Colder: The Bad Seed (Volume #2) Comic Book Review

Declan Thomas is a former inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed by fire. He has the strange ability to step inside a person's madness. Sometimes he can cure it. One day, he hopes to cure his own. 

Life goes on for Declan Thomas after his deadly encounter with the psychotic Nimble Jack, but Declan's strange powers continue to develop, offering him a profound connection with the nature of insanity. Little does he know that the malevolent Swivel wishes to pick up where Nimble Jack left off!

I gave the first volume of this series, Colder, 5 stars so I was a little wary about this one. Experience has taught me that sequels can often be dire. This volume did take me a bit longer to get into, as it focussed more on gore rather than weird, with the demon (demon? no idea what any of these things are) Swivel wandering around Boston with a plant pot, cutting peoples fingers off. However I soon got into the swing of things when we went back into the Hungry World.

I'm pretty sure Colder: The Bad Seed just broke the world record for "Comic Book With The Most Amount Of Fingers Chopped Off".  It's very hard to explain why fingers help Swivel grow crazy people but you just have to roll with it. On the plus side, we get a lot more of Declan's back story and why Nimble Jack made him cold in the first place.

I wasn't a huge fan of gore over weird. I like weird. The weirder the better. Thankfully the Hungry World provided plenty of weird, although not a lot of it was new. Still it was trippy and cool and there was plenty of weird finger action, so I was happy with that. The ending brings back a familar face, which if you've seen the hugely spoilery cover of issue 5, won't come as a surprise. I look forward to volume 3!

4/5

American Vampire (Volume #4) Comic Book Review

American Vampire flashes back to two very distinct points in American history. The first tale comes from the early 1800's with the "The Beast in the Cave" featuring art by the legendary Jordi Bernet (Torpedo, Jonah Hex). Learn about the original American Vampire, Skinner Sweet, and his involvement in the brutal Indian Wars, and an ancient evil hidden in the heart of the Old West. Plus, more about the man Skinner used to call his best friend - James Book!

The second tale comes straight from 1950s America, where American Vampire is terrorizing the suburbs with hot rods, teenyboppers and fangs! "Death Race" focuses on ferocious new vampire hunter Travis Kidd - but what is his connection to Skinner Sweet? As the story comes to a violent end, a sworn enemy's identity is finally revealed, and lots of blood is spilled!

Writer Scott Snyder (Batman, Swamp Thing) and artist Rafael Albuquerque bring together even more threads to the complex tapestry that is the world of American Vampire.

We've hit the 50s but not before we flash back to the days before Skinner was a Vampire. This volume covers a few different stories, starting with Skinner and Book fighting Native Americans, followed by Travis' story of being a teenager in the 50s before finishing with two issues of Calvin Poole's story, a black Vampire in a world of prejudice.

The main reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 was due to the very first story. It could have been really interesting to see Skinner and Book together as young men and I guess the idea was to flesh out Skinner's character more. However I'm not sure how seeing a white dude killing lots of Native Americans was supposed to achieve this.

I didn't like the portrayal of Native Americans. They just seemed like the same cardboard cut out versions of themselves that Hollywood has portrayed them as for years. On top of that there is a pretty bizarre story of a Native American girl who becomes a vampire and then decides she doesn't like clothes any more after developing humongous bazungas.

I love, love loved Travis' story. He was a fully realised character for once and the story was so much better for it. I would read a whole spin off about him. Raised in a psychiatric facility after witnessing the death of his parents he escapes and vows revenge on the Vampire that killed them. A self taught Vampire Hunter, he's very much a Winchester brothers type of character, full of snark (and a whole lot of sass). It wouldn't be the 50's without a drag race and that's basically the whole story, with flashbacks inbetween. Surprisingly this really works well alongside Travis' musings about what it means to be a teenager in any age.

Calvin Poole's story finishes off the story and is told in just two issues, with emphasis on the realities of life for a black person in 50s America, with far too much use of the N word for my taste. It was interesting seeing that after the cardboard cut-out versions of Native Americans earlier in the book. There's not much to this story, he's black and a Vampire and has to deal with a lot of crap. However there's a glimpse of Pearl and Henry, with an event that will change Pearl's life forever.

This was so much better than the mess that was Volume 3, so I'm hopeful that Volume 5 will continue to improve (I'd like to rate at least one of these books 5 stars). The artwork has really improved and I can actually tell who's who for once. However I still don't care for Skinner Sweet.

