About Lono

I spend most of my time thinking about comics, tattoos, guns, beer, comics, my kids, comics, my wife, bourbon, samurai, comics, boobs, and English Bulldogs. And very rarely, if ever, think about work. I’m the less literate, rarely appropriate, knuckle-dragger of the bunch. I’ll make any excuse to hang out with my Shallow Reading pals, nerding out about comics, and avoiding responsibility at all costs. Only my name has been changed to protect the justifiably embarrassed. For completely un-waxed full frontal nudity, hit me up over at Goodreads.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection Vol.1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 by Kevin Eastman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Hidden deep in the bottom of a cardboard box at the back of my closet was one of the most mortifying secrets of my adolescence. Nope, it wasn’t a stack of Hustler magazines (they were under my bed), a bag full of my neighbors underwear (not really my thing), or a rubber fist (I actually didn’t have one of those until I was in college). It was my collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics. There, I said it. I was/am a turtle fan. As if being an overweight role-player wasn’t enough to make losing my virginity a near impossible task.

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TMNT might have been my first exposure to indie comics and I LOVED it! My turtles didn’t skateboard around ordering Domino’s or shout COWABUNGA every other panel. My turtles were killers. The ninjas they didn’t cleaved with a katana or impaled on a sai got pushed off a roof top. My turtles all wore red masks and the only way you knew who was who was by actually paying attention (or their weapons, of course). A couple of things made the transition to the Hollywood version of the TMNT that continues to enthrall children everywhere. April made the cut. And as much as I enjoy staring at Megan Fox, she loses me as soon as she starts “acting”. Casey Jones made the first movie and some of the cartoons I believe, although the psychotic vigilante factor got toned wwaaayyy down. Vanilla Ice….I’ll just leave it at that. I know there were some other things as well. But that wasn’t my turtles. The comic really went for a more gritty tone, not quite Sin City, but it certainly wasn’t targeting little kids as its audience.

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This collection of the first 7 issues of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original masterpiece and the Raphael 1 issue micro-series is awesome. Eastman and Laird’s dark and cartoony vision of the turtles still does it for me. The first couple issues and Raph’s micro being the best of the bunch. Of course, Rapheal was my favorite of the group, the angry tough guy thing speaks to me. The stories aren’t exceptionally well written and the art is pretty basic by today’s standards and I don’t give a fuck. The original origin tale is a classic. Clearly they were riffing on other popular works of the day, but I can’t get enough. From Shredder, to the Foot Clan, to man-eating Mouser robots, this one’s got it all. I’m not as crazy about some of the sci-fi stuff the guys included towards the end of this one, but it was still fun.

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This book (along with a short list of others) was groundbreaking stuff for me. Little did I know that when Eastman and Laird would eventually make their mint and wisely sell their creations in return for what I hope was a butt-ton of money, I would be forced to hide my TMNT collection for fear of being doomed to rely on my right hand for companionship for the rest of my days.

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These oversized hardcovers are the only way to truly appreciate these books. Beautifully bound on nice paper with great extras including interviews with the creators and a couple sketches. I was actually lucky enough to stumble upon a “Red Label” edition super cheap that was signed by Eastman and had a kick-ass slip cover, but that stuff isn’t really necessary to enjoy this book. I would imagine that anyone with a fondness for the turtles will appreciate this collection and the beautiful black and white artwork it showcases so well. If you’re not a turtle fan or prefer the more mainstream version of the quartet, you might not appreciate this one as much as I do.

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Review: Irredeemable, Vol. 4

Irredeemable, Vol. 4Irredeemable, Vol. 4 by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Irredeemable volume 4 includes the Irredeemable Special (which wasn’t really all that special) and then continues on with the core story. The “Special” had some mildly interesting prequel stuff that focuses on Hornet, Kaiden, and Max Damage (of Waid’s other related series Incorruptible). And nope, I haven’t read that one yet. Some spoilery stuff to follow, but I’ll try and keep it to a minimum.

