Friday, March 29, 2013

73. Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood by Pat Shand.

Robyn Hood by Pat Shand. Art by Dan Glasl, Larry Watts & Rob Dumo (3/5)
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Robyn Hood, Vol. 1

(US) - (Canada)

Mar. 12, 2013, Zenoscope, 156 pgs
Age: 18+

  • "In the land of Myst, a tyrant rules the city of Bree with an iron fist, leaving its citizens living in fear and terror. But all hope is not lost as a young orphan girl from another world discovers her destiny and becomes the legend she was meant to be."

I love these Grimm books and I quite enjoyed the first four chapters of this one when Robyn was sent to the village of Bree, but once she came back to our world again the story just became too violent.  As always with these books we get lots of sexy outfits but I don't mind that.  The violence is high, but the sex and language are low in this volume.  A good fun romp most of the time.  While not graphically detailed, this volume is a bit more intense than other Grimms I've read as it deals with rape early on setting a serious tone which is left behind while Robyn goes to Bree.  The re-imagining of the whole Robin Hood story is told in this volume and was a whole lot of fun.  I enjoyed how key elements of the familiar tale were incorporated into the story.  I became uncomfortable with the story in the last chapter when Robyn comes home and turns into an excessively violent vigilante distributing her own brand of justice to those who were in any way connected with hurting her.  I felt it went too far and I lost any empathy I felt for her, though she isn't a particularly empathetic character to begin with.  I was surprised and pleased with how the story twisted and turned into the beginning of a new story arc which leaves us waiting to read the next volume.  Not my favourite Grimm story but I'll certainly read the next volume.

Monday, March 25, 2013

67-69. 2000 AD Prog 1806-1808

Judge Dredd Universe

67. Prog 1806, 24 Oct 2012 (4/5)

This issue includes:

Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck, Part One - Sinister and secret beginnings go on in the first part of a promising long-lasting story.  Inside Judge politics and a trip to the Under City set up an interesting story. (3/5)

The Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right, Part Three - The doll leads Jack further on the case, meeting both friend and foe but a secret message slipped to him may help him out of the spot he finds himself in.  (4/5)

ABC Warriors: Return to Earth - Seems that the army tries to take out Hammerstien and his ABC buddies.  They win/escape and H. has his meeting finally with the human Dedan whom H. lets know in no uncertain terms that he's not working for planet earth and the betterment of humankind but for the ABC Warriors and their very existence.  While I like certain episodes of this, ones like this one I find the story getting away from me.  (3/5)

Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds, Part Seven - The Station Master sends Wren on her mission with young Conductor 17 to accompany her.  We find out the Master isn't as compassionate a being as he first seemed and 17 has explicit instructions if any problems arise.  Their journey through the tubes begins and they end in a tropical jungle/conservatory atmosphere.  (5/5)

Low Life: Saudade, Part 2 - Since I read Part 1 I have read the collection of Low Life stories and finally have myself firmly set in this world and the background  of the characters, which made the reading of this much more fun as I got the allusions to past events made for the sake of fans.  Frank's trying to find out what exactly is going on here on the moon as he discovers this Corporation is not on the up and up and there is already an undercover agent in place.  When Frank hacks into the computer to find out his current status with Wally Squad back on Earth he finds out way more than he bargained for and he ends up in cliff-hanger trouble.  (4/5)

68. Prog 1807, 31 Oct 2012 (5/5) 
(technically it should be 4.5, but it gets the extra .5 for the adrenaline rush of the first three stories!)

This issue contains:

Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck, Part Two:  Something's going down and we have three sets of people heading for the "buy" but as it's about to go off, something goes wrong and we have traitors all over.  Dredd is kicking the door down as we end. (5/5)

The Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right, Part Four - OMG!!! Point is doing a deal when the door busts in and Judge Dredd bursts into the room!! It's the continuation of the Judge Dredd story, they are connected!  Point makes his escape and we follow him as he figures a way to hide out in Mega-City.  This blew my socks off! (5/5)

Low Life: Saudade, Part 3 - Well, it looked like Frank was a goner there for a moment but it was the *other* Wally Squad secret agent who got caught.  Frank finally finds out why he's been sent to Luna with no instructions when the secret files from Mega City One being looked for in the  first two stories in this comic arrive in the hands of Overdrive  Corp. !!! All three stories are connected and read as one back-to-back story!  How awesome does that get! (5/5)

Time to calm down now since no more stories currently take place in the Judge Dredd universe.  I'm pumped after those three stories though and am rating this issue 5* no matter how I feel about the next two. LOL

The ABC Warriors: Return to Earth - Hammerstein is finally at the White House. He has to fight off some inferior Mark Fours; we find out some inside politics that the President is not his own man, is trying to do what is right but is being pulled and harassed by both sides.  He is basically a "patsy".  H. knows this, considers him an innocent man but meets him face to face to kill him.  OK.  As you know by now; I'm not loving this story.  (3/5)

Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds, Part Eight - The guide explains this ruined, perhaps uninhabited plant world to Wren.  As they travel they find a dead body being scavenged by air fauna and are suddenly attacked by a metal man. The guide blows its top off with a flare gun but now they are surrounded by more. I like the change to a new world and the direction this is taking.  Really enjoying this story and art is as splendid as ever. (5/5)

69. Prog 1808, 07 Nov 2012 (3.5/5)

A much calmer issue than last time but the stories continue on in a satisfying way.

This issue includes:

Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck, Part Three - Dredd runs after the guy in the room who vaguely tells him about the list on the file but he is killed by  a sniper, then Dredd is called into headquarters saying matters have been passed onto the Chief Judge and Dredd needs to be spoken with in depth.  (3/5)

ABC Warriors: Return to Earth - Hammerstien meets the president, agrees to talk to him and has confusion as to whether to kill him or not but through the man's own own words he determines his own destiny.  And Quartz shows up.  (3/5)

Brsass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds, Part Nine - Wren and her guide are running through the wilderness followed by the mechanical men, Wren passes out from the heat and the guide must drag her just as all seems lost a strange stone-like creature arrives and seems to be fighting to help our heroes. Until a humanoid creature arrives on the scene wanting to know what time of game Wren and her friend are.  Strange... (4/5)

Low Life: Saudade, Part 4 - Whole episode is taken up with Dirty Frank taking a wild run for it as seems to have been found out.  He also has some brief flashbacks to his being assigned this mission and ends up in as heap of a cliff-hanger of trouble. (4/5)

The Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right, Part Five - Point infiltrated the Church of Simpology, passes the security, entrance tests, thouhb a bug is found on one of his teeth.  His case of cash stolen from the last episode is much appreciated as a donation. He meets a girl who it taken with him and led to a room where a very strange PSI man is waiting.  He knows exactly who *Judge* Frank is and makes a deal with him for the money.  (4/5)

Friday, March 22, 2013

64. Thieves & Kings, Volume Three: The Blue Book by Mark Oakley

Thieves & Kings, Volume Three: The Blue Book by Mark Oakley (5/5)
Thieves & Kings (3)

1998, I Box Pub, 184 pgs
Ages: 12+

(US) - (Canada)

"From the dream garden of the Sleeping Dragon, to the tower of the Lost Wizard, the thief Rubel and young Heath make their way. The third volume of Thieves & Kings collects eight issues of the original comic book series into one story, focusing on Heath's journey to find a new home, to explore her calling as sorceress and uncover the riddles of magic. 
The Blue Book brings to an explosive close the first third of Thieves & Kings, and sets the stage for the next story arc entitled, The Queen of the Trolls."

The third book in this unique text/graphic novel combo continues in just as exciting form as the previous two books.  The story focuses mainly on sorceress-in-training Heath, including also, the young thief Rubel, accompanied by the imp Varkias.  Of course the bad guys show up but the princess and wizard are only spoken of in this volume.  The story becomes much more involved and layered at this point bringing in many side stories and the world building is intricate spanning thousands of years as time travel, magic and reincarnation give many characters a history which is proving deeply satisfying.  This series is one of my best finds this year and I am greatly enjoying it. This volume really brings the story to a much deeper level and finishes on a note of great anticipation.  The author includes a brief endnote giving us an expectation as to where the story will be proceeding from this point leaving me virtually panting to get my hands on the next volume.  Looking for a new quest fantasy series?  I'm highly recommending you look no further.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

63. Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen

Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen. Art by Mike Cavallaro (3/5)
Foiled, Book 2

Jan. 8 2013, First Second, 176 pgs
Ages: 11+

(US) - (Canada)

"Aliera Carstairs is back. This time she's got her cousin—and best friend—Caroline in tow, and the stakes are higher than ever. The realm of Seelie, the fairy kingdom of which Aliera is the hereditary defender, is under attack, and only Aliera and Caroline can set things right. Caroline, fragile and wheelchair-bound, may seem like more of a liability than an asset, but Aliera knows there's more to her quiet cousin than meets the eye."

I've got to say I was somewhat underwhelmed with this one.  I really enjoyed the first book and this sequel just didn't live up to it for me.  The initial background story was never referred to; the mix of b/w and colour in the art doesn't make as much of an impression when one forgets that Aliera is color-blind in the first book, and references to a few names and places from her and Caroline's "rpg"-ing from the first book also fall flat.  The story presented here was an ok fantasy, a quick divergence, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Cavallaro's art is bold and dark when needed, his use of colour is bright and I've read a few of his works now that I know it is always a pleasure to enjoy his artwork.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DNF. All-Star Future Shocks by Alan Grant (including Neil Gaiman)

All-Star Future Shocks by Alan Grant (including Neil Gaiman) (DNF)

Jan. 8 2013, 2000 AD, 192 pgs
Ages: 15+
(US) - (Canada)

"A collection of astounding and entertaining short comics stories from some of the biggest names in comics, inclusing, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan Mark Millar and many more.
‘Where legends are born!’
Future Shocks – these self-contained short stories from the pages of 2000 AD have been the testing ground for many of comics greatest writers and artists. From the far reaches of the galaxy to the lowest depths of hell, discover what lurks within the fevered imaginations of such luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Kevin O’Neill, Brian Bolland, Alan Grant, Peter Milligan, John Higgins, Alan Davis and Mark Millar to name but a few." Simon & Schuster Canada

It's not too often that I don't finish a graphic novel, as realistically how much effort does it take to finish one even if you are not enjoying it that much.  But this is the second anthology collection of shorts from the pages of the comic "2000 AD" I've attempted to read.  The first one I did finish but wasn't that impressed with.  This time I just had no connection with any of the stories and stopped after 14 of 48, though I did skip ahead and read the one by Neil Gaiman for a total of 15 stories.  None of them impressed me, at anywhere from 1 to 3/4 pages long they were far too short and random and just not "shocking" enough to find enjoyable.  I don't think I'll bother with these so-called "Tharg" collections anymore.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

59. Graphic Classics: H.G. Wells edited by Tom Pomplum

Graphic Classics: H.G. Wells (2nd Edition) edited by Tom Pomplun (5/5)
Graphic Classics: Vol. 3

(US) - (Canada)
2005, Eureka Productions, 144 pgs
Ages: 12+

"• The Time Machine -The ultimate fate of mankind, illustrated by Seth Frail
• The Invisible Man -An all-new adaptation by Simon Gane
• The Inexperienced Ghost -A confrontation with a spiritual neophyte by Rich Tommaso
• The Man Who Could Work Miracles -A fable adapted by ex-Air Pirate Dan O'Neill
• The Man With a Nose -A meeting with a social outcast by Skip Williamson
• The Temptation of Harringay -A Faustian tale illustrated by Milton Knight
• Le Mari Terrible -Tea and sexual intrigue, newly-illustrated by Lisa K. Weber
• The Star -An apocalyptic fable adapted by Brad Teare
• The War of the Worlds -A retelling in comics of Orson Welles' radio broadcast of“The War of the Worlds” by Antonella Caputo & Nick Miller
• Plus illustrations by Chris Moore, Rick Geary, Jim Nelson,and Kent Steine, with a cover by Seth Frail"

I'm a great fan of H.G. Wells having read a huge old tome entitled the "Complete Novels and Short Stories of ..." when I was a young teen.  I've re-read various titles over the years but it's been some time since I read any of the novels so this was great fun to revisit two of them.  This anthology starts and ends with nice long adaptations of novels, "The Invisible Man" and "The Time Machine" respectively.  Both are very well done and since they are relatively short novels to begin with are perfect for graphic adaptation.  A unique feature in the middle of the book was a representation of Orson Welles' radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds".  This was an entertaining look at both H.G.'s story and a strange piece of history that makes me want to actually hear that broadcast for myself.  The rest of the book is filled with several not so well known short stories that show another side of Wells' writing featuring the ghost and paranormal.  I loved most of the art and as usual the artist matches the style of the story.  My favourite of the lot was the two novels and my favourite of the short stories was "The Inexperienced Ghost" with lovely era-appropriate illustrations by Rich Tommaso.  This is one of my favourites in the Graphic Classics series.  This edition, unfortunately, is currently out of print, but according to the publisher's website a third edition is in the works for publication in Feb, 2014.

Friday, March 15, 2013

57. The Spider: Terror of the Zombie Queen by David Liss.

The Spider: Terror of the Zombie Queen by David Liss. Art by Colton Worley (5/5)
The Spider: Vol. 1

(US) - (Canada)
Jan. 30, 2012, Dynamite Entertainment, 160 pgs
Ages: 18+

"The Spider, one of the most celebrated pulp heroes of all time is back, and re-launched into the 21st century! Richard Wentworth is a decorated war hero who has sacrificed everything, including the woman he loves, for duty. But the New York City Wentworth returns to is riddled with crime and corruption. With the police overwhelmed and a populace helpless, Wentworth becomes The Spider, a vigilante as ruthless and merciless as the criminals he hunts. But now there's a new danger on the rise. A deranged woman called Anput has begun a series of attacks that turn ordinary citizens into mindless zombies, bringing New York and the police force to its knees. Wentworth will stop at nothing to save the city he's sworn to protect, but in the process he will risk his family, his friends, and the woman he still loves."

A modern re-imagining of the 1930s/40s pulp novels of "The Spider"; a pre-cursor to comic book superheroes who fought larger than life villains.  This is set in modern New York and yet there is an aura that leads one to feel the timelessness; there are blimps in the sky, the men wear hats, etc.  I was fascinated with this tale and enjoyed every moment of it.  Spider doesn't really have any superpowers but he does have technology which allows him to grapple his way around tall buildings, almost flying, such as the later created "Spider-Man".  He has infra-red vision and use of laser guns all thanks to his scientist friend.  A dark, gritty noir crime story with amazing art.  The people look almost life-like and I found myself lingering on certain pages just to enjoy the art.  I have to say this but Richard Wentworth, the Spider's alter-ego, is one attractive dude! and he reminded me very much of David Boreanaz.

Usually these trades contain a complete story arc but I like how this one has been compiled.  Containing the first six issues, Issues 1-5 are a self-contained story with the villain Anput.  Issue 6 starts us off with a new story line that just gets us interested and intrigued by the time the books end.  I found this to be a bit above anything I've read lately.  This is one series I'd love to continue reading.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

55. Low Life: Paranoia by Rob Williams.

Low Life: Paranoia by Rob Williams. Illustrated by Henry Flint & Simon Coleby (4.5/5)
Judge Dredd Universe

(US) - (Canada)
2011, 2000 AD, 160 pgs

Ages: 18+
"It takes a special kind of Judge to go undercover on the mean streets of Mega-City One, especially in the crime-infested Low Life; the nastiest part of the Big Meg. These Judges are brave, rebellious and completely unhinged! Judge Aimee Nixon has operated the Low Life for over eleven years, infiltrating ground level crime with fellow ‘Wally squad’ Judges, Thora the oldster, ‘baby Judge’ Eric Coil and the aptly-named Dirty Frank." Simon & Schuster Canada

Mention of the "Wally Squad" in the Low Life in MegaCity 1 has popped up briefly in my Judge Dredd reading here and there and I've been very intrigued in reading these tales of the Judges of the slums.  So I bought this book a while ago and now that a new "Low Life" story has started in the 2000 AD comic I decided to catch up on the background.  I loved these stories.  Rob Williams writes some pretty weird tales and he didn't disappoint here.  The first half of the book is illustrated by Flint and I enjoyed it the most, while Coleby's illustrations in the second half took some getting use to afterwards since their styles are complete opposites.  The stories are great though; dark and gritty, with the second half becoming more humorous.  Either Judge Aimee Nixon or (Judge) Dirty Frank are the "star" of these tales and while Dirty Frank is quite the character I have to say I'm really impressed with Nixon, a real tough, hard-core female character with an intense background to match.  I "think" (from Rob's intro) this collects all the stories to date, from 2004-2007.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

50-52. 2000 AD Prog 1803 - 1805

Judge Dredd Universe

50. Prog 1803, 03 Oct 2012 (3/5)

This issue includes:

Judge Dredd: Bullett to King Four - A one-off story but also the beginning of something bigger to come.  Politics are in the works for a large mission and Dredd has a run-in with an old enemy (4/5)

ABC Warriors: Return to Earth - Hammerstein lands on Earth and joins a crew of ABC Warriors who are being sent for reprogramming.  H. tries to tell them it will be the death of them but they don't believe him.  I'm still not really into this story. (3/5)

Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds, Part 4 - Wren is wounded as we left her, she drags herself far enough to try to open the hidden gate and enters a strange building.  Very short but intriguing.  Still loving the art.  (4/5)

Bob Byrne's Twisted Tales #16:  Wordless.  Did not get this at all, in any shape or form. (0/5)

Grey Area: This Island Earth, Part 4: Janzen comes up with a way to get around Uuveth's diplomatic immunity and while they are in the act of arresting him,  Uuveth spills his race's disregard for Earth.  Cliffhanger ending as the arrest starts to go down.  I'm really enjoying this serial and love the art! (5/5)

51. Prog 1804, 10 Oct 2012 (4.5/5)

This issue contains:

Judge Dredd: Asleep, Part 1: A very promising start to a new storyline, quite violent with an intriguing "tada!" ending as someone we meet turns out to be waaay more than he seems (5/5)

Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds, Part 5: Wren wakes up in a hospital and finds out she is inside the clockworks.  She meets the people who live & work here and meets a very strange robot/human being who tells her that her grandfather was on the right track all along and he offers to fill her in on the rest.  I wish these sections were longer!  They are like little teasers.  (5/5)

ABC Warriors: Return to Earth: Hammerstein has just about convinced the other ABCs that they are about to be annihilated when the human soldiers tell them to hurry up.  When H. tells that he has told the others the truth they waste no time turning the weapons on the robots.  Big action scene, then H. and the survivors take off with H. on his way to Washington.  This one I actually enjoyed! (4/5)

Grey Area: This Island Earth, Part 5:  The end of this series has a showdown and some deaths.  The story arc finishes on a grim note but the series itself is left wide-open for further tales.  I enjoyed this and the fabulous art so hope more will come!  (4/5)

The Simping Detective: Joker to the Right, Part 1: Tharg's editorial at the beginning of the comic tells us this is this comic's first appearance in 2000AD with it usually being seen in Megazine.  I was looking forward to it as it is set in Dredd's Megacity but Judge Point the main character is part of Wally Squad.  This is the dirty, lowdown, crime-ridden part of the city.  This was a hardcore, violent, noir detective tale with extremely weird characters.  Loved it!  The b/w art is just a tad too heavy handed with the negative space filled of black ink but otherwise I like it.  An interesting start to the case!  (5/5)

52. Prog 1805, 17 Oct 2012 (4/5)

This issue contains:

Judge Dredd: Asleep, Part 2: The bad guy, Erik, tries to take out the Chief Judge.  We find out why he's a bad guy and at this point I sympathize with him as being a victim of circumstances.  We've gotten to know his character as to who he has been for these last many years and he was likable.  Will he still be after this though?  The law knows who he is, really, and is after him. (5/5)

Brass Sun: The Wheel Without Worlds, Part 6: The weird big guy tells Wren the history of their clockwork universe from the beginning of time to now.  Of course, mankind is responsible for his own fall and the state of things as they are now.  He figures Wren is the one who can help him get things back to a better state and  suggests a mission for her.  If this is published in a trade, I will so be there!, the art is scrumptious (I.N.J. Culbard). (5/5)

ABC Warriors: Return to Earth: The story has picked up the last two issues and I'm getting a feel for these current characters in play.  Hammerstein has been left behind at the War Memorial, immobilized, meaning he can see but can't speak or move and has been painted white like a statue.  The plan is that Dedan is going to reactivate him in the evening.  However, the FBI arrives as they've figured he is a Mars class robot and shouldn't be there.  They use all sorts of weapons on him trying to destroy him, but calling on the Dark Force H. is able to reawaken and ...  (4/5)

Low Life: Saudade, Part 1:  I've been looking forward to this!  Rob Williams writes weird stuff and D'israeli is a great artist.  I haven't read any "Low Life" stories yet so this is my first introduction and Dirty Frank (Judge Frank) appears to be a crazy weirdo.  He wakes up to find himself on the moon apparently a very rich investor in Overdrive, Inc.  Everyone seems to know what is going on except him, but he takes it all in his stride.  Ends on an interesting note.  (4/5)

The Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right, Part 2:  Loving this!  Colour has been added to the mainly b/w art with splashes here and there or bits like a girl's hair, very effective!  Last story Judge Point was given a doll (to guard?).  Now he's being contacted by his corrupt boss who knows he has the doll and wants it, he's threatened Point's girlfriend for a swap.  Point agrees and then everything hits the fan.  When the dust has settled Point thinks maybe he has been set up. This is very gritty and noir but weird.  Love it!  (5/5)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

45. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley (4/5)
Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 6

(US) - (Canada)

2007, Oni Press, 248 pgs
Ages: 18+

``It's finally here! Six years and almost one-thousand pages have all led to this epic finale! With six of Ramona's seven evil exes dispatched, it should be time for Scott Pilgrim to face Gideon Graves, the biggest and baddest of her former beaus. But didn't Ramona take off at the end of Book 5? Shouldn't that let Scott off the hook? Maybe it should, maybe it shouldn't, but one thing is for certain—all of this has been building to Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour!``

Probably the best book in the entire series; this one made my back & forth like/hate relationship with the other volumes worth the journey to come to this conclusion.  In conclusion, I think the story ends up not really being about Scott at all but more about Ramona, and the other female characters, as they learn they don't need a guy to make themselves happy (complete). I didn't get mad at anybody this time :-); I'm happy with how the story ended and glad that it wasn't just all about Scott defeating the ex-boyfriends, which is where it seemed to be headed so many times throughout the series.  My overall average for the series as a whole works out to 3.5/5 which feels about right. I'm not crazy about it, but did enjoy the humour and liked the pop culture references.  While I don't appreciate, I can certainly understand its cult appeal.

As a side note, I made dh watch the movie with me the weekend after I`d finished the series thinking it would be his type of movie.  Anyway I had to keep nudging him as he kept dozing off but then all of a sudden *I* woke up and found we were at the 59 min mark so I woke him up again and told him we`d turn off the movie.  We watched TV instead!  Thank God my Scott Pilgrim adventure is over.  I don`t recommend it to over 40s.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

21. The Curse of Dracula by Marv Wolfman

The Curse of Dracula by Marv Wolfman. Art by Gene Colan (US) - (Canada)
Tomb of Dracula, sequel

Pages: 96
Ages: 16+
Finished: Jan. 23, 2013
First Published: 2005 (this edition Feb. 19, 2013)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Genre: graphic novel, horror, vampires
Rating:  3.5/5

First sentences: "They're playing with him, actually, flying just slow enough he can stay ahead, yet fast enough he can't escape."

Publisher's Summary: "
The Curse of Dracula is back in this deluxe new hardcover edition! A mysterious, charismatic figure is moving amongst the circles of San Francisco's political elite. When Jonathan Van Helsing and his team of vampire hunters come to town investigating a string of grisly murders, they know it's only a matter of time before they come face to face with the master of the dark!

* Previously unseen sketches by the legendary Gene Colan!

Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Reason for Reading:  Dark Horse is one of my favourite publishers, especially when it comes to horror and sci-fi, plus I love a good vampire story.

