Vincent’s Note: It’s another Dark Hours Round Up and another Round Up writer! This time it’s an old pal, Digga D who some of you might know from other ventures. I did add one of my viewpoints and it is clearly labeled otherwise it’s all Digga D.
Story Justin Aclin
Art Nicolàs Daniel Selma
This comic is about what looks like a group like a BPRD that is out to disprove demons, angels, d’jinns and other world religious creatures. Story starts with the group going to somewhere in the Middle East. A man in a mosque is beginning to question his faith. Bam, a couple fire D’jinns pop up as well as a multi-cultural group of do-gooders. More of this group is revealed as well as some interesting ideas of what these things could be and nods to where this story may go.
I was worried this book would take the easy route and start bashing religion, but it seems to toe the line quite well. There are Muslims, Atheists, Christians, an English punk, and a big robot. The story and art seem pretty standard, and as this is a first issue of assembling the team, there wasn’t any expository dialogue that seemed out of place. I’m not sure where this is going to end up, but if you have a stout faith and don’t like it questioned, maybe stay clear. So far, no cheap pot-shots or atheist drums have been pounded. I have faith this title will get better as it goes on.
Vincent’s Viewpoint: Hey y’all, Vincent here. I thought I needed to add some of my special sauce to this one, because the writer of this book, Justic Aclin is an online pal. You might know him for his other comic work in recent years, but he’s probably most famous for being one of the dudes who slaved away at ToyFare magazine all those years.
Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to S.H.O.O.T. First for awhile now, and I’m glad I got the chance to check it out. Remember when I said Aclin worked for ToyFare? The first damned panel features some very He-Man like toys. Nice.
Now the theme of the comic is a group of Atheists trying to fight evil that is very much in line with non-atheist things, the supernatural. I find it highly interesting that right up top we have an atheist parent whose kid asks, “what happens when we die?” and the parent is confronted with not being able to just say, “we go to heaven.”
Anyway, I don’t want to cover ground that Digga D already covered, but there’s some action, shooting, talking. Good stuff. I do find it odd that those who have faith can’t shoot their guns. Faith must be some sort of quantifiable object, like midiclorians.
I get the feeling like SHOOT First is sort of a different take on something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in that in the Buffyverse all the stuff is real and she and her friends use their magic powers (those that have them) to overcome evil. In the S.H.O.O.T. First universe all the stuff is real but scientifically based, so the heroes must use science to defeat it.
And wow, the last few panels make me want to read more. Digga D is right though, if you’re religious and don’t like someone questioning faith or you don’t like a different take on faith, skip this. However, if you want to see a new take on all this stuff, read on!
Script: Fred Van Lente
Pencils R.B. Silva
This title is about the worlds most powerful telepath who is a freelancer who is safeguarding top officials for the secret service, whew. In this issue the official he was designated to protect is another telepath that wants him dead. Not sure what happened in issue one, but issue two starts out with a super rad psychic battle… yeah… you heard me… psychic battle. Now what could be run of the mill and boring splash pages of mystical looking lines booming from characters heads, writer Fred Van Lente does some fun word play to make this interaction a blast to read. Other characters round out this story, including a women with bird legs who is some kind of scientist and a sniper in a cloaking suit.
I have to admit, I didn’t think I was going to like this title at first viewing, but the story is great, and the art is amazing as well. So far the story seems like it’s going to have twists and turns and will be fun to read. As it stands with issue two, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next issue!
Script Dan Jolley
Pencils Leonard Kirk
Bloodhound is essentially about a bad-a$$ dude that puts the beat down on supers without having powers himself. With an explanation like that, I expected this book to be gratuitously tough guy-machismo mayhem with a Garth Ennis “let’s see how much blood and boobs we can throw in here” vibe. A Steven Seagal full-thrusted boner jam, if you will. However, Jolley’s introduction to the character of Clevenger is him at home with his niece putting together a puzzle in a turtle-neck . Yes, there is violence, but it’s not over the top. There’s a serial killer that explodes and then vanishes leaving carnage in his wake. Clevenger and FBI agent Saffron are a partnership that are hot on the scene. Apparently everyone knows Clevenger is, to use the buddy cop cliche’, a loose cannon, and has at some point gone over the edge. Maybe he’s taken some anger management classes, because for all his “I look like He-Man went to Land’s End” demeanor, he’s seems pretty even keeled.
I’m glad this comic isn’t another lame beat ’em up, “the Boys” rip-off. So far it’s got a good introduction and the characters may actually be rounded out well. The pencil’s may not be my favorite, but I think they suit the comic well, in a Kirby-esque kind of style. So far, like the world it’s created and the ending of issue one takes the catalyst for Marvel’s Civil War and mashes it with NRA rhetoric without giving anything away. It seems contemporary and classic at the same time.
