Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Comics Wednesday 11/30: MOON KNIGHT Volume 1 from Marvel

MOON KNIGHT #1 - 5 (Marvel Comics, July - October 2016) Writer: Jeff Lemire.  Artist: Greg Smallwood. Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire.  Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit. Covers by Greg Smallwood.     (Collected in MOON KNIGHT Volume 1 trade paperback released on November 30, 2016)  Rated T+.


Editor’s Note:  WARNING. There are some spoilers in this review.  However, many readers are already aware what the surprise is, if they look at advance solicit notices or read the Marvel news. If that refers to you, don't worry about reading onward . . . .


     The latest version of Moon Knight is Volume 8, a number which by itself reveals a lot about the ups and downs of this peculiar Marvel character.  There have been even more than eight writers try their hand at showcasing the tales of the white-garbed crimefighter, and a truckload of illustrators to put pictures with the words. 


     He began as Marc Spector, and at various times (depending on the Volume #) assumed the identities of Jake Lockley, Steven Grant, and probably some others that we’ve forgotten. He’s been dead. He’s been revived. He’s been committed. He’s in recovery.  He’s suffering from drug and/or alcohol addiction. He’s in recovery. In addition, in the most recent version prior to this, he even went through a uniform change thanks to writer Warren Ellis’ take on the subject.


     Now, gifted writer Jeff Lemire handles the reins.  If anybody is qualified to get into the personality and psyche of this character it’s Lemire. We like where this is going under his capable hands, although at times we’re not sure it’s going where it appears to be. 


     Lemire scripted a great opening four pages, and artist Greg Smallwood depicted the event perfectly.  A stumbling Marc Spector, wearing what appears to be a karate master’s garb, wanders under the moon light until a voice beckons him towards an Egyptian temple.  He meets  Khonshu, the moon god, and learns he is dying. Khonshu implores Marc to put on the Moon Knight face mask, explaining that in order for him to be reborn he must remember who he has been. Cut to a full page with a montage of the various identities that Marc has operated under.  Turn the page and get the shocker: Marc is wearing white scrubs, and is a patient at an institution for the mentally ill. 


     That could have been a classic opener, except for two things:  1) The cover to Issue #1 gives it away (Moon Knight in a strait jacket) and 2) the update text on the credits page gives another big hint:


“Mercenary Marc Spector died in Egypt under a statue of the Moon God Khonshu.  In the shadow of the ancient deity, Marc returned to life and took on Khonshu’s aspect to fight crime for his own redemption. He went completely insane and disappeared for a time, but returned to protect those who travel by night.  At least he thinks that’s what happened . . .”


     Just how bad a state Marc is in is immediately revealed on the following pages. Two orderlies rough him up, heavily sedate him, and strap him down for some shock treatment.  All this is stunningly depicted by Smallwood in small rectangular panels of varying sizes surrounded by white border over a big portion of each page. There’s a funny and ironic scene where an orderly smirks and wishes “night, night” to Spector after injecting him.  In his beaten, weary, and drug-induced state Marc mumbles in response “knight, knight?”


   Many of the patients look familiar to Marc, as if he’s known them in some previous version of his life.  Some seem to acknowledge him. Others don’t. And one particular elderly patient, Crawley, tries to convince him everything is a facade.  The counselor tells Marc he’s been a patient there since the age of twelve, and Moon Knight is a boyhood fantasy that he wrote in his journal about. He’s diagnosed as having Dissociative Identity Disorder. Marc goes back and forth during Issue #1 - - believing and disbelieving. 


  He still hears the voice of Khonshu telling him that the god Seth is trying to take over and only Marc can stop him. Mask on, he sees evidence.  Mask off, he sees normality.  Marc eventually escapes into the night air, in a stunning scene that reveals a city half-buried in sand and jackal-headed winged warriors flying around.  At this point, neither Marc nor the readers know what to believe.  It’s a great set-up and a great ending to the first issue. We were hooked. We had to read the rest of the first story arc.  


