I would love to live in Robert J. Peterson’s imagination for a day. His novel, The Odds, is an imaginative post-apocalyptic chess game to the death blended with The Hunger Games in a universe filled with mutants, monsters, and cell phones more deadly than any bomb. In other words, entirely awesome. My second venture into a Peterson world, Omegaball, is no less imaginative, out there, and highly entertaining but in a completely different way.
While the Engineer will continue on in Issue #1 of Aliens: Life and Death, the enigmatic creature was in the background for most of its own title. In Dan Abnett’s otherwise capable hands (His work so far with the Aliens, who I’m a huge fan of, and Predators, who I’m not a particular fan of, has been enjoyable.), a creature that deals with the manipulation of the beginnings of life became nothing more than Frankenstein’s Monster. The only motivation for this supposedly highly intelligent creature is simply to make it more difficult for our Colonial Marines to escape the planet. A slow-moving, grunting plot device. It gives me little hope for exploring what it is and what it wants in the forthcoming Alien title.
Tyler Crook’s artwork is lush and teeming with life, making the world of Harrow County one of the most fully realized landscapes in fiction today. His images are raw and breathtaking. They are both beautiful and haunting. They enliven the imagination by not only showing you what’s on the page, but making you wonder what’s beyond the panels. Without Crook’s artwork, I don’t believe Harrow County would be half as good as it is.
Joelle Jones takes time to mix in some flavorful ingredients into Issue#2 of Lady Killer 2, and it already begins to pay off. The best thing about good storytelling isn’t always in the payoff, but the feeling during the journey that things could go very wrong. That foreboding tickle at the back of your cranium that raises the blood pressure ever so slightly. The excitement and fear of the danger that is about to come. This second issue reminded me in many ways of an episode of Breaking Bad in its cadence and tone, finding a perfect balance between intelligence and enjoyment. It’s everything that this book has the potential to be.
For five issues now, Sarah Winchester has been fighting the literal and figurative demons caused by the violent deaths of the moneymaking and life-ending machine that is the Winchester Rifle. I’ve turned every page with wide-eyed fascination. This part-Western, part-horror story told by Peter J. Tomasi, Ian Bertram, Dave Stewart, and company is fueled by the anger and sadness at the state of the world we live in. This takes on a vivid clarity as the bitter irony of Sarah’s final, hopeful words are spoken. This hope prompts the feeling that we are still living out this tragedy today.
The realities of Hollywood are a strange thing. It can chew you up and eat you alive. For Farrah Durante, this is becoming more and more obvious as the middle-aged actress does everything she can to land her next big role. This is further complicated by a terrifying force that has attached itself to her and doesn't have much of an affinity for the culture Farrah has surrounded herself with.
I love reviewing new comic books . . . first books of new series that are teetering on the brink of either breaking big or breaking bad. There is something special about feeling “in the know” when something is too awesome to keep to yourself.
Every youngster wants the chance to be chosen for an incredible quest to save the world, but what if you sort of stumble into it thanks to a wacky family friend, a mysterious house, and a vacation in one of the US’s most haunted cities? Lucas and Parker Chance’s family vacation to see their ‘Aunt’ Ruby in New Orleans introduces them to Nicole “Cole” Wells and a quest to help preserve the balance between good and evil. There are clues to find, puzzles to decode, nefarious villains to evade, and, of course, more than a few beignets to enjoy in this fun YA romp that doubles as a love letter to a sultry city of the Deep South!
Betvin Geant and Kay have consistently produced a thoughtful, engaging, and thoroughly entertaining book in Rise of the Antichrist. What’s incredible is that every issue has managed to up the ante in scale and scope, mining the source material and creating a depth of character that drives the plot. The premise of a man with powers and a history of mental illness assuming the role of the Savior makes for an unusual hook, and what makes it truly interesting is the fact that the story rides the fine line between deranged superbeing and actual son of God. Michael manages to always find an answer through his faith, but it’s never overtly evident whether these are actually signs from a deity or the result of a mind searching for answers and finding them in itself. This issue ramps all of these things to 11 and leaves us with one hell of a final page.
Alternate history or speculative fiction stories deviate from a particular pivotal point in history to explore a “what if” scenario. What hopefully results is an intriguing and riveting examination of the effects of that diverging point. For writer J.H. Sanderson, the summer of 1978 was his point of departure. While President Jimmy Carter sought peace in the real world, in Sanderson's allohistory, a moment of aggression sparked off World War III between the US and then superpower, the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). In Dangerous Gambles and Renegade graphic novel series published by Compact, Sanderson explores the struggles of a conventional modern war on US soil: food and various everyday sundries require ration coupons, curfews are instituted, and regular blackouts give rise to networks of marketeering, all under an overarching threat of invasion and nuclear annihilation.