Tag Archives: reviews

Movie Review: Wolf Children

19fzrgtjpt7tcjpgDo you like stories that will make you cry? Well this full length feature anime film may just be for you! It isn’t often that we praise an anime film that isn’t a Miyazaki work, but hey the times called for a movie about growing up as a wolf and a human. Okami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children) was released in 2012 by director Mamoru Hosoda. From Studio Chizu and Madhouse we were given a touching tale about a human woman and her attempt to raise her werewolf children.

The plot is pretty simple in the exact way that it is a mother, Hana, raising her werewolf children alone after the untimely death of her werewolf lover, duly named Okami or the Wolf-man. She struggles of course with the problems of where she should go if she’s having problems, how to hide the fact that her children are werewolves, and how it affects the way Ame and Yuki grow up.  She moves out of the city because of this and into the country-side where she is able to raise them in private and live a peaceful life. With these choices come both problems where the children have to choose if they want to be human or if they want to be wolves and how that changes their own perceptions of themselves.

Hana is the mother of the two children who struggles to raise her two children alone, while also sustaining a life for them via gardening, and how she deals with these problems. Intrigued by Okami from the moment he sat down in the same classroom as her, she made it her mission to find out both who he was and how she could become closer to him. Because of this she found out that he was what he assumed to be the last werewolf and was afraid of hurting her in any way because of what he was, but she still loves him despite those things. She is constantly a support for her children but also wishes to keep the reality of them a secret from the world out of fear of what would happen if anyone found out. Hana always tries to do best by her children but ultimately also stunts them from making choices of their own because of this.

Yuki is the eldest of Hana’s children and is a complicated young girl wolf. From the get go she is very pushy and bratty with her family, wanting to get out of the world she is locked away from, but she also realizes why her mother is keeping her hidden. The older she became the more she was faced with the choice of what it meant to be a normal girl and if she wanted to part of that world she had to choose between the wolf and the human inside of her. In school she is popular but also in constant fear of changing in front of her classmates by accident.

Ame is the youngest of Hana’s children and appears less complicated but then becomes the opposite of what he was set up to be. Easily startled and sick he was always babied by Hana and sought to stay in the human world as he hated how the other animals treated him and each other. However the older he got the more he became disillusioned and disgusted by humanity, and began to leave for the words more and more than his sister ever did. He no longer hides how he feels about people and never lets his sister shout him down.

Souhei is Yuki’s classmate and driving force in her need to become more human. Right off the bat he realizes something is off about her and constantly tries to talk with her or try and be friends with her. This however frightens Yuki, because he could easily find out her family’s secret because of his intuitions. Still he makes a friendship with her despite the hardships in the beginning between them.

Okami is the wolf man that Hana falls in love with, who he initially tells to leave him alone, but later also falls for. He fears what he could do to her, having chosen to live not only as a human but also as a wolf, which he tells her is why he was always pushing her back. Still with her acceptance of him he is able to grow and love her as well as have a family with her. Unfortunately he is sort of killed off early on in the movie to further progress Hana’s story, but hey it’s all for the sake of plot!

So animation wise this film is brilliant. It was developed to have the lightest of tones when it was just right. If you don’t want to watch this movie I implore you that there is one scene you have to watch, and it is the snow scene. The way the wolf children and their mother run through the snow and jump in piles is so beautiful and is only made better by the soundtrack. Also the characters could be more individualized but they weren’t terrible to the pint of disliking the movie, there are very clear ways of how to figure out which character is which. And that how subtle and beautiful this is because it doesn’t rely on the design of a character, they want you to know the character because of the story and what they’re going through. The animation of the wolves was also well done, not in the same sense as Wolf’s Rain, but in its own lighter style that was soothing comparatively to the big subjects it was dealing with. We also were given a beautiful array of nature that seem right out of a painting to give you that raw and artistic feel that is the forest or the countryside. If I could rate this film on just the animation style it would get a ten and I would have no regrets.