I quite enjoyed this book.  I've heard of the 70s "Tomb of Dracula" but never read it.  This is a sequel to that series written and illustrated by the same team in 2005 with this being a new "deluxe" re-print since the illustrator has recently passed away.  The story was good but never seemed to really hit its potential.  I think this is because it is so short, only a 3-issue mini-series that really hit its stride in the second issue but wrapped up way too quickly in the last issue, not giving the reader enough time to mourn the loss of a major character, deal with the sudden twist and the hanging "there's more to come" ending that we know never came to fruition.  Still a decent enough story, worth the read if you are into this type of thing.  The art on the other hand is excellent!  I was mesmerized from the beginning and enjoyed every single page.  First of all I was happy with the unusual layout of the pages, no grid-like panels here.  Very quirky off-set panel designs for every page made them visually delightful, the art is wonderful to behold and some of the imagery is simply disturbing to view.  This one is iffy for an age range but rather than say 18+, I'm confident with 16+ as though there is language, sex and nudity; the language is minimal, there are only a couple of sex scenes and they don't show anything, and the nudity involves a few breasts, nothing you wouldn't see in a PG-13 movie but the violence and imagery does put it up there between 16/18.  Having read this I am very interested in reading the "Tomb of Dracula" omnibus now.  Unfortunately the huge Essential editions are out of print and I'll have to go with the smaller colour omnibus but I've added Vol. 1 to my collection already!

Monday, March 4, 2013

44. Think Tank Vol. 1 by Matt Hawkins

Think Tank, Vol. 1 by Matt Hawkins. Illustrated by Rahsan Ekedal. Introduction by Larry Marder (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Dec. 18 2012, Image Comics, 120 pgs
Ages: 18+

"Dr. David Loren is many things: child prodigy, inventor, genius, slacker... mass murderer. When a military think tank's smartest scientist decides he can no longer stomach creating weapons of destruction, will he be able to think his way out of his dilemma or find himself subject to the machinations of smaller men?
Collecting the original series in its entirety, this trade paperback also is jam packed with a complete cover gallery, bonus articles, behind-the-scenes sketches, and more! 
Collects THINK TANK 1-4"

Fantastic.  A science-based spy/action story.  Inside secret military government weapons and the scientists who make them.  This is a brilliant edge-of-your-seat thriller with its fair share of action but most of it is cerebral as David matches wits with the other scientists and the military hierarchy. I guessed the reveal at the end quite early on but was gleeful to have the story go the way I thought it would rather than disappointed to have figured it out.  Absolutely love David as a character and could absolutely *see* this graphic novel happening in my head as I read it.  The artwork is good and done in b/w, which I am a big fan of when used with the right project; it fits here perfectly.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

42. Wonderland Vol. 1 by Raven Gregory.

Wonderland Vol. 1 by Raven Gregory. Illustrated by Sheldon Goh (3/5)
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents, Wonderland series

(US) - (Canada)

Jan, 22, 2013, Zenescope, 168 pgs
Ages: 18+

"Wonderland returns with full force as Calie Liddle and her daughter, Violet, continue to hide from the very madness that still might be searching for them. But how long can they hide before having to face what they fear most? While Calie fights to protect her only daughter from danger, the Queen of Spades bides her time in Wonderland as she builds an army to finally take control of the realm and destroy the Queen of Hearts. Meanwhile, a new Mad Hatter has been born and he’s not what anyone sees coming! From the writers and creators who brought you Zenescope's original Wonderland trilogy comes a whole new world of madness like you've never seen before. Don’t miss this epic trade paperback which collects Wonderland issues 1 through 5!"

I really enjoyed this book but it was obvious from the get-go that it was a sequel to another series as there were many references to what had happened previously.  This book is about, I think!, Alice's daughter and her own daughter as they have escaped Wonderland but find themselves being pursued by a child who has gotten hold of the Mad Hatter's hat.  I did enjoy this but this is not the place to start.  There are other series entitled "Tales from W", "Escape from W.", "Alice in W", "Return to W" and "Beyond W".  I've got to find out the proper reading order of these and follow the story properly.  But I will say I've become a great fan of the "Grimm Fairy Tales" books from Zenescope and the art is phenomenal, if you don't mind full-bosomed women :-)