Halloween Oreos on the shelves in the supermarket. Orange & black ribbons in the craft stores. Mmmm, it’s getting close to Our Time, kiddies. Til then? Here’s how I’m prepping for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year….
Burn the Orphanage #1: (Image) A horrible past, a tantalizing mystery, and a man’s quest for the truth. Sounds promising, yes? Hold it right there. Everything gets tied up by the end of this issue, with nothing more than so-so chop socky. Sina Grace’s art is top notch, but the story (co-written with Daniel Freedman) is nothing more than a cool idea that gets rushed out the door too soon. Add bad guy characters that feel like they’ve come from the Snidely Whiplash School Of Ham, and an ending that peters out (lost it’s own steam, I assume), and this is a three part miniseries that really needs to step up it’s game. Because this issue is just so much style without substance. (2 out of 5)
Trillium #1: (Vertigo) Four thousand humans left in the universe. A slick, constantly-evolving virus that has us in it’s sights. A pretty flower that could hold the key to humankind’s survival. And a bit of the ol’ something else…. Welcome to Trillium, Jeff Lemire’s newest story. Trillium #1 is broken down into chapters, and as much as I’d love to get into the thick of things here, if I did that’d spoil the reveals Lemire has in store for you. Here’s a hint; there’s space aliens, shrubbery, restless natives, world wars, and a big ol’ portal that could set things right or really do a number on the human race. Lemire brings it again, and it’s looking gooooood. (4.5 out of 5)
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #2: (IDW) #2 kicks of with a roar, as Godizilla and a brand new ‘Zilla (picture the T-Rex mutant from 1998’s Godzilla) face off in Honolulu. Let’s just say Honolulu loses. But readers win, so yay! Shawn Lee, you rock my skreeonk-in’ world with your lettering. Just wanted you to know that. Chris Mowry and Matt Frank are giving kaiju fans what they want, and though I have a bit of doubt as to how they’ll pull off the story direction hinted at in the last few pages, with this issue I’m keeping hope alive. (5 out of 5)
Breath of Bones #3: Ohboyohboyohboyohboy it’s here! The final installment of this Golem in WWII story. I was almost scared to start reading for fear of the first two damn-near perfect issues being let down by the finale. And while #3 has it’s ups and downs (this issue does have to bring the wind-down as well as the climax), it’s a winner. While the story is basically about one moment in time, Steve Niles uses it to touch on the basics of good and evil. The end does peter out quickly, and the groovy Golem action is short and sweet – hey, at 24 pages including cover everything is quick – but it’s a satisfying conclusion nonetheless. Niles leaves bits the story open, so I wouldn’t be surprised if another tale based on this basic story came around. I wouldn’t hate that. (4 out of 5)
The Walking Dead #113: (Image) “We don’t die… You and me. That’s the rule.” Oh pumpkin. Don’t you know that Robert Kirkman loves to bust up the rules? And with that crazy sumbitch Negan talking about “revenge” (putting that in quotes because he crazy), fans looking for a bit of the ol’ medieval morality play payback are in for a wait. The one-two punch of Kirkman’s story and Charlie Adlard’s penciling make for a tense, edge of your Kindle experience here. I really, really want to see Negan get a major league smackdown – preferably at the crumbling hands of a zombie or twelve, the likes of which are not seen in this particular issue – but I’m fine with this tense standoff sticking around for another issue or two. Hey, if things are good, then I’m all in. Right now, things are good. (4 out of 5)
George R.R. Martin’s Skin Trade #2: (Avatar) A second issue, but no muzzles make an appearance. Hey, I’ve read The Song of Ice and Fire, I’m betting on a slow burn here too. Y’know, then a little something that puts The Red Wedding to shame. Hopefully. (There are bits of…bits in this issue, so I think I’m on track.) Here, the stage is still being set, with many, many subplots and different points of view. Sound familiar? If this series brings even a quarter of the high caliber awesome of SOIAF, I can’t wait for more. But right now I’m dying for a glimpse of paw. (3.5 out of 5)
Zombie Spotlight #1: (Tiny Donkey Studios) It’s zombie anthology time y’all! Three stories kick off this new series, and each is a little piece of twisted fun. Tony Donley has a nice, Vault of Horror – like flair in these quick & dirty stories, and Rich Woodall does a wonderful bit of color work in the first story, “Shelby”. The zombie mythology isn’t consistent in these tales, but that just serves to keep you off balance. I’ll be back for issue #2. (4 out of 5)