Review: Transmetropolitan, Vol. 5: Lonely City; by Warren Ellis

Transmetropolitan, Vol. 5: Lonely City (New Edition)Transmetropolitan, Vol. 5: Lonely City by Warren Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I love righteous fury. Ellis does it like no one else. I also love the poetic beauty he uses to describe the city and his relationship with it. The duality of filth disgust and garbage versus the positivity of energy, discovery and people. At first I found it a bit wordy…but it arts up the second act perfectly…

The Smiler has come to power, Spider vowing to take him out…in the midst of this, a brutal hate crime takes place, outraging Spider to nearly boiling point. The response of the police dictates our hero’s actions, and we think we know what will happen….until the last few pages…and we see just how evil and dangerous an opponent the new president really will be.

In addition to all this, Ellis comes up with some pearls of wisdom through Spider, which really spoke to me.

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Review: Scalped, Vol. 5 – High Lonesome; by Jason Aaron

Scalped, Vol. 5: High LonesomeScalped, Vol. 5: High Lonesome by Jason Aaron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Jason Aaron has already made it to my top 5 comic writer list, and with this kind of work, he could make the jump to favourite of ALL genres. This is crime noir that sits comfortably alongside Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, and in his own medium, Ed Brubaker. The best noir ironically requires shades of grey; many…not quite 50…but a lot. Aaron has a cast in this series we have been getting to know, but here in this volume, we delve into the back stories of some of the more important members we haven’t yet…FBI Special Agent Nitz; Diesel, the 1/16 Kickapoo Indian wannabe; Catcher, the crazy old timer who’s fried and spooky, and a career criminal with many names who may destroy everything for Dash.

This is just epically great. Characters I should hate are seen in the contextual light of their experiences, which changes my opinion to a bit greyer…
Revelations are made that add even more layers of depth and lies to get through, and we are left with the setup for a big swing in momentum.

I could gush more, but if you’re not already on this train, get on now!! At the very least, read more Jason Aaron…in a just world, he’ll be screenwriting and directing any time now…

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Review: Coffin Hill Vol. 1: Forest of the Night by Caitlin Kittredge, Iñaki Miranda (Illustrations)

Coffin Hill Vol. 1: Forest of the NightCoffin Hill Vol. 1: Forest of the Night by Caitlin Kittredge

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t think it was particularly awful, but it kind of felt a bit like a teeny-bopper horror story.


Eve is a rookie cop who apparently stumbles upon a serial killer, and takes him down.

Yay, EVE!

She gets hurt in the altercation, and heads home to face her demons…
Once upon a time, Eve and her (dysfunctional) gothy friends head into the spooky forest.
They do a little dance, make a little love, and get down that night…
They call up a bad-ass entity that eats one, drives another crazy, and leaves Eve with a weird blown-out eyeball.

Why is Eve not dead or drooling on herself, you ask?
Well, she apparently comes from a long line of powerful witches.
And whatever they set loose that night, was part of her her family legacy.

Will Eve embrace the EVIL, or fight against it?!

Not too shabby, right?
See, the thing is, young Eve isn’t the most sympathetic character. She’s sort of mean, a bit self-centered, and has a tendency to act a tad skanky.
And by skanky, I mean she keeps trying to get into the pants of her BFF’s boyfriend.
But maybe that’s ok? Because her pal seemed to know about it, and not care.
Which made it weird on another level for me…

Now the older Eve has a few more redeeming qualities, and I don’t mind characters who are darkish and quasi-evil. As long as they aren’t totally rotten, I can eventually get behind them.
So I’m thinking that perhaps this might be one of those characters that grows on me?

I enjoyed the art, and the spooky tone to the story, and I’d be willing to continue with the next volume to see if it goes anywhere.

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Review: Fables Vol. 4 – March of the Wooden Soldiers, by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers (Fables, #4)Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, so it’s been a bit of a gap since I read Vol. 3, but this was a very solid book, and marks the point at which we go dark and gritty (not in the stupid DC way though).

Upheaval is in motion in Fabletown: Prince Charming, after dispatching Bluebeard, is ready to make a run for Mayor, and control. We get a history lesson from Boy Blue about the last days of the resistance against the Adversary. (Actually a pretty cool story, featuring an appearance from Robin Hood and some others, and also showing Red Riding Hood, who I had mistakenly assumed was Rose Red, Snow White’s sister…turns out they’re 2 different women!).
There’s also an invasion, through Canada of all places (which has a gate leading to the old lands), and Bigby Wolf goes all Wolverine on it (I think it was intentional, and if not, well then, good job anyhow. I liked it).

