League, who has gotten personal training in being a better crime-fighter from Cyborg and Batman.

The artwork by Clayton Henry isn’t quite as strong as Isabella’s writing.  There’s something oddly flat about Henry’s characters, who don’t seem quite as animated or vividly detailed as his backgrounds. It seems that in trying to streamline the appearances of his people, Henry may have gone too far in the other direction, crafting figures that look unnaturally smooth and undefined. Colorist Pete Pantazis deserves credit, however, for his use of a varied palette that utilizes a variety of colors and little details like the night sky in the inner city being a defused blue rather than pitch black.

Despite the minor imperfections in the art, those who are unfamiliar with Black Lightning will find this first issue of Cold Dead Hands to be a wonderful introduction to one of comics most underrated heroes. Fans of Isabella’s original comics will find it to be a welcome homecoming.

7/10.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.