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The next part of the book picks up with what’s left of the team following their run in with Uncle Sam at the conclusion of the last collection. Desperation is really starting to set in and the reality that they’re fucked is becoming more and more apparent.

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Gil’s still dealing with what a dirty meat-socket his soon to be ex-wife is. Bette goes lookin’ for anybody that’s willing to overlook her shockingly selfish admission from the last book. Good luck with that.

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A brawl with the Plutonian does even more collateral damage than expected, somebody learns Modeus’ secret, the Survivor continues to act like a douche, and another member of the Paradigm bites the dust.

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Diego Barreto gives Peter Krause a break and handles the art chores in this one. Better? Nah, I actually like Krause better (and I’m not really a fan of him either). Still serviceable though. Paul Azaceta, Emma Rios, and Howard Chaykin all contributed about 5 or 6 pages to the “Special”. They were alright.

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I’m continuing to enjoy this title and it’s still a recommend. You know Waid’s holding my attention when the next volume marks the halfway point for the series and I’m still down. Diggin’ out volume 5 right now.
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Review: Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: God Level

Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: God LevelSecret Avengers, Vol. 3: God Level by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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God Level is where Kot wraps up his 3 volume run on Secret Avengers and really starts to get his weird-on. Usually that’s where I get off Ales’ crazy train. But not this time folks. Enjoyed the shit outta this title right up to the end.

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Funny that MODOK, a character I previously thought was oh-so-lame, ended up being one of the best parts of this book. Bunch of great moments including him drunk texting Deadpool, gettin’ all Rambo, and rockin’ out in an apron. Liking Snapper (heh) as well. Go figure. Who would’ve guessed a guy like me would end up diggin’ a dude named after a woman’s hoo-hoo? I would’ve appreciated a bit more Wade Wilson, but only because I think Ales really nails him.

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Some other highlights of volume 3 included Black Widow and Lady Bullseye on the run, Hawkeye taking out 17 hired guns all by his lonesome, Deadpool’s cameo, and the debriefing interviews at the end of the book.

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Much respect for Michael Walsh. The guy owned this series and deserves as much credit as Ales for gettin’ me hooked. He crushed whatever it was that Kot’s crazy-ass script called for. I’m guessing that he’s also personally responsible for some of the awesome “little” moments that made this book so damn good. Tradd Moore’s covers were pretty bangin’ too.

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This type of Avengers story might not be for everybody, but boy did it kill for me. Plenty of action with just enough kookiness and unconventional story-telling to make it fresh. Kot jumps around a bit while getting to where he’s going (linear just ain’t his thing) and it really worked here. Pair him up with a talented guy like Walsh and Marvel created a run that’s among the best that any Avengers title has seen in a while. Bravo boys, hate to see this joy-ride come to an end. Anybody that’s enjoying Fraction’s Hawkeye, Soule’s She-hulk, or Waid’s Daredevil should probably give this title a shot.

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 2: The Labyrinth

Secret Avengers, Vol. 2: The LabyrinthSecret Avengers, Vol. 2: The Labyrinth by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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GIRL FIGHT!!! This book opens with a shirt tearin’, bra strippin’, throw down for the ages…Ok, so maybe there are no bras getting pulled off, but boy do Black Widow and Lady Bullseye have at it. There’s enough fish-hooks, eye-gouges, and hair pullin’ to put a smile on this old man’s face anyway. MODOK likey.

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Hawkeye goes lookin’ for an M.I.A. Agent Coulson and runs into a super-fan by the name of Wade Wilson. Some of my favorite moments in this one are Kot’s take on Deadpool. Ales doesn’t just do a good job with the Merc with a mouth, he crushes it. Over the top redonkulous 4th wall smashin’ fun and absolutely perfect.

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That’s not all….MORE MODOK!! He’s almost as funny as Wade and his evil plan is finally starting to take shape. Love him.