Script: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Art Ben Stenbeck
Sweet poop-balls McGee, was I excited to read this. After former Dark Horse Comics Round Up writer Matty turned me on to Hellboy how many years ago, I was revved up to check this out. Without knowing ANYTHING before getting into this here’s what I can gather. Baltimore is a hunter of vampires, I can assume (and after a not so great wiki search… yes). In this issue Baltimore is battling against a priest inquisitor. Zombie-like Vampires bust in for some classic Mignola fun. More victims, more vampires, with a quick cut to the meat of where this is going (hint… it’s Mignola… there’s a big nasty beastie).
I like the interplay of various faiths leading people to action, whether it be for good, bad, or ill-informed. There are jabs at how a faith can be used for judgement without being too heavy handed to offend someone of faith. Parroting Matty in his review of the first one, the art *is* similar to Mignola’s early work, but fresh enough to not be derivative. Baltimore is dark without being juvenile and has a fun pacing. One issue left in the three part series, so I’ll be looking for the caboose to this train because I’m *ahem* all aboard.
Script: Mike Mignola John Arcudi
Art: Tyler Crook
Well, a lot has changed in the BPRD since I gave up a couple years ago (too many frogs). This issue centers around Liz (I think) as she’s hanging out with dirty hippie/doomsday prep’er after a cataclysmic event. There are some gross creatures, a mad scientist, and other hippies. Things of Liz’s past are starting to come to light (PYROKINETIC HUMOR) and a couple team members show up briefly.
I don’t know what to make of this as I’m kind of confused by a lot, but like other Mignola books, the pacing is well done and SPOILERS watching a girl punch a dippy hippie in the face is always welcome in any comic. So after jumping in after a couple years, it is a little confusing, but not so bad that I want to set myself on fire.
Script: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw
At reading the beginning synopsis of what I was about to be getting into, I poured myself a beautiful little glass of Bushmill’s on the rocks. Buzzkill is about an alcoholic that gets his powers from drinking and any other drug he puts into his system. He is walking the “road of the righteous” and going to AA. While at his meeting, he drinks caffeine and hijinks ensues. Ridiculous characters and baddies show up and just like my glass of Irish Whiskey, this issue was over too fast.
I loved, loved, loved, loved this book and it’s not just the booze speaking. The story and writing style are great, the art is wonderfully reminiscent of Sam Keith and Sean Murphy and lend themselves greatly to this whimsical story. This comic, though dealing with some heady topics, doesn’t take itself too seriously and was intoxicating to read. I definitely want to go back and find the first issue (YOU HEAR ME VINCENT?! POUR ME ANOTHER ROUND!!) and can’t wait for the next step in the story.
Script: Brian Wood
Art: Paul Azaceta
As a fat kid growing up, I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. I mean… a lot. Instead of chasing girls I was chasing XP and Min-maxing stats to get the totally most awesome character ever, so you would think the chance to read Conan books would have me clutching my dice-pouch with joy, but by Krom, I’m just not a Conan guy. (Vincent’s Note: I can tell, you spelled Crom wrong) That being said, this Conan was better written than I imagined. It wasn’t the Cimmerian atop a pile of fallen foes with his rippling pecs stained with blood, but a sweeter side of Conan. One that curls up with wolves for a bit and thinks of his captured love.
With a script by Brian Woods, I guess I expected more. Yeah, I know he’s a barbarian, but with dialogue like “Conan knows about wolves”, I felt Woods missed a saving throw vs literature. Even though it wasn’t a slaughterama, the dialogue with the two females felt adolescent like “OMG R THEY GONNA KISS?!” and clunky storytelling was anti-climactic. The art was Mignola-esque, but not as refined. Like I said, not a huge Conan guy and but this was a roll of a 7 with a THAC0 of 14 against an armor class of 5 (a miss).
Story by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Script by David Lapham
Art: Mike Huddleston
Issue four of this series’ run drops us smack dab in the middle of a vampire invaded New York. The 5 boroughs have been over run and a rag-tag group of survivors are left to clean up the house. The focus on this issue was a kid, a old guy, an alcoholic and his gal. The Master controls the vampires and there’s another flange group out there kickings ass, but also taking casualties. As this is issue four jumping in, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to care about these casualties, or if this is like every DC mega-event where they start killing off characters that don’t matter to any one.
So with a story idea from the mind that brought us the brilliant Pan’s Labyrinth and ruined Hellboy, I was expecting a lot, and actually I really liked it. Sure the story has been done before, but the dialogue between the characters is where this book shined (thank you David Lapham). The Art is beautiful in this book as well. For really not knowing what the heck to expect, I seemed to be able to pick up enough nuance that I wasn’t totally lost. I think if you’re a fan of Del Toro’s you’ll get a kick out of this book. I’ll see where this arc ends and decide if I want to go back and see how it started!