“What is in the taste of blood that soothes you?”
Hey, this is D.C. back to throwdown on a series that I’ve had difficulty formulating into words. Let’s talk about Image Comics’ Extremity.
Simply put, it is a tale of war and revenge, helmed by Daniel Warren Johnson.
From the beginning Johnson produces an engaging and sad story. The art is appropriate, showing a mixed world of old and technological. It is also brutal and dynamic in its action sequences. Mike Spicer’s colors complement and even enhances the events and emotions that drive the story.
Johnson’s script weaves great insight into the lore, history and characters of this new world. The first issue gives the appearance that protagonist Thea and her tribe, the Roto, are an oppressed people after the Paznina and their queen brutalize their homes, take their land, and kill their families. Thea loses the most important thing to her, aside from her mother: her hand and her skills as an artist. Because of this, Roto leader Jerome’s sense of loss and desire for revenge can be sympathized and empathized with. You can understand his role as leader (termed “Abba”) and his attempts to harden his children Thea and Rollo to the realities of war.
At least, Jerome’s own realities.
With the introduction of the second issue, however, the validity of Jerome’s hardship, and that of the Roto tribe, is no longer clear. Issue #2 shows that Thea’s dismemberment is in fact revenge on the Paznina queen’s part for her own daughter’s disfigurement. It is no longer certain who are the true oppressors and who are the true oppressed–aside from the innocent like Thea–as is often the case of war.
The revelations of issue #2 made me far less sympathetic with Jerome’s character. Johnson skillfully writes Jerome as both sympathetic and unsympathetic. Jerome shows love for his family and pride in his role, but his obsession with revenge is damning. His unflinching “eye for an eye” approach–to the point of torture and sacrifice innocents–is more reprehensible by his grooming Thea into the role he no longer sees Rollo strong enough to inherit. Roto tribesman Hobbie was right, if not ominous, in his exchange with Thea: there is a light dimming in Thea’s soul, and her father, for all of his love, is bringing her closer to his darkness.
In spite of all that, I love the realism in Jerome’s character.
From here on out, Extremity is an simple and somber lesson of war, and how revenge begets revenge. The cycle is clear to Rollo, who shines in the series as the intellectual, emotional, and historical counter to his father’s pragmatism and drive for revenge by any means necessary. Rollo’s perceived weakness towards slaughter is so clearly his strength, even as he part ways with his clan.
The biggest worry is Thea. She’s a relatable protagonist, as we see her constantly struggle with reconciling her three parts: her past and potential as an artist who shared her talent as a mode of optimism; her present and growing brutality, groomed more so by the father and her own rage; and her future potential as either a destroyer or as a creator. Will her father allow her to be what she was grown to be, or what he needs her to be?
What will her father do when she chooses what she shall be?
Extremity is a ugly tale that emphasizes the cyclic nature of war and hate, its effects on all who endure it, and how these victims become what they need to be. Daniel Warren Johnson is top notch in this story that is just seeped in emotion and strong characterization, and I look forward to seeing what Johnson has in store for all of these characters.
“Hope ya don’t ALL change.”
Hey, this is D.C. here to throw down with my thoughts on Image Comics’ one-shot tale, The Belfry.
The Belfry caught my eye when I first read its solicitations some months ago. It’s not too often you see any book heralded by one person. In this case, Gabriel Hardman was in control of delivering this one-shot in both art and story.
The question was…did Gabriel Hardman deliver?
Simply put, The Belfry tells a tale of a flight crew and its passengers crashing landing in a forest, being hunted by creatures of the night. Basic enough.
Right away, I was captivated by Hardman’s art. The dark color tones and moody pencils fit in so well with the horror and suspense genre. Even the onomatopoeia used by Hardman are lettered in such a scratched and macabre way to give a sense of terror. The sounds in my head reverberated unpleasantly as I read the sounds, and I think that worked. With regards to art, I think The Belfry delivered very well.
It is clear that Hardman is in his element when drawing this story.
Story-wise, however, The Belfry was a severe disappointment.
In a one-shot, I expect a little more depth in a story to get to its point. Hardman’s writing is so scant here that I was left with far more questions than answers. By the end, it’s obvious what happens to most humans who are bit by these creatures, and how they repopulate. But as for everything else?
Who are the victims? Did they have some importance, or were they just cannon fodder? Couldn’t they have been both?
Who exactly are these creatures? Why do they capture and transmute humans? Is there a goal in mind, aside from simple repopulation? Why do those that don’t turn get blinded? What’s the significance there? More imporantly, why are those blinded enslaved?
Hardman simply wrote a horrid situation for the passengers of a crashed plane that may be just another week in the lives of the unnamed creatures. In this case, I can see that delving into the characters’ backgrounds isn’t key. Nonetheless, I felt that there was too little given on both ends to give the story satisfaction. Unfortunately, the art could not carry what was, in my opinion, a lackluster story.
Gabriel Hardman can really bring the horror in The Belfry. His art is truly terrifying. Hardman excels at capturing horror-suspense in every corner of his art, right down to the sound effects. However, the story was far too short and left far too little information to understand anything about the monsters to deliver a satisfying one-shot. The Belfry might have worked better as an anthology of tales that would have given the readers some depth into the history and motivation of these creatures.
Still, I think think this story is worth a pickup for anyone looking to delve into the horror genre. Give a go, and share your thoughts.
Hello everyone this is Kay, today I’ll be discussing the beautiful comic I just read called Monstress. The one thing that intrigued me more than anything about this comic is that it was written by a woman along with the artist. I have a habit of judging women harsher in this line of work because it’s such a big competition. So it’s amazing to see when women can hold their own in the industry and more than that, they’re great at it. The writer is Marjorie Liu; the artist is Sana Takeda and is released by Image Comics.
The comic has incredible art; each page is filled with luscious paintings that are very vivid and detailed. Monstress reads like a novel, nothing seems to be left out. The history of the people and background is completely laid out for the reader to follow.
The series is set in a matriarchal, riven by war between the Arcanics, magical creatures who sometimes can pass for human, and the Cumea, an order of sorceresses who consume Arcanics to fuel their power. The main character, Maika Halfwolf, is an Arcanic who is set on learning more about, and avenging, her dead mother. This story follows Maika, while she faces ghost of the past, battles, and inner demons that are more than just in the inside. This story is about friendship, hardship and facing the truth of what is. Monstress, has a lot of woman empowerment within the relationships together and events that take place.
What I love most about this story is the beautiful world that has been created. This story is meant for any true Fantasy fan, if the art doesn’t convince you the writing will. Maika, the main character is someone I love to hate. I’ve never read a story where I dislike the main character, which was something I found extremely interesting. Maika is an absolute bitch down to the very chore. Her childhood and upbringing made her bitter and into a warrior. This story is her journey in discovering more about that and who her mother was. Along this journey, Maika is introduced to many characters one’s you’ll love and maybe some not so much. Overall this continuous story is hands down my top 10 favorite of all comics. I love Fantasy & Adventure stories, it’s one of my favorite genres and reading this story just reminds me of why that is. I’m excited to see where Monstress goes next and hope it ends as well as it began.
“So…you wanna be a superhero?”
Hey, all. This is D.C. here for a throwdown. I’ve been trying to barrel through my mountain of single issues, trades and graphic novels. I read some interesting and good comics latey, but few quite like Image Comics’ Plutona.
Simply put, Plutona is a tale of a ragtag group of children who accidentally come upon the body of one of their hometown’s heroes, Plutona. Sounds simple enough, yes? What happens while the children keep this secret unfolds in some very disturbing ways.
Simply put: I really did not expect writer Jeff Lemire to unfold this story the way he did. It really surprised me.
While the dialogue is ultimately generic and simple, it fits, given the protagonists are only children. I expect more nuance and captions to capture the feelings and emotions of characters and environment, but the simplicity has its place here. In spite of the simplicity, Lemire does a commendable job detailing the shifting relationships between the children.