The music is literally on the same level as the animation style. The soundtrack was done by musician and filmmaker Tagaki Masakatsu, who brilliantly does his job. Each piece of music fits exactly where it needs to be, once again if there is one song to really take away from this film it is the piece played during the snow scene, which is so graceful and has the same excitement in it that the characters do for the snow. The other to take away is the song Okaa-san no Uta (Mother’s Song), which is literally Hana speaking to her children at the end of the movie and how no matter what she hopes she has done right by them and taught them to be strong. It the single most beautiful sense you can feel the love in that song and how it really is what this move is about, the love of the mother for her children. If a single song of the soundtrack can do that then you know that it is doing its job right. I would wholeheartedly say that you could just listen to this soundtrack and just relax and feel peace and calm with it. Light and lovely like it’s animation I wish I could rate this just on these two things.

Alright in terms of sub or dub I can’t really say much considering I have only seen the Funimation dub, which I thought was really well done. While some could argue that you could give or take certain voice actors I personally saw that the good outweighs the bad. We have veterans of the business like Colleen Clinkenbeard as Hana, which immediately should tell you that it is going to be a good piece of dub. While I suppose the children actors could be better they also could have been far worse, not everyone is going to have the same opportunity the Fullmetal Alchemist did. Still the dub could have been better but it also could have been a lot worse from what I’ve seen.

Now just to wrap up with the ideal amount on the buildup in story. It never feels rushed, instead it flows very beautifully in a way that shows growing up. It’s spaced out in a way that I always could feel like careful care and attention was taken into account. While I wish there had been more time take on Ame’s story and how he grew into the choices he then made I also didn’t feel like it took too much away either. I have no real complaints about this film really, I felt everything was done in the way that the writer intended, and it was beautifully done.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Review: Southern Bastards Vol. 1 “Here Was A Man”

southern bastards 1 coverSouthern Bastards
, story by Jason Aaron and art by Jason Latour, announces its intentions on the very first page: a jumble of signs pointing out churches a few miles ahead, overgrown woods creeping up to the highway, and a dog taking a crap by the side of the road. It screams at you, “This is what I’m about, this is what I am, and I don’t care what you think.” And really, that’s what the South is all about.

Being from the South myself, I can relate to much of this comic. I have a preference regarding vinegar versus tomato based barbeque sauce. I’ve been to high school footballs games (my school’s mascot was a Rebel, even) on Friday nights and I’ve seen how important those games were. I think a restaurant lacking in good sweet tea isn’t much of a restaurant at all. And yeah, travelling around the South, and even among the older generations of my own family, I’ve experienced some prejudice towards other people.

This comic is about all of those things, particularly family, to an exaggerated, hyperbolized extent. This comic is all about history, which the South has in spades.

Earl Tubb (a man most likely in his 50s or 60s) returns to the fictional Craw County, Alabama, in order to sell his dad’s house. He comes driving into town in a “Y’All Haul” truck, thinking that he’ll be gone within three days. He’s wrong. Earl finds that his hometown has a larger hold on him than he thought, that it’s more important to him than he thought, and he stays to right what he views as the wrongs in his town: he takes aim at the corrupt coach of the local high school football team, who apparently has his fingers in everything.

There are a few through lines in this book. One is particularly gross, but effective: most issues we see a really mangy, stray dog barking or taking a crap somewhere. It speaks to the low down nature of the characters, as well as the griminess of the subject matter in the story and art. The second through line lends this story an element of personal tragedy apart from the larger, Greek tragedy stylings of the plot: while there aren’t narration boxes, Earl Tubb spends a few panels of each issue on his cell phone leaving messages, and we don’t know who he’s calling (and who never calls him back) until the very end. As the story progresses, his phone calls get more and more desperate. It’s through the messages he leaves that we learn how Earl Tubb really feels. We learn about how he’s breaking, little by little. When he finally bursts into tears as he’s leaving yet another message, it feels earned, and it’s one hell of a gut punch.

A huge reason why that moment is so powerful is the absolutely brilliant work of Jason Latour. His artwork is perfectly matched to the story. It’s scratchy at all times, but extremely expressive during the emotional scenes, and extremely violent during the fights. His work captures the weight of every punch and the visceral crack of every baseball bat to the ribcage, and I never lost track of who was who or where people were standing in a scene. Plus, and this is really the best part of all, his art really made me want to eat some ribs.

