A Voice in the Dark: Killing game Part 1

A Voice in the Dark: Killing game Part 1
Top Cow Productions, Inc.
Written by Larime Taylor
Art by Larime Taylor

Zoey Aarons has murdered in the past, enjoyed it and got away with it (how’s that to start things off?). Now, she’s been given a scholarship to a high priced university to try and move on, but fate has something else planned for her. To try and feed her need to murder but not get her hands dirty, she hosts an anonymous radio call in show so she can listen to others desires for murder. Only on her first show someone calls about her abusive parents and kills them, now what for poor Zoey? Trust me folks, it wasn’t as good as I made it out to be.

I’m finding that I like art that is more detailed in nature. This book was done with more curves and not that much detail, not my thing though the female characters were drawn with more realistic features. Not much to say for the paneling, simple squares. I’m guessing that’s going to be the norm now. The cover art does draw your attention, yet it’s different art from what’s in the book. Also, the cover is in color and the book, or at least the version I got was in black and white. Lastly, the writing wasn’t bad, but I got bored with the story and there wasn’t a driving force to push me to the next page.

Now, I understand what the writer was trying to do, introduce you to the characters, the setting and the situation. The only thing was, there was no real suspense built, there was no scene to make you see what is behind Zoey’s eyes of why she wants to kill or how being behind the microphone on air is going to quell that feeling. She has roommates that are diverse and have their own voices but if the story is focusing on Zoey, there’s little there to get to know her. Read this one in the story and leave it, in my humble opinion. I give this 1 caps out of 5.

Skyman #1

Skyman #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Manuel Garcia

Sometimes those who are picked to be heroes can’t take the stress (understandable, if you think about it). They either take it out on themselves or they take it out on the world around them. The Skyman Project was created to replace Captain Midnight. But because the current Skyman went crazy, it was shut down. Now, the project needs to find a replacement that will be able to handle the stress and be able to stand as a symbol that everyone can look up to. The person they find might be more than what they wanted and more of what the world needs.

This is the first book in the offering and the writing was done well. They told you the back story so you could feel included in the world and know what is happening. The art worked in this story. It was detailed but had enough subtle differences to help you know that this world, isn’t like ours completely. Also, the cover art is the same as the art in the story. As I’ve oft said, I like that. Simple squares and shapes help the paneling keep the story flowing and complements the writing, another plus for this read.

Reading through this, the story is a great way to start a new line (I do enjoy reading #1’s that do this), you know the back story, you see the conflict that the hero is dealing with on all levels and you can see where any of those conflicts can go. If Dark Horse can keep this level up with this new character, I don’t see any reason why this book won’t be a success. In my humble opinion, get this book and keep reading it until the next one comes out. I give this 5 caps out of 5.

The Shaolin Cowboy #4

The Shaolin Cowboy #4
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Geof Darrow
Art by Geof Darrow

Take a person proficient in the art of Shaolin Kung Fu, taking a cleansing breath, running through a focusing form and setting himself in a defensive stance. Dressed in a neckerchief, All-Star Chucks and a western style of shirt and jeans, he starts attacking what look like zombies coming out of nowhere while he’s in the middle of the American Southwest. They’re hundreds of them, possibly thousands, all massing on this one man who then starts turning them into pieces of zombies in a very calm and fluid style of martial art. This description just about sums up this entire book and the whole story in it. . . Yeah, that’s what I said.

Going through this, the art told the story of what’s going on. It came across as being a dirt filled place and a dirty situation; that really worked. The paneling was basic squares, because there was so much action going on, this really worked. You never got lost trying to follow the blow-by-blow. Also, the cover art matched with the art inside and gave you a hint of what’s going on. Again, to me, this is a positive. The writing was . . . well, a story was told, but there wasn’t any dialog until the end and that didn’t tell me why this character, who remained nameless was doing what he was doing.

