Archive for April, 2012
Atomika: God Is Red Vol. 2
Written by Andrew Dabb
Created & Illustrated by Sal Abbinanti
145 pages, $19.99
Ever since I first covered Atomika back in 2009 (warning: facial hair), I’ve still been getting e-mails and comments from all over the world asking when volume two is going to come out. Ladies and gentlemen, I now can safely inform you that volume two has arrived in all its Red God glory.
It’s been a long journey for Sal Abbinanti and company, but now the second and last volume of the series has finally been released. While the first volume focused on Atomika battling gods of old and new and being the ultimate savior of Russia, we find this second volume taking a darker turn for our unyielding protagonist. His oldest mentor and divine leader Arohnir places the fate of Atomika’s son Chernobyl in jeopardy, while at the same time giving off the feeling of betrayal with an ulterior motive of sorts. This is a situation Atomika has never been placed in before, and now he has to go on a journey of self-discovery, trying to figure out if he’s truly a god, or in fact a monster.
I was fortunate enough to get a commission of Thor done by Sal at this past Emerald City ComiCon, and immediately it became one of my favorite pieces I collected that convention. When Sal illustrates a page, he really puts his heart and soul into it. There’s a gritty intensity that’s abundant in his work, and I can see bits of Bill Sienkiewicz and Jack Kirby flowing through his storytelling. Some of the double-page spreads are just completely mind-blowing, that it takes you a few minutes to really enjoy the page and take it all in.
Also in this volume are all the covers, back covers, and pin-ups of issues 7-12, by some of the biggest names in the comics industry; Eric Powell, Gene Colan, Simone Bianchi, Simon Bisley, Glen Fabry, Bill Sienkiewicz and many more.
It’s been a wonderful journey, and I feel the need to go back and re-read the first volume and this one in one sitting, and truly engulf myself in this perilous world once more. The story of Atomika’s rise to power, and the beings he has to battle throughout his quest leave me with a marvelous feeling of astonishment, for I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I hope one day that Sal is able to collect both volumes in an over-sized edition of sorts, but until then, I highly recommend you head over to UniversalOutpost to pick-up your copy today.
Quite the mind-blowing selection of comics this week! Pick Of The Week goes to Brandon Graham & Farel Dalrymple for Prophet #24 (Image). Fast Five picks include Batman #8 (DC), Rocketeer Adventures 2 #2 (IDW), Amazing Spider-Man #684 (Marvel), The Manhattan Projects #2 (Image), and Wonder Woman #8 (DC). Spoilers!
Fables #116 by Joao Ruas
This cover reminds me of what my childhood fantasies consisted of; Calvin & Hobbes re-imagined. The zig-zag lines are first thing to catch my eye, popping on the muddled yellow background. Then to have the boy and mechanical tiger in the foreground in light grays? Beautiful. So many images to study in this cover, that I can’t help but smile at the end result. For a title like Fables, this is the perfect cover to hook the readers with, informing you what to expect on the inside.
Uncanny X-Force #24 (Variant) by Julian Totino Tedesco
Immediately A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte came to mind, and it’s very cool homage when you add superheroes into the mix. I especially chuckled at the presence of Hulk, and how he’s looking the wrong way.
The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #2 by Brian Churilla
For such a trippy and exciting comic, comes the perfect matching cover for it. This cover tells you all you need to know about this series, and the psychedelic mayhem that ensues on the inside. The several different elements competing for your attention works marvelously, all entwined together in an explosion of chaos and colors. This cover is a drug, and I never want to stop chasing the white rabbit because of it.
Wolverine and the X-Men #9 (Variant) by Alex Maleev
My favorite cover of the week, hands-down. Alex Maleev does a brilliant job producing such a gorgeous piece of abstract art fit for any museum, and yet it’s a variant cover for a comic book. The smudges, the different tones, all just simply stunning. I love the slimmer Thor, the simplistic Iron Man, and the James Dean-esque look of Captain America. I want this framed on my wall, pronto.
In this special episode I’m joined by Dommy (The House-Dwarf) to discuss some graphic novels. We review Sweet Tooth Vol. 1 (Vertigo), Kill Shakespeare Vol. 1 (IDW), and Scalped Vol. 1 (Vertigo). Spoilers!
Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk! Pick Of The Week goes to Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples for Saga #2 (Image)! Fast Five picks include Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #4 (Dark Horse), Fantastic Four #605 (Marvel), Alabaster Wolves #1 (Dark Horse), Secrets #1 (Image), and Orchid #6 (Dark Horse). Spoilers!
Book Of The Month – April 2012
Officer Downe: Bigger, Better, Bastard Edition
Written by Joe Casey
Illustrated by Chris Burnham
I feel the need to point out that I originally had another selection for the month of April. Write-up was in the can, and I was planning on recording the podcast episode this weekend. Then earlier in the week I was going through my shelves, reviewing the sweet loot I plundered at the Emerald City Comicon last month, and I came across my signed copy of Officer Downe: Bigger, Better, Bastard Edition and figured “Why not? It’ll be something new to read.” A few pages later, and I just knew I had to bump the selection, and talk about this book as soon as possible.
Now Officer Downe was originally a one-shot from Image that debuted back in 2010. Earlier this year, Image came out with an oversized hardcover filled with tons of back-matter and pin-ups so you felt like you were getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re a fan of Chris Burnham’s art like I am, then you definitely want to invest in the Bigger, Better, Bastard Edition so you can truly bask in all its oversized glory.
The main pull for me wasn’t just Burnham alone, but the team-up between him and writer extraordinaire Joe Casey. I don’t know how Casey does it, but he’s always been able to collaborate with some of the best artists in the business right before their rising star rockets-off into greatness (Codeflesh with Charlie Adlard, Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker with Mike Huddleston). Same thing happened with his first collaboration with Chris Burnham on Nixon’s Pals; next thing you know, Chris is off killing it on art duties on Elephantmen, Hack/Slash, and some indie title called Batman and Robin. Can we call this phenomenon ‘the Joe Casey bump’? Anyways, I enjoyed Nixon’s Pals back in the day, so as soon as I discovered Officer Downe’s existence (I was late to the party), it was like seeing old friends again. Old friends, who grew into hardcore badasses over the years.
Officer Downe takes place in ‘Motherfucking L.A.’, which is being constantly plagued by super-powered baddies and ruffians of the like. Officer Terrance Downe is the ultimate super cop, who refuses to lie down and die until crime has paid and justice has been upheld. I say ‘lie down and die’ because that’s what makes Officer Downe different from every other cop; he’s constantly dying, and is always brought back to life thanks to the harnessed mind powers of the one hundred most powerful telekinetics on the planet. Every time he wakes up from his ‘nap’, he’s back to upholding the law, and wiping the remains of criminal scum off his boots.
At first I saw Officer Downe as kind of an Americanized version of Judge Dredd, but I quickly dismissed that comparison due to the fact that Officer Downe is 100% more hardcore than I’ve ever seen Judge Dredd to be. He is a living, breathing, killing machine; a one man army who doesn’t know how to quit. He battles armies of tracksuit wearing ninjas, super-powered prisoners, and even has time in between to please the ladies. The bloody massacres that Burnham illustrates are things of beauty, and it’s page after page of pure gory joy.
In the back-matter you have a great behind the scenes look at Burnham’s art, with commentary on how his artistic process (like how he decides which lines to ink). Also included is his sketchbook, and some wonderful pin-ups of Officer Downe by the likes of Nick Pitarra, Nathan Fox, Kyle Strahm and more.
While this entire story was just a one-shot, it makes me crave another Officer Downe adventure sometime in the future, in whatever format I can get it in. If you were to blend Kill Bill, The Expendables, The Fifth Element, and some of the artistic stylings of Geof Darrow, Seth Fisher and Moebius, you would get the greatness that is Officer Downe.
So while Officer Downe definitely isn’t suitable for the younger audience, it’s absolutely essential to readers who love themselves some over-the-top action and violence, with limbs flying everywhere as if it were confetti. Joe Casey and Chris Burnham are on their way to being the next best creative team since Brubaker and Phillips, and oh what a wonderful world that will be.
Don’t delay, pick it up today, tell ‘em Cammy sent you their way.
Dark Matter #4 by Garry Brown
An explosive start to the covers this week! Garry Brown (as usual) blows my eyeballs away with another action-packed cover for Dark Matter. His covers remind me of the big blockbuster Sci-Fi movies that Hollywood loves cranking out, only if this were an actual movie poster, I’d be buying tickets to the midnight showing in a heartbeat. I love the jagged blasts from the guns, as the commandos are engulfed in flames all around. Add the destroyed spaceship above the title and this cover just kills it!
