Review – Freaks Of The Heartland

Greg Ruth Cover

Writer: Steve Niles
Art: Greg Ruth
Cover: Greg Ruth
Published by: Darkhorse Comics
Genre: Horror

Freaks Of The Heartland is a collection of Steve Niles and Greg Ruth six-issue Miniseries turned paperback. It’s a tale of a rural town in the Midwest of Gristlewood Valley, a place where the townspeople have been keeping a secret for many years. Trevor, a boy who lives with abusive father, a mother who’s deeply distressed and finally a physically deformed little brother Will. The people of Gristlewood Valley see Will as a monster and something evil but Trevor doesn’t see his little brother that way. One day their father decides to kill Will for being what he thinks is a monster, but before he can do it Trevor intervenes and escapes with Will. On their journey they discover that Will isn’t one of a kind, but that all the families of Gristlewood Valley each have a deformed kid that they treated badly. Together, Trevor,Will and others like him leave town to find a place where they can be safe and call home, All the while try to avoid the angry and fearful townsmen.

The Freaks of the Heartland is a well-written story that is very emotionally driven which is something I haven’t seen in a horror story, Overall Steve Niles and Greg Ruth tale is precisely laid out in storyboard format and would have no problem transitioning to a film. If you’re looking f or blood and gore this isn’t the book for you, even though it does have its moments when Will protects Trevor form their father. Besides that section, there’s nothing else worthy of mentioning in the filed of gore and intense violence. The biggest beef I have with the book is that it’s too short with unresolved characters, you really don’t get a sense of closure to the story at the end.

Artist Greg Ruth brings the Midwest town to life using a nice mixture of earth tones throughout the book which is perfect to my tastes, I really enjoy the use of Reds and Orange for the  action pages, Ruth really captures the Midwestern landscape and did a beautiful job re-creating it.

Overall,the book is awesome for none violent horror story,I recommend this book to anyone looking for more than just blood and gore, but for a story that has real emotion and themes dealing with acceptance and discrimination you should give it a shot, believe me when I say you won’t disappointed.

Links: Preview | Pre-Order
Release Date: July 4, 2012


Review – New Avengers #28 (AVX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo
Published by: Marvel Comics

New Avengers #28 whisks us out of the main AVX timeline to flash back to Hope and the final chapter of the legendary Iron Fist who challenge the Phoenix. Unfortunately we did get a bit confused in all of that, thinking the girl was possibly Hope when it was a girl from legend instead. Apologies there.

The issue is a story of training and Hope’s continued struggle with her destined occupational promotion to Phoenix host, given the attachments of doom and destruction it’s understandable she wouldn’t be excited about the prospect. New Avengers 28 drops us back into the realm of the Iron Fist as the story completes and Hope sits confused hoping to know what she needs to do next. Unfortunately with something this cosmic and powerful there’s no way to just tell someone what they need to accomplish, instead Master Yu Ti sets her down to learn her paths that may follow as she empties her mind.

What happens after that point is a shock as her path deviates from the story told to her, instead of pursuing the Dragon she must pursue the Spider and learn its ways to best assist her challenge in saving the Earth and going head to head with something like the Phoenix. It’s here we get some insight that elaborates the moon struggle from AVX #5 and the growth Hope had been searching for to be able to take on the challenge, fortunately it doesn’t throw readers back into the fray as the story is still to be continued between her and “The Spider”. I have to admit that during the issue it gets a bit abrasive to see Hope constantly fighting around with people she should feel confident in, demanding to know answers and not going along with the rituals even though she just heard about the other host doing these things.

Even with that, I can’t knock this side story as it brings humor, elaboration and some tension into the mix. There is no one stop solution from the Iron Fist to handle the Phoenix which is a deviation from everything we’ve seen so far from the other factions involved.


Review – Avengers vs X-Men #6 (AVX)

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Jonathan Hickman
Pencils: Oliver Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Variant: Nick Bradshaw & Marte Gracia
Published by: Marvel Comics

The Phoenix Five are here, leaping into action to shape the world to be a better place not just for mutants but for humans as well, seeking to end age-old crimes and problems brought on by greed and lust for violence. The group seeks only to settle the issues of the planet and focus on a goal that pushes development and growth over suffering and struggles. For many the group comes off with a near god-like presence to deliver justice and peace with a swift hand, for politicians though the move is seen as hostile and controlling and a threat to how they go about their dirty deeds.

We’re in a position of multiple camps as a result, at this point the Avengers are doing their best to continue fighting Hydra and making the world safe as they can manage. They obviously have their say about this situation but given the lack of enslavement and the massive power gaps between them and the X-Men Phoenix Five it’s a hard situation to sell them as complete villains even though they may want to. We see internal conflicts and impartial impressions rise up from the group splitting their own commitments or energy into the effort to bring them down, the possibility of a worldwide reboot tempts even some of the most hardened of the group into questioning the result.

The real tension of the chapter comes in when the US decides to throw in a demand to control or have a check on all this power going around. With that we see the brainstorming start and a venture go into action to develop a countermeasure to the Phoenix Force that wont splinter it yet again. Surprises keep flying during the mission that will have readers shocked and waiting to see where this all goes from here. It’s about to get tense for both sides now that a new hero joins the mix.