4/5

Colder (Vol #1) Comic Book Review

Declan Thomas's body temperature is dropping. He never gets sick, never feels pain. An ex-inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed in a fire, he has the strange ability to step inside a person's madness - and sometimes cure it. He hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out, as a demonic predator pursues him through a nightmare version of Boston - and when Declan's temperature reaches zero...it's over!

Sheer. Freaking. Genius. Great art? Check. Great storyline? Check. Not drawn out over 20 thousand volumes? Check! I was expecting this to be mediocre, or okay at best but I was really surprised to find how much I loved reading this book. The story is simple enough, a man in a lunatic asylum is visited by Nimble Jack, an entity that tells him, "Hello Declan. You're going to grow colder." And Declan does. Over the course of the next few decades his temperature slowly drops - and if it hits zero it's all over.

It's not realistic by any means (come on, the main character is literally blue from cold) but I really don't care for realism when I can have humongous dogs that are half giant hands instead. I love creepy, cringy, push your hands through your mouth into your eyes horror and this had everything. Plus Declan was pretty damn fine...

The entire story of Nimble Jack searching for his next meal (in the form of Declan's girlfriend) is wrapped up in 5 issues/1  volume however I know there are future volumes, so I'll be picking these up too to see where they take us. Hopefully somewhere horrific.

5/5

American Vampire (Vol #3) Comic Book Review

This volume of the critically-acclaimed AMERICAN VAMPIRE follows the star of AV Volumes 1 and 2, Pearl, and her husband Henry, as he is recruited by a mysterious group of vampire hunters, off to World War II Japan to find a new breed of blood sucker. But what does the notorious vampire Skinner Sweet have to do with it?

Eh, I feel like this series is steadily getting worse. This book is two separate stories because reasons. The main reason being that the author couldn't think of anything interesting for our characters to do during FREAKING WORLD WAR TWO. Talk about an off day.

The stories both suffer from the same problems - cliched characters, a poor art style and minimal plot. Pearl's boyfriend is on some sort of secret war mission that they've managed to shoehorn Skinner into, while generic white chick and Cash go and fight Nazi vampires.

I really struggled with the art style, which has been getting worse through the volumes. Now I can't tell Cash and Skinner apart while Pearl looks pretty much identical to every woman in it, even the older ones.

There's not much good I can say about this volume that I'll quickly forget. I just hope that the next volume is much, much better.

2/5

Pull Me: Notable Comics This Week (16/01/2017)

This week I've been wading through League Of Comic Geeks, discovering all the comics I've missed out. My Goodreads comic list is now bursting at the seams! I've found the time to read a few recent releases, like Aquaman: The Drowing, House Of Penance and Batman: I Am Gotham. Here's the comic book releases this week that caught my eye, minus Dollface, which I posted last week before they changed the release date:

Comic Books


CURSE WORDS #1
PUBLISHER: IMAGE

The new ongoing series from CHARLES SOULE (Daredevil, Death of Wolverine, Star Wars) and RYAN BROWNE (GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS) is COMING FOR YOU! A wizard has appeared in New York City, and he’s casting wonderful spells, getting famous, getting rich—it’s great! But it’s not. This wizard has everyone fooled. He is actually an EVIL WIZARD, and EVIL THINGS are on the way. CURSE WORDS is a gonzo modern fantasy, full of darkness, light…and MAGIC.

Let's face it, my pulls of the week are going to be majority Image releases. You can't blame me though - Image are consistently bringing out weird and wonderful things, like this story of a (secretly) evil Wizard in New York.


AQUAMAN #15
PUBLISHER: DC

“THE DELUGE” conclusion! It’s all been leading to this: Aquaman and his Atlantean army vs. Black Manta and the forces of N.E.M.O. in a final fight for supremacy over the seven seas. Whoever wins, one thing is certain: only one man will swim out alive!

I'm not completely caught up on this series but I just read the first volume and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, I can't wait to see where it goes next.


THE MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL #1
PUBLISHER: MARVEL

The Greatest. That’s what they call her. Carol Danvers has been to the depths of outer space and back, but that still hasn’t prepared her for her newfound status of biggest super hero ever.
Yaas, Queen! Danvers may not like the crown she’s wearing, but boy does it look good on her. Just watch out for the thorns it comes with—forces trying to take down everything Carol has built.

