Sunday, October 11, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XXXVII

Comic reviews by a fan, for the fans!

**As always, mind the spoilers, fanboy!**


Haunt #1
by Robert Kirkman, Greg Capullo, Ryan Ottley, Todd McFarlane
Image Comics


In case the cover didn't give it away, you can't get a book involving a few big innovators from the 90's comic scene and , y'know, be surprised when it smacks of the
90's. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The 90's were kinda fun, right? Foil covers and anti-heroes and humongous boobies. Good times.

One can't help be reminded of an old school Image book here. The art, down to the very layout, smacks of homage to Image's golden days (no doubt thanks to the involvement of both McFarlane & Capullo). Much like its forefathers, the plot's fairly formulaic to the point of ridiculous, with the super-powers getting flung on the guy who just wants to be left alone (although said fellow is a hooker-fucking priest, so at least that's fun), which is good or bad, depending on your tastes. Plus, there's this totally suggestive panel here:


It totally looks like Spawn spooged in this dude's mouth. That's one hell of a money shot.

Haunt is the perfect book for some goofball off the street with a basement full of Spawn and Wildcats back issues, who hasn't been in a comic store since the Bulls 3-peated. Fanboys who fondly remember Sabertooth and Rob Liefeld can appreciate what's going on here as well. The average Kirkman fan, who's most likely obsessed with Walking Dead to the point of worrying loved ones, might be disappointed. I am not your average Kirkman fan. I fucking read everything the guy does, so I'm willing to make exceptions. I recognize that most folks aren't as flexible or forgiving with their choices. Although it's as uber-violent as any of his other books, this one may not be for you. Nor may it be for more refined, snooty fanboys, who gather over lattes to discuss the finer points of Fables or Peanuts or what-fucking-ever.

So, some will like it, some may not. Either way, one could do much worse, and one could do better. At the least it won't be the worst thing you've ever read.

Daredevil #501
by Andy Diggle & Robert De La Torre
Marvel Comics


When we last left off here, Ed Brubaker was making tracks away from this title after a huge cliffhanger (that being our forlorn hero ascending to leadership of the notorious Hand), and I was exclaiming quite robustly how I'd hate to be the writer following up on him. My mighty intellect couldn't fathom where to take the story from there. Well shut my whore mouth, 'cause Andy Diggle did it without missing a beat.

In a very, very impressive debut issue, Diggle takes ol' Hornhead to dark and dangerous new territories, where he wields a deadly shadow society of ninjas and kills folks (or so we're lead to believe). It's no secret that this title's always at its best when the protagonist is drowning in a sea of disparaging quicksand. I've got a sneaking suspicion that Diggle's gonna prove that point a thousand times over before it's all said and done here.

If you were smart you'd jump on this title lickity split, 'cause it's already getting more buzz than a teenager with a keg of beer.

Aya: The Secrets Come Out
by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie
Drawn & Quarterly


Like most comic nerds involved in romantic relationships, I'm constantly put in the position of recommending books for my sequentially oblivious significant other. And like most folks in that situation, I'm often left with the conundrum of just what to recommend to someone (in this case a lady) who hasn't the slightest interest in spandex, justice, or um ... zombies. For those of you in this situation, I've discovered a perfect book for such a dilemma. It's called Aya.

When I picked up the first volume of this book and discovered it took place in Africa, I immediately thought "Here we go: another story of apartheid, colonialism, plague and famine, or some other horrific stuff that's always associated with this continent." I couldn't have been more wrong. Aya is a continuing, and positively delightful coming-of-age story revolving around a group of young adults in the Ivory Coast. These tales told here could very well take place in One Tree Hill or 90201 (which lamentably I can say confidently as I've been forced to watch them on more than one occasion), but they're given a great deal of unique, fascinating cultural flavor thanks to the setting. This particular volume of the story revolves around a beauty pageant, a homosexual outing, and a pre-arranged marriage with decades of age difference, all of which are handled tactfully and with much enthusiasm.

This series is universally accessible and enjoyable, for young and for old. Not only is it a pleasurable read for a seasoned comic pro, with its vibrant illustrations and lively characters, but it's also perfect for the person who hates the crap outta "normal" comics. It's just plain fun. In Aya I've found the perfect bridge between the art form and the woman I love. Given the chance, most likely you will too.

War Heroes #3
by Mark Millar & Tony Harris
Image Comics


This book is like 4:00 a.m. It's fucking late! It's probably gonna be another motherfucking decade before this series concludes. Fucking Millar and his slack-assing. But it's soooo hard to stay mad at the genius motherfucker when the books are soooo fucking good.

War Heroes is the tale of chemically enhanced super-soldiers in the Middle East. In this issue we're treated (I use the term loosely) to the visualizations of what happens when the enemy creates his own super-soldiers. Tony Harris shines in this issue, rendering vivid battle carnage like no one really wants to see, with horrifically graphic gusto. If the man isn't already considered a modern master of the genre, this issue should be more than enough proof of his worth.

It's late, late, late, but still great, great great.

High Moon
by David Gallaher & Steve Ellis
Zuda (DC) Comics


Never trust a comic with a pun in its title. Unless that pun is a swear word. Then it's okay.

Westerns and the occult: a match made in heaven. Everyone likes cowboys. Everyone likes werewolves. Put them together, and it’s like PB&J, correct? More like a big ol' turd sandwich.

Following the trail of Macgregor, the very typical bounty hunter with a not so typical secret, were taken along an ol' dusty trail of passionless Western misadventures, including murder, intrigue, and showdowns. This series has gotten quite a bit of praise, but I'm not seeing why. The plot's convoluted, with clunky pacing, flimsy, deus ex machina developments, and dialogue stiffer than a dead man's cock. None of the characters have any real depth to them, which is always a deal breaker for me (although others aren't so demanding in that area, for some reason). There's some right confusing shit in here too, like how Macgregor gets killed, and then with no explanation another character takes his guns and hat and without is suddenly Macgregor, like the name were something to be won. I've gone over that one a couple of times, and there's no explanation what's up there. Answers may be available in upcoming incarnations of the book, but fuck me if I'll be interested in finding out.

To be fair, Steve Ellis is a competent artist. In particular I enjoyed his use of color, mainly the hot oranges and cool blues. That's the only nice thing I could think to say about this collection.

This title got a Harvey nod for Best New Series. Don't ask me how. So whatever. Listen to me or don't. At the very least read it online first (for free!) at before you go all gung-ho on buying a copy of this. For all the good it'll do, you may as well just shove that $15.00 straight up your ass.

You've been warned.


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