December 3rd, 2013 | → 1 Comments | ∇ Graphic Novels & Comics |

UXB HC Review

by Sidesy

uxb-hc-coverSo far, in my time on this planet, I’ve managed to stay pretty clear of the whole ‘print vs. digital’ thing. I imagine waves of geeks, hurtling across a field, some carrying tablets, others carrying print, each lambasting each other for ‘selling out on the medium’ or ‘not embracing the evolution of’ yadda yadda yadda. I buy both. I read both. I enjoy both and I see merit in both. However, one of the reasons for continuing to buy print is quite simple. It smells so bloody good. Literally, it’s like geek crack. Now, I know I’m not the only one. My friend, Mark, he runs a comics shop, he said the same thing. Vertigo’s books always smell amazing. As does Mark Millar’s books. One of the best things about Kick Ass 2 was the rich waft of the print. Published by Dark Horse, UXB is a surprise entry in the ‘nice smelling books’ list, as my Dark Horse collection consists mainly of their small, hardback crime thrillers that don’t really smell of anything. And yet, here we have…okay, I’m going to shut up now.

UXB, or ‘unexploded device’, is a sci-fi horror from Harvest artist Colin Lorimer, who is also the book’s writer and, as with Harvest, which also smells amazing like a moth to a flame, you can’t help but open the book and be dazzled by the sheer bleak beauty of the artwork inside. More on this shortly.

uxb1p3UXB tells the story of the Atherton brothers – Wilfred (aka Das Bombast), Donnchada (aka Muc Olla) and George (aka Rifter) – who live in a deserted and dilapidated Buckingham Palace (a nice touch) in post-apocalyptic London. Each of the brothers has a mysterious ‘life-suit’ grafted to their bodies, that look like futuristic cod-pieces, granting them power beyond measure. Through a series of flashbacks, we discover the origins of the boys (the pampered off-spring of billionaire industrialist parents) and the suits (the ultimate in child protective measures in the event of a cataclysmic event), all the while marrying the past and the present, until we reach the twist. And then the horror side of this book really kicks into gear, wrapping up the various plotlines and finally serving us with probably the best head explosion committed to paper.

Lorimer’s story is a break from the standard post-apocalyptic fare in that, much like Warren Ellis’ Freakangels, it brings the action down to a small scale and isn’t that concerned with the wider world. You get snippets of humanity’s fate, but you only need to look at the ruined streets of a once great city to see that this is probably the case all over. Where Lorimer also breaks from the norm is the introduction of the ‘life-suits’ and the sci-fi element that dominates the first half of the book; surgically grafted onto the wearer, they use Nano-technology to enhance the boys into ‘meta-humans’, for want of a better phrase – enhancing their strength, giving them a nifty healing factor, allowing them to create weapons of their choosing using their minds and hard-light…they’re even equipped with DVD players. It’s sort of what you might get if you crossed that cool interactive screen from Minority Report and a Green Lantern ring.

uxb1p4Lorimer spins a good end-of-times yarn and fills it with pop culture and film references that dominate a large proportion of the dialogue. While sometimes a little too much, it gives the brothers a good excuse to bicker and banter, thereby developing them as characters, but it’s the subtler references that influence the story itself – look closely and you’ll see smatterings of great horror and sci-fi, all combined to create something original and superbly fantastical. While starting a little slow, Lorimer builds a steady pace and sprinkles enough mystery and intrigue to keep it interesting until the twist. I keep talking about the twist, hence I’ve added little description of what happens – needless to say, it’s really rather good and takes the story in a different direction, ramping the horror and action up, building on the sci-fi he’s delivered at the beginning and producing an ending that leaves you thinking ‘what the hell was that?’, but in that sort of gleeful head-sprouts-eyes-and-legs, ‘you gotta be fucking kidding’ sort of way.

As with Harvest, the artwork is stunning. It’s dark, gritty, cinematic, detailed, beautifully lit and beautifully executed. The sci-fi elements are effectively conceived; crisp lines and brightly lit rooms juxtapose the horror, which is deliberately messy, visceral and bleak. While not a criticism as more of a curiosity, I would love to see Lorimer do ‘epic’ – there’s a nice exchange between one of the brothers and their common enemy, where said enemy drops a double decker bus onto the brother. It looks fantastic, but it leaves you almost gasping for more. His is a style that would suit horror, or any genre, on a grand scale and it would be interesting to see, if he were take this further (and the ending seems open for continuation), what he would do if the playing field was more far reaching.

UXB is fine example of a creator on form. Yes, there are a few nit-picks, like the occasional unnecessary reference and unnecessary sweary bits (not that this is a problem, it just doesn’t feel like it’s a needed dialogue response in the context of particular scenes), but it’s an original book, filled with original ideas and incredible, atmospheric artwork that commands your attention throughout. UXB is available now, digitally or in nice smelling print.

Stay tuned for a special Theatre of Terror interview with Colin Lorimer in the next few weeks.

Buy UXB Hardcover from Amazon

 

Theatre of Terror



October 31st, 2013 | → 2 Comments | ∇ Blah, Graphic Novels & Comics |

Back From The Depths Presents : HALLOWSCREAM! 2013

by M.I.K.

 

The fifth annual Hallowscream! Hallowe’en Special is here! Available to download as a totally free pdf file, this year’s comic features 96 pages of shocks and scares to chill your blood over the Samhain season! We’ve also uploaded an horrific hi-res version this year, to give the gore and ghosties an extra gloss.

Here Are The Download Links :

Lo-res Version (file size = 46.3mb) :      MEDIAFIRE      DROPBOX

Hi-res Version (file size = 125mb) :       MEDIAFIRE     DROPBOX

You can also read the issue online at :      ISSUU

Full contents of the terrors lurking behind that gloriously icky cover by “The Gurch” are as follows…

Page 3 : Pumpkin Soup  Art & Recipe by Simon Mackie
Page 4 : A Mother’s Devotion Story by Chris Charlton, Art by Rowel Roque, Letters by Brant W. Fowler
Page 9 : Bestiary of Beasties : Lurking Tut Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 10 : 6 Seconds To Die by Gordon Innes
Page 17 : And Now A Few Words From Our Sponsors Story by Stu Perrins, Art by Israel Huertas
Page 19 : Wicked Stepmother Story & Art by Philip Sneyd
Page 23 : The Claws of The Catman Story by Paul Bristow, Art by Andy Lee
Page 29 : A Grim Tale : No Bones About It Story by ‘Clark Holland’, Art by Malcolm Kirk.
Page 31 : Empty Story by Chris Charlton, Art by Gregory Woronchak, Letters by Brant W. Fowler
Page 39 : Curse of The Season Story & Art by Carol Kewley ( Merry Xmas Everybody lyrics © Copyright Slade 1973 )
Page 43 : Terrorvision Guide by Malcolm Kirk
Page 44 : Hellevator Story & Art by Paul Gordon Innes
Page 48 : Apocalypse The Board Game Concept & Colour by Tim West, Illustration by Mike Legan
Page 50 : Home Is Where The Heart Is Story by Tim West, Art by The PXD
Page 55 : Bestiary of Beasties : The Spring-Heeled Jackalope Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 56 : Full Moon Jacket Story & Art by Gordon Innes
Page 59 : All The Fun of The Fair Story by Jamie Lambert, Art by The PXD, Letters by Tim West
Page 63 : Bestiary of Beasties : The Pear Wolf Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 64 : Artificial Unintelligence Story by Chris Charlton, Art & Letters by Joe Badon
Page 72 : Bestiary of Beasties : The Crypt Id Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 73 : Hair Scare! Story & Art by Gordon Innes
Page 77 : Run Story by Chris Sides, Art by Simon Bennett Hayes, Letters by Chris Travell
Page 83 : Dead by Dawn ZX Spectrum Game Advertisement
Page 84 : Many Happy Returns Story & Art by Michael Crouch
Page 89 : The North Wind Doth Blow Story & Art by Russell Hillman
Page 90 : Help! Mummy! Story & Art by Simon Mackie
Page 91 : Bestiary of Beasties : The Glook-Gonk Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 92 : Happy Family Story by David Stoddart, Art by Graham Stoddart
Page 95 : Hierophantom’s Poeticorner : Ghost Train by Paul Bradford, Art by Eric Hurley
…and…
Page 96 : Back Cover Skull by Malcolm Kirk

Previous issues of Hallowscream are available to download from backfromthedepths.co.uk/hallowscream or you can buy real-life monochrome paperback versions from Lulu.com.

HAPPY HALLOWE’EN!

 

Theatre of Terror



August 28th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Graphic Novels & Comics |

Harvest HC Review

by Sidesy

harvest-hc-reviewIt’s always quite interesting talking to people about what sort of horror scares them the most. It’s such a broad genre, encapsulating pretty much any subject and subverting it into something that is designed specifically to shock. A house, a car, a truck, your body, sheep, the creepy pet cemetery up the road, a rubber tyre (yes, look here, it’s a real film, it’s great). For me, it’s the supernatural/demonic possession. If I want to stay awake at night, for a week, then the recent incarnation of The Woman in Black will do the trick, as will the original Japanese Ju-on. I can’t physically bring myself to watch The Exorcist again. I’m working up to a repeat viewing of Event Horizon after 10 years.

Arguably, horror that subverts what’s closer to our reality has the power to disturb more than anything. Something like Se7en is scary because people like John Doe actually exist in the real world and have committed far worse than what we see in the film. This is the premise behind Harvest, a story that deals with the grim subject matter of illegal organ transplantation; cutting out bits from the poor and needy and giving them to the highest bidder. It’s a multi-million dollar black market industry and it’s happening right now, as I type this. Writer A.J Lieberman knows this, wants you to know this and plays on this fact throughout.

Harvest follows Dr Benjamin Dane, a talented surgeon who happens to be a fully blown alcoholic and working his way towards a habitual drug habit. After having his license revoked after his negligence allows a woman to die on his operating table, Dane loses everything. He is approached by the mysterious Jason Craven, a well organised ‘underground’ businessman, one who has made millions in illegal transplantation transactions. Dane is offered a job; removing organs from ‘willing donors’ and transferring them into the rich and powerful who would pay a fortune to have, say, a healthy liver after lavish lifestyle choices leaves their original in a less than desirable state. However, Dane discovers the dark side to this profitable business after an operation doesn’t go according to plan. Walking away from Craven and his associates, Dane vows to bring them to justice, in the only way he knows how: taking back what he’s already transplanted.

HARVEST-COVERS_FULL-IMAGE-726x248

Harvest is a solid horror thriller, taking a macabre idea and building a decent narrative around the subject matter. Lieberman has created an interesting lead in Benjamin Dane, a fuck-up of grand proportions; how Greg House might be if he lost all control and all self-respect. Through him we navigate this dark underbelly of the medical profession and meet the other cast of characters, who, unfortunately, seem to fit into the standard archetypical ‘bad guy’ moulds. Craven is the experienced and intelligent Hans Gruber of illegal transplants, his associate Greer, the tough-yet-sexy femme fatale who has a love-hate relationship with Dane. His eventual sidekick is the hard-as-nails Yakuza girl he helps at the beginning, but it’s the creepy six-year old boy, Noah, who really baffles. Introduced in issue 1, he is the son of the woman Dane let’s die on his operating table while under the influence and he comes to ‘haunt’ Dane at convenient moments in the story. Maybe it’s me being thick (probably), but I can’t work out the kid’s significance in all of this and while Lieberman, in the extras at the back, cites the boy’s importance to the story, he just seems like an unnecessary subplot that isn’t satisfactorily wrapped up at the end of the book. And while we’re at the end, the final issue feels a little forced; Lieberman wraps up a lot of loose ends, but leaves us with too many questions and what feels like a strained and unnecessary twist that doesn’t really add anything to what we’ve just experienced.

