Samurai Jack #1, Rat Queens #2, The Bounce #6 and More Comic Reviews!


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RatQueens_2

Rat Queens #2
Writer: Weibe, Kurtis J. (Check out our interview with him here)
Artist: Upchurch, Roc
Cover Artist: Suriano, Andy
On Sale Date: October 23, 2013
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by: Ian A. Mondrick

The second issue of the medieval riot-grrl stomp fest that is Rat Queens does a lot to cement the attitude and tone of the series, and tells a pretty tight story to boot. I found this issue to be very satisfying. After the debut I was left with some doubts about whether it could walk the line between funny and serious as deftly as Jim Zub’s Skullkickers does. But Weibe spends a good chunk of his time drawing us closer to the four titular characters, and adds enough eyeball-stabbing and compound fracturing to keep even the basest action junkie sustained for another few issues.

The Rat Queens, a group of four adventuring ladies from different backgrounds, find themselves ambushed by a giant troll, and the battle (depicted expertly by Upchurch) ends with one Queen injured while the others work together to fell the beast. It’s a truly spectacular sequence and while the rest of the issue doesn’t match that level of excitement, it’s a nice starting point for the rest of the arc. We’re treated to a lot of snappy dialogue that reinforces the capricious nature of the queens, (depicted as Dungeons & Dragons era 20-somethings), always looking for a good fight, some good drink, or a good bag of candy. The buddy-cop nature of their conversations are where the book really finds its stride. The writing never feels forced and the Queens’ interpersonal relationships come pre loaded with grudges and annoyances shared by anyone who’s lived with more than one roommate at a time.

As the industry migrates slowly to more female-friendly content, Rat Queens seems like a good mile marker for success. It’s female-oriented without pandering to women and action oriented without devolving into the cardboard-cutout characters you’d see in other titles with this type of kinetic appeal. It bridges the gap between smart and fun expertly.

I’ll give this issue 4 out of 5 nerdskulls, with a high level of expectation for issue three!

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SamuraiJack_1

Samurai Jack #1
Writer: Zub, Jim
Artist: Suriano, Andy
Cover Artist: Suriano, Andy
On Sale Date: October 23, 2013
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Review by: Jacob Miller

As a teenager I loved the action packed simplicity of Samurai Jack and I’m happy to see that it is still present in its new comic form. “Fun” is the best word I can use to describe this book. From start to finish it evokes not only nostalgia but also feelings of what could have been if the show had continued. With every dialogue balloon I could hear Phil Lamar’s voice as Samurai Jack. Even the intro was lovingly included in this awesome comic.

The story of Samurai Jack is the same mix of samurai fiction mixed with sci-fi fantasy. The dialogue is definitely a love letter to the fans of this series and in a world were all media is made for mass appeal it is quite refreshing. Jack is still the Samurai with a heart of gold and very few words. One thing that is different is the ability to read Jack’s thoughts as the reader, which is awesome and takes full advantage of the medium. There is also a lot of humor stuffed between the action which is done expertly. I can’t wait to read the next issue of this book.

Andy Suriano chose to stick with the art style that was present in the cartoon and it was the right choice. The character models are simple and the set pieces vast with wide color pallets. The fight sequences are especially stylized and show the talent behind the art with the ability to translate the movement of the cartoon to a still image and not lose its effectiveness. This book was beautiful and I loved the style decisions.

Samurai Jack was a much appreciated walk down memory lane and both fans of the series and new comers alike will enjoy it. I’m giving Samurai Jack #1,  5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

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PrettyDeadly_1

Pretty Deadly #1
Writer: DeConnick, Kelly Sue
Artist: Rios, Emma
Cover Artist: Rios, Emma
On Sale Date: October 23, 2013
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by: Jacob Miller

The first issue of a comic is all about set-up, trying to give you a glimpse into a world that will draw you in and make you ask questions of the plot and the characters. Pretty Deadly number one has plenty of questions and has set forth a world that I’m interested to know more about. The art in this book is very unconventional but has a very rugged beauty to it that compliments the tone of the writing. With such a talented creative team how could you go wrong? And did I mention they’re all women?

