Review – Trekker: Rites of Passage

  • Story: Ron Randall
  • Art: Ron Randall
  • Colors: Ron Randall
  • Lettering: Ron Randall
  • Cover Art: Ron Randall with Jeremy Colwell
  • Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Intergalactic politics are never easy, getting caught in the black-ops dirty deeds of a big political storm is even more problematic. Trekker takes readers into the shoes of Mercy St. Clair, a Trekker / Head Hunter that doesn’t mind tangling with the worst the galaxy has to offer. The TPB edition is a full collection that covers a rough dance with the larger world that Mercy has put aside, seeking a simpler isolated lifestyle it’s not long before everything breaks down and her past emerges again.

Trekker spins off into secret government military operations, overthrows of outside territories and a rough ride through space with intense action and gun battles.

Ron Randall creates a complex web of relationships through the pages of Trekker, following Mercy through the pages there’s a huge struggle within as she fights constantly to shut the world and everyone in it out of her life. Creating a character that isn’t ice-cold but carries that on their shoulders because it’s what they know of the world is an interesting read, there’s sympathy and encouragement even while knowing it could all lead to dreadfully bad situations.

The art syncs up perfectly with the scenes, conveying careful energy and gesture to sell just the right read. From Mercy and her partner having some drinks (a few too many actually) to her expressions fighting predators in the wild with everything on the line. When you’re writing and illustrating that’s certainly a unique perk to have. Ron Randall creates momentum in the panels and emotion that helps keep characters alive and readers engaged.

Few moments ever manage to fall out of the constant friction in the story. The characters are flung from one bad scenario to the next all while holding on for dear life, Randall makes sure it’s not an easy ride and even in the most secure of moments, the floor falls right out from underneath Mercy and the reader. It’s unique in the mixture of cultures and a sci-fi manifest destiny gone wrong. Readers see the good and the bad not just in the shadowy government actions but in the people and their inherent desire for more.

Trekker is an interesting read, the art lands on point with carefully crafted pages that blend with the words on each page and give an expanded  understanding of the characters and world. For those looking to mix up their sci-fi experiences Trekker delivers, the character development is a very strong suit for the book and Ron Randall keeps a firm grasp on everything he wants readers privy to during the ride which makes it all the more interesting.

Preview: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – All-New X-Men (2015) #1.MU

  • Writer: Jeremy Whitley
  • Penciller: Carlo Barberi
  • Cover Artist: Adam Kubert

Recent events cause the original X-Men Cyclops, Beast, Ice man, Angel of the pass to be sent to a present timeline, with X-23, Genesis (Evan Sabahnur) and Oya (Idie Okonkwo) help they are trying to make good of unusual situation, while nothing special happens in this issue we do get some good character deposition of Wolverine (Laura Kinney), we see her slow become the team’s leader naturally, even Gambit notices how she’s not the same person she used to be, Laura is starting to accept being a member of a team but she still struggles with the same things Logan did when joining the X-Men.

As for the other members, do a little sightseeing of New Orleans during Mardi Gras, Evan and Oya seem more enthusiastic about trip more than others, in the end the trip gets spoiled when Leviathons drop in from the sky and attack the parade, with Wolverines leadership they take down the giant monsters saving the people in the French Quarter.

Conclusion: This is a dialog heavy first issue, not in a since of plot development or story but in character interaction, while it’s not as much as a Star Wars comic it’s a good amount, so if your new reader and decided to give this run a shoot make sure you catch up on pass events inn back issues so you can get a good grasp of what’s going on, the one down side to this issue is that it doesn’t’ t come off as a first issue, instead it reads as continuation of one.

Links: Preview | Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Teen Titans #4: A Trial by Combat

  • Writer: Benjamin Percy
  • Artist: Khoi Pham
  • Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
  • Cover Artist: Jonboy Meyers

In order to save the Teen Titans, Robin returns too Infinity Island with Ra’s al Ghul and the league of assassins. His cousin Mara and the Demon Fist also arrive and she challenges Damian to a trial by combat with the winner taking control of the league, meanwhile the Titans are at odds with Damian’s decision, especially Kid Flash.

Damian has always had a superiority complex towards the Teen Titans so when he sacrificed himself for the team it didn’t come across as a noble gesture to Kid Flash, it just seen like he was saving his own skin. The voice of reason came in this moment was Beast Boy, he reminds the team of Tim Drake’s death and how losing a Robin once again is something the team can’t have happen, so in honor of Tim they agree to go save the new Robin.