Harvest-graphic-novel-reviewNot to say that this isn’t an enjoyable book, it is; there are some great moments, notably Dane’s escape from Craven’s ultra-hi-tech surgery, as well as some genuinely creepy bits that highlight the lack of regard these people have for human life. All of this is brought beautifully to life by Colin Lorimer’s sublime artwork. Lorimer elevates this book with his pencil work and notably, his colours. His eye for realism, along with his dark, rich palette, match the grimy nastiness this book trowels into perfectly. Each panel is a work of art in itself, from the opening splash of a soaking wet Chicago street scene to the rain drenched rooftop stand-off, this book is (wet) stunning. It’s worth noting the clever interlocking covers to the series as well, collected here individually and as a cool flip out poster at the back – a nice idea that adds insight into the overall aesthetic of the story. What is annoying about this book, and this could just be the print run, are the number of spelling and grammatical errors that flood this edition. It doesn’t detract from what you’re reading, and I’m not saying I’m perfect, but for a comic book company like Image, you’d expect it to look at little more professional.

Harvest is a nice idea, not perfectly executed, but executed in an enjoyable fashion that plays on the reality of illegal organ transplantation and uses this to create a dark, well-paced thriller. If you don’t buy this book for any other reason than the artwork, you’ll get your money’s worth in droves.

If Harvest does nothing else, it highlights a very real horror – that we are living in a world where there are more people on the transplant list than there are organs available for transplant, thus making our organs a commodity to be bought and sold like any other commodity. As a result, there are people out there who will do anything, anything, to get their hands on that precious, life-saving body part. If that doesn’t scare the shit out of you, God knows what will.

Harvest HC

 

Theatre of Terror



July 24th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Decapitated Dan Reviews |

Horror Comic Roundup – 7/9/13

by Decapitated Dan

Horror Comic Roundup Image drawn by Travis Wayne Pursell, colors by Decapitated Dan

Welcome to the Horror Comic Roundup! Join Decapitated Dan,  Billy Dunleavy and friends each week as they review new and old Horror Comics that you will either be dying to read or terrified to check out!

Abe Sapien #4 (Dark Horse)
Billy Dunleavy: It’s pretty safe to say that Abe Sapien is the most riveting member of the BPRD (Liz Sherman is a close second). Just on looks alone, you have to sympathize with the guy. His origin is crazy (read the Plague of Frogs Omnibus), he’s a good friend to Liz and Hellboy, he’s got great skills as an agent of the BPRD, and we can go on forever about him. In this issue, he shows us what it’s like to be him for a few days. Even amongst this carnage going on, he’s still almost attacked by a wolf, sort of befriended by some people, and attacked by another. He’s running his own investigation into these crazy beast sightings and eggs that have been laid by said creatures. Some people, even within the BPRD think he has something to do with it. A long time ago, he was implicated as being a linchpin to such events (prophesied by the Black Flame), and recently was shot by a psychic that also believes he has something to do with it. Mignola, Arcudi, and Fiumara have brought this character to new heights. Don’t be foolish and miss it.  Rating 5/5

Decapitated Dan: A part of me says “Dan, there is no way the Hellboy books have been this good, for so long.” While another part of me says “You IDIOT! Why have you not ALWAYS been reading these?” This issue was a part 1 of a new story arc, and I do think that helped, however it’s so DAMN SOLID that I am kicking myself for not getting invested sooner. The artwork in this issue by Fiumara is GORE-Geous, as my eyes quickly fell in love with his style. The story though, was what got me hook, line and sinker (get it, a fish reference). While I am to assume, keep in mind that this is the first Abe book I have read, that this takes place at the same time as BPRD, it’s not technically put out there, but I think I get it. I so enjoyed this, and I am so enjoying everything Hellboy’verse now. I will be back, because I want to see that damn egg hatch! – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Aliens Vs. Parker #3 (BOOM!)
Denise Dutton: I was all sortsa excited about this one when I saw the title. Alien vs. Predator? Sweet! But in fact, this is Aliens vs. Parker, and it’s about a guy who works as a space delivery man. He falls for a girl, grabs a spaceship in order to follow her, then gets stuck on a planet full of….yep. I wish I could say this is awesome, but the main characters – Parker and his buddy Modi – are so hyper that I’m rooting for the aliens. And the Marine that saves them is kind of a douche. The good news? This is a 4 part series. Pity AVP uses hyperactivity as humor; a little bit is good, but every page is overkill. At least Manuel Bracchi draws cute baby aliens. Bumped up a half star for the SpaceEx slogan “We know how to handle your package”. I’ll take that on a tshirt, please. (2.5 out of 5)

Bela Lugosi’s Tales from the Grave #3 (Monsterverse)
Decapitated Dan: Mummies! Yay a new mummy story, and it rocks my horror socks off! Of course that is the first thing I will point out about this issue, but it’s surely not the last. This fang-tastic anthology consists of 6 gruesome tales, that all had me crying for more. The first I have to mention is that Mummy story, and Park and Mayo had me all wrapped up in its goodness. Now while you might think that was my favorite of the bunch, the very first story by Leal and Poliwko was the winner here. I never saw that take on this one coming, and it was a great one. It makes me think of some many news ways that it could be approached, so good. To round it all out my third favorite was the story by Benton Jew. It takes that classic feel of an old EC horror comic, and gives it a fun new look. While the guys still gets it in the end, how it got there was fantastic. Overall this anthology is amazing, and it always has been. I just wish it could come out monthly, because I am always left needing more! – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Clive Barker’s Next Testament #2 (BOOM!)
Decapitated Dan: There is something I really like about this series, but also something I don’t, and that is making me stay on the fence for now. I really like this concept, and the way it is playing out is so beautiful. However, I really think it is too long winded on the dialogue. I was bored at times, but during others I was really entertained. I don’t know how well that really speaks to the comic though, because it’s only 24 pages. The artwork though is killer, and I mean that because one scene really had got my attention. I love the colors and how they shift on the “God” character to give him this “shiny” appearance. Overall I like what is going on here, but it needs to keep me in focus from start to finish, and so far it’s not. – Dying Breath 3.0 out of 5.0

Denise Dutton: Barker’s take on the Second Coming is a glorious look at what humanity believes God should be, and what a higher power probably is. Wick, the God that created us all (or at least says he did) is ready to get down to business. Haemi Jang’s art is beautiful as ever, but the rainbow letters of Steve Wands are the stand out here; if a lord of colors spoke, I’d bet that’s how it’d be. But Wick ain’t here for fun and games y’all. And the last panel ends with a bang. Bring forth issue #3! (4 out of 5)

Dexter #1 (Marvel)
Decapitated Dan: Hmmmm…. I am not too sure what to think about this one. Okay the easy way to start is to just say this, if you watch the TV show, forget EVERYTHING you know. This one appears to me like it will appeal more to the people who have read the books. Which makes sense because it was written by the creator Jeff Lindsay. This is why I had a hard time reading it, well that and the artwork. I think if this came out when the TV show started, my review would be different. but having watched 7 seasons of the show, and now things not falling into place where they should, it makes no sense. The concept of getting people who only watch the show, to switch to this and be happy about it, I really don’t think it there. So for now, I will just call this a bad attempt at some crossover coverage for the character. – Dying Breath 2.0 out of 5.0

Denise Dutton: I love Dexter. Well okay, I stopped watching last season, because it felt like it had jumped the shark. (Though I am open to revisiting that assessment.) Now Marvel is giving us a dose of everyone’s favorite do-gooder serial killer. Jeff Lindsay takes Dexter to his high school reunion and we get to meet Dexter’s former nemesis. Who doesn’t seem to have changed a bit. Pages 6 & 7 switch from Dexter’s usual first person narrative to third person, which is jarring (and something that an editor should have cleaned up), but this miniseries has a story that is looking like a fun non-premium-channel way to get your Dexter fix. (3.5 out of 5)

The Final Plague #1 (Action Lab)
Billy Dunleavy: WOW. This book was so amazing. Simplicity can sometimes be used to elevate something far beyond its competition. Sometimes writers get too hung up with trying to create some elaborate story that most people can’t follow or just simply get bored before there’s any payoff. This is not the case with Final Plague #1. In this story, an infestation of rats at a local farmhouse shows us the problem, but we even see that this plague is more than likely global, as New York City is affected as well. There were two scenes that made this entire book worth it. Both involved people being mauled by rabid, diseased rats. Words cannot describe how wild these panels were, but trust me, you will get the creeps and it will last long after you’ve read the book!!!  Rating 5/5

GFT: Werewolves The Hunger #2 (Zenescope)
Billy Dunleavy: The first issue was decent, and except for a lack of action, this issue was also pretty good. We get some action, but not nearly enough for a werewolf story that ends next issue. The part with the jogger getting mauled and then Roman coming to the scene was outstanding. Basically, a good looking young girl gets attacked and bitten but Roman scares him off. The girl then asks Roman…”help me”, and Roman asks her if she’s been bitten. She answers yes, and then again asks if he can help, to which he replies yes. He then raises his shotgun to her face, and KABLAM!!!! Nice shot of the barrel exploding that made it even better. The scientific aspect of the story is good too, but again,this ends in the next issue, so this is most certainly going to feel rushed when it ends. Too bad to, because it would have been better served as at least a four or five issue mini series.  Rating 4/5

Night of the Living Dead: Aftermath #9 (Avatar)
Decapitated Dan: Well folks, this looks like it could be the end for our little group of survivors if these scientists have anything to say about it, however I think David Hine has a trick or two up his sleeve to make sure that I am thrown for a loop in the coming issues. Right off the bat, this issue is balls to the wall with action, and I loved the opening scene. It’s a shame to lose a helicopter, but it was funny how it happened and everything else that came after. Then the issue slowed down a little, but it was all necessary build for what it to come next. The artwork is fantastic, and helps deliver that final blow to your brain that leaves you knowing how good of a comic this is. Another great issue, from this amazing series. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Phantom Stranger #10 (Trinity of Sin)(DC)
Billy Dunleavy: I’m not an avid DC reader, but their “Dark” line up has me keeping up with certain titles, for sure! One of them is Phantom Stranger. The Stranger has been whisked away to what seems like Heaven, but while there, he’ll find out the meaning of more than just what paradise looks like. He’ll have to choose only one member of his most recent “family”, that can return with him to the land of the living, while the others stay dead (killed by the Sin Eater). J. M. Dematteis has an outstanding way of telling a story within this genre. He knows just how to represent each character strongly without anyone really stealing the show. Combine that with fantastic artwork by Fernando Blanco & Brad Anderson, and you’ve got a solid book!  Rating 4/5

Screwed #2 (Zenoscope)
Denise Dutton: I love the character of Special Agent Erin Scott. A gal that survived a serial killer’s advances and refuses to let that weaken her. Then there’s Anne, a woman with tons of scars and no memory; a woman who sees monsters everywhere. This is getting better and better, with gorgeous colors by Oracle that bring the incredible detail of David Miller’s pencils to life. Screwed is only a 6 part series, and I’m already hoping for more. (4.5 out of 5)

