Review – Malefic #8

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

Hot on the heels of an asylum revolt, mass death and new adventures in persona extraction and development we return to dear Doctor Freust. Inmate Eleven has had a fun time playing real mind games using telepathy and other means of terror to inflict trauma. Not one to sit out a fight, Freust rises to the challenge, spinning with new ideas for this last bout as Malefic draws to a close.

The final issue packs a punch, Freust has to face her greatest fears and overcome the one patient that has eluded her. How does one fight the devil when mortal concepts and creations have failed? When facing what appears as pure evil, where is the line? Is there even a line? It’s a thing with this issue, and eventually one has to weigh the greater good or at least a good nights rest vs the eternal torture that would otherwise follow.

Dan Schaffer wraps up a very disturbing season of Malefic with a bang, bringing Freust to the top of her game, showing her personality shift to finally shine in this pit. She’s seen thugs and violence, danced with psychic combatants, and poked into the minds of every inmate there only to take a few stabs at fixing things. She’s battle-hardened at this point, each challenge meant to break her very being but instead making her let go of that past life, piece by piece.

David Miller shines in the final pages of this series or at least this first volume. Bringing everything to life with intense gestures, contorted bodies, and expression, the rage and action filling the pages. Looks of dread and terror dominating with intense contrast, with so much going on and the stakes at their highest, Miller brings it home for Malefic. For those following Freust’s doll experiment, there’s no shortage of high-quality gesture and feedback. The final showdown pages with Freust and Eleven are priceless, the darkness wraps around the pages and brings these characters to their prime.

Malefic isn’t for everyone, but for those looking to explore supernatural challenges that completely break the norm it’s a must read series. For those on a budget, the whole series is also wrapped in a single volume option now. It’s next level macabre with horrors and moments that make it a thrill through the pages to see what happens next and how bad things can keep getting.

For those looking to find the perfect little horror comic for that one special someone, this should do it. Really, it’s damaging in a beautiful way.

Link: Order (Digital) | Volume 1 (Issues 1 – 8)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Malefic #7

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

Overdue a bit, but finishing out the coverage round of Malefic for the holidays as it’s a unique entry into the field of superheroes and fantasy tales out there. Reviews date back to the first issue and a summary will follow after the review of issue 8 goes live next. For now, a bit of chaos as we revisit Doctor Freust in the den of madness, indulging in her darkest desire as all hell prepares to break loose.

With Grayson entering the fray we see the doctor facing that which sent her into this hotel of damnation. While basic impulse and logic would steer one away from such madness, the good doctor ignores that and runs head-on into her encounter with Grayson, knowing full well about the abilities within. The doctor finds herself lost to the moment as inmate eleven stirs the pot, teasing about inevitable destruction and murder. It’s not long before the situation goes sideways and we find Doctor Freust rushing to action.

It’s a tense series of moments within the asylum, setting up Freust to see the fruits of her labor with experiments on the inmates and still tackling new challenges as everything burns around her. Fortunately, that moment of passion and her lapse in judgment fades and she’s able to reassess her situation and tackle the few small battles that come at her. Unfortunately, wits only get her so far before she’s facing down the larger and more violent members of the facility.

Miller helps create balances of tension and emotion within the pages of issue 7. Dealing with battles of persona, ultra-violence, and Freusts responses to the wild issues raging within is certainly a challenge. Topping that off, Grayson gets a spectacular display of insanity under the diagnostic specs that really drives home how sick of a guy she was dealing with.

While readers do see a loss in issue 7, it’s almost inevitable with a challenge of that size and a comic as dark as this. Happy endings in Malefic are more of a myth and sign of deeper delusion than a reality there. With only one issue left, it’s hard to imagine how Dan Schaffer wraps this chaotic whirlwind up.

Link: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

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 #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 – Inhumans vs X-Men #6

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

Marvel’s Inhuman vs X-Men event has seemed to hit its climax, the war between mutants and inhumans hasn’t turned out for the better. Many of the inhuman’s died, all because of a lack of communication between the two groups.

Emma Frost’s grief gets the best of her, we see her transition into hate and anger which in turn cause’s her make decisions that in dangers the X-Men, she no longer cares about saving mutant kind, Emma wants revenge for Cyclops and is hell bend on killing Black Bolt, who she blames for Scotts death. But its revealed that Cyclops wasn’t killed by Black Bolt, he was killed in an accident way before the discovery of the Terrigen Mist.

Young Cyclops reveals that Emma had been lying to everyone for months about it, Storm confronts her about it and she doesn’t deny it, in fact she becomes more unstable. If not for Ahura and the Ennilux, the war would’ve gotten more out of hand.

The down fall of Emma is also the rise of Madusa, she really evolved as a leader in this crossover, with all that was going on Madusa never wavered when things looked grim for them. Medusa’s growth was one of few things that I found enjoyable in this crossover, as for the final battle between the two groups, I found it to be a little lack luster. There was no real lost amongst the two teams, granted Ahura did lose a ship full of Ennilux, but in actuality their deaths played no real significance overall.

For me Inhumans vs X-Men is an average crossover at best, the story reminds me too much of AvX’s, on top of that you never get a real present of danger in this crossover, even with Emma going full on crazy at the end. Marvel had something good with this event, but because it focuses more on action instead of the narrative this crossover is miss.

Links: Preview | Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

Review – Inhumans vs X-Men #5: What’s Next?