Sidebar: this release includes a cover/variant cover gallery as well as a recipe for fried apple pie that looks simply delicious.

I really can’t say enough good things about this book. I will recommend it to every single person that I know. It speaks to me both personally and as a lover of comics. The story is memorable and tragic, the art is flawless and animated. If you missed these four issues, please pick up this trade. It’s easily one of my very favorite comics right now, and I can’t wait for #5.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Jason Latour
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall 10 Recommendation: Buy it RIGHT THIS INSTANT

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

The Leftovers – “The Garveys At Their Best” – Review

Leftovers“Once upon a lonely
The sky was black and stormy
I was on my way to King Marie
This day of disaster
My heart was beating faster
I ran all the way to King Marie”
– “The Girl From King Marie” – Jody Reynolds

The departured were all regretted at one point. Laurie regretted…oops, let me start my Review at the beginning, much like that incredible episode did on Sunday night. All the way at the beginning. Then I can explain that first sentence and continue my thought. It’s a good theory, I think, and I will need all of your help to see if it is somewhat true or close.

The Leftovers aired their penultimate episode, The episode immediately before the finale, on Sunday night and it was exactly what we have been wanting and waiting for since the pilot. In a series that predicates itself on the events of October 14th, all we wanted to know was what happen on October 13th or, more precisely, what happened immediately prior to the moment of departurism (note: departurism is a word I just invented…I can do that…I think…but we all know what it means). The seconds, minutes, and hours before the Sudden Departure. And we got it in a brilliant flashback that Damon Lindelof has become a master at portraying.

So, let’s start at the beginning. A theory I had stated before is that the dogs are symbols of the Guilty Remnant. The episode this past Sunday has given us a load of answers to our burning questions and provided some twists and turns in the process. One twist is that the dogs are not the Guilty Remnant…hear me out. I think the dogs represent Laurie. Kevin is represented by the deer. I’ll give some interesting supporting evidence throughout my Review so keep an eye out for it and we can discuss in the comments below. More on this later.

We see Kevin right away in his beautiful home, with his beautiful family, as we are transported back in time three years (4 years?), just days before the SD. Much like there was a scar, or flaw, on the island of The Lord of The Flies, there is also a crack, or scar or flaw, in the foundation of the Garvey home (remember: Kevin sees above the painting the crack in the wall like a lightning bolt). The writers do a wonderful job at setting up our characters lives prior to the universal ‘tic-toc’ leading up to the SD. We see Nora Durst and her happy family at a time when she is ignorant to the fact that her husband is cheating on her. We also learn that Patti was a patient of Laurie’s long before Laurie had taken the white.

Not everyone was happy. That is not what the writers were trying to show us. People were not happy, then out of nowhere the SD occurs and people spiral into despair. Kevin was lying to his wife. Nora wanted out of the “juice-box” cycle of life. Patti was kicked out of her home by her ex-husband. We finally learn why Patti puts some crap in a bag and wrote “Neil” on it and left it on his porch. Laurie, her psychologist, told her to get rid of her bad emotions from her relationship by doing this.

One of the big revelations of life before the SD is that of Jill. Jill was, uncharacteristically so, very happy. Very very happy. I did not see a scene without her smiling ear to ear or singing. she loved her dad and thought her mom was the greatest. We know Jill as the melancholy school girl who is sad and angry at the world for destroying her family.

Getting back to my theory that Kevin is represented by the deer and Laurie by the dogs. When Kevin Sr. is telling his officers about the deer in town, he instructs them to put it down because it is dangerous and unstable. Kevin wants to save it, bring it back to the woods, and let it go. Much like he did with Patti. He took her to the woods, and let her go. Kevin is just trying to save himself from becoming unstable and from going crazy. At the surprise party, Kevin tells Laurie the deer is just ‘confused’ much like he has been for the entire series thus far. To top it off, Nora’s daughter tells her that “maybe the deer is just looking for it’s family?”. Kevin’s dream sequence a few episodes ago also alludes to this theory. Kevin hears rumbling from a nearby mailbox. Remember this is where Kevin hides his cigarettes from Laurie. When he gets closer, after seeing a deceased Laurie in the back of a truck, a dog pops out and barks viciously at him. Which brings me to Laurie being represented by the dogs. Laurie is the one that wanted to get a puppy and we see her coddling one with, none other than, Gladys (who seemed happy, but we know she lost someone in the SD). Laurie tells Kevin (finally happy they found the deer) “It’s trapped, better go save it”. Notice how Kevin was happy about the deer and upset about the prospect of the dog. Kevin, as the deer (he even sees his reflection in its eye), is trying to not get chewed up and eaten by the dogs as we saw in the first episode of the season.