Ten Grand #3 (Image)
Decapitated Dan: I don’t know how comics can get any better than this. One the one side of the coin you have JMS, a writer who I have loved for years (his comic work). Then on the other side you have the artwork of the extremely talented Ben Templesmith. Now on their own, they are amazing, but when their powers combine, you get Ten Grand. This is easily a front runner for my best new series of 2013, with another book that I am reviewing this week! The story keep trucking right along, and it just keeps getting better and better. I love everything that is happening in this book, and the visuals by Templesmith only add to how great it is. I know, I know, it’s just turning into gush city around here, so I will bring it all to a close by saying, this is a book you need  in your life, it will just make okay. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Trinity of Sin: Pandora  #1 (DC)
Billy Dunleavy: A story that begins 10,000 years ago, showing a village of prehistoric peoples sets the stage for this time-spanning tale of adventure! A young girl on her way through the forest is surprised to see a flashing light under a bush. She finds a skull, but not a human skull, but one from a robot or cyborg. It’s eyes flash red, and so does the red third eye on its forehead. As that happens, a third eye seemingly opens up on the girls forehead as well, and she fall to the ground, passing out. When she awakens and returns to her village, she sees a scene of horror. The seven deadly sins have manifested into terrible beasts, and have laid waste to the village and are feasting on the people.  Before she can do anything, she, along with two others (whom I do not know), are in front of a pantheon of gods (from Captain Marvel/Shazam?), and are punished for their “crimes”. The tale continues as Pandora now must try to rid the Earth of these creatures, or die trying. Other than not understanding the robot skull and pantheon of gods parts, this book was pretty solid. Anyone with good DC knowledge will obviously know more about it, and definitely have a good time reading this book. Hopefully the rest of the event will be this good.  Rating 4/5

Über #3 (Avatar)
Decapitated Dan: This series will not stop kicking ass. Seriously this is like that scene in Old Boy where he just beats everyone in the hallway, it’s that damn good. I love how things are coming together, and yeah this is a slow down issue, while the sides figure out how to give themselves an advantage in the war, but man is it a good read. And just in case you didn’t think you would get your Overmen moment, it’s there right in front of your melting eyes as Hitler gives the order to kill one of his own. It’s funny because as I read this, I root for the Über soldiers, I root for the English and I root for anyone who will make Adolf’s brain explode, which you know has to be coming… right? No way around it, this book is an amazing read, that I can not wait to get my hands on each month. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Venom #37 (Marvel)
Decapitated Dan: Alright, settle down, no this isn’t back to being a horror book just yet, but it ends with 1 of the key elements to make it one. I am actually happy to be reading this book again. I thought for a while their that it just got all screwy and was starting to just go off the rails, but now it seems to be back on track. The big highlight for this issue was the art of Kim Jacinto. It was beautiful from page to page, but again, it all came together at the end, when the real star of this book showed up, Jack O’Lantern! So I had to review it people, I had to. A great issue, that I can only hope returns to what it once was in my eyes. Now lets kill off Venom and rename this book! – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

 

Theatre of Terror



July 23rd, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Decapitated Dan Reviews |

Horror Comic Roundup – 7/2/13

by Decapitated Dan

 

Horror Comic Roundup Image drawn by Travis Wayne Pursell, colors by Decapitated Dan

Welcome to the Horror Comic Roundup! Join Decapitated Dan,  Billy Dunleavy and friends each week as they review new and old Horror Comics that you will either be dying to read or terrified to check out!

Are You There Cthulhu? It’s Me Ted (Instant Press Comics)
Decapitated Dan: I might not be the worlds biggest Lovecraft expert, but I do like me some H.P. stories, so when I had a chance to check out this book I was excited. The story is a fun horrorific read that really left me wanting more. Taking the concept of bringing about the end of the world and adding on a comedic twist to it makes this a solid read. The story follows around Ted, a young guy just looking to find out his way, while coming into contact with the wrong people via craigslist. The comedy and horror ensue as they bring Cthulhu into our world and proceed to, in a way, freak out about it. The delivery of the jokes is near perfect and the story is really entertaining. If anything it’s sucks because this is just a one shot. I would love to see more. The artwork plays on the comedy side of the book, with it’s animation like style. If there was a way to give this genre a fun take, this book is it. I think H.P. fans and all horror fans alike, would enjoy giving this book a read. Great stuff from start to finish. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

BPRD Vampire #4 (Dark Horse)
Billy Dunleavy: If you like horror, you should buy this book just from the cover. Seriously! It’s not a hoax either, you do get a blood-thirsty spider creature, witches, zombies, and everything in-between in this issue. Honestly, the colors by Dave Stewart are awesome, but this book might be even better if it were in black and white. It has an old school magazine vibe to it like the issues from the 1970’s, and that’s a good thing. Anders is now possessed by two evil spirits, and the village full of witches is going to attempt to cast them out, and destroy them. Yeah, good luck with that one. If you like Mignola, Moon, or Ba, you need to get this book. The story and visuals are strong, and it stands on its own (for now anyway), without having to have read any previous incarnations of BPRD or Hellboy.  Rating 4.5/5

Decapitated Dan: This series keeps getting better and better, but… it ends soon so that makes me sad. What I really love about this series is the artwork. I can not get over how amazing the pages look, and how dark and gritty they come across. I was in love with the panels with the big witch showdown. The pacing of the story is fantastic, and what really nailed this one down was the fantastic ending. This is one solid mini series. – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

Cape Fear OGN (Zombie Portrait Productins)
Decapitated Dan: Where on Earth has the artwork of Sacchetto been all of my life? To say that this book is GORE-Geous is seriously an understatement, because panel after panel it left my jaw on the floor. It reminded me of Dave Cooper’s style from the Aircel days, with it’s detail in a fun animated style. The werewolf in this is by far one of the most solid monsters I have ever seen on a page and man I could not get enough of it. The lettering done is what really pushed this book to get the score that it did though. The sound effects jump off the page, and add that little extra touch to make this a book not to be missed. As if the artwork was not enough to pick up this book, I have to mention the story. At first I was not sure where this one was going, but as the chapters played out, and it all came together, I was hooked. The concept of a realm where fear is something that one being controls, and that privilege is fought over is very interesting. Add into that the mix of having Earth totems and how the monsters and people interact, and you have one compelling story. Do not read this review and think this is a book you should pass on, instead read this and know this is a book you need to check out. It delivers on all levels and will not let you down for even one second. This is what we call a hidden gem, so lets all work together to make sure it is hidden no more. Pick this one up!!! –  Dying Breath 5.0 out of 5.0

Crawling Sky #4 (Antarctic Press)
Decapiated Dan: Oh man what a conclusion to this mini series that is not to be missed! From the start I knew this book was not going to be anything short of fantastic, and the way it all came together here at the end nailed that thought. The artwork is more the focus here as the comic really depicts the big showdown between our heroes and the monster. Denham is going to get 10 high fives from me, because each panel left me breathless. The toning of the artwork on top of how amazing the fight played out was phenomenal. The “story” in terms of wording was really not there, but the visual story was all that was really needed here. Like I said, from this start of this mini to now, I knew this was going to be good, and in return it was great. Do yourself a favor and go get this one, if you missed out it is your own fault you decided not to read on of the best books this year. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Crossed Badlands #31 (Avatar Press)
Decapitated Dan: Every time I pick up an issue of this arc by Gage I know I am going to be given a solid read. I have to keep repeating myself by saying that I love the concept of this story. The idea of in a way dissecting how the Crossed think is such a unique way to go about this, because they are not zombies, they are just people with a bad bad case of rabies. Take this issue for example, Smokey now knows of the journal, and yet he has his own agenda, that we are not being told yet. Then you have Oliver, who is doing what he can to just survive in this messed up world. Add in the GORE-Geous, emphasis on the gore here, artwork by Zanier and this is just another solid issue. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Five Ghosts The Haunting of Fabian Gray #4 (Image)
Billy Dunleavy: Another solid issue! This series has yet to disappoint on any level. In this installment, we watch, as Fabian is put thru a test by each of his “ghosts”, in some sort of dreamland. He eventually passes them all, but the real story is the ghosts then being attacked by a demon that is trying to not only kill them, but Fabian as well! Good story, as the previous issues showed, and the artwork is very strong. It’s the perfect match for this story, and the colorist deserves a share of the credit, no doubt! It will be interesting to see how things play out with next issue being the last issue of the mini series, as there seems to be so much more to expand on. Hopefully sales will reflect this awesome book, and we can get more in the near future!  Rating 4.5/5

Fatale #15 (Image)
Billy Dunleavy: With only having read the first trade (five issues), and two others after that (one being last issue) it’s not easy to piece things together. Honestly though, the story was still compelling, and leads you down a road to Josephine. This beautiful brunette has apparently enthralled many men over several decades, and she doesn’t age either, so that helps with the seduction part. We also get to see Nicholas, as he’s being taken to discuss things with his lawyer. Before you know it, a janitor comes in, kills the lawyer, and Nicholas is on the run. We then flash to 1995, and see that Josephine is an amnesiac, or pretending to be, and it looks as though she’s brutally murdered a few people in someone’s basement, where she was being held against her will. Long story short here. A lot has gone on in this series, and you need to keep up. Good issue, but not a good jumping on point.  Rating 4/5

 Ghostbusters #5 (IDW)
Decapitated Dan: I have not had this much fun with the Ghostbusters since I was a kid watching the cartoon. I want to start by just saying how great the artwork is. The take on the cast has that cartoon vibe to it, but gives them all an updated look that I love. Add into that the amazing colors and this book is just a visual winner. The story also carries that fun that was once found in the cartoon series. I love the addition of the new members, and everything that is happening now with the team trying to get things sorted out. What really sealed the deal on this issue in terms of horror though, was the final few pages. With one of the members now being possessed, I can not wait to find out what happens next. – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

 Hoax Hunters: Case Files #1 (Image)
Denise Dutton: I adore Hoax Hunters. They’re part goofy satire, part monster-palooza, part serious story. Think Magnum P. I., if Magnum and the crew fought paranormal stuff. (And had cool abilities of their own.) Case Files is unrelated to their primary storyline, but these stories have the same funky/freaky vibe as the usual issues. Reagan is excited about the chance to see a unicorn, the Hunters meet a god in his BVD’s, and disprove Supreme Man, among other things. And did I mention we get to meet Murder’s ex? These short & sweet stories are a great jump in point for new readers, though I heartily recommend starting at issue #1 of HH. (4 out of 5)

The Last Zombie: The End #2 (Antarctic Press)
Decapitated Dan: The honest answer is that Keene has done no wrong in crafting one of the best comics of the past 3 years. This issue moves the final chapter forward as we see Dr. Scott finally begin to make that transformation he was fighting all along. How justified is it that when that happened, it happened to two of the most deserving people yet. The story moves forward at a perfect pace, and man what an ending. I am also really loving the artwork of Chris Allen. I really only thought 1 panel looked a little hurried, but it was in the middle of a great action sequence. I have said it time and time again, this series is solid, and so much fun to read. I have enjoyed every second of it, and as we come to a close in a few issues, I know it is something I am really going to end up missing when it is gone. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Vitriol The Hunter #5 (IDW)
Decapitated Dan: I am really mad at myself for not reading this whole series, because this issue was really good. I think what I like best about Vitriol is that it has this PG look, but the content is so R rated. That mix just spells out FUN and I am big on that when reading comics. Continuing on with what took place in the last issue, this issue kind of slows down at the start, and then ramps it back up at the end. I love the art, and I love how this is playing out. I am vowing it here, to myself, that I will go out and get caught up before #6 comes out. A great read. – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