   Issue #2 goes back and forth between Marc’s treatment at the institution, his counseling, and his visions, memories and night-time visits from Khonshu telling him of the master plan. He attempts to break out along with some other patients. Sometimes Marc sees the mental institution and the abusive staff. Sometimes he blinks and sees himself as a captive of Egyptian dog-faced warriors determined to keep him from crossing over into their reality. Eventually,Marc does gets out of the building, wearing the Ellis version white suit and mask,  and has to decide if he’s fleeing through a city covered in sand and pyramids, or is it the streets of New York? Just when it seems that the gods have been telling the truth, along comes Moon Knight in Issue #4 to confront imposter Marc. Who is the real Moon Knight?


  The special treat awaiting readers in Issue #5 is the addition of more artists to illustrate different aspects of the story, to help reflect as many versions or personalities as Marc can juggle in his head. It’s fun to look at the pages and try to determine which of the artists was involved, including Greg Smallwood again with Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla, and James Stokoe. There’s a final surprise when Marc meets Khonshu face to face, hears the real master plan, and yet another version of reality intrudes into his world.




STORY: Clever writing. Just when readers may feel they have a grasp on things, a new bit of evidence or some persuading dialogue will point to another direction. It was certainly fun during the first story arc. However, eventually Lemire will have to settle on a personality for Moon Knight to settle down in. I’m guessing we’re going to see that in Act Two. I think Lemire is having fun along with us.  2.5 POINTS.


ART: Good, solid art and an impressive use of white in the borders and backgrounds. Just don’t overdo it, because it means less panels of art and story per page.The guest artists on Issue #5 was a nice bonus.  2 POINTS


COVER:   All of them have been interesting while somewhat simplistic. Just head shots or profiles against a white backdrop. 1.5 POINTS


READ AGAIN?  Yes.  Thought it might help me figure it out. Not with any certainty at all. But I enjoyed reading these scenes again. 1 POINT.


RECOMMEND?   Yes, for now. Have to see how this holds up in the long run. 1 POINT.


TOTAL RATING: 8 POINTS. Solid. You should be reading this. 


Adam Nevill's horror collection of short stories offered for 99 cents

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Adam Nevill is a contemporary writer of horror fiction.  I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve read by him, and recommend his work.  This is his first collection of short stories, and is available for a limited time as a 99 cent e-book through Amazon.  If you’re interested or curious, I recommend you take advantage of the offer.  Willing to gamble 99 cents of your hard earned wages?



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New Comic Wednesday 11/30: WOLFCOP #2 from Dynamite Entertainment

WOLFCOP #2 (Dynamite Entertainment, November 30 release date)  Writer: Max Marks.  Artist: Allan Otero.  Colors: Arcana Studios. Letters: Chris Barrett.  Wolfcop created by Lowell Dean. Mature readers only.  


     WOLFCOP returns for more movie-inspired mayhem, mauling, mutilation, brawls, booze, and broads.  It’s a drive-in B movie transferred to the comics page. The main protagonist from the two Canadian indie film classics returns, bringing with him capacious amounts of blood, gore, sex, and filthy language. There is just enough humor included to make the gratuitous amounts of blood and guts more palatable. The outrageous and over-the-top scenarios depicted here should convince most readers to not take this seriously, unless these are common occurrences in their neck-of-the-woods. 


  WereWOLFCOPclrREVwolf police officer Lou returns along with roadie sidekick Willie. Their stolen police vehicle is still disabled from last issue, and Willie makes under-the-table arrangements with a mechanic to get it running. While he’s busy, alcoholic Lou wanders next door to the strip club.


    Before long, both Lou and Willie wind up as guests at a whorehouse, where appearances can be deceiving. Seems this pair can’t go far without running into biker gangs, cannibals, zombies, vampires, succubi and samurai-wielding security guards (but not all of those in this issue, just some).  Of course, Lou manages to survive the craziest situations and he does so again.  Looks like he’s heading back home next issue.  We’ll probably tag along. 




STORY: Tasteless good fun. A guilty pleasure for us, and perhaps some of our readers would agree. No redeeming merits. There doesn’t need to be much story - - just enough to set things up for page after page of action. That’s what we came for. There is some drama here, and a sad scene. But only for a panel or two. No time for tears.  1.5 POINTS.


