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Commentary Fetish Fix Image Comics Reviews

Lazarus #27: Jonah Carlyle . . . Long Lost and Found

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Story: Greg Rucka | Art / Cover: Michael Lark

After a long layoff of a full year (and some change), I am so happy to finally have  LAZARUS proper back into my hands, gracing my eyeballs! When last we received an issue of LAZARUS written solely by co-creator/author Greg Rucka and artist exclusively by co-creator/artist Michael Lark, it was March 2017’s LAZARUS #26, the conclusion of the “Cull” storyline which saw the Russian family Vassalovka — a deadly new piece on the LAZARUS chessboard — make their devastating assault.

Well, with a presumably recharged Lark back in the groove of producing awesome pages again, issue #27 arrives as the first of a 2-part prelude to “Fracture”, the next multi-part storyline which promises to bring major changes as this wonderfully intricate and progressive story moves forward. In the intervening months between issues #26 & 27 there was a 6-issue miniseries, LAZARUS: X+66 (co-written and drawn by various creators) that served to chronicle some key side-characters and events that get us from year X+64 to where we’ll eventually arrive in year X+67 when “Fracture” starts.

Thankfully issues #27 & 28 also chronicle events between those parameters, but they focus solely on the previously unknown fate and misadventures of one Jonah Carlyle, the disgraced, disowned and discarded son of the Family Carlyle, who — having been betrayed by his sister Johanna Carlyle who was at one point his co-conspirator to seize control of Family Carlyle by taking out their patriarch Malcolm Carlyle along with their historically loyal, weaponized “sister” and Lazarus Forever Carlyle, the embattled star of our show. [see LAZARUS #1-9]

After his fall from grace and ouster, Jonah had desperately tried to appeal to–and seek asylum from–Carlyle’s hated rival, the Family Hock (whose own patriarch, Jakob Hock, is one sadistic S.O.B.) Well, Jonah’s desperation plan for survival via Hock had actually backfired and led instead to his capture, imprisonment and inhumane torture by the Family Hock because Jakob Hock wanted to extract the Family Carlyle’s longevity technology from Jonah’s DNA. [see LAZARUS #10].

Meanwhile, Malcolm had ordered Forever to execute Jonah, while he used his son’s pitiful plight to ultimately facilitate what is called a Conclave between all the families in the Dystopic world of LAZARUS [see LAZARUS #11-13]

However, Forever’s encounter with her brother did not go as commanded because Jonah did what no other Carlyle would do for her, which was tell her the very old, well-guarded secret truth about her very existence. Jonah plead for his life and Forever opted not to kill him in that confrontation, instead she helped him escape his fate in a way that would help incriminate the Family Hock–which pleased Malcolm–and sent him away to never return [see LAZARUS #14].

Jonah has been presumed dead, yet readers knew better than that. So that’s the backstory. LAZARUS #27 (and 28) is the story of what happened after Jonah escaped into the North Sea.

So fast forward to now and we find — well, a Scandinavian family finds Jonah floating in the North Sea near Denmark and rescues him from certain death by hypothermia. A lovely lady by the name of Pernille Møller Jensen is especially sympathetic to him and helps nurse him back to functional vitality. Jonah assumes a slightly altered identity to avoid more suspicion, scrutiny and worse, and chooses to live and work among these fine Danish folk who naturally are also in cold-but-quickly-heating up war with the same factions Family Carlyle are.

Without spoiling too much, I’ll conclude that this rather fulfilling issue ends with a love scene that — judging by the cover of May’s #28 — may or may not lead to the eventual birth of a child as the next chapter chronicles the remaining years of Jonah’s exiled adventures. Given the world of LAZARUS, I do not anticipate a happily-ever-after ending to Jonah’s new life.

I wait impatiently for “Prelude to Fracture” Part 2.

 

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Commentary Fetish Fix Image Comics Reviews The Fetish Life

SAGA #51: Middle-Aged, Poised and Graceful

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Written by Brian K Vaughan | Illustrated & Colored by Fiona Staples

At just past the would-be half-way mark of what’s speculated to likely be a 100-issue epic creator-owned series, SAGA is that comfortable, reliable favorite series that you come to simply expect to deliver exactly what you need from a series — not unlike a favorite TV showing deliver the goods each and every week of the season. That’s exactly what I experienced reading Chapter Fifty One. Saga’s vast cast of characters never fail to be compelling from scene to scene, issue to issue. The plots never meander and rarely fail to surprise and thrill.

