Review – Malefic #6

  • Writer: Dan Schaffer
  • Artist: David Miller
  • Lettering: Chris Crank
  • Published by: 1First Comics

Fresh off a complete meltdown from inmate eleven we join Doctor Freust we step into issue 6 of Malefic. Our doctor isn’t holding up well from these mental traumas, while she claims to be strong enough to withstand them, reality would say otherwise. Things pick up in the prison yard and carry on as the staff attempts to resume a regular schedule.

It’s a triple-header of insanity, Doctor Freust struggles to show her attachment to reality while treating Hollywood horrors with equally wild solutions, bringing back inmates from the dead, reviewing normalcy on an insane mind and dancing with the devil and their latest friend. While not an extended issue it certainly packs so many bits to push the story along.

Doctor Freust falls deeper into experimentation and fringe science to solve problems with the inmates, going so far as to throw some under the bus simply for data logging and observation. It’s an interesting twist of the character, someone who resisted, teased and now has jumped completely into the world her father created all while losing herself to the madness within the prison. As she corrupts under the power of inmate eleven so much of her original character starts to vanish and we get this darker figure that keeps evolving with the story.

The art in issue 6 is on par minus a highlight with one of our famous inmates who has an extremely detailed panel to herself. There are some horror highlights as well but this inmate genuinely gets treatment that stands apart from the rest of the book while retaining the format style so that it doesn’t completely detract from the experience. David Miller puts in some intense pencil work and it doesn’t go unnoticed here.

Link: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Dragon Ball Super 131

*Spoilers in general if you haven’t been keeping up on the series so far. Also why read a review on an episode if you’re trying to avoid spoiling the episode.

The Tournament of Power is in the last moments, viewers have been able to catch matchups across the board that pushed Universe 7 to the absolute limit and beyond. With Goku absolutely spent crossing into territory reserved for the gods he falls out of the limelight and Freiza and 17 take up the center stage to fend off Jiren.

With the universe and their own lives on the line, the duo give it everything against Jiren, it’s an uphill battle but with 17 focused on saving his loved ones and Frieza holding onto his utter will to survive but those factors play well with each other in the episode. Regardless of what happens they ultimately know the other will destroy themselves in the tournament if it means they have a chance to escape erasure.

DB Super 131 spins the tension as the battle dynamics shift multiple times, the will to survive and overcome ultimately becomes the determining factor. Enemies once sworn to hate the other seeing beyond and finding common ground. There’s teamwork between 17, Freiza and Goku that surpasses even spectators expectations. Personal vendettas are well and good but they take a sidebar to existing another day, we see that shock in the prideful Vegeta who watches in utter disbelief. One can’t wonder how doomed everyone would have been if places had been reversed.

One of the interesting moments during these sequence for me rests in the execution of this battle. Everyone riding on empty minus 17 thanks to their essentially unlimited stamina. Jiren still has some power but Frieza and Goku play a physical ground game that largely dates back to early Z era as they’re not battling in sonic boom like attacks, they’re running with everything they have on the ground, Goku relying on whatever physical reserves are left because that’s all that remains.

Watching the duo in this brutal slugfest is certainly a highlight for the arc, seeing figures who would rather sacrifice everyone else put it all on the line, ignoring any past sentiment for survival to get the win. Watching Goku find that will again to save everyone at the last moment and flickering in and out of Super Saiyan transformation to get that assist. It’s memorable as it just feels genuine, Freiza regardless of pacing is only so strong especially against brute force and Goku is grabbing any last bit of power inside to drive home the win.

Everyone gets rewarded in the end, mysteries on the story and where things go from here are given hope as the almost abrupt series end created a sense of turmoil after a strong return to television. For the limited period of airtime to this episode, they pushed to wrap things up with a caring touch even if they couldn’t go to incredible lengths of detail. While any series could improve story arc aspects, given what they had to work with Dragon Ball Super delivered something that was rewarding to experience.

Topping this off the animation itself during 131 is extremely pleasant to watch, seems like the team just blew out the rest of the budget getting this out there in contrast to many of the past episodes. They went out with a bang in the story and production as best they could and it’s hard to miss.

What awaits is unknown, there’s obviously the upcoming movie but we’ll have to see what segway that creates for fans after. Hopefully, the break gives time to focus on new story ideas and potentially some exploration into the exempt universes. We already experienced a few universe crossovers throughout Super so it’s not unreasonable as a potential avenue.

