Chris Smith's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comic Bastards Reviews: 50
6.4Avg. Review Rating

4.0
Action Lab: Dog Of Wonder #1

Mar 2, 2016

Comics, especially kids' comics have no limitations to how wacky they can be, and while Action Lab #1 wants to be that wacky animal superhero comic, it isn't, because even things aimed at kids need to have at least a little structure for them to grasp onto. Maybe in the coming issues there will be more of a focus on characterization. Unfortunately this comic just wasn't for me.

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8.0
Baltimore: Empty Graves #1

Apr 6, 2016

Mignola and Golden's Europe has become darker, and much more supernatural, and as we delve deeper into the different characters' background stories hopefully we will begin to see some weird new monsters. Although Ben Stenbeck will always be the artist I think of when I think of Baltimore, Peter Bergting is doing an excellent job on this latest arc, and the last one too for that matter. Bergting has a very nice creepy style, without being overly realistic or sketchy. No line seems out of place, and like all Mignola-endorsed artists he can draw the hell out of some monsters, ghouls, and gore. The Red King may not make an appearance for sometime, but until then we have many stories to entertain us, though I fear we'll be seeing more graves before the end of this arc.

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6.0
Baltimore: Empty Graves #2

May 10, 2016

On one hand Empty Graves is definitely a waiting period before we get back to the main plot. Normally these slower issues don't offer much in terms of expanding the plot, and are just filler until the next story arc. Here though they serve a much bigger purpose. Mignola and Golden have introduced quite a few new characters and this is our opportunity to learn about them. Not only that, but they give us a glimpse into the dark folklore-inspired mythology of this horror filled world.

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6.0
Baltimore: Empty Graves #3

Jun 1, 2016

Overall this issue was fun, and now that we're past the surprise scene change, I hope we're in for a good couple of issues!

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6.0
Black Science #19

Jan 7, 2016

This arc is a slow burn, but not every issue can be an action-packed one. Remender's writing abilities shine here, and we are taken not to a new alien-filled dimension, but one just as strange: Grant's psyche. Issue 19 becomes a deep look into Grant's personal life, specifically his childhood. It's a great opportunity to take a look at this comic as a whole, and see how multi-faceted Remender is as a writer.

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6.0
Black Science #20

Feb 10, 2016

Regardless, this issue serves as a transitionary issue between arcs, or at least that's how I feel about it. There's definitely a lot of action in this issue, but I still feel like we're just building up to the next part of the story, which will hopefully blow me away. Both Black Science and Low feel as if they're coming to a close, but honestly that's how I felt about Fear Agent when I read it for the first time, but then shit got crazy. Well, both BS and Low are already pretty crazy comics, so I'm excited to see where they go from here.

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6.0
Black Science #21

Mar 30, 2016

I have always been hoping for more of that wild energy that I fell in love with during the first few issues. Before the plot became totally clear, and the crew was just trying to get home by any means necessary. Maybe Black Science will never be like that again, and that's fine, the plot developed and I'm okay with that. I just hope that someone else gets a chance to have a voice rather than just Grant.

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4.0
Devolution #1

Jan 20, 2016

Overall it's an interesting first issue, if not a little disappointing. Here's hoping that things pick up and get a lot more fun during the rest of this mini's run!

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6.0
Devolution #3

Mar 16, 2016

Devolution #3 puts this comic back on track, setting up perfectly for the finale. Let's just say someone we spent a lot of time with in the second issue isn't quite ready to give up the hunt. Gruesome, bloody, weird and wildly imaginative Remender's prehistoric wasteland is a wild ride that you won't want to miss. I'm glad my faith has been restored and perhaps reading this in trade form the entire run would've made more sense. Devolution still isn't my favorite by Remender by a long shot, but at least it's fun.

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4.0
Doc Savage: The Spider's Web #1

Dec 2, 2015

If we're expected to be on the edge of our seat watching an 80 year old character do the same shit he's always done at least pull it off with style. This latest version of Doc Savage has a long way to go to fulfill its promise of pulp-revival glory.