Back on the Infinity Island Damian prepares to face Mara in combat, before they start Mara begins to chastise Damian which initiates the fight, Damian displays his superiority in skill to Mara, he easily defeats her but refuses to kill her. This moment of weakness gives Mara a chance to recover and stab Damian in the back.

The Titans on the other hand infiltrate the Island in their attempt to save Robin, at the same time the Demon Fist members lock Damian in a cell and begin to talk about Mara, they know Mara only looks at them as tools not as team, one of the members Stone acknowledges Damian’s sacrifice for his team and states maybe they would be better off with Damian as leader not Mara.

Issue ends with the Titans finding Damian and breaking him out his cell.

Conclusion: Damian has shown a lot of growth as character, the fact that he’s fully committed to the Teen Titans shows this growth. Ra’s al Ghul is doing his best to try and turn Damian against the titans, even Bruce Wayne. Although the Titans don’t see Damian the same way they did Tim Drake, however they do respect him as their leader and as Robin.

Links: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Dragon Age Adult Coloring Book

Artist: Pablo Churin, Juan Frigeri, Gabriel Guzman, Fernando Melek, Facundo Percio
Writer: Bioware
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Fans of Dragon Age looking to another way to pass the time get a treat this month. Rolling in at 96 pages the book carries quotes and images from characters throughout the Dragon Age Universe including Alistar, Morrigan, Varric and more. The artists on the book worked to deliver iconic images from the trilogy in detailed black and white pages.

Observing the 45 pages of art the pages range in difficulty for details, some approach landscape and worlds with a generous freedom for those coloring while others are incredibly detailed down to some of the finest points with contour lines to navigate every fold of clothing or tapestry. While at first glance it’s easy to appreciate heavy detail, it does take a finer touch to fill in those areas as they carry such tight-knit accents.

For fans with an itch to color it’s worth checking out, for those just interested in the art and owning pieces of the Dragon Age universe though, it’s a unique entry that’s pleasant to view and read quotes through and just own as part of a collection, the artists brought drama and power to their work placed into the book.

Currently I’m still navigating my action page with Leliana, being able to get the colors and shading right easily occupy hours at a time and it’s an image at the very start of the book. For those seeking a detailed authentic experience I’d suggest investing in a wider range of pencils, markers or if you’re going digital, a tablet to make sure you get the depth you’re looking for.

Release date: February 8, 2017
Preview: Dark Horse Comics

Review – Inhumans vs X-Men #4: Time is running out!

  • Writer: Jeff Lemire & Charles Soule
  • Artist: Lenil Francis Yu
  • Colorist: David Curiel
  • Cover Artist: Leinil Francis Yu

Are the X-Men in the wrong? If you think about it, they have a legit cause, a threatening mist is poisoning all mutants on the planet yet it still feels as if the X-Men are in the wrong. You may ask the question as to why it seems that way, and the answers simple just look at the last pass crossovers, the X-Men haven’t been a shining example of heroes in the past so when they do have an actually cause to fight it still feels like they’re in the wrong.

The Royal Family finally find a way out of limbo, Iso and Inferno gather the new inhumans and devise a plan to infiltrate Muir Island using Mosaic’s unique ability, he tries to take control of Magneto but because of Magneto’s experience with mind control the possession doesn’t last long and he is spotted causing him to steal a aircraft for a quick escape. Meanwhile the royal gets free and with help of Johnny Storm set a fire around the mansion in order to keep them from attacking them, but Medusa and the rest of the royal family are confronted by Colossus.

When Mosaic returns to New Jersey he tells them the Royal family is in Limbo, and he also tells them about the Terrigen clouds are more dangerous then what they initially thought, this revelation has the younger inhuman’s questioning whether who is right and who is wrong

Conclusion:  When you have two groups believing what they’re doing is the right thing your almost certain conflict will happen, and this crossover brings that issue to the forefront once again. This is an issue that’s similar to what’s going on in today’s society more than ever, you have two teams fighting because they believe each other’s race is in danger and that there’s no other way. But because Ms. Marvel, Inferno, Iso and company are on the outside looking in they see it differently and that’s putting doubts in what they should do next.

Links: Preview | Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Inhumans vs X-Men #3 :Where’s Black Bolt!

