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Review: Under The Flesh #1

TEMPLATE PAGE SET UP.indd“Staring at the shapeless clouds is therapeutic, sometimes…now it reminds me of a dull screensaver…looks like it’ll be pouring soon.”
– Lt. Ruben Lobos

I am a very big fan of the Zombie genre and The Walking Dead is one of my favorite comic books. I would watch George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead as much as I could and couldn’t be happier when the sequels were released. So, when any kind of Zombie story comes out I gravitate towards the media like a kid at…well…a comic book store. One day, surfing the web, I came across some really cool art and discovered Under The Flesh, a zombie story still in its infancy with incredible characters and a great premise.

In Under The Flesh #1 creator and writer, Gilbert Deltres, introduces the characters of this bleak new world in a manner that best displays the core team of survivors being lead under Lt. Ruben Lobos. Lobos is an elite soldier injected with cell-fusing nanobots that battles viruses while enhancing physical strength and cognition. On the day he was injected, appropriately dubbed ‘Desolation Day’, the world succumbs to an unknown pathogen that only infects the male population. He flees the infected with his jealous girlfriend, Dinah, in tow. They end up with the rest of the cast at a local library for safety as the issue begins to heat up. We don’t learn much more about the Lieutenant’s superhuman abilities, but only issue #1 has been released so far with a KickStarter project already underway this month and more of the story coming out soon.

What made this comic stand out is the fantastic art by J.L. Giles. What initially caught my eye was his incredible action scenes that made me feel immersed into each panel and sequence. The expressions on each of the character’s faces are expertly drawn to give you a better understanding of their trials and misery. The tagline reads that governments crumbled, global military powers wiped out, and societies demolished and all of that is masterfully conveyed in Giles illustrations. I especially enjoyed the landscape scenes that made each page come to life with the perfect use of shades of purple and blue.

In the world of comic books it is extremely difficult to get your work noticed and seen by a large audience. Independent writers and artists have an extremely tough mountain to climb unless they create an amazing story with interesting characters and imaginative illustrations that bring life to the narrative. The creators of the comic book Under The Flesh, Gilbert Deltres and J.L. Giles, have done just that and more. The writing and art harmoniously come together to deliver a comic that you just can’t stop reading. And with Issue #1 available and a KickStarter project underway hopefully we will have plenty more of this story soon to satisfy the Zombie killer in all of us.

Story: Gilbert Deltres – Art & Letters: J.L. Giles – Cover: J.L. Giles
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Check out their KickStarter page at:

http://kck.st/1zhwFmk

Review: Revival #21

Revival21_Cover“This is no act of God. This is an act of man.”
– Don to Lester Majak

Just when you thought Revival couldn’t get any stranger, the creators go and up the creepiness factor by a magnitude of ten. Revival #21 has become my new favorite issue of the series (I know, I say that every time, but it’s hard not to). It has also become one of my favorite reads overall due to the creators consistently making imaginative and amazing stories with that rural noir feel.

Our main protagonist, Dana Cypress, is headed to Manhattan, at the behest of the FBI, to investigate a ‘reviver’ related murder. This is the first time Dana has ever left Wausau, Wisconsin and it opens up the storyline as we get deeper into the mythology surrounding the revivers. Currently in the middle of the fourth story-arc, Revival feels just as fresh now as it has ever been. Tim Seeley constantly dials up the creep factory with his eerie talking heads and outrageously awesome stories that Dana and the citizens of Wausau go through. Keeping the arcs new and daring in style is what readers enjoy most about this comic and it appears Seeley has done just that with every issue.

The element of the book that I notice immediately are the illustrations that bring you right into this world of the revived dead. Mike Norton‘s crisp lines are what make Wausau come alive, so to speak, adding that extra dimension every great comic book needs. Coupled with colors by Mark Englert and the art in Revival is worth your $2.99 all on its own. Each and every page is truly a masterpiece and it this kind of art and these illustrations that make people glad to be comic book fans.

I recently went to social media to express my enthusiasm for comic book related TV shows. Nothing against ABC’s Resurrection or A&E’s, soon to be aired, The Returned, but what audiences everywhere would certainly love is ten or thirteen episode seasons of Revival. All three shows have a similar premise (the dead returning to their original human, not zombie-like, state), but Revival does it in a way that makes each character relatable and each story something you can’t wait to find out what happens next. Plus, I already have an idea who would play each character.

