Sunday, March 4, 2012

Digital Comic Mini-Reviews

Yesterday I downloaded two more comic apps for my iPod - ComiXology and Dark Horse Comics. By the end of the afternoon, I had over 100 first/zero issues and previews downloaded from a variety of publishers, including titles such as the Luna Brothers' Girls and The Sword, Y: The Last Man, The Walking Dead, Danger Girl and many, many more. I won't be reviewing all of them, but I'll comment on as many as possible. The following reviews are all from comics I found free on the ComiXology app.

Girls #1
Image Comics - Art & Writing: The Luna Brothers
Ah, the Luna Brothers. I've not followed their work much, nor read a lot of it (Spider-Woman Origin #1 & Ultra: Seven Days) but the more I see, the more I'm impressed. Girls is a series I've seen around, but only just looked at. Ethan, the main character, is a bit hopeless. He misreads women constantly, and it gets him down. His life changes, however, when he almost literally runs into a strange and mysterious woman.

Very, very interesting ideas with some excellent art and a definite sense of humour. Will definitely be continuing this when I can.

The Sword #1
Image Comics - Art & Writing: The Luna Brothers
Another very interesting first issue from the Luna Brothers. Dara is a young, disabled woman who is making her way through college. One night, however, her home is invaded and her family killed. She manages to escape death, only to find what the invaders were looking for, a strange, magical sword.

As with Girls, I found this very interesting and I shall hopefully be continuing with it.

Y: The Last Man #1
Vertigo - Writer: Brian K. Vaughan - Pencils: Pia Guerra - Inks: Jose Marzan
This is a series I've had recommended to me a few times. Yorick becomes the titular last man after a mysterious event which kills all males on the planet. I found the writing and the art to both be of excellent quality, and I was very intrigued by what happened. As someone who loves to read about strong women, this should be a series I'll enjoy when I continue with it.

Celadore #1
DC Comics - Art & Writing: Caanan Grall
Must admit I've never heard of this series before, but the first issue was quite good. Celadore is a vampire hunter, but during a fact-finding mission she's killed, and her soul winds up in the body of a comatose 11-year-old girl named Evelyn Massey, ousting Evelyn into a position of an ethereal spirit.
Celadore before her death - Celadore #1
Quite... a silly comic, but in a bit of a dark way. Celadore retains her powers and abilities in Evelyn's body, which leads to this young girl with apparent super-strength and excellent fighting abilities. It's got a good sense of humour and some excellent art, and I will hopefully continue with this.

Dead at 17 #1
Viper Comics - Art & Writing: Josh Howard
Dead at 17 is a zombie comic, but with a teen protagonist. Nara, the protagonist, is murdered by an unknown assailant in her own home. As her death is investigated, they bring her best friend Hazy into it, and reveal to her a side to Nara that she never knew. Whilst this investigation continues, a wave of deaths spreads through the region, the killers unknown (but shown to the reader as zombies).

I'm not a big zombie fan, but I found this enjoyable in its own way. I won't be champing at the bit to continue with it, but if I see a trade collection then I may get it.

AdHouse - Writer: Vito Delsante - Artist: Rachel Freire
If Archie goes for idealised reality, then FCHS goes for pure reality. It follows the last year of high school, and all of the trials and tribulations that come with it. Sex, dating, drinking, sports, romance - all of it's here. I quite liked the preview issue, it certainly piqued my interest. The black-and-white art is clear and works really well due to Freire's Archie-inspired style. I could see this being a series I follow, but I believe it's now out of print, so I doubt I'll ever get to read it all.

Only complaint, really, was that an Italian character had a very bizarre way of speaking, and it ruined the feel a little bit.

Grrl Scouts: Work Sucks #1
Devil's Due Publishing - Art & Writing: Jim Mahfood
Wasn't particularly impressed by this one, but if I found a second issue for cheap I'd give it a shot. Basically, the three main characters are all friends, and one of them decides they should stop selling drugs and tidy up their lives before the recent waves of gang violence affects them, and that they should get jobs and live normal lives. I thought the art was fairly good, but it just didn't grab me, and I just wasn't particularly sure where it would go.

Melody #1
DC Comics - Art & Writing: Ilias Kyriazis
Oh, this was a good read. Melanie, the protagonist, has the music for the greatest song of the world, imparted to her deceased employer after a ritual involving the Muse of Song goes wrong. Everyone seems to be after her song - priests to use it to spread the word of God, a politician in order to bolster his campaign - even a marketing company in order to create the most popular advert there's ever been. I found it - even just this first issue - to contain quite biting representations of how shallow people are. The beauty of the piece was secondary to what it could be used for.

I was very taken by this issue, and I'll certainly pick up the rest if I can.

Velocity #1
Top Cow - Writer: Ron Marz - Art: Kenneth Rocafort 
Velocity is a spin-off title of a series from Top Cow/Image Comics series known as Cyberforce, one I have heard of but never really read. This issue was more of a scene-setter, but I found it worked on its own well enough. The art was generally pretty good, but it did have moments where it slipped into the rather worrying poses that plague superhero comics, even to this day, although thankfully they were few and far between. There was some good humour there, too.
Cover for Velocity #1
Again, I'd like to continue with this but I believe it's out of print. Oy. The only gripe I had other than the occasional posing slips was Velocity's costume. I was a little puzzled to see cleavage on display (it looked as though she had a clear panel in her costume in the shape of a lightning bolt), but it didn't entirely detract from the comic.

Jurassic Strike Force 5 #0
Zenescope - Writer: Joe Brusha - Art/Pencils: Julian Aguilera - Colours: Thomas Mason
What. What. Oh dear. This has to be one of the single weirdest things I've read, and I wasn't overly impressed. This zero-issue details the beginnings of the titular group, except... it kinda doesn't. It ends before it should do, and you get no idea of what the series is actually like. It's the sort of story that you expect mid-series when the villain is explaining his actions, not the sort that opens a series.

Not got a lot to say about the art, but if I had the first issue as well, I might be swayed. I mean, come on, anthropomorphic dinosaurs in armour? There is a cast listing at the back - about 10/11 main characters, two of which are female, and both of which have dino-boobs. Yes. Dino-boobs.

Ah, sod it. I'll get the trade. It should be a giggle.

Pirate Penguin vs Ninja Chicken Vol. 1 Preview
Top Shelf - Art & Writing: Ray Friesen
Giggle. This preview was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. It's like a kid-friendly webcomic. Slightly surreal, great art, likeable characters, brilliant jokes. It's a kid's comic, sure, but often they tend to be some of the better ones.
No explanation shall be given
Will definitely try and pick this up at some point, just for giggles.

The Pro 7-Page Preview
Image Comics - Writer: Garth Ennis - Pencils: Amanda Conner - Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti - Colours: Paul Mounts
The Pro. Hm. Yes, I've heard of this, and I must confess I wasn't particularly impressed. I understand it's supposed to be silly and so forth, but I'm not particularly bowled over. The main character is a prostitute who is chosen by a strange alien (The Viewer) to become a sort of superhero, which is when the preview ended. It's a sort of parody, but it didn't feel like one. It felt like a bunch of immature and childish jokes strung together with some good art (Amanda Conner is a good artist, one whose work I quite like from what I've seen), and it just didn't interest me in the slightest.

Unless I come across a copy of the trade for really cheap, I'll be giving this a pass.

So, there we have it - a bunch of smaller reviews of some digital comics. I'm definitely glad I picked up this app, and downloaded these issues and previews. I've enjoyed them, and hopefully I'll enjoy many more in the comic weeks.

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