Carol Danvers makes her triumphant return as the Mighty Captain Marvel! Written by celebrity writer Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures, Black Widow: Forever Red) and drawn by the artfully talented Ramon Rosanas (Ant-Man), this bold new take on Earth’s mightiest and favorite hero!

Whoever wrote that description should be fired for writing "yaas queen" but anyway. As I'm terrible with Superheroes I've naturally not read this one either but this seems like a vaguely good place to start. I may have to wikipedia the history first though...


THE FEW #1
PUBLISHER: IMAGE

Critically lauded writer and playwright SEAN LEWIS follows up the cult favorite SAINTS with his newest book THE FEW. Teaming with red-hot artist HAYDEN SHERMAN for a LIMITED MAXI-SERIES, THE FEW combines Mad Max action with a Station Eleven sensibility in this sci-fi series for mature readers. In a dystopian future, two survivalist brothers stumble across an unlikely sight: a woman asleep in the woods holding nothing but a gun and a baby wearing a gas mask. As these boys begin to embark on helping this woman, betrayals, secrets, and revolutions abound in the fight for what’s left of America.

This is either going to be the best thing since sliced bread... or completely rubbish. Fingers crossed for the former!


MANIFEST DESTINY #25
PUBLISHER: IMAGE

MANIFEST DESTINY hits its twenty-fifth issue in this oversized comic! Lewis & Clark hunker down for the winter, and all is calm…until old enemies emerge from the fog…
Plus, a BONUS STORY of Sacagawea, where we learn how a young girl became the warrior she is today.

Finally something I have read! I've read the first volume of this so I really need to catch up this week. It got some poor reviews but I was a little obsessed with how weird it is.

Graphic Novels


DEPT H (VOL #1)
PUBLISHER: DARK HORSE COMICS

From New York Times best-selling MIND MGMT creator Matt Kindt comes an exciting new undersea sci-fi mystery. Mia is a special investigator hired to uncover possible sabotage taking place at a deep-sea research station. What she uncovers is a mind-blowing crime scene filled with suspects with terrible secrets, strange deep-sea creatures, and an impending flood! Collects issues #1-#6 of the series. 'The mixture of black and white art and color is brilliant.'-Graphic Policy

It's a good thing comics are a quick read because my mountain increases every week. This sounds so, so good. There will likely be a review up for it pretty quickly.


JUSTICE LEAGUE (VOL #1)
PUBLISHER: DC

In these stories from JUSTICE LEAGUE: REBIRTH #1 and issues #1-5 of the new series, a new day dawns for the Justice League as they welcome a slew of new members into their ranks. The question remains though, can the world's greatest superheroes trust these new recruits? And will the members of the League be able to come together against an ancient evil that threatens to reclaim not just the world, but the entire universe?

Someone is bound to get butthurt if I call these the not-so-good-avengers before reading any of it so I will. But I still fully expect that Batman and Supes will spend most of their time flexing and arguing.


KARNAK (VOL #1)
PUBLISHER: MARVEL

'My curse is that I see the flaw in all things. Systems. Philosophies. Structures. People. Everything. Never forget who I am.' He is Karnak of the Inhumans, and you will know his name. And when Phil Coulson seeks him out to consult on a S.H.I.E.L.D. case with Inhuman implications, what Karnak finds will terrify you. Can even he go it alone against an entire warehouse full of enemy agents? And when a death cult abducts an Inhuman child and installs him as its messiah, will Magister Karnak of the Tower of Wisdom rescue the boy?

I have no idea who this is. STOP JUDGING ME. I'm getting some serious Benedict Cumberbatch vibes though. We'll see.

Unfollow (Vol #2) Comic Book Review

Larry Ferrell died as he lived changing the world. 

The legendary founder of the social network Headspace (Vickie: the volume I read constantly said Chirper, I have no idea what Headspace is), which connects nearly everyone on the planet, Ferrell gave away his entire fortune on his deathbed 18 billion dollars, evenly divided between 140 randomly selected strangers. With the money came one simple condition: if any of the recipients dies, their shares are automatically redistributed to those still alive. 

The result? Kidnappings. Accidents. Murder. Slowly but surely, the 140 are dwindling, and no one not the rich and famous socialite, not the strangely prescient guru, not the tough-as-nails reporter is safe. 