ART: Amazing, and very graphic. Fans of horror comics will appreciate it best.  Allan Otero is a major talent. The colors by Arcana Studios are vivacious and explode on the page.  2.5 POINTS


COVER:   The most expressionistic thing about the entire book. Love the title.  1.5 POINTS


READ AGAIN?  Yes.  When you’ve had a bad day, and just crave an escape you turn to mindless entertainment. This is the place.  1 POINT.


RECOMMEND? For selective tastes only.   ONE-HALF POINT.


TOTAL RATING: 7 POINTS. Pick it up and skim a few pages. That will help you determine if this book is for you.


Our review of SIX SCARY STORIES selected by Stephen King appears on the Nameless Digest website.  


Six scary cover

See the link below to read the full review . . . . . .



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Comics Review: AMERICAN MONSTER from Aftershock Comics


AMERICAN MONSTER #1 through #5 (Aftershock Comics, January - October 2016)  Writer: Brian Azzarello.  Artist: Juan Doe. Colorist: Juan Doe.  Letters: Juan Doe.  Covers: Juan Doe.  Rating: 17+. Also released on November 23 in a trade paperback edition.


     AMERICAN MONSTER is not an easy book to summarize, so we’re going to be lazy and share what the official Aftershock website has to say about it:


     “The ugliest side of humanity may be humanity’s only hope.


     In a small Midwestern town, a large man with a horribly scarred face gets off a bus, and takes a room.  He spooks the locals — nobody knows him — or do they?  It’s impossible to say because he seemingly has no face.  The man’s intentions remain unknown, until he takes on a corrupt sheriff and the rural crew of racist arms dealers.  The town’s impression of the man changes, and he’s seen as a hero . . . until his real intentions bubble to the surface.  The man isn’t there to end the gang, but to take it over. And he’s just getting started.”


     BookMonster gallery3 That paragraph of description above actually clarified some things for me that reading the first five issues of this book did not.  I found myself making multiple assumptions about what I was reading and viewing.  AMERICAN MONSTER contains no captions or explanations.  Instead, it relies on art and dialogue to tell the story. 

There are multiple characters, and each issue skips back and forth among their individual scenes, without providing or even hinting at a link (although the first story arc does provide some of that near the end). 


      That is going to make it difficult for this book to connect with all readers.  I suspect many will give up after an issue or two and move onto to something less challenging. It’s definitely not for the casual comics reader.  In our case, we like books that challenge readers. We don’t mind being confused by a story as long as we can figure it out eventually. Multiple readings help uncover subtle elements that were previously overlooked. 


     AMERICAN MONSTER is a story about crime in a small midwestern town (our assumption). It also appears to be a story about redemption.  The huge man who appears to be the central figure, is a war veteran with horrible scars and an unrecognizable face. He returns to the town where he used to lived, purpose unknown. We don’t learn much more about him until later in the story. Whether or not he is the monster referred to in the title remains to be seen. 


   The man, Theo Montclare, is as personable as his appearance - - that is to say he is not a likable character (although that may come later with more understanding).  There really aren't any likable characters in the entire book.  Each individual is off-center in one way or another. Some are criminal, some uninhibited, some rebellious, some depraved, and some may be mentally challenged.


12742073 1739707399607861 3918558765303369266 n1

     This might just be the darkest story that writer Azzarello has ever told - - and readers familiar with his back catalog (100 BULLETS, LOVELESS, SPACEMAN, etc.) understand that’s saying a lot. 


      We thought that the underrated SPACEMAN was an experiment in new methods of comics storytelling.  AMERICAN MONSTER feels like Azzarello is taking the next step and experimenting still further. If that prospect intrigues you, then our job is done.  Please go and read the book.  Having it now available with all five issues of the first story arc in a trade paperback will definitely help with comprehension. There was a two month or more gap between the release dates of the single issues, which made it difficult to keep it fresh in the memory.


