Saturday, September 16, 2006


Ahh… a new blog extra, and a day early to boot. This weekend, a look at two books from Dark Horse Comics, and then next weekend, something a little different.

Next weekend is the Phoenix Comic-Con, and I’ll be doing blog reports of the show instead of the usual review column. Please tune in. But for now: comics.

ARCHENEMIES #3-4, written by Drew Melbourne and drawn by Yvel Guichet, concludes this humor-based miniseries. The set-up: Vincent and Ethan are roommates who struggle to get along but somehow find a way to co-exist. But the real secret is that Vincent is a super-villain and Ethan is a superhero… and their alter egos are mortal enemies. Somehow, forgetting to pick the hair off the soap or put a new roll of toilet paper on the spindle seems a little less important at that point.

While blessed with a cute premise, however, the execution and results are a bit of a mixed bag. The characters are interesting, and the dialogue crackles in spots, but the storytelling is disjointed and lacking in cohesiveness. Some plot points require a bit more explanation than what we’re given here, and the jumpy in media res material that starts issue three makes no sense without visual cues and clues. This is Melbourne’s first published work, and these are things that can be fixed as he grows more comfortable with the medium.

Mike Mignola and John Arcudi write, and Guy Davis draws, B.P.R.D: THE UNIVERSAL MACHINE #2-4, the latest mini featuring the Hellboy spin-off characters. The story follows two plots: in one, the members of the crew begin discussing their various connections with death or even how they died to begin with; in the other, their consultant Dr. Corrigan takes a meeting with a being who offers her a horrifying choice- her life for the remains of the deceased Roger the homunculus or the body of the living fish-being Abe Sapien.

Even if this weren’t connected with the Hellboy universe and the mind of Mignola, it’d still be something to highly recommend to readers. One, it’s drawn by the amazing Guy Davis, and he remains one of the finest illustrators working today. His gifts for character and detail are second to none, and there seems to literally be nothing he cannot draw well. The presence of Arcudi enhances the project, too. His amazing work on his HOMICIDE series many years ago (pre- the show) still holds up and is a favorite of mine. This is great stuff and a must-read.

That’s it for this week. Again, please stop in next weekend for Phoenix Con updates, and be here throughout the week for site updates!


Friday, September 15, 2006

Putting a period on the end of the week... reviews of Archaia's MOUSE GUARD and ARTESIA BESIEGED.

Only at the main site, of course.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

The week heads into the home stretch, as we take a look at the gloriously vile PAINKILLER JANE and dive into the first full issue of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA! Go read.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's hump day, and what better way to celebrate it than with large animals with humps? ELEPHANTMEN... today at the main site!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

She has a pair of 38s... and two huge guns! Who is the GRENADIER? What makes her type of violence so much fun to read? Check out this new manga today at the main site!


Monday, September 11, 2006

There's no avoiding Mondays... but you can make them better with a good book. Or, you can make them better with a great book. Like FLIGHT VOL.3, for instance. Over at the main site...


Sunday, September 10, 2006


Ahh… mini-comics. Comics in their purest, rawest form. Good or bad, minis are always interesting, even if just for the spirit or energy put into making them. And when I go to a con, one of the first things I look for are interesting mini-comics to buy and bring home.

ATOMIC MONSTER TEA PARTY #1 is written and by Corwin Gibson and published through Luchadork Studios. This mini has two stories; one wherein those giant monsters do have a lovely sit-down and a spot of tea, and one that features the U.S. military using dinosaurs as weaponry in World War 2. Both stories have decent conceptual starts, though the Monster piece devolves into a sad punchline at the end. I’d have liked to see Gibson actually expand and really use the idea of the dino story, rather than using the idea as a two-page trailer. The art is, politely, rough, but there’s enough there to suggest that Gibson could find an artist and maybe produce something with a bit more substance and length.

Next we have three books from Welsh El Dorado Press. The first, SYMPATHIZERS (written by Justin Robinson and drawn by Aneurin Wright), serves as a prelude to an upcoming series to appear this fall in a series called SPACE DOUBLES. This sci-fi piece focuses on humanity taking in the victims of an alien civil war and then turning on them when the winning side shows up to try and finish the job. With internment camps and other odious reminders of poor human behavior, much of SYMPATHIZERS rings resonant with our modern times. Robinson’s script is solid, and Wright adapts his style to the material nicely. Worth keeping an eye on when it goes to series.

Chip Mosher writes, and Wright draws, LEFT ON MISSION AND REVENGE, a spy thriller. Again, this is a clever use of the mini-comic format; Mosher and Wright are looking for a publisher for the full 170-page graphic novel, so they’ve put together a trailer to try and entice some interest. I had some qualms about the pace of the storytelling; if this is 170 pages overall, and we’re seeing only 20 pages in this mini… well, this material feels way too decompressed. I could see they were aiming for a cinematic look and feel, but it put a grind into the story’s forward movement. Still, Wright again impresses, as MISSION looks zero like SYMPATHIZERS, and it’s nice to see an artist genuinely spread their wings and do something different.

We close with CARNET D’UN SAUVAGE, Wright’s homage to Craig Thompson’s CARNET DE VOYAGE. Wright took a lengthy trip to Europe and chronicled it in his sketchbook, reproducing some of the material in this quiet little mini. As I mentioned above, Wright is a very fine artist, so the material looks terrific. There’s some disjointedness in the way Wright skips ahead at some points, and you find yourself wishing he’d have included more of the material about the people he was with versus the stuff more focused on the environment, but that’s a minor quibble. I can always appreciate an intriguing travelogue, and this one qualifies.

That’s it for this weekend. See you here during the week for site updates, and back here next weekend for a new Weekend Blog Extra!