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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: September 14, 2016

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Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's HADRIAN'S WALL #1, HEROES OF SKYREALM #1, RESIDENT ALIEN: MAN WITH NO NAME #1, GRIMM #1, THE STRAIN: MISTER QUINLAN-VAMPIRE HUNTER #1, and the long awaited release of DOOM PATROL #1.

 

 

HADRIAN'S WALL #1 (Image Comics)-

4.0 Stars

Another creator owned comic from Image Comics that is a near future murder mystery in space? Sign me up! Written by Kyle Higgens and Alec Siegel, HADRIAN'S WALL is set in a near future in which humanity has spread throughout the local galaxy leading to rising tensions between Earth and some of it's colonies. In this chaos we meet Simon, Annabelle, and Edward. Their relationship is complicated to say the least and when our story kicks off Edward is dead, his wife Annabelle is still holding a deep resentment for her former lover, and that former lover is Simon who is still recovering from the six gunshots Edward put through his chest. As a reluctant Edward arrives on the mining vessel Hadrian's Wall to investigate the murder he is met with nothing but hostility, clues that don't add up, and an as yet unknown hand pulling their strings. This first issue is all about character and though it is a slow read with walls of text I still found it completely engaging. The three main protagonists are all fleshed out and by the end of 22 pages I had a strong feeling for who they were and I was ready to see how their personal relationships with play out as this mystery unfolds. The art by Rod Reis is the real star of the show here. The pencils are incredibly tight with little to no texture in the colored flat panels but the details are beyond amazingly drawn. Just look at the panels of Edward's mask as it cracks under pressure or Simon's face as he deals with the pharmacist. Both examples can be found within the first five pages and act as a real showcase for Reis' talent. This is an incredibly strong first issue held back from a perfect score only because it is such a slow burn and did not have that moment that grabs you and pulls you in. All that said definitely check this book out because I think it is one people will be talking about in a few months.

 

HEROES OF SKYREALM #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

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Dynamite Entertainment's attempt at a comic with a Manga influence leaves much to be desired. HEROES OF SKYREALM #1, created by Edwin Mcrae, Ian Morgenheim, Rik Hoskin, and Ilaria Gelli, is a mess from start to finish. How this many people collaborated on a book that is so poor in all aspects is beyond me. The story is the worst kind of trite anime garbage complete with effeminate goofy male protagonists, sky ships, and the sexy half dressed female pirate character. I could mention the plot but nobody should care. The real sin here are the completely cringe worthy characters who are written so poorly I almost cannot believe this book is not some sort of parody. The art is flat and dead with absolutely not sense of movement or kinetic motion at all. This book is bad, don't read it.

 

RESIDENT ALIEN: MAN WITH NO NAME #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

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RESIDENT ALIEN: MAN WITH NO NAME #1 is the first issue in the fourth volume of the Resident Alien series published by Dark Horse Comics. Created by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, Resident Alien is the story of an alien that crashed landed on Earth and took over the identity of a small town doctor named Harry Vanderspeigle. Using his mild telepathic powers he can convince those around him that he looks like an unassuming elderly man. The more time he has spent on Earth the more interested in humanity he has become and now he uses his gifts as an amateur detective while constantly being on the lookout for the government agency that has been pursuing him. This new mystery involves that same government agency closing in on Harry as they search for a young woman who is somehow connected to him while at the same time a strange drifter has appeared in town just before a fire breaks out resulting in a single death. The book is well written but I found it very hard to get into. There are so many characters, so many moving pieces, and so much story already established that I would not consider this number one issue new reader friendly. There is just too much back story missing and it look me a trip to Wikipedia and multiple reads of the comic itself to put together what was going on. Peter Hogan delivers great pencils with a lot of detail. Even though the first issue is rather mundane when it comes to set pieces and action the art still shines through. Faces are all unique and distinguishable with lots of emotion and when faced with a large cast of all new characters never once did I find the panel to panel dialogue hard to follow. I think this is a well written and well drawn comic that might put off new readers with a very slow start and a lot of backstory that they would be expected to know. If you have kept up with Resident Alien over the years then definitely check this one out because the quality of the content is there but if you are new to the series I would recommend you pass on it or look it up online and and take the deep dive with the old trade paperbacks if you are interested.