A relatively “quiet” issue, this one opens with Squire and his father Prince Robot discussing the suspiciously missing Princess Robot. Longtime readers know the truth behind that story. Next we find young Hazel in the ocean, not-quite being babysat by Ghüs, Friendo and Doff. A “mustached kingfish” leads photojournalist Doff off to this chapter’s climax at the end, but not before we discover Hazel’s dad Marko writing a novella that gets lovingly criticized (not too harshly) by his wife and Hazel’s mother, Alana. Oh, and there’s the matter of Petrichor’s (along with Prince Robot and Squire’s) new identity plan that starts heading toward a resolution (well, maybe — you never know in this universe).

That aforementioned adventure to photograph the usually elusive mustached kingfish? Well, that adventure ends tragically, unfortunately. However, that death is an honorable one thanks in no small part to loyalty. Of course, SAGA remains an epic story that is no stranger to purposeful deaths.

All in all, a rather fulfilling chapter, especially if you consider how the plot continues to serve a variety of characters in its twenty-two pages. After six years and fifty-one issues in, SAGA enters its middle-age poised and graceful while its co-creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continue to show the comics industry how it’s done!

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Commentary DC Comics Fetish Fix Reviews The Fetish Life

Action Comics #1000: A Rather Fine Anniversary Issue

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FEATURING ALL-NEW ART AND STORIES BY: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS JOHN CASSADAY OLIVIER COIPEL PAUL DINI JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ PATRICK GLEASON BUTCH GUICE GEOFF JOHNS DAN JURGENS TOM KING JIM LEE CLAY MANN BRAD MELTZER JERRY ORDWAY TIM SALE LOUISE SIMONSON SCOTT SNYDER CURT SWAN PETER J. TOMASI MARV WOLFMAN …AND MORE!

I really enjoyed DC Comics’ 80-page ACTION COMICS #1000 Anniversary issue, which also, coincidentally, marks the 80-year anniversary of Superman in printed comic form, having debuted on the stands in ACTION COMICS #1 on April 18, 1938 with a June cover date. I bought, in my opinion, the best looking available cover left on the shelf — the Joshua Middleton 1980s era variant (see below).

An anthology of assorted stories honoring Superman, I would have to say the Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason story probably was the best of the bunch, but really all the stories contributed well to the overall product, I think. The contents could have maybe been sequenced differently, but really that’s a minor thing. Dan Jurgens’ lead-off story was very clever. “The Car” by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner & Olivier Coipel, and “Of Tomorrow” by Tom King & Clay Mann, were especially fine little vignettes, as was Brad Meltzer and John Cassaday’s “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet”. As for the closing story with Brian Michael Bendis making his debut on the title and character, drawn by Jim Lee and Ryan Benjamin with inks by Scott Williams, I’ll say this: aside from the slightly annoying Bendis dialogue, I thought it was intriguing enough to whet the appetite for whatever it is he’s got in store for his upcoming runs on both ACTION COMICS and SUPERMAN starting this Summer.

So, as an on-the-fringe DC Comics fan, I’m very happy to own this special, historic comic. It’s certainly one of the better anniversary specials of all time, I’d say.

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1980s Era Variant Cover by Joshua Middleton
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1st Issue Fetish Image Comics Reviews The Fetish Life

Gideon Falls #1 by Lemire and Sorrentino | Image Comics | 1st Issue Fetish

Gideon Falls #1 |
By: Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino & Dave Stewart |
Published: March 7, 2018 by Image Comics |


From the Image Comics solicitationA brand-new ongoing series from the acclaimed bestselling creative team of OLD MAN LOGAN and GREEN ARROW! The lives of a reclusive young man obsessed with a conspiracy in the city’s trash, and a washed-up Catholic priest arriving in a small town full of dark secrets, become intertwined around the mysterious legend of The Black Barn, an otherworldly building that is alleged to have appeared in both the city and the small town, throughout history, bringing death and madness in its wake. Rural mystery and urban horror collide in this character-driven meditation on obsession, mental illness, and faith.


