Review – Orchid #9

Script: Tom Morello
Art: Scott Hepburn
Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover: Massimo Carnevale
Published By: Dark Horse

Orchid, who has found strength through herself and strength through General China’s mask has rallied the poor and downtrodden to form an angry, badass army who refuses to sit idly by and allow evil dictator Tomo Wolfe to continue his calculated and inhumane exploitation of them. As the battle of all battles is about to take place, Wolfe is in search of Barrabas, who unbeknownst to Wolfe, witnessed the death of an animal by Wolfe’s command. This was the one and only stipulation that Barrabas had when he agreed to work by Wolfe’s side and I can’t wait for the fallout from Wolfe’s misstep. Meanwhile, Orchid and her (ever-growing) band of misfits get the jump on the first wave of Wolfe’s genocide army proving that a surprise attack was nothing the mindless minions were ready for. An extra treat in this issue comes in the form of the mask’s back story. We learn how it came to be, why it’s so powerful and why only certain people can wear it without being torn apart! Will Orchid and her crew make it to Wolfe and unleash justice upon him or will the bridge people be obliterated before they are able to do anything?

Wow! The story of the mask, freedom fighters, a bunch of wrongs being righted, the poor uniting and fighting back, what doesn’t Orchid have? This issue does a great job building up the tension of the upcoming war and rousing anticipation for the little guy. We also get to see a bunch of the mutated animals drawn with perfection by Scott Hepburn. The awesome feeling of unification and hope this issue arouses is astounding. Yet again, Tom Morello’s writing is on point and just simply amazing. Like every other issue in this series, this one is perfection. It is a great addition to the continuing story and I am SO excited to see what happens next!

Release Date: September 12th, 2012

Links: Order | Preview

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★★ 

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #13 Guarded: Part 3

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Nathan Massengill
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Buffy’s in a standoff with the demon and one time ally Koh who, unbeknownst to Buffy, has turned on her and is in cahoots with Wolfram and Hart. Koh has agreed to kill Theo, creator of TinCan, the social networking site of demons everywhere as long as he is given the information on who imprisoned him a long, long time ago. Buffy, who is doing her best to reason with Koh is having no luck and finds herself in a very tense situation. Theo tells Buffy that she must leave him and destroy TinCan instead of saving him which she reluctantly does. On her new mission, Buffy finds Kennedy who has a big bump on her head courtesy of Koh’s over-exuberance. Some not too friendly words are exchanged between the two women (as well as some punches) before they devise a plan to save Theo. Will they save Theo’s life and will TinCan finally be destroyed stopping Wolfram and Hart’s evil plans (at least for now)? Most importantly, has Buffy found her new calling and will she leave saving the world in the past for the prospect of some fat paychecks?

This issue is good but unfortunately I don’t care for a lot of the main characters. Theo and Kennedy are not particularly likeable or entertaining and Koh has potential but never seems to get there. Buffy needs to find herself quick because this little girl lost act is going on too long (in all fairness she may have figured it out in this issue). Without Buffy’s supporting cast something just feels like it’s missing. There hasn’t even been a mention of Xander or Dawn. I know Spike’s off finding himself, Willow’s trying to restore magic with Angel and his crew but Buffy seems to have no one. She’s pretty much alone and it’s kind of sad. The writing and art are both very good but I think Buffy’s voice has gotten a little lost along the way. I’m not ready to give up yet but I think the comic needs a little tweaking here and there to get back on course.

Release Date: September 12th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★☆☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★★☆☆ 

Review – Axe Cop #2 President Of The World

Story: Malachai Nicolle
Pencils, Ink, and Lettering: Ethan Nicolle
Colors: Dirk Erik Schulz
Published By: Dark Horse

The last time we saw Axe Cop he had Goo Cop (a man made of goo) and Junior Cobb (a bow tie wearing gorilla) by his side fighting off all the bad guys. This issue begins with us meeting two bad robot brothers, Bu and Tu, from another planet. These guys are looking for trouble and won’t stop until they find it. Back on Earth, Axe Cop and his crew have their hands full as they meet the new super weird mash-up bad guy, Chee-Rex. I’ll let you use your imagination with this one! After some mouth springs, giant punches and transforming robots, Axe Cop and his friends save someone who could arguably be their biggest save yet; but, it doesn’t end there, oh no, theirs plenty more action. The evil robots devise a plan to make Earth’s citizens believe that Axe Cop is evil while also traveling through the universe destroying planets and picking up allies along the way to complete their evil plan of becoming the worst bad guys EVER! Axe Cop, refusing to sit back and let the robots win, devises a plan to figure out the robots plan and it’s a doozy. The universe is in peril and it looks like it’s only going to get worse!

