Review: X-Men Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont

X-Men: Days of Future PastX-Men: Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Brief Introduction:

As I read through these older X-Men stories originally written by Chris Claremont, I wondered to myself about how the X-Men stories were like back then versus how they are now. The stories back then seemed to flow together nicely and the character interactions were fantastic and reading some of the newer X-Men stories currently being made, they seem to lose that magic that made them great in the first place. But enough about my little rant on the state of the “X-Men” comics nowadays, this is about the most popular story in “X-Men” history since “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” “Days of Future Past.” This graphic novel does contain the popular story “Days of Future Past” written by Chris Claremont with artwork by John Byrne, but it also contains issues 138 – 143, so there are multiple stories in this collection that were quite enjoyable!


What is the story?

This collection of stories takes place after the events of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and the X-Men get into more adventures which includes the inclusion of a young Kitty Pryde into the X-Men! There are a total of six issues in this collection and therefore there are six stories that include:

Elegy – After the events of “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” Cyclops decides to leave the X-Men in order to cope with Jean Grey’s unfortunate death.

Nightcrawler’s Inferno – When Nightcrawler’s soul is stolen by an evil force in the Inferno, the X-Men along with Doctor Strange journey to the Inferno to save Nightcrawler’s soul from the evil forces of the Inferno.

Something Wicked This Way Comes and Rage! – Wolverine and Nightcrawler journey to Canada and not only meet up with the mutant team Alpha Flight, but they also discovered that a monstrous beast named Wendigo is on the loose in the Canadian wilderness!

Days of Future Past and Mind out of Time! – In this classic tale, Kate Pryde (who is Kitty Pryde in the future) goes into the past and takes over Kitty Pryde’s mind in order to warn the X-Men about the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants’ attempt at assassinating Senator Robert Kelly that will unfortunately cause a terrible chain of events that will cause the Sentinels to kill all the mutants in the future. The X-Men then try to stop the Brotherhood of Mutants from killing Senator Robert Kelly in order to prevent this terrible future from happening!

Demon – On Christmas Eve, all the X-Men left the Institute to spend the holidays with their families, leaving Kitty Pryde by herself. Unfortunately, Kitty Pryde will soon realize that she is not alone in the Institute when a frightening demon comes to the Institute and tries to attack Kitty!


What I loved about this comic:

Chris Claremont’s writing: As usual with most of the older “X-Men” comics written by Chris Claremont, Chris Claremont’s writing was truly excellent and exciting! I loved the way that Chris Claremont makes sure that the readers understand what was happening over the years that the characters spent their time as the X-Men, especially in the first story of Cyclops telling readers about the events that happened while he was with the X-Men from the day he first became an X-Men to the death of Jean Grey when she turned into the Dark Phoenix. I also loved the way that Chris Claremont portrayed the relationships between the X-Men, especially between Storm, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler as all of these members have an extremely close relationship with each other and it was hilarious seeing the witty banter that takes place between Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler. I especially loved the way that Chris Claremont wrote the story “Days of Future Past” as it was the first X-Men story where the X-Men deals with an apocalyptic future that would soon inspire many other apocalyptic themed stories in the future and the dark and dreary mood of the dystopian world that that X-Men would face in the future was done extremely well and I often felt so much remorse for the X-Men as they had to survive in a world where mutants were becoming extinct. I also loved the story “Nightcrawler’s Inferno” as Chris Claremont clearly showed the close relationship between the X-Men and Colossus was just so awesome in that story!

John Byrne’s artwork: John Byrne’s artwork was so fantastic and beautiful and I especially loved the appearances of most of the characters, especially of Kitty Pryde herself having a cute face and long and wavy brown hair (even though I often wonder why she is drawn with having a long face). I also loved the way that John Byrne illustrated the dystopian future in “Days of Future Past” as the world looks dark and dreary with images of buildings being worn down and Sentinels occupying everything in its mist.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:

The only problem with this collection of stories is that each story is a bit too long to read through as the pages are littered with information about what happened in past events and the characters are constantly talking about the limits of their powers and how they plan on defeating their enemies. Now, I love stories where there is so much information about the characters, but in a graphic novel or comic format, it might be a bit too much for new readers to handle and you might get a “brain burn” after you try to read all the information about the characters and the story itself.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Days of Future Past” is easily one of the most memorable “X-Men” stories next to “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “God Loves Man Kills” and I am definitely sure that “X-Men” fans will take delight in reading this story!

