Review: Satellite Sam, Vol. 1; by Matt (overworked and undersexed) Fraction & Howard (I remember the days of black and white so I don’t use colour) Chaykin

Satellite Sam, Volume 1Satellite Sam, Volume 1 by Matt Fraction
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Ugh. Seriously, I see what Image did…they showed you the flashy stuff (Saga, Walking Dead, Sex Criminals) the big writers (Fraction, BKV, Aaron) and they got you to pay for that, while also unloading on you a ton of mediocre stuff and some downright turds. But…I’ll still buy the next Humble Bundle, just for the value alone of the great stuff. I’m willing to suffer the shit to get to the gooey nougat centre.

Between successful/popular Matt Fraction writing, and old dog/well-known/respected Howard Chaykin doing the art, you figure Satellite Sam would be a winner.

Well, you’d be wrong.

I’m also starting to think that Matt Fraction is becoming a little obsessed with sex in comics. Sex Criminals had humour and a balance of lightness and more serious stuff, a mixture that goes down easy. This is just the seedy sex of the depraved behind closed doors 1950s.

I never watched Mad Men, but this seems like Mad Men the comic, in a TV producing environment instead of an Ad Agency.

I also have to admit a secret…while I respect Howard Chaykin, and can tolerate his stuff, I don’t really LOVE his style of art. In black and white, it’s hard to tell some of his characters apart, and frankly, between that and the storyline, I didn’t make much effort to.

Satellite Sam is a TV show, and the star is found dead in a flophouse with tons of dildos and lingerie all over the floor. His son discovers that he’s also got boxes and boxes of photos he’s taken of all the floozies he’s fucked over the years…including the Female Co-Star of the show (who’s a born again Christian!). SCANDAL!

But this book goes for titilation over substance, and fails. Yes there’s a kind of lurid, dirty appeal to the forbidden sex acts that we all now take mostly for granted (I mean most people are going to see 50 Shades of Grey for Valentine’s Day FFS), but at the same time, it’s kind of tired.

I don’t really care much for the head of the studio trying to expand his network, or his appeals to the FCC to get a bigger audience share, or the technology of early TV. It is interesting material for a proper history/biography book for sure, but it falls nearly as flat as the Superhero Union Contract Negotiations of COWL.

The son, Michael is a raging alcoholic, yet somehow, the murder of his father seems to spur him on to discover who he really was (other than a raging horndog). There’s lots of sex here, but no connections, just the equivalent of sad handjobs from homeless hookers. (Lono’s fave!)

No one is happy, everyone has vices, and there’s always positioning for power. Yawn. It’s obvious Fraction finds the early age of TV fascinating, and in this digital edition, we also get a conversation between Fraction and Chaykin about the 50s and early TV, which is more interesting that the whole of the first Volume.

Sex, booze, broads, TV, lies, scandal, coverups, somehow this all just falls pretty flat for me as a reader. I’m not really emotionally connecting to any character, they all seem pretty useless. Then as a reason to continue the series, or prolong it at least, they throw in the angle that it wasn’t a random crime of passion, but a murder that killed Michael’s father….DAA DUHHH DAAHHH!

I’m sorry, I would have liked to enjoy this, but it just feels like it’s pandering to a teenage audience who hasn’t figured out how to use PornHub yet. This would have totally worked on me at 14, for sure, but now it just comes across as cheap and makes you feel like taking a shower.

I think that might even be the aim, so ya, we get it, the 50s were just as depraved as today, but people felt the shame of keeping things under wraps and to themselves. I guess it’s up to you to decide if that’s better than nude celebrity selfies going viral or not.

I’ll be missing the rest of this on purpose, and I think maybe if Matt Fraction is so interested, he a Howard should just have a nice long sit down chat, and put out a podcast or something…

Sadly disappointing, again, like a sad handjob…2 in 2 days…not a good start to the week…at this rate I’ll have to start reading FF.

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Nailbiter, Vol. 1 – There Will Be Blood (is a much better movie than this is a comic); by Joshua Williamson

Nailbiter, Vol. 1: There Will Be BloodNailbiter, Vol. 1: There Will Be Blood by Joshua Williamson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More from the Humble Bundle; the gift that keeps on giving…even if you didn’t ask for some of them.