  • Writer: Jeff Lemire & Charles Soule
  • Artist: Lenil Francis Yu
  • Colorist: David Curiel
  • Cover Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Courtesy of Marvel.com

The Inhumans have gotten the upper hand on the X-Men and finally located and release Black Bolt from, my biggest issue with this run is how the X-Men despite having a legit reason still come across as in the wrong, while you can debate whether or not that’s true, you can’t overlook this one other problem I have with this crossover, and that’s X-Men/ Mutants turn on each other way too quick. Again, some fans may not see it that way, but for me that’s how I see it.

Inside the World, an artificial time altering environment, Jean and Fantomex continue to battle it out with Karnak, who in the process finds lockjaw and frees him. Back in Limbo Gorgon and Colossus fight concludes with Colossus getting the best of Gorgon, at the same time Madusa and the other royal family members find Black Bolt but are confronted by Havok who threatens to take out the inhuman leader, Havok warns Medusa and company about Emma Frost who he states is the real fight, Back in New Jersey Iso and the other young inhumans decide to help Forge build and use his machine in order to stop the Mist, Grid warns ISO that helping Forge goes against everything Medusa and the royal family have been fighting for.

Sypnapse and Reader teleport to The World and find Karnak meditating after surviving his battle with Jean and Fantomex, together the three of them try to wake up lockjaw. Cyclops, Ms. Marvel, Grid and the others fly to Iceland, but are quickly confronted by the full X-Men team, Back in X-Heaven Colossus finds Havok siting and is surprise when Havok tells him he let Royal family leave with Black Bolt.

The action picks up at end of the issue when the inhumans and Cyclops have it out with Emma and the rest of the X-Men, as they two teams fight Magneto becomes impatient with the senseless fighting and decides to step in.

Conclusion: Now that the younger Inhumans are going to help Forge stop the Mist, I’m interest on how this will affect the Royal family in the future, Medusa feels as if the X-Men have crossed the line attacking New Attilan and taking Black Bolt, when this conflict finally ends you can bet a rift between the inhumans and Mutants will be bigger than before. While still entertaining it still feels less important of an issue , compared to the AvX or House of M events.

Links: Preview | Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

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

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 – Empowered and the Soldier of Love #1

  • Story: Adam Warren
  • Artist: Karla Diaz
  • Cover Artist: Karla Diaz
  • Lettering: Nate Piekos of Blambot
  • Editor: Chris Warner
  • Publisher: Mike Richardson

Adam Warren brings Empowered back to fans. The latest series brings some complications to Cape City and it’s heroes. When a new wave of love and hook-ups hit the scene, Cape City starts to spiral into turmoil. It’s up to Empowered and Ninjette to help figure out the messes and what exactly is going on.

The issue goes through a swing of internal hero drama, humor and important details about what’s causing the sudden influx of heroes losing all inhibition and hooking up across the city. There’s a slew of crazy moments and fan service but Warren holds it together well throughout the issue as we discover aspects of the Soldado Del Amor and her experience and opinions with Cape City. There’s a darker force at work in this sudden and mysterious season of love and everyone is too caught up in a wave of hormones to even care to know why.

Karla Diaz captures the spirit of the story with strong character art, the gestures, expressions and atmosphere help compliment the tale and bring another layer of depth to the story. The personality that Ninjette and Empowered bring to the pages mimic reader response very well and carry a consistent energy to the work. Characters sing with emotion through their expressions, it’s easy to tell the swings from discomfort to bliss as things roll on.

With the vivid colors, excellent art balance and comedic timing the issue is a great way to kick off the mini-series and bring new fans into the Empowered universe. It’s easy to look forward to what Adam Warren brings next issue and the wave of art that Karla Diaz graces readers with.

Release date: February 08, 2017
Pre-order: TFAW

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

Review – Conan The Slayer #5 & 6

  • Writer: Cullen Bunn
  • Artist: Sergio Davila
  • Colorist: Michael AtiyehCover
  • Artist: Admira Wijaya
  • Published by: Dark horse Comics

After Killing his father Kyrlo and saved by his mysterious benefactor, Kyrlo has taking refuge in an old temple and now seems to have regretted killing his father, consume with anger of being passed over as king Kyrlo was tricked into helping the mysterious sorcerer with knowing it. The Sorcerer used his hate and anger Kylro had for his father against him, in the end Kyrlo’s traitorous actions got him and his brother killed, while at the same time putting Conan, Oksana and the Kozaks in danger from undead warriors of the past. Issue #5 ends with Conan coming face to face with the mysterious Sorcerer/ Necromancer

With tribe leader gone along with his sons the lord of Kharwarizm, Jehungir Agha sets forth a plan to take out the Kozak tribes, he sends assassins who attack during Taraslan’s pyre and quick begin to exterminate the Kozak tribe, During the battle the body of Taraslan rises, covered in flames Taraslan grabs the leader of the assassins and burns him to a crisp. When it’s all said, and done the Kozak name Conan their new leader despite his refusal. Conan becomes conflicted about the responsibility of leading the Kozak tribe and decides to take a walk through the woods and comes across a blood trail, at the end of the trail Conan is shock to find a half-eaten human corpse, in the background we see a humanoid beast looking at Conan from within the trees.

Conclusion: Necromancy is heavily at work here, at least in these latest issues (5&6), it seems as if the true main antagonist is pulling the strings using necromancy and the prime suspect has to be Ghaznavi, the priest who Jehungir Agha has working for him. What makes this issue work are the multiple potential sub-plots going on within this issue and for upcoming future, Cullen Bunn doesn’t just focuses on Conan but

Links: Preview | Order (Digital)                          Release Date: January 25, 2017

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