     If you’re still reading and not convinced about checking this series out, then the art should convince you.  It was much easier to become engrossed in the magnificent art compared to getting a firm grip on the story.  The art is just as experimental as the story: monochromatic color schemes, heavy black borders and backgrounds, borderless panels, white or black silhouettes, dark colors, etc. 


      After reading the first issue, and seeing a creators profile page with a photo of Azzarello and just a cartoon emoticon to represent the appearance of Doe, we thought the artist’s name might be a pseudonym.  Is this the work of long-time Azzarello collaborator Eduardo Risso, using a fictional name to disguise his identity so that he can experiment with changes to his signature style?  After all, Juan Doe sounds a lot like John Doe. 


   A little 3389102research reminded us that Doe is the illustrator for many of the ‘industrial revolution’ and propaganda style covers done for Marvel Comics.  You won’t believe the wonders his unique style reveals when illustrating a full book.  Doe’s work on AMERICAN MONSTER is creative and original, reminding of the best of Eduardo Risso, Darwyn Cooke, and Frank Miller’s SIN CITY period. What also makes this remarkable is that Doe does it all without any help = AMERICAN MONSTER is 100% penciled, inked, colored and lettered by Juan Doe. Did we forget to mention cover artist as well?


  Perhaps that combination still doesn’t persuade you.  If you’re still sitting on the fence, keep reading to learn more about this intriguing series. Others can stop reading now.  Just get the book.  WARNING: There may be unintentional spoilers within. . . . . . .


ISSUE #1 HIGHLIGHTS “American Monster”


    The opening pages made us recall 1960’s science-fiction writer Alfred Bester’s words of advice to writers:  ‘Punch the reader in the face repeatedly on the first page . . .”  


   On Page One the door bell rings at an isolated estate.  A woman answers the door, as her husband is busy in another room.  Upon opening the door, a muscular gauntleted arm punches her in the face hard enough to knock her down.  The husband finishes up in the bathroom and sees a silhouette in the doorway. Soon he has a bag wrapped over his head by another intruder, and is taken off panel.  The action images are colored in blood red and black with stark white for sound effects and dialogue balloons.  Ouch. We felt that. (Apparently, Azzarello has read Bester.)


The hor5343210 04ribly scarred man arrives in town, barely fitting in the doorway of the gas station where he gets directions to a hotel and restaurant. The station employee, his friend, and the janitor are open-mouthed with awe and fear of the stranger. It’s our first introduction to the big guy.


The See-Saw Man, a middle-aged sexual voyeur, visits some youngsters at a playground and pays teenager Snow to show her breasts while he fiddles with himself. Dumpy looking Candy, a cap-wearing tomboy, is jealous. 


Flashbacks are illustrated in sepia tones. Two U.S. soldiers in combat gear walk into a trap. The site is not identified. From illustrations it appears to be either Iraq or Afghanistan.


  A diner patron recognizes the big man (still unidentified) as a veteran and offers to pay for his meal in appreciation for his service. Instead of accepting, the big guy insults the patron in crude fashion and flashes a big wad of money (placing the stack on top of a newspaper with the headline ‘Bank Heist’). Outside, the big guy’s van explodes.


     We return to the kidnapped couple from the opening pages, now forced to play a cruel and twisted game by their two kidnappers, Felix and Josh, who look like bike gang members. 


 So ends the first issue. We haven’t learned where this is taking place. We don’t know the name of the big man.  We don’t know if these incidents are related, but suspect they will be important later. 




    We learn that Snow’s parents are no longer living together, and Snow stays with her self-important Mom (most ofBookMonster gallery2 the time).  Snow hangs out with four other friends, who are reckless and bored.


 Gary, the local deputy, investigates the van explosion and this is how we learn the big guy’s name is Theodore Montclare. Deputy Gary acts a little backward and shy. His last name is ironically Downs. His boss, Sheriff Verdi, hates paperwork, takes shortcuts in enforcing the law, and doesn’t appear to be honorable. 


Felix Black and Josh are arms dealers who are wary of doing business with crazy Reverend Jimmy Cross. Felix is Snow’s father. Someone shot Felix’s dog.  If we tell you who gets shot dead next, and who did it, it will spoil your fun.  And Gary still lives at home with a real or imagined mother, who may have Alzheimers disease.