Reading this brings back a point I bring up about getting a book in the middle of a story and I’m not aware of what happened in the first issues. In this, there’s nothing saying what happened in 0-3. Also, there was no dialog really to help with what’s happening. As for the action, that worked but I need to know more. Who is he, why is he there, what is the endgame other than living? Basic stuff like that. If you see this, find the first ones and get caught up before you get this one, in my humble opinion. I give this 2 caps out of 5.

Brielle and the Horror

Brielle and the Horror
Loaded Barrel Studios
Written by Jared Barel & Jordan Barel
Art by Jared Barel & Alex Goz

Being six-teen is tough. There are all sorts of peer pressure, from smoking, drugs, sex, drinking and a bunch of other things. So, what could make things worse? Well, what if you blacked out and when you came to, bad things happened? What if people died sometimes when this happened? You had no explanation for this but you just wanted to be left alone (fat chance in high school). Brielle is having this life. She knows there’s something inside of her that is trying to get out, but if it does, those she loves and everyone else will suffer.

There are so many things I can say about the writing on this, easy to follow, it didn’t get wordy or drawn out. It all worked. The art itself is like nothing I’ve seen before, the writer and artist took pictures and then drew over them to show what he wanted. In the forward, he said it was to get the proportions right, but it added a look that added to the story. Lastly, the paneling added to this story, sometimes squares, sometimes odd shapes but it all worked. The cover is also going to draw you in.

When I got this, I saw that it was a bit long but I read the forward and saw that this is basically two books in one. The creators introduced it and were surprised that there was good response. I don’t know why they were surprised. This was something that I couldn’t stop reading. The story pulls you in and holds you. You worry for Brielle, wonder what’s happening. In my humble opinion, get this, read it and beg for more stories to come because if they can keep this level up, there’s no telling how many can be sold. I give it 5 caps out of 5.

The White Suits #1 of 4

The White Suits #1 of 4
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Frank Barbiere
Art by Toby Cypress

When you’re a retired spy who’s killed more men than most people in prison, you’re going to be haunted by what you have done. You can’t escape it, but you can forget about it, either by substance or retrograde amnesia. Suddenly, you realize you’re being followed by a woman who knows how to blend in and disappear. Then when you decide you’re going to get answers, she shows you home much she’s been trained in the same arts you have and knocks you out. When you come to, Sarah Anderson introduces herself and tells you a force from your old days are back, The White Suits.

Here is another book that focused on more art than words. There is not that much in the speaking parts but it wasn’t needed. The writer allowed the story to unfold without talking all the time and you were given a heads up to what was happening in this world before you started reading, a plus for me. But there were points where it was hard to see who was talking and the talk bubble blended in too much to the background. The art was over-exaggerated but it fit with this story and flowed well. Although the paneling was a little over-the-top, it worked most of the time.

This is going to be an interesting story to follow. The two main characters listed in this book don’t meet up with the antagonists yet, but the second story of the White Suits is allowed to go on so both can mature as characters. Not to mention, you get that gritty feel from the art and paneling. I really can’t wait to see where this story goes and what is going on with the characters. In my humble opinion, get this book and if everything stays true, get the next three that follow. I give this 4 caps out of 5.

Robocop #1 Hominem Ex Meachina

Robocop #1 Hominem Ex Machina
Boom Studios
Written by Michael Moreci
Art by Jason Copland

Sometime in the future, Detroit has fallen into a deep hole of poverty, crime, hopelessness and apathy. OCP (Omni Consumer Products) has created something to clean the streets and make it safe for the citizens, business and their own interests. Robocop was this creation, the mind of a good police officer, Alex Murphy, who was thought killed in the line of duty and putting it into a marvel of engineering with a program to follow directives and orders. But Murphy is part struggling to get out when everything goes from bad to worse. Can Detroit survive long enough for Robocop to do what’s right?