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Spider-woman goes on special assignment, Maria Hill does her best Nick Fury impression, and the real villain finally steps out of the shadows and into the light.

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Kot’s weirdo writing sensibilities and oddness really come through in this book. But not in the overly obscure manner that it does in some of his lesser known work. Definitely much easier to digest than his image title Zero.

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Michael Walsh’s art remains as amazing as it was in Volume 1. Scratch that, it’s even better. Mike manages to communicate so much emotion with his simple style. NO ONE has ever drawn the Ultimate Warrior so good. Mix in Matthew Wilson’s colors and BLAM!, great stuff. Tradd Moore’s covers rock too.

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Kot’s unusual storytelling won’t work for everyone, but for me, it’s spot on. Plenty of action as well. Throw in Walsh’s artwork and this book’s a lock for one of my all-time favorite Avenger titles. Read it!

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Review: Southern Bastards Book One

Southern Bastards Book One PremiereSouthern Bastards Book One Premiere by Jason Aaron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Just like good bourbon, Jason Aaron and Jason Latour’s Southern Bastards has just the right mix of smooth and burn to make this book one of my favorite titles EVER. I get that they burrowed from other classic stories and play up some southern tropes, but ask me if I give a shit. And y’all, they do it right.
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The first half of the book focuses on Earl Tubb’s return home and his run in with the man that is Craw County. Been a looonnnggg time since Earl’s been home and things have changed a mite. Coach Boss runs the show and these two mean motherfuckers are destined to cross paths. Earl’s a larger than life character that I straightaway took a likin’ to. A man’s man with a sense of duty that wants nothin’ more than to mind his business, but finds himself forced to decide between doin’ nothin’ and doin’ what’s right.
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The 2nd half of the book spotlights Coach Euless Boss. He’s rattlesnake mean and colder than a witch’s tit with a serious hankerin’ for high school football. How he came to coach the Runnin’ Rebs, as well as control Craw County is detailed here. While I hated this ornery sonuvabitch, I had to respect his determination. There’s nothing he won’t do to get what he wants.
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Latour’s southerner background provides him with all that’s necessary to create a convincing backdrop for his thoughfully designed characters. The places felt like he was pulling them from memory. Right down to every roadside sign, team logo, or run-down trailer. Craw County’s natives shared the same attention to detail. Earl’s huge hands, Boss’ hat, and the tatted-up rednecks that put down roots in Tubb’s hometown share the same authenticity.
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Being a massive fan of Aaron’s terrific work in Scalped, I’ve been waitin’ for him to return to the creator-owned crime genre I’ve fallen so in love with. This title’s on pace to be even better than that masterpiece of crime fiction. Fans of southern noir need look no further. Aaron and Latour really take care in laying the foundations for what I hope will be a lengthy stay in Craw County. Is it a recommend? Darn tootin’! IT’S GRANNY-SLAPPIN’ GOOD!

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem

Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let's Have a ProblemSecret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Yep, this is it. My favorite Avengers title in years and probably the BEST Secret Avengers stuff ever. Kot has that “Matt Fraction” thing down. Great action with just enough silly. This book starts off right after Nick Spenser’s run on Secret Avengers, but I don’t think you really need to read that run to enjoy this. Maybe just the 3rd volume (cuz it’s good).

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Ales’ team consists of Nick Fury, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Phil Coulson, and a tag-a-long by the name of Clint Barton. Oh, yeah and the Mental/Mobil/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. He’s great and also a professional egoist. After this series I’m buying a M.O.D.O.K. t-shirt. He is awesome in this book. Maria Hill sparkles too and she really has her hands full with this crowd. That, and she gets hands on. Dig her.

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A.I.M. continues to make itself an annoyance to the gang in this collection, but there’s also a couple of new villains that show up to shit in our heroes cereal. A crazed poet and arms dealer named Artaud, a killing machine called “The Fury”, Lady Bullseye, and an artificially intelligent bomb by the name of Vladimir just to name a few. The quirkiness of this title is just so fun.

