Edward Scissorhands [2014 Comic Book Sequel]

EdwardScissorhands01-cvrSUB-96fe8So I just finished the first issue of the new Edward Scissorhands comic book mini-series and I have some  mixed feelings on it.

It takes place many years after the events of the film. As I’m sure you already know, at the end of the film we see Winona Ryder’s character Kim as an elderly grandmother telling her granddaughter Megan about Edward and everything that happened upon his discovery.

This new story opens up with Megan, now a teenager, dealing with the death of Grandma Kim and her mother’s claims of Kim’s insanity and denial of  Edward’s existence. She attempts to learn more about her grandmother and Edward by going through some of her things. Most people have forgotten what happened, some believe he was a murderer who did kill Jim and everyone else thinks he didn’t exist and is a sort of urban legend.

However, we know Edward is innocent and he is very real and still very much alive, living in the mansion on the hill. After the events of the film, Edward disappears back into the mansion and has become more reclusive and socially inept than before. He becomes even worse after hearing that Kim passed away. He spends most of his time exploring the mansion and one day finds plans left behind by The Inventor for another creation similar to himself. He finds this creation (how after all these years he never stumbled on him/it before is beyond me) and attempts to fix him up.

A fairly solid opener for a comic book sequel to a film that is now 20 years old. Author Kate Lesh completely captures the somber tone of Tim Burton’s classic, but Drew Rausch’s art almost took me completely out of the story. It was like watching an odd Saturday Morning Cartoon that took it’s inspiration from Burton’s concept art for the film and splashed colors from SpongeBob or the Fairly Odd Parents all over it. Now please don’t take this the wrong way. I am not bashing Rausch’s work as good comic book art, but it does not work here. It’s too soft and cuddly for the world of Edward Scissorhands, a film that has made me sob on more than one occasion.

We all know that the film has a lot of insanely bright colors, it works as a beautiful contrast to the bleak whites, blacks and grays that come from Edward’s world, but there is TOO much color here. I can understand trying to pull in younger fans of Tim Burton and that’s completely fine, but it just doesn’t work for me. I would’ve preferred something in the middle, not too dark, but not this cartoony either. I prefer Gabriel Hardman’s work, like on the variant cover pictured on the right. That’s the one I grabbed at the shop.

All in all a good start to this story. I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the issues in this series. At times it took me back to watching the movie and being a fan of other work of Burton’s like Beetlejuice and Big Fish. Lesh definitely has a knack for channeling Burton.

Rating: B

Edward Scissorhands #1 is published by IDW Comics and is available anywhere comic books are sold. The mini-series is running for 5 issues.

Wytches

Anytime I see Scott Snyder’s name attached to any comic book, my interest is immediately piqued. When I started reading his work steadily a few years ago, he quickly became (and I don’t say this lightly) my favorite person in comics. His writing has forever changed, for the better, the long standing characters of Batman and Swamp Thing. His creator-owned books such as Severed and American Vampire have made an incredible impact on the world of horror comics. This brings us to Snyder’s first work at Image Comics since 2012.

Like any great scary story the world of Wytches is one in a believable, real-world setting with normal people doing normal things. These people are gradually touched by the supernatural; strange occurrences, unexplainable deaths and disappearances and the like. The first issue introduces us to some of the main characters. Our protagonist, Sailor “Sail” Rooks, her father Charles, a creator of a graphic novel series and her mother Lucy, recently paralyzed from the waist down in an unnamed accident. They’re a regular American family except that Sail is suffering from anxiety and paranoia caused by a horrific incident just months prior.

In this first issue there isn’t too much emphasis on the evil that will come to terrorize these characters. There are some great scary moments and just a morsel of back story, but it mostly focused on setting up who our characters are and what’s currently plaguing their thoughts. Like all great tales of terror, Wytches allows the story and characters to grow without showing us too much of what lurks in the dark right away.

While reading this book I was reminded of many things such as the works of Stephen King, (a favorite of mine and a huge inspiration to Snyder’s entire career) The X-Files, The Twilight Zone and even various Spielberg films. While I’m sure these and other bits of pop culture have influenced Snyder, no one in particular stood out while reading this book. And honestly, it’s probably my own encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture that allowed me to draw these connections in the first place. At no point is there a moment that I felt could have been ripped-off from another creator. It has a great sense of familiarity without feeling like you’ve sat through this story before.