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8.0
Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas #1

May 26, 2016

Anytime a comic artist is able to successfully adapt a great work of literature it's a point for the comic industry. Often looked upon as literature's lowbrow cousin, these attempts at adapting famous fiction to comics are always a good boost of energy for the comic world. This is especially true when someone as good as Little does a book as famous as Fear and Loathing. The bottom line is that if you like Hunter S. Thompson you should grab this version before re-reading your old novel, you might just find that it's even more fun.

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6.0
Godzilla: Oblivion #1

Apr 20, 2016

I've always thought that Godzilla movies were dumb. Not dumb in a bad way, just something to watch while eating pizza and drinking beer. Some things you don't need to think about to enjoy and Godzilla is one of those things. The majority of the Japanese films revolve around waiting for the monsters to appear and then duke it out. They're fun, but don't exactly make you exercise your brain. Much like the films, this comic series stays true to that style. The plot is thin, but who cares when you know you'll get to see Godzilla blast some monsters to bits? Comics are an excellent medium for franchises as weird as Godzilla, because unlike film which is limited by budget and effects, comics can do whatever they want. Nothing is impossible in a comic. Godzilla traversing dimensions to save America from King Ghidorah? Fuck it, it's done. It only kind of works, but if you're looking for a monster fix or a ten-minute break from reality, grab a copy.

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8.0
Harrow County #8

Dec 9, 2015

This is exactly what a good horror book should be: entertaining, gruesome, fun, and of course, thought-provoking.

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8.0
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 #2

Nov 25, 2015

The first story in this issue is definitely the main course, while the second feels a little bit like an afterthought. As a whole it works though, giving us a wide range of the kinds of cases that Hellboy had to solve in his younger days. Not every case can be a gun slinging skull-bashing adventure. That's what has always made Hellboy such a great comic, it's well-roundedness and pacing. Mignola knows just when to hit the brakes, slow down, and remind us that Hellboy isn't just about beating up monsters, but it's a journey of discovery, purpose, and self-worth, and Hellboy has always been the perfect demon to help us feel more human.

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8.0
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 - Beyond The Fences #2

Mar 23, 2016

I am an undying fan of Mignola and over the years have read many of his series, and I have to say that all of them are satisfying in one way or another. But Hellboy was the comic that started it all, and still remains an incredible title. No one writes like Mignola, and while Beyond The Fences isn't the first of his books that I would recommend to a new reader of Hellboy, it still scratches that itch.

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8.0
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 - Beyond The Fences #3

Apr 27, 2016

Mingola loves to tie everything together, so we get some flashbacks to past Hellboy events. It's cool, though, because the web of events, characters, and places that make up the Mignola-verse are super fun to map out. It's crazy to find out that Edward Gray is somehow connected to Abe Sapien. Hellboy thrives in the tiny details, the small minutiae that make up a great fictional mythology. But it's a series that also loves the big picture, and isn't afraid to inject some action when it's needed. Creepy, action packed, and fun: Beyond The Fences #3 concludes a great addition to the Hellboy canon.

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6.0
Itty Bitty Hellboy: Search For the Were-Jaguar #1

Nov 25, 2015

Each page reads almost like a comic strip, delivering a laugh at the end of every few panels. This set up definitely helps move the comic along, and for kids with shorter attention spans will surely keep them interested. With its immature content, this might not be the most enjoyable read-a-long for parents. But with a fast pace and a joke-a-minute style it definitely will have a readership among younger fans. For kids who are trying out the medium of comics this is certainly a great entryway. Dark Horse has a great thing going, fostering a love of some of their best characters in early readers. Itty Bitty Hellboy is a charming and fun read for a younger generation of comic readers or readers-to-be, an entertaining starting point, and a goofy story of some weird characters delivering underwear to those in need.

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6.0
King Conan: Wolves Beyond The Border #1

Dec 23, 2015

Honestly, I love Conan. For me it's one of those comics that is just pure escapism. You can read into them like any other work of fiction, maybe find some type of intelligent deep-reading element hidden within the subtexts, but for me they are better enjoyed at face value. It's just one of those comics that I can slip back into after not reading it for a long time, because the stories are mostly standalone or short miniseries that are easily accessible, and easily digestible. That isn't to say that Truman's writing is watered-down, the stories themselves are well written and really any fan of fantasy should enjoy the adrenaline fueled action that surrounds any Conan comic. King Conan: Wolves Beyond The Border is just classic pulp fun, the perfect distraction from everyday life, forget your worries and let Conan guide the way.