And finally, what I noticed about the people who were departured; the common thread amongst them. I noticed that they were all regretted by one of The Leftovers. Kevin regretted having the affair. Nora regretted her family, if only for an instant. Sam (the baby that departured in the pilot) was regretted by his mother who threw her hands up to Laurie in the car. I wonder if we will be able to point to this in the future as we learn of more people who lost someone on the SD.

This was definitely my favorite episode of the season. The writing was perfect and the flashback was orchestrated very well. It was great getting a lot of answers to our questions and seeing the SD before it happened and how it affected our main cast. The Leftovers, week to week, is a bleak look into the lives of the citizens of Mapleton and this past Sunday we were given a break form the morose souls and shattered bits of humanity. It was nice, even if it was for only a little bit of time, to see our characters in a different light and somewhat happy frame of mind. But, of course, this is Mapleton, and no one stays happy for long.

Thoughts and Discussion

– The music in the episode:
“Shotgun” – Junior Walker & The All-Stars
“Punching In a Dream” – The Naked and Famous
“Young Blood” – The Naked and Famous
“Without You” – Usher
“November” – Max Richter – This is actually the piano music you hear in nearly every episode when things are becoming clear or at the end of an episode when revelations occur.

– Did you notice…The Sudden Departure occurred at 2:23:48 PM. ’23’, ‘4’, and ‘8’ are LOST numbers. Other LOST references include the numbers 4, 8, and 42 on Laurie’s prenatal monitor in the doctor’s office.

– Did you notice…Jill’s Science Fair experiment dealt with Entropy.

– Did you notice…Laurie’s calendar quote reads – “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground”. It is a small insight into life I believe. Nobody feels the world around them; they create their own world as they go. Maybe? What do you think this means?

– I like the little foreboding nods to the eventual SD. Like when Kevin Sr. stated “You have no greater purpose”, or Nora saying, “For the next four weeks, I have no family”. Kevin also saying to Tom, “Sometimes, you have to pretend”.

– Did you notice…Last week Patti told Kevin that Laurie counseled her. Now we know she meant it literally.

– Patti predicted the day of the SD. I suppose it could be chalked up to “A broken clock is right twice a day” type of thing, but still.

– Does everyone remember The Pattersons? The deer goes into their house where Kevin goes upstairs to corner it. These are the people that Nora interviewed for their SD check a few episodes back when they lost their boy with Down-Syndrome that we saw in this flashback episode counting coins and directing Kevin to the location of the deer.

– The deer could also represent feelings of being trapped. It affected certain peoples lives on the show. Just like the deer wanted to be free so did Kevin. The woman who hits the deer took a different route. The deer affected the woman Nora’s husband was having an affair with. And the old couple taking care of the boy with Down-Syndrome who tells Kevin that leaving the house “is not going to happen”. Kevin felt extra trapped which was foreshadowed by the dear having the balloon of “It’s a Girl” covered in blood on it. I love the symbolism in this series (The metronome on the floor of the school that Kevin stares at was perfectly placed).

– “A man says to the Universe…Sir, I exist” This was a great speech by Kevin and appropriate. The Universe responds, “The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation”.

– My favorite part of the episode was when the car full of women pulls up to Kevin sitting on the curb. They ask, “Are you ready?”. Did they think he was part of the Guilty Remnant? They could not have formed yet formally, but what if they knew beforehand? Kevin WAS wearing white. Maybe they thought he was a member? Maybe they were from wherever Dean came from or whoever speaks to Kevin Sr.? The situation could not have become any more mysterious as the manhole cover rattles and explodes in a fury of fire and heat. Did Kevin even think about this moment when he learned of the SD event all over the world?