   We’re going to quit with the details now. After all, this is a review - - not a book report.  We just wanted to indicate how complex this story is with multiple threads that have yet to be connected. We believe we’ve made our point. 


ISSUE #3 HIGHLIGHTS “We Bury Our Dread”


   There’s a hint here at which of the other characters in AMERICAN MONSTER has a previous connection to Theo, in a war-time flashback scene with flaming consequences.  It’s amazing what Doe does with color. 


   The See Saw Man finds another susceptible teen to take his dirty money in exchange for favors. 


    After three issues, Theo finally talks nice to someone.



     Here’s a spin on the corrupt preacher concept:  Reverend Jimmy Cross (more irony in that name) is a ‘guns and bibles’ evangelist. Check out his words to the media from Sin.N.N.: “If Jesus Christ and his Apostles were alive today, they’d all be proud gun owners.” Rev Jimmy is anti-Washington D.C., and predicts the fall of the empire.


Cam, the gas station manager, is Snow’s brother. Weird, too.


ISSUE#5 HIGHLIGHTS  “Univisible”


    This is the issue where all the loose threads seem to be coming together to form the big ball of yarn that should be fully formed sometime during the second story arc.



    Theo meets the person who wronged him in the war.  Does he have revenge in mind, or redemption, or something else?


   The back of the book includes some cool examples of the process employed by Azzarello to communicate what he wants to happen on the page, and how Doe interprets and illustrates that.  Here’s hoping there are more examples of this in the trade paperback.




STORY:  AMERICAN MONSTER has been all about the set-up for the first five issues.  It’s been a fun ride with Azzarello and Doe. The writing is dynamic, and reminds me of the way noted author Joe R. Lansdale sometimes tells a story .  3 POINTS.


ART: We love Doe’s illustration style and can’t get enough of it.  3 POINTS


COVER:  Love the use of white silhouettes for the characters on the covers. Consistent each issue, except for #5 when the silhouettes go to black.   2 POINTS


READ AGAIN?  If you don’t, you might overlook some fine details and be confused later. Repeat readings are rewarding, as they increase our appreciation for this work.  1 POINT.


RECOMMEND?   While we love this book, we know there will be some who hate it. We can only recommend it to those who crave unconventional creations and unique story-telling methods.  ONE-HALF POINT.


TOTAL RATING:  9.5 POINTS out of 10.  Damn near perfect. 


Saturday, November 26, 2016

New Comics Wednesday: SAVAGE from Valiant Entertainment


SAVAGE #1  (Valiant Entertainment, to be released on November 30)  Story: B. Clay Moore.  Artists: Lewis Larosa and Clayton Henry.  Colorist: Brian Reber.  Letters: Dave Lanphear of A Larger World.  Main cover by Lewis Larosa with Brian Reber. 


     It’s all about the art. Even though SAVAGE #1 introduces a brand new character and setting to the Valiant UnSAVAGE 001 003iverse, the art dominates the first issue.  Rather than tie up the reader with a lot of explanation, the story unfolds at a relaxed pace and allows the art to show us what we need to know. That’s a wise choice, because the art is incredible.   


   In fact, the first seven pages are completely free of captions and dialogue, with just a few text sound effects for emphasis. The art team turns in a superb performance.  The illustrations are gorgeous. The colors are vibrant. The images pop off the page. 


     We are in a savage land (hence the title). The exact location is not revealed. Man will engage beast in combat to the death, animal savagery versus dinosaur fury. We are apparently witnessing the main character, a teenage jungle warrior, in action as he stalks and attacks his prey. We witness his fighting skills, his bone talon weapon, and get a glimpse of his dwelling and apparently solitary lifestyle.  He is not well-groomed and mannered as in the comic book versions of TARZAN OF THE APES. He is also not handsome with long blond hair like KAMANDI, THE LAST BOY ON EARTH.  This new character is grubby , unkempt, and needs a manicure.  He’s ugly.  Given the circumstances, that seems realistic. 