  • Writer: Jeff Lemire & Charles Soule
  • Artist: Lenil Francis Yu
  • Colorist: David Curiel
  • Cover Artist: Leinil Francis Yu & David Curiel

After escaping Wolverine (X-23), ISO and inferno find themselves face to face with the original Wolverine (Logan) and fight between them breaks out, surprisingly inferno holds his own against Logan even going as far as knocking him out. With logan out for the count the two capture Forge and blow up his machine, back in limbo the Royal family are coming up with a plan for escape. The young inhumans inferno and ISO come up with a way to get help against the X-Men, they decide to get in touch with Kamala Khan Aka Ms. Marvel who they know can get other inhumans to help them.
The meat of the issue is when Young Beast, but before that we see Jean Grey and Karnak are in what looks like an illusionary world, Kanrnak sees through the illusion and escapes but is quickly confronted by Fantomex.  I said before the meat of this issue is when young and older beast chat with the X-Men, with forge gone the X-Men can’t get rid of the Terrigen Mist, the McCoy’s are trying to come up with another way but Emma and the rest of the X-Men believe the time for action is a must because once the royal family gets free things will become even harder, with Emma hint that if Black Bolt is freed all hell will break loose.

The reavel of Black Bolts capture and hinted release is sure to make things a bit more interesting in the future, with the mist still lurking around the teams’ main focus is getting Forge back as soon as possible, but with ISO and Inferno gathering inhumans to help recapture New Attilan, the X-Men could have major issues going forward.

Links: Preview | Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Inhumans vs X-Men #2 : Fate in the hands of two inhumans

  • Writer: Jeff Lemire & Charles Soule
  • Artist: Lenil Francis Yu
  • Colorist: David Curiel
  • Cover Artist: Leinil Francis Yu & David Curiel

The majority of the action takes place in New Attilan, With Black Bolt,Crystal and Karnak all out of commission the X-men are able to attack Medusa and the other inhumans with ease. The plan was simple attack and take out the royal family without harming the innocent civilians during the process, for most part they accomplished that goal thanks to Magik, she uses limbo as a prison for the inhumans.

Throughout most of the issue we see the perspective of the situation form each of the X-Men, whether it be through actions or dialog we get a good idea of how each member of team is feeling. While Storm is all for taking out the inhumans, she’s not about killing them unjust, Meanwhile Magnetio and his band are willing to do whatever it takes. Johnny Storm tires his best to deflate the situation by asking Medusa to not fight back, but she explains to him the X-Men are way past keeping the peace and that as queen she must defend her home and people.

Storm and the X-Men finally takedown the last few royal family members and put them in limbo, at the same time ISO and Inferno look for Eldrac the Door in order to escape a determine Wolverine (X-23), the issue ends with inferno and ISO begin teleported to Alberta where Forge and Old man look stand waiting.

Conclusion:  Without Black Bolt the Inhumans have no chance against the X-Men, as a team the X-Men are a force to be reckoned with and this issue displays that, you can argue that even with Black Bolt they still would have lost. When the X-Men are written to having a just cause, they are enjoyable to read, unlike the Avengers vs X-Men crossover I find this crossover more bit more enjoyable at the moment, I’m looking forward to seeing how this conflict plays out.

Links: Preview | Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #4

  • Script: Christos Gage
  • Pencils: Georges Jeanty
  • Ink: Dexter Vines
  • Colorist: Dan Jackson
  • Cover Artist: Steve Morris
  • Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
  • Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

Mystical creatures, the destruction of San Francisco and government internment camps. It’s Buffy Season 11 and it’s only getting messier as Buffy, Spike and Willow touch down in the federal camps for otherworldly powered and born inhabitants. After having a showdown with past slayers now turned government contractors the team decided to stop coming to clash with the law and see what they could do within the system. Tired of running and tearing apart the lives of everyone involved we saw Buffy take a stand to give Dawn and Xander a shot at their life as they took care of the reborn Giles.

Issue 4 “Desperate Times” takes readers under the veil of the safe zone with Buffy as she makes her rounds and learns the landscape. With a tiny camp stuffed to the brim with monsters what could go wrong? We learn about the strain showing in Spike and Buffy as they adapt to this new world and see how confinement and neglect can really turn problems up to 11.

Christos Gage tells a story of hardship and struggle for the demons and monsters in the safe zone, some problems never go away even if they’re under “guard” until the situation improves. Tidbits of Willow, Dawn and others come about and give light to the growing storyline. It’s bleak and tensions are only getting worse for Buffy and her friends, something has to give if they’re going to make it through this.

The shift to Georges Jeanty happens in this issue, with Rebekah Isaacs leading the style out of the gate the shift was easy to catch as the two artists approach gestures, character design and their worlds with their own sense of flair. The change to Jeanty makes sense as the story takes a darker turn into what inhabitants of the safe zone face. Hopefully Dark Horse is able to continue shifting between the duo through the series as they both bring so much to the books.

That said, unfortunately Buffy and the crew have their work cut out for them, Desperate Times is a fitting title for the issue given the challenges ahead in this story arc.