Revival #21 has it all. Great art and an equally incredible story that makes you want more when you’re done. That is what a comic book should be. It should make you want more when you finish that last page. And I can’t wait for issue #22.

Spoilers below for Revival #21

Thoughts and Discussion

– The translation for what the man in the green hat on page one is -“It is as they say ‘the gods hear only one wish at a time, and nothing more’ ”

– Why did the talking head spontaneously go up in flames?

– The translation for what the talking head says is – “Not for me! I never steal! Please!” then “This is all…”. I’m not sure what “Oh Dollar Oh” means that it kept repeating.

– What is the meaning behind Martha’s dream sequence with the dear?

– What is the identity of the burned man Dr. Ramin goes to visit in the beginning of the issue? And what was with the story and business card Tom gives to Dr. Ramin at the Medical Examiner’s Office? Very strange stuff.

– What does Dana think she saw at the end of the issue?

 

Thank you for checking out my Review! Please comment below so we can discuss the issue more!

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Mike Norton Colors: Mark Englert Cover: Jenny Frison
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Outcast #1

Outcast01_Cover“I don’t know…I’m ok with that…with “I don’t know” for a little while longer. Until we get more answers.”
– Kyle Barnes

The very much anticipated new comic book series, Outcast, from Robert Kirkman is finally here after months of build-up and advertising. I have read the book three times already and can say I have already fell in love with this creepy, horror comic for many reasons. The first issue promises many terrifying stories ahead for the lead character Kyle Barnes and the supporting cast that combine characters that loathe Kyle and some that genuinely want to help him. Either way, Kirkman has set-up a rich and deep story that should have interesting story arcs and issues for years to come.

I noticed right away that the issue reads a lot like a TV show would play out, which I found helped the story move along very well. I have often said that Kirkman has tweaked his writing style to mimic the way The Walking Dead TV series tells weekly stories since that show started its first season. You can see this influence, of course, in his monthly The Walking Dead comic book. I like how I typed that sentence as if no one has ever heard of The Walking Dead. With Outcast, Kirkman has started off with a double-size first issue that shows off this unique style of writing and it makes for an amazing read. Kirkman has become a master storyteller and it is no wonder that Outcast #1 has surpassed The Walking Dead in sales.

Paul Azaceta is the artist on the book and his style is like nothing I have seen in comics before and I read a lot of comics. The facial expressions of Kyle make you really feel for his character and understand what he is going through. My favorite is Azaceta’s use of, what I like to call, Picture-in-Picture illustrations. Between panels he draws smaller ones showcasing a look here or a smile there that adds so much to the story that you feel like you’re a part of the action. It definitely gives off that TV series vibe. Add to Azaceta’s drawings Elizabeth Breitweiser‘s amazing use of colors and this book is a must for any Pull List. Rus Wooton outdoes himself on letters; an element of comic books that gets overlooked all too often.

Outcast is a comic book that shows us there are no boundaries for this medium. It is eerie and frightening and some of the panels I just could not stare at for too long. Seeing Joshua smile was illustrated perfectly and I’m sure will give some readers nightmares. All of these components come together to create a wonderfully imagined horror comic book that will have fans wanting more immediately after each issue. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few great series that operate on all cylinders and Outcast is definitely one of them. The anticipation and build-up to Outcast #1 was well worth the wait…and now I can’t wait for issue #2.

Story: Robert Kirkman – Art: Paul Azaceta – Cover: Paul Azaceta/Elizabeth Breitweiser – Color: Elizabeth Breitweiser – Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: The Walking Dead #128

the-walking-dead-128-capa“If something seems to good to be true…it usually is.”

A lot has changed in the world of The Walking Dead since All Out War, but the writing and art are still captivating. Robert Kirkman continues to weave together a great story, full of mystery and intensity, while adding interesting new characters and creative subplots. Add to that Charlie Adlard‘s mesmerizing illustrations that haven’t faltered after ten plus years on this stellar book and The Walking Dead remains as one of the top comics on shelves today.

The Walking Dead #128, and the new story arc that began with #127, is just as Kirkman described it would be heralding in a ‘new beginning’ for our zombie apocalypse heroes and survivors. We have been introduced to new characters that seem friendly on the outside, but it appears trust is still an important aspect of the new world as well as finding new ways of achieving a certain level of it. Trust is definitely the focal point of this new arc and it will be exciting to see how the survivors gain and lose trust, as well as lie to appear trustworthy. As the Grime’s family and the citizens of Alexandria rebuild their little part of the world it’s important to know that hidden dangers are everywhere.

