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Ghost Wolf #1 - Amigo Comics Review

Review By Alex Moser

We are proud to present a review the first issue for Ghost Wolf, a mini-series published by a Spanish small press. Despite the simple exterior, the comic is actually a nicely crafted story in the homage of classic Conan/Frazetta stories and images.
The “Ghost Wolf” is a story of the legendary barbarian who was like a brother to wolves. They would share kills and hunt together. When the wolf was killed, the barbarian wore its pelt, carrying the mantle from generation to generation. 

Flash forward generations later and we see a group of villagers who are terrorized by a stronger tribe of warriors. But the “ghost wolf” comes to save the day, proving he is the strongest warrior of them all. 

It’s interesting to note that the comic is translated from Spanish to English. I am unsure if El Torres, the writer, translated his own work, but I did enjoy his story. It seemed to bleed out of a collective mythology that presents itself in a unique way. Torres writes both the prologue as well as the main story. For the allotted space, the story builds well, identifying the main characters and the universe in which they live in. Based on what I see, the world seems to be a mix of Scandinavia with a touch of an African look to the characters. I liked the repetition that came with the narration, sweeping the reader along, placing key themes in the story. However, I do think some of the dialogue is a little bit overwritten, but seeing as English is his second language, I can forgive the writing.

Though the cover lists Siku as the primary artist on the book, he is not the only one billed. The prologue art is drawn by Luis Czerniawski with Sandra Molina. Their two styles could not be more different. While Luis draws a dark and gritty style with a lot of detail, Siku has a lighter and feathered look to his art. I enjoyed looking at many of Siku’s pages, especially some of the larger splash pages. Siku seems to be channeling a little bit of Mike Mignola, Walt Simonson, and Charles Vess, all of which are very successful artists. 

Ghost Wolf is a decent comic. I certainly enjoyed this barbarian comic much more than Dark Horse’s Conan series with Brian Wood. It’s worth picking up and giving a look. Who knows? These guys could be the next best thing.

THE GOOD
-Art is surprisingly good to look at
-Fun for fans of Conan the Barbarian 

THE BAD
-Narration could be more poetic
-Sketchiness of prologue is a little too rough

7.5/10

Black-White #1 Review

 

Black-White is a comic-noir anthology by Andrez Bergen and a group of artists. The edgy comic has a wide set of crime-based comics that cover a dystopian Melbourne, Australia. In reading the 28-page comic, I counted six stories. Each features a different artist and a very different take on noir/femme fatales.

I think I expected more from this comic. At first, I thought I would receive a group of short tales, each equipped with a beginning, middle, and end. But when a story is only about four pages long, there’s hardly any room to grab the reader. Bergen simply gives us a hook, a little twist, and then moves onto the next story. Maybe he’ll move on in future installments, but there is hardly any meat for the reader to even chew on now.

Some of the artwork in the comic is good, and others are not as good. Some of the stories don’t feel like comics. Instead, these little vignettes appear like a slideshow of awkwardly drawn legs faces and eyes, accompanied by caption boxes that deter the reader away from the actual art. The second story in the anthology had some of the most detailed artwork in the set, looking like a cross between Becky Cloonan and underground commix from the 60s. But once the four pages were up, the book moved on and this one artist became lost in the frantic shuffle of mixed-up and misplaced individuals.

Sometimes, poor artwork can be complimented by a good story. But like the art, the story doesn’t get enough room to grow and hook onto the reader. Perhaps I’m not accustomed to the anthology style, but there simply isn’t anything interesting happening in the comic at all. The dialogue doesn’t help so much either, unless you want to hear “tough guy” voices and troubled souls speak for 28 pages.

Black-White isn’t one thing or the other. It’s somewhere between good and bad. I see some shades of light in the comic where there is plenty of potential. But there are too many things dragging it down to warrant a true thumbs up. On the other hand, it’s available for a dollar for this week only, and that’s worth it for a 28-page book, especially if you’re a sucker for hard crime.

http://iffybizness.weebly.com/ill-buy-that-for-1.html

THE GOOD

-One or two stories have decent artwork

-Anthology format follows a strict and close-circuited theme

THE BAD

-Stories are too short to hook you in

-Artwork on most stories are not very good

5/10

Forever Evil #5 Review

Review by Alexander Moser

In some ways, Forever Evil 5 is a huge payoff. We finally get a hold on the plot thus far and more developments have been made. It isn’t perfect, but #5 is one of the better issues so far.

The villains of the DCU have now joined together, and they are ready to kick some major tail. Everyone gets a piece of the action in this comic, including Batman, whose team-up with Luthor and the others are more exciting than you’d think. On a whole, this is a decent chapter of the story, even if it is bogged down with some meandering here and there.