Robots, the Devil, golden mustaches, there is nothing this issue doesn’t have. Seriously, it’s all in here and it shouldn’t be so entertaining but dammit it is! The next and final installment of “President Of The World” looks to be crazy and Axe Cop and his friends are going to have their hands full. This comic has so much charm and humor it’s unbelievable. Everything in this issue works, the writing is always funny and the art is really great, so much so that you can actually follow the story even if there weren’t any dialog, that’s pretty impressive. This is a must read and can really be enjoyed by anyone of any age. Don’t miss on Axe Cop, in a word its brilliant!

Release Date: August 29th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview (coming soon)

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Angel & Faith Season 9 #13 Family Reunion Part 3

Script: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs
Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Alternate Cover: Rebekah Isaacs with Dan Jackson
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Still in Quor’toth, our rag-tag bunch has a pretty simple mission, survive long enough to save an enslaved Connor worshiping species and get to safety. Sounds simple enough, right? Faith is doubting their plan and more importantly she’s doubting Angel. She soon realizes that her brain is being jumbled by the weirdness of Quor’toth. Meanwhile, Connor is beginning to see things much more clearly and is beginning to understand his father on a different level. Just as everyone is beginning to figure everything out, hell in the name of Quor’toth breaks loose. While all of this is going on, Sophronia and Lavinia are dealing with their own version of hell back at Giles’ house as Pearl, Nash and Whistler are attempting to have a little “conversation” with them. We quickly see who is really in charge and what they are really capable of. What does Whistler want and will it even matter if Angel, Faith and the rest of the crew are stuck in Quor’toth?

This issue is excellent. There is a lot of action and both of the storylines are full and rich. Christos Gage’s writing is great and the voice of each character is just how it should be. Rebekah Isaacs’ art is brilliant, which is not at all shocking because her work is always amazing. I love both of the covers as well, Steve Morris and Isaacs really outdid themselves on these two. I’m really enjoying this arc and it’s nice to see more of Willow as her own series is going to be starting soon. I also like the comic version of Connor much more than the T.V. Connor, he’s much more likable and not nearly as annoying. This issue is a must read, next month can’t get here soon enough!

Release Date: August, 29th 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Spike #1 A Dark Place Part 1 of 5

Script: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Paul Lee
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Cris Peter
Cover:: Jenny Frison
Alternate Cover: Steve Morris
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse
After deciding that he can’t just sit around and wait for Buffy to call, Spike jumps in his roach mobile and takes off for the calm and serene vacation spot known as the dark side of the moon. In an attempt to gather his thoughts and clear his mind with various libations, Spike and his bug crew are on their way. Once arriving on the moon though Spike can’t seem to shake his super sad mood and the memories of Buffy seem to be everywhere. Spike’s bug friends refuse to sit back and watch him wallow in his misery so they devise a plan to get him back on track, which works, for a while anyway. Meanwhile, we learn that just like on Earth the moon has its own group of nasties with bad intentions. We quickly learn what those intentions are and all hell breaks loose. Will Spike and his bug army ever get off the moon or are they destined to become space junk?

It has been no secret that I am a huge Spike fan, so truth be told I was extremely excited about this series but also worried about how it would turn out. I first have to begin with Jenny Frison’s cover, it is spectacular in every way, everything she does is always amazing but she somehow out did herself with this one. Victor Gischler’s writing is superb. He captures the nuances of Spike perfectly. There is a bunch of funny, but there is also the torment and pain which really encapsulates what Spike is all about. The entire team working on this series is top-notch, from the cover, to the writing, to the art inside everything is really amazing. This was a great intro issue and Spike’s bugs really add a nice touch with their oddness and full personalities. If you are anything like me, fear not, this is a great issue and an excellent addition to the ever-growing Buffy cannon.

