Tag Archives: indie

Review: Black Suit Of Death: Ides Of March & Issue #1

BSOD ides of marchBlack Suit Of Death… When I opened the prelude comic, Ides Of March, I had no idea what it was about, and while that probably won’t be the case for you if you keep reading, it was a rare treat for me to go into a comic utterly blind.

So first impressions of Black Suit Of Death Ides Of March was that it was a darkly funny splash of at times gloriously over the top science fiction horror. I’ll admit that when the deaths started happening I was taken by surprise, but I quickly fell for the over the top schlockey horror that has been described as very Bruce Campbellesque – a description that’s very fitting. As a prelude to the first issue this introduces you to the Black Suit of Death, and gives you a pretty decent understanding of what the suit is capable of, and why it was created. It’s also got some darkly humourous moments peppered within its pages, often in the little conversations the background characters are having.

Written by Benjamin J. Kreger and Ed Ellsworth  the comics focuses on population control via some questionable methods; the dark subject matter which is complemented by the deep shadows and moody atmosphere of Stephano Cardoselli (pencils and inks) and Craig Gilliland‘s (colours) artwork as they brig the story to life with a great use of shadows, sepia toned reds and once the violence starts some vibrant blue and green hues the balance the on panel dismembering. The prelude serves as a great taste of the what’s to come, thematically, and it’s really quite good.

It is also quite unlike the first issue.

BSOD 1Black Suit of Death #1 takes a drastically different direction than the prelude issue as it takes place roughly ten thousand years or so after Ides Of March. We spend the majority of it following Edd Grimes as his life spirals ever downward. The art team is different this issue, with Dexter Wee providing pencils and inks and Bryan Arfal Magnaye on board for the colouring. The switch does change the aesthetic of the comic, although with the shift in the story’s focus I think that the shift is actually for the better as there’s less of the Sci-Fi horror twist to the art that worked so well in the prelude issue, but wouldn’t fit quite as well with this issue.

Despite losing the horror tinged aspects of the prelude, the first issue doesn’t shy away from darker subject matter; it’s just handled in a much different way. Edd’s daily struggle with his depression and suicidal thoughts are a central part of his journey throughout the issue, and while I’ve never suffered with what he’s going through, the way that Kreger an Ellsworth handle the subject seems to be done in a respectful and tactful way.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading the Warrior Innkeeper Creative published series, and came out the other end having read two chapters of the same story that effortlessly cross genres, art styles and tens of thousands of years. In addition to the story itself, each comic also features a single page short comic and a multi-page text only short story. These additions certainly sweeten the pot as it were when you’re thinking about picking the issues up.

Black Suit Of Death may sound like a cheesy name, but the concept and execution will exceed your expectations.

Prelude Issue
Writers: Benjamin J. Kreger and Ed Ellsworth
Pencils & Inks: Stephano Cardoselli Colours: Craig Gilliland
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
First issue
Writers: Benjamin J. Kreger and Ed Ellsworth
Pencils & Inks: Dexter Wee Colours: Bryan Arfal Magnae
Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Warrior Innkeeper Creative provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Not So Super

CoverThese days it can be hard to find comics that appeal to broad audiences outside of the mainstream, especially since the “indie” and comix scene are quite often broken up into special-interest targeted comics. But once in a rare while, a set of independent creators brings a comic that is broadly appealing, readable, engaging, and easily more worth the money than a continually repeating X-Men storyline or apocalyptic Justice League cross-over. Today, Not So Super is that comic.

Not So Super is a brand new comic by Jacques Nyemb and artist Joe Hunter that tells the story of a young man, slaving away at work in a dead-end job with too much to do and not enough time for social life (or his work life!)…and he just happens to be slowly become superpowered. (Yep, I think I’ll be eating Chinese food tonight with the hope of getting x-ray vision)

Not So Super is an ode to nerdism and the popular culture of geekdom, and it’s a ballad to the working technocrat. Oh, and, finally, an engaging and non-stereotypical character of color, where his being “of color” isn’t a big deal or a major selling point! That may seem odd to say, but in an industry which only diversifies to sell more comics to a broad range of people, it’s relieving to see a character of color who’s life isn’t controlled by his identity as a comic book character of color (oh the irony, since I’m making such a big deal of it!).

Nyemb’s script is highly accessible, and while that can be a downfall for some books, when done right, it allows the writer to present a comic that straddles the readership line from adolescents to adults and beyond. Nyemb presents the corporate world as the enemy of the nerd, but the necessary employer (albeit at low rates) since we all know that bureaucracy would fall to pieces without the tech guys. Perhaps the allusions to I.T. Crowd are a bit too heavy, but I’m only saying that because I’m not the biggest fan of that show (ugh, laugh tracks!). And while Dan isn’t a superpowered fellow yet, he’s certainly the hero of a world we all know too well. In a way, it’s nice to see this transition from the normal drudgery take place slowly over the course of the first issue, with Dan’s superpowers only manifesting in the last two pages: the transition helps us as readers become familiar with Dan and ourselves while recognizing that things could always get better (with x-ray initializing Chinese food, no doubt!).

Let’s not forget Hunter’s awesome work with Not So Super. It’s difficult to put a finger on the reminiscences of Hunter’s art, but it’s equally simplistic and fun, while complexly suggestive of action and populated with nuanced references and clues that visually help develop characters beyond Nyemb’s script. Hunter is a master of tone and expression, especially evident in the interactions between Dan and his coworkers, and he’s able to express a range of emotions outside of an artistic style grounded in reflective realism.

Nyemb and Hunter, both independents, are people you want to support! (Or at least I’m partial to your supporting them…) You can purchase the comic digitally here, and if you’re an artist yourself, you can get a free copy by submitting fan art (which they’ll social-mediatize across the Internet on your behalf). So click on over to their store, share with your social media friends, draw some fan art, and lose yourself for a half hour in Dan’s story which is so like our own.

Story: Jacques Nyemb  Art: Joe Hunter
Story: 7  Art: 8  Overall: 8  Recommendation: Buy

Nyemb and Hunter provided us with a FREE copy for review