Review – Malefic #5

  • Writer: Dan Schaffer
  • Artist: David Miller
  • Lettering: Chris Crank
  • Published by: 1First Comics

Normally I have a quirky intro here talking about the prior issue, I’m still at a loss, I mean it’s not like I’ve had time to reflect on that issue but that’s cold, actually in the immortal words of Ice-T, it’s cold McDonalds. Doctor Freust had some ups and downs, in her latest encounter with inmate eleven she had her mental wellbeing crushed without mercy.

Issue 5 brings in psychic remnants, mind reading, walks of shame, ultra experimental tinkering, and shattered dreams. We learn of new inmates, inmates we didn’t even know existed, and watch inmate eleven run the show on our dear Doctor Freust as she attempts to navigate a massive blow to her credibility and respect among the inmates and get her head back in the game. It’s a tricky situation but she does her best to survive another day in a hellish environment. Unfortunately just as she thinks she has a handle on things, a new challenger/ patient/inmate is set to arrive while the prison is in chaos.

Dan Schaffer spends a bit of time trying to piece together Doctor Freust, we see a shaken and eager doctor move to vindicate herself after being toyed with by inmate eleven. It’s not easy to rebound from a heavy mind game, let alone one created by supernatural psychic power. If she has the skills to continue though is entirely in the air, she’s eager but that might compromise her ability to get the job done.

David Miller steps up to the plate with this latest featured inmate, we see a range of emotion as confusion and reality set in, the lines between a self-made world and the facts create turmoil and rash outbursts that are well expressed on the pages. The character details certainly stand out and bring some added depth to the page.

Overall issue 5 of Malefic keeps the story rolling, it doesn’t just leave Doctor Freust as a fumbling mess hiding from herself and trying to escape. Instead, she tries to rise to meet the challenges ahead even if that means dealing with patients she could mentally shatter in the process.

Link: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Malefic #4

  • Writer: Dan Schaffer
  • Artist: David Miller
  • Lettering: Chris Crank
  • Published by: 1First Comics

After experiencing a high note, Doctor Freust gets the wind knocked out of her sails as inmate eleven discloses she’s unleashed a threat insane the building. With a murderer on the loose, it’s going to get rough in a hurry. Good fortune only lasts so long in that place.

Issue 4 heads right into the mess and takes little time to unveil the latest star of the issue. While shaken, Doctor Freust still has her wits and confidence going on and faces off with an inmate atop the building. It’s an interesting exchange with a sign that our Doctor is leaving bits of her reluctance behind and instead embracing the madness her father pioneered. Unfortunately, chaos was still alive and well throughout the facility leaving Doctor Freust to navigate the maze inmate eleven was working on.

Seeing inmate eleven resume the mind f… un with the Doctor is a strange series of encounters, we learn that anything Doctor Freust thought she figured out about eleven is completely wrong. While some inmates are easily decoded and sedated, eleven is completely on another level and that message is delivered with shocking clarity and so little mercy to Freust and the readers as well.

The art throughout issue 4 is on par with the series so far, conveying emotion through gestures, body position and other accents. Readers learn new workings of the building and the landscape surrounding it. While it feels confined, it’s actually a wider experience of what the world in Malefic has to offer, at least within that limited landscape.

I take my hat off to Dan Schaffer and David Miller, that closing section genuinely had me take a long pause.

Link: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Malefic #3

  • Writer: Dan Schaffer
  • Artist: David Miller
  • Lettering: Chris Crank
  • Published by: 1First Comics

Malefic gave a dose of the inmates in the last issue, showing some of the more paranormal skills and oddities surrounding the asylum. Doctor Freust learned a bit more about herself as well, practical approaches and being dismissive of the powers that exist are an easy way to meet her end. As we enter the third installment of the series, things pick up as our dear Doctor starts to enter her stride and takes a new approach with open eyes to the inmates that surround her.

Conventional approaches take on a new twist, Doctor Freust starts to feel at home with the mad science of her father mixed along with her own blend of psychology. It’s a new vibe in the storyline for issue 3 and a welcome shift since no one likes seeing the protagonist get beaten physically and mentally throughout a series. The high note brings new twists to the inmates and their situation, instead of an atmosphere of chaos and defeat it’s a little glimmer of hope that some sense can be made of this mess.

David Miller continues to draw out a unique atmosphere within Malefic, creating interesting reactionary facial expressions while dabbling in some wildly erratic bodily gestures. The story actually gets wildly detailed in ways one wouldn’t expect while reading the issue and it’s interesting to see it executed upon when so many would venture away or sidebar the imagery. Malefic takes chances and explores things outside of normal convention and it does it with a control that ensures it’ll work for the read.