While there doesn’t appear to be a central character, more care was taken with Mie, Ray, and Teddy, but I did feel not as much was given towards Diane and Mike. Still, each character had very distinct personalities that made it difficult for me to like or dislike any of them. They were all flawed, as humans are–and children, especially.
The relationships serve to add to the disturbing nature of this series. There are friends who grow closer, friends who grow apart, others who are clearly being used, and those who are so desperate for acceptance or develop a sense of self. For that, Lemire deserves credit.
Teddy’s evolution–or devolution–it’s the most striking in Plutona. Who this boy is, and what his aspirations and obsession are, are hashed out in frightening fashion. I was almost disgusted with this meek child’s actions. Was he psychotic, or was he just like other bullied children with repressed and bottled anger, just waiting for the properly escape, trigger, and outlet?
The interesting thing about this book is, despite its name, the heroine Plutona is not the focus. Her background is delved upon only sparingly, but never the exact nature or origin of her powers. The book deals with the children’s discovering her and the fallout of that discovery.
Emi Lenox’s art is more cartoonish than I’m accustomed to when it comes to a book this serious. However, she captures the appropriate emotions in her characters to help drive the story. Each character is their own, and you can really feel their emotions on their faces, aided even more by Lemire’s script.
This is one book I don’t want to spoil (also because Kay hadn’t read it yet, and she’s a real whiner when it comes to spoilers), but you really have to read this series and see just how the ending comes about. It was just…simple, yet chaotic and disturbing with a somewhat open ending.
Plutona is started out as a simple fantasy that took a severely dark and disturbing turn. Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox work well in this hard tale of how children deal with a secret that becomes a crisis. This book gets a thumbs-up from me.
Hello everyone this is Kay G, and today we will be discussing a hidden gem I came upon called Savior; an Image comic by Todd Mcfarlane with art by Clayton Crain. Now for those of you follow my partner and I, know about Clayton Crain. Crain worked on Rai, and is one very amazing artist. He takes computer graphics to a whole another level, and his work just enhances the works of the writer.
This story fascinated me in many different ways. It’s about a man who appears out of nowhere from the depths of the corn fields after a plane crash. Chaos is everywhere, people are dying and here’s this man coming out the fields. This mysterious man is carrying a child that should be dead but in his arms, she’s very much alive. Then this man vanishes, like if he was never there only to be seen later questioned by the police with no idea to who he is.
There are also two other key characters that play a role in this comic along with the mystery man; Cassie Hale and Malcolm. Cassie Hale is a news reporter who witnesses the crash and the mystery man first hand. She somehow connects with this man on a very strange and intimate level. Yet not the level of romance, but in a deeper connection like his mind is able to connect with hers.
Malcolm, who’s this young guy questioning his life after the crash finds himself questioning his faith. He starts asking the same questions as I did. Is there a god? Because if there was, would he allow all those people to die? Malcolm meets some activist that come into town, preaching that God hates them, and is punishing the wicked. That all those people died in that plane crash because they deserved it. This part of the story blew my mind. Even though I know this kind of activist exist in real life, the realization of what they could and would do was absolutely horrific. These people preached of God and punishment like a whole town could actually be suffering because some higher power hated them
Throughout the entire story, I found myself questioning who this man was and what he could do. Was he really a miracle? Can there be such a thing? Religious or not this comic leaves you wondering if there is a God or is there faith, but you are also left coming up with your own interpretations. This man was born with a gift, when he touched someone they could raise from the dead, they could be healed. This gift was treated like a curse something he had to hide, because what would happened to him if the world knew about him? The ending of this story is shocking and revolutionary, and the answer to the question about what happens when just ONE person finds out is surely answered.
I’m still in awe of this story. It was beautifully written and detailed. The artwork alone is masterful. To some readers comic books are just simple stories, a picture book with words. Well a lot of fans will tell you differently, but if you ever find yourself questioning if there is any depth into any of these stories….Savior will definitely change your mind.