Some fans may be dismayed by the new direction the comic is taking, but I believe everyone will be on board once a few more issues are released and we see how incredible the current story is going to be. You can already get a sense from this issue that Kirkman still has many more stories to tell and precarious positions for our favorite characters to fall into. Issue #128 has so much potential for future arcs I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Grime’s family and Alexandria as a whole.

It’s incredible to me that after so many issues I am still amazed at how Charlie Adlard captures the tone of the story in every face and in every drawn line and facial expression. You definitely get a sense of what each character senses and feels almost to the point that you can gauge what they are thinking. For a comic book to elicit something of that nature in its readers makes me excited to be a comic book fan, let alone a ‘Walking Dead’ one. While reading Issue #128 I also noticed that it (along with many recent issues) reads and plays out like a TV show episode does. This might be a direct impact The Walking Dead TV show has had on Kirkman’s writing or something else entirely, but I love it all the same. The comic has had a different feel as of late in a very positive way and I think it’s a great time to be a Walking Dead fan.

Thank you for checking out my Review! Please comment below to discuss the issue further!

Story: Robert Kirkman – Art: Charlie Adlard – Cover: Charlie Adlard/Dave Stewart – Ink: Stefano Gaudiano – Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn – Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: The Sixth Gun #41

6GUN #41 _Page_01“But when the horror…when death…did not come for her quickly…she sought it ought”
– speaking about Griselda

The Sixth Gun #41 is a stand alone story of Drake and Becky’s relentless journey to obtain The Sixth Gun and the five others, but also necessary if we are to understand the history of The Six and from where their power originated. That story is the reveal of Griselda The Grey Witch’s past and what other twisted and dark secrets she holds. We have seen here many times before, but never really knew what her motives were. Why does she want The Six so bad? What does she plan on doing with them once she gets them in her grips? This issue of The Sixth Gun explains The Grey Witch’s history as well as her plans for the future once she gets her hands on all six guns and it only spells out doom and gloom for our heroes Drake and Becky.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is about The Sixth Gun that makes it so enjoyable. Is it the writing, the characters, or the art? It must be a harmonious combination of all three and Issue #41 delivers just like each chapter before it. The art in The Sixth Gun is always a standout part of each book and in this issue we are treated to the wonderful illustrations of Tyler Crook. If you remember from a few past issues, Crook aided Bunn’s co-creator and famed artist Brian Hurtt. Like Hurtt’s top-notch drawings, Tyler Crook’s illustrations take on a cinematic quality that jumps out of the page making you helpless to put it down. Add to this Bill Crabtree’s colors and sometimes I forget to turn the page because I’m staring at each drawing so intently.

The Sixth Gun is the first comic I ever read by Cullen Bunn. I have picked up everything he has written since and he never disappoints. Issue #41 of the The Sixth Gun is a perfect example of how rich and intricate his storytelling can be and the main reason it’s one of the few comic books I read four or five times in a row. The history of the Grey Witch is something I never thought was necessary until now. Cullen Bunn delivers another amazing chapter of Drake and Becky’s adventures preparing us for the inevitable with tales from the very beginning. Learning of Griselda The Grey Witch and her history was the perfect story to tell that breathes more life into one of The Sixth Gun’s most feared villains. Someone asked me once to describe a comic book with one word. If I had to describe The Sixth Gun #41 using just one word it would be, FUN. All the elements I spoke about just now make this a really fun comic to read, re-read then read again.

 

Spoilers for The Sixth Gun below – Warning

Thoughts and Discussion

– Now that Jesup has all Six guns is their nothing in Griselda’s way to utilize their power?

– Now we know that Griselda cannot physically hold any of the ‘Guns’. Will this affect how she uses them for nefarious purposes?

– How will Drake and Becky get the ‘Guns’ back?

– We know that The Grey Witch is General Oliander Hume’s mother and we probably will not see him ever again (maybe?), but will we see The Great Wyrms again? I would love to see Drake and Becky fight them.

 

Story: Cullen Bunn – Art: Tyler Crook – Colors: Bill Crabtree – Letters: Crank! – Cover: Tyler Crook (Top) & Brian Hurtt (Bottom)
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

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