Geoff Johns portrays less of the DC villains as bad guys, but more like rivals to their super counterparts. The comic gives a strong characterization to Lex Luthor, Sinestro and Black Manta, but leaves a few of the others out. The pacing of this comic, like the remainder of the series, is a minor issue that should be tackled. But gladly, four and a half issues give way to what should be a strong and clear finish by Johns.

I am not impressed with David Finch’s artwork. It’s filled mostly with bulky bodies, generic poses, and analogous panels that don’t always connect quite as well as you think they should. If you like superhuman action, then this art could be for you. I only wish Johns, along with Friend (inker) could take a little more time on actualizing the faces, fleshing them out and also making them look uniform on page to page.

Forever Evil isn’t bad at all. In fact, when done, I think it will be lauded as one of DC’s best-selling trades for the rest of the year. But it’s very difficult to ignore some of the glaring problems that have happened in issues 1-4 and continue in 5. This is one of the better issues so far, but I’m still waiting for the ultimate battle towards the end.

THE GOOD

-Johns portrays the villains well

-Building to something big

THE BAD

-Artwork isn’t a good representation of “Finch.”

8/10

Dead End Boys #1 Review

Review by Alexander Moser

Dead End Boys is one of Bluewater Comics’ new series, written by Ryan Burton, who uses very particular dialogue and illustrated by Francine Delgado, who draws Latino characters as if they came out of a manga book.

The story starts out with a group of children. You can tell they are children because of the way they look, with their enormous eyes, and the fact that they are little. The children seem to be friends, because they are all hugging, admiring a hero known as The Gargoyle, who looks an awful lot like Batman. Flash forward into the future, where two of these children, now grown up, eat at a diner before going to their friend’s funeral. They make fun of each other and insult the waitress with swear words and lies about sexual exploitation. Meanwhile, an ultra-cool biker (the dude on the cover) messes with a Latina with a strong accent. If you couldn’t tell she was Latina based on her appearance, you can tell because she pronounces words differently, and says bad words in Spanish. The biker beats up her boyfriend, threatening him to stop being a bad guy. The plot thickens towards the end, but I’m not even sure what happens, except from a text message that means something extra mysterious.

As far as writing goes, Dead End Boys is more or less like any other noir-esque comic out there. You see some guys, some sexy ladies, and some action. A mysterious super-warrior mixes up the action. But Burton’s script, not his plot, is where this comic goes from “who cares” to stereotypical, mundane and even a little racist. There is so much swearing in the comic that the dialogue is unreadable and uninteresting. Also, Burton’s dialogue delves into ethnic stereotypes that borderline on flagrant racism.

Imagine the art of a manga book. Now take that art and erase the majority of the details. Francine Delgado’s work looks like it should belong on Deviantart and it should stay there, where nobody can see it. There are a couple of pages that look nice, such as the scene where the biker flips down a staircase, or when he lies down on the street. Even the characters look so basic, I can’t really follow the story too well.  

The best part about this comic that it’s a brand-new #1. The first issue is the start of a brand-new story for anyone to read. So when you’re out there, picking up comics from the shelves, look for the whirlpool Bluewater Comics logo. So if you’re still reading this review, you can tell that Dead End Boys is an absolute mess of a comic book. I really cannot support the level of unprofessionalism in writing and artwork that I see here. While I think it is wonderful for writers and artists to always try to jump into a brand new series, there isn’t much hope for a book like this.

THE GOOD

-Good effort

THE BAD

-Dialogue is filthy and deranged

-Writing and artwork demeans ethnic minorities

-Artwork is about as amateur as you can get

1.5/10

Saga #18 Review

Review by Alexander Moser

Saga tugs at your heartstrings in this latest issue, playing out like a major season finale as the third story arc comes to a pulse-pounding conclusion.

The struggle on Quietus has come to a climax. Marko and Alana run to the top of the lighthouse, where author D. Oswald Heist has just been killed by Gwendolyn, leaving Klara at the mercy of Lying Cat. Gwendolyn heads up the tower, where she faces off with her ex-lover, Marko, finally coming face-to-face with the man he once loved, and the women who took him away. There are some major emotional moments here, as romantic tensions reach some sort of a conclusion between the various love triangles scattered throughout the comic. Of course, Marko, Alana, Hazel and Klara miraculously escape, but not before all of the characters deal with major consequences of their past.

