Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shaolin Cowboy #1 and #2

Shaolin Cowboy #1 is an action-packed, zombie-slicing adventure story.  The story starts out with a bloody and bruised Shaolin Cowboy punching his way out of hell to find himself in a remote desert.  He appears to be relieved to be finished with his previous adventures, but the relief doesn't last long and his adventure is far from over. 

The rest of this book is filled with the Shaolin Cowboy taking on the hoard of undead that has followed him from hell.  The best part of this zombie slasher is the Shaolin Cowboy’s weapon of choice.  We've all seen a zombie slashed with a chainsaw but a chainsaw looks like a child’s play toy compared to the double-ended chainsaw staff that the Shaolin Cowboy wields.  This is the weapon I want when thousands of undead are chasing me through the desert.

The art and the story are fantastic.  The meticulous coloring of the desert and zombies next to the Shaolin Cowboys red shirt and yellow handkerchief is absolutely gorgeous.  The story is fantastic and leaves you wondering what will happen next as the Shaolin Cowboy jumps into a crowd of zombies that fill the last two pages of this issue.

Two out of Two Chainsaws

Shaolin Cowboy #2 picks up right as the Shaolin Cowboy is jumping into the crowd of zombies from the last pages of the first issue.  And what does the Shaolin Cowboy do as soon as he lands? He starts to cut through the hoard of zombies with his double ended chainsaw staff.  There are so many ways to destroy zombies with a double chainsaw staff and writer/artist Geof Darrow wants to show his audience each way in full beautifully gory detail. 

Intense undead destruction is featured on every double page of this issue.  No words are needed as the Shaolin Cowboy cuts zombies heads off, cuts zombies in half, and cuts zombies from top to bottom with the grace and patience of a Shaolin monk.  His motions are fluid and precise and he is calm and collected through out each slaughter-filled scene.

The detail in each scene is incredible.  This issue seems to be simple, scene after scene of the Shaolin cowboy destroying zombies, but it is so much more than that.  So much attention is given to each individual zombie and their gruesome demise.  My favorite scene is when the Shaolin Cowboy slashes ten zombies with his double ended chainsaw staff as he’s open palm striking a zombie’s heart with his free hand.  This issue is epic and should be read over and over again in order to pick up on all the gory details.

4 zombie heads out of 5

You can find Shaolin Cowboy # 1 here
And here is Shaolin Cowboy # 2

Moped Cow: Who Are You, Moped Cow? / Moped Cow in Atlantis

The first book Who Are You, Moped Cow? Starts with the question, “Hey, Moped Cow, what’s your story?” asked to an upright cow, wearing a scarf, driving goggles while he is drinking a bottle of beer. Coy on the story of his life, and claiming he has actually lost it, the trusty moped, Vesperina decides to dive in and tell his. It is an unbelievable life story that is full of laughs, a bit of sorrow, but ultimately groovy one.

On the hunt for the ultimate good time, Moped Cow along with Vesperina come across the legend of Atlantis. How did the mythical city sink into the ocean? Was it a giant earthquake? Could it have been due to their legendary parties? Moped Cow and Vesperina search for the truth in this fun read! Also there is a bonus comic staring Galaxy Cow! All I will say is, the earth owes a lot to Galaxy Cow.

Self-published, written and illustrated by Grand Rapids local Anna Bowles, both of which are very short and fun reads. Who Are You, Moped Cow?, is produced in the style of black and white while, Moped Cow in Atlantis is colored.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Manifest Destiny #1

We all know the story of Lewis and Clarke. They traveled through the western United States, establishing contact with different Native American groups and cataloging all manner of flora and fauna. At least that's what we thought. Manifest Destiny #1 reveals the truth. The actual purpose of their expedition was to clear the land of monsters in anticipation of American settlement.

 The writing of Chris Dingess, the art of Matthew Roberts, and the fabulous coloring of Owen Gieni play beautifully off of each other resulting in a comic that captures the wonder Lewis and Clarke must have felt exploring an unknown landscape. I truly enjoyed this comic and am eagerly anticipating the next installment.

4.5 out of 5 Lewis and/or Clarkes

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thor: God of Thunder

Thor: The Dark World is finally hitting theaters this weekend and guess who's totally pumped! Its been over 2 years since the first Thor film came out and i'm feeling so ready for some sweet Asgardian action.

If you've never read any Thor comics before, or you're looking for a great Thor title to get you hyped for the new film, this is the comic for you. Read on for my appropriately timed review of Thor: God of Thunder!

Thor: God of Thunder was one of the first titles to come out with the new Marvel Now! reboot that took place last year. I had never been much of a Thor fan but had my mind completely blown when I first started reading this. Written by Jason Aaron (Scalped, The Incredible Hulk, and a multitude of other awesome books), the pacing of Thor is quick and compelling. You'll be hooked within one issue guaranteed. For fans of the films, this comic series might be a bit of a departure. It hardly ever takes place on earth and goes heavy on the Asgardian stuff, which is part of the reason I love it so much. During the first story arc, Thor travels from world to world hunting down Gorr, The God Butcher. Jason Aaron's writing is spectacular here and is only amplified by the impressive art of both Esad Ribic and Bruce Guice. The story concludes perfectly in 11 issues and has now been collected into two hard cover books.