After reading this issue I did a little research on it. Snyder actually came up with the idea after revisiting a wooded area in Pennsylvania near his childhood home. He was frightened of it growing up and he and his friends would make up stories about evil things that would happen out there. Upon going back as an adult he came up with a new spin on witches and witchcraft lore and thus this series was born.

Working once again with famed artist Jock, this creative team builds a world that is real and just about steps into the fantastic. Jock’s art has a way of keeping us grounded in an everyday setting while taking our subconscious on a stroll through dream-like, or in this case nightmare-like, sensations and moods. I attribute this directly to his use of shapes and shading, but here it is Matt Hollingsworth’s use of color that allows Jock’s initial vision to truly take hold and come to life.

Issue one was a great introduction to the series and I really look forward to what comes next. I highly recommend picking this one up. If it’s anything like Snyder’s previous horror comics it should leave you with a sense of wonderment, a sick/somber feeling in the pit of your stomach and allow you to remember why you were once afraid of the dark. On top of being a great issue, it’s a hefty 30 pages long with NO advertisements to disrupt the storytelling. Can’t beat that for $2.99. Also if you’re up to it and your local shop is selling it, there is an awesome Ghost Variant cover for this issue. I was able to get it for $5.00, but I’ve seen some stores selling it for $10-$15.

A-

Wytches #1 is published by Image Comics and is available everywhere comic books are sold.

*New York Comic Con Update* – It was announced this weekend that the film rights are being shopped around so we may be seeing a big screen adaptation within the next few years.

Robocop #1 [Comic Book Review]

robocop_001_coveraWith the re-releases of Frank Miller’s classic Robocop graphic novels from Dark Horse and BOOM! Studios and *sigh* a mini-series spin-off from the remake, Robocop is having a bit of a renaissance. For fans of the original film series, Robocop #1 from BOOM! comics is a leap in the right direction.

I was cautious to get sucked into another new series, but, after hearing multiple positive reviews, decided to give this a shot.

From acclaimed writer Joshua Williamson (Nailbiter, Ghosted) and artist Carlos Magno (Green Lantern Corps, The Phantom), comes a brand new series that is off to a surprisingly good start. Keeping in tone with the first two Robocop films and classic mini-series like Miller’s Robocop: Last Stand, this on-going series is set a few months after the events of the original film and follows the day-to-day accounts of the characters living in the remnants of Old Detroit and the soon-to-be Delta City.

The heavy violence and dark, slick humor that director Paul Verhoeven brought to the screen is here, but this book’s creative team puts their own spin on it while staying faithful to the franchise. Magno’s artwork is gritty, brutal and reminiscent of many great works of 1980s. One of my favorite things about this book was the inclusion of not only Alex Murphy and his partner Anne Lewis, but a lot of the supporting characters from the film (Sarge and even geek-cop Cecil, are included here) after being mostly dumped from any of the other comic book incarnations.

While there is nothing overly though-provoking or deep in this first issue, there is already some set-up for future plot-lines regarding Murphy’s humanity and his moral standing. A new major villain mixed in with some of the same complications that Robo always faces are introduced as well. As a long-time fan, I hope to see this book really take charge and maintain a strong footing for this beloved franchise. I guess we’ll see what happens.

You can’t buy this for a dollar, but $3.99 isn’t too steep for a fairly lengthy issue. My biggest complaint is having to wait a month for each issue’s release.

 

B+

Haunted [Comic Book Review]

Well! Before I get into the review I want to say a few things. It’s good to be back here on my blog. It’s been a crazy couple of months. I started a new (and very time consuming) job and I’ve been pretty much only had time to write reviews for horror films and the few that I’ve done recently are over at http://www.horror-movies.ca, which as I stated at the end of last year I’ve been writing for and it’s been fun. As always, thanks for reading. This is just a hobby, but I love it and I love that I’ve been able to reach out to more than just friends and relatives who read my stuff out of kindness. ON TO THE REVIEW.comics-haunted-1

 

This week a new horror comic mini-series premiered with its first of four issues. Published by a tiny, independent company Red 5 Comics (somehow a Star Wars reference even snuck into this review on May the 4th), Haunted tells the story of a young New Jersey woman making her way through a post-apocalyptic world over-run by ghosts, spirits, demons and monsters. The entire Earth has become haunted. In an alternate time-line, after the famed Large Hadron Collider outside of Geneva, Switzerland is switched on it rips apart the very fabric of our universe and allows for the spirit world to cross over into ours. I love when horror, fantasy and sci-fi interact seamlessly and the touch of real-world science left a good taste in my mouth.