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6.0
King Conan: Wolves Beyond The Border #2

Jan 27, 2016

King Conan continues to be an exhilarating read, and remains to me one of Dark Horse's best books. As far as pure escapism goes Conan comics always fill that need. With Truman and Giorello at the helm, you can be assured that blood will be spilled, adventure will be close at hand, and Conan will always be King!

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8.0
King Conan: Wolves Beyond The Border #3

Feb 24, 2016

It takes a lot of skill to translate a literary character and put them into fast moving visual oriented comic books, and Dark Horse constantly does just that. Alright, that's enough praise for Conan for one day, just go and read this miniseries yourself, just in time for the finale next month!

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8.0
King Conan: Wolves Beyond The Border #4

Mar 30, 2016

Wolves Beyond The Border is fun, fast, and full of adventure and action. This time around Truman may not leave you soul searching, but there is always something exciting to be found in an issue of Conan, and this miniseries is no different.

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6.0
Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #3

Mar 9, 2016

What they did was create a wickedly fast-paced, violent action movie starring some truly twisted superheroes. If you like watching a bizarro Superman rip people's spines out, or a murderous Human Torch melt someone's skull, this comic is for you. The light at the end of this tunnel is that hopefully someone or something will come around that will stop them, but not before this comic gets your adrenaline pumping and your fingers flipping those pages faster than Fleet (their version of Flash) can cut your head off.

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8.0
Low #11

Feb 10, 2016

I focused a lot on the story and themes of this issue but should mention that Tocchini's art is really reaching new boundaries here. I've always thought that his splash pages have been the best part of his work, and his character work was sometimes a little shaky, but eleven issues in and his work has really grown.

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8.0
Low #12

Mar 16, 2016

In a moment of realization at the end of the issue Stel thinks how foolish humanity was that the world would just stop once they vanished from it. She thought that she could find the probe, find a planet that humanity could inhabit, and save the world. After the bloodbath that she just witnessed she knows that nature continued without them. The endless struggle to reach the surface is over, and just like that Remender pushes us into a whole new adventure. We thought we knew what was waiting for Stel on the surface, but we had no idea.

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6.0
Low #13

Apr 27, 2016

This entire issue just felt a little too convenient. With only three people on the sub, in order to push the action along one of them had to do something crazy, and it was Lena, drowning and knifing each of the sisters respectively. The writing on this issue was a little weak, and the art was also kind of shaky and inconsistent (more so than Tocchini's usual). I hate to see a dip in quality in one of my favorite books, but this issue just felt a little rushed.

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8.0
Manifest Destiny #19

May 18, 2016

Dingess is still writing an incredibly entertaining yarn. This arc starts off strong, and despite being called "Sasquatch", the slow build up of why it's called that is perfect. The premise of this book has always intrigued me, and continues to do so. The "secret history" aspect of it is so fun, especially the idea that Jefferson had sent explorers out before Lewis and Clark but they failed so history forgot them, it's brilliant. Do Lewis and Clark know that they weren't the first? Are they being kept in the dark? There are so many questions that need answered! When winter falls upon the Discovery Corps how will they react, or will they too succumb to the fate that claimed their predecessors?

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8.0
Paknadel & Trakhanov's Turncoat #2

Apr 20, 2016

I don't read many BOOM! comics but maybe I should start. Judging this comic by its synopsis and the cover I gave it a chance, and I'm glad I did. Turncoat is a rich crime thriller that would make Raymond Chandler proud, especially if he was into cyberpunk. With a dark, moody story, and art that oozes creativity, this book will definitely fit on your shelf with Prophet, Orc Stain, and back issues of Heavy Metal.

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8.0
Paknadel & Trakhanov's Turncoat #3

May 18, 2016

I said it last month, and I'll say it again, read this comic! If you like noir combined with alien weirdness, written, drawn, and colored by some of the best up and coming talent, look no further.