Brian K. Vaughan shakes up the status quo of Saga with this issue. After many months of building to this conclusion, I can safely say that this has been quite satisfying. Vaughan does what he does best—building realistic relationships between characters and then relating them to the reader. Everyone gets a page in this issue of Saga, from Lying Cat to Gwendolyn to the gay telepaths. Vaughan doesn’t hesitate to set up what comes next in this comic. Whatever it is, I am sure it will be brilliant.

So we have to wait another few months for Saga to return. But with art from Fiona Staples, who can complain? She gives us some of the most beautiful images in any comic, taking the time to really paint a vivid image in our heads. What I really liked about her art in this issue were the angles. Several times, Staples uses an “in-your-face” angle, similar to a gangster showdown, blasting guns right at the reader. It just shows how much an artist can evolve, even over the course of one series. I also like how the characters are beginning to progress and change, not just in a state of mind, but visually as well. Fiona changes hair lengths and makes subtle changes to show the characters grow in the comic’s epilogue.

I don’t want to say much more for fear of spoiling you readers, but even if you read Saga in collected editions, this is one comic you’ll want to read. There was an awful amount of time spent on Quietus if you think about it, but the stay lead up to one rewarding conclusion.

THE GOOD

-Comic is full of “feels”

-Art is gorgeous

THE BAD

-Set-up for next arc is a little out of place

-Wait, Saga is coming back in MAY? Honey, get the DeLorean!

9.5/10

Deadly Class #1 Review

Review by Alexander Moser

Hot off of Uncanny Avengers and Black Science, Rick Remender writes yet another captivating series that is steeped in the past.Deadly Class is a good start to a book with some terrific artwork.

We follow a boy named Marcus. He is a Nicaraguan refugee, living in San Francisco. We actually do not know if Marcus is his real name, it is simply the name he chose for himself. His parents died. Orphan Marcus steals his way to get enough money to survive. One day, he is chased down by the cops, but is protected by a group of strangers. Marcus is offered a great chance—to train as an assassin in an underground school, becoming a member of a vast “Deadly Class.”

Rick Remender’s script is pretty tight. The character’s voice is very clear, and the story moves along well, juxtaposing different dates to show Marcus’s plight. There are two places where I was a little bit lost. The first was the mysterious flashback. Other than the flashback, we learn absolutely nothing about him. I’m not even sure if his name is Marcus, so I could be wrong this entire time. Also, the idea of an assassin school is a little cliché in my book. But the dialogue and narration is quite strong, and warrants a second issue purchase at least.

Wes Craig’s art is stunning. He is really taking a strong lead from great creators like Michael Lark and Steve Epting, using dark colors, jocular angles, and tight pencils to give us a fast-moving action scene. The middle chase scene, where the mystery girl runs the cops down is one of the best action sequences I’ve seen in a while, and I just wrote a great review of Chew, which featured a fun action sequence. Craig’s layouts enhance the action, putting everything in a widescreen look so we can see everything, and capturing the perfect action moment. The mind can do the rest, piecing everything together for form a wonderful picture.

Deadly Class is a great place to start if you want to jump onto some creator-owned work from Image. The style is very similar to superhero books like Daredevil or Captain America, and Remender’s writing is very strong. Deadly Class is a strong buy.

THE GOOD

-Marcus is a strong narrator

-Art reads like a major action movie

THE BAD

-Premise could be better at times

-Characters need names!

8/10

Chew #39 Review

Review by Alexander Moser

How long has it been since we last saw an issue of Chew? This fantastic series may not come out on an exact month-by-month basis, but every issue is extraordinarily worth the wait.

Tony Chu, agent of FDA takes a backseat in this comic, making room for his girlfriend Amelia and daughter Olive. After finding a special recipe (hence the title, Family Recipies), left behind by Tony’s deceased sister, Antonella, the two plan on getting Tony back in action by preparing the special dish.

The first ingredient is the mystical Gallsaberry, from the tropical island of Yamapalu. The next ingredient is something more complicated, so Olive and Amelia, who make an amazing team-up, sneak into the FDA, taking out terrorists and evading security officials to achieve their goals. The comic ends with the dish prepared, taking Tony to places we’ve never seen before.

John Layaman may not be writing about Tony, but he has not lost his witty charm. Olive and Amelia make a hilarious pair, and their interactions with the rest of the Chew cast are hilarious. The use of the Family Recipe in the prologue is a great way to introduce a new angle to a mystery that we thought we already knew the answers to. Layaman’s seemingly simple script has turned out to be much deeper than originally thought. This, combined with the usual hilarity, makes Chew a great read.

