IV-Blog Page 2014

New Comic Reviews 10/2/14

Well here we are. Happy First week of October everybody! Here’s this week’s new comic reviews. This week we look at Gotham Academy # 1Spider-Man 2099 # 4, and Silent Hill Downpour: Anne’s Story # 2.

Gotham Academy # 1

Writers: Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher

Art: Karl Kerschl

Colors: Geyser, Dave McCaig,

Letters: Steve Wands

Cover Art: Karl Kerschl (again)

I have waited months for this series to come out, and it was well worth it. Gotham Academy is a unique project in the sense that it stars essentially brand new non-superhero characters set in Gotham’s mythos, with (so-far) little appearance of the Dark Knight himself, which is a good thing.

The story is set at the titular Gotham Academy, an old, Gothic-inspired private boarding school for both teenage girls and boys, the main characters being Olive (A sullen and moody silver haired second-year girl), and Maps (a plucky and adorable first-year Asian girl who happens to be the little sister of Olive’s ex-boyfriend) with Olive being in charge of showing Maps around the academy at the beginning of the Semester.

The story plays out almost like the pilot episode of a new series. Almost everything is self-contained to the first issue, while foreshadowing future plots, such as Olive’s circumstances for being at Gotham Academy, rumors of a “ghost” haunting the North Hall,  What happened to Olive and Kyle(Math’s older brother)’s relationship, and so on. It is very neatly contained and ultimately leaves you wanting more.

I cannot tell you how much I love the main characters Olive and Maps. Olive is a very interesting and mysterious girl. You get that she’s been through a lot, and is dealing with just as much at Gotham Academy. She’s a complicated girl to figure out. She’s moody, unfriendly to most outside of Maps, and at the moment has a currently unexplained fear and hatred of Batman, which seems to be shaping up to be a central character arc for her. It seems whatever occurred, the Dark Knight is aware of it (during a school orientation, Bruce Wayne, a major financial backer of the academy, seemed to know Olive by first name). I eagerly await to find out more about Olive’s past and how Batman ties into it.

Maps on the other hand is a giant energetic ball of adorable. She’s plucky, upbeat, and really excited to check out every rumor and legend creeping around this ancient academy. I personally like how they’ve set up that Olive and Maps know each other from the get-go (I.E. Olive dating her older brother Kyle).  This leaves more time for fleshing out both characters and the setting instead of wasting time for the two of them to get to know each other, which would have eaten up most of the first issue. The rest of the characters haven’t gotten much development or introduction outside of their basic character types: The aloof ex-boyfriend, the mean girl, the trouble-maker, ect. I’m sure that they will get their moments as the series continues.

The artwork for this series is just beautiful. The character art is a very cute manga-ish style that breathes life into each of these unique characters, but at the same time it doesn’t clash with the eerie, Gothic setting of the academy, which is drawn and painted beautifully, giving it the proper gloomy and macabre feel the Academy is supposed to give. Both the cute manga character art style and the gloomy backgrounds mesh together perfectly. I understand that the “manga” style of art isn’t for everyone, but if your only reason for not picking up this book is “EWWW! ITS GOT SOME STUPID MANGA ART! GET THIS WEEABOO CRAP AWAY FROM ME!” You’re sorely missing out on a fantastic and ambitious new series for very petty reasons. Plus, I’m all for DC Finally allowing unique art-styles into their main comics, instead of having every single comic drawn in the same boring, perfect anatomy style that they’ve done for the past few years (No disrespect to those artists though).

All in all, This book was well worth the long wait. It’s unique, its ambitious, and it stars two original female characters, so I cannot stress how much I want this book to succeed. The story is a very interesting look at the Gotham Mythos and history without the need of Batman beating up costumed crazies, the characters are unique and endearing, and the artwork is BEYOND beautiful and unique, something very different than what I’ve come to expect from DC. I cannot recommend this book enough. Please, go give it a shot and if you love it as well, support the heck out of it!

Rating:

Story: 5/5

Art: 5/5

Characters: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Recommendation: An absolute must-buy!

Spider-Man 2099 # 4

Writer: Peter David

Art:  Will Sliney

Colors:  Antonio Fabela

Letters: Vc’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

I had little knowledge of Spider-Man 2099 before his appearance in the Superior Spider-man series or his new spin-off series, outside of “Its Spider-Man in the future fighting a stereotypical evil mega-corp that took over America.” But I wanted to give it a try since it was continuing storylines introduced in Superior Spider-man. Specifically the stories of Miguel O’Hara (the Time-displaced Future Spider-Man) and his quest to stop Alchemax from becoming the Megacorp police state it is in 2099, and the story of Miguel’s scumbag of an ancestor Tiberius Stone, who is a major researcher and inventor for Alchemax.

Anyone who’s followed some of the mildly older Iron Man or Spider-Man stories, or more recently the Superior Spider-Man series, knows that Tiberius Stone is an utter scumbag.  He’s an arrogant, petty little man who has caused a lot of New York’s science fictional threats to occur from sabotaging other’s machines, and letting them take the blame for it, has constantly tried to kill Spider-Man for making a fool of him and (at first) ruining his life, and he got Horizon Labs (One of the few good-aligned super science companies in the Marvel Universe) shut down and bought out by Alchemax, using the multiple Science fictional threats caused by Horizon (that he himself caused and got away with), and now is a major inventor of commercial Spider-Slayers (high end combat robots). And he’s always had an unbearably irritating smirk on his face as he’s done all this.

Like I said, utter scumbag.