Release date: February 15, 2017
Pre-order: TFAW
Preview: Dark Horse Comics

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

Review – Angel Season 11 #2 – Out of The Past Part 2

  • Script: Corinna Bechko
  • Artist: Geraldo Borges
  • Colorist: Michelle Madsen
  • Cover Artist: Scott Fischer
  • Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
  • Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

Season 11 of Angel kicked off with a mess, hard disturbing flashbacks / visions, inter-dimensional infestations and the fragile balance of working with Fred / Illyria created a whirlwind of trouble in just a few pages. Angel looks to face his past as Angelus and find out where the visions are directing him, but only if things play out well with Illyria as she’s the resident time traveler.

Issue 2 drops the duo out of the vortex and back…. way back into the past. The duo (trio) must face an entirely new set of challenges including finding some shade for our resident vampire. Goals get a bit mixed and a flowing theme of past mistakes fills the story, Angel isn’t the only one lugging around some heavy baggage from their past and since he’s not the one wielding the power of time and space the journey will get a bit longer with a new detour.

The upshot for fans and new readers is the continued character development of the new group, Angel and Faith had a good run which developed their characters and now we’ll see this dynamic with Fred and Illyria come around with Angel and see how much they can get solved while working together. Given how guarded Illyria is about her past and just her presence in general there’s no doubt some good stories are awaiting readers as the group battles to tackle her past in this journey too.

Corinna Bechko has some relatively fast pacing even if unintentional for the book, with the challenges brought about by issue 2 the story passes in the blink of an eye. Part of that pacing comes by Geraldo Borges art, panel designs and direction for the read, Michelle Madsen continues to play with the temperatures to create interesting focal points and set the general mood of a given scene.

Angel Season 11 #2 continues a wild spiral of action and dark secrets and it hasn’t even touched on the original investigation yet. For fans of the series it’s worth the read as the group digs in deeper for the road ahead.

Release date: February 15, 2017
Pre-order: TFAW
Preview: Dark Horse Comics

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

Review – Angel Catbird Vol. 2: To Castle Catula

  • Story: Margaret Atwood
  • Illustrations: Johnnie Christmas
  • Colorist: Tamara Bonvillain
  • Lettering: Nate Piekos of Blambot
  • Editor: Da Niel Chabon
  • Published by: Dark Horse Comics

When worlds collide… well you get something like Angel Catbird. Margaret Atwood is at it in the latest volume of Angel Catbird with another dose of chimera antics as the group try to seek refuge in Castle Catula.

Volume 2 brings readers into the forests as they seek shelter from the crazed Professor Muroid and his rat armies hunting them seeking only their destruction. It’s a wild situation to say the least and when a half-cat, half-bat vampire are in your squad it really puts the pressure on to get to safety before the sun rises and starts cooking away.

With the group thinning to find backup they face new troubles as the landscape eats away at their momentum and challenges emerge. New pacts begin, romances start to flourish and super rats of all sorts start to make trouble as they desperately seek sanctuary. A.C. finds himself in a triangle that even he can’t seem to navigate out of and the stability of it might be enough to create a turning point for the group.

The book brings in backstories to help pass the pages and give depth to the character ensemble, we get interesting twists and origin tales while Muroid goes through various levels of insanity trying to exterminate them while dabbling in fantasies of his victory life. As they close in on sanctuary the stakes get higher and the raw instincts of the team are tested, their biggest foe yet steps onto the stage and everything gets complicated in a hurry for cats and allies alike.

Angel Catbird Volume 2 has a general campy tone, it pokes fun at itself and tries to carry a lighter read. The characters face waves of situations and leap to action, swinging claws and some one liners. The volume also carries footnotes for facts on cats, birds, rats and other animals and where to read more, many of the items do manage to tie in so it’s not a total detour from the storyline.

With a bit of a crazy storyline it seems Johnnie Christmas and Tamara Bonvillain had their work cut out for them. With Castle Catula, cat traps, new hybrids and new experimental teams of military grade rats it certainly tested the imagination but the duo were able to meet the call and deliver some fun artwork that holds a strong level of consistency, a very controlled color palette and some very well placed facial and body expressions.

For fans of Volume 1, there’s much more to explore in the latest installment, for those on the fence, check out the preview pages and get a feel for the Angel Catbird world to see if matches up in taste. It’s certainly an interesting pursuit by Atwood with this series but it feels like Volume 2 is coming into a better pacing and development.

Release date: February 14, 2017
Pre-order: TFAW
P
review Pages: Dark Horse Comics

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