Our protagonist, Sarah McAllister, lives in Atlantic City, NJ; abandoned for the last 13 years since the ghost world took over. Orphaned for years, Sarah fights off the ghosts, “Shriekers”, and tries to survive with what’s left of civilization. She meets two other survivors that claim to hold the secret to ending this haunted world. Can she trust them? Do they really have a plan for ending the horrors that surround them? Being that the series will be only running for 4 issues (as of now), I’m assuming these questions and many others will be answered quickly. As for this first issue, most of the writing is from the point of Sarah’s inner thoughts. We get a lot of background information which helps. The actual conversations are minimal, but help move the plot along as our introduction this world gets fleshed out. Solid exposition that doesn’t feel long-winded and unnecessary. I’m very interested in where this book will take us. We’ve already seen haunted NJ and NYC and just a taste of Paris, France. Hope to see other locales turned on their head.

The book itself showcases many end of the world themes that we’ve seen a thousand times over: Dodging the enemy, searching for food and supplies, allowing yourself to trust and rely on strangers and so on. If you are one that’s easily bored by these general themes that really have been over used, you may want to skip this, but I will say that the supernatural stuff is full of creepy fun and if you’re a fan of that check this out. It’s a strange mix of The Walking Dead, Twilight Zone and Ghostbusters and it’s pretty kick-ass. Any fan of horror and/or sci-fi should enjoy this.

The creative team of Scott Chitwood and Danny Luckert is a solid one and if Haunted plays out as well as I hope it does, I’d love to see more from them in the future; either working together or on separate projects.

Haunted is available wherever comics are sold and if you’re local shop isn’t carrying it make them order it or find it online. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

B+

DREDD: UNDERBELLY

If you’re like me and you absolutely loved last year’s “Judge Dredd” adaptation Dredd a.k.a. Ddredd_underbelly_a_p_1redd 3D then you too have been waiting, probably not patiently, but waiting none-the-less for a sequel announcement. So far the closest we’ve gotten is the official petition to get another film made and this, “Dredd: Underbelly.” A one-shot comic book published by 2000 A.D. magazine: the original publisher of the “Judge Dredd” comics. If you have been reading IDW Publishing’s new series (which is actually pretty great) this is not tied to that either, it’s strictly a sequel to the film; existing outside of both the 2000 A.D. and IDW continuity.

The quality of this comic book is really quite great. Some serious love went into this. Knowing that “Judge Dredd” creator John Wagner was quite pleased with Dredd it’s easy to see that 2000 A.D. wanted to do right by him as well as the film makers. The writing by Arthur Wyatt and artwork by Henry Flint fit very well into the world of Dredd. I thought it was a little weird that Flint didn’t really go with Karl Urban’s likeness for Dredd, he looked a bit more like the traditional drawings of Judge Dredd, but that’s just me nitpicking. The art is really great overall and like I said really fits in perfectly with the film’s environments. Normally I don’t go into the technical production of a comic, but I was really impressed by the pages and cover. All are printed on heavy-duty magazine paper, a quality that’s even greater than most mainstream comic books, but being that it’s just a one-shot, I’m sure 2000 A.D. put a little extra into it. Good job all around.

Picking up only a few weeks after the film’s events the plot follows Judges Dredd and Anderson as they must team up again to solve a mystery and murders involving a new drug “Psych” that’s been filling the void left by “Slo-Mo” and the deceased druglord/gang leader Ma-Ma. This crosses over with missing/dead “Muties”, the mutated people that are unfortunate enough to live in “The Cursed Earth”, the irradiated wasteland that once was the United States outside of the massive Mega-Cities. Many Muties that have been trying to smuggle themselves into Mega City One are vanishing. Normally these transports are searched by Judges and the Muties are sent packing, but once in a while a Judge will be paid off and allow the illegal immigrants into the city’s walls.