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Michael Walsh is the perfect illustrator for this one too. He’s got a “Matt Wagner” vibe that I love. Wonderfully drawn simple, but distinctive characters and backgrounds that nail it. Mike’s got a new fan in this guy. I’ll be hittin’ his shit up again down the road. Travis Moore, of “Luther Strode” fame, provides some sweet cover art as well. Money.

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Could’ve done without the Original Sin tie-in included at the end of the book. I get that it was collected since Ales wrote it and it wasn’t bad, just didn’t flow or really have anything to do with the rest of the story. And the art was meh.

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This kinda weirdness is usually not my thing, but Ales is able to sell me on it for some reason. I would imagine it’s sorta like folks that appreciate Grant Morrison’s uniqueness. I don’t, but I think Ales’ odd style is a bit more digestible to the blue collar comic fan than Grant’s. Odd without the obscure references and mind-boggling plot lines that Morrison typically baffles me with. A recommend to anyone that’s enjoying Fraction’s Hawkeye or is a fan of any of the characters. Kot and Walsh killed it.

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Review: Irredeemable Vol. 3

Irredeemable, Vol. 3Irredeemable, Vol. 3 by Mark Waid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Minor spoilery stuff for those that haven’t read up to this volume yet. What are you waitin’ for?

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Finally. The U.S. Government has had enough of the Plutonian’s rampage and is stepping in to do something about it. Yep, the same guys that fucked up the economy, social security, and continue to try and dilute the Constitution to the point of irrelevance are on it. And they’re not gonna fuck this up. Turns out they have a very unique weapon on standby for just such an emergency. This isn’t going to end well.

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Qubit gets his BDSM on and it actually leads to a little information as to what happened to Modeus before he went missing. Turns out Modeus might have actually earned that dangerous reputation, the clever shit. Certainly didn’t see that twist coming.

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A new hero is born. “The Survivor” is here and what a douche-bag he is. Could be the cure is as bad as the disease in this case. Hysterical that the media was about as impressed as I was at his “coming out” party. Toolbox.

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Gil and Bette finally have that sit down about allegations of her infidelity. I was wonderin’ how long Bette was gonna be able to put this one off. Nice guys finish last Gil. But there’s more to this than Bette just going on a trampage. She knows something you don’t know.

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The Plutonian continues to impress with just how much of a malicious degenerate he really is. Yep, he’s hit an all-time low in this one kiddies. He’s takin’ to the handicapped. And how about those adoptive parents. Crazy shit.

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I continue to enjoy this series more with each volume. Peter Krause’s artwork remains consistent and, while I won’t be seeking out other titles based solely on his work, it’s respectable. Waid ends this collection on a cool little cliffhanger. On to volume 4. This title’s got legs.

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 3: How to MA.I.M. a Mockingbird

Secret Avengers Vol. 3: How To Maim A MockingbirdSecret Avengers Vol. 3: How To Maim A Mockingbird by Nick Spencer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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In preparation for Ales Kot’s run on Secret Avengers, I thought I should pick up the last volume of Nick Spenser’s run since Ales co-wrote the issues collected. It shows. Kot’s quirky fingerprints are all over this bitch.

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This volume seems like something of a lead in for Ales’ 3 volume stint on the team. It puts most of the pieces in place so he can hit the ground running with Secret Avengers Vol 1: Let’s Have a Problem. Really loved MODOK’s introduction in this one. The back and forth between him and Maria Hill was ridiculous throughout. I think Ales does a really good job of riding the line between cornball and serious with this book. That’s tough to pull off for anyone in my opinion. Taskmaster’s also good for a few laughs. Hawkeye, Nick Fury (“Sam Jackson” Fury that is), and Black Widow are all pretty much by the numbers. I think I prefer Nick as an agent as opposed to the SHIELD director. Hawkeye’s true to form and appears to be taken right from his own current, super-popular solo title. Most of the book, as the title implies, focuses on Mockingbird. Not a fan of hers, but the rest of the ensemble cast gets enough face-time while taking on A.I.M. to make up for it.