Overall the third installment changes the pace, explores some new behaviors and depth of the inmates and gives us a little more insight into what’s going on with Doctor Freust as she attempts to not end up as a splatter on the wall.

Link: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Malefic #2

  • Writer: Dan Schaffer
  • Artist: David Miller
  • Published by: 1First Comics

Malefic left readers off with a bit of trauma, our dear new Doctor Freust took a walk into the supernatural, viewing largely that which could not be unseen. After a brief encounter with Inmate Eleven, things went south in a hurry. Issue 2 picks up from there as our dear doctor takes another stab at life in the throne atop a madhouse.

We see relationships develop along with the staff and some new faces step into the scene, notably the introduction of Eric who plays tour guide into the facility as new inmates are interviewed during these rounds. Doctor Freust does her best to balance the reality she knows against this new world of powers and insanity. If her best is enough to survive is another story, with inmates that make a lifestyle out of obliterating others it’ll take a mix of that knowledge with a side of madness to stay a step ahead.

The story direction for issue 2 falls into a bit of chaos, Doctor Freust is losing the training wheels and going head-on into what this place is really about. Coming to realize she’ll need to be constantly on her toes and even then coming to terms with the fact that some of these inmates are a million leagues above her at this point. She’s not incompetent but there’s definitely a chip that’s going to do more harm than good with this class of company.

Dan Schaffer brings an eclectic mix of art and story to this second installment, moments, moods, and happenings all fall into sync across the pages as Doctor Freust bounces from confidence to confusion and into the depths of madness. It’s a solid continuation of the first issue, building on that pacing while retaining the mix of thriller and horror storyline.

Link: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Spent

Director: Lisa Mikitarian
Produced by: Sam Mikitarian
Screenplay: Lisa Mikitarian
Studio: Indie Rights

Mortality is a strange thing for people, the power of it can send someone down near infinite paths, in the case of the Schumacher family it’s a little bit of fantasy and exotic wonder as they face one of their family with brain cancer in the final stages. What they weren’t prepared for as they packed their bags and said farewell to the lives they once knew is a sudden twist by Herbert of his terminal diagnosis.

Lonnie is Herbert’s son, a theater worker basically with low ambition, awkward social cues and high hopes for a car saleswoman and the vehicle she’s slinging his way. Evelyn is Herbert’s beloved wife, dabbling in so many luxuries once denied in her life with Herbert behind the wheel with fantasy for beaches and pampering. The duo arrives on screen with their lives ahead mapped out until it all takes a massive detour, the shift causes turmoil for them and their established significant others who find these changes unacceptable to the pampered lives they were anticipating. Bad taste in partners seems to be a running theme between Lonnie and Evelyn, they easily fall into the pressures of their partners and really get the storyline running.

The whiff of half a million dollars in savings upon Herbert’s death drives all four characters in the story into dark and dastardly deeds to get their payout. The future once so certain unfolds in new ways with twists that force Herbert’s family to face the darkness they’ve fallen into. While they want this future they’ve painted so brightly, is murder really an option? The struggle consumes and twists and turns them to really face what it is they’re actually doing and acting on.

Overall the story and delivery are interesting with their own twists and angles, Nick Nerangis plays the unassuming Herbert who takes this second chance with new optimism and light. A light that draws a fair amount of empathy from the audience as his wife and son work their angles in the background, each with such selfish desire. Connie Lamothe and Darren Barzegar both play their family roles with distress, fed up with the status quo and completely unaccepting of the new hand life has dealt out to Herbert. The cast has a very unassuming air to their characters, devious but honest in their inexperience to something like affairs and seducing potential inheritance boyfriends to run away.

Overall the pace of the story could pick up speed but it’s not something that kills the experience, it’s a story of miracles and greed and murder mixed with a dose of love and sometimes that’s messy, actually… it’s probably always messy, that just seems like something that probably would never go well. There’s certainly plenty of twists, guilt, and frustration throughout Spent that make the story such an interesting and entertaining dark tale.  For those looking to take a stroll for something different, Spent delivers with dark comedy and constant surprises from life itself to the Schumacher family and their significant others.