Hello, everyone, this is Kay G.. Today I will be discussing an issue I’ve read recently, called Glitterbomb, written by Jim Zub.
Glitterbomb is about a character named Farrah Durante, a struggling middle-aged actress hunting for her next gig in an industry where youth trumps experience. In her frustrations, she becomes an emotional lure for something horrifying out beyond the water. This creature that consumes her is something ready to exact revenge on the shallow celebrity-obsessed culture that’s led her astray.
This story is an edgy and gripping tale of what it’s really like to work in the entertainment industry, an industry where youth, not talent, is looked at–where sales are defined by the quantity of ratings, versus the quality of the work. In this mysterious comic, something takes hold of Farrah and seeks revenge. This creature, it welcomes her back like it’s an old friend. Perhaps this has happened before to her, or possibly someone else. It has found a taste of blood and flesh in seek of what it feels is justice, or perhaps of what Farrah feels it is. It seems like it feeds off of her thoughts, hatred, and desires. It reacts first, and Farrah is the one left with the consequences.
Overall I found this issue greatly written, and anticipate the next issue. It left me curious as to what will happen to Farrah, what other revenges this creature will take and who, or what, it really is.
If this mysterious story isn’t enough, there is an excerpt in the back written by a woman named Holly Raychelle Hughes, who shares what it’s really like to struggle to work in the entertainment business, and the obstacles that she overcame. It will surely open your eyes to many things, to the cruelty and humiliation that play being a woman in this field. Hughes openly shares what her life in the business was like and in doing so, helps the reader better understand what Farrah is going through. The understanding of a mysterious creature taking over for revenge becomes very dark and very clear.
Glitterbomb is very worth the read and don’t forget to read Hughes’ excerpt. Enjoy.
“The illusion is seamless!”
Hej, hej, people. This is D.C. back to make August an good time throw down on some comics. Today’s pick is Image Comics’ Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung:
My first experience with Snotgirl #1 was via a preview. After reading the first two or three pages, I thought to myself, “What the hell is this?” I know this is about a fashion blogger who is very insecure because of her debilitating allergies, but is there something beyond that?
So I bought issue #1 to find out just what the hell this was.
Now, as for the plot? There is a lot given in issue #1. A lot of set up of the intriguingly green-haired Lottie Person and her world, and Bryan O’Malley does it well. I found myself quickly understanding this character and her insecurities that it’s obvious that she is more accustomed to her digital life than she is her personal life.
I’m not entirely certain what end goal Bryan O’Malley has in mind for Lottie Person. But O’Malley does a great job capturing a millennial. I’m a millennial, and this book is my worst nightmare given form. I don’t think I’ve ever read about a person like Lottie before: a blog-obsessed woman with (apparently) so little life experience, possibly the most insecure character I’d ever seen. Lottie hides her insecurities with vanity.
It was so grating to be introduced to Lottie’s obsessions and her overall mentality with daily life. She is everything that I feel that I am not. In spite of that–or because of that–I couldn’t put the book down. I had to learn more about Lottie Person.
O’Malley’s writing is just so silly, complete with the annoying text lingo and acronyms that saturate out world. This is the one time I can accept such lingo used in a comic book. Snotgirl isn’t Snotgirl without it.
This is my first experience with artist Leslie Hung. She has a quirky style of art, but I can’t see Snotgirl being drawn in any other way. Hung’s art is smooth and rough when necessary, but never inconsistent. Her art is reminiscient of manga, which is something I’ve always liked (especially since my own art style is has elements of it). Hung’s art, above all else, captures the natures of the characters shown so far, and she captures facial expressions to give life to the cast. Lottie comes off as both savvy and insecure, and sometimes even silly and melodramatic. Misty…I didn’t know what to make of her based on appearances, but her piercing eyes unnerved me something fierce. Caroline, the mysterious woman who captivates, just radiates freedom and confidence, the antithesis of Lottie.