  The rest of Issue #1 flashes back to the incident that apparently brought this about: a plane crash at sea when the teenager was just a baby.  A chartered jet is transporting soccer celebrity Kevin Sauvage and business manager/wife Veronica from Great Britain to the U.S.A., where he hopes to revive a recently sagging career.  That may be due to some problems with drinking.  Writer Moore crams a lot of insights into this seemingly happy married but struggling family into just a few pages before the crash that changes their lives.  From that point, the story deals with their survival (only the pilot dies) and preparations for a hopeful rescue. They just begin to explore the island they are stranded on.


   How long Kevin and Veronica (Ronnie) will be a part of the story is not known, but we suspect it will not be long. In tSAVAGE 001 009he short time we as readers are exposed to them, we learn of their strengths as well as their flaws. They are both likable characters, so we’re going to miss them when (as we suspect) they are eaten by the inhabitants of the island. 


   It’s a fast paced story, with incredible visuals. There are beautiful scenes of Kevin exploring the island, and a disturbing discovery of a grounded boat with dead and bloody passengers.  


     The story does raise a few questions:  


     1) Why isn’t the book called SAUVAGE, as in the last name of baby Kevin’s parents?  We suspect it’s because the book is about more than just one person — its about this strange, wild, “savage” world. And, we prefer that. 


     2) Is the island somewhere on planet Earth or in another parallel universe?  We have to ask, since it’s hard to imagine a island with dinosaurs remaining uncharted and undetectable to modern technology, considering our satellite view capabilities, etc.  


     3) Ronnie mentions two other children. They apparently weren’t passengers on the plane.  So where are they?  Wonder if they will play a role in future stories?  


     4) We’re also wondering if SAVAGE will be a stand alone story or later merge into the greater Valiant universe?  Okay with us if it doesn’t.  There is plenty of potential right here.


     The back of the book contains some sketches and insights into the art styles employed, and some of the creative choices made regarding the main character. 




STORY: It’s not complicated, but it sure is fun. We love the story-telling methods employed.  2 POINTS.


ART: Even more impressive when you understand there are two artists at work here. Larosa illustrates the scenes that take place in the present, while Henry draws the flashback sequences. The styles are similar and the transition is seamless. You can appreciate both Larosa’s skill at creature creations as well as Henry’s great sense of body language and expression with the human characters.  3 POINTS


COVER:  This one shows you everything you need to know to decide if you want to pick up this book. That character is intimidating as hell. 2 POINTS


READ AGAIN?  Yes. We can’t get enough of the fantastic art. 1 POINT.


RECOMMEND?  Who wouldn’t want to know what happens next? 1 POINT.


TOTAL RATING: 9 POINTS.  Hard to find anything wrong with this one. If you like adventure, this is it.





Comics Review: BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #2 from Valiant

BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #2 of 4  (Valiant Entertainment, November 23 release date)  Story: Jeff Lemire.  Art: DBSUSA 002 COVER A BRAITHWAITEoug Braithwaite.  Color: Brian Reber.  Letters: Dave Lanphear.  Main cover by Doug Braithwaite with Brian Reber. 


     One of the great features of every Valiant book is the summary page, which makes it possible for new readers to jump in at any time and still have a good understanding of what’s going on. That’s a big plus here, as BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #2 skips the formalities and goes for action in a big way, even more so that Issue #1. However, there is a nice capsule summary and head shot of each of the major characters that accompanies the updates and credits page. Also, you can read our review of Issue #1 in the BC Archives for October 27, 2016.


   The dynamic abilities of artist Braithwaite are put to good effect here, allowing him to showcase what he can do when handed the assignment to illustrate a city-wide battle.  The opening pages where Bloodshot gets revived in bloody fashion, and then demonstrates to his fellows warriors how to remove nanites from an infected person are especially graphic and hard to forget.


     There is another side to Lemire’s writing that we are seeing here: he can script some great action sequences, enough to fill a whole book with balls-to-the-walls adventure. Prior to this, we recognized Lemire more for his ability to bring small-town atmosphere and sensibilities to anything he writes. He’s also a magician when it comes to revealing character insights. Add another strength to his resume now: fast paced action and battle. Still, we’re so used to his style that we’re feeling cheated here.  However, we have a feeling there will be more character drama in the final two issues based on some things that occur in Issue #2. 


