This week I continue diving into the exciting world of comics to bring you the scores you should know. From viscous shootouts to sex parties, dangerous joy rides to club hoppin and even a random dog rescue or two, this weeks comics let you experience it all. For my last batch of CB Roundup click here.
As a big fan of the manhwa Priest, written by Hyung Min-woo, a horror western with heavy themes of religion and betrayal, East of West is right up my alley. Now I just have to hope that this series actually see’s a conclusion, unlike Priest, which instead got an absolutely dreadful Hollywood film that had nothing similar to the original work save for its name. Penned by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta and colored by Frank Martin; East of West Volume One is a beautifully compiled collection consisting of the series first five issues on quality paper with art that jumps off the page. Hickman’s story begins muddled and violent, introducing an alternate history that eventually leads to a sci-fi future where weary travelers can rest for a spell at a saloon before heading to a capitol that features flying transports and massive looming skyscrapers. A western with eastern influences gently dabbed with science fiction and apocalyptic themes. By this volumes end a lot of the mystery will be gone, leaving you with a story that unfortunately bears many similarities to books and films that have come before, but one that still hints at having a few tricks up its sleeve. East of West is a genre blender that many should take a chance on, especially if they are interested in the themes present and enjoyed the Darksiders games. Intriguing writing, beautiful art and extreme acts of violence mix well to create a must read trade.
Final Score: 9.0 / 10
Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore team up to resurrect one of Marvels most unique and violent heroes, Ghost Rider with this new Marvel Now! series. Ghost Rider has had a rough time of late when it comes to gaining a longstanding series, but here’s hoping that All-New can become just that, because this book is great! When Marvel announced there would be a new host for Ghost Rider, the press release didn’t exactly do a great job describing the new hero, but once you actually dig in and finish up this first issue, you’ll be hard pressed not to be on board with newcomer Robbie Reyes and rooting for him to succeed in his journey. Taking place on the west coast (also home for the new Daredevil series) Ghost Rider is able to paint itself in a unique light, showing a side of the Marvel universe not often scene. Smith and Moore’s unique flavors combine beautifully to make All-New unlike any other Marvel book around, with slang filled youth and absolutely striking art and colors. From an early brawl to the issues shocking final pages, Moore’s art drives you forward with as much force and speed as Reyes behind the wheel of his muscle car. This first issue is a great introduction to this world and should leave you craving more from this new Marvel hero.
Final Score: 8.5 / 10
From Boom! Studios comes a new look at the Norse God Loki, one with less betrayal and mischief and more electric guitar and club hopping. After his thickheaded brother Thor ruins a peacekeeping mission the brothers return to Odin with the bad news, only for Loki to be cast out to Earth as Thor pins the blame on the trickster god instead of himself. At first upset about this new turn of events Loki quickly discovers that Earth has evolved since the last time he payed it a visit – it now includes goths, metal heads and kickass clubs! Loki is quickly taken in by the new crowd and finds himself defending the castaways from bully jocks and fronting a metal band. Ragnarok and Roll never takes itself seriously and is a quick and amusing read, with fun asides in the background and an art style that is cartoonish and exaggerated, don’t let the nostalgic 80’s cover fool you, this is very much a tongue in cheek miniseries. Consisting of only four issues, Loki: Ragnarok and Roll is one you should pick up if you enjoy fun and unique adventures – and who doesn’t?
Final Score: 8.0 / 10
From Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky comes Sex Criminals, a sex comedy for comic readers, or so the description says. This issue is actually fairly serious, with the narrator consistently promising that the humor will come soon enough. Issue one introduces you to Suzie as she recounts her teenage life, from losing her father to experiencing her first orgasm, and all of the angst filled confusion and wonder that comes with those events. Perhaps it was due to my confused mind (as I am currently in the midst of a cold) but as I laid in bed longing to sleep but instead finding myself plowing through comics and downing cough medicine as if my life depended on it, the end of the book held a neat little twist that I hadn’t seen coming. (no pun intended) Flipping back through the issue the hints were practically smashing me over the head, so i’m not sure if Fraction intends for the finale to be a shocker, but it was for me and certainly paints this series in an exciting new light. Sex Criminals #1 is currently free on Comixology (just click the cover to the left) so should be a fairly easy pick up for comic readers to make up their own minds.
Final Score: 7.5 / 10
After hearing so much about Matt Fraction and David Aja’s take on the Avenger known as Hawkeye, I was excited to dive in and see what life as a master archer was like. What I found was a somewhat disappointing, but lighthearted, look at a superhero that doesn’t seem to care all that much…about anything. This take on the classic hero doesn’t promote epic stories of adventure or danger, in fact it states the opposite. This series is about what an Avenger does outside of avenging. Volume One consists mostly of one-offs, showcasing Barton looking after an apartment of struggling tenants, rescuing an injured dog and having a car purchase go awry. The problem I have with Volume One is the fact that Fraction makes Barton to be somewhat of a doofus. A man who gets into random scrapes and just happens to get by due to random happenstance, and not of his own true skill. His own sidekick, former Hawkeye Kate Bishop, shows more skill and awareness than the man himself, making this series of Hawkeye feel more like an episode of Inspector Gadget than the escapades of a world class hero. This depiction of Hawkeye isn’t all bad, as it is still enjoyable lighthearted fun, but this isn’t what I exactly want out of a comic depicting the worlds greatest marksman. I will still give Volume Two a shot, as I continue to hear good things about the series, but this time I will make sure to taper my expectations.