I love the coloring in Snotgirl, because it just emphasizes what I saw the lightheartedness of the story. However, the last page surprised me, so I’m not sure if this book is meant to be lighthearted. O’Malley’s twist at the end left me confused as to what’s to come.
In addition, the last page made me curious as to what the coloring in Lottie’s captions meant. Throughout issue #1 her caption thoughts are shaded a particular green–“snot” green. In Lottie’s last thoughts about Caroline, the hue changes to a lighter green. Was it supposed to denote agitation in Lottie’s mind? It certainly seemed so, given the situation. You’ll just have to read.
Snotgirl #1 starts off as a good introduction into the series’ protagonist. Bryan O’Malley is already off to a good start with Lottie Person’s character, and I look forward to what happens next. Leslie Hung’s art works well with the overall lightheartedness of this series. Even with Lottie’s overwhelming insecurities and silliness, I have to see what happens to her next issue. For now, Snotgirl gets my thumbs-up.
“And if I am to be the high priestess, I will do everything in my power to protect my people from it.”
Salutations, lovers of comics and fiction. D.C. here, and today I’m doing a follow-up on this book:
In my last review on the first volume of Image’s Rat Queens, I was a little bit iffy about the series, but I decided to give it another shot with Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth. The title alone implied that cleric Dee might have been the prime focus of this book.
I was only partly right.
Da good stuff
Volume 2 is ripe with character development that actually happens for very good reasons. Hell, the volume has some moments of trickery, too.
The first issue shows the immediate morning following Volume 1. All four protagonists awake in their own ways. Of particular interest was Dee’s awakening. The other girls had peaceful, happy, or chaotic mornings. However, Dee’s was as lonely as her evening at the end of Volume 1. You almost feel sad for her.
Or it’d make you ask, “Why is a woman like her always alone?” You find out here.
From there, we see a man with a grudge come after Sawyer and the people in Palisade as a whole. It is then that we find out some startling events in Sawyer’s past. From there, the s*** really starts to hit the fan, and it seems as if Dee is the key to saving Palisade.
The art provided by Roc Upchurch continues to astound in conjunction with Kurtis Wiebe’s script. There’s not much that needs to be said there that I hadn’t said previously.
The strongest aspect of Volume 2, in my eyes, was the sheer amount of background history provided on many of the characters.
When the story arc’s antagonist summons a horde of demons to wreak havoc on Palisade and the rest of the world, the demon’s reality-warping magics forces every person who survives to relive meaning moments in their lives. Through this, we learn the background about many characters, from last names to moments that enable the reader to go, “Aaaaaaaaah, so that’s why they’re like that,” or “Oh, that’s how they know each other.”
I even felt a little more for Hannah. Her background easily smoothens out the excessively rough edges in her demeanor. I commend Wiebe on his use of the plot to provide characterization so very well.
Again, what is with the profanity? I can overlook cussing. Hell, I enjoy profanity. But Kurtis Wiebe makes some idiotic profanity. Really, in any time and space, who would ever come up with words like “dickbread”? It would have been funnier and more understandable if Wiebe used entirely weird profanity to make it work with the world of Rat Queens, but he interjects them with more “normal” profanity. It makes it sound like he just pulled out others haphazardly and with no reason.
Some scenes seem nonsensical. Betty and Hannah’s little sappy moment in the first issue was very cute, but…why did it happen? Just because of events in the prior trade? That can be understood, but it did come off as a random inclusion.
The editing of the dialogue fails sometimes, in a grammatical sense. And for a grammar Nazi like me, I find it very unprofessional, and very grating for an adult to be illiterate. For example:
“Fuck you’re depressed.”
I know we live in a lazy-writing text world, but would it kill anyone to take a split second and put a comma where it’s needed? “Fuck, you’re depressed.”
I don’t know if it was Wiebe who sucks are grammar, or if it was an editing mistake, but it shouldn’t happen, period.
Also, there was one scene in which the word “offense” was used, and when used again, it was written as “offence.” Both forms do exist and have the same meaning (homonyms?), but why rotate between the two forms? It can look confusing. But that’s me splitting hairs.