BSUSA 002 002

   Issue #2 focuses on the battle for Manhattan between nanites-infected residents and heroic forces. It’s not looking good for the heroes as several more become infected with the virus. The government is getting impatient and sends in the military, which may only add to the problem.  Bloodshot comes up with a potential solution that will depend on the other versions of Bloodshot chipping in to help. Behind the scenes Agent Diane Festival and Maggie attempt to break out, locate P.R.S. leader Kozol and stop him.  Deathmate shows up and heads to a confrontation with Bloodshot.  In-between all this, Lemire does get to sneak in at least one humorous scene involving a borrowed SUV and a humiliated Ninjak.      




STORY: Very fast paced and engaging.  Things are happening that will lead up to an interesting final two issues.  We expect more surprises. This story may not have the same impact on readers just jumping in. They may not realize the extent of the corrupt plan that is in play.  They’ll need to read Issue #1 to get the big picture.  2 POINTS.


ART: We are loving the Braithwaite art. Great battle scenes.  2 POINTS.


COVER: We love all these covers.  However, we base our rating on the appeal of the main cover more than the variants.   2 POINTS.


READ AGAIN:  Definitely worth a second reading, and a third. We can’t wait to read all four issues in one sitting after this story ends. 1 POINT. 


RECOMMEND:  It’s an epic worth following, and events this issue may lead to big changes in the future of Bloodshot. Should be interesting.  1 POINT.


FINAL RATING:  8 POINTS — More of the premium quality we expect from Valiant books. 


More covers and interior art below . . . . . 



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2017 BALTIMORE COMIC CON discounted tickets available soon

Black Friday Sale: Baltimore Comic-Con 2017 Tickets are Now Available

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - November 23, 2016 - The Baltimore Comic-Con is pleased to present our fans with an early holiday gift -- tickets will be on sale from Black Friday to Christmas at a discount rate for next year's show, taking place the weekend of September 22-24, 2017 at the Baltimore Convention Center in downtown Baltimore.
I_ll See You in Baltimore_ September 22-24_ 2017
Tickets that are now on sale include: 
  • Weekend
  • Friday only
  • Saturday only
  • Sunday only
  • VIP*

As always, children 10 and under are free for general admission with a paid adult general admission!

* VIP packages are a separate purchase from General Admission tickets (which will be required to participate in any VIP offerings). VIP ticket holders receive exclusive early admission to all 3 days of the show, as well as a gift package that includes a show t-shirt, the 2017 Baltimore Comic-Con yearbook, and more!
"Every year, we get asked if we can provide tickets early enough for holiday gifts or Valentine's Day gifts or birthday gifts, but we have been unable to make that happen...until now!" said Marc Nathan, show promoter for the Baltimore Comic-Con. "We're thrilled to announce that, through the holiday weekend, tickets are available for our 2017 event at a discounted rate and, if you've peeked at our website, you know our our guest list is already growing with some great new and returning guests, CGC is with us again to do on-site grading, and we began selling our 2017 show floor space to exhibitors and retailers before last year's show even ended."
Visit for more information and to purchase your advanced tickets!


EDITOR’S NOTES:  Even though they haven’t shown up yet in Diamond’s Top 100 Monthly Books list, Aftershock is doing well enough to exceed their sales forecasts and be recognized for best-selling titles.  FYI, Diamond’s monthly statistics are based on pre-orders only, which explains why Marvel and DC dominate. Yet books by other publishers find their way to comic shop shelves every month. However,  you may only find a limited number of copies per comic shop.  That’s why we’ve been encouraging regular comics readers to use either the PREVIEWS catalog or website every month to pick the upcoming books they want, and then pre-order them from their local comics shop.  Stephan Nelson, Publishing Operations Manager for AfterShock Comics told us that “ANIMOSITY is one of our better selling books, and sales continue to surpass our most optimistic expectations." 