With a western setting and an eerie bit of lore as the back drop of this title, Kelly Sue Deconnick seems to be weaving a tale about more than just gunslingers. The themes presented in this first issue, although subtle, deal with perception, death, covetousness, pride, and respect. The narrative is paced a bit awkwardly, but it seems to be in favor of establishing the ensemble cast. The conversations between what seem to be the main characters are short but informative and give insight into their relationship. I want to see more of this book’s story and definitely enjoyed the writing.

The visual style is striking and fits the tone of the narrative perfectly with a grit in the colors of the settings. The character renderings are also very intense giving many of the men jagged lines to their structure while the women and children have a softness both to their structure and their coloring. This book also does a great job of showing a cultural diversity in the cast of characters usually ignored in books set in this era. All in all I greatly enjoyed the art, I will say though the visual storytelling was also paced strangely.

I enjoyed Pretty Deadly #1 and will add it to my pull list, if for nothing else then to see what the team involved has in store for this title. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

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TheBounce_6

The Bounce #6
Writer: Casey, Joe
Artist: Messina, David
On Sale Date: October 23, 2013
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by: Jacob Miller

The Bounce is a book that is building to something big, what that something is I don’t know yet and that’s part of the fun. This story is continuing to provide robust visuals all while telling a story at its own pace. Joe Casey continues to show his unique voice through this title. However, if you’re looking for instant gratification out of this title you may want to pick it up in trades.

Issue six picks up with Jasper still looking for answers to his origins and finding little bread crumbs along the way but also finding more questions. Of all the stories being told, I am finding the one at the lab to be the most mysterious. Thankfully two of the stories intersect and Jasper’s immediate situation picks up with some much needed action. The writing in this issue varies from character to character which shows that Joe Casey is really trying to flesh out this rather large cast as much as he can within thirty pages. If I have one gripe it would be that at one point the letterer makes a mistake in the word placement in the dialog and takes me out of the experience.

After the stunning visual sequence of the last issue I was a little underwhelmed with the art this time around. Yes the illustrations are still pretty, but in some places the character models don’t seem to reflect their usual build and shape. I hope this is a onetime problem. As I am a huge fan of image I sometimes wonder if some of the books published by them could do with the help of more editorial scrutiny.

The Bounce continues to be a story I’m very interested in, set in a world I want to know more about. This issue had its problems but is still a stepping stone in the right direction.                                             
I’m giving The Bounce #6, 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

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ZombieWar_1

Zombie War #1 of 2
Writer: Eastman, Kevin and Skulan, Tom
Artist: Talbot, Eric
On Sale Date: October 23, 2013
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Review by: Jasper Gonzales

I was really excited to read the Kevin Eastman title Zombie War! You have zombies, you have war and you have Eastman! Boy was I disappointed. Eastman pens a story of an intergalactic encounter that sets the chain of events which come back to earth in the form of zombies. It’s your typical zombies rising from the dead, but what made me automatically frown was that the zombies were smart, vocal and when given the chance shot guns and maneuvered as a tactical group of soldiers.

Where did this come from? I want hordes of zombies pushing their way to devour the populous, not the undead that moves like a cohesive unit shooting their way to victory! Don’t get me wrong, you do get your flesh eating blood thirsty undead, but not the way we’re used to. This is an actual war. Humans V.S. Zombies?!

The artwork doesn’t help. Eastman and Talbot make this cluster of mess that is supposed to look post apocalyptic but it’s just an eye sore. The main character Jina is an air force pilot chasing the alien that is responsible for the whole mess. They have to come together to figure out a way to stop the violence. Apparently the alien realizes the mistake she’s done by releasing the undead. With the world fallen to the army of zombies, it’s just mind blowing to fathom that these two are tasked with saving whoever is left in the world. It’s so far fetched from a story that is already insane to begin with.

For those who might want to givee Zombie War a chance, by all means, let me know what you think. Obviously, I was not impressed and was really let down by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle creator.

I’ve giving Zombie War a 2 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

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