Hannah’s background confused me a bit, simply because of the final page of the arc. I’m left to assume that part of the demons’ magic wasn’t simply retracing memories, but hallucinogenic in nature.
Story-wise, the biggest failure of Volume 2 is that the primary antagonist’s defeat is so anticlimactic. The antagonist had a background and enough reason that one could sympathize with his actions. But as for his defeat? Perhaps it was supposed to be simple, but the chaos he wrought before made his defeat later sour everything prior.
Rat Queens, Vol. 2 delivers very much the same deal as in Volume 1. Same good and engaging art, same crass comedy. Kurtis Wiebe does a fantastic job delving into the backgrounds of the cast using a very sensible and effective method in the summoned demons. However, I was left dissatisfied by the antagonist’s defeat and the bothersome styles of profanity used here. In spite of that, Volume 2 ends on a very good note between Hannah and Sawyer, with another set up to Volume 3.
This series has been very hit and miss with me, but I will read Volume 3 with the hopes of improvement.
“You’ve allowed the entire world to feed on you, Stel Caine.”
Hey, all, this is D.C. finally back to throw down on a very meaningful comic series this time around:
Image Comics’ Low is a story of hope and the race of one woman to find a millennia-old artifact that may mean the survival of humanity from its underwater world…and the race against those who will do anything to hide what may instill hope in the ignorant masses. It’s a beautiful tale of one woman who clings to her faith that humanity does not end below the surface of a damaged Earth.
Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope was dynamic and set up the world and tone of the story so well. Protagonist Stel Caine was a hopeful, endearing woman seeped in faith, faith that humanity can escape their underwater tomb. She rises against the stifling complacency and debauchery seen in both the world of Salus and her son. A woman who’s lost her husband, she holds onto the slim hope of finding her daughters. By the end of Volume 1, Stel’s hope and faith extends to her son with saddening and optimistic results.
Volume 2: Before the Dawns Burns Us expands the cast of Low and gives a series of shocking development and actions early on. I was left shocked and saddened very early on in this book. The hope for a character quickly dashed. The brutal conclusion to an otherwise endearing love, all because of duty. Stel’s attempts to reconcile her crisis of faith after the events of Volume 1. The disturbing background of Stel’s companion Zem Gotir and his connection to her past…Absolutely nothing bored me with this book.
The art provided by Tocchini is a very different form than I’d seen in other books (until Descender, that is), and it is a very beautiful thing to behold. Tocchini’s art flows well with the aquatic, dystopian world, even if it is rough. The simplicity and roughness of Tocchini’s pencils, aided by Dave McCraig’s colors, adds beauty of the world.
I liked Rick Remender’s take on Stel Caine in particular. As stated before, she is the epitome of faith and hope in the face of hopeless adversity. She is a strong mother and a very strong and endearing woman. I couldn’t help but be captivated by Stel’s character.
Remender writes the remaining cast with sheer, brutal honesty. Stel’s children all show up throughout Volume 1 and Volume 2. You may hate who they seem to be, but not who they become. Those in control in the world of Low are simply reprehensible and vile creatures. These people make you realize that there is true ugliness in every world, in every future. In nearly every way, Stel’s antagonists personify the bitter and complacent nature of the world Low.
Low is a series of hope. It is a beautifully, brutally, and graphically realistic tale that details one woman’s optimism for hope against the bitter and ugly nature of a damned humanity. Rick Remender’s penmanship left me with a wide range of emotions, and that is no small task. The art provided by Greg Tocchini and Dave McCraig paints the world perfectly. Volume 1 sets up the world, history, society, and mentality of the people wonderfully. Volume 2 delves deeper into the idea of perseverance and the absolute brutality and depravity of society.
I look forward to the remainder of the series, and to see how far Stel’s faith and determination will take her. Will the artifact she seeks really be the salvation of mankind? Will her hopes get torn asunder by the brutality of realism? Will she lose more in this saga? I have hope that this series will deliver in the end.