But death is not the end that it might seem. Behind this sinister experiment is a secret that Ferrell kept from everybody, including those responsible for the 140 program and now all the masks are about to come off. 

The first volume of this was a bit of a mess, albeit an enjoyable one. Thankfully this volume flows a lot better as I was hoping and benefited from concentrating on a small amount of characters this time round. The plot is still as silly as ever however.

The man in the mask that's not a mask is still here but he doesn't get as much page time to my relief. His mask does make it's own No-Twitter account though. Seriously. If you're looking for realism in your comics this is not the place to go but if you like the weirder the better, it's perfect.

About 40-50 followers seek shelter at Akira's commune, who is happy to call himself a God among men while walking around naked all the time because he's just that humble a human being. Meanwhile Dave is with God dude and Ravan who all get kidnapped by some sort of Russian mob. Just go with it.

The count is down to 86 at the end of the second volume, which is still quite a lot of people. While I'm enjoying the series I hope they don't continue it for too long but I think I could take another 3 volumes easily enough!

4/5

Unfollow (Vol #1) Comic Book Review

A dying social media mogul leaves his billions to be split evenly between 140 random people--or however many of them are still alive at the moment of his death. Rob Williams (MARTIAN MANHUNTER, THE ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR) and Michael Dowling (Death Sentence) assemble a cast that includes a young black man trying to get by in St. Louis, an Iranian reporter in need of hope, a retired special forces soldier with a strange sense of purpose, and a thrill-seeking heiress, in this thriller that shows we're all still part of the food chain. 

 Unfollow is both easy to understand and yet utterly baffling. The inventor of not-twitter-but-it-is is dying and he's got some dude to create a program that randomly selects 140 people across the world to win a share of his fortune. The 140 wake up to find themselves millionaires overnight and steadily get richer whenever the another user dies.

That's the easy part. Here's the confusing parts - there's this one asshat in a mask. He kills the guy who created the app (not really a spoiler as this is literally the very first thing that happens in the comic) and people keep saying to him "you're not wearing a mask". Also the mask moves at one point. I know nothing about him other than he's rather angry about everything but I don't understand why.

This other guy whose name escapes me, I'll call him Dave. He's very much the main character as he gets the most page time (although personally I'm all for the possibly not delusional God worshipper) and he doesn't really do much. However he keeps seeing large cats that talk to him so there's that.
This really left more questions that answers. The 140 know how many people are left due to an app that ticks down when someone dies. However I don't know how the technology works to know that someone's died? Also there's this whole thing when if someone dies all the money returns to the estate or whatever only to be recounted and returned back to what's left of the 140. So if you're throwing wild parties like Dave you're going to be very, very overdrawn quickly.

Despite all that I kinda enjoyed it, the covers are eye catching and the whole thing is an easy, quick read. There's more questions than answers, so I'll keep reading to see where it takes me next. I just hope it gets better and not worse, as the countdown itself is ticking down very, very slowly.

3/5

Aquaman: The Drowning (Vol #1) Comic Book Review


Aquaman, the King of Atlantis, has never found a true home in either of the worlds that he was born of. In his undersea realm, Aquaman is both King and outsider. And in the surface world, he's a hero and an outcast. In this brand new series by fan-favorite writer Dan Abnett (Titans Hunt) and all-star penciller Brad Walker (Sinestro), the King of Atlantis attempts to broker a peace between Atlantis and the surface, but this noble quest might force Aquaman to finally choose whether to live his life above the waves, or below them. Plus, Black Manta makes his bloody return and seeks to destroy everything and everyone Aquaman loves! 

*Holds hands up* Okay, so I've never actually read Aquaman so I figured this volume would be a good place to start for someone who doesn't want to read 70 years of his history (see that? That's some great googling right there). I guess I was correct as this Volume also includes his soon to be wife, Mera, his arch-enemy, Black Manta and a face anyone could recognise, Superman. I did do some googling of characters like Black Manta to get a better grasp of their history but didn't feel confused at any point while reading.

The story is simple enough, Arthur (Aquaman) is trying to to connect Atlantis with the United States, get them talking and not be so wary of each other. Naturally this all goes to pot within a couple of issues when Black Manta blows half of the embassy up and American decides "nah bro". Thrown in a cell Aquaman decides to go the peaceful route even though he's strong anough to leave any time, to try and reconcile the two worlds.

