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.

Comic Review: Go West

Published: August 3rd, 2017
Written by: Garrett Gunn
Art by: Sean Forney, Saint Yak, HdE

Alterna Comics, 88 Pages

Review:

I don’t read enough western comics. That’s not my fault though, they just don’t seem to exist in large numbers in the 2010s. Really, you have to turn to the indies if you want to get your hands on a good pulp western story.

Go West, which is published by Alterna and written by Garrett Gunn, is a pretty solid piece of western writing. It’s also a post-apocalyptic western, which just adds an extra layer of grit and darkness to it.

Reading this, I felt like I was watching a low budget spaghetti western unfold in front of me. And that’s not a diss, low budget spaghetti westerns are my favorite westerns. To be frank, this is like if Lucio Fulci stuck with westerns instead of going full horror but still developed his twisted horror style in the western genre. Think Four of the Apocalypse but even more violent and physically brutal.

And yes, this is violent but within the context of the tale, it works and it’s existence isn’t just a cheap parlor trick, it’s a reflection of the world these characters live in.

The main character reminded me a lot of a Franco Nero hero like the original Django. Ready to stand alone against an army of scumbags but not presented in some sort of fantastical, invincible way. He is very much human and he gets hurt like he’s human.

What really worked for me was the art. The pencils, inks and colors by Saint Yak were absolutely f’n stellar. This story had such a good look to it and it set the tone perfectly like the best cinematographers in Hollywood. I also like that each issue of the three had a different color palate but everything stayed pretty muted. Yak created such a good artistic style for this book and I spent a lot of extra time indulging in the panels.

Go West is a damn fine western comic. If western comics are your cup of tea, I’d say that this is a must read.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: Other Alterna Comics releases: TrespasserMother RussiaThe XII and The Wicked Righteous.

Comic Review: Mother Russia

Published: November 18th, 2015
Written by: Jeff McComsey
Art by: Jeff McComsey

Alterna Comics, 121 Pages

Review:

I’ve grown pretty tired of zombies in entertainment. I stopped keeping up with The Walking Dead comics and I even read some of the Fubar stuff from Alterna but I feel like the genre has been done to death.

Mother Russia surprised me though. Full disclosure, I wasn’t too keen on Fubar, which was also put out by Alterna but this story seemed to have more meaning and was just more enjoyable.

The main character, referred to as “Mother Russia” is a Soviet military sniper. The story starts with her saving a baby from being eaten by a hoard of the undead. She picks them off from a tower, drops down to get the child out of danger but then quickly finds herself overwhelmed, where she is rescued by an old German soldier just before she shoots the baby in an effort to give it a less painful death.

We get to see two people, who were formerly enemies, come together in an effort to survive and to protect the small child. There’s also a cool dog in this that helps keep the good people safe.

I loved the tone of this story and it was really accented by the art, which was simple black and white with grey highlights. The lack of color and the contrast of the ink work helped give character to the cold, bleak and hopeless environment. Everything came together in a beautiful way visually and tonally.

This was an action packed, quick read but it conveyed a lot of emotion and really hit its mark.

Solid short story, fantastic art and just an all around good read.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: The Fubar comics from Alterna.

Comic Review: Mr. Crypt

Published: August 24th, 2016 – February 2nd, 2017
Written by: Troy Vevasis
Art by: Aleksandar Jovic

Alterna Comics, 75 Pages

Review:

Sometimes you just want some lighthearted, childish fun. Well, I do at least. You may feel different but if that’s the case, you need to look into your soul and say, “Hey, ass hat! Stop being so damn serious and miserable!”

Anyway, Mr. Crypt came to me when I ordered a couple random bundles of stuff from Alterna Comics. I read through the first issue, it made me smile, I felt good and then I sadly realized that I didn’t have issues two or three. I then quickly ordered them because I wanted to have the entire run of this series.

Now you don’t need to read each issue to get the effect of what Mr. Crypt is, as each book is its own self-contained story. However, some gags and in-jokes happen throughout and it’s better to have the entire context then just a single issue. Plus, it’s enjoyable and amusing and you should want to buy them anyway. Plus, these are Alterna comics and only cost $1.50.

The main character here is a re-animated skeleton. The townsfolk freak out whenever they see him, so he wears a disguise. There’s a running joke across all the issues about Mr. Crypt’s mustache, which often times blows off in the worst moments, giving him away. Mr. Crypt also has a friend, a rat named Baron Rat.

The first issue of three is used to setup the story and establish the character, as well as the tone of the series. The second issue sees Mr. Crypt get pulled into some vampire hunting shenanigans. The third sends him off on a vacation but there is a twist and he ends up dealing with some angry island natives.

There is also a one-shot Baron Rat spinoff but I really hope that there is more of Mr. Crypt in the future. While this isn’t the type of comic book that I typically read, it’s refreshing and silly enough to make me a fan of it. It’s also something that works for kids and adult audiences.

Ultimately, it reminds me of the comic strips from the paper that I read as a kid before I got into actual comic books. Except, this is cooler than a lot of the comic strips of yesteryear.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: Other Alterna Comics releases.

Comic Review: It Came Out On A Wednesday – Issue #1

Published: August 9th, 2018
Written by: various
Art by: various

Alterna Comics, 51 Pages

Review:

This is an ongoing (and I believe monthly) comic anthology series put out by Alterna Comics. At the time of writing this review there has only been one issue published. I wanted to get this review out though, based off of just the first issue, because it was really unique and entertaining. Plus, it is a current comic that could use the support, assuming this is your bag of donuts.

Now I am not typically an anthology fan. Short stories can be really good but the best short stories are tales I always want more of and usually everything else, at least to me, is just sort of filler to pad out an anthology. Mostly, they are a collection of ideas and this is the best way to test market them, which can lead to a regular series or a miniseries for something that really resonates with people.

This was such a cool release though and one of my favorite single issue comics to come out in 2018. I’m really excited for the future releases.

Each story comes with its own creative team and therefore there is a large variance in art styles, writing styles and genres.

I was glad to see that Mr. Crypt got a little one page comic wedged into this, as I recently came to discover that series and found it really good.

The highlight for me though was the opening story, which was a lead-in to a larger Alterna Comics series that’s coming out called Exilium. It’s pretty cool and I’m planning to read that series, based off of the sample of it I got in this anthology.

I also really enjoyed the short story Bloodfist, which is pretty much about this brutish bald dude with bloody fists that jumps into a well to beat the everliving crap out of a giant beast. Bloodfist is the hero we all need in 2018.

This also has a peek into the series The Wicked Righteous, which is a comic that I have a few issues of but haven’t read because I need to complete the story arc. I liked what I saw here in this book though, even if it was just a taste.

It Came Out On A Wednesday is what many Alterna Comics are: refreshing and unique. I hope future issues are this enjoyable.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: Other releases by Alterna Comics.

Comic Review: The Fear Diaries

Published: September 28th, 2017
Written by: Garret Gunn
Art by: Nicholas Touris, HdE

Alterna Comics, 49 Pages

Review:

I had no idea what to expect from this but I thought that the cover was great and that made me read this first out of the massive stash of Alterna Comics I just got in the mail.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just into teddy bears wielding sabers over a pile of chopped up stuffed animals. Or maybe it reminded me of something I’d see in a Birthday Massacre video. I dated a girl who was big into them like ten years ago but I thought their videos were cool and I liked a few tracks. I miss that girl, she was damn hot. But I f’d that whole thing up so whatever.

Anyway, this horror fantasy adventure tale follows some children’s stuffed animals as they defend their child masters from the evil that looms. That’s pretty much the story in a nutshell.

But as simple as this is, it was a really cool concept, well executed and I really wish this would be expanded on.

What I mean by that, is that this could really work like a pilot in a television series. This could be a sort of standalone taste of a larger story yet to be told. It’d be cool if this could somehow be an ongoing series or at the very least, expanded into a bigger tale about the size of your standard graphic novel.

This probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially those who just read superhero stuff, but this is imaginative, different and it left me smiling.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: This is pretty unique but I’m assuming it goes well with other Alterna Comics titles, even if they publish a whole slew of unique comics in varying genres.