Art by Robert Burrows
Story by Ben Rhodes
Edited by Barbara Dillon
Printed by Fanboy Comics
What an interestingly bizarre trade paper back to get your hands on. Yes I recommend it; it has a nice minimalistic feel to it that goes well beyond your typical slasher killer monster story line. The story centers on Jack who has some very disturbing dreams/reality of killing people right and left. Throughout the story you are unsure of what is happening in terms of is this real or is this the horrific day dreams after Jacks sisters’ murder. There is a lot going on in the story line that you will want to read this a couple of times just to make sure you are getting a good feel for what is happening. We are never sure what reality is, but what we are sure of as a reader is that people are getting their throats cut, and that Jack is drinking the blood of the doomed.
What is Jack turning into? The opening sequence is a voice message from a detective that wants Jack to come on down and talk to the police. We quickly cut to Jack and his girlfriend who in the book does not survive into the first 25 pages as far as we know. These are quickly followed by other murders, more throats slashed, more blood drinking (or is it?), with the continuing grim dark feel to the paperback. We see a lot in this story line as the body count stacks up, Jack continues to wonder what is real, what is fake. This one pretty much so reaches deep into the psyche of those who are on the edge already, on the face of a cliff and wondering when to fall into the abyss of despair, loneliness, and simple murder. So what is happening to Jack throughout this is a good portrayal of madness, and the decent into hades as Jack tries to cope with what is happening throughout the story line. We end simply in the story with the same police detective leaving another voice message saying that he wants to see Jack for further questioning. Making the time between calls immaterial, and unknown.
This is one interesting paperback, minimal words, lots of dark art that looks like charcoal on paper, lots of black and white with a smattering of red where it really counts. The red really sets the visual appeal to the story line as it sucks you into the page so that you read more of the story line. Overall I am going to rate this 5 of 5, the story line flows wonderfully, good art, and the text where it shows up is relevant and meaningful. This one is worth picking up, and you can get it at either Fanboy comics or over on its own web site right here. This one is worth checking out and worth reading. Full Disclosure, I got my copy for free from Fanboy Comics so I could review it.
Artist: Sean Murphy
Colours: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
When I pick up anything written by Grant Morrison I expect that this man is really going to make me think, and piece not only far spread dialogue together but, also ensuring you really take in each panel on the way. Joe the Barbarian is no exception, I would have continued down the path of reviewing issue by issue but, in doing so I may give away too many unwanted spoilers, or ramble on about plot points I think will have major impact in issues to come. So instead, here they are as a whole:
Joe is a diabetic teenager who throughout this story is literally in a fight against reality and time, all because some idiotic school-mates decided to eat his candy. Joe’s blood sugar is dropping, creating wild hallucinations of his favourite action figures coming to life, his pet rat turning into and incredible creature of fantasy, and even some classmates make an appearance to try and help Joe on his way.
Through what you might ask?
Well in short, Joe is the Dying Boy – who was to appear in “Hypogea” (This hallucinated world) during the war against King Death, he is the only one who can stop the king in his quest to take over. It isn’t until issue #5 where I really started to piece what was happening in this story together. There are tons of tiny consistencies and hints to what could be the resulting action in the war against King Death. Will Queen Bree reunite with her loving husband the Iron Knight? Is Joe able to stand and conquer or will King Death take over and burn out any light left, dooming Joe to death?
Although I’m sure Grant had a good portion in creating this world I can’t yet but keep wanting to give credit to Sean Murphy for creating these characters the way he did. Everyone is needed in this journey, and everything from fear to happiness can be portrayed just through the eyes of each character. Also, this story has some of the best 2 page spreads I’ve seen in a long time. One of my favourites being Joe’s bedroom, I could look through this page for hours spotting things I may have missed.
I’m giving this issue 10 stolen candies out of 10, the only flaw being that I wish this could be a longer story. I got lost in this world and would have loved for it to have continued but, sadly all great things must come to an end. I would recommend just about everyone to grab this series, it’s fantasy for any age group and will melt the hearts of all!
- Punk Rock Jesus #1 of 6 (The New New Testament) (comicsforge.com)
- Steed and Mrs. Emma Peel by Grant Morrison and Ian Gibson (comicsforge.com)
- Battlepug by Mike Norton (comicsforge.com)
- Supreme 63 written by Alan Moore (comicsforge.com)
Art by Ross Campbell and Mike Norton
Colors by Carlos Badilla and Mark Englert
Inks by Crank!
Published by Four Star Studios
I tend to hate super hero comic books, and Marvel is rarely ever going to be reviewed at Comics Forge, but sometimes a super hero comic book deserves a bit of a review. Action Double Feature number 1 by “hacking” Tim Seeley and Mike Norton is one of those truly worthy super hero independently produced, printed, published, and set into digital format. The story opens up with “Race Relations” where our super hero in costume Mr. Jack Kraken is hanging out in an abandoned prison wishing he was at home drinking sleepy time tea and doing anything other than what is about to happen next. The funny part is when Jack is busy punching out ghosts, monsters, and otherwise that he is called a racist because ghosts, monsters and otherwise are offended by his use of the term ghost, monster and otherwise. Tim Seeley really does a bang up job of setting up the identity, super secret origins, and some twisted humor in just eight pages of mayhem.
The story then moves on to another short story by Mike Norton which brings us back from the edge of super hero mayhem and more into the super spy story line. There is nothing better than stacked swimsuit terrorists cranking up the mayhem in Hawaii. There is one fall down funny boat scene, and the way that this is done is actually fairly tasteful in terms of the story line, and how fast this could have gone in the other direction of being stupid. Rather the second story is well done and highly entertaining if you like your super spies being wrung out in Hawaii, and still winning the day for everyone.
Four Star productions has done a very good job of putting together a couple of stories for the general audience that will just make the average reader happy. You pretty much so get it all in this digital comic, mayhem, violence, super heroes, super spies, swimsuit models, and the occasional swear word along the way. I am going to rate this puppy five of five stars because this comic book is simply awesome. It helps that I love the creators and have been a huge fan of Tim Seeley for a long time going back to Devils Due Publishing and the early incarnations of Hack Slash. With this new effort and the new group over there at Four Star I am looking forward to seeing tons more digital comics, and maybe a special cover out there every now and then for a physical printing. This comic is on Graphicly and on ComiXology, or you can get it as its own app on Apple. Either way, 99 cents, you can’t go wrong.
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