For the writing end, some things didn’t work for me. There was nothing to tell you when Robocop was having a flashback or when he came back to the current time. Also the portrayal of him being almost as ruthless as the criminals he was bringing in didn’t feel right to me. The art didn’t fit for me. I understand wanting to make it look gritty and urban but this didn’t fit; even the cover didn’t go with what they were trying to say. Paneling was standard squares as well, nothing to really push me forward.

Keep in mind folks, I’m fighting off every urge to go back to my days as a kid and start comparing this to the original movie but this wasn’t a good fit to a story or a movie. The story they’re trying to tell has more detail and the art should reflect that. Also, they didn’t let the reader know what brought us to this point where Robocop was needed and nothing to say this is flashback, this is real life. I don’t know how this story will relate to the new movie so, in my humble opinion I’m going to say read the book in the store and leave it. I give it 1.5 caps out of 5.

Lobster Johnson #1

Lobster Johnson #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Art by Tonci Zonjic

My name is Harry McCall and I live in 1934 New York. My night started out normal enough, checked in with my assistant about possible leads for a side business that I do, head to a wrestling event at “The Garden,” and that’s were my side business got a lead. See, during one of the matches, the wrestlers kill the ref and start killing people there. Luckily for me, they only had one gun. Unluckily for me, there were two of them and the second one knocked me out and gave me a concussion. When I come to, I’m heading to the underground base of The Lobster who helps stop people like those wrestlers and find out why they went nuts.

The art was solid in this offering. It was dark and gritty. It helped you feel the time and world that the story took place in. This includes the cover which does draw you in. Now the writing was solid it told the story but I think the characters could have had more of an accent considering this is 1934 New York. Paneling was the standard squares. In this story, it could have had a few different forms and, I think, would have worked.

I know what I say about #1 issues, the same goes for this one. But I think there could have been more to introduce us to all the characters that are in this story. Or at least some back story to start us off. This book did not have that. I did enjoy reading it and see potential in where this can go, but something more could have been there. In my humble opinion, I’m going to say read this one in the store, when the second one comes out judge then to buy both. I give this 3.5 caps out of 5.

TNA Lock Down

I’m going to say this up front, I’m a wrestling nerd. I’ve been a fan since I was about 12-years-old. So, I’ve seen my share. Keep that in mind as I get on my soap box for a bit. For every industry and product, there is always competition. Fast food restaurants, they usually setup shop across the street from each other, sodas, across the isle in any grocery store, just about any service or product you can think of. This does a few different things, one, it keeps prices down because if one company overcharges, you go to the other, if the service is bad, you go to the other, if the product stinks… you get the point. Well, wrestling is no different. Just about everyone knows about the huge company out there that, in my humble opinion, has become stale with the story and sometimes with the matches. One of its competitors is TNA (Total Nonstop Action), it’s been around for almost 12 years, yet it’s either not noticed, tossed aside or put down for whatever the reason. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you how wrong that is and to tell you how to find out how good it can be.

I’m going to start off with telling you about the last TNA event I went to. They did a show in Fort Lauderdale. When I went, I took my son with me and we had good seats. All the names were there, Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Gail Kim and the legendary referee Earl Hebner. All the matches were great, fun to watch and kept the audience involved and entertained. Even for a house show, the wrestlers treated it like it was one of their weekly shows and made sure everyone went home happy, I can tell you that has not always been the case when I’ve been to other shows. When there was a chance, you could get autographs and get a quick word in with the talent. My son tried to haggle Don West down on a price for an action figure; that was fun.

I can hear some of you now pointing out how things have been during the Hogan/Bischoff years, the fact that they took away the six-sided ring, how the X-Division isn’t highlighted as much. My question to you is this; did that huge company always have great ideas for their talent? Did they always do what was best for the fans? Right now, I can honestly tell you NO! NO! NO! Everyone has growing pains, sometimes a company takes a few steps back from the progress they’ve gained. But when that happens, they usually get stronger. I expect nothing less from TNA. As a company, they have made changes that show they are looking to the future.