The Wake #2 (Vertigo)
Billy Dunleavy: After reading this issue, instead of feeling dazzled and horrified, I’m lost. Most of the book made sense, but really seems like something else most readers will have already seen. The crew talks about the creature and gives an assessment on what they think it is. The dialogue is pretty good, as is the pacing. After that, there is a series of dreams (maybe?) that some of the crew have, but it’s very hard to tell what’s real and what’s a dream. This along with some semi-erotic thriller action made the story weaker. Hopefully this issue is just a slow burn heading towards something fantastic. Question is, will people hang around to find out for eight more issues?  Rating 3/5

Decapitated Dan: I am still on the fence with this one. I really love the concept, and the way it was executed in this issue through the dialogue was way better than issue #1. However I am thinking that this should be presented in larger chunks. What I mean by that is, there is sooooo much story to be presented, which I know because I read the first two issues, that if we have to wait 1 more issue for everything to fully be presented, it sucks. I will say this though, the creepy factor went way up in this issue. It really reminds me of those late 80’s early 90’s underwater Sci-Fi movies, where the environment adds more to the scare factor. So far I am liking the start, but I hope it fleshes itself out faster in the coming issues. – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

Denise Dutton: First off, I just want to pay homage to Sean Murphy and Jordie Bellaire; the cover of this issue is gorgeous, and a cool throwback to Golden Age action comics. Now where were we? Oh yes. Snyder is playing out a sci-fi/horror tale that feels a little like Carpenter’s The Thing meets 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, but is wholly original. I love it when a comic stirs up my latent science nerd. And this one does. There’s still a few WTF moments, where the main story gets interrupted by background/dream sequences/the unknown, but now I know that it’s all going to come together soon. I got to see prehistoric man battle a Megalodon! Thank you, The Wake. (4.5 out of 5)

 

Theatre of Terror



July 22nd, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Graphic Novels & Comics |

The Walking Dead vol. 18 – What Comes After TPB review

by Sidesy

WalkingDead_Vol18_WhatComesAfterThe actor, Willem Dafoe, was once asked whether he preferred playing good guys or bad guys. He responded: ‘Good guys, bad guys – it doesn’t matter. Everybody thinks they’re righteous’. Playing Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ obviously paid off; this sage like advice should be the cornerstone of the story-telling Bible. Robert Kirkman employs this philosophy pretty much as soon as The Walking Dead started and this latest volume is no exception.

Our favourite zombie soap opera continues just as the title suggests, straight after the horrific events of Something To Fear. The camps’ new friend, Jesus – not the water to wine variety – is under secret instructions from Rick to track down and locate the hideout of the prolific Negan, the baseball bat wielding megalomaniac who demands a substantial share of every community’s stockpiles. After a visit from Negan and his band of not-so merry men, it’s not Rick that takes action, but his son, Carl.

Carl takes centre stage for a while in this book, dishing out a brand of justice that would see him make a welcome addition to the cast of the Expendables. Inevitably captured by Negan, Carl is taken on a tour of Negan’s base of operations (which boasts one of the greatest anti-intruder measures ever) and this is where it starts to get scary. Not due to the zombies, or the particularly nasty ‘iron incident’, but because you end up doing something you never thought you’d do – seeing things from Negan’s point of view. In this character, Kirkman has, arguably, produced one his greatest creations. Negan is an UTTER bastard; ruthless, arrogant and lacks any kind of empathy. However, for the most part, he’s reasonable and fair. He keeps the people in his care safe, fed and watered and gives them a oh, who am I kidding, he IS a bastard and he needs to be stopped! It’s towards the end of the book that Rick, the surreptitious little bugger, starts making moves to do just that.
There’s not much more that can be said that hasn’t been said about this series. Kirkman is consistently on form, sending his characters from one bad situation to the next and making you root for them all the way. Adlard’s artwork is also consistently good and, as I mentioned in the last volume’s review, he does character reactions so well. The look Rick gives Negan towards the end of the book; you can see the hate – it’s exceptional.

If you’ve read this series from the start and made that emotional investment in the characters, you care what happens to them, you can’t help but care. This is what Kirkman is good at; giving us people that we want to survive and to do well. As a result of this, in Negan, he’s given us someone arguably worse than the Governor, someone who believes what he’s doing is right. Someone who’ll bash in someone’s brains with a baseball bat just to make a point.

But he’s created the best post-apocalyptic burglar alarm ever, so he can be forgiven.

You can purchase The Walking Dead vol. 18 via Amazon.

 

Theatre of Terror



July 12th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Blah, Decapitated Dan Reviews |

Horror Comic Roundup – 6/25/13

by Decapitated Dan

Horror Comic Roundup Image drawn by Travis Wayne Pursell, colors by Decapitated Dan

Welcome to the Horror Comic Roundup! Join Decapitated Dan,  Billy Dunleavy and friends each week as they review new and old Horror Comics that you will either be dying to read or terrified to check out!

Baltimore: The Inquisitor (Dark Horse)
Billy Dunleavy: Mignola and Golden have brought us another masterpiece in the world of Lord Henry Baltimore! This issue shows an inquisitor, and his “holy” quest to stop whoever he deems evil. He has Hodge in a jail cell for what he says are crimes of evil. In reality, Hodge is a friend of Baltimore’s, and has been corresponding with him at length about the vampires (and othe creatures) infesting Europe. A tragic death of a friend, Judge Duvic is judged, and Baltimore waits in the wings for a confrontation with Duvic! Anyone looking for something new, or just even slightly off the beaten path, give the Baltimore series a shot, because with Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden writing, and Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart on art, this book never misses!  Rating 4/5

BPRD #108 (Dark Horse)
Billy Dunleavy: As “Wasteland” moves to part two, Dr. Corrigan and Iosif talk for the first time in a while, and try to assess what game plan to use moving forward. After the mentioning of Johann, we switch over to the scene of him and his battallion, struggling to survive. They’ve lost quite a few agents to these savage beasts that keep hunting them down, but Johann wont give up. This issue had it all. All out action and destruction, a heartfelt moment between the young boy and Agent Gervesh, some humor to lighten things up a bit, and then a good cliffhanger at the end to get you back for next issue! Two pages in particular stuck out. First, a page with only five rectangular panels that had only eleven words but was sad, encouraging, and creepy all at once. Another page showed the agents arriving at Chicago, and the mass destruction, followed by the disbelief of the agents was fantastic! Kudos to Mignola, Arcudi (writers), Laurence Campbell, and Dave Stewart (artists)! Oh and another great cover by the dude that’s been kicking butt for a while now, Dave Johnson!  Rating 5/5

Decapitated Dan: If this book has been this good for a long time, I am going to start kicking myself. WOW what an issue! I never expected to see that (guy) turn into a monster, but he did and it was creepy. The pacing on this story is so fantastic, and it all comes together so well. Tons of scary ass moments, in a world that just seems to have no hope at all. When you add in the GORE-Geous artwork by Campbell you add another dimension of horror that most comics can not achieve. WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN READING THIS!?!?! So good, and now I need more, or at least I need to go back and get some of the older stuff. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

The Dream Merchant #1 (Image)
Spaced: Winslow is just a guy who has a had a recurring dream all his life, but this is no ordinary dream. This dream has effected him to the point he now currently resides in a mental institution. But, when Winslow’s doctor decides to use a different method to explore the reasoning behind his dream he unwittingly unleashes something that may break Winslow’s psyche forever. The art is great, the characters are interesting and the writing is engaging. When using dreams as the catalyst to a story the possibilities are always endless and writer Nathan Edmondson has a good grasp on this, which should make for a really good mini series.

Extinction Parade #1 (Avatar Press)
Decapitated Dan: First of all, I loved the artwork. Caceres does an amazing job of drawing zombies, and to make it even better, he litters this book full of them. The story, which really comes across as more of novel, is long, but really good. I enjoy the concept of what will be going on here, but this issue didn’t really get to the point just yet, as we have to wait for the next issue to get things really rolling. So if you are going to pick this one up, expect a lot of build and backstory, which is needed, but expect things to really get rolling in the next issue. Great start! – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

Denise Dutton: Vampires.  Zombies.  Two great tastes…together.  But not really; Brooks’ story is still in the gearing-up stages in #1, but we know where this is headed.  Vampires will have to get up off their usual way of watching the human race from a distance (unless said vamp is having a snack), and begin to deal with the zombie apocalypse.  Now this is a horse of a different color!  And the colors on Raulo Carceres’ artwork are lovely indeed, as is the detail in the pencils.  “They had always been a joke”, says one of the vamps.  Wanna bet it’s not so funny in #2?  Big ol’ bonus points for a Twilight smackdown.  I think I’m gonna like this series.  And a look at George R.R. Martin’s Skin Trade cover in the end pages?  Yaaaay!  (4.5/5)

The Fall of the House of Usher #2 (Dark Horse)
Billy Dunleavy: While Corben is a legend in the medium, his love for boobs is sometimes a bit over the top and can hinder the over all story itself. In the case of this book, it didn’t as much as it had previously, but it still seemed cheesy. Corben’s writing however, is very strong in this issue of the final day of the House of Usher! A murder, a betrayal, and Roderick gone completely unhinged, make this book a really solid read. Poe was an excellent storyteller, and this adaptation showcases that immensely. This book was certainly the strongest out of them all! The cover work must be mentioned as well, because it was superbly done by Corben himself! Great use of shadows and stone!  Rating 4/5

Decapitated Dan: I LOVE CORBEN!!!!! Wait let me try again, I don’t want to have a short review here… I LOVE CORBEN!!!! Damn it! I did it again. What I really meant to say was… I LOVE CORBEN!!! This issue was fantastic, and incase you missed what I said last time, I don’t really care for Poe stories. Yet Corben did an amazing job on these 2 issues, and made it much more interesting. The artwork… oh the artwork, it is simply GORE-Geous. Page after page, panel after panel, it was just a pure eyegasm. I did not expect to enjoy this mini, but I am so happy I did. So one last time, let me say it again… I LOVE CORBEN!!!!! – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Grimm Fairy Tales Vampires: The Eternal #1 (Zenoscope) 
Denise Dutton: An “undead” connecting miniseries that’s a heckuva mouthful of a title.  Here you’ve got Samira’s origin story, and can I say that I’m sick to death with *glk* as a drinking blood comic book “sound”?  When I read that, in my head I hear vampires choking.  Anyway, after the Samira story there’s a tidbit about Van Helsing’s search for Sela.  But I’m not invested in this story.  I can’t help but think that this series in the Grimm universe is just a way to trot out more hot chicks.  And on that note, I can’t stand how they dress Van Helsing like a Steampunk hooker.  Plus, The Extinction Parade does vamps much, much better.  Much.  The good news?  The final pages do have me excited for Screwed #1…. (2/5)

John Carpenter’s Asylum #1 (Storm King Press)
Decapitated Dan: Man, I wish I could have reviewed this one as soon as it came out, because HOLY HELL is it an AGHH-MAZING read!! First of all… Bruce Jones people, BRUCE JONES! The story just comes flying out of the gate and never slows down. You talk about a thrill ride, this is it. But, because of that, there is really no good chance to really get to know the cast. It’s not needed though, because the object of a #1 issue is to grab you, and this story did just that. Now let’s talk about how in love with Manco’s artwork I am…. I LOVE IT! There is not a single page in this book that drops the ball, and do you know how hard that has to be to do panel after panel? To be that consistent, oh man… it’s just to damn good looking. Overall a Balls to the Wall read that will just leave you wanting more, needing more, and now you have to wait a bit to get more. Check this book out! – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

The Last Zombie: The End #1 (Antarctic Press)
Decapitated Dan: I’m starting to get sad because this is series is now on the final “chapter” if you will. I really did enjoy the letter that Keene put on the inside cover of this issue, so that had me ready to roll right from the start. I like that this issue takes place a little in the future from what happened last time. This is a great build issue, meaning things are really just being setup, but be prepared because Planters is going to unleash hell on some poor bastards. The artwork is fantastic, and that final page is so GORE-Geous. I love this story, and I can not wait to see what is left in store for this cast. I hope all of you reading this, are reading this title. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Locke & Key: Omega #5 (IDW)
Spaced: With Tyler fighting for his life and Kinsey having to make one of the most difficult decisions she has had to make it seems that Dodge’s plan will soon be realized, but in true Locke & Key style will this ending be in Dodge’s favor? The intensity and emotion that this comic has wielded only gets better and this issue is no exception. The ending is drawing near and the showdown between Dodge and the Locke kids is coming to a close and only a turn of the key can decide their fates.