The Unwritten #36 by Yuko Shimizu
Donnie Darko; the later years.
Alabaster Wolves #1 by Greg Ruth
Maybe it’s just because I’m in the current mindset, but The Hunger Games slightly comes to mind when viewing this cover. I say this only because the gal with the knife reminds me a little of Katniss, and this four-headed specter is just another one of the game pieces in play at the arena. Seriously though, this cover is intense and intriguing, all rolled into one. I love the details in the long and tangled black hair, and the talon-like claws are just downright freaky. Even if I didn’t already see Steve Lieber’s name on the title, I would definitely would have picked it up based on the cover alone. Beautiful stuff!
Resurrection Man #8 by Rafael Albuquerque
Looks like Resurrection Man is The Flash all of a sudden, trying to outrun death. As awesome as this cover is, it just still kinda freaks me out a little seeing Albuquerque doing covers for other series outside of American Vampire. It almost feels like I caught him cheating on Scott Snyder, and this bastard is the result of him fooling around with other series. On a more serious note though, I love the different layers presented to us on this cover; map, death, and an active trail. The washes are gorgeous, and Rafael shows us once again why he is the master of his craft.
Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #4 Variant by Mike Mignola
As much as I marvel at the beauty of this cover, it upsets me a little at the same time. It upsets me in the sense that while Lobster Johnson is my favorite Mignola-verse character, I’ll never get a series starring him illustrated front-to-back by Mike Mignola. I remember the good old days (as many of us do) when it was Mignola writing and illustrating, with coloring by Dave Stewart. I understand that he’s a busy dude with the writing nowadays, but this cover just makes me long for that Mignola style on another Lobster Johnson miniseries. While I go cry in the corner, take a few minutes to take-in the essence of this cover, and then come join me. I’ll have the Kleenex ready.
In this episode I’m joined by Michael Colbert (Crazy Mary) and Josh Finney (01 Publishing) to discuss the Crazy Mary Kickstarter campaign. We discuss the future of Crazy Mary, 01 Publishing, and alien pancakes.
I’m back! Convention season is over for me (for now), so let’s get right back to the weekly reviews! Pick Of The Week goes to Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli for Amazing Spider-Man #683 (Marvel)! Fast Five picks include Swamp Thing #8 (DC), Invincible #90 (Image), Avengers Academy #28 (Marvel), Sweet Tooth #32 (Vertigo), and CHEW #25 (Image). Spoilers!
Animal Man #8 by Travel Foreman
I’ve always been a fan of black & white on a background of vibrant crimson. The sharp teeth of the wolves are terrifying, and just seeing the look on Buddy’s face is equally haunting. It’s almost like he’s trying to convey “I’ve made a huge mistake.” The ‘vs’ between the title is a also a nice touch, going along with the man versus beasts theme. Great cover to start out the weekend right with.
Daredevil #10.1 by Marcos Martin
I’m a fan of Martin taking the road less traveled when it comes to covers. This is a layout that’s a little less conventional, and a little more experimental. Am I looking at a cover for a comic book, or the latest Hollywood movie poster? The colors and imaging works well, with a little white box highlighting what he’s sensing in each situation. Finally, nice use of braille dots. At first I thought they might be bullet holes, this is a Daredevil comic after all, so it could work both ways.
iZombie #24 by Mike Allred
If you really want to impress me, try tuning them all at once! Not sure what this gal’s story is, but something tells me she’s bad news, and she makes it look good! The red and purple eyes captivate me, and with the devil-horns she’s throwing up, she could be the musical female equivalent of Dr. Strange! Now only if she had enough Marshall amps to hook them all up to. RIP, Jim Marshall.
Fanboys vs Zombies #1 (Cover E) by Ulises Farinas
“And the man at the back said
‘Everyone attack’ and it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said
‘Boy, I wanna warn ya, it’ll turn into a ballroom blitz’
-The Sweet, Ballroom Blitz
In this episode I recap my third and final day at the Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle. It was a very frantic day, and I endured a horrible flight back. On the plus side, there are interviews with Brian “Pants” Christman (CGS) and Sal Abbinanti (Atomika) at the end of the episode!
In this episode I recap my second day at the Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle. Sci-Fi Speed Dating, locating the secret TR!CKSTER bar, and seeing artists paint on naked people.