Release Date: August 22nd, 2012

Links: Pre-Order (Paper) | Preview

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Jack White and The Peacocks at Mariachi Plaza – 2012

Following an impromptu Tweet and Facebook post, the ever impressive Jack White took center stage at the historic Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, California. A stone’s throw from downtown LA, Mariachi Plaza has been host to Mariachi musicians since the 30’s and yesterday Jack White and his all girl band, The Peacocks lived up to the musical richness and cultural diversity of the community.

Amid street vendors, Metrolink commuters and a blistering sun, about 70 ecstatic fans gathered around the small concrete stage and listened to Jack White do what he does best…he played and sang from his heart. Devoid of lengthy sound checks, opening bands and muscle-bound security to keep you far from the stage, we stood without pushing, listened intently, clapped, sang and swayed with Jack’s hypnotic blend of punk, blues, country. Opening with Sixteen Saltines, one of the brilliant tracks from his new album, Blunderbuss, Jack and the rest of the band sounded amazing as they smiled and played with every bit of energy that we have seen delivered to crowds of thousands. Following with the high intensity of Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, an impassioned performance of Love Interruption and a quasi collective sing-a-long of Hotel Yorba, their energy continued to pull passerby towards the stage and in their adrenaline fueled performance, we all were all treated to a powerful reminder of just how versatile, energizing and captivating his music really is.

Jack has been doing these special “B” shows around the country usually on the same day in which he has a concert later. Under no obligation to do these free shows, the fact that he does them shows just how dedicated he is and how much his fans mean to him. Following him around the country is the Rolling Record Store, yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. An absolutely awesome bumble bee-esque record store on wheels filled with exclusive Third Man vinyl, shirts, buttons, 45 adapters and koozies…yes, koozies!

Jack White is playing tonight, August 11th at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown LA and if you are really lucky, he just might be playing at a plaza, record store or automotive shop near you!

For more information on Jack White and a whole bunch of other awesome bands go here:

http://thirdmanrecords.com/

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #12 – Guarded Part 2

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Nathan Massengill
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Buffy is settling in quickly to her new role as bodyguard. Along with Kennedy, she is on duty protecting Theo Daniels, founder of TinCan. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill protect the rich and important computer nerd, Daniels has Wolfram and Hart after him and Buffy has her hands full. TinCan is a social networking site that Wolfram and Hart hired Daniels to create, and even with magic not existing on Earth anymore, the complicated code that he created allows other-worldly portals to remain open. The solution to the problem quickly becomes evident however, as always in Buffy’s world, it won’t be easy. Buffy calls on an ally for help, who as it turns out may not be as trustworthy and forthcoming as Buffy would have hoped!

This issue has a lot of action. The Wolfram and Hart storyline is exciting and it will be interesting to see what their next move will be. This issue has the feel of a stand alone issue even though it’s part of an arc. I’m not saying this is a bad thing but how it all comes together will also be interesting to see. Like I said in my review of the last issue, I’ve never been a big fan of Kennedy but her role in this issue is minimal and my annoyance level with her was low. Buffy seems to have calmed down a little bit in this issue, which in my opinion is a good thing. She previously felt frantic and lost and she seems more on track here. The betrayal at the end of the issue was a shock and I can’t wait for Buffy to lose her s#!t in the next issue!

Release Date: August 8th, 2012

Links: Preview | Pre-Order

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★½☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Review – Axe Cop #1 of 3 “President Of The World”

Story: Malachai Nicolle
Pencils, Inks and Lettering: Ethan Nicolle
Colors: Dirk Erik Schulz
Published By: Dark Horse

Everyone’s favorite axe wielding, girl hating, talking gorilla fearing cop is back! Axe Cop is in an all new adventure taking over the world. Now President of the entire world, Axe Cop has to build a new “White House”, pick a new capital, make his political platform clear and most importantly make the gruesome consequences of not following said platforms rules. But wait there’s more, we are introduced to a man made of goo, we get to learn his back story and why he’s come to Axe Cop for help. If that wasn’t enough, he also meets a talking, super-powered gorilla who needs the unparalleled assistance of Axe Cop. Of course there is a bunch of stuff in between that I simply can’t describe here, it needs to be read first hand to be fully appreciated!