I loved Mera. She's sarcastic and impulsive so I REALLY related to her, she has no problem with breaking Aquaman out of jail as violently as possible: *rips cell door off* "I've decided that I don't like Washington very much and I'd like to go home now please." It really made me want to read DC Bombshells even more.

Issue #6 was hilarious. I was giggling like a crazy person all the way through it. Superman turns up right at the moment Aquaman has decided he's had enough and wants to punch everything (helped by Mera who is punching everyone/thing) and poor Supes gets the worst of it. "I'm the creepy fish guy nobody trusts!" It was literally just an all out punching session for the entire issue and I loved it.

It wasn't a perfect volume, some stuff came across and cheesy and I didn't really care what the Black Manta's plans for N.E.M.O. were but I would continue reading future volumes quite happily, so this gets a higher rating from me than I'd expect.

4/5


House Of Penance Comic Book Review

A horrific take on the true story of the Winchester haunted house and one woman’s mission to wash away the blood curse of the Winchester rifle from claiming her own life and soul. This is a tale of guilt, ghosts, and guns . . . of how fortune brings misfortune as a grim and determined woman oversees the construction of a house twenty-four hours a day for twenty years, with the simple motto of keep busy building or get busy dying.

I know of the Winchester Mystery House and love anything creepy, so I picked up this volume as soon as I could. At first I wasn't sure about the art style but I grew to understand and love it by the second issue. This is a wonderfully simple, wonderfully creepy tale of loss and grief that warmed even my chilly little heart (Thank you BianaDR).

The artwork itself isn't realistic and yet that's what makes it so damn creepy. Imagine that instead of rivers of blood you have snakes of red, twisting and turning, reaching for the characters. There is so much blood and ghosts haunting the pages of this and it's all masterfully created by Ian Bertram, whose work I will be looking for in the future! It's a very unique art style and may not be for everyone, but I loved it.

After reading House Of Penance you'd be forgiven for believing that this is a truly fantastical take on the Winchester Mystery House, however this book is actually pretty historically accurate. At least according to various sources, Sarah Winchester really did visit a medium who told her to build a home for the victims of the Winchester rifles and she really did sleep in various different rooms. The building itself looks fairly ridiculous and yet again, accurate - there are roughly 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms (one completed and one unfinished) as well as 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys (with evidence of two others), two basements and three elevators. (Thank you Wikipedia).

This could easily be one of my picks of the year as it has everything I could want - lovely artwork, a simple but effective story, plenty of mystery and it's all wrapped up in one volume. Great work guys!

Have a few minutes? Check out this equally creepy song about Mrs Winchester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yHDS0nRblc


5/5 


American Vampire (Vol #2) Comic Book Review

It’s Las Vegas circa 1935, and Skinner Sweet and our gal Pearl are about to learn the hard way that the bloodsuckers in Hollywood were nothing compared to what awaits them in Sin City.

In just a few short years, young police Chief Cash McCogan has watched his native city of Las Vegas go from cow-town to wild, glittering boomtown. And when the bodies of prominent businessmen start showing up drained of blood, Chief McCogan finds himself facing a threat much darker and deadlier than anything he could have imagined . . . and the only sure bet in town is that Skinner and Pearl are right in the thick of it.


Volume One of American Vampire was quite jarring, having two different authors - Scott Snyder and Stephen King. Stephen has left after the first volume however which really helped the story flow better but I did still find myself confused towards the middle. The introduction of new characters made the story more interesting at first, but became quite cliched towards the end of their stories.

The story picks up years after the first volume, so I can presume we'll be following Pearl and Snyder right across the 20th century, as I had hoped. Switching the focus to Cashel, a Police Chief with a heavy workload and a pregnant wife at home was a really smart move and I was quickly engaged. Unfortunately I did grow tired of hearing "but Vampires don't exist!".

I'm not sure about Skinner yet. When we first meet him in volume one he's very King of Evil, bad guy in a suit? Very that. Then when we meet Pearl he's almost likeable, he becomes this sort of.. cheeky Crowley from Supernatural likeable. In Volume two he's just plain evil for the heck of it. I hope we see his character a little more fleshed out in Volume Three because "vampire who eats candy" just isn't good enough.

The sort of ending to his story (more the first part of his story) quickly became a bit of a mess, very cliched and predictable. Also I was a little confused as to what was happening. However the last two issues of the volume got the story going again with the introduction of an old enemy and left me wanting to pick up the next volume as soon as possible.


3/5