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4.0
Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1

Jan 20, 2016

For fans of the character this comic will probably be pretty enjoyable, for me it felt a little stale. Hopefully Chu will amp things up in the coming issues, especially with the cliffhanger ending the first issue had. DC is obviously trying to diversify their roster, and it's commendable, but it doesn't feel like they're quite there yet. That's obvious just from the cover of this comic, showing a sexy looking Ivy laying on some branches, it's just not necessary. Poison Ivy is a cool, badass character, and Chu is obviously trying to bring out those traits.

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4.0
Predator: Life and Death #1

Mar 2, 2016

It's a difficult thing to take a licensed title such as Predator and make it fresh and exciting, especially when the original films worked so well. This is the same thing with Alien, as I've seen it many times before, the bad guys just want to keep trying to capture a live Xenomorph and it always escapes and kills everyone. The plot of the original was just so good that they had to reuse it again, and again, and" again. Admittedly this is the opening scene of a four-part mini-series so many mysteries could unfold before the end, and Dark Horse claims that this series will include Aliens and the engineers from Prometheus. But for right now, if you're looking for a little bit of action and some carnage, and you're a fan of Predator, then pick up a copy of Dark Horse's latest rendition, you won't be disappointed.

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4.0
Prometheus: Life and Death #1

Jun 2, 2016

The issue ends with the Xenotech craft blasting off into space, perhaps with the Engineer at the helm. Ever since 2012's Prometheus film when Dr. Shaw launches off in search of the Engineer homeworld fans have wondered what happens next? So far this first issue was just action and very little plot. It's possible that writer Dan Abnett could be taking us on a journey larger than Aliens or Predator, but if this first issue is any indication it seems unlikely. If you like the franchise, pick up this book for a fun read, otherwise, you're better off buying some more original sci-fi comics.

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6.0
Rat Queens #13

Nov 18, 2015

Regardless, issue 13 remains an expository issue, full of dialogue and minor character developments. It lacked the thrilling action and humor that keeps the series exciting for me. I know that plot has to be revealed somehow and it can't always be gobbo-slaying or drunken revelry, but this action is what made me love the series in the first place. Hopefully the next few issues will pick up and balance out the exposition with the action that Rat Queens always so gratuitously delivers.

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6.0
Rebels (2015) #9

Dec 9, 2015

Wood has a great thing going here, and the anthology style works perfectly for his ideas. This issue (as far as I know) was a one-shot and works as a vignette into the ideologies behind the French and Indian War. Each story is primarily driven by internal narration from the protagonist of each story, it allows for Wood to teach us history with a personal twist. Although these stories are fiction, they are undoubtedly based in reality, giving off a true feeling of loss, love, fear, sadness, and hope. War is brutal, but sometimes we forget that one of our countries largest conflicts was more than just Washington crossing the Delaware, or the signing of the Declaration. It was ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and those things should never be forgotten.

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6.0
Rebels (2015) #10

Jan 13, 2016

It is this last scene that really lingered with me, I thought that Wood's series was hit or miss, but at its best it was a poignant commentary on war, and an intelligent reflection on the founding of our country. A few single issues fell flat, but overall it's a good read, especially for those historical fiction buffs. It definitely achieved its goal of being about the little guy, without any use of Washington or other colonial heroes this was a comic for the people. Wood's ability to subtly comment on war while still allowing his story room to breathe is one of his strongest points. Ultimately this ten issue run showcases sorrow, pain, and loss through voices that are not commonly heard in history or in comics for that matter. And for that alone this comic is a victory.

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6.0
Shutter #20

Apr 13, 2016

Del Duca's art is always a treat, especially with the added Tintin homage in this issue (big Herge fan here). And Keatinge's writing continually gets better and better. Sure, I'll say that I enjoyed the wild and weird debut issue more than this one, and that's just me. But the truth is, this comic packs an emotional punch if you really follow the characters.