Wolf and Snow’s relationship develops, and we get to see him…Hulk Up for lack of a better term. We also see Boy Blue show some mettle, espionage, and the death of a poor boy. The invasion is from the Wooden Soldiers, who we discover come from the same source as a boy with a long nose…

There’s some pretty solid stuff here, good storytelling and world building, and I like where they’ve left it, with Fabletown pulling together as one, working and proving they’re a pretty smart bunch of folks, even when it costs them some of their friends.

There’s also a fantastic line, from one of the main Wooden Soldiers, where he expresses his desire “To go forth and bust off caps” or something to that effect…it’s quite funny, like a British stuffy person trying to talk Gangsta.

Either way, a very solid volume.

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Review: Transmetropolitan: The New Scum (Vol. 4) by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson

Transmetropolitan, Vol. 4: The New Scum (New Edition)Transmetropolitan, Vol. 4: The New Scum by Warren Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So in the wake of a shocking assassination/murder, Spider finds himself coveted by both the Beast and the Smiler (the 2 men running for POTUSA). The New Scum refers to the part of the City where the very lower classes manage to scrape by their existences. Spider doesn’t think too highly of the men who subjugate these people, but he also expects more from them in terms of their civic responsibilities.

Warren Ellis has always been an impressive writer (save maybe for Avengers: Endless Wartime – which is a dirty stinker) but here, you just see the pure vitriol, spite, anger, scorn, rage, and disappointment that fuels his writing. (Or at least I feel like that’s what’s being poured into Spider, who is some sort of pseudo-Ellis here).

I cannot help but look at the date (1999) and think about the US elections at the time (Bush/Gore) and see parallels.

However, the most important moment in the whole volume for me is when Spider acts like a compassionate human being towards a sad lost little girl (and later, her mother). From what most of us have seen of Spider, this is so out of character, it seems shocking…and yet…would he really be so angry about the state of the world if he didn’t have that caring for humanity? Would he have been so angry at the people in the wake of the election? I think this is a great way Ellis shows us underneath, that the high hopes being crushed are what fuels the rage of Spider.

A strong volume for sure, but not for the faint of heart…the only light stuff comes from Spider’s assistants discussing their carnal knowledge of the boss…

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Review: Scalped: Vol. 4 – The Gravel in Your Guts; by Jason Aaron

Scalped, Vol. 4: The Gravel in Your GutsScalped, Vol. 4: The Gravel in Your Guts by Jason Aaron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well shit got even darker than it already was pretty fast…

Intro by the great Ed Brubaker rightly points out: This is Noir. Noir is when you know shit gonna go bad, but you can’t help but watch, you just know things aren’t getting better.

There’s some beautiful work being done in the Noir world, and Jason Aaron makes it raw, unflinching, and downright sad.

He also writes characters that are some crazy shades of grey. Red Crow was an asshole at the start, but now we get a glimpse into who he thinks he is, why he’s done what he’s done, and who he thinks is evil. Dash was going to be our unconventional hero, but he’s getting tainted with darkness all over his white hat too.

It’s like this is the Graphic Novel version of Alice in Chains beautifully miserable “Down in a Hole”.

Down in a hole, feelin so small
Down in a hole, losin my soul
I’d like to fly but my
Wings have been so denied

Red Crow is becoming a Shakespearean villain (ie. multiple layers of evil/bad on top of what used to be a pure/decent soul; or simply one bad decision that led down the road to years and years of them).

The “romance” between Dash and Carol Red Crow is agonizing and makes you feel like shit, because you know it’s based on something so real. Neither of them has anyone else they can come close to trusting, so they join together for the downward spiral.

(This really is an early 90s Alternative Music video adaptation I swear.)

Bravo to Mr. Aaron, it’s so authentic, so real, I’m amazed this hasn’t been made into an HBO series yet. It’s right up there with those ideas.

If you’re not already reading this series, what is wrong with you? Wake up! Get it!

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Review: Transmetropolitan: Year of the Bastard – by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson

Transmetropolitan, Vol. 3: Year of the BastardTransmetropolitan, Vol. 3: Year of the Bastard by Warren Ellis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve waited an entire YEAR for this! Finished Vol. 2 Sept 20 2013, waited for the library to send Vol. 3, and lo and behold…they were not doing so…then they didn’t have a copy left, so I asked them to replace/order a new one…then they did…and it still took 3-4 months to come in and then to make it’s way into my hot little hands…it has been an ordeal.

I was so excited to read this!

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