Writer Jeff Lemire and illustrator Andrea Sorrentino have reunited for a tour de force of a comic series that promises to deliver plenty of suspense and psychological horror. Lemire and Sorrentino have been developing GIDEON FALLS for years, always with the intention of it being created for Image Comics. Lemire has actually had the character of Norton Sinclair for over twenty years — he’s his oldest character. Yet he has admitted that the fully developed series was inspired by TV shows such as TWIN PEAKS and TRUE DETECTIVE. Also in a recent WORD BALLOON interview Lemire confessed that he was “venting” his own Catholic frustrations through this particular story.

Driven by a dual narrative, this first issue delivers great suspense and dark, yet dynamic, gorgeous and expressive art. Sorrentino’s page layouts are immersive and worthy of repeated viewing, no doubt made all the better by Dave Stewart’s muted, yet very effective coloring. Visually is what puts this comic over the top for me, though that’s not to take anything away from the writing, it’s just that the visual storytelling does most of the heavy lifting here and makes the read even more compelling.

The two narratives of Norton’s trash collecting and his subsequent return to the mental hospital for a therapy session, and of Father Fred’s arrival to Gideon Falls to replace the dearly (suspiciously?) departed Father Tom appear to be unrelated, save for a shared vision of the The Black Barn mentioned in the solicit. There’s something about the reveal in the last couple of sequences that I have a feeling will tie/twist things together even more. There’s a specific reveal that may hit toward what’s happened to Father Tom, who is supposedly no longer with us.

Aside from those two jaw-dropping final sequences that are sure to compel any readers to be curiously intrigued by the series to come, the portion in the middle really grabbed me as well. It’s the part where Norton’s psychiatrist thinks he’s regressing, undoing all the progress he’s made in his mental health by being obsessed with hunting through the city’s trash for clues to uncover some great mystery/conspiracy. The conflict here is Norton believes he’s uncovering the work of the Devil — real and true evil. It begs the question: is he on to something? Or is he truly delusional and in need of some better meds? Given that this series is billed as a psychological horror  . . . well, it could be a little of both? Whatever it turns out to be I’m confident it’s all going to be a very compelling read. One for which I’ll be along for the ride. I predict that Gideon Falls will join Lemire’s other ongoing series DESCENDER as a long term creator-owned success.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 | Sticking with it?: Yes!

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1st Issue Fetish DC Comics Reviews The Fetish Life

1st Issue Fetish – The Terrifics #1 by Reis and Lemire (DC Comics)

The Terrifics #1 |
By: Ivan Reis and Jeff Lemire |
Published: Feb 28, 2018 by DC Comics |


Spinning out of DC Comics’ DARK NIGHTS: METAL event, as well as the publisher’s THE NEW AGE OF HEROES initiative (which is the launching pad for a number of all-new series featuring all-new characters or traditionally underused characters) comes THE TERRIFICS.

This new series stars the super-genius Mr. Terrific, the now Nth-metallic Metamorpho, the funny and ever-elastic Plastic Man, and the intangible Phantom Girl. They are a newly-formed team of unlikely allies and must rely on one another to make their way back home. Bound together by fate — literally by a tragic accident — and united by the spirit of exploration and hope for tomorrow. A startling revelation on their return trip brings them face-to-face with a new mystery. What is that mystery? Well, let’s just say the last page has a cameo by a certain Doc Savage-inspired action hero who’s lost somewhere in the known/unknown universe.

This first issue is a throw-you-in-the-middle-of-it, straight-ahead comic that sets the stage nicely for what looks to be an action-packed cosmic, inter-dimensional, portal-propelled, mutltiverse misadventure series. It’s got a few tropes borrowed from Marvel Comics’ classic first family comic, the FANTASTIC FOUR (only with less bickering).

I don’t think anyone would call this a ground-breaking first issue, though. And it’s not the collection of second-and-third-string characters that are the problem. It’s just the paint it by-the-numbers plot, when you would think a comic with a cosmic, weird-science-y concept and premise like this one would have a more epic feel to it. Additionally the plot moves too swift for any deep character work (which I concede can be typical of first issues). Still, the issue does manage to be entertaining even if ultimately a little underwhelming.

My overall impression is that with a little more seasoning I think DC and storytellers Ivan Reis and Jeff Lemire could have a sleeper hit series on their hands, but only if they truly develop the characters and ramp-up the epicness of the plots.