 

GRIMM #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

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Set in the universe of the NBC television show of the same name, GRIMM #1 from Dynamite Entertainment follows the ex girlfriend of the shows protagonist as she deals with witches as monsters in Portland, Oregon. Juliette Silverton is a hexenbiest, think of a witch with superhuman strength and speed. When she is caught up in an armed robbery perpetrated by three witches she dives head first into their pursuit on her own to defend the name of her good friend who has been implicated as their accomplice. Writing duties for this spin off comic have been taken up by Caitlin Kitteredge and she does a fine job with the source material she has to work with. The Grimm television universe is just not that interesting due to the confines of its primary medium and the wide audience it must appeal to. Thus this comic feels tame when compared to other titles that have tackled The Brothers Grimm source material. That brings us to the question of who this book is for? Comic fans are used to a medium whose only limits are the creative teams imaginations and three witches that look like totally normal people robbing banks is not exactly the kind of thing that will grab new readers. Fans of the show would be interested in this series but I am not sure how much crossover there is between a prime time network show and the local comic book store. The art by Maria Sanapo is average at best with some panels showing promise while others appear very amateurish. There is nothing that stands out from her work and at best it is passable. I think this is a book most readers should take a pass on unless you happen to be a fan of the show who is itching to see Nick's ex-girlfriend attempt to solve a case of her own.

 

THE STRAIN: MISTER QUINLAN-VAMPIRE HUNTER #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

3.0 Stars.gif

Based on the hit series from FX Dark Horse Comics is fleshing out the backstory of Mister Quinlan with THE STRAIN: MISTER QUINLAN-VAMPIRE HUNTER #1. Quinlan is a main character on the show and a human-vampire hybrid. Viewers knew he was ancient and that his hatred for The Master has driven him throughout the centuries and now they can read his definitive origin. Set in the year 40 AD we meet Quinlan as a child born out of the rage The Masters lust for young women. His mother escaped to and survived to bring him into the world only to die at the hands of The Master years later when Quinlan was still a young boy. Eventually sold into slavery Quinlan makes it to the gladiatorial games of Rome where he learns to fight and keeps focus on his need for revenge. The story credits go to Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan with script credits for David Lapham. The story is solid and engaging even for someone like myself who has never watched the show, it is the basic vampire lore with a few new twists to make it interesting. The bad side of this issue is that almost the entire book is narration with absolutely no character dialogue until the last few pages. It feels like it is just someone telling you a story instead of being engrossed in that story. The art by Edgar Salazar is very strong and brings the characters designed for television to the page with tons of detail. The action is well drawn and kinetic and the eye tracks it from page to page with little effort and no confusion. This is one of those comics based on another property that is well drawn and well told but does not offer much for readers who are new to the source material. If you are a fan of The Strain then definitely pick this book up and get a great back story to one of the main characters. If you are not then there is little here to recommend.

 

DOOM PATROL #1 (DC Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

What the hell did I just read? The cover would imply I read DOOM PATROL #1 from DC Comics but I might as well have just had an acid trip and spent the last 15 minutes reading a phone book written in another language. Author Gerard Way obviously has a plan and a vision for this new Doom Patrol title but what that vision is I cannot say. DOOM PATROL #1 is the first release in DC's Young Animal line aimed at mature readers and it shows. The writing is smart, possibly too smart, and it relishes in its heightened violence and colorful language. This is a hard review to write because I can see some real genius here but the truth is the entire issue is borderline nonsensical. The last time I read something this off the wall would have been the first issue of The Filth or the first issue of The Invisibles, both works by superstar creator Grant Morrison so I can say for sure that Gerard Way is in good company. DOOM PATROL #1 does not obey the rules of storytelling and throws readers right into the deep end of the pool. There are at least 4 different plot threads in this first issue alone and none of them seem related to each other. I could not even tell you what the book was about, but I still liked it. The art by Nick Derington is jaw dropping and oozes simplicity and style. Each panel is packed with detail and repeated readings reveal more and more crammed onto every page. This is not a great book but it is one that deserves attention. I think everyone should at least pick up issue number 1 and see how they feel once they are done reading it. I am sticking around for the first arc just so I can find out what the hell is going on.

 

Don't just take our word for it. Grab the books yourself and let us know what you think!

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: September 07, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 31, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 24, 2016

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