Pull! August 30 2013

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Last week of August. Man. But only one more week ’til Baltimore Comic-Con y’all!

The Strain – The Fall #2: (Dark Horse) If you’re sick and tired of cute, emo vampires, you need to be reading this series. David Lapham does a great job translating a series of books to graphic form, and Mike Huddleston’s art is all angles, shadows and dread. Niiiiice. Readers who aren’t up on the novels may find some of the transitions a bit abrupt, but with the final panel of this issue – and the promise of my favorite Mexican wrestler making his appearance in #3 – I’m in this for the long haul. (4 out of 5)

Night of the Living Dead – Aftermath #10: (Avatar) The Army over at Red Rock continues to search for a vaccine, our poor group of survivors bedamned. Things are looking good for the researches, and you know that’s not gonna be a good thing for everyone else. Tomas Aira’s gorgeous pencils and Emiliano Urdinola’s inks are sharp, giving the issue  really great in-your-face gore. And David Hine managed to not only move the story along, but inject a bit of humor; hippies vs zombies, anyone? Hell yeah that’s good stuff. (4.5 out of 5)

Numbercruncher #2: (Titan) Think someone can double cross Bastard Zane? Think again…and then again. Thyme has pulled a fast one, but can he worm his way out of the deal he’s made with The Divine Calculator? If you haven’t read #1, this probably sounds like gibberish. But it’s mesmerizing stuff in the hands of Si Spurrier. PJ Holden gives good art, and I especially love the back-and-forth between black and white & color (courtesy of Jordie Bellaire’s colors). A heckuva story, but only two more issues left in this mini? Bummer. (5 out of 5)

Bloodshot #0: (Valiant) A killer that does whatever it takes to complete the mission. You betcha I’ll take a look. Because “whatever it takes” usually means Massive Bloodshed. And in Bloodshot, that’s definitely the case. #0 presents a new/tweaked origin story, but it feels tied to earlier canon (people who are better versed may disagree, and I’m fine with that.) Gorgeous art, and a cool POV. My only issue with…this issue? The letting is really tiny. Fine if you’re reading this on paper, but on my li’l Kindle? It’s a constant back and forth with the pinch-zoom. But I want to know more. (4.5 out of 5)

Kiss Kids #1: (IDW) “You wanted the youngest, you got the youngest!” Oh Kiss. You complete me. Who knew rock could be so dang adorable? Behold: Li’l Demon, Starchild, Catkid, and Spacey. Little kids with a mission; rock out. There’s a ton of mini stories in here, kinda like Archie with leather. It’s strange, having the Kiss gang be little kids, but it works. I’ll be reading this to my 6-year-old nieces. One thing though; Cat will ALWAYS be Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley IS Spacey. Sorry new guys. (Luckily, this series only calls them by their alter ego monikers….) (4 out of 5)

Dinosaurs Attack! #2: (IDW) I’m bummed. I missed the first issue of this series. But after the fun, Golden Age vibe of this issue, Ima correct that posthaste. Herb Trimpe, I salute you sir. Your art is fun, retro and just the right touch of splat. It’s like Classics Illustrated, with intestines. (That’s a good thing, kiddies.) Crunch! Gulp! AAAAHHHH! The letting is also rockin’ it old school, and I love it. Flint Henry takes up the art duties after the first twelve pages, and though it’s noticeable, it blends well with the start of the issue. If you don’t love page 16 and it’s kickass pterodactyl, you’re just not a horror fan. For it is groovy. The teaser of next issue’s cover has me slavering for more. Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth may have my heart, but I’m definitely finding room for this series. (4.5 out of 5)

Lazarus #3: (Image) Forever Carlyle isn’t the only Lazarus around; each of the Families have their own.  So when she’s tasked with heading down to talk to Joacquim, the Morray Family Lazarus?  I didn’t want that scene to end.  Greg Rucka is adding layers to the Family mythos he’s created, and that makes the story as well as the characters that much more interesting.  With #3 there’s peace afoot, but some in the Carlyle camp aren’t too happy about that.  There’s a strong Haves/Have Nots undercurrent that’s also intriguing; can the Families juggle in-fighting with possible revolution?  Ending with a (literal) bang, this is an issue to pick up, and it’s an easy point to jump in, thanks to the brief catch-up description on the first page.  Michael Lark’s cover for this issue is mesmerizing…and I’m sure there’ll be a whole lot more blood spilled in coming issues.  Recommended!  (5 out of 5)

Crossed: Badlands #34: (Avatar) Poor Amanda.  She’s suffered and survived, but at what cost?  And I’m not just talking her own personal cost, darlin’s.  I loved the start of this arc, but with #33 and this issue it’s just not connecting with me.  Amanda was such a complete badass, and now she’s completely batshit.  I get that it’s been quite awhile since we first saw her, but as with Jack Nicholson in The Shining, I’d like to see a steady progression into insanity, rather than a flick of the switch to crazy town. I applaud the way Lapham shifts between Amanda’s reality and her visions, but I wish the art was better at showing us exactly what was going on.  Instead of getting a view that gives the story room to unfold, it’s a lot of close-ups and strange angles.  Perhaps I’d be more on board with Amanda’s unraveling if the panels drew me in better.  *shrugs* I’m guessing that #35 will be the finale of this arc, and all I can do is mourn for what could have been.  (3 out of 5)

Godzilla Rulers of Earth #3: (IDW) Oh no.  It’s an SDCC spoof cover.  Or “Ultra Convention VII”, to quote the issue. I tend to get a not-good cold chill down my spine when I see a ‘Con issue.  Why?  Because they’re usually shoehorned into a perfectly good series with no rhyme or reason besides a shout-out to the nerds that are already reading anyway.  (Hear me roar for our people!)  Sending Kaiju to San Diego seems like a cheap way to grab attention, and the Monster At The Con scene feels forced.  But a beautiful half-page — and then full-page — drawing of Manda makes me feel all happy and warm inside.  Gezora is just ge-orgeous too (see what I did there?  Fine.)  I had my worries about this issue after the final page of #2, and I’m still not convinced that adding aliens to the mix is a good idea.  As it stands, this particular aliens-as-big-bad storyline feels more like Godzilla For Kids. Still, Mowry has me clamoring for #4 with his final page, and though Shawn Lee doesn’t seem to be allowed to unleash the glorious letters he’s been dropping on us in previous issues, the colors and art in this issue is still in mix with the best-of-the-best.  And is that Mothra I see in the teaser for the cover of #4?  Okay, I’ll follow where  you’re going.  (4 out of 5)

Larfleeze #3: (DC) Y’know it always seems that the titles you pick up on a whim end up being ones you like the most.  Well, usually.  And in the case of Larfleeze, most definitely.  Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have a helluva way with dialogue, and the back-and-forth between Larfleeze, his butler Stargrave, and the Wanderer is priceless.  Tired of stodgy, uptight superheroes?  Believe me, that ain’t the case here.  Larfleeze may be a greedy, overly-focused nutter, but he’s a fun character to watch and a real badass when push comes to shove.  (Or when things get in the way of his beloved…things.)  Kollins’ art does a great job with the art here, keeping outer space looking beautiful, absurd and crazy-cool.  Colors by Mike Atiyeh are bright, beautiful and *ahem* out of this world.  The Wanderer puts Larfleeze in a real predicament at the end of #3, but it’s Stargrave that will probably get the short end of the stick.  Oh, and who is this Wanderer chica, anyway?  I wanna know.  (5 out of 5)

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