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Review: 12 Reasons to Die #3, Ballistic #2, Liberator #3

12 Reasons to Die #3

12ReasonsToDie_03-cover_600pxThis horror-crime hybrid from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah is the brutal story of a vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world. The pseudo anthology comic continues with its weird stories mixing horror and crime for its usual entertaining mix.

The third issue follows Anthony Stark working for the DeLuca family after taking out a rival family in the last issue. Now though, the head of his new employers knows his wife is cheating on him, so he sends Stark to deal with it. The story is pretty entertaining if a bit predictable in how it ends, though isn’t hurt by that.

The rest of the comic deals with the gathering of these records, in this case a club and getting a record from a DJ which leads to the more horror aspects of the comic.

What’s interesting is the series’ continued mixing of the two stories. I await them to crossover and tie together, but three issues in and it really hasn’t happened. The stories seem completely separate and disconnected, maybe I’m just waiting for more when it comes to all of that.

The strengths is the mix that you find in each of these issues. The art and story styles have a gritty independent comic feel about them, a nice change and mix from a lot of what else is out there. Overall the two stories are solid, but I’d almost rather seem them split into their own series, especially if they never converge together. I can’t imagine that’ll be the case, so I’m  more awaiting that moment.

12 Reasons to Die is an interesting comic, one that should be checked out, whether you’re a Wu-Tang Clan fan or not.

Story: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, Ce Garcia Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, David Murdoch
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Ballistic #2

Ballistic-002_cover_600pxDarick 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.

The mix of speculative science, pulpy noir, and drug-addled adventure cooks up a strange brew that continues in the second issue leading to an entertaining and unique mix of a comic series that we haven’t seen in quite some time.

Lets start with the story which brings with it a manic, kinetic energy that takes you along for the ride. It throws everything at you, in a world that’s unlike anything I’ve seen. A drug fueled future where so many ideas and visions are mixed together, I wonder what drugs these two creators were on when they came up with it. This issue deals more with what’s affecting Gun, yes the gun is having some drug dependency issues. Where the comic goes from there is out there, and frankly awesome.

Robertson’s art just takes all of that craziness and puts it on the page. Somehow, he makes the crazy down to Earth and in his style, fun. The world is out there in looks as well, and these two together is an awesome team.

Ballistic is one of the freshest debuts of 2013 with a retro-style to it that harkens back to the great British comics of the 80s.

Story: Adam Egypt Mortimer Art: Darick Robertson
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Liberator #3

Liberator-iss3-cover_600pxA hard-edged vigilante series about two young heroes who avenge the torture of animals, created by writer and real-life dog rescuer Matt Miner with art by Javier Sanchez Aranda and a cover by Ben Templesmith.

At the end of the second issue the tension had ramped up with Jeanette and Damon caught by police during a break in and as a reader, I had no idea where the comic was going to go. With a solid and realistic next step the comic really dives into a discussion of good and evil.

Though our two heroes are doing good in their mind, they’re breaking the law to do so. This is in contrast with those they’re taking on who are doing some evil things to animals. Is it ok to break the law while pursuing justice? That’s really the theme of the comic series as it delves deeper and deeper into the world of animal rescue.

There’s also Damon’s spiraling actions throughout the issue, which make us the reader question his actions and motives more and more as he slips towards crossing an imaginary line of right and wrong. This comic continues to challenge us and make us think about justice and taking action through a carefully planned narrative that takes us along the ride into the world of political action.

To me, its not just those actions that stand out, but also the details such as a simple act of texting an apology. Even that kind act turns into an episode of paranoia. This comic has us not just question actions but also the mental state of both of our protagonists.

Three issues in and the comic seems to be getting better and better. It’s a solid read that mixes politics and super hero heroics with plausible real world action.

If the beautiful cover by Templesmith doesn’t draw you in…. On top of getting a solid comic to read, 30% of Liberator profits will go to animal rescue initiatives. So, you can be entertained and also help a good cause as well.

Story: Matt Miner Art: Javier Sanchez Aranda
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

General Marvel