Comic Review: Doppelgänger

Published: March 2nd, 2017 – September 7th, 2017
Written by: Jordan Hart
Art by: Emmanuel Xerx Javier

Alterna Comics, 94 Pages

Review:

Peter Simeti might be a genius. The reason I say that is because everything I have read from Alterna Comics has been top notch storytelling and just damn good. I’m always glad to support them and, at this point, I try to stay up on all their new releases and buy them all, as they come out.

Simeti is just really good at going through the countless submissions he gets from aspiring comic book creators and finding the stuff that is top notch.

Doppelgänger is no different. And I shouldn’t be surprised at how much I enjoyed this but when a company has so many solid releases in a vast array of genres and styles, it’s impressive and it just keeps my passion for this medium alive and strong.

It’s hard talking about the plot, as I don’t want to spoil it but it is about a man who has a doppelgänger come into his life. The doppelgänger’s purpose is to take over his life and replace him, as he is scheduled to die within a few days.

The plot is well crafted, the characters are all lovable, except for the evil doppelgänger, and I really like the art in this. And like other Alterna books, this really benefits from being on newsprint. The colors truly pop in a great way.

These four issues were a quick read but I also couldn’t put them down. Usually, I will read an issue, take a break, come back for the next, and so on. As I read Doppelgänger, I just wanted to keep going and soak it all in, in a single sitting.

Jordan Hart wrote something really good and based off of how this ended, I hope there is eventually a follow up.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other Alterna Comics horror and adult titles.

Comic Review: Trespasser

Published: February 10th, 2016 – August 10th, 2016
Written by: Justin Ryan
Art by: Kristian Rossi

Alterna Comics, 106 Pages

Review:

I have really enjoyed pretty much everything that I’ve picked up from Alterna Comics the last several months.

But this title really caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure what it was about but man, going into it blindly was the right way to go and I’d say that this moves to the top of the heap for me out of the Alterna comics that I have read.

If you’d prefer to also go into this blindly, stop reading now. But I’m really only going to reveal what happens in just the first issue.

The story is about a man and his daughter who live in a cabin deep in the wilderness away from everyone and everything. We do know that something catastrophic happened to the world and that if anyone were to come around, it would probably be for nefarious reasons.

While out one night hunting for food, the father comes across an alien caught in one of his traps. He stops the alien from shooting him and then relaxes it to the point where he can try and help it. He takes the alien back home, even if he is apprehensive about it and gives him a bed and space to heal.

All that happens in the first issue. From that point on, things get really weird and the story goes places I didn’t expect.

I thought the story was nice and dark; it had real human emotion and struggle in it. Even though you don’t spend a lot of time with these characters, you do care about them and their situation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the art and visual tone of this book and it looked great on newsprint and probably wouldn’t have had the same tonal effect had it been printed the same way most modern comics are.

Trespasser is a damn fine comic book miniseries. I don’t hear it being as talked about as some of Alterna’s other books and really, this should be near the top of everyone’s list.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: other Alterna Comics releases, especially the horror and sci-fi titles.

Comic Review: Baron Rat and the Great Cheese Caper

Published: October 25th, 2018
Written by: Troy Vevasis
Art by: Aleksandar Jovic

Alterna Comics, 19 Pages

Review:

As I’ve stated before, Alterna has been putting out some really good comics. I recently reviewed the three-part Mr. Crypt series. This is a spinoff of that as Baron Rat, Mr. Crypt’s rodent sidekick, gets some time to shine on his own.

This was released by Alterna under their One-Dollar One-Shots imprint. I’m not sure if this is the first One-Dollar One-Shot but I hope that there are more in the future and seeing spinoffs of other Alterna books would be really cool to see. Especially, for one dollar.

Baron Rat is a fun and quick read. It follows the tone and humor style of Mr. Crypt and is a great compliment to it in every regard. Mr. Crypt even shows up at the beginning and end.

The story follows Baron Rat as he heads into town to take advantage of a cheese festival. Shenanigans ensue and the gags are all pretty good.

I really like the Mr. Crypt world that Troy Vevasis and Aleksander Jovic have created. The stories are amusing, the art is great and this is as good as some of the most famous classic comic strips of yesteryear.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Other Alterna Comics releases, especially Mr. Crypt.

Comic Review: The Chair

Published: July 30th, 2008
Written by: Peter Simeti
Art by: Kevin Christensen, Peter Simeti

Alterna Comics, 133 Pages

Review:

I’ve wanted to give The Chair a read for awhile. I had the first issue for some time now but I wasn’t able to round up the other ones until more recently, as Alterna has become so popular, as of late, that it took longer than usual to get my latest order. But I’m okay with that, as I want to see this company grow and succeed because they are making comics unlike anyone else, right now.

The Chair is probably the most known of Alterna’s titles. It was written by Peter Simeti, who is the man behind the company and the guy that literally does everything behind the scenes. Also, this was the one Altrerna book (but hopefully not the last) to be adapted into a motion picture and the cherry on top of that is that the film featured Rowdy Roddy Piper in his final acting role.

I wanted to give this a read, as I want to see the movie adaptation. Plus, I enjoyed the bit that I read already. Originally this was a graphic novel but it has since been broken out and re-released as four single issue comics.

The tone is dark, extremely dark. Each panel feels as if it is brooding within its own shadows, as if some evil is lurking in the dark ink, staring back at you. To be honest, the art style, at first, was kind of off putting. It’s incredibly primal, unrefined and gritty to the point that it looks as if it were quickly sketched while in a manic frenzy.

However, the art is just as much a part of the story and as you turn every page, you get pulled further into the narrative and visual style and both are very complimentary of one another. So, at first glance, it’s hard on the eyes but you sort of adjust to the chaos of it and it works. I’m not sure if that was intentional or if it just sort of evolves in your brain that way.

I like that the direction of the story wasn’t as obvious as it seemed in the beginning and how little reveals make this grim reality more clear.

In the end, this was really interesting, surprising and a pretty effective use of the comic book medium.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Alterna releases but the more adult titles. Still this is very much a story that is pretty original and is hard to pair up because of that.

Comic Review: Metaphase

Published: 2015
Written by: Chip Reece
Art by: Kelly Williams, Peter Simeti

Alterna Comics, 66 Pages

Review:

Metaphase was originally released as a graphic novel in 2015 but was broken out into single issues and re-released this year.

I read the two single issues, the second of which was double-sized. I also read Metaphase #0 in digital format.

The story focuses on a boy with down syndrome. However, his father is a superhero in a similar vein to Superman. Ollie, the kid, wants to be like his father, as he deals with the challenges of being treated differently.

Ollie does get powers but it comes with a cost. His father loses his powers and a new villain is created. Ollie becomes Metaphase and must use his new powers to defeat the villain and save his dad.

Overall, this was a fun and uplifting read. All the characters were pretty well developed for only having a little bit of space to live and breathe.

I love that this jumped into complicated subject matter and showed that it doesn’t need to be so complicated. Ollie is a normal kid, despite down syndrome, and reminds us that he should be treated as such.

My only complaint is that this was rather short and it’s something that I would like to see continue on in hopefully a second miniseries or an ongoing one.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Alterna Comics releases, especially Cyko KO and Amazing Age.

Comic Review: Adam Wreck and the Kalosian Space Pirates

Published: January 5th, 2011
Written by: Michael Bracco
Art by: Michael Bracco

Alterna Comics, 90 Pages

Review:

When I first started reading this, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t a fan of the art style but it grew on me as I read on.

The story is pretty simple. A boy in an escape craft crash lands on a planet after his parents’ ship was taken over by pirates. While there, he comes across some ancient cosmic artifact. Soon though, he is in trouble and finds himself saved by an alien hero looking for that cosmic artifact. They two strike a deal: help the alien get the artifact and the alien helps the boy save his parents from space pirates.

This feels like swashbuckling in space, which is a solid combination.

I ended up really liking the art and it’s raw simplicity. I also liked that this was mostly black and white with orange highlights.

This definitely feels like an indie comic and I mean that in the best way possible.

The story is fun, charming and you care about these characters. Michael Bracco did a great job of developing Adam and the alien hero without a lot of space to focus on them while trying to balance the action and the story.

Adam Wreck was a good, quick read and a really cool title from Alterna.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Other sci-fi series from Alterna: NovoExilium and Eden.

Comic Review: Croak

Published: March, 2017 – July, 2017
Written by: Cody Andrew Sousa
Art by: Francesco Iaquinta, Chris O’Halloran, Dezi Sienty

Alterna Comics, 88 Pages

Review:

I’ve been working my way through my giant stack of older Alterna Comics releases, which now brings me to Croak.

I’m not a fan of the title, as it doesn’t tell me much about what this is. From the cover of the first issue, I can gather that this is probably a horror story, as it shows a small group of people walking into the dark woods and Croak sounds like a horror title.

The story is very simple: young people go into the woods and something starts killing them.

Once the shit hits the fan, towards the end of the first issue, things move really damn fast. The monsters here pick everyone off. The girl in the group gets away and runs for her life but she essentially ends up in a very bad place. And that’s about it.

We then meet two new hikers that come across a video camera in the woods that captured some footage of the monsters.

The story didn’t grab me and it really needed to be fleshed out more. One could argue that this was just three issues but other Alterna Comics releases have done a lot more with the same amount of space. Go West told a solid story in three issues, for instance.

I really loved the art in this book though. Francesco Iaquinta did a great job with his pencil work and Chris O’Halloran worked some real magic with his coloring.

Croak isn’t my favorite Alterna book but it was a decent, quick read with solid art. Plus, I thought the monsters were cool.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: Other Alterna horror or adult releases like Sonitus, The Wicked Righteous and The XII.