Review: Occupy Comics #2, 12 Reasons to Die #2 and Ballistic #1

Occupy Comics #2

occThe Kickstarter phenomenon is in it’s second issue and it shows no sign of diminishing in quality. Occupy Comics #2 continues the thought provoking anthology with more strips, prose and in general contributions that actually makes you think. The second issue continues to show that comics and politics do mix. The comics boast an impressive line-up of creators like Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo.

This issue continues to impress with thought-provoking contributions. Again, it’s pretty non-partisan and numerous entries border on graphic journalism, and might be creating a whole new genre of graphic social commentary. This is a perfect marriage of comics and politics, of course I dug it. Continue to ignore that word “occupy” and don’t let it taint your willingness to give this series a chance. You’ll be surprised, though shouldn’t be considering the talent behind it.

But on top of the political message and commentary, the series continues to be entertaining. The stories contained within are smartly written and beautifully illustrated, making this a package that has depth in message as well as presentation, an awesome combination. It’s a perfect connection between emotion, facts and art. The stories have depth and are well thought out, their intelligence shows.

Despite some pretty heavy hitter names, Matt Miner’s contribution about his experience with Occupy Sandy during Hurricane Sandy is especially emotional. It really opens up your eyes as to what occurred during that storm and clean up after and the travesty that was relief efforts by the government.

I’m a political nerd. I’m a comic geek. Lets occupy some comics!

Story and art: Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

12 Reasons to Die #2

APR130921_mThis horror-crime hybrid is the latest comic book from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah. A brutal tale of gangsters, betrayal, and one vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world.

Two issues in and I’m still pretty entertained by the series which mixes horror and crime. Overall though, this second issue isn’t quite as polished as the first and I wonder if the limited series might be better read in one sitting or as a trade paperback.

Again the comic comes off as disjointed stories, with an attempt to weave them together. That weaving isn’t quite as tight as the first one, and that might be where my issue comes into this. The stories don’t fit as quite nicely together as that first issue, jumping around in the subjects and characters and the art at times differing either too much or not much causing delineation between the chapters to be more difficult.

And that’s where I struggle with the comic. Take each of the stories by themselves and they’d be great. But, together there’s an issue for me and the flow between them is part of it. Breaking each section up, even with a page that just says “chapter 1,” etc. might have helped. It could also be the fact I’m reading it digitally, which makes that more difficult.

I’m also at the point I’d like more information about these records and the bigger picture around them. If they’re just a story device, that’s fine, but I’d like that a bit more clearer.

The series is an example of a multi-platform, transmedia concept project with a storyline that spans from the comic book to the new Ghostface Killah album released simultaneously by RZA’s Soul Temple Records. So, you have a soundtrack to check out while reading the comic.

Overall, this is an entertaining example of cross-media entertainment, but the series needs to pick up a bit for me.

Story: Adrian Younge, Ce Garcia, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Brian Level, Dave Murdoch
Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Ballistic #1

Ballistic-001_600pxWelcome to Repo City State, where everyone’s an asshole… even the air conditioners.

Darick Robertson and Adam Egypt Mortimer’s madcap, psychedelic, transreal, utterly-wacko buddy adventure about Butch and his best friend Gun, a drug-addicted, genetically-modified, foul-mouthed firearm, as they attempt to elevate Butch from air conditioner repairman to master criminal in the twisted, post-eco-apocalyptic Repo City State, a reclaimed trash island built entirely from DNA-based, living technology with bad attitudes.

Ballistic marks Darick Robertson’s return to the hard sci-fi worldbuilding of his classic Transmetropolitan but mixed with The Boys’ ultra-violence and the lunacy of Happy. Mortimer’s mix of speculative science, pulpy noire, and drug-addled adventure cooks up a strange brew of Lethal Weapon by way of Cronenberg meets Dr. Who if written by Odd Future.

If you’re a fan of 80s British comics, then you need to do yourself a favor and pick up this debut issue of a series that I’m sure will be making “best of” lists at the end of the year. The story is a mad rush full of adrenaline in a world so far out there and crazy, it’s hard not to be entertained.

Though it might have that “80s British” vibe, the story also feels fresh and innovative. That package also has a main character that has the snappy banter of coolness of Ash from Army of Darkness. You can take your pick as to which character I’m referring to with that one.

On top of the fun story, there’s visuals that’ll blow you away. The world can’t be described, it can only be seen and you’ll find yourself lingering on pages to catch everything and coming back to do that some more once you’re done reading.

The comic lives up to it’s name and blew me away. This one might be a sleeper, but do yourself a favor and go grab a copy!

Story: Adam Egypt Mortimer Art: Darick Robertson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review