Release Date: December 15, 2017
Platform: VOD and Theatrical (Trailer)

Cast:
Sally Anderson
Darren Barzegar
Erin Harth
Sonya Kalian
Connie Lamothe
Janna Livingston
Nataly Martin
Joe Mayes
Nathan McDonald
Madeline Mikitarian
Nick Nerangis
Hannah Overholtzer
Anna Grace Padgett
Tony Villa

Review – Malefic #1

  • Writer: Dan Schaffer
  • Artist: David Miller
  • Published by: 1First Comics

Stories of insanity always have their own surprises and twists, Malefic is an interesting and modern take on such a tale. A young aspiring doctor, a past tarnished with a bit of shame, cannibalism and a dash of attempted murder. This is the life of our Doctor Freust in Malefic, it’s ugly, gritty and fascinating at once as the young doctor kicks off their debut issue right in the lion’s den without a second thought.

This first issue is a casual introduction that slowly drags Doctor Freust and readers deeper and deeper as events unfold. Having a lead with no issue about bearing it all in their back story with no issue is a welcoming, they know what happened, what it did and they’re not paralyzed by it. It’s just the larger machine and inmates of the facility that do manage that state later on once Doctor Freust realizes what her father was really up to and buried in.

Complimenting this intricate story are pages of art from David Miller, delivering expressionistic styling throughout. From the first pages of Doctor Freust talking in her cell to cannibalistic seductive murder, faces and gestures in these pages are creative and expressive giving life to each scenario. We get a detailed grand picture of the facility, the dark halls and chambers within it and a bit of extreme detail when it comes to inmate habits. But it all acts as a support to the story and the atmosphere of Malefic, even more so when adding in the Diagnostic Spectacles which are just an interesting twist on the real inner demons waiting to make their way out later in the series.

Malefic #1 delivers a bit of everything out of the gate, interesting back story, a horrifying granny figure, devastating loss, an asylum to end all asylums, super-secret religious organizations and more. It’s just packaged so well and delivered in the right portions that it makes for an interesting read especially as we stroll into Halloween season. Can it get much worse for Doctor Freust? Undoubtedly and it most likely will which is a good hook for readers looking for something to tickle/scar their brains.

Link: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Black Panther Teaser Tailer!!

The hype is real people, Marvel has just dropped a teaser trailer for Black Panther, and fans should will be please with whats coming in 2018. In quick run down we see Wakanda in all its glory, along with the Dora Milaje in action. The main villain Erik Killmonger played by Michael B. Jordan also is shown in action. any concerns fans had for the movie should be answered, Black Panther looks as if it will continue Marvels dominance in its next phase of films, and I for one can’t wait.   

Review – Pitchfork

Director: Glenn Douglas Packard
Produced by: Glenn Douglas Packard, Darryl F. Gariglio, Noreen Marriott
Associate Producer: Shaun Cairo
Screenplay: Glenn Douglas Packard, Darryl F. Gariglio
Studio: Uncork’d Entertainment

Horror is a touchy genre, so much focus on visuals, shock and awe leave viewers almost always expecting something to pop out right at them all the time, with such a high level of anticipation it’s interesting when films play around with the inner workings to deliver something out of the norm. Pitchfork follows a group of carefree college kids as one of their friends faces their parents after coming out to them.

There’s a mix of favorability within the cast, people pulling dirty deeds on each other and generating a sense of wonder on who falls prey first to this beast of the night. Most of the cast are blissfully ignorant of the troubles lurking on the farm, throwing a farm rave of sorts while everything goes down. Oddly enough Pitchfork runs with a long lead into the damage and even when it goes down it’s not a rapid-fire affair, instead, it’s methodical and downright cruel in some delivery but it’s what helps shape the experience.

Pitchfork uses the classic teen slasher experience and twists it around while also dousing the story with a blast of psychological shock on top of all else, it’s what helps define the movie as the events layer into a bloody mess. I can’t say I completely expected the twists and turns the movie took and efforts it made to defy classic staples of horror movies in the mainstream. It’s campy and violent while carrying disturbing twists which grab curious fans from across the spectrum.

While I came into Pitchfork expecting bodies to start dropping in typical fashion, it was anything but that. The film develops its own pacing and general structure that leaves viewers waiting for what lands next.

Cast:
Daniel Wilkinson
Lindsey Nicole
Brian Raetz
Ryan Moore
Celina Beach
Keith Webb
Sheila Leason
Nicole Dambro
Vibhu Raghave
Rachel Carter
Andrew Dave-Collins
Carol Ludwick
Derek Reynolds
Addisyn Wallace
Anisbel Lopez

DVD / Blu-ray release date: May 2nd, 2017