Now, TNA is coming back to South Florida with their LOCKDOWN PPV on March 9 at the Bank United Center. Each match that night could be a main event anywhere else. Also, TNA is having a Fan Interaction the day before where you can meet the wrestlers and talent, get autographs and pictures with them. Of the wrestlers that I’ve met in the past, the ones that have been with TNA have always been cordial, friendly and receptive. This is the time to see one show and, for a lack of a better term, give them a chance. See what they can offer. You can get tickets at http://www.tnalockdown.com/ for both the Fan Interaction and the LOCKDOWN PPV.

Blackout #1

Blackout #1 of 4
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Frank Barbiere
Art by Colin Lorimer

Scott Travers’ life has just gone completely nuts. Let’s start with the fact that he worked at a security lab that has gone boom. Then he finds a suit that allows him to walk through walls, solid objects and not be seen because he’s in a different dimension. Next his mentor and father figure disappears. Oh yeah, he doesn’t get along with his boss. Did I forget anything? So, when he wakes up after a bad experience of ripping a machine in half and finding everything else out, he decides to go on a recon mission, what could go wrong?

This is the first book that I read that didn’t have standard squares for the paneling, because of the story that’s being told, it really worked well. Also, the art was detailed. When dealing with a story like this, it works really well. As well as the cover art matches and catches your eye. The writing was solid. All the characters had their own voice, they were a little snippy with each other and Scott had the right type of self-talk as well. There were a couple of spots where you were looking for an answer but it wasn’t given, in this situation, I could overlook that. This story started in a DARK HORSE PRESENTS issue.

If you read that you know the fight that’s mentioned in the beginning of the book. But Dark Horse did the right thing by giving you a quick rundown before things started. This was good. I liked the story and could relate to the main character. The action hasn’t started fully but you feel the tense situation and want to know more. In my humble opinion, I’d say get the DHP book and then pick this one up. Most likely, you’ll get the others as well. I give this 4 caps out of 5.

Christopher Daniels Interview

One of the founding wrestlers for TNA is Christopher Daniels. He has been a multi time X-Division and tag team champion. Beyond TNA, he has wrestled all over and was given the title of “The King of the Indies.” And he is a comic book fan (you can call him a geek if you want but I enjoy breathing). Daniels is coming down for the LOCKDOWN PPV on March 9th but I had a chance to talk to him beforehand and ask a few questions about comic books and how he brings his love of them into the ring.

One of his favorite comic book characters is Magneto. Daniels said that he likes Magneto because he feels justified in his beliefs and what he is doing. That there is a means to an end; Daniels tries to bring that to his character in TNA. Not only are he and his BAD INFLUENCE partner Frankie Kazarian justified in their action but “We’re the best, the smartest, the cleverest. . . He’s me just turned all the way up.” One of Daniels first characters was a religious figure called The Fallen Angle but he thought that character would be too controversial, “When I was doing him, I felt like I was struggling in another man’s clothes.”

TNA just came back from a very successful tour of the United Kingdom. Daniels said that he loves going over because it is just an event, “We go over once a year and its instant feedback. You have to step up your game.” On this trip, a new tag team was introduced in THE WOLVES. I told Daniels that I saw THE WOLVES like BAD INFLUENCE from a few years ago, hungry to go out and show the world what they can do. Daniels said that he wrestled with them before and knows what they can do; he’s looking forward to having a match and tearing down the house. Talking to Daniels, I know how much he loves what he does and what he puts on for the fans. On March 8th and 9th, we fans can show him how we feel by getting tickets to LOCKDOWN and giving everyone in TNA the best audience they’ve had. Get your tickets at http://www.tnalockdown.com/.

