Nerdlocker’s Comics in Review – Spawn, Mara and Bushido!


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Mara #6 of 6
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellair
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewed by: Ian Mondrick

The final entry into this six issue character study sees Mara Prince, the state-sponsored volleyball phenom, exiled by her own tremendous power to the surface of the moon, forced to the sidelines by a culture of humanity she no longer sees fit to walk among. At the end of issue five, the government that reared her has accidentally murdered her brother, in a misguided attempt to break her spirit and force her capitulation to their militaristic desires. In retaliation, we see her will all the nuclear devices on the planet into the sky, raining them down onto a populace that fears and cowers before her might. But as we begin issue six, we realize that she has rendered them inert, partially as a warning to the denizens of earth, partially because her humanity is something she wishes to hold onto.

Brain Wood has offered us a look into the psyche of a neo-superman, someone who realizes she has nothing in common with any other creature on the planet. But who among us hasn’t felt that way at some point in our lives? His ability to allow the reader to connect with someone so alien is really where this book shines. Ming Doyle expertly captures the isolation Ms. Prince feels while observing us from afar, her curiosity piqued only by the launch of a shuttle headed on a one way mission to the deepest reaches of space. It is the sole passenger of this ship that Mara sees as the embodiment of the good things our species can accomplish. But will it be enough to bring her back to the planet, possibly to right all of our perceived wrongs?

In a word, no, but that’s a good thing. Wood & Doyle have crafted an unflinching portrait of the human condition by way of omnipotence. They spare no expense when digging deep wounds into the titular character and forcing her to cover them up the way all of us do, with healthy doses of rationalization. Her character is at once flawed and perfect. An amalgam of Dr. Manhattan and Woody Allen, someone who wields the powers of god, yet constantly frets about how or when to use them. The end result is something beautiful. A gifted neurotic, who could solve everything, but first must perfect herself.

I give this final issue of Mara, 4.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.




Bushido #1
Writer: Rob Levin
Artist: Jessada Sutthi
Published by: Image Comics
Reviewed by: Jacob Miller

After reading Bushido #1 I walked away with a very distinct impression. To start off, the art in this book is absolutely gorgeous. It has the look of an oil painting painted by one of the masters. Jessada Sutthi’s style is a wonderful mix of manga influence and western realism made all the more appropriate by the story of a young outsider raised by samurai in feudal Japan. The use of color and background images are stunning and the character designs are impressively detailed to the point that you would expect them to leap off the page and onto your television screen. Each and every combat sequence is fluid and fast paced with an amazing amount of detail put into the anatomy of the characters in motion. I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with the art of this book.

The story being told is not a new one, however, for a first issue it has me intrigued. The main character is a young boy, who after having witnessed the violent murder of his parents, falls into the ocean and is rescued and raised by a master samurai as his son. Rob Levin’s knowledge of feudal Japan is very apparent and gives the book a high level of authenticity. The dialogue is both snappy and believable. This book does suffer from a heavy amount of exposition and pacing problems in what seems to be an effort to get the details, setting and back story established in one issue. That being said, the supernatural elements in the second half of the book really made me want to see what the next issue has in store. Hopefully the problems that prevent this story from being great will be addressed.

My overall thoughts on Bushido #1 are that it is beautiful and thoughtfully put together despite a few flaws. It’s definitely good enough to deserve reading the second issue. I’m hopeful that the storytelling problems from this issue are just due to setup.

As of now I’m giving this issue a 3.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.




Spawn #236
Writer: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Szymon Kudranski
Published by: Image Comics
Reviewed by: Jasper Gonzales

As the “Battle of the Costume” saga continues, Todd McFarlane writes a compelling issue that takes our beloved detective Twitch on an emotional journey as he comes to the realization that his son Max is dead. What I found more interesting was how Jim (Spawn) is conflicted between “the white” and the real world as he has vivid dreams of being in what I’m assuming is purgatory.

This issue also provides a better understanding of what Clown is doing with the mysterious girl and why the vampire Blood also has taken interest in her. The majority of this comic is more of a dialog sequence between Clown and Blood as they delve into their relationship and what the Clown really wants.

The artwork that Kudranski does is dark. And I mean really dark as both conversations between Twitch and Jim, as well as Clown and Blood are within the shadows. It brings such a darker tone, very creepy and does a tremendous build up. The end result of the Blood/Clown conversation is great as Blood reveals a kink to Clowns motives. We also glimpse a familiar face in the Spawn series.

The final few pages leave us wanting more as Jim does the unthinkable, showing us just how desperate he is.

I’m giving this issue of Spawn, 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls due to the artwork alone.

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I'm a true child of the 80s from a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. My all time favorite topics are Star Wars, slasher films and Cleveland sports (despite the misery it causes). I narrowly avoided law school, instead choosing film school. I have been accused of being a walking IMDB, but I take it as a compliment!