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The art was decent. Never a fan of Butch Guice or Luke Ross. Not my brand. But whatever, it certainly didn’t suck.

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This collection (along with Anne and Chris’ reviews of the first book) is pretty much a guarantee that Ales’ 3 volume run on the Secret Avengers that follows this is gonna kick some ass. I’d say pick up this book if you’re plannin’ on reading those collections. It doesn’t seem like you need to read Spenser’s 2 previous volumes to get the idea as to what’s going on here (I didn’t) and it’s a good preface to Kot’s take on the team. Now I’m even more fuckin’ stoked to keep on with this title. Bring it.

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Review: Irredeemable Vol. 2

Irredeemable, Vol. 2Irredeemable, Vol. 2 by Mark Waid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Waid wastes no time kickin’ it up a notch in the second collection. This is where Irredeemable really starts to gain some depth. Mark starts to flesh out his characters and even manages to throw in a few surprises for this jaded comic geek. Loved the twist towards the end. Should’ve seen that one comin’.

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Vol. 2 reveals which straw finally broke the camel’s back for the Plutonian. He really goes off the deep end in this one kids. As if annihilating cities was enough, he starts in with a psychological warfare campaign that speaks to just how shit-house rat crazy he’s become.

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What’s left of Paradigm takes a field trip the Plutonian’s crib. Should have called him the Stalkenator. And if that’s not weird enough, how’s about a day-care of death too. It’s like the Fortress of Solitude on bath-salts. Freak.

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Volt gets an origin story in this one. Pretty fun. You’re also gonna find out why he’s stuck manglin’ his midget with his right hand from here on out. No more “strangers” for him.

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Peter Krause’s art is consistent. Again, not my favorite in terms of style or panache’, but certainly functional. It’s growing on me and it definitely hasn’t taken away from my overall enjoyment of the series so far.

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Great 2nd volume. So far among the best stuff I’ve read by Mark Waid and absolutely worth checking out. For those of you that enjoyed the carnage of the first book. Plenty more to enjoy here. This collection adds in one dismemberment, a few more dead kids, and a fetish alert that’s probably gonna leave you one satisfied customer.

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Review: Moriarty

MoriartyMoriarty by Daniel Corey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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20 years after the death of Sherlock Holmes (hope that’s not a spoiler), James Moriarty has sunken into a melancholy existence on the shadowy streets of the city of London. Withdrawn, he has little interest in the world around him as it teeters on the brink of the largest war in history, content to mind the small portion that remains of the vast criminal underworld he once controlled. That is, until ghosts from his past return to drag him from the obscurity in which he has settled and back into the city’s contemporary nether world.

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Sounds pretty fuckin’ good to me. Probably why I’m not 100% sure I didn’t fall in love with it. It started strong. Some familiar characters from Holmes’ prior stories and world history made appearances and that was pretty cool. I genuinely liked Moriarty as the protagonist here. But Daniel Corey’s book fell off its pace at about the midway point and never seemed to get back on track after that. The 2nd half had more of a bizarre paranormal vibe that I never bought into and didn’t enjoy it as much as the beginning of the book. Not bad, but not to my taste. I think I would’ve preferred it stayed more of a mystery rather than goin’ all X-Files.

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Artistically, Anthony Diecidue was my favorite of the 3 illustrators that contributed (the others being Mike Vosburg and Perry Freeze). Diecidue’s sketchy style was the real reason I picked this one up. It simply appealed to me. Vosburg and Freeze’s styles were close enough to Anthony’s to keep it from being jarring during the changes, but I still noticed the differences immediately and neither charmed me the way Anthony’s did.

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Overall, I got this book dirt-cheap and it was worth the cash. Probably would’ve been more disappointed had I paid full price. I’d recommend this one to fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original detective. I think they’d appreciate what Corey did with Doyle’s characters here more than most.

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