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Witchblade #122 – Review

By Ron Marz (Writer) and Stjepan Stejic (Art)

prv1560_covSome Thoughts Before The Review: There is no question about it, Witchblade #122 is a bit overdue. It is understandable though, especially considering the work Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic did for the Broken Trinity event. The current Witchblade arc, if I recall correctly, got off to a promising start with a grisly murder, a nagging reporter named Gretch, and the appearance of a magic golem. I look forward to seeing what happens next now that the Witchblade ongoing series is back on track.

The Story: Sara Pezzini, with Gretch in tow, continues her investigation into the mysterious murder that took place within a Jewish community. As forensics turns up new surprising evidence that puts an unexpected twist on an already strange case. Sara begins to feel that the Witchblade might come in handy. Meanwhile, Dani Baptiste takes time to meet with a beautiful, troubled student looking for some help as she experiences a surprise of her own.

What’s Good: While a bit predictable, the latest issue of Witchblade does a great job of weaving a story for both Sara the cop and Sara the artifact bearer. On one hand, you have an intriguing police procedural tinged by the possibility of the paranormal (think X-Files meets C.S.I.). On the other, you have the story of a cop with the ability to go above and beyond the call of duty as only a hero can, dealing with some of the baggage that comes with the territory. Both work extremely well and continue to show how far the series has come under the direction of writer, Ron Marz.

Also good are the visuals but, chances are you already knew that. Stjepan Sejic’s work routinely make Witchblade one of the best looking books on the stands and this issue is no exception. There are a few full page images so exceptional I consider them to be worth the cover price alone.

What’s Not So Good: I find it surprising that the other Witchblade bearer, Dani, continues to play such a low key, second fiddle role to the overall plot. I understand this arc is more Sara-centric, but Dani’s segment almost feels like an afterthought. Sure, it is interesting enough to make me look forward to how she handles the situation, but I continue to feel like she should play a bigger role in the overall scheme of things. Also disappointing is the fact that the current arc is going to conclude in the next issue. I can’t help but worry about a rushed conclusion considering how the story has been told so far.

Conclusion: You really can’t go wrong with this one. It features fantastic artwork, a well-written paranormal police story, an interesting cliffhanger, and even a little bit of fan-service. Check it out.

Grade: A-

-Kyle Posluszny

Locke & Key #2 – Review

By Joe Hill (written), Gabriel Rodriguez (art) & Jay Fotos (colors)

This book is getting a lot more interesting this time around. The storytelling is excellent thanks to Joe Hill’s interesting use of narrative.

The issue starts with a novel recap from the previous issue in the form of a comic book made by Bode, the youngest of the Locke family. Bode is still going through the door that transforms him into a ghost, hearing conversations, and watching his family without them noticing. He tries to convince his brothers to go through this door as well, but they don’t believe him.

While roaming around, Bode goes into the well-house and discovers that someone is at the bottom of the well (check out the cover). Frightened, he goes to get assistance from his brother and sister, but after they can’t find anything, they belittle and shrug him off. Bode visits the well once more, this time as a ghost, and he finds a woman who asks him to come back to talk to her (which he does). He befriends her, but it seems like this woman has some sinister agenda in store for our little hero.

The cost is the same as the previous issue ($3.99), and even though we only get 22 pages, the story is so well written and full of new information that it’s completely worth the price. The only negative thing that I can say is we only get to see one of the doors. I want the Locke family to start going through the other ones! Check out the 5 page preview at Joe Hill’s website if you’re interested. This is an excellent comic book.

One off-review note… What the heck is a young George W. Bush doing on the cover of The Executioner? Creepy. (Grade: A)

-Daniel Yanez

Whiteout Vol.1 TPB – Review

By Greg Rucka (writer) & Steve Lieber (illustrator & letterer)

I found out about this comic because of the movie adaptation that’s coming out with Kate Beckinsale as the lead. Why didn’t I hear anything about this great book before? This is sad! There must be lots and lots of great collections that I don’t even know exist. Why can’t publishers advertise and market their great old works more effectively? I just don’t get it.

The story is set in Antarctica. Carrie Stetko, an U.S. Marshall stationed there, is investigating a murder in one of the camps. There are five other people in the camp that have gone missing as well. She needs to complete the investigation in the next two weeks, because the base is shutting down for the winter with most of the staff will be leaving. As the days get colder, she’s forced to deal with bad weather, a population of mostly men, and a loose murderer. Her character is completely believable, with flaws and a troubled past; props to Greg Rucka for fleshing her out so well. The black and white art by Lieber perfectly fits the harsh and barren world of Antarctica.

The trade is only $13.95, cheaper than the usual, but what makes this a must buy is the great story. Oni Press has the first chapter available to read at their website. I also bought Vol.2 and I’ll be reviewing it soon. Lieber told me that there is a 3rd volume in the works as well. Can’t wait for it! (Grade: A)

-Daniel Yanez

Locke & Key #1 – Review

By Joe Hill (written), Gabriel Rodriguez (art) & Jay Fotos (colors)

I bought two of Joe Hill’s books, but I never read them (a novel and a short stories compilation). They’re supposed to be good and the critics were praising his work before the revelation of who Hill’s father (Stephen King!) came to be. What’s also interesting is this book has already been optioned as a movie. So, is it any good?

Locke & Key’s story is told through flashbacks. Two teen psychos attack and murder a father of three siblings. Eventually, the older brother gets his revenge as well as his mother. After the funeral they move to a mansion called Keyhouse, in Lovecraft, Massachusetts (you can probably see where this is going with a town by that name). The youngster roaming inside the mansion finds a key, and opens a door. When he crosses through only his spirit does leaving his shell of a body behind. Scared, he goes back through the door, wakes up back in his body, and slams the door shut.

I’m really intrigued by all the doors that dwell in this mansion and the different effects they’ll impose on the people that cross them. For a first issue, it’s an excellent read, and a sharp supernatural thriller. The comic costs $3.99 as many IDW comics do, but I can’t complain too much on the price this time. You get 32 pages of story, a glossy “key” on the cover (okay, it’s a little gimmicky), and one heck of a debut issue. (Grade: B+)

-Daniel Yanez

Northlanders #3 – Review

By Brian Wood (writer), Davide Gianfelce (art), Dave McCaig (colors)

The third time’s a charm is what some say. Sometimes you just strike out, is what I say. After reading through the first two issues of Northlanders, I was ready to give up on the series. It’s full of unlikeable characters, awful dialogue, and a plot that’ll make you yawn. Yet, I decided to give this series one last chance before passing it off. After all, Brian Wood is just too talented to not give a benefit of a doubt.

I was wrong. Northlanders #3, while not as dreadful as the previous two issues, just doesn’t contain enough substance for me to spend my money on. Perhaps this 8-part story will be better served as a trade paperback, but on a monthly scale, it’s a waste of money. Like last issue, nothing happens. We see Sven hunt, have more sex, and kill some of his uncle’s men. The plot doesn’t advance and we don’t learn much more about Sven or his motivation for staying in this wasteland. This story is just too decompressed. Perhaps the only notable things worth mentioning are his uncle’s a bit more spooked now and he has somewhat of an unlikely ally. He also likes to wear stag heads (aren’t those heavy?!), while murdering soldiers who’re doing nothing more than hunting.

There’s not much writing in this issue – most of it is a showcase for Davide Gianfelice’s excellent storytelling skills. He does a phenominal job with the script he’s given, but to be honest, he deserves to be working on a better title. Northlanders is just a waste. If you love Brian Wood, support him by picking up DMZ. It’s okay not to like everything he does. No one’s perfect. (Grade: D)

- J. Montes

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