X-Files #1 (IDW)
Decapitated Dan: I will say this about issue #1, it was creepy. However I think it would have been more fun, if it did not involve the TV show. The artwork is nice, and it really adds to the creep factor. I think Mulder and Scully look great in this book. I just don’t get the concept of bringing them back. The show is long gone, and it’s okay that it is. I don’t think it would be easily accessible to someone new, you would have to know a good chunk of the story so far. So for me, good stuff, but I just think it could be better as something not involving known characters. – Dying Breath 3.0 out of 5.0

Zombolette (Milk Shadow Books)
Decapitated Dan: “Do you know Zombolette? Basically it’s like she is a zombie or something and she lives with an oversized guinea pig named Cameron.” That is the description taken straight off the back of this fantastic collection of short stories. The book is filled with tons of jokes coupled with solid artwork that lends itself so well to the humor. Baccini delivers so much entertainment from page to page, that I found myself stuck in this fantastic world. I can’t lie the joke that stood out to me the most was Cameron (the guinea pig) trying to figure out how to hold a shotgun, it just reminds me of anything with tiny arms trying to use them both at the same time, hahaha! What you get with this book is a comically solid read from start to finish. You can read it in chunks, or be like me and read it all at once. The short stories make it a very accessible read, and one I know I will find myself coming back to over and over again because of the great humor. Fans of Lenore or Johnny the Homicidal Maniac should be just save some time and go buy this book now, because it is right up your alley. A fantastic read combing what I love most, Horror and Comedy Comics. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

 

Theatre of Terror



July 9th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Decapitated Dan Reviews, Graphic Novels & Comics |

Horror Comic Roundup – 6/18/13

by Decapitated Dan

 

Horror Comic Roundup Image drawn by Travis Wayne Pursell, colors by Decapitated Dan

Welcome to the Horror Comic Roundup! Join Decapitated Dan,  Billy Dunleavy and friends each week as they review new and old Horror Comics that you will either be dying to read or terrified to check out!

A1 #1 (Titan Comics/Atomeka)
Billy Dunleavy: This issue had some elements of horror in it, but overall was more action and sci-fi. The first story, “The Weirding Willows”, showed a story that part Alice in Wonderland and part Island of Dr. Moreau (both excellent stories). A doctor doing obscene experiments, his beautiful but irreverent daughter, and animals that mirror humans with their intelligence round out the cast. The second story was CarpeDiem, and follows an agency that is tryin to stop an insane chef that seems more like a terrorist that uses food as weapons! Thirdly, we get a story that shows how a military will go to any lengths to win a war. Even if they kill their own soldiers while trying to summon a demon to posses them, and use it as a weapon! Solid book from end to end, Dave Elliott writing the first and third stories, and other credits include Garrie Gastonny, and Stanley “Artgerm” Lau.  Rating 4/5

Decapitated Dan: It’s here, it’s here, it is finally here! If you don’t know what I mean by that, well listen to an episode of Monsters & Metal, because Dave Elliot has been telling me how great this book was going to be for the past 4 months! So diving right into this anthology I will straight up say that “Odyssey” is the most horror-ish of the bunch, and was also my favorite. I thought that the story developed into something I need to know more of right away, and that artwork was oh so nice. #2 in my opinion was the “Carpe Deim”. I thought that this story was the most fun of the bunch, and 2 pages in there is an amazing head explosion, that still has me laughing. “The Weirding Willows” story, which I thought was going to be my favorite of the bunch, wound up being my least. Not to say that it was a bad story at all, it just had a ton of build and will end up paying off in the long run, where as the other two were in your face from the start. Overall I have to admit that this is one of the best anthology titles I have read in a while. The stories are solid and the artwork is to die for. This is the complete package. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Denise Dutton: This is the start of what looks like a trilogy of unconnected tales. “Weirding Willows” — Dr. Moreau is Alice-in-Wonderland’s dad; Dr. Jekyll and the Wicked Witch of the West go to him for help…but what help could they possibly need?  “The Carpediem” — Agent Monday and his gang of day-of-the-week named superagents are fighting a satanic chef, but can you really ever defeat broccoli?   “Odyssey” — WWII wasn’t just fought for the lives of those on earth, but for their souls; but first, a vessel must be chosen…. A1 #1 feels rushed, and just when I started to get my bearings, another story comes along.  This could be the start of an awesome series, or just a mishmash of average. I’m willing to bet on the former, at least for a few more issues. (3 out of 5)

An American Vampire Special: The Long Road to Hell: (Vertigo)
Denise Dutton: Rafael Albuquerque has been cranking out amazing artwork on American Vampire, and in this one-shot he’s also taking the lead on writing duties. And if Hell is any indication of what he’s stored up in that noggin, I’ll be front and center for more. This tale centers on Billy Bob and his fiancée Jolene, two small time grifters who end up in the middle of a war between two vampire covens. Add vamp hunter Travis Kidd and an orphan boy named Jasper to the mix, and this is one slam-bang of an issue. I love me some Scott Snyder stories, but I hope Albuquerque – whose art doesn’t suffer from his multitasking here – gets to drive the car again soon. (4.5 out of 5)

Breath of Bones #1 (Dark Horse)
Billy Dunleavy:
This war story with a twist did a great job at setting up the next issue! It had a great pace, solid characters, and very good artwork as well. Niles did a superb job with mixing action and heart-felt moments between the young boy and his grandfather. Add the mystery from the last page (well, not much of a mystery seeing the cover), and you have a book that not only has a solid story, but great artwork by Dave Wachter (Night of 1000 Wolves was awesome, so check out that book of his too!). Rating 4/5

Decapitated Dan: Well that was not what I expected for the first issue, but man did I enjoy the hell out of it. This issue really focuses on the build of the story, and all I can say is that something BIG (pun inteneded) is coming. Niles really delivers an interesting story here, that I can only hope gets better with each issue. The artwork by Wachter is GORE-Geous, and that is to be expected from him at this point. So overall a great story, but I am hoping we can see more Golem soon… I WANT DESTRUCTION! – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

 Constantine #4 (DC Comics)
Decapitated Dan: Well I wanted to enjoy this issue because it had good ‘ol Pape Midnight in it, but even he couldn’t save it for me. The story comes off as a one and done, and while it was not horrible, nothing really seemed to happen. The artwork was nice at times, but it was not as good as it has been before with this series. I get why when looking into the crystal ball we have to see ahead to this big DC crossover, but man that is why I do not like this. John was fine as he was, so unless something big happens, just consider this my last review of Constantine. – Dying Breath 2.5 out of 5.0

The Crow Curare #1 (IDW)
Decapitated Dan: I like Crow books when O’Barr is on them, so I think it is safe to say… I liked this book. While not really horror, this book sure delivers one hell of an opening chapter that has me hooked. What James does with this Crow story, is really build up that reason as to why a person would come back to settle a score. The pacing was fantastic and like I said, by the end I was so invested that I have to come back for more. Huge high fives also need to go to Dodé for his GORE-Geous visuals, because this book was breath taking to look at. Overall this is a series that is not to be missed. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Demon Knights #21 (DC)  
Billy Dunleavy: Another awesome issue from Venditti and company. This issue showed Jason Blood and Vandal Savage travel to the location of the Holy Grail. Once there though, they find out why no one has ever retrieved it before, as two giants that are guarding it attack them. There’s been an uneasy alliance between both of these characters, and Etrigan, Blood, and Savage, all feel the consequences of this. Its been building for a while now, but it all comes to a head in this issue!  Rating 4/5

Dreamkeepers Volume 3 (Vivid Independent Publishing)
Decapitated Dan: ARGH!!!!!!!! I have waited over 3 years, yes 3 years, for Volume 3 of Dreamkeepers to come out and now you are telling me there will be a Volume 4! ARGH!!!!! Hands down, this is one of the greatest comics I have ever read. Waiting for book 3 to come out was agony, because I was being deprived of something so good. Starting with the artwork…. ugh it is so BOO-Tiful! I can’t even try to explain how amazing the colors are, they seriously make my eyes melt, and speaking of eyes, how amazing did the “main” villain look in this issue. I am so in love with this books visuals. Now I can’t lie about the story. I did need to go grab books 1 and 2 and give them a quick glance to catch up, so maybe a recap page is needed,  I don’t know. But after diving into this book I was fully invested for the next 2 hours, I could no put it down. Dave and Liz crafted this story that grabbed me, and would not let go. The pacing, the dialogue, the concept… it is all so damn good. The only thing I can really try and compare this too would be Skydoll. I think the style and colors are kind of on that level, and the story is so solid, it is what I expect out of some of the imported comics I have read. Summing up this book could be difficult, but thankfully the English language has the right term for it… PERFECTION. – Dying Breath 5.0 out of 5.0

Ehmm Theory #1 (Action Lab)
Billy Dunleavy: What does a cat, a dead geek, and midget zombies all have in common? Easy, it’s the latest offering from Action Lab’s Danger Zone! This story was really cool on many different levels. It had a good story, great artwork, and a few panels of humor to break up the serious tone as well.There’s also the mystery of who “Saint Peter” actually is, because it’s obvious, he’s not, and also that he’s playing some kind of game that Gabriel (the geek) is unaware of.  Rating 4/5

Ferals #15 (Avatar Press)
Decapitated Dan: Remember last month when I reviewed #14 and thought it was a safe place to jump in, well #15 kinda changed that. While I was easily able to follow what was going on there were somethings that I had to guess at. The story does a great job in all fronts, because it is really entertaining and it makes me wish there was more time in the day to read what I missed out on. I love this concept and like where it is heading. The artwork was solid again, and with the best scene being of a woman kind of exploding while giving birth. Overall this is really a great series, so if you are like me and love werewolves, but fell behind on keeping up, make up for it now. – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