Variant Gallery

Marvel Sneak Peek: Spider-Men #2 & Spider-Men #3

Here’s a first look at SPIDER-MEN #2 & #3, of Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli ultimate Spider-Man series! With Peter Parker and Miles Morales meeting can they both work together to defeat their foes, or will they require the help of Nick Fury and his team of Ultimates?

More on

Spider-Men #2 (APR120606)
Spider-Men #2 MARTIN VARIANT (APR120607)
Spider-Men #2 PICHELLI VARIANT (APR120608)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Sara Pichelli
Cover by Jim Cheung
Variant Covers by Marcos Martin & Sara Pichelli
FOC – 6/4/12, On-Sale – 6/27/12

Spider-Men #3 (MAY120671)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by Sara Pichelli
Cover by Jim Cheung
Variant Covers by Sara Pichelli & Terry Dodson
FOC – 6/18/2012, On Sale – 7/11/2012


Review – The Walking Dead #99 – Something to FEAR Part 3

Creator, Writer: Robert Kirkman
Pencils: Charlie Adlard
Letters:  Rus Wooton
Inks: Charlie Adlard
Editor: Sina Grace
Gray Tones, Cover Colors: Cliff Rathburn
Cover: Charlie Adlard
Published by: Image Comics

For those following, Something to FEAR has been on a streak lately, taking Rick through the new challenges of being not just a leader or guy helping them survive but instead as a visionary as well. Given all the death and trauma they’ve seen it takes more than just a guy good with a pistol to get things done and this time the group is relying on him not only to help keep them safe but to give them a place to really setup at.

Issue 99 paints the image we saw Rick talk about, settling in and forming bonds, a life and looking at a larger picture of something more in this world than just endless zombies across the land. Characters like Glenn reveal huge changes coming not only to the story but their own lives and each hit that comes in chips away at the foundation that we once knew for the group. Characters falling in love was a thing of the moment before, now it’s something they feel grounded in with a community at their fingertips, I doubt TWD team has such hope and unicorns planned for their fate though but for a moment you see everyone taking up a change of pace.

Where we go to issue 100, well it’s a bit of a given to say that Negan’s forces are mad at the recent stonewalling they’ve gotten to their efforts to breach the Hilltop and it’s about time for the payback to hit. The current issue sets up a huge pitfall for the group and it might send Rick spiraling out of control given his recent bonding as part of this community. Time will tell but it’s certainly looking like a bloodbath is coming and the happy days of sunshine and skull smashing are about to come to an abrupt stop. Lets just hope that Rick and the others can secure enough weapons and ammo for the storm given their supply issues could put them on the run if they’re caught short.

It was fun riding out the Something to FEAR story to this point although I did get derailed from the reality that this is The Walking Dead and 100 is likely to take a sledgehammer to everything we’ve seen built up over the past few issues. Also for those wondering, the art team continues to hum along with great expressions, gestures and characters through the book, the consistency seems to rarely shift in this series which is always a pleasure.


William Shatner & Roger Corman Two Legends On One Stage At Comic-Con!


William Shatner’s Get a Life! | Premiering July 28 at 8pm EST on EPIX

William Shatner

Based on Shatner’s hugely popular book, this film examines the mystery, longevity and the cultural phenomena of Star Trek and its long-obsessed fans known as “Trekkers.”  On the surface, the film is an exploration of strangers who have for years attended conventions which looked foolish and almost laughable to some – but Shatner discovers the many secrets and hidden motives behind these individuals’ compulsion to attend these events.  The end result is a film that reveals a fun and touching side of the fanfare surrounding Star Trek, and examines the thrill of what’s happening at these fantasy conventions and the enduring popularity of the film and TV series as Shatner further embraces his role as Captain James T. Kirk and his own impact.

‘William Shatner’s Get a Life!’ @ Comic-Con
Shatner will introduce the EPIX Original Documentary at a screening directly following the panel on July 14th at Comic-Con. The screening is at 7:00PM 
@ Reading Cinemas.

Roger Corman’s Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader in 3D| Premiering August 25 at 10pm EST on EPIX

Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader

In an update to the great genre pictures of the ‘50s, Roger Corman’s first ever 3D film Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader follows a college coed who uses an experimental drug to transform herself into a popular beauty – but at a huge price.  Produced by Corman along with his producing partner/wife Julie Corman, the movie stars Jena Sims (The Vampire Diaries), Sean Young (Blade Runner), Treat Williams (Hair, Prince of the City, Everwood), Ryan Merriman (Pretty Little Liars), A.J. Lamas (Leave it to Lamas), Mary Woronov (Eating Raoul), Ted Raimi (Spider-Man), with cameo appearances by Corman himself and director John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Animal House, The Blues Brothers).  Acclaimed visual effects artist Kevin O’Neill (Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, Blade and Piranha 3D) directs.

Roger Corman’s Attack of the 50ft Cheerleader’@ Comic-Con
Corman will introduce the EPIX Original Movie at 3D screening following the panel on July 14th at Comic-Con. The screening is at 12AM
 @ Reading Cinemas.