Comics in Review – Nightbreed and Ghostbusters

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Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #4
Writer: Clive Barker and Marc Andreyko
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
On Sale Date: July 30, 2014
Publisher: Boom-Studios!

The tormented and harrowing mind of Clive Barker returns this week in the infamous land of monsters and macabre called Midian. Boone is still recovering from his recent role in the world of Midian and a new comer to the after-life. From the get go, Peloquin was quick to the punch to make Boone aware of his ignorance and fairy tale depictions. Besides what lies beneath earth’s surface, mankind is against each other by creating ruthless and blood splattering sins, but in typical Clive Barker fashion, this third installment of the series takes a look at mankind once again being the “real” monsters at play. The reader is brought into three separate scenarios with graphically depicted insanity. The first story consists of a reptilian monster woman running away from the Italian townspeople in 1478. What people don’t always understand are always against the idea initially and what Barker is trying to relay in this comic. The demon-like woman is chased all the way back to her cave where her eggs are discovered within the grounds dusty residue. As the towns mob cracks through each egg, human babies start to stand up in front of their eyes and everyone starts to recite passages from the Holy Scripture. Next, a priest is seduced in 1960’s America during the hippie revolution that pushes his faith and spirituality. As the priest falls into temptation with a very graphic and sexually depicted scene, we come to realize the priest is not who we think he is. Is he the monster in plain view? Is religion just a disguise on his one-way road to interpersonal prosecutions and madness? Last, we follow up with Boone and Lylesberg and the underlying message in this specific issue, which is no matter what we are, we need to embrace that no matter if it is good or evil. Humans hide their monstrous behavior under their suits and ties, but at the end of the day, they have much in common as the Nightbreed monsters within the Midian walls.

What I really enjoyed about this comic was the religious undertone that Clive Barker implements so well topped with raunchy sex, gore, and monsters only found in bad dreams. Another standout performance by the artist extraordinaire, Piotr Kowalski, which really displays his line work, coloring, and beautifully laid out blood work splattered on the deceased. Also, the smooth transitions of dark colors such as orange, red, black, into the lighters hues really gives the audience an overall feel of dread and despair. This was shown perfectly when the priest was looking at his own personal demons within his bathroom mirror. I really enjoyed this issue more than #2 and we get a more in-depth view of Boone and his transformation from human to savage. I also believe Barker’s backstory of different characters of the Nightbreed keeps the readers involved by showing how the two worlds counter balance one another.

I am giving Nightbreed #3 a 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.


Ghostbusters #18
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Dan Schoening
Cover Artist: Dan Schoening
On Sale Date: July 30, 2014
Publisher: IDW Publishing

The 30th Anniversary Ghostbusters series has been nothing short of spectacular and quite honestly one of my favorite comics of the year. The dynamic team of Burnham and Schoening bring their A game this week with the Mass Hysteria #18 issue with all out battle between our favorite paranormal crime fighters and an oily illustrated Carpathian by the name of Vigo. All true Ghostbusters fans will not be disappointed by Vigo and his grueling ways of wreaking havoc on the entire squad. The proton packs and mood slime were used quite effectively in this issue and brought sir Virgo to a halt with crossing streams. But the odd part was when there were other ghosts drawn to the proton pack stream and looked as though they had consumed Vigo. I was a bit puzzled by this scenario as were the Ghostbusters and seemed the ghost has been taken down once and for all. Later in the comic, we can see a mockery of the Carpathian painting in the Ghostbusters home headquarters with sharpie graffiti on his face, and a nice addiction to the home décor. Dr. Ray Stantz is still losing his cookies and envisioning moments that don’t really seem to be there. Admist a daydream, Ray is caught in a web with a spider-like demon woman who is taunting Ray’s intelligence and may be in relation to Tiamet. She states, “Her presence awakened me, nourished me” and seems to be speaking of old mistakes made by their evil adversary. Ray eventually snaps out of his daydream and are brought into Egon’s mini pack testing device and how it works on the possessed. When the Ghostbusters are not fighting ghouls and monsters, Dr. Egon Spengler is always hard at work devising the newest paranormal concoction and is definitely the case this week with his new electrifying, exorcism device that will put down any demonic entity that possesses a human being. I think the movies and comics always depict Egon as the nerdy and outlandish character, but in reality, he is the backbone of the Ghostbusters gang. For example, he always has new ideas and inventions to knock out more business, and MOST IMPORTANTLY put ghouls away in their homemade containment system.

From there we are thrown into a scenario with Winston’s wife and her friend at dinner that really didn’t have anything with the overall story. This was the only downfall of the comic because it was random and seemed to be unnecessary filler. The good news is Louis and Dana were finally freed of their possession and back to their normal selves again. Dr. Peter Venkman had the usual wise cracks and made me a laugh a few times in regards to probing Louis in the other room after his exorcism, and could hear Bill Murray’s voice in my head reciting the lines. Dana and Venkman have their usual hot and cold relationship by trying to patch things up once again, but deep down inside are still trying to overcome the horrific series of events with Tiamet. We are left with another question at the end of this week’s comic and wondering what the heck is going on with Ray? Egon was conducting a test on him at the very end of the chapter and Ray levitated off the ground by 7 ft. Was Ray’s vision a figure of his imagination or were these early signs of possession? We come to a close and another book that has left the audience wanting more with unanswered questions.

Erik Burnham delivers again this week with a thought provoking issue by summing up some loose ends with past characters and creating more questions for the issues to come. I really liked all but one of the stories this week and glad they have been using Winston Zeddemore a lot more since the introduction of Vigo. Just like the movies, Winston is more of the quiet and abandoned character, but with newer evils lurking ahead, he is transitioning into more of a pivotal character. Dan Schoening is one of the best in the business at doing what he does best. Schoening really shows character developments in his lines and the spider web scenes really gave the old Twilight Zone and Creature Feature effects made famous with darker to light colors and shadowy backdrops . Again, I think these two guys were really bring something special back to the Ghostbusters franchise and their conceptual ideas are done well in both writing and artwork. I am looking forward to more character design and development over the next few months and highly recommend this book!

I am giving Ghostbusters #18, a 4.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

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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!