While I really enjoyed reading this and it made me yearn not only for a film sequel, but to watch the first film again, the story was a bit weak by the time it came to a close. And if you know “Judge Dredd” there are many issues that were very light and very quick little crime stories, but being that this issue was put out to kind of get the masses excited for another film, I expected a bit more from the plot. It was a quick, consolidated story, but could have gone a little deeper into details. Still a decent read. In the end, if another film or films is made this is a good bridge between parts 1 and 2.

I am happy to report that the first printing of “Dredd: Underbelly” actually sold out in 48 hours, meaning that every single copy that was printed was bought up by comic shops around the world. A second printing is already in the works. I am hoping that between the stellar sales of the book and the unbelievable numbers that the sales from the bluray and dvd brought in, along with the high rental/streaming rates from Netflix will allow for a film sequel to get made. Unfortunately, while the film was reviewed quite well across the board, it was a total bomb at the box office. Probably due to the bad taste left in everyone’s mouth from Stallone’s 90’s flop Judge Dredd.

“Dredd: Underbelly” is available wherever comic books are sold and if you want to get in on the sequel petition you can go here: http://2000adonline.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a6e40236aa24d482cfff600d2&id=62906ebdcc and don’t forget to like the “Make A Dredd Sequel” Facebook page. It really looks like the petition is helping to get the ball rolling.

B

BAD BLOOD

On the look out for a new horror comic, but don’t want to get sucked into a life-long commitment? Here’s a new five issue vampire mini-series from Dark Horse Comics that’s worth a look.

The center of this story is Trick.  He’s a pretty normal high school student: He’s got a life-long best friend, a football career and plenty of stress. More-so than most. One night after school he’s attacked by a vampire. Immediately after biting him, the vampire is disgusted by Trick’s blood, poisoned by it. This kicks off a war between vampires (who have been in hiding a long time) and humans. Armed with the knowledge that his blood is toxic to vampires Trick decides to take it upon himself to become a vampire slayer of sorts.

I really enjoyed Jonathon Maberry’s writing. It was quick and clever and just well done overall. Tyler Crook’s artwork isn’t really my cup of tea, but by the end of issue one it started to grow on me. Nothing against Mr. Crook’s work, I respect all artwork (especially that of an Eisner Award winner), but it just isn’t my favorite style; especially for a horror book. I tend to be picky though. I really like these characters. A lot. For me to really take to characters immediately in a comic is rare and that is a testament to Maberry’s writing. The horror is done well, in both supernatural and real world terms. I was impressed with the plot as a whole. It had both great character details and plot twists that I had not considered before actually sitting down to read it.

I love finding great limited run comic books and I think “Bad Blood” is going to be added to my list. Definitely looking forward to how it all plays out.

B+

Look! Up In The Sky! It’s…It’s…ROCKET GIRL!

I am once again proud to be part of something special through Kickstarter. I donated some money to a little comic book called Rocket Girl. Created by artist Amy Reeder and writer Brandon Montclare, this book tells the story of Dayoung Johansson, a teenage cop from the far off future of 2013, who is investigating Quintum Mechanics – a mega-corporation, for crimes against time. She is sent back in time to 1986 and must piece together clues as she discovers that the future she comes from is actually an alternate reality that shouldn’t exist at all!

This was one hell of a fun book. I flew through it (pun intended). The artwork is gorgeous, colorful and fits the storytelling perfectly, the writing is smart, fun and to the point. I was lucky enough to receive the first issue (autographed) in the mail yesterday along with a kick ass double-sided art print from Amy Reeder. Published by Image Comics, (The Walking Dead, CHEW) issue #1 is set to release tomorrow, Wednesday, October 9th 2013 and will be available wherever comic books are sold. I have high hopes for Rocket Girl and it has great potential to soar. I think Image has another hit on their hands.

A-

A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time.  As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all! – See more at: https://www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rocket-girl-1#sthash.c3XDXOtP.dpu
A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time.  As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all! – See more at: https://www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rocket-girl-1#sthash.c3XDXOtP.
A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time.  As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all! – See more at: https://www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rocket-girl-1#sthash.c3XDXOtP.dpu
A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time.  As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all! – See more at: https://www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rocket-girl-1#sthash.c3XDXOtP.dpuf