Helheim #4 (Oni Press)
Decapitated Dan: The pedal is to the floor, and this book is now taking off. What a great ride these past 2 issues have been and it can ONLY get better from here. The artwork by Jones is so GORE-Geous, and if you don’t believe me, open the issue to the scene with the monster Army. Bunn is seriously delivering one of the best stories on comic shelves right now too. I wish these issues were longer, because I need more story and I really need it now. Plain and simple, you need to be reading Helheim, because it is EPIC! – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Joe Hill’s Thumbprint #1 (IDW)
Billy Dunleavy:
This part military, part thriller goes right into some dark places that really hit you right in the gut! An ex-military girl that seems to have been part of some  dirty deeds overseas is now working in a diner, trying to live a quiet life. Little does she know, that soon her life will be turned upside down, and a shadowy figure begins to torture her mentally! It seems to be someone from her past, but she can’t remember why this thumbprint on a piece of paper is so familiar. This Joe HIll adaptation by Jason Ciaramelia is fantastic!  Rating 5/5

6 Gun Gorilla #1 (Boom)
Denise Dutton: Yes, this comic had me at it’s title.  I’m a sucker for the wacky.  But did it keep a’hold of me past that? Yep. Simon Spurrier & Jeff Stokely, did something unexpected; they bumped my obsession with the AT-AT down a peg.  I now want a FRIGGIN HUGE ATTACK TURTLE.  This is a fine mashup of western and sci-fi (what?  You know any real gorillas that own firearms?)  Stokley’s angular art gives the look a fresh spin, while Spurrier’s story teases out just enough to hook you.  Howdy.  (4 out of 5)

Stitched #14 (Avatar Press)
Decapitated Dan: I have not read an issue of Sticthed since #2, not because it was a bad comic, just because there is so much to read somethings I have to pass on. So now that I am doing this fancy little column, I am trying to cover as much new material each week as I can, and that means I need to read Stitched #14. While this particular issue really dealt with some story building and had little on the horror side, it was still a solid book. Of course I will mention how great the explanation of what the Stitched really are was, but the entire issue was a great read. The artwork stole the show though. Every single page had my eyes screaming with joy, and I can only imagine how much more I would have been gushing if a gruesome death had taken place. Much like Ferals, I am just kicking myself for not staying on top of reading this title, but I am fixing that now. Dying Breath 4.5 – 5.0

The Walking Dead #111 (Image)
Denise Dutton: I’m with Carl; I still think that tiger is badass.  And while Our Gang is busy trying to figure out how to kick Negan’s worthless backside, Negan pays a visit to the Hilltop and gets chatty with Spencer.  Am I the only one who thinks that Kirkman should just wrap up this Saviors storyline already?  Or maybe it’s just that I want to see Negan suffer for his crimes (issue #100 in particular, hello!)  A dull issue saved by a bit of a twist at the end.  (3 out of 5)

The Wrong House #1 (Broken Soul Press/Drive Thru Comics)
Decapitated Dan: Let me recap my thoughts after reading the first few pages of this book:
Page 1: “Ooh this looks nice!”, Page 2: “Oh hell no! That had to hurt!”, Page 3: “I’m hooked!”
Wow what a great comic this was, because on all levels this one is a winner. The story was so damn good, and I can not get over how well it all played out. The way that Lawson told this one has me wanting more NOW! Think Tarantino, that is all I will say. The artwork is right on par with the story, it is so GORE-Geous. Kay did a fantastic job of being able to capture the terror that was needed for this book to be so strong. I simply can not get over how great this issue was. All I can really say is that you need to read it, and you need to read it now. And to you creators on this book, get to creating because we need more now! – Dying Breath 5.0 out of 5.0

 

Theatre of Terror



June 27th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Graphic Novels & Comics |

Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht review

by Ghastly McNasty

vampire-vixens-coverI’d been following the development of this publication on their Facebook Page, having been left goggle-eyed by a selection of preview art that had been slowly and tantalisingly drizzled onto a certain comics forum of which I occasionally haunt the distant corners of. What caused the aforementioned spinning of eyeballs was Alex Ronald’s beautifully painted artwork and his ability to draw smoking hot vampire babes.

Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht begins in a pre-war 40’s England, with our hero, Chaplain Morris, receiving a briefing from the ledge that is Winston Churchill. The adventure then takes us to the heart of Germany where the Chaplain has teamed up with Libyenah, the gorgeous Vampire Vixen and star of the show. They must battle evil Nazi occult forces to protect Blighty from the supernatural terrors of the Third Reich.

“The only thing saving us from the unholy hurricane the Germans have unleashed is a man of God and a woman from Hell.”

vv-panels2From the off, it’s an absolute giggle-fest. The script is proudly packed full of sexual innuendo, planting its flag firmly in the ‘Carry on Commando’ camp, rather than D.C. Thompson Commando. I’d already splurted my tea across my desk three times in the first few pages when I came across a (possibly accurate) flashback scene, near the middle of the comic, which will have you howling in delight.

vixens-panelsThe creators, Alex Ronald and The Emperor, must have had a hoot writing the script. At times I could imagine them sniggering like school boys as they put pen to paper. The silliness of the story, in some places, does feel strange in contrast with the near flawless artwork. Not in a bad way. It’s like they’ve taken a Viz comic strip and given it to a classical painter. Strange but ultimately awesome.

Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht is being launched at Glasgow Comic Con on 13 and 14 July 2013 and will also be at Though Bubble in November. You can also purchase this wonderful book via UKOnDisplay and probably a load of other places.

 

Theatre of Terror



June 27th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Decapitated Dan Reviews |

Horror Comic Roundup – 6/11/13

by Decapitated Dan

 

Horror Comic Roundup Image drawn by Travis Wayne Pursell, colors by Decapitated Dan

Welcome to the Horror Comic Roundup! Join Decapitated Dan,  Billy Dunleavy and friends each week as they review new and old Horror Comics that you will either be dying to read or terrified to check out!

’68 Jungle Jim #3 (Image)
Decapitated Dan: Ahh, issue #3, the turning point in the mini series, when it all comes back around to lead into the ending, and MAN was this issue good. The first thing that really stood out to me was the way the story was told here. Typically I don’t like things on the page jumping around like this, but once it all came together, I was loving how it was done! Best part of the issue to me was Zombies using Zombies as weapons. As if I need to say it again, Zornow’s artwork is GORE-Geous! Mix in the colors by Fotos, and this book will just take your black heart away. I love this book, and incase you couldn’t tell already, I am going to tell you that you need to be reading it. Zombies done so right, it’s wrong not to check it out. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Bedlam #7 (Image)
Decapitated Dan: Well the first arc is over and now we start on #2, and with new artist Ryan Browne. While I will miss Rossmo on this book, I think that Browne is a great fit. He was able to really deliver on that same gritty look that I have come to expect in Bedlam. The story in this one though was really dragging on, and then of course, I get to the end and now I need more right away. I thought that the build was necessary to how this book finished, but at the time of reading it, I was close to a nap. I did love the intro scene though, had me cracking up and the Head Puppets. Overall still a great read, although I think I am beginning to move it from Horror to Crime. – Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

Chillers Book 2 (Transfuzion)
Decapitated Dan: Take everything I said about Chillers Book 1 and now multiply it by 2, because Book 2 was that much better! I want to start with the story by Gary Reed and Kevin Thomas “A Mother’s Beauty”. This story needs to be an ongoing title, I can not express how great it was on both story and artwork. I loved the concept so much, I now i seriously need more! The rest of the book is filled with above the bar tales by some of the best horror talent in comics today. So my list of top five stories in the book are “A Mother’s Beauty”, “Exotic Tales”, “Homecoming”, “The Hellfire Worm”, and “Distracted Walking”. Of course all 14 stories are Agh-Mazing, and I have to say I have fallen in love with the artwork of Ger Curti. I would be able to say so much more but it would just be me saying “buy it, read it, love it, share it”, over and over again. READ THIS BOOK! – Dying Breath 5.0 out of 5.0

 Crossed Badlands #30 (Avatar Press)
Decapitated Dan: Man this series just keep getting better and better. With part 2 of Gage’s story arc in full swing, things just keep getting worse for this betrayed group of survivors. I think that Gage is just delivering one hell of a story. I love this concept of someone studying the Crossed, and trying to manipulate them, while being stuck in one horrible situation. It’s survival of the smartest at its best. The artwork by Zanier is still GORE-Geous, and let me tell you this, when a Crossed kid goes head first into helicopter blades, it could possibly be the coolest thing ever drawn in one of these issues. I love the fact that I am happy to be reading Crossed again. This arc is fantastic, and I can not wait to see what will happen next. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0 

Dark Shadows #17 (Dynamite) 
Billy Dunleavy: For anyone out there that’s looking for a new read, definitely give Dark Shadows a chance. There has been a bit of everything in this book since Mike Raicht (The Stuff of Legend, Exiles, Infestation) took the reigns. Time travel, witchcraft, werewolves, and of course, vampires! He’s weaved a story that has been intriguing, and suspenseful. Right now, Nicholas Blair, along with the help of Barnabas Collins soul (he’s been trapped in Limbo) are attempting to rid two of his friends from demonic possession. Also, the demon that now inhabits Barnabas’ body has tracked down the vicious vampire, Lockwood, and means to make a pact to destroy Barnabas and his family forever! The artist is fantastic, as is the writing by Raicht. And the cover by Francesco Francavilla is the icing on the cake!  Rating 5/5

Demons: The Unseen #1 (Zenescope) 
Billy Dunleavy: A few of these “Unleashed” books have actually been decent and showed some promise (Vampires, Werewolves, etc.). The underlying villain behind the entire crossover is pretty good, but something else needs to tie them all together. In this story, we meet Masumi. A warrior that was in the Shadowlands but escaped to modern-day Earth. She must use her extraordinary abilities, along with swords that are mystical in nature (and possessed), to fight against the Unseen, demons that possess people and wreak havoc on Earth. Overall, this book was decent, but the angle of her being tied down to a boyfriend kind of cheapened the action. The whole “I have someone at home to  worry about” angle kind of lost its appeal years ago with many different superhero books. Nice interior artwork and cover!  Rating 3.5/5

Fatale #14 (Image) 
Billy Dunleavy: For anyone that’s been missing their fix of Ed Brubaker from his Marvel work, look no further. On a hunch, one day I visited Comixology and downloaded the first issue of this series for free. Immediately after I ordered the first Tpb (trade paperback) as it was a while after the book had hit shelves. It was nothing short of awesome. In this issue, we’re back in the WWII era (as the series shows different moments in time) and we see that a map has been found by a regiment of soldiers, but soon after one of the soldiers reads it, he goes completely mad, and begins to shoot the other. He eventually put down by Walt Booker. We then see Josephine, locked up and recounting how she ended up in that predicament. By the end of the issue, we see Nazi’s, monsters, and good old fashioned war action!  Rating 4/5