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6.0
Shutter #21

May 12, 2016

The cast of protagonists has grown larger and larger since the latest story arc began and Kate began to meet her other siblings. Increasing the cast doesn't really matter unless those characters begin to fade into the background or blur together. Shutter so far has not had an issue with this, so we'll see how Keatinge handles the larger number of support characters. On another note Shutter has always been host to a very diverse cast with a wide range of personalities and traits, something that a lot of comics can't attest to. Overall Shutter is still a phenomenal comic, providing adventure in a lush world full of interesting and fun characters. Issue #21 fell a little short of expectations, but it just means that the next one will be even better.

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6.0
Southern Bastards #13

Jan 27, 2016

After the Rebs lose the homecoming game to rivals Wetumpka, Boss Coach in an utterly embarrassing maneuver finds some of the other county's players and challenges the biggest one to a fight. Of course Boss wins, and it shows the insane lengths that he will go to to protect his reputation, even if that means beating up teenagers. Southern Bastards keeps getting better and better, especially as the characters grow, and new ones are introduced. Craw County hasn't shared all of its dark secrets with us just yet.

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8.0
Southern Bastards #14

May 11, 2016

It's not just about bloodshed or violence, it's so much more than that. Craw County is a place where people don't want to change, despite their morality and ethics being pushed to the limit. Things are only going to get worse from here but it's so hard to stop reading once you start.

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8.0
The Autumnlands #10

Apr 13, 2016

I find this comic increasingly difficult to describe to those who have never picked up an issue. For me it originally wasn't Busiek's name that got me to read issue #1, but rather Benjamin Dewey's art, which is remarkably unique, yet comfortably familiar. It's one of those comics that you kind of want to flip through first just to gaze at the art before you even read the story. After ten issues, I can confidently tell people that Autumnlands is like a 70s pulp Redwall with magic, some crazy weird sci-fi elements, and an R rating. So yeah, if you aren't reading it yet, and you like those things, do yourself a favor and pick up the first trade.

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6.0
The Dark and Bloody #2

Mar 9, 2016

Without the aid of traditional scares that TV or film has, horror comics have to rely on other more classic techniques, such as atmosphere and suspense. The Dark and Bloody is a slow burn that will hopefully have a big payoff.

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8.0
The Massive: Ninth Wave #1

Nov 23, 2015

The premise is excellent, while not being overly political. Garry Brown's artwork reminds me a lot of Sean Murphy's scraggly yet clean artwork, giving each character a sharp look to them. His art definitely helps the book keep a crisp, stark appearance for the no doubt heavy subject material to come. Wood has a great team behind this comic, and hopefully can keep up the pace that this debut issue has set. This issue honestly felt like a movie trailer, showing the team pulling the heist while their captain says some badass lines to the villain. In a way it's a great set up for the rest of the series, but I wish that a little more had transpired. But hey, they've have to save something for the rest of the series I suppose. So far so good, Ninth Wave is definitely shaping up to be a book to look out for in 2016.

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4.0
The Mighty Zodiac #1

Apr 6, 2016

In comparison with Autumnlands (the only other anthropomorphic comic I know coming out right now) it doesn't stand a chance. Granted, each has a very specific audience, but I couldn't help think of Busiek's compelling story as I was reading Torres' uninspired plot. I'm sure once it gets a few issues in The Mighty Zodiac will gain some momentum, and for kids just getting into the talking animal genre it could be a jumping off point for some of the greater works.

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4.0
The Rocketeer At War #2

Mar 23, 2016

Guggenheim and Bullock can't keep up with a classic, and try as they may it doesn't hold a candle to the pulp glory that is The Rocketeer. Somehow feeling rushed and overly long at the same time, with sloppy artwork, and a weak story, this issue left me feeling disappointed in IDW and worried for the future of The Rocketeer series. Maybe The Rocketeer isn't the right book for this creative team, but I hope in the future they find someone who is.

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6.0
The Rook #3

Dec 16, 2015

The Rook's plot is cool, as far as time travel stories go it's super fun and obviously plays on its pulp influence. The Rook himself is a badass character, gallivanting through time with a sword and a revolver trying to right past wrongs or just blasting into the weird future in search of whatever. This iteration of the classic character will never be able to capture the magic of those brilliant black and white pages from Eerie all those years ago, but Grant and artist Paul Gulacy will damn well try. After the arbitrary origin story is out of the way hopefully this new Rook will be able to really pick up. Falling somewhere between The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and 2000 AD, The Rook will bend your brain with its action-packed time travel insanity.