Megacon 2014 Review

Megacon, located in Orlando, is the biggest sci-fi convention in Florida with an estimated 83,000 people in attendance. They drew some of the biggest names in the genre, Stan Lee, Yaya Han, George Perez, Jason David Frank, David Morrisey, Danai Guria, Neal Adams, the comic men and many, many more. This year, they probably had their biggest turnout ever for attendance as they had two convention halls at the Orange County Convention Center booked. This is the fourth year going and it was a much different and interesting experience this year. We drove up from South Florida to Orlando and arrived with no issues to the location with no problems. When We got to the exit of the interstate We noticed something funny, we ended up where it was bumper to bumper stand still but everyone was getting off and backing everything up. Parking did take some time but we did arrive.

Once We were in, we were able to check out the items in the first hall such as the four different time machines from the different shows and books, a photo op with two Hulks, Bill and Ted with their phone booth as well as the car from Back to The Future.

When we entered into the main area, there was not much room to move around in as it seemed very small place for a large amount of people. One of the weird things we noticed was there was lines drawn on the floor for the artists and other guests that were going to have lines but no real ideal way to follow. The layout used one room.

Many great cosplay costumes as and some super nice people all around but many of the con goers were saying the same thing about needing more space. We were not able to get a program because by the time we got there in the morning, they were already out and none of the volunteers really knew what was going on. We tried to go to attend the Stan Lee panel but we were out of luck since we did not know where or when it would be. We did not see any signs or heard any info over the loud speaker. We did hear them repeat people’s names of people who had become lost but nothing else. Lastly, they closed the convention at 6:00. This helped the large crowd towards the end of the day.

Now, let me say this, we did have a good time. We were able to chat with George Perez, Dan Jurgens, Mike Mayhew, David Finch, Peter Mayhew, Austin Janowsky, Jeff Balke, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner about different things. The 501st had a huge presence, the Ghostbusters as well as Heroes Initiative with George himself brought in over 7800 plus for them. Not to mention all the areas were you could get pictures with sets from Star Wars.

When we were leaving we came into the same problem with traffic. Everyone was trying to leave at the same time and very few people were allowing anyone to get in. Because of this, it took my group about an hour and a half to get back to the interstate. This could have been handled with someone stopping one people from exiting and allowing another to go and switch this up.

Overall, we did have a good time but there were things that diminished my experience. We have the utmost faith in Megacon that the issues will be worked out next year. Who knows, we could actually attend our first 100,000 sized convention next year. In my humble opinion, we give it 3.5 caps out of 5.

Hacktivist #3 of 4

Hacktivist #3 of 4
Archaia Black Label
Written by Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Art by Marcus To

CIO Edwin Hiccox has decided to move out of tracking business patterns for YOURLIFE and taken a stand with the people of Tunisia by creating the website .sve_urs3lf. Now he’s taken it a step further, he’s flown into the country and is ready to help the best that he can with their revolution to oust a tyrannical government. He meets a point of contact with the resistance force and is already on the run. All the time, his old company is searching for him because of the damage he’s done and the information he stole. This is what you get when you leave your cubical for the real world.

As I read, I saw that the art fit well with the story. It didn’t take away from what was trying to be told but I don’t think that it added as well. It could have used something else but I’m not sure what. But the cover art really didn’t tell you what was inside, I think it could have used that. The paneling worked as well, I did not get lost from one to another, simple shapes worked in this story. Lastly, the writing worked for the book only, meaning I don’t know what happened beforehand. When the character was speaking a different language, the writers let you know, I liked that.

I’ve said this before about getting a book cold; I like it when I have a heads up of what happened in previous issues. The writers choose not to do this; I think that was a detriment to what they were trying to say. Don’t get me wrong, what I read, I enjoyed but if I was aware of what happened before, I would be more vested in this issue. In my humble opinion, if you want to get this, read the first two, then get this one. I give this 3 caps out of 5.