The Leftovers – “Cairo” – Review

Leftovers“Hush little baby, don’t you cry,
You know your mother was born to die
All my trials, Lord, soon be over
Too late my brothers, too late”
– “All My Trials” – Odetta

Last Sunday, The Leftovers, aired its eighth episode of the season, ‘Cairo’. Now that the powers-that-be over at HBO have given it a season 2 green light, I watch the show with a different mindset, thinking about how the characters actions now will affect their future beyond the tenth episode finale. ‘Cairo’ had some very good acting and some memorable scenes as well (that last scene was typical for this show and had my jaw on the floor). I must have watched the final five minutes a dozen times. I wonder how Kevin will react going forward?

We did learn a few things in Sunday’s episode that I thought were over and done with. For example, I actually thought that Kevin got his shirts from the dry cleaner a few episodes back, now we know he hung them out to dry in a forest in one of his crazed, late-night stupors. This means that Kevin did not need to go nuts on that dry-cleaner. Kevin is suffering from sporadic amnesiac moments where he loses bits of time here and there, but the big revelation, I thought, was what Patti revealed about Dean. In a moment of comedic relief, Patti exclaims that she is adept at researching people and how easily you can find just about anything about anyone, but has failed to find one thing about the ‘dog-killer’. “He is a ghost”, she says to Kevin, making Dean’s presence a lot more bewildering. Is he a guardian angel? Is he something else supernatural? I love the mystery surrounding this character and his relation to Kevin and can’t wait to get more scenes involving the two.

Jill’s downhill trajectory was a concern going into this episode and she hasn’t wavered in the slightest. Her friendship with Aimee seemed, oddly enough, to be the only anchor keeping her moored to the land of sanity (if Mapleton could be considered that). Jill wants to be ‘ok’, but she doesn’t believe that an ‘ok’ life is attainable after the SD. She constantly prods Nora at dinner to see if she still carries a gun with her wherever she goes. One of the twins said it best when he said that if they find the gun in Nora’s home, then it means having a life that is normal, free from the clutches the SD imposed, is unattainable. Ironically, they find Nora’s handgun in a toy box named “Trouble”. I like Jill’s scenes as they give us a glimpse into a life of a troubled teen post SD. I constantly find myself saying out loud “No, don’t do it” a lot whenever I see Jill about to do something ridiculous and/or dangerous. …like none of you say things out loud while watching TV…no?…just me?…oh. I honestly thought at the end it was Aimee that Megan was opening the door to, and after seeing who it really was I immediately said, “No, Why did you do it!” I can’t wait to see where that story goes from here.

Megan and Laurie was another interesting story this past Sunday. I love how the we get more depth to each character little by little, each episode. It’s really interesting to see how the smallest bit of history we learn makes such a big impact. Learning about Megan’s mother’s passing the day before October 14th explains a lot about her choices throughout the season. The Rev doesn’t miss an opportunity to put this kind of information into one of his fliers either. One thing I thought was very interesting was the look that Megan gave Laurie right after Laurie slapped her and got up. Megan had a small smirk on her face that makes me think there is a lot more to her that we have yet to learn. Almost like her relationship with Laurie is mirroring Dean’s strange relationship with Kevin. Could there be similarities between Megan and Dean? Maybe they truly are guardian angels and are watching their work grow and make progress. Maybe I am reading too much into that smile? Either way, I think there is more to it than what we have seen so far.

The episode began with Patti laying out clothes on the floor of the church. She laid them out as if picking out outfits for someone to wear the next day for school, complete with shoes and some accessories. It is not until near the end of the episode that we understand what is going on. Laurie meets some delivery men at the church dropping off a trailer full of large bags that the GR Members bring into the room where the clothes are on the ground. We can piece together what is going on through the various cryptic messages we see and here throughout the episode. I imagine those bags are either filled with “Loved One” models of the departured or actual bodies. As creepy as I think the GR and its member are, actual bodies wouldn’t keep for very long at all…unless the GR wants to truly make their mark on Mapleton. Whichever way they choose, I think they are going to dress them in the clothes they had on before they departed and display them in some fashion. I think this is what is meant by the message on the whiteboard at the GR office – “We Won’t Let Them Forget”. This is why the GR exists, right? According to Patti they strip themselves of all colorful diversions – which is why they wear all white. They get rid of all ties to the living world – love and hatred – which explains why they leave their families (this also explains the “There Is No Family” mantra Patti was spewing a few episodes back to Kevin) and also why they don’t speak. We learn from Patti that her fellow members want their lives, and also deaths apparently, to have meaning and purpose. This, in the final scenes, is what we learn in more detail through Patti’s conversation with Kevin.