OK so Nailbiter almost lost me in the first few pages because it was just gross, and the kinda eww like papercuts in the spaces between your fingers and toes (EEEEEEE I’m squirming). I swallowed and pushed on through, and got into the story.

As others of my GR friends had commented already, this book owes much to the Silence of the Lambs and Scream…one is a masterful character study/thriller, the other is a shock horror/comedy. Nailbiter is neither of these things.
It’s a poor copy.

The characters aren’t given much time to be fleshed out, because they are running around after killers and always caught reacting and being 2 steps behind.

The Nailbiter himself is the most prolific serial killer in US history (other than legalized government agents) who got off scott free…Ya I don’t think so. Of course, one of the cops is a government specialist in “information extraction” ie. torture…but he never does much other than throw a few people around and scuffle with killers. I haven’t seen an ounce of torture skills or anything that makes me think this guy is anything special.

The Local Chief is a strong female character (with air quotes) who, of course, went to Prom with the Nailbiter…and he still loves to flirt with her. I’m sorry, you don’t think they’d get someone else from another town with no history to be the head of police? I mean really…

Everyone is suspect, from the grandson of the first serial killer the town produced (who runs a macabre store profiteering off the suffering of others) all the way down to anyone in town at all. There’s nearly no one to trust, and bodies start to pile up…

Also, the idea that one town produced 16 serial killers? That’s nuts. Were that actually the case, there would be law enforcement agents there in deep cover 24/7 and the government would probably have sterilized all the populace, and I assume most people would have moved away…but no.

Either way, there’s enough red herrings to start a fishmonger, and there seems to be a mystery figure pulling all the strings…making locals participate in bloody murders, and setting the detectives up for a final ending.

The end of the first Volume is mildly interesting enough for me to feel like it saved just a touch of potential…the actions of certain people aren’t what we expected, and some people show up who we thought were long gone. (That and one of the baddies at the end was kinda actually spooky!)

We’re left with everything up in the air for the next volume…I don’t imagine that I’ll rush out to find it, but if it shows up at the library, I might check it out to see what happens.

I generously give this 2.5+ stars, because it is fairly derivative of it’s sources, and there’s a lack of originality or character development, but for some reason I found myself mildly re-interested by the final chapter. It’s by no means awesome, but I was like…OK I’ll suspend my disbelief long enough to give you one more chance… (I’m very generous like that, but I’ve been on a horrid run lately, so mild interest is a lot better than flat out disdain I’ve felt for many other books lately).

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Review: The Wake, by Scott Snyder

The WakeThe Wake by Scott Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK I’m still on indies…yup.


So, Scott Snyder, pretty darn good writer, never embarrasses himself, always seems to have things thought out 5 steps ahead, much like his Batman…well I am here to tell you amigos…Mr. Scott done gone and fell upon his ass here.

Something can be great, really interesting, suspenseful, and have you wanting more…The Wake did that. It was like the best parts of The Abyss and Alien mashed up. I loved that the strong main character was female, kudos for that for sure. I liked the idea, ya OK, why not? I even liked the execution of the first half.

The second half was a departure, moving forward 200yrs in time from the end of the events at the first half. There’s still a strong female character, but it’s not like the Abyss, it’s like Waterworld and Mad Max (which Waterworld without water would be…except awesome). I don’t really understand the motivation for the villain here (another female character, good job Mr. Snyder!) she never gets explained much to me, and that’s mildly problematic.

The male characters are all well done too, though some very easy cliches they all fit into, but that’s OK, because this book is like a summer action blockbuster, it needs to move forward at a good pace.

Unfortunately, it all comes apart in the end, much like my Shallow friends who’ve read this have already pointed out (and the comparisons to Abyss and Waterworld I see as well, so obviously that was a blatant similarity). The idea was kooky but I was willing to invest, especially for the explanation of Humanity itself, but the last little bits? Nope. I had more willingness to believe the Fonz could jump his motorcycle over a shark.

So what are we left with here? A very well drawn and coloured book (nice shades of blue, green, super dark shades of water (blues, blacks, greens) and some pretty good writing for the first part. We’re left with a fun setup that gives an unsatisfactory ending…

I suppose it would be like getting turned on, getting into it, and ending up with a sad handjob. It has the end result the same, but you just cannot enjoy it when you were expecting something else, y’know?

So thanks for the great Foreplay Mr. Synder, but next time, realize most of us don’t enjoy the sad handjobs…

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