Translucence, Wild Horses: #1 of 6

Boom Studios
Written by Chondra Echert & Claudio Sanchez
Art by Daniel Bayliss
The Navigator lives in a world where he has dispatched most, if not all of his major nemeses. Over time, when a situation calls for a hero, he’s shown up less and less and no one knows why. Did he stop caring, what he injured and can no longer carry the mantle, who can say? But when his biggest foe, The Horse, is released after being exonerated, The Horse is taken hostage. Now, this brings out The Navigator to save him, why? Is it out of duty, is it out of respect, is it because The Navigator in some way needs his greatest villain?

Reading through this, the story had a solid idea but the flow of it was choppy. Things would start to go and something would just stop the flow and it didn’t really work for me. I would liked to have a little heads up on the world they’re talking about, a note on the inside cover to introduce you. The art was well done. It had the detail to fit the story but just off enough to let you know this isn’t our world. The paneling was simple squares and block shapes, again, this worked. Also, the cover matched the art that was inside. Again, this is something that I like.

Now, those of us that have read comics for sometime know the relationships that form between heroes and their villains. A codependency that forms that really isn’t healthy. This story hints at that but the need isn’t from the villain needing the hero, it feels like the other way around. The story has a draw but it felt like it could have been better. In my humble opinion, read this book in the store and wait to see how the second goes. I give this 3.5 caps out of 5.

Brain Boy: The Men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #1 of 4

Brain Boy: The Men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #1 of 4
Dark Horse Studios
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Freddie Williams II

What a way to start a day for our poor hero Matt Price, also known as Brain Boy, because he is the world’s most powerful telepath. The morning starts out where his girlfriend breaks up with him because he used his powers on her (bad move, take notes anyone who does have these powers). Then he’s sent on a mission to New Mexico except a little thing happens on the plane. Another super powered telepath decides he’s going to make himself known. Oh yeah, about 72 hours later, he’s going to attack the White House. Have you ever had one of those weekends?

The art was bright and had enough detail to match the story’s feel. When there was a flash back in time, you as the read are told about it and the art has a different feel, this I liked. Plus as a bonus, you’re given a heads up on the world they live. The writing was well done though, I would have liked to seen more accents for each of the characters introduced, but that’s just me. Lastly, the paneling was simple squares and shapes with a few splash pages. For this story, it worked and made it easy to follow.

Reading through this, I was entertained and was left wanting to know what happens in the next book. For a first book, they did what they needed to do and I find that’s not happening as much as it should. You want to know what’s going on, you find yourself trying to figure out things even before everything is unfolded. As I said before, it’s a personal thing but something else I don’t see that often, accents or different phrasing for different characters. In my humble opinion, get this book and wait for the second one to come out. I give this 4 caps out of 5.

Eye of Newt #1 of 4

Eye of Newt #1 of 4
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Michael Hague
Art by Michael Hague
Newt knows of magic, he trusts his master teacher to show him all he needs to know. Now, he is going for his final test, to venture to another magical world to retrieve an element for his staff’s headpiece (fun times). As he walks the path to get familiar with it, Newt meets a creature that gives him a gift to help him. Upon returning, his master has him stay with two other wizards who turn out to be not so trustworthy (something that doesn’t help him much). Now Newt must start his quest with more than he expected to think about.

The art in this book matched the story so well. The look is that of tapestries hanging in a castle, telling you the story. This includes the cover art as well, one of things I like. Also, the paneling matched that feel. They were separated by what looked like knitting knots, thorn branches or other items. Lastly, the writing worked for the most part. But I did find one area where there was bad sentence structure in the early part, that kind of threw me off where I had to read the talk bubble a few times. That was the only thing I could find wrong with this.

As I said, one small mess up but overall this was a fun read. The feelings I got reading it was that I was either walking through that castle, looking at the tapestries or sitting at a fire during the Renascence, hearing the tale of Newt. It draws you in and you worry with Newt, you wonder about his master and the other characters. What’s the whole story? In my humble opinion, I would buy this, read it, wait for the second to come out and read it as well. I give this 4.5 caps out of 5.