Rating: 3.0 / 5 | Sticking with it?: Unlikely.

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World Reader #1 Advanced Review | Amani Cooper

Writer: Jeff Loveness Cover: Juan Doe, Elizabeth Torque (Incentive variant) Artist: Juan Doe We were not the only ones in the multiverse. Life could be found in many places on many planets. That’s not so true anymore thanks to a growing deadly… The post World Reader #1 Advanced Review appeared first on Outright Geekery.

via World Reader #1 Advanced Review — Outright Geekery

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The Merc with a Mouth in a Movie | Thoughts on the Deadpool flick

https://i0.wp.com/s3.foxfilm.com/foxmovies/production/films/103/images/posters/464-film-page-large.jpgFor an action movie with a foulmouthed blabbermouth antihero, it’s pretty good. The opening sequence let’s you know right away (and any parents who may have foolishly brought their little ones expecting Spider-Man, Iron Man or Captain America fare) what the nature of this movie is going to be about and what kind of content you can expect. The opening credits laced throughout that first sequence are written in Deadpool’s unique perspective, which also informs the flavor of this raucous, ultra-violent movie. Right away we see Deadpool doing what he does best, delivering graphic and gruesome punishment to bad(der) guys, all the while quickly rolling off a litany of witty, wisecracking one-liners off his swift tongue for all the chuckles, usually in voice-over or while looking right at us, breaking the fourth wall. The camera angles in these first few sequences are daring for great comedic effect.  You come to realize without a doubt during this first zippy action sequence that that Ryan Reynolds is the ideal actor for Deadpool.

Storywise, I think my favorite aspect was the choice to go non-linear with the narrative. I’ve preferred in-media res (starting in the middle) storytelling since I was a teenager first studying the art and craft of fiction. I think most of us prefer the immediacy of what’s happening now to start things off before we get into the why and how of it. At this point it’s become the formula for these kinds of movies and I’m good with that, all things considered. Since this is Deadpool’s first solo outing, it’s ultimately an origin movie.

So just as we’re getting into the rising action, the narrative shifts right at the perfect time to Deadpool’s past as Saskatchewan, Canada’s own Wade Wilson, an ex-Special Forces operative now working as a mercenary who’s just bad enough to kill the even worse guys who deserve it when the job calls for it.  These narrative flashback sequences – merged seamlessly with the present-time narrative – offer us what is effectively a love story, and a potentially tragic romance, which is my favorite kind. The pleasant surprise comes in the arrival of the always wonderful and oh-so-lovely Morena Baccarin as his lady love, Vanessa. As lovers ,Wade and Vanessa have that perfect — if unlikely and rare —  connection where their past psychological baggage is nearly equal in bleakness and volume, and they also just totally get and complete each other.

And therein lies the typical catalyst for a Marvel comics character: love, or the loss of it, is the main impetus for springing our would-be hero into action. But not before we see the events leading up to all of that – the torture at the hands of the villain Ajax (aka Francis) that brings about Deadpool’s apparently latent mutation, making him the badass ultra-healing human killing machine with an never-ending mouth to match. The Merc with a Mouth. His mission is to find and ultimately kill the bastard who made him what he is (through the ruse of curing his terminal cancer). Once the life of his lady love is seriously threatened, it’s really on. With the help of two sidekick X-Men characters in the classic Colossus and newcomer Negasonic Teenage Warhead (!),  who would rather he join their motley band of heroes, Deadpool ultimately triumphs — the ugly guy gets the girl back. The movie ultimately satisfies while not overachieving.

Since the movie’s record-breaking opening at the box office, much chatter has been made about the freedom a rated R “superhero” movie has in regards to language, sexual content and violence. In mainstream movies that aren’t exclusively adult in nature, I always say that less is more because it’s more impactful when it does occur. Deadpool is no exception, but it tries too hard to walk that edge, making some of the gags feel forced in my opinion. In effect, each timely F-bomb, witty sexual reference and gruesome dismemberment becomes overkill once they get well past the half-dozen quotient. But true blue — er — red Deadpool fans certainly won’t be bothered and will likely expect even more of the same in the imminent sequel. Hell, the studio may even go for an NC-17 just to prove the point they made with the R rating. I’m mostly kidding.

CBF Grade: B+

— Brandon L. Rucker