Rating?

5 pows

Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 1 by Joss Whedon

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol. 1Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Joss Whedon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Buffy


Introduction:

Now, I have to tell everyone who reads this review something…I am a HUGE FAN OF “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER!!!” I have always loved that show and when I heard that they were making comic books out of this series, of course I had to check them out! So, when I picked up the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Volume One,” I was wondering what this volume was going to be all about and to my excitement and delight, this volume detailed the early years of Buffy Summers when she first moved to Sunnydale and how she became a vampire slayer and I was quite impressed with the whole experience!


What is this story about?

This volume contains five stories that details Buffy’s first year as a vampire slayer and also features other characters during their early years such as Angel, Spike and Drusilla. These are the five stories featured in this omnibus:


All’s Fair:

Written by: Christopher Golden
Artwork by: Eric Powell

In this story, Spike and Drusilla (Dru) go off to the World’s Fair in 1933, causing mayhem as they suck out the blood from various unfortunate human beings while discovering a demon who wants to be freed from its prison at the same time!


Buffy: The Origin

Written by: Dan Brereton and Christopher Golden
Artwork by: Joe Bennett

Based off of Joss Whedon’s original script for the origin story of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” this story details how Buffy Summers first became the vampire slayer we all know and love and the character development that she goes through to realize her true destiny.


Viva Las Buffy!

Written by: Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza
Artwork by: Cliff Richards

After Buffy gets expelled for burning down her old school, she and Pike run away from home and ended up in Las Vegas to start a new life. But, Buffy will soon learn that she cannot run away from her problems when she encounters a sinister ring going on inside the casino.


Dawn and Hoopy the Bear

Written and artwork by: Paul Lee

Dawn Summers, Buffy’s younger sister, ends up getting a cute little teddy bear named Hoopy the Bear from a total stranger and while she loves her teddy bear unconditionally, she will soon realize that Hoopy the Bear is not what he seems at all…


Slayer, Interrupted

Written by: Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza
Artwork by: Cliff Richards

Inspired by the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV episode “Normal Again,” Buffy’s parents ended up admitting Buffy to a rehab center since they believed that Buffy has gone insane when she started talking about her vampire slaying business. Has Buffy really gone insane and her vampire slaying business is really all in her head or is Buffy’s destiny truly real?


What I loved about this story:

The writing: Oh my goodness! Who would have thought that several separate stories about Buffy’s early years as a vampire slayer would be mind-blowing good? I have to tell you that I enjoyed each story in this volume (although the only story that I thought was half-way decent was “Dawn and Hoopy the Bear”) and I think that each writer had done this series a true justice! I was always curious about the origin story of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” since I was only familiar with the TV series created by Joss Whedon and I have never seen the original 1992 movie that detailed the origin story of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” although I did see bits and pieces of the movie when I was younger. When I first found out that the original 1992 movie was not what Joss Whedon originally intended when he scripted out the origin story for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I was a bit surprised (and yet not really, since this is Hollywood we are talking about) and I was glad that we got a closer interpretation of Joss Whedon’s vision of the origin story of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in this omnibus since I wanted to see how Joss Whedon really wanted Buffy’s origin story to go. I also enjoyed the fact that we get to see not only Buffy’s early years, but other characters too like Spike, Drusilla and Angel. I really loved Spike and Drusilla’s story since they are truly funny together and I always wanted to know what Spike was like before he met Buffy. I was also really excited to see Angel in this omnibus since I love Angel as a character, even though I wished that Angel had his own story in this volume so we get to learn more about his character during his early years.

The artwork: The artwork in each story is truly beautiful and effective to look at, especially with how each artist manage to capture the actor and actresses’ true facial expressions. I think the artists that really captured Sarah Michelle Gellar’s facial expressions the best were Joe Bennet and Cliff Richards as they truly draw the characters realistically and it felt like I was really watching a TV episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” since each character look like their live action counterparts from the TV series!