I love Axe Cop, every story is really something special. I love all the weird, crazy side characters and most importantly I love the stories. Axe Cop’s straight to the point storytelling is part of what makes it so great and this issue was awesome. Not only do you get a crazy story stemming from the 8-year-old mind of Malachai Nicolle but you get the amazing art of his older brother Ethan Nicolle. The best part of the art is that you inevitably find something that makes you do a double take or simply makes you blurt out a “WTF?” “President Of The World” is so entertaining and funny and at the same time the issue also manages to show us a softer side of the hard ass Axe Cop. Yes, he has feelings too. I don’t think I would vote for him but I would definitely read his comics!

Release Date: July 25th, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Goon #40

By: Eric Powell
Published By: Dark Horse

Hot rods, booze and broads are just a little bit of what this issue of The Goon contains. The story is broken up into 3 different parts. We begin with a story about prohibition and how Goon and Franky made a couple bucks off of it. Gettin’ into some trouble along the way is just par for the course and they have to take some drastic measures to clean up some messes. The middle section continues with the Goon and Franky meeting up with a down and dirty family, the Boyles, who are also peddling their own brand of moonshine. The Boyles are displeased (to say the least) that the Goon is taking away business from them and cutting in on their profits. After many attempts, the Boyle clan comes up with a plan to wipe Goon and Franky off the map and a battle royale takes place between Franky and the patriarch of the Boyles, Papa Grits. Well, that is until an unexpected “guest” show up and proposes (demands) a different contest to determine the winner. The final part of the story obviously concludes the saga and ends with an awesome homage to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and his artwork.

Like usual, this issue is solid. It’s funny and tells a great story in a very unique way. Eric Powell’s writing and art are amazing and the characters are stellar. The Goon is perfection and each issue is ridiculous (in the best way possible of course). Powell continues to come up with fabulous stories and innovative ways of telling them. There’s not much more to say, it’s great, go buy it, read it and I promise you that one issue is all you need to read to become hooked on the entire series!

Release Date: July 25th, 2012

Links: Preview | Purchase (Digital) | Purchase (Paper)

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Angel & Faith #12 Family Reunion Part 2

Script: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs
Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicrafts Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Alternate Cover: Rebekah Isaacs with Dan Jackson
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue begins with us seeing first hand that Connor’s home planet, Quor’toth, is still not high on the list for premium vacation spots. Connor’s legacy in Quor’toth, as everyone quickly finds out very much precedes him and the mere sight of him seems to arouse a healthy amount of fear in the natives. There seems to be different factions, those that fear him, those that worship him and those that want to kill him. The upside though is that Willow has found her magic mojo (at least partially) and is working frantically to find a less scary and less deadly kind of world to work on her magic. Just as she finally succeeds and as they are about to go, Connor learns some startling news which adds a whole new layer to their mission! Meanwhile, back in the Earthly realm, Lavinia and Sophie return home (from a Morrissey concert?!?) to find some unwanted guests who have their own plans. Once everyone returns home from Quor’toth chances are they will want to go back rather than deal with the mess that’s about to happen back at Giles’ house.

This issue was very Connorcentric and even though he’s never been one if my favorite characters I really enjoyed his story. It actually made him interesting and showed how he’s has grown up and stopped being the angry, belligerent teen he was. Seeing some of the resolve in Angel and Connor’s relationship was a nice touch too. It seems like everyone involved in this comic has really found their footing and each issue continues to be better than the last. Everything is solid, the characters voices feel and sound true, Rebekah Isaacs does a phenomenal job and Christos Gage’s writing just keeps getting better. This really was a great read and I can’t wait for the next issue!

Release Date: July 25th, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