The final scene between Kevin and Patti is one of the best of this season. Their final conversation brought to light so many answers to questions that have been looming since episode one. Patti’s last words to Kevin, especially her recitation of the W.B. Yeats’ poem, spoke volumes. She said this enough times, “You must understand”, almost as much to Kevin as she was to us, the audience. She wanted Kevin to ‘understand’ why she matters – why Laurie matters – and essentially, why The Guilty Remnant matters. The poem that Patti recites is the second stanza of, ‘Michael Robartes Bids His Beloved Be At Peace, by W.B. Yeats. The poem illustrates a farewell to love and also life. Did Patti know she was going to die, whether at the hands of Kevin or herself? Either way, she will be missed.

This was one of my favorite episodes of The Leftovers so far. Ann Dowd’s ‘Patti’ will surely be missed. I would love to know what everyone thought about the episode and the incredible use of symbolism and imagery throughout. Only one more episode until the finale!

Thoughts and Discussion

– The music from this episode:

“I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” – Otis Redding
“I Been Buked” – Alvin Ailey

– Did you notice…The title of Sunday’s episode, ‘Cairo’, is also the word we hear uttered into Kevin’s walkie talkie in his dream sequence from episode seven’s ‘Solace For Tired Feet’. Also, ‘Cairo’, was in the title of an article in the National Geographic Kevin Sr. gave Kevin Jr. in the same episode.

– Did you notice…Laurie sat in Patti’s desk chair near the end of the episode as if the creators were showing us that she is the new ‘Patti’, the new leader of the Guilty Remnant. It looked like she settled in there nicely too. Did she know that Patti was not coming back somehow?

– I think it’s time we all start to discuss theories for the show and the final two episodes. Could this past episode have been a dream sequence by Kevin? The song that plays while when we go back and forth between Patti in the church laying out clothes and Kevin setting the table for his dinner with Nora and his family is Otis Redding’s, ‘I’ve Got Dreams To Remember’. Hmmmm? What do you all think? I thought that was pretty interesting.

– Also, I’m glad Kevin found his shirts…hanging up like spectral beings floating in the wind. Incidentally, Cairo, NY is about 5 hours from Mapleton. Did Kevin drive all that way while having one of his ‘amnesiac episodes’ to put his shirts there? And wouldn’t he have noticed that the shirts he frightened the dry cleaner into giving him a few episodes back didn’t have the Mapleton Police insignia on the sleeves?

– And lastly…I found it strange that Patti could not find any info about Dean and, as a result, refers to him as a ghost. Dean then corrects her by referring to himself as a ‘guardian angel’. Is he really a guardian angel along with Megan being Laurie’s? Help me out here everyone, we have some theories to disprove, lol.

– I read the whole poem that Patti recites and you can see ideas relating to the end of times and the apocalypse. The line Patti says, “And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet”, refers to a section in an earlier part of the poem about four different horses…The Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse, perhaps.

– With Patti gone, will we ever find out who ‘Neil’ is and if that was his house she left a paper bag of her own feces at? Is that Patti’s, “Dear One”? Or is her “Dear One” someone else? (“Dear One” is a phrase, or term of endearment, from the other show I currently Review – The Strain)

– What exactly did Patti mean that Laurie would be ready soon? Is there going to be some big ‘Jonestown’ Mass Suicide event on the horizon with the Guilty Remnant?

Thank you for checking out my Review! Only two more days until the penultimate episode! Please comment below so we can discuss this episode and your ideas for what might happen in the final two! Have a great weekend everyone!

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:


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

Recent Entries »