Buffy


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like language and gory violence in a graphic novel, this omnibus does have some language and gory violence (mostly revolving around Buffy staking vampires in gory ways). Also, I have mentioned that the short story “Dawn and Hoopy the Bear” was a story line that I could have done without since I felt that this story did not really bring anything to the main stories and was just there to tell a story about Dawn.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Volume 1” is a truly fantastic volume for anyone who is a huge fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in general and who wants to learn more about the origin stories of our favorite vampire slayer!

Rating?

5 pows

Review: Rat Queens: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth Vol. 2 by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygothRat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rat



Introduction:

After reading the first volume of “Rat Queens,” I just took my little ole self to the library and grabbed the second volume of this fantastic series “Rat Queens Volume Two: The Far Reaching Tentacles for N’Rygoth,” since I really enjoyed the first volume so much and I wanted to see where our lovely Rat Queens would end up at next!


What is this story about?

In this volume, the Rat Queens are celebrating their victory from the events of the first volume and they now each have a love interest that they spend their time with (except Dee, it appears). Meanwhile, a mysterious and disturbing force is coming to their city and a vengeful ex-partner of Sawyer’s has kidnapped him!


What is this nightmarish force that is terrorizing the city and will the Rat Queens save Sawyer from this disaster?

Read this volume to find out!


What I loved about this story:

Kurtis J. Wiebe’s writing: Wow! This volume was just as good as the first as the characters are still highly entertaining to read about and the threats just keep getting bigger! I loved the way that Kurtis J. Wiebe developed the mysterious conspiracy that was hinted at in the first volume as we actually get our first look into the evil demon N’Rygoth and the mayhem it caused for the characters and their hometown. I also like the fact that this volume was much darker and intense than the first volume as the stakes are higher for the main protagonists and the ancient conspiracy actually takes center stage in this volume. Kurtis J. Wiebe also did a fantastic job at developing each member of the Rat Queens, especially Dee and Hannah as we find out more about their background history, especially with Dee and her history with the demon N’Rygoth. I also like the fact that Sawyer and Hannah’s relationship with each other is developing in this volume as it shows that Hannah truly cares about Sawyer when she found out that he got kidnapped and tried everything in her power to rescue Sawyer.

Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic’s artwork: The combination of Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic’s artwork really brought so much creativity to this volume as Roc Upchurch’s artwork continues to be just as amazing as the previous volumes, while Stjepan Sejic’s artwork is even more gorgeous with the characters’ faces looking so realistic and fitting in with the more intense atmosphere of this volume!

Rat


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like nudity, gore and strong language, this volume contains quite a bit of all of the above. The nudity is especially dialed up in this volume as we see many characters completely nude and performing sexual acts that might not go over too well with some readers. Also, there are many images of characters being cut in half or being stabbed to death, which are all shown in graphic detail and that could be disturbing for some readers.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Rat Queens Volume Two: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth” is definitely one volume you should check out, especially if you have been enjoying the “Rat Queens” series as much as I have and want to see more adventures from everyone’s favorite tough as nails girls!

5 pows

Bitch Planet, vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine

Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary MachineBitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Received from Netgalley for review.)

The title kind of put me off this one for a bit. I don’t know about you, but I don’t relish carrying around a book with “bitch” in huge letters on the cover. But I heard so many great things about this book, and I love the cover, and I generally trust DeConnick. So I jumped at the chance to get it from Netgalley, and I’m very glad I did.

Bitch Planet is a deeply feminist take on “women in prison” exploitation media, and it’s damned good. It has all the action it would need to be entertaining, while seamlessly folding in the social commentary that makes it more than just a women in prison comic. See, you get sentenced to “bitch planet” by being a non-compliant woman. By being fat or a lesbian or getting in the way of your husband marrying his younger mistress or anything that would make you less than a perfect little woman. It’s dystopian, to be sure, but some of the things said are uncomfortably close to things said every day. Which is, of course, what makes it effective.

To me, the single best issue is the one that focuses on Penny, an unapologetically and happily big woman. It’s perceptive and carefully written and powerful. The moment when it’s confirmed that Penny really does love herself as is was one of the most joyful things I’ve read in comics in a long time.

There’s more than a bit of nudity in this book, which actually didn’t bother me. The nudity is resolutely non-sexual, and I appreciate the diversity in body types represented. I think that it was included because it’s such an integral part of women in prison exploitation, and DeConnick and De Landro wanted to desexualize the situation. And it works, partly because the women don’t all look alike, and they definitely don’t all look conventionally attractive.