And this is where Miguel’s problems arise. He works under Tiberius as his assistant. He’s from the future, and he knows what kind of monsters Tiberius’ descendants and Alchemax become (The Stone family essentially runs and controls Alchemax in the future, minus Miguel who opposes them).  The easy solution would be the kill the SOB and carpet bomb Alchemax, but Miguel is worried about how that could affect the time stream, specifically blipping him out of existence. So now he’s trying the hard route, I.E. Trying to guide Tiberius from the evil and greed that would define the Stone family through the generations, and try to make him (and Alchemax) a force for good, or at least a non-threat in the future…Did I mention that Tiberius is an utter scumbag?

The current storyline seems to be shaping up to be changing things as far as Tiberius’ character. Both he and Miguel are sent by Alchemax’s CEO to make a business deal with a brutal dictator of (insert made-up comic book Middle-Eastern country), who wants to buy some of Alchemax’s commercial Spider-Slayers. Miguel is morally opposed to this, as he knows the dictator will use them to slaughter his people. Tiberius could care less and only wants to broker the deal and make money. However, things get ugly when a rebel group kidnaps Tiberius and their leader, a woman pretty much guilts the ultimate scumbag over selling weapons as deadly as Spider-Slayers to a lunatic who kills civilians for fun. While I won’t spoil the entire events of the issue, I will say it has me seeing Tiberius a new light. Though if this is the start of a redeemed and atoning Tiberius Stone, or simply a single moment of human decency is up in the air. Like I said, the guy is an utter scumbag, so only time will tell.

The rest of the issue is pretty okay. Spider-Man’s fight with the Scorpion (who reveals himself to be working under Alchemax, who got him released from jail and repaired his destroyed jaw (occured with Superior Spider-Man, long story), was a pretty well-drawn battle. It does hamper Miguel’s hopes of changing Alchemax’s evil roots now that he knows they’re willingly hiring supervillains for security and other purpouses.

In all honesty, I followed Spider-Man 2099 less for Miguel himself, and more to see if that SOB Tiberius would finally get the comeuppance he escaped in Superior Spider-Man. But now, I think we’re instead seeing the redemption of who I consider to be the ultimate scumbag of the Spider-mythos. I do eagerly await to see how Tiberius changes, at all, as character after this storyarc. And Migel is finally warming up to be as a character instead of simply “That Spider-Man from the future.” All in all, a good read with good action, and surprising character development for a very hated character.

Rating:

Story: 4/5

Art: 4/5

Characters: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Recommendation: A good issue, and promises big things for the rest of the series. I recommend it if you’re looking for a good Spider-Man story that’s not directly about the actual Spider-Man.

Silent Hill Downpour: Anne’s Story # 2

Writer: Tom Waltz

Art: Tristan “T-Rex” Jones

Colors: Michael Spicer

Letters: Neil Uyetake

Cover Art: Tristan “T-Rex” Jones (again)

And since it’s the first week of October, here’s a horror comic! Now, I LOVE The Silent Hill series, and I utterly HATED the old Silent Hill comics IDW published years ago. I won’t get into too much detail about those, since there have been people who have better explained why those older Silent Hill comics were garbage (Such as Linkara’s annual Halloween video reviews of each one) But specifically: They had incoherent plots that didn’t make any sense even by Silent Hill’s ambiguous standards, most of the characters were completely unlikable, it had almost NOTHING to do with the Silent Hill mythos outside of the name, the artwork was that atrocious super-sketchy style that looked ugly and you could almost never see what was going on in it, and the man behind these old comics, Scott Ciencin, flat out admitted he didn’t even bother researching the Silent Hill franchise, only taking the name and doing what he wanted with it, leading to some of the most hated and reviled adaptation comics ever, and also considered utterly insulting horror comics in general.

okay, rant over. Onto the actual comic.

The good and bad thing about this comic is that its actually respectful to the Silent Hill mythos, but at the same time its’s a direct adaptation of one of their recent games, I.E. You’d need to know that game’s story to really “get” this one. The story behind this is that this comic was initially planned to be a DLC story for the videogame Silent Hill: Downpour, specifically from the P.O.V. of Anne Cunningham, the pissed off Corrections Officer who has a major bone to pick with the protagonist Murphy Pendleton, whom she blames for the brutal death of her father.

The problem is this comic follows Anne’s side of the story, weaving in and out of Murphy’s own tale in Silent Hill, and some parts may seem confusing to readers who did not play the game or looked up the story. Its not SO bad that it would alienate non-Silent Hill fans, but it does pop up here and there.

All in all, this is shaping up to be an excellent story. Anne is a compelling character, as you see her react to the horrors of Silent Hill and her own bitter memories, and yet she is still set on that single objective: Make Murphy pay. This comic explores much more of Anne’s character, her relationship with her father, and the things she had to do to get transferred onto the same transport and prison as Murphy to get her vengeance (it’s not flat out said, but its implied she used sexual favors with her corrupt Warden to get the transfer). This comes back to haunted her with one of the monsters, a very disturbingly phallic creature that mocks her for the “dirty” things she’s done to get her vengeance.

The artwork is phenomenal. Compared to the ugly mess previous Silent Hill comic’s art were, this art was a breath of fresh air. It was chilling, disturbing, and hauntingly beautiful, and you could actually SEE what was going on in the panels, instead of being a scribbled mess a 3 year old could have drawn like those OTHER Silent Hill comics…

All in all, This is the Silent Hill comic fans of the series have been waiting for. However, since it’s a direct adaptation of one of the games from another character’s perspective, it could be a confusing read for those who don’t know the game’s plot. Despite that it stands on its own as a solid horror comic, something the previous adaptations can’t even begin to claim.

Rating:

Story: 3.5/5

Art: 4/5

Characters: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Recommendation: A good read for both Silent Hill fans and horror comic fans in general, but some knowledge of the the videogame Silent Hill: Downpour’s plot may be needed for some parts to make sense.

And that’s it for this week! I’ll see about some other horror comics to review this month if any of note come out. 😉