Don't feel like hunting for back issues or dropping some bux on a couple of books? Fortunately, the second story arc is only 2 issues in. If you're planning on seeing Thor 2, then I highly recommend you pick up on this arc as it's main villain, Malekith the Accursed, is the same villain you'll see in the film. In addition to having a super cool name, Malekith is a fantastic and terrifying character. I also find it important to note that he rides a flying white tiger. Jason Aaron's writing continues to be drool inducing and the new artist ,Ron Garney, rules!

Whether or not you intend on seeing the new Thor movie this weekend, you can't pass up on Thor: God of Thunder. Simply put, it's one of the best comics out there.

4.5 mjolnirs out of 5

Check out Thor: God of Thunder Volume One here!
Part One of the new "Accursed" story arc is here!
Or mosey on over to the Vault to see 'em for yourself!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Captain Marvel - Earth's Mightiest Hero #17

If you haven't been reading Kelly Sue DeConnick's amazing Captain Marvel run, then you need to get out and buy the first two trades right now.

That being said, this finale for the current arc was inspiring, to say the least. I don't want to give too much away, but after Carol Danvers lost her memory at the end of Enemy Within she was left trying to put her life back together piece by piece. We saw some of that in the Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble Infinity crossover, but this issue really brings us back to her personal life away from the Avengers. Despite not remembering who the people helping her out, she still stays true to herself. She is just as caring and sassy as usual.

We are also introduced to a new villain for Captain Marvel. The (definitely insane) Grace Valentine. Not to worry though, the good citizens of New York along with Captain Marvel foil her plans. I am certainly interested to see what happens next with her and her vendetta against Captain Marvel.

One of the most exciting parts of this issue though, is the very last page, where we are introduced to the next Ms. Marvel. If you haven't heard about the new Marvel series coming out this February, read about it here.

And don't forget to jump on the Captain Marvel train in a few months for the new Captain Marvel re-start. Don't worry, DeConnick is still writing the Earth's Mightiest Avenger's leading title.

4.5 Kree Stars out of 5 Kree Stars

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sex Criminals #1 & 2

It's about time we revived this blog thing. Stay tuned for future reviews on the best and worst comics, graphic novels,manga, and board games! For now, here are my thoughts on Sex Criminals.

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky

We all love Matt Fraction. Not only has the dude written some of the coolest comics out there (Hawkeye, FF, Casanova)  but he's also crankin' out new series like hot fire. It's no wonder we sold out of Sex Criminals #1 the day it came out.

Sex Criminals features two lead characters, Suzie and John, who are both able to "freeze time" after having an orgasm. After meeting each other and quickly gettin' it on, they realize they have the same ability and use their time-stopping skills to rob banks and get into all sorts of sexy shenanigans.

It's a super unique story and definitely a compelling read. While Fraction isn't shy when it comes to sexual content in this comic (it may be awkward for the easily embarrassed) , it never feels sleezy or over done. I could do without the "breaking the fourth wall" style commentary and the art is so-so, but overall, I recommend Sex Criminals.

3.5 out of 5 leather whips.

Buy the first issue online here, or stop by your local Vault of Midnight to check it out!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln

Does anyone still read this blog? No matter. Hopefully you'll see more posts more regularly in the very near future. But if you're not reading, you won't notice either way.

Written and Drawn by Noah Van Sciver

For fans of Lincoln, fans of history, fans of comic books, fans of historically based comic books, and fans of melancholy, The Hypo is not to be missed. Focusing on the late twenties of one of the most famous and mythologized people in history, The Hypo gives us a view of Lincoln (backed up by his and his contemporaries' correspondence) as a depressed failure. At twenty-eight he has foundered as a lawyer, a politician, and a fiancee. He suffers from the bummers so severely that it's become one of his most defining characteristics to both friends and strangers alike. The story follows Lincoln through this strange period in his life as he grapples with an overriding wish to make a difference and be remembered, even while there is absolutely no indication that he will accomplish any such thing.

Sciver absolutely nails it. It's so easy to think of Lincoln or any figure of his stature as these great freight trains of Mighty Righteousness, barreling through life to their ultimate, kick-ass destiny with grace and aplomb. We can't separate what we know of Lincoln without remembering his really astonishing accomplishments, so those accomplishments necessarily color our interpretation of him. Sciver's approach to this problem (if it is a problem) is subtle, setting melancholic young Lincoln against our knowledge of what he will become, while at the same time showing us the seeds of what will make him great. Take a look at this page from early on in the narrative:

Setting aside the fact that these dudes are deciding on a platonic bed-sharing together after, like, 30 seconds of meeting (which apparently wasn't so weird in the frontier states during that period), look at how much Sciver accomplishes on this page. We see Lincoln's plain spoken style, his humbleness, his self-doubt, and his honesty here with so much fucking economy and elegance. And look at the expressions on Lincoln's face. Big ol' goofy doofus. You just wanna comb his hair and give him a hug and then let him save modern democracy as the last, best hope for mankind. The whole book pulls this off.

It's not all old-timey moping, for those of you afraid of words or feelings. We also see the combative, childish side of Lincoln as he pisses people off, falls in love, tries (and fails) to buy a hooker, and accidentally instigates a duel (with sabers!).

I recommend The Hypo highly. The pacing is perfect, the art is effective and sometimes super-moving, and the story is fascinating.

Four and a Half out of Five Top Hats