I was hoping that I would like this, but I was surprised with just how much that I love it. I am kind of disappointed that the essays that were at the back of the original issues weren’t included in the trade. I would have loved to read those, too.

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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: The Sixth Gun Vol. 2 Deluxe Edition

The Sixth Gun Volume 2 Deluxe EditionThe Sixth Gun Volume 2 Deluxe Edition by Cullen Bunn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Even better than the first collection. This 2nd volume picks right up following the events of the last book and doesn’t waste any time gettin’ to it. In my blue-collar opinion, this is one of the best series being put out by anybody right now. Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Tyler Crook, and Bill Crabtree’s particular blend of the western and horror genres continues to leave me fiending for more.

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Bunn briefly brings us up to speed with what everyone’s been doing since the conclusion of the last book and jumps straightaway into a train robbery sequence that is SO sick. Bunn’s pacing in this part of the story is great. Not only does he manage to introduce a couple of pretty dope new characters, but he does it without tapping the brakes for even a second during the first two chapters.

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Bunn slows thing down a little bit with the origin of Asher Cobb. What a cool take on an old trope. That’s him above. Loved it. Cullen follows this up with a peek into Gord Cantrell’s past. Bunn’s fleshing out of the characters he introduced in the last volume is probably why I enjoyed this one so much. And Gord’s return home was one of the highlights of the collection for me. Creepy.

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Of course, Becky, Drake, and the six guns continue to center stage for the most part. Sorta tough to talk about it here without gettin’ all spoilery and such, so I’ll just let you see for yourself. The Order of the Sword of Abraham gets some attention as well. And a new sect known as the Knights of Solomon also emerge with their own ominous ambitions. But don’t you worry, Bunn weaves in just enough mystery to make you question everyone’s motives when it comes down to the guns.

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Becky’s trip to the town of Penance was great. Loved the “Hills Have Eyes” vibe. So fuckin’ awesome. Great backdrop for that part of the story.

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Bunn’s finale in chapter 11 was just perfect. A blood-bath worthy of the best spaghetti western. And, of course, I’m not sure Bunn could have pulled it off so well without the fantastic work of Brian Hurtt. It was Hurtt’s art that kept me from taking this book to seriously before actually pickin’ it up. Well, shit on me, cuz Hurtt shines in this one. Sure, there are more detail oriented and flashy artists out there, but something about his simple, yet consistent, style is ideal for this title. He really gets a chance to strut his stuff in chapter ten where Bunn lets Hurtt tell the story without a single caption or written word. And it’s one of my favorite parts of the book. Brian Hurtt is crazy good. Tyler Crook provided the illustrations for a couple of chapters and is definitely serviceable. Sadly for him, it’s hard to look good next to Hurtt’s stuff. Crabtree’s back to color this bad-boy wall to wall and it’s nice. This edition also sports a butt-ton of extras that were a nice addition to the oversized hardcover. If you haven’t read this series yet, the deluxe editions are the way to go.

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Well, what in tarnation are you waitin’fer?  Get your wiggle on and scare yourself up a copy of this book PRONTO.

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Review: Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye

Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City, #1)Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye by Frank Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Miller’s “The Hard Goodbye” is a noir masterpiece that would’ve given the great Jim Thompson a legendary hard-on. This was so obviously a labor of love for Frank. He was really at the peak of his career when he put pen to paper with this one. The descriptions and dialogue were hard-edged and to straight to the razor-sharp point, just like good noir should be. And because of it, this book might not be for the easily offended. Frank doesn’t pussy around with what he wants to say and words like “faggot” and “retarded” manage to find their way into the finished product. For me, words don’t offend, so I liked it when Frank cuts loose. I live and work in an environment where insensitivity reigns, the thin-skinned cringe, and these types of tactless remarks tend to bead off. Miller, much like myself, could give a rat’s ass about political correctness.

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Frank’s portrayal of women could also be off putting for some. Strippers, hookers, and topless parole officers pretty much sum up the kinds of ladies that populate Basin City. A school boy’s fantasy that I’m ok with. The men of Sin City aren’t any better. They’re violent, corrupt, greedy, and always lead with their dick. Actually, that’s pretty much accurate everywhere. AND I LOVED EVERY GODDAMNED MINUTE OF IT.