Man, does Rob Guillory knock the ball out of the park with this one. Every page is downright hysterical, whether it comes from Tony’s boss eyeing Olive, or the disgusted look on Tony’s face near the end. Guillory goes beyond his usual range as well, drawing sci-fi scenes in the beginning, and a rare action scene. Olive uses her secondary ability as a xocosclapere, in addition to being a powerful cibopath, to take down numerous enemies in a high-kinetic, fast-paced action scene. It’s a shame there isn’t more of this around, because Guillory is about as talented as it gets when it comes to comic books.

There’s a reason why Chew has won so many awards. Even in an issue that doesn’t feature the main character, it is still the most entertaining book of the week. You’ve got humor, action and intrigue. I couldn’t ask for anything more in a comic book.

Oh, and new readers, if you’re trying to jump on here, I wouldn’t suggest it. While Layaman and Guillory always do a terrific job in introducing the major characters to the reader in each issue, you’re missing out unless you start at the beginning of the story arc, or even better, from the first issue, to enjoy Chew in it’s amazing glory.

THE GOOD

-Great blend of humor, action, and mystery

-Guillory’s artwork is superb

THE BAD

-Leaves you wanting so much more (for good reasons though)

10/10

The Walking Dead #119 Review

Review by Alexander Moser

If you ask me, this is one of the “business as usual” issues of The Walking Dead. There’s horror, gore, shock, and character development. When you put all these components together, it’s no wonder that this comic has been going on for so many years.

Here we see a calm period for “All Out War.” The gang tries to recuperate after their latest assault on Negan. The battle was especially hard for Ezekiel (black dude), who lost his tiger to a horde as they retreated.

This issue switches gears when Negan returns. He brings a terrible gift to Rick’s group. Kirkman ends it here, on a high, dramatic note.

119 is a slower issue of The Walking Dead. It’s really centered around character development, and the aftereffects of “war.” Kirkman has been at this for about ten years now, so it’s no surprise he can write the dialogue so well. But I feel like the story is almost forcing itself to have us like these characters. Luckily, Ezekiel is one of the more memorable characters, so we can really identify him, rather than, Joe White, who we couldn’t tell apart from anyone.

After an inconsistent last issue, Adlard (with inker Stefano Gaudiano) pulls it back together, providing a mixture of shading and gaping expressions on the entire cast. You could almost guess Adlard’s style is almost cartoonish, but in the zombie context it still works great. Even when he pulls back on the big splash pages, the characters look accurately detailed and depicted.

Overall, “All Out War” has been a mixed bag. Other than the fact that TWD is double-shipping, there’s nothing exciting or new or different about the comic. Negan certainly is an interesting character to watch, but when he’s only in the last three pages, it doesn’t really matter. If you recently caught up to here, reading 100 issues in the past month (I know people who have), then I understand how this could be great. For those of us who have been reading for six/seven years or more, it’s getting to be the time to put the foot down.

THE GOOD

-Exciting artwork

-Story is about little moments

THE BAD

-Unfortunately, little moments don’t do much until end

7/10

Nova Phase #1 and #2 Review

Review by Alexander Moser

 

Nova Phase is a mini-series by Matthew Ritter and Adam Elbatimy. This unique comic uses retro-style 80s/90s pixelated artwork, not unlike what one might find in a cut scene from an arcade game. Readers who are fans of video games and this retro art style should give this book a chance.

Veronica Darkwater is a butt-kicking bounty hunter with big dreams to go to space… Once she gets enough money. We see her take out a ruffian at the bar, using all sorts of methods to subdue her opponents. We learn a lot about Veronica through this first chapter, such as her “no-kill” policy in fights, or her financial dilemma. In the final pages, we see that her problems have only begun.

The second issue is less of an introduction, and more of a kicker to the storyline. Veronica meets a man named Dillard, who is searching for a special coin that Veronica recently came across. The coin, however, comes with much more of a hassle than it is worth, attracting assassins with hi-tech armor. Veronica and Dillard narrowly escape, and thus we begin our adventure—a treasure hunt in space.

Ritter’s script is fairly good. Veronica happens to be a well-developed and mature character. She seems to have come from a long string of bounty hunter-type characters, including Nintendo’s Samus Aran, Lara Croft, and the characters from Cowboy Bebop. Dillard is a little more specific, coming off like a younger version of Nathan Fillion’s character from Firefly. The story itself is quite simple, which is good, because science-fiction can often become very complicated and too far out. But Ritter has his script nice and clean, due to the characters staying as true and human as possible, not filtered with scientific mumbo jumbo.

I believe the big selling point for this book is the unique art style. The artwork is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a comic book. The nostalgia factor is very high for this book, especially if you’re an old school gamer like me. Elbatimy makes the style flow great with some solid action and good motion. There are some good pages that effectively use the dialogue and the imagery quite nicely. For example, when Veronica hears that her money is gone, the comic shows us a panel of the amount, coupled with some dialogue that shows her disappointment.

Where I see some shortcomings in the book lie in the artwork. The coloring, specifically limits the art, rather than enhances it. Sometimes the colors bounce off of each other in such a way that you can’t completely tell what’s going on in the book. Other pages have the colors so dark that you can hardly tell one object from the next. But this coloring style does work in some instances, especially showcasing the background and in the fight scenes. But overall, the coloring is messy, and it’s a fault of an art style that wasn’t meant for comic books.

Nova Phase has a solid debut by these two creators. It isn’t perfect, but I see a lot of potential here. It’ll be up on Comixology on January 15th, so be sure to check it out then!

THE GOOD

-Artwork makes the inner gamer nostalgic

-Story is reminiscent of others, but still remains unique

-Veronica is a solid character

THE BAD

-Dialogue is kind of iffy at times

-Coloring/artwork seems cluttered on many pages

#1: 8/10

#2: 7.5/10

The Verge #1 – Identity Comics Preview Edition Review

 

So instead of promoting the usual comics (FF, Young Avengers, East of West) I have decided to give my attention to a small press comic imprint that was funded through Kickstarter. Inside is a short, but sweet sampler of previews to come by some newly founded talent. Keep in mind, these people can be the next Jonathan Hickman or Scott Snyder.

The first story is a pseudo-future zombie noir series. It reminds me a lot of The Goon, because it deals with tough characters in a gritty situation. An investigative-type character steps into a bar, while a monster wrecks the streets outside. The artist juxtaposes two styles: noir and horror, putting on a mash-up that could lead to some interesting stories. Like the narrator says on the final page, “Let’s see where this takes me.” I am torn on the artwork. I think black-and-white works perfectly for the tone of the story, but it’s hard to discern between the two styles without the stories walking completely over each other. A stronger use of grids or layouts, or even selective coloring could really make the art pop out.

The second story deals with a small Latino town, and a dangerous rat that overcomes any obstacle in its path. While the village only thinks of harming the rat, which they think causes a deadly plague, one boy, Mateo, tries to save the rat. It doesn’t end well for him, but his determination is noted, and perhaps he is saved not on a physical sense, but a spiritual one. The story is told very straightforward, and you can sense the desperation and feelings on the characters’ faces. It’s overall a good story, but ends too soon.

Next, we have a story that takes place in Los Angeles, though it’s a mystical, hellish Los Angeles. A girl pursues an act of rebellion, which doesn’t seem to end so well for her. The story is interesting, but I think it’s too simple so far. I like where it is going however, because it’s becoming more symbolic than anything. As far as the art goes, there is one page that uses silhouettes to portray motion. It works well as a strong form of sequential art.

I don’t quite understand the last story. It seems to be a quick rush job, and unfortunately, it looks like someone wrote this at a young age. It moves too fast, and characters are given the most generic names possible. The art is at times very plush, and I’d like to see it utilized more in future installments.

I don’t know the talent on this book, unfortunately, but if you check out www.facebook.com/identitycomics, you will learn all you would like about this company. The book they produced was nice overall, but some tightening and sharpening could really be used to perfect the stories that are being told.

THE GOOD

-Good use of anthology to tell separate tales

-Kickstarter supports creative minds

THE BAD

-Some stories fall flat

-Storytelling is too short and compressed. Further clarity and editing in writing could be used.

7/10


"An informal name for the period in the history of mainstream American comic books generally considered to last from the mid-1980s until present day."

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Modern Age Comics prides itself on reporting the latest news, comics, and conventions to fans of the comics community. Our goal at #macomics is to educate and raise awareness among our readership about the events that help shape the state of the comics community. Our goal is for each of our readers to know how we got to where we are each day they read our work. Our founders, Kyle W. Faucher and Dmitri Turnbull, have assembled an ace team of journalists that work tirelessly to provide this information and give perspective in each report published here. Every Wednesday we post the comics we pulled and shortly after post reviews. Now if there are any questions about anything we are reading, posted, or even just a general comic question feel free to message or email us!

Many posts on this blog are the property of its respective owners. All content viewed on this page was attained from all kinds of public sources, which is in public domain. We do not claim to own any exclusive rights.


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Founder- Kyle W. Faucher
Co-Founder- Dmitri Turnbull
Affiliate- Eric Grella
Reviewer- Alex Moser
Film Crew- Jeremiah Jay
Contributor- Wave Summers
Photographer- Jericho Salugao


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