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Are you an agent of the end times

7 Nov

By Darryl Ayo

“The