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6.0
The Steam Man #3

Dec 16, 2015

Beautifully drawn by Piotr Kowalski, the art is detailed and fluent. Kowalski brings to life the crazy genre-bending ideas that this comic throws together and makes them sensible. Although sometimes bogged down by hit or miss jokes and a stale dynamic between characters, I think The Steam Man still finds its potential in the idea of itself. This is a comic that doesn't take itself too seriously and yet still has an interesting plot with a lot of heart. A story doesn't have to be deep to be enjoyable, but this comic is definitely enjoyable. As a fan of genre mixing stuff this hits all the right points. Sometimes steampunk can get overused, but in this case both writers don't rely too heavily on it as a crutch. Fun, fast-paced, and weird, The Steam Man is a great read for those who love H.G. Wells and the fantastical stories he once wrote.

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6.0
This Damned Band #5

Dec 2, 2015

This is the premise that I was waiting for since issue one. It's ridiculous, over the top, and totally awesome. Finally This Damned Band plays out like the Faustian, heavy metal, drug-induced roller coaster that it was meant to be. Cornell really turned the volume up all the way for the build-up to the final issue of this wild mini-series.

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6.0
Tokyo Ghost #7

May 25, 2016

Now with the last peaceful, beautiful place (thank you Sean Murphy) on Earth destroyed and turned into another wasteland of corporate greed what is left? Debbie returning with the EMP Katana to kill every one of those bastards. All of a sudden this is Kill Bill in the future, and bloodshed is the only answer. Honestly, I'm okay with that. At this point I kind of hate every character except Debbie for what they did, but also what they didn't do. Part of what makes this comic so sad is the apathy and complacency that these people have. They don't care what happens because they are numb to it, especially Led Dent, and that's what makes it so hard to watch. Debbie was the only one who ever cared enough to try to change her world and now there's nothing left but death and destruction for all.

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4.0
Tomb Raider (2016) #1

Feb 17, 2016

Tomb Raider has great potential to fill the gap in Dark Horse roster, after the tragic departure of Star Wars a little ways back. Tomb Raider is a great franchise with a large following and if this comic picks up steam it could become a powerhouse. The artwork here is a little standard, nothing too outrageous, or bold which is a shame. I expected a little more from Dark Horse this time around, and was disappointed with the slow pacing of this issue. Though with Tamaki at the helm there is some real potential for this series to become a heavy hitter. Here's hoping for some more adventures!

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8.0
Unfollow #4

Feb 3, 2016

While the popular concept of humans hunting one another on an island is definitely not original, it is a really fun idea for a comic. I think Williams using the manhunt premise is a great springboard to dissect modern humanity, especially if technology gets involved. It's hard to say where this comic will go being only four issues in, but so far it's exciting, feels fresh, and has been a wild ride. Williams really nails it when it comes to a diverse cast of characters, so far only a handful have been introduced, but there's a lot of diversity which definitely helps the comic feel modern. These characters all come from different walks of life, some are already rich, some are desperately poor, but all have something to offer to the story. Most of them will probably die though in the inevitable hunt that will leave the 140 scattered across the island, too bad.

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8.0
Unfollow #7

May 10, 2016

With so many characters floating around (presumably about 136 we have yet to be introduced to) it was a wise choice to change the artist from issue to issue. Artists Marguerite Sauvage's art is a perfect fit for Courtney's rampant lifestyle. Her style is slightly reminiscent of Bruce Timm; cartoonish but only slightly so. The constant shifting line-up provides a change in tone every issue, perfect for the massive line up of characters to come. Unfollow #7 doesn't provide the suspenseful thrills that the earlier issues pulled off so well, but it is obvious that Williams and company are playing a long game. This series is well paced, allowing us plenty of time with each character, which will make their inevitable deaths all the more painful to watch. Unfollow is still one of the most exciting series on the shelves right now, and definitely worth picking up.

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