Aspen Comics Review – Haunted City #1 and The Scourge #5

One book out last week and the other is out today, Aspen Comics has released two solid books.  How solid?  Find out what I think below…

Haunted City #1

A crooked cop, a secret NYPD department and demons running around New York City, this is the second (that I can think of) super natural cop comic book series to launch in recent months.  Like that other one, this one’s pretty solid.

Time is running out for Detective Tom Whalen.  He’s got NYPD Internal Affairs breathing down his neck, Korean drug dealers chasing him across the streets of Manhattan, and a lunatic Albanian crime boss wanting him dead.  His only chance for salvation: a Priest who comes to him offering him a chance to work on his team.  But, Whalen soon discovers that this is a very special team: it’s a secret unit within the NYPD that has existed for centuries. A unit as old as New York itself, sworn to protect the city from monsters and myths, the terrors and nightmares that exist in the darkest shadows and corners of the great metropolis.

It’s kind of fun to have a crooked cop as the lead.  I know I was going through the first issue with a “is he or isn’t he” vibe throughout as I was looking for more to that, but nope, he’s crooked.  The first issue also sets up a pretty solid premise.  It’s similar to Epoch or Witchblade with the cop fighting the supernatural premise, but it’s out there.  This seems to be a legit unit, so it won’t be quite as hidden underneath the day to day police business.  Hopefully we get to see how the unit interacts with the “normal” police.

The art is solid as well, it’s creepy at times and has some good detail to it, Aspen is a company that I can look towards for that.  It’s just a first issue, but I’m looking forward to the second and see how it compares to those other ones.  Three isn’t over kill and all are unique in their own way, it’ll be fun to see how each handles similar plots in their own way.

Story: Chap Taylor and Peter Johnson Art: Michael Ryan Colors: Peter Steigerwald Publisher: Aspen Comics

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

The Scourge #5

So going into this fifth issue I was worried.  I haven’t read the first four, and usually that’s a notch against the series.  Interestingly enough, I was able to dive right into the issue.  The action is cool, story seems interesting, and while I don’t know how all of these characters came together, they seem interesting.

The Statue of Liberty has been in the United States since the late 1800’s and has seen millions of people come and go over the years. But, you bet she’s never seen this:  an army of gargoyles perched atop her arms, her robes, and her crown, ready to leave Manhattan and spread an ancient pandemic across the entire United States! Only one man can stop this outbreak, and SWAT officer Jon Griffin had better hurry– because the United States Government is less than an hour away from dropping a bomb on New York City!

Part of the reason it was easy to get into the comic was because the story is familiar.  It’s very similar to other Vampire or Zombie tales, but this one has to do with crazy demons.  It’s accessible partially because of that.  But, the story is also pretty damn unique.  There’s talk of bee hives and frequencies and while the military plays a role, it isn’t the complete focus.

The art is cool with some fantastic page layouts and awesome scenes.  The angles and perspectives that are taken are really good, the art just popped for me.  Reading on an iPad, it really stood out for me.  While this might have been the fifth issue, it was entertaining like the first and made me want to check out what’s come before.

Story: Scott Lobdell Art: Eric Battle Publisher: Aspen Comics

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Aspen Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

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