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Miller’s protagonist, Marv, is so fuckin’ great. Tough, simple-minded, loyal to a fault, and as dangerous as they come. What you see is what you get. I like that he’s got a sense of decency. A brutal killer that’ll shoot you in the nuts or carve you up with a hacksaw, but still loves his mom and doesn’t hit dames. Miller’s own description of Marv as Conan in a trench coat pretty much hits the bullseye.

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The artwork is magnificent. It’s almost unbelievable what Frank was able to produce with just a pen and some black ink. And it just got better and better as it went. Some of the best black and white comic art ever produced. And Miller did it ALL. Artwork, inking, and lettering. Fuckin’ mind-blowing. I especially liked the rain effect. Sick.

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So many fantastic moments, I was surprised it took Hollywood so long to put it on film. If you enjoy the book, check the movie out. Mickey Rourke kills as Marv. Frank peaked early with this book because most of what follows in the Sin City series falls a little short of the bench mark set by this one. I don’t think any of it was bad by any means, just that none of the later volumes were able to grab me by the short and curlies and command my full attention like meeting Marv for the first time. Loved him so much I named my dog after him. RECOMMENDED. Unless you’re a pansy. Right Marv?

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Review: The Sixth Gun Volume 1 Deluxe Edition

The Sixth Gun Volume 1 Deluxe EditionThe Sixth Gun Volume 1 Deluxe Edition by Cullen Bunn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Believe the hype. The Sixth Gun is even better than I hoped it’d be. I devoured this collection in one sitting and immediately regretted not having the 2nd one on hand to dig into.

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Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt have partner’d up for a tall tale that’s part western, part horror, and all together one helluva good time. The first half of this edition collects Vol. 1: Cold Dead Fingers. A terrific introduction to Bunn’s warped vision of the Wild West. General Hume, one of the most notorious General’s from the Confederate Army, is back from the dead and is lookin’ to take back that which he sees as rightfully his. The last of the Six Guns. Supernatural side-arms capable of much more than just spittin’ lead. And he hasn’t come alone. Really dug Bunn’s spin on the 4 Horsemen as Hume’s men.

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Of course, it’s not gonna to be that easy. The Sixth Gun has come into the possession of a preacher’s daughter by the name Becky Montcrief and she’s not giving up her father’s side arm without a fight. Becky’s taken up with a cagey gun-fighter by the name of Drake Sinclair who brings his own set of shady motives to the table. Cullen’s characters really took root for me in this book. He did a fantastic job giving them just enough depth to leave me hankerin’ for more.

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This all culminates in a showdown at Hume’s old P.O.W. camp, The Maw. Perfect back drop for the climax of the story. I promise you there’s much more to this one than the little bit I’ve highlighted. Bunn is clearly laying the groundwork for what is going to be a much longer epic.

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The second half of this book picks right up and collects the next arc, Vol. 2: Crossroads. This one’s set in the city of New Orleans and certainly nails that voodoo feel. Bunn continues to flesh out the characters that survived the first arc and adds a few new ones to the bunch. Kirby Hale being my favorite. There’s certainly more to this straight-edge cowboy than meets the eye. And that shit in the bayou was killer.

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Hurtt’s artwork was probably the main reason I waited so long to pick this one up. Not a lot of detail to be found and it isn’t incredibly unique. Sorta simple really. That said, much like my misguided initial impressions of the artwork of several other series I’ve ultimately grown to love, he made quick work of winning me over with this one. Brian proved by the end of this book that he has the chops to pull off both the western and horror vibe Bunn’s story requires.

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Loved this oversized hardcover by the way. A buncha cool little extras crammed into the back including sketches, promotional artwork, and a pretty killer short story. Fans of westerns, Hellboy, BPRD or other horror hybrids will likely find themselves enjoying Bunn and Hurtt’s The Sixth Gun as much as I did.

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Review: Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery Vol. 1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & SorceryRat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rat Queens


Introduction:


Move over “SAGA,” a new brand of witty and fun loving storytelling has arrived!