Logo top new

AfterShock Comics’ ANIMOSITY #1
Gets a Fifth Printing and a New Cover.

AFTERSHOCK COMICS sends ANIMOSITY back to the printer for a fifth and final printing. To celebrate this event AfterShock Comics, with sponsorship from FRANKIE’S COMICS, have commissioned a brand-new cover from HOYT SYLVA for this printing.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sneak Preview: SAVAGE #1 debuts on November 30

EDITOR’S NOTE: What this means is that you may not be able to get a copy of the First Printing unless you Pre-Ordered one (that’s why we keep making Pre-Order Picks each month, just so you know.  However, if you visit your local comics shop as soon as they open the doors on Wednesday, November 30 you may get lucky.

Valiant’s SAVAGE #1 Tears Into Advance Sellout, Returns with Second Printing in December!

On the heels of DIVINITY, WAR MOTHER, and BRITANNIA, the spine-snapping debut of Valiant’s next major hero is already clawing into an advance sell-out before its November 30th on-sale date!

Valiant is proud to announce that SAVAGE #1 (of 4) – the FIRST ISSUE of Valiant’s primal new series from acclaimed writer B. Clay Moore (Hawaiian Dick) and explosive artists Clayton Henry (HARBINGER WARS) and Lewis LaRosa (BLOODSHOT REBORN), has sold out at the distributor level in advance of its on-sale date and will return to store shelves with the SAVAGE #1 (of 4) SECOND PRINTING on December 14th! This winter, nature conquers all as the next major hero to enter the Valiant Universe makes a ferocious first appearance for the ages! Jump on board here to discover why Valiant is the most acclaimed publisher in comics today as a young family, marooned without hope of rescue, learns how to fight tooth and claw – literally – in a strange and unforgiving landscape!

Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star, his former supermodel wife, and their young son disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by prehistoric creatures from another time…

This is the story of how they lost their humanity.

On December 14th, Valiant’s most killer new series of the season slashes forward in a landmark debut packed with tragedy and terror, only in the SAVAGE #1 SECOND PRINTING! Presented in the deluxe VALIANT PRESTIGE format with high-grade covers and interior paper stock, custom-designed end sheets, and exclusive creator commentary and back matter, relive the epic coming of Valiant’s most-demanded new hero right here!

Plus: the primal origin rages on just two weeks later in SAVAGE #2 (of 4)! On December 28th, the baptism of bloodshed continues as B. Clay MooreClayton Henry, and Lewis LaRosa shear away at the seminal comics debut of 2016! Calamity, carnage and claws await in SAVAGE #2 (of 4) – featuring covers by Lewis LaRosa (Punisher MAX), Jared Fletcher (Paper Girls), and Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra: Assassin)!

Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Cover by LEWIS LAROSA (SEP168749)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | VALIANT PRESTIGE | On Sale DECEMBER 14th (FOC – 11/28/16)

SAVAGE #2 (of 4)
Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Cover A by LEWIS LAROSA (OCT161960)
Cover B by JARED FLETCHER (OCT161961)
Character Design Variant by LEWIS LAROSA (OCT161963)
Variant Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ (OCT161964)
B&W Sketch Variant by LEWIS LAROSA (OCT161965)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | VALIANT PRESTIGE | On Sale DECEMBER 28th (FOC – 12/5/16)

SAVAGE #1 (of 4)  – Cover A by Lewis LaRosa

SAVAGE #1 (of 4)  – Interior Art by Lewis LaRosa with Brian Reber

SAVAGE #1 (of 4) – Interior Art by Lewis LaRosa with Brian Reber

SAVAGE #1 (of 4) – Interior Art by Lewis LaRosa with Brian Reber

SAVAGE #1 (of 4) – Interior Art by Lewis LaRosa with Brian Reber

SAVAGE #1 (of 4) – Interior Art by Lewis LaRosa with Brian Reber

SAVAGE #1 (of 4) – Interior Art by Clayton Henry with Brian Reber

SAVAGE #1 (of 4) – Interior Art by Clayton Henry with Brian Reber

SAVAGE #1 (of 4) – Interior Art by Clayton Henry with Brian Reber