Godzilla: Half-Century War TPB (IDW)
Denise Dutton: I know, this isn’t a newbie.  But I’m only just getting my grubby little paws on a copy, and it’s absolutely amazing.  You like Kaiju?  Who doesn’t.  Well, you’ll find our favorite green radioactive beastie here, along with literally tons of his most popular adversaries, tied together by the story of Ota, a man who has witnessed (and fought) Godzilla for 50 years.  The art here is a great mix of Western and Manga, thanks to the talented pencils of James Stokoe (who is also the creator of this fabulous story, btw).  I love everything about this comic; the characters (my favorite: the AMF Mothra team — go hippies!), the alt-history spin, the shout-outs to Kaiju movie fans, the everything.  Mark my words; Godzilla: Half-Century War will be on comic fans shelves right next to Watchmen and The Killing Joke.  Seriously, if you don’t already have this in your library run — do not walk — to your local comic book store & grab it off the shelf. – (5 out of 5) 

Haunted Horror #5 (IDW)
Billy Dunleavy:
In typical fashion, we get several stories in this issue, all with an underlying theme. They all are connected by sports or something closely related to them (for the most part). Admittedly a slower issue than the previous ones, the sports themed stories were slightly tedious, but in the case of the bowling story, that wasn’t true. That issue definitely vaulted the issue back into awesome status! I man who loves bowling but has a nagging wife that opposes his hobby. Lets just say that by stories end, she winds up being a part of the hobby! A prehistoric egg that ends up in a museum, bears a nightmare for a local towns inhabitants, the bride of a ghoul, and vampires Friday the thirteenth round out the last three stories! Overall, another strong issue. These old stories are such a great read and are certainly bone chilling, especially when you think about the years they were published! Rating 4/5

Locke & Key Omega #5 (IDW)
Decapitated Dan: Now I have said this over and over and over, ever since I finished reading the very first chapter of Locke & Key, THIS IS THE BEST COMIC BOOK BEING PRINTED TODAY! For 5 years this book has been so amazing, that the 3rd to last issue was guaranteed to deliver something special. I can really sum this entire issue up, by just telling you about page 3… it was F*/!ING EPIC! I could not believe how much this issue delivered for only $4. It put the pedal on the floor from the start to finish, and just never let up! Why do Hill and Rodriguez always want to make me cry? The honest answer is because this is so perfect, that you love every single cast member. And when Tyler was talking to his dad… oh man, tearing up again. While the end of this masterpiece is in sight, and the makes me sad too, all I can take away from this comic is that it proves why it is the best comic on the shelves. I will say just go ahead and say it now, THIS IS THE GREATEST COMIC BOOK STORY! – Dying Breath 5.0 out of 5.0

Rachel Rising #17 (Abstract Studios)
Decapitated Dan: Did you know that issues of Rachel Rising will always deliver 3 things to the reader? (1) GORE-Geous artwork, (2) A story that will make you fall in love with everything and everyone in it, and (3) an ending that will leave you wanting more and make you mad you have to wait another month for that to happen! This issue was FANG-Tastic (yeah it’s a wolf pun). As always the artwork leaves me speechless. The scene with the hunters was so good, and it leads into the cliff hanger ending that makes me scream “NOOOOOO! I WANT MORE NOW!” Rachel Rising has been nothing but great since it started, and it just keeps getting better and better. Go get the trades and catch up, because you are really missing out by not reading this one. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Screwed #1 (Zenescope)
Billy Dunleavy: Well, lets start at the beginning. A story with Frankenstein-ish plot points, a young girl that can’t remember anything, and a hospital full of people that appear to be normal, but to her, look like monsters. Lots of questions, and not many answers. The preview had me interested in this book, but after reading the full issue, I’m not so optimistic. It just seems very unoriginal so far. That being said, the writer could certainly go in a direction from here that would be interesting and cool. The artwork was definitely a strong point, and hopefully will continue to be throughout the series.  Rating 3/5

Decapitated Dan: The only thing I liked about Screwed, was putting it down. While the artwork was nice, I just could not get into the story at all. So let’s just start with the artwork, there was a great sequence of panels where she was escaping from the hospital. Some nice bloody horror stuff to enjoy there. The story though, I felt was too late 90’s/early ’00’s. I did not care much for the dialogue, and why on earth would he rip off that guys ear? It made no sense, when it looked like he was going to just squish his head. It’s not a horrible book by any means, it’s just not for me. – Dying Breath 2.5 out of 5.0

 Swamp Thing #21 (DC)
Billy Dunleavy: It’s been a long time since an issue of Swamp Thing was in front of me, but I can honestly say that this issue was pretty solid. First, a strange woman pops up in the Swamp, and she knows about Swampy and his heritage. She invokes some sort of protection from him but he doesn’t understand. He then asks the Parliament (no, not George Clinton) to help him understand, and they let him communicate with the avatar that did make this promise of protection hundreds of years ago. After learning what he needs, the old avatar is attacked by something that seemingly destroys him, and then sets its sights on Alec. He manages to get a way, and figures out that it’s Seeder (new villain?) that is after him. New creative team, new villain, and all around solid book. Good jumping on point!  Rating 4/5

Ten Grand #2 (Image)
Decapitated Dan: First off, if you miss the REAL Hellblazer, read Ten Grand. JMS and Templesmith are creating something here, that is just beautiful. I’d like to be able to use another word to describe issue #2, but I can’t it’s just perfect all around. The story gets rolling and only picks up the pace after page 1. I love the concept, and way that JMS is presenting this tale. That demon was GORE-Geous and when he went BOOM I was only thinking that Ben was the perfect artist for that page. With only 2 issues so far, I am hooked, and all I can really think right now is how I want more, and want it now. I wish this book was weekly. – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Twisted Tales of Madness and Murder #1 (Twisted Publications)
Decapitated Dan: I was loving this issue… and then it ended and it left me wondering why? The story in this issue is great. You have a man done wrong by his woman and best friend, who then acts out a year long plan to get revenge only to have this even bigger twist thrown in right in the middle of the second act. I say act because this issue really seemed to have 3 acts to it. I won’t give away the twist either, because it was that damn good. However the issue just ends, and it’s not at a point that I thought worked. Maybe 1 more page was needed to lead into the next issue. The artwork is great, and very consistent. Galusha did a fantastic job with the torture scenes, and drove him that decapitation. Overall a really great start to something I really want to read more of. That ending though just left me a little mad because it was on such a great pace up until that point. Serial killer fans, check this one out. – Dying Breath 3.5 out of 5.0

Über #2 (Avatar Press)
Decapitated Dan: I still don’t want to 100% classify this book as horror, but I do want to classify it as 100% AMAZING! Set towards the end of WWII the Germans have released their final weapons out against the Allies, and holy crap is it a BLOODY GOOD MESS! Gillen is crafting a tale that just has me hooked. I love this concept, I love that it makes you feel nervous and wrong for reading it (read Gillen’s notes at the end of the book, he really sums it up nicely.) The artwork by White is to DIE for. The one scene, out of many, that blew my mind was when an Über Soldier literally blew his mind. You get the bloody goodness you expect from Avatar books with this comic, but you also get a great story that just has me hooked. LOVE this so far! – Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

 

Theatre of Terror



June 26th, 2013 | → 1 Comments | ∇ Graphic Novels & Comics |

Crossed 2013 Annual review

by Sidesy

CrossedAnnual2013So yeah, bestiality. Hilarious, right? I saw a programme, which only Channel 4 could have produced, a few years back about an American man who married a horse. That was mildly amusing, if not slightly uncomfortable (he touched the horse funny, like). But the actual act of sodomising an animal shouldn’t really be a laughing matter. Unless you’re Simon Spurrier. And, um, now me. And I suspect there may be others. Click here for one of the offending images. Okay, yes, for some it’s deeply offence and disturbing and la la la, but oh my god, there is something just so darkly funny in its grotesqueness, in its utter absurdity that you can’t help but crack a smile. The exploding cow is even better.

This Crossed web-comic, born out of the success of the original series (and Warren Ellis’ incredibly successful and largely experimental web-series ‘FreakAngels’) differs mildly in tone from Garth Ennis’ creation in that Spurrier injects this incredibly dark humour throughout, one that I find has actually enhanced my enjoyment of the Crossed franchise as a whole. Ennis’ dark vision was one of struggling to survive in a world in which a virus has stripped away humanity’s fundamental sense of morality and where you were truly helpless and (as the tagline teased) ‘No-one is coming to save you’; it’s a truly harrowing tour de force that examines the brutal nature of human beings at their worst.

Not that Spurrier’s series doesn’t explore this; it does it with panache and most of the nastiness in Crossed: Wish You Were Here comes not from the ‘plus faces’ but the odorous characters that would use the end of the world to prey on those who are weaker than them. But then Spurrier introduces characters like the brilliantly insane Andrew Frazer Jackson and this is who the 2013 annual concentrates on.

Jackson was one of the most likeable characters in the web-series and here, he’s off the leash. A former lieutenant in the SBS, he’s seen a lot of action; the Falklands, dealing with airline bothering extremists in the 80’s and deployed on special operations in the 90’s when the iron curtain fell. Throughout all of the important military operations, he encounters the beautiful and mysterious Magda, whose work has something to do with bioweapons. When the higher-ups order Jackson to eliminate Magda, she defends herself by spraying something in his face; what he believes is the cause of his madness. The crux of the story is Jackson’s mission to find Magda’s secret hideout in Iceland and find out what it was that she sprayed him with and whether it was actually her and her team that caused the outbreak that has killed millions.

The above is a massive oversimplification of what is a brilliantly realised plot that spans several decades and gives us a possible, brief glimpse of how this devastation came to be. To explain it would ruin it (because I wouldn’t do it justice) but needless to say, it is full of twists and turns even the most hardened Future Shock reader won’t see coming a mile off.  All the things about the web-series I love are here in abundance; the rich characters, the bonkers over-the-top violence and the humour – Spurrier’s use of Icelandic and its subsequent translation on the page is excellent.

And then there’s the artwork. As I mentioned in the Stitched review, some of the artists working at Avatar are producing incredible work; the European style of near-realism, lavishly detailed backgrounds and character expressions you believe in are draining my bank account monthly. Gabriel Andrade is no exception. His work here is married seamlessly to Spurrier’s script – the action sequences are brutally and beautifully realised and the characters are consistent throughout the different time periods explored. But where the artwork really shines is when Andrade shows us how insane Jackson is by giving us an insight of what’s happening in his head in ‘real time’, producing a seriously nightmarish vision that gets more intense throughout the story, culminating in much of the background and (cleverly) the panel guttering being filled with foulness that gives added depth to his increasingly manic actions. Enhanced by lavishly rich colours by Digikore Studios, this is a vision of clinical insanity I’ve not seen done this well in comics for a while, if ever.

There’s a danger with some of the Crossed stories that they might run too far into ‘torture porn’ territory, losing some of its integrity and individuality in favour of being twisted for twisted sake. But Spurrier and Andrade dispel this, producing a story and developing a character that stands so well on its own, it’s hard not to want more.

You can read the entirety of Simon Spurrier’s Crossed: Wish You Were Here web-comic at www.crossedcomic.com and buy the Crossed 2013 Annual from all good local comic shops.

 

 

Theatre of Terror



June 25th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Decapitated Dan Reviews, Graphic Novels & Comics |

Horror Comic Roundup – 6/4/13

by Decapitated Dan

Horror Comic Roundup Image drawn by Travis Wayne Pursell, colors by Decapitated Dan

Welcome to the Horror Comic Roundup! Join Decapitated Dan,  Billy Dunleavy and friends each week as they review new and old Horror Comics that you will either be dying to read or terrified to check out!

Bloody Hell #1 (Boardguy/DriveThru Comics)
Decapitated Dan: Now this is a fantastic anthology. I have to start by just saying how GORE-Geous Wilson’s artwork is. It is seriously to die for. The use of color on two of the 3 stories, made no difference from the black and white one, because it was all so damn good. The stories themselves are amazing too. The first is an adaptation of a Loobecraft story that will chill you to the bone (adapted by Rod Lott). The second story and third stories are so good, matter of fact, this book is just so damn good all around. Stop reading this review and go read it, seriously stop reading this now, your still reading this aren’t you? Dying Breath 5.0 out of 5.0 

B.P.R.D. Vampire #3 (Dark Horse)
Billy Dunleavy: If you haven’t been keeping up with the BPRD universe, shame on you. This mini-series in particular has been quite good, and the creative team behind it is very much responsible. We watched Agent Anders in the previous series (BPRD 1948), as he kind of went off the deep end. Well, in this one, Professor Broom has pointed this Agent in a specific direction, and it’s one that includes a centuries old vampire. After figuring out what area to search, Anders befriended one of the locals, and she wants to help him any way she can. The two go exploring and find ancient ruins and caves. Once inside though, they get separated, and Anders must face not only two ghosts, but the vampire he’s been seeking! Mignola, Moon, and Bá have done a great job with the pacing of this tale, and definitely are getting things churning with this issue. The colors of Dave Stewart must be mentioned as well, as he always knows how to set the mood with just the right blend of darks and lights.  Rating  4/5

Decapitated Dan: Okay, so what I missed issue #2, and that is my own fault, but this issue was accessible because I read #1. I loved the scene where Andres comes back, and just opens that huge can of whoop ass. This issue looks so stunning thanks to Bà and Moon. What I take from this is a fun read. It doesn’t carry that real serious tone of Baltimore, but it’s still a very solid read, and with the ending given… it’s only going to get better from here. Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0 

Crossed Badlands #29 (Avatar Press)
Decapitated Dan: Whoa! Lets all welcome Gage to the writing party on Crossed. This issue was a fantastic read from start to finish. I can’t lie, typically with Crossed it can be a little too over the top, but this issue really delivers on the story, and it had me hooked as soon as I was introduced to “Smoky”. This kind of plays off that great concept in Land of the Dead, where you have someone realizing they might not all be stupid. With fantastic artwork by Zanier, this issue is not to be missed. Crossed is getting better and better with each issue! Dying Breath 4.5 out of 5.0

Denise Dutton: This shorter-story-arcs spinoff has proven to be just as good if not better than the original. Much like the arc in Badlands #19-20 (“Conquers All”) this new story arc by Christos Gage (Absolution) focuses on an Alpha Crossed nicknamed “Smokey” that seems to be able to keep his penchant for mayhem under check…so he can deliver maximum suffering later. It also focuses on a nerdy anthropologist grad turned high school teacher named Oliver and his ability to gauge how the Crossed operate. How will Oliver’s group of survivors fare with a Crossed that can reason? Since this arc is called “Quisling”, things aren’t exactly coming up roses. Great for readers, really sucky for those characters. Not like we’d expect anything else from this deliciously evil series.

Dead Man’s Run #5 (Aspen)
Billy Dunleavy: This is one of those series that for one reason or another has slipped under the radar of most people. It’s quite a shame to, because Greg Pak and Tony Parker are knocking it out of the park! You have a young man and his sister that were delivered to Hell via an automobile accident. He’s a bit of a shyster, but she’s not supposed to be there. We witness what lengths he’ll go to for her to get “topside” again, and the story has another twist to it as well. Hell is basically a prison with many levels, and Sam Tinker and his band of sinners are pretty far down. He’s gathered a few of Hell’s not so nice inhabitants to help rescue his sister, not get killed, and make it back to the surface world. All in a days work, right? Wow, so again. Pak and Parker are doing a fantastic job on this title and other than long gaps in the book shipping out, this book is a winner!  Rating  5/5 

King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon #1 (Dark Horse)
Billy Dunleavy: Before you say…”Hey, Conan isn’t a horror book”, listen up! In this issue a bunch of rogue mystics made their way into a crypt, and raised a former magician from the grave! These mystics have brought him back for one reason and one reason only. To help them defeat Conan, and destroy him forever! As Conan leads his troops into battle, he’s attacked by this undead magician, and almost killed. He’s Conan though, and he’s not that easy to defeat! Wow, it’s fantastic to see Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello,  and Jose’ Villarrubia back on a Conan book! This team is responsible for one of the greatest looking hard covers that I’ve ever seen (Conan: Iron Shadows in the Moon), and is fantastic at the recreations of these Robert E. Howard stories. Do yourself a favor, and get out and grab this book, because it’s a thing of beauty.  Rating  5/5

Denise Dutton: Conan is an old man now, but he’s far from feeble. #1 starts off with Conan visiting his first wife Zenobia’s tomb, and then recounting his deeds to a scribe for posterity. So, as you might expect, Conan tells the boy about how he met Zenobia. C’mon, this is Conan we’re talking about, it ain’t gonna be no wine and roses. In fact, things get dicey from the start, when Conan is poisoned just as a huge battle is about to begin. By Crom, this sounds interesting!

Kitty and Batz #1 (Legends of Heroes and Villains, 2011)
Decapitated Dan: Sometimes when you read a first issue of an independent comic you can see the growth within it. I can’t lie that the story started out a little rough with the dialogue, but as the issue progressed Spain and Zerga really started to hit a solid stride. Is it horror, no, but it is a dark comedy that has some great moments in it. The artwork is what stole the show in this first issue. I was a big fan of Zerga’s panel layouts and how the art played out on the pages. The character designs are great, and the comedy within the art helped drive the story. Overall it’s a good start, I can see a growth/learning curve in this issue, so it only means that #2 is going to be even better. Dying Breath 3.0 out of 5.0 

Morbius The Living Vampire #5 (Marvel)
Billy Dunleavy: To say that this series has been a disappointment to long time Morbius fans is a monumental understatement. Hearken back to the times of the magazine Vampire Tales for a moment. You had not only Morbius, but a myriad of other horror characters that made your senses tingle and the artwork made your mouth water. This portrayal might make you run to the bathroom to vomit. Joe Keatinge & company have taken a bloodthirsty vampire and turned him into a street thug that looks like something from a Jay-Z video. A story of hoodlums and the very wimpy villain, The Rose, to make you realize what a mistake it was buying this book. The artwork is mediocre at best.  Rating 1/5

Denise Dutton: An interesting blend of noir and vampire-ness, which is apt since Michael Morbius ain’t your typical vampire. And no, he doesn’t sparkle. Thank god. Trying to stay away from the humans that fuel his experiment-gone-awry need for blood, Morbius ends up becoming an unwitting, unusual hero. But a villain named the Rose may be pulling strings behind the scenes…. I’m not loving the revamp (hah) of Morbius, but it is definitely better than his old Count Dracula In Space outfit. Seriously Marvel; only a very small percentage of the world can carry off a Van Dyke without looking stupid (or douchey). In a world full of quality horror comics, my horror loving tuchas will need more to sink my own teeth into than what writer Joe Keatinge has going on right now. Then again Morbius has always been a villain/antihero rather than a horror comic star. So fans of the scary? Understand that and read if you dare. *bwahahahah*

Next Testament #1 (BOOM!)
Decapitated Dan: I’m not 100% on this being a horror title yet, but man did certain scenes in this issue creep me out. I thought that the story by Barker and Miller was fantastic. It has this great mystery vibe to it, that mixes religion with the strange and odd. The artwork by Jang was solid throughout, but the scenes that really shined were the ones where people literally fell from the sky. While I’m not too sure about what will happen next, I can expect some crazy things to come from this series. An intriguing start, can’t wait to see where it will go. Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

Denise Dutton: You had me at Clive Barker and Mark Millar y’all. Next Testament is a crazy fever-dream, but it’s got Haemi Jang delivering the gorgeous art (though I do kinda wish that Clive himself had at least drawn the cover…well, maybe in a later issue) that washes over you while the tale unfolds. Pow! Bam! No, it’s not Batman. That’d be your brain as you read it. What’s going on? Not sure, but I damn sure wanna find out. “The world will rejoice. It will have no other option.” Tell me you don’t wanna read this. Yeah you do.

Shadow Hunters #2 (Scattered Comics)
Decapitated Dan: This is just something to throw out there in general for all comic creators, put in a recap page. It has been a while since I read issue #1, so the hardest thing was to remember what happened. The story in #2 does a good job of recalling those memories from my mind of what came before, and it delivers a fun filled action ride. This story fits into the necromancer genre mixed with some comedic elements. The writing by Dube is solid throughout. The artwork by Jordan is booty-ful, as I think it’s safe to say sex sells. The art plays into the humor of the writing at times, but what really shines are the action scenes towards the end. Overall a great issue that will leave the reader wanting more based on the ending. Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #80 (Broadsword)
Decapitated Dan: Say what you want about the art of this title, but understand that the story is really great. While the issues that have already come out in the “Dark Spiral” storyline have been better, this one plays on some really good comedy. I thought that the adult themed jokes were very funny, and fit this title oh so well. It was actually a great break in what came before. I know this book is not for everyone, but I am really liking what has been going on with this arc so far. Dying Breath 3.5 out of 5.0

Vitriol The Hunter #4 (IDW)
Decapitated Dan: Why on Earth have I not been reading this series? Lets start with the GORE-Geous artwork, and let me emphasize on the gore! It almost shocked me to see this bloody mess in something that looks so animated, all I can say is wow! The writing has moments where it could be stronger, but it’s all tons of fun. I am mad at myself for missing out on everything so far, but hear me now, I will not miss another issue! Dying Breath 4.0 out of 5.0

The Wake #1 (Vertigo)
Billy Dunleavy: An underwater mission that seems text-book but becomes mysterious and creepy in two pages. Yep, that’s what you get with the newest creation from Batman whiz kid Scott Snyder, and artist Sean Murphy. The story has a few different levels to it, and one is a relationship between a mother and her son. This drives the first few pages of the book, but it becomes apparent very quickly, that she’s going to be in for a wild ride once she gets to an underwater facility that houses something never before seen by mankind. This book was difficult to review for one reason. It seems very similar to another story that Image published a year or so ago called “The Vault”. A team of researchers/scientist are in a facility and something unholy is found, and on one knows what to do initially. This story did have some differences, but definitely had the same vibe.  Rating 4/5

Decapitated Dan: This issue was a typical Snyder book for me, the story took soo long to get somewhere, and then at the end BAM, it hooked me! It’s not that it was too wordy, it just didn’t have anything to really grab me until the end, and now I just want more! The artwork by Murphy was great overall, but it me scratching my head on a few panels. I really love the look of the “monster”. The issue took a while to get there, but those last 4 pages really nailed this one in my mind. I can not wait to see what is next. Dying Breath 3.5 out of 5.0

Denise Dutton: Two words: Scott Snyder. The Wake feels like 20,000 Leagues Under WTF. But Snyder has built a ton of cliffhangers worth following. Dr. Archer, a woman who happens to be an expert on whale sounds but got booted from NOAA anyway, is tapped to assist on an expedition that’s super top-secret. And when she starts to figure out why, it really starts to get freaky, with cavemen, undersea laboratories and what looks like The Creature From The Black Lagoon. The jury isn’t in on my subscribing to this, but so far I definitely want to continue the ride.

 

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