Well, I still love Brian K. Vaughan’s “Saga” series, but after reading this first volume of “Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery” by Kurtis J. Wiebe along with artwork by Roc Upchurch, this series has moved up a slot on my most favorite comic book series of all time, with “Saga” still being at the top of the list!


What is this story about?

Meet the Rat Queens, a group of strong and high spirited young women who get involved in various battles whenever they are hired to do so. The members of this crazy group are Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage who is the leader of the group, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter who is second in command, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief who is like the funniest member of the group. This rambunctious group of female fighters will do battle with anyone, however they will soon find out that there is a conspiracy going on in their town that might change their lives forever once they discover the secrets of the conspiracy!


What I loved about this story:

Kurtis J. Wiebe’s writing: Wow…just wow… I never would have thought that I would read another comic book that was as exciting and creative as “Saga” was, but man did “Rat Queens” took me by surprise and in an extremely good way! Kurtis J. Wiebe’s writing was truly witty and fantastic to read as I was literally laughing at all the sarcastic dialogue between the characters, especially between the Rat Queens and it really gave this volume a comical edge to the intense battle sequences. I also loved the fact that Kurtis J. Wiebe made this series reminiscent to the “Dungeons and Dragons” series with the main characters using all kinds of sorcery and sword fighting to defeat their foes in battle, while also combing the sarcastic wit and female empowerment of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” into the story. I also loved the fact that the Rat Queens are diverse characters as we have Dee who is a Black Human Cleric, Violet who is a White Dwarven Fighter and Betty who is a Homosexual Smidgen Thief and it really rounds out the characters extremely well and brings a lot of dimension to the story. I also loved the fact that we have a comic book that has a group of strong female protagonists (even though this has been done a dozen times over in comic books like “X-Men” and “Birds of Prey”) and each character really bring out something interesting to the storyline, with my favorite character so far being Betty the Smidgen Thief as she is the comic relief of the group!

Roc Upchurch’s artwork: Roc Upchurch’s artwork was amazing as the sorcery world that the Rat Queens live in is extremely creative and detailed and I really love the ancient technology that the girls use in this universe as it gives you a sort of Renaissance feel to the whole experience. I also loved the way that Roc Upchurch drew each Rat Queen character as they all have outfits that distinguish them from each other like Dee is always wearing a purple flowing skirt and Betty is wearing an old thief’s outfit.

Rat Queens


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like gory violence and strong language, this volume does contain many scenes where characters are smash to death and you can see their blood and guts all over the ground. Also, this volume contains strong language such as the use of the “s” word and the “f” word many times over.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery” is definitely one comic book that you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, and TRULY must seek out at all costs as it is filled with some awesome battle sequences and character interactions that you cannot miss! Now, I am off to read the second volume of this fantastic series!

Rating?

5 pows

Review: Batman/Grendel

Batman/GrendelBatman/Grendel by Matt Wagner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Another one of my favorites that I’m finally getting around to doing a proper review for. This edition of Batman/Grendel collects both of the two prior Batman/Grendel crossovers in one pleasantly satisfying package. After writing (and drawing) a couple of Batman books before, Matt Wagner finally got a chance to introduce his creator owned property to the one and only Dark Knight and I loved it.

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The first half of the collection is set earlier in Batman’s career (sans Robin) shortly after Year One and is probably my favorite of the pair. The Hunter Rose iteration of the Grendel character is the one that I was first interested by and he truly fits in well with the rest of Batman’s rogues’ gallery. Having read all of Wagner’s previous Grendel stuff, I had a leg up in regards to his motivations and personality. Probably not required, but it certainly didn’t hurt having some familiarity with Hunter and his alter ego. Matt tells the story from four different perspectives in this one. The Batman/Bruce Wayne, Grendel/Hunter Rose, Rachel King (an art gallery director), and Hillary Ferrington (a book publisher’s liason). I really dug the idea of using “normal” women with previous ties to one another to tell the story from other angles. And by “normal” I mean no tight costumes, boob windows, or gratuitous ass shots. Ironically, all the shit I typically appreciate in comics. I thought it was innovative of Wagner to have the ladies mix it up with Bruce Wayne and Hunter Rose to bring everything together. And the girls were a little like the Odd Couple. Pretty much opposites that contrasted well with Bruce and Hunter.

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