Tag Archives: youri jigounov

Review: Alpha Volume 4 Sanctions

When I was growing up, morals in the movies and TV shows, were certainly not complicated.  They made clear distinctions of who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Take TV shows like GI Joe, where there was no questioning that Destro and Cobra Commander were evil and Duke and Flint were good. They even made it clear with the ninjas, but wearing opposite colors, as Snake Eyes wore black and Storm Shadow wore white.

AS the audience became more intelligent, the movies and TV shows became more complicated in their dealings with morality. One of those movies which started to question the status quo, was Rambo: First Blood, which did not play out as an action thriller but more like a horror movie. A recent movie, brought back the questioning of those morals once again, in The Iceman, where Michael Shannon’s character, plays a contract killer, who lives a double life. Both characters remind me of the arch nemesis must face in the fourth and final volume of Alpha, Sanctions.

In this volume, Alpha and his partner must escort a high valued foreign official while in country, but little do any of them know, a retired killer, for the former KGB is in Washington DC. As sanctions take place, between both governments, bodies on both sides start to drop all over the Capital Beltway. Alpha starts digging into this retired bogeyman, and finds many unresolved problems, as he is starting to understand his motivation.  By book end, Alpha exposes a massive coverup, which puts everyone in check and leaves Alpha, the moral hero.

Overall, a great conclusion, to an enticing spy series, which leaves the reader, reaching for their old copy of their favorite Tom Clancy novel. The story by Youri Jigounov has all the flash and bang that makes these spy thrillers a must read. The art by Mythic is alluring. Altogether, a morality tale in a world filled with shadows that proves everyone must suffer a consequence.

Story: Youri Jigounov Art: Mythic
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Alpha Volume 3 The List

The way we realize we are aging, is remembering certain events that are recorded in history. My grandparents, on my mother’s side, used to tell us stories of how cruel the Japanese were, during their occupation during World War II, which is now literally last century. My parents, both were new to New York, during the “Summer of Sam”, where everyone was scared to walk the streets. During my time, there a fair number of events that have marked my life.

This reality came full circle, when OJ Simpson was released on parole, for burglary, and I, like anyone alive during that time could remember when was under indictment for murder. Another historical event that personally touched me, because I knew people who were there, was the tragedy on the USS Cole, as I think of those who were lost that day many times. Another historical evet, that did not relate to, or even know personally, is the Berlin Wall getting tore down. Some high stakes evens occurs during this very event, in the third volume of Alpha, The List.

In the opening pages, we get a behind the scenes view of what happened when the Berlin Wall, fell, to both governments. As both governments consolidate, one of their top spies flees the country, taking some state secrets with him. Alpha gets called into the mix, as he must retrieve a list from this former spy, a list that could many high-profile individuals behind bars.  Alpha and his partner gets sent to Amsterdam to retrieve this list but he has some competition, as those individuals don’t want the list to get out. By book end, not everyone comes out this alive, as some would see it as a failure, but Alpha’s dignity is what ultimately hat gets him that list.

Overall, a great story, that reminds me so much of the movie, Sneakers. The story by Youri Jigounov provides levity and tension in a genre that leans more towards the latter. The art by Mystic is magnetic Altogether, this is type of story that proves spies are definitely the agents of change  in a world of shadows.

Story: Youri Jigounov Art: Mystic
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Alpha: Wolves’ Wages

The 1980s were fertile ground for filmmakers, as some of the best films ever made was during this era. Yes, there were a ton of movies, that were just plain cheesy and doesn’t hold up today, no matter how many viewings. To me, that was part of their charm, their innocuous disregard for anything that makes sense, as Honest Trailers would have a field day with any number of movies. This was also one of the very last times, that a movie star’s name was enough to guarantee ticket sales.

Names like Stallone and Schwarzenegger, pretty much guaranteed that your movie was going to be a blockbuster. One of the other names that guaranteed a blockbuster, was Kevin Costner. His movies, transcended more than few genres, but one of his nest, and what seems to be the first time, he was in a starring role, was No Way Out. That very movie, is what the second volume of Alpha, Wolves’ Wages reminds me of.

There are several storylines in lay in this volume, the firs one involves Katia getting killed. We also catch up with Igor, who takes care of any witnesses and quite duplicitously takes over the family from his father. We also catch up with Alpha and Assia, who are framed for Katia’s murder and must deal with many run-ins with several different sketchy characters throughout Moscow. By book end, the Russian military intervenes, and resulting in Assia getting hurt, but s foreign relations come to a head in this spy tale, Alpha must leave the country, leaving no trace of his existence.

Overall, another exciting installment in a story that brings the reader back to a time when the cold war was more complicated. The story by Youri Jigounov proves that he is adept at story development and creating tension at the right moments. The art by Mystic shows his versatility, as he continues the previous artists’ style, but much brighter hues. Altogether, a fun ride, when spies were shadows of men and governments were not as transparent.

Story: Youri Jigounov Art: Mystic
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Alpha: Clan Bogdanov

Organized crime is one of those subjects that people both fear and love at the same time. Who can watch the Godfather or Goodfellas, ad not fall in love with these characters and their lifestyles. Even in real life, such figures as John Gotti and Al Capone are pretty much immortalized in the public sphere. What most of the media sometimes fails to realize, is just about every culture has organized crime.

In Japan, the Yakuza is almost just as glorified in myth as Samurai. In Eastern Europe, their roots are just as deep, and even falls into politics. The movie, Eastern Promises, gave us a view of organized crime that had rarely been seen until now. This is where we pick up Alpha in his adventures, as he gets into just how deep the Russian Mob is entrenched the the Russian government.

In Alpha: Clan Bogdanov, we’re brought to Russia, where there are country wide protests against the government leading to the assassination of the Finance minister. Assia, is back in the country, asking her husband for answers while he lets her in to find out just how deep this partnership goes. Alpha is in country as well, where he uncovers ties between the Bogdanov family, the biggest crime family in the country and their connections to just about every enterprise. By the end of this volume, we find a confused and scared Assia needing Alpha’s help.

Overall, a story that seems pedestrian at first, but will surprise the reader on how complex a crime story it is. The story by Pascal Renard continues to give the reader a reason to keep coming back, as the story becomes one more complex than some Bond movies. The art by Youri Jigounov is pure eye candy, as the way he draws characters is a lesson in style. Altogether, a study in geopolitics and crime that will not soon leave the reader.

Story: Pascal Renard Art: Youri Jigounov
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy