Comic Review: Tokyo Ghost

Published: July 5th, 2017
Written by: Rick Remender
Art by: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth

Image Comics, 257 Pages

Review:

I wasn’t aware of this when it was being published but having found out about it recently, I wanted to give it a read, as it unites the writing of Rick Remender with the art of Sean Murphy, whose Batman: White Knight was one of the best comics I’ve read in the last few years.

Also, this kind of borrows from anime, manga and Philip K. Dick stories. It has an Akira meets Blade Runner feel even if the story is wholly original and its own thing.

Remender, overall, penned a good and engaging story. It took a few issues for it to click for me but even if it started out a bit slow, Murphy’s art held my attention.

As the plot builds and this universe gets richer and more complex, you do find yourself immersed in this world. And frankly, that’s what you want from a comic book and Remender did his job.

My only issue with the plot is that the two young lovers’ codependency sometimes felt a bit overbearing. However, it’s kind of supposed to, I guess, as it is a big part of who the main characters are and where they need to go in their lives. There are lessons to be learned within these character flaws and Remender succeeded in bringing the lovers’ story to a proper close by the end of the ten issues.

I liked the villain, the plot twists and the neo-noir vibe that really channels classic noir narrative tropes.

The story does have a lot going on and that may be jarring early on, as things seem to jump around a lot, but it all comes together rather well.

Sean Murphy recently stated that he’d only do art for stories he writes going forward. However, it’d be cool to see him team up with Rick Remender on another project in the future.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other comics written by Rick Remender and other comics with art by Sean Murphy. Also, it’s influences like futuristic anime, manga and the stories of Philip K. Dick.

Comic Review: Exilium

Published: September 27th, 2018 – July 25th, 2019
Written by: Ben Slabak
Art by: Salomon Farias, Marc Sintes

Alterna Comics, 192 Pages

Review:

I’ve been a fan of a lot of Alterna’s comics. In fact, I subscribe to everything they release because you can’t beat the price and almost everything is quality.

This one didn’t resonate with me though.

I found that kind of surprising as I like sci-fi stories, especially involving war and drama. And this was also a pretty epic release for Alterna, as it was six issues, the finale was double sized and it took nearly a year for the entire arc to come out.

I think that the art didn’t pull me in. It was definitely competent, it just wasn’t a style that I liked. Frankly, I thought the art and the colors were kind of drab.

As far as the story went, I just couldn’t get myself to care about it.

So with those two main components not clicking in the right way, it made getting through 192 pages kind of a slog.

Now the majority of other reviews and comments I’ve seen about this series are fairly positive. Some people really dug the hell out of it.

But at this point, I’ve read a lot of Alterna’s stuff. Some of it isn’t my cup of tea but most series I still find something I enjoy in them. For instance, I would have never picked up Cyco KO on my own but it amused me and made me a fan.

Exilium aimed high and it was ambitious. In the end though, it just didn’t connect.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: other sci-fi releases by Alterna Comics.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2

Published: February 28th, 2018
Written by: Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

IDW Publishing, 132 Pages

Review:

It’s not this particular comic’s fault but I think I’m suffering from IP crossover fatigue. I’ve read a ton of crossovers between different intellectual properties over the last year or so and they all follow the same tired formula of smashing two franchise together via a portal or a dimensional rift whether it be through science or magic.

That was how these two franchises came together in the first place and that’s also how they come back together for a second time. So I can’t fault it as a plot device here, it’s already been established. However, with that trope, we also get other tropes with stories like this that make them all pretty predictable and just more of the same.

Now this was still amusing and I enjoyed the banter between the characters. However, the story itself felt like a clusterfuck. The main reason, is that it takes this portal/rift trope and multiplies it by a thousand.

There is so much dimensional jumping that the plot becomes overly complicated and confusing. It’s like someone took an entire season of the show Sliders and tried to wedge them all into a five issue comic book arc.

Crossovers like this used to feel cool and special. But there are so many of them and IDW is a big part of the problem, as they own the publishing rights to so many franchises. When the regular comics don’t sell, you smash the titles together and try to capitalize. It worked for awhile. I just don’t think it’s working anymore.

Props to Dan Schoening on the art though. This was a nice book to look at in that regard.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: other IDW collections for both Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Vids I Dig 069: Cartoonist Kayfabe: Image Comics ‘Grand Design’, The Pitch Proposal

The Cartoonist Kayfabe guys (Ed Piskor & Jim Rugg) discuss what the Grand Design treatment could look like for the original Image Comics titles.

Comic Review: Vampirella Master Series – Omnibus

Published: September 20th, 2017
Written by: Kurt Busiek, Mike Carey, Warren Ellis, Jeph Loeb, Mark Millar, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, James Robinson
Art by: Amanda Conner, Gary Frank, Joe Jusko, Louis LaChance, Mike Lilly, Mike Mayhew, Tim Sale, Mark Texeira

Dynamite Entertainment, Harris Comics, 545 Pages

Review:

I’ve kind of dug Vampirella my entire life, even if I hadn’t read many of her stories until more recently. She always looked like a cool, badass character and I’ve always enjoyed horror, especially vampire fiction.

Being that this is the 50th anniversary of the character and because I’m stoked for the new series that Christopher Priest is writing, I wanted to dive deep into Vampirella lore.

This gigantic omnibus was put out recently by Dynamite but it collects stories from the ’90s when Vampirella was being published by the now defunct Harris Comics.

What makes this collection special, is that it is a compilation of Vampirella stories from a ton of A-list creators in a time when comics were allowed to be harder, sexier, edgier and darker: all things that make Vampirella who she is.

Overall, most of this was entertaining. The only low point was the Kurt Busiek story because it was a bit slow when compared to the pacing of the others. I did like Busiek’s tale overall but it was also the largest and kind of took the wind out of the sails for me.

I wish that some of the other stories were larger or expanded on more, though. There were a lot of cool ideas tossed around and a lot of what was considered Vampirella canon was experimented on and retconned. Typically, I’m not big on retcons but with Vampirella having a rocky history, as far as being published regularly and with any sort of long lasting narrative, it doesn’t bother me. Plus, by the ’90s, a little reinvention wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In the end, I was glad to have finally read these stories and they’re certainly better than what was the standard in the early to mid-’90s.

I also loved most of the art.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other Vampirella stories, as well as comics featuring Red Sonja and Dejah Thoris.

Comic Review: William Gibson’s Alien 3

Published: August 6th, 2019
Written by: Johnnie Christmas, William Gibson
Art by: Johnnie Christmas, Tamra Bonvillain
Based on: William Gibson’s unused Alien 3 script

Dark Horse, 138 Pages

Review:

I’ve heard great things about William Gibson’s original script for Alien 3, which was drastically different than the film we got in 1992. So when news came out that it was going to be adapted in comic book form, I was pretty stoked to check it out.

As far as the story goes, I like it more than the film. It was a lot more interesting and took the franchise in an interesting and very different direction. However, some of the more bizarre parts of the script were then used in the 4th Alien film a few years later.

But even though the story was good, the execution in this comic book was not.

It lacked suspense for the most part and the story is really a thriller more than it is a horror movie for the first two acts. In fact, we don’t really get some solid xenomorph action until the fourth of these five issues.

Also, the story seems like it would work better in the film medium. It’s a very wordy story with lots of dialogue, plotting and scheming. Not to mention a great deal of science stuff. It’s interesting but it doesn’t make for an interesting comic book when that’s mostly all you get for the first 60 percent of the tale.

Additionally, the art isn’t very good. It’s not terrible and it is mostly competent but it doesn’t feel as good as it should be on a book of this caliber.

Overall, this is worth giving a read if you are interested in the original idea for the film but you could also just read the script. I know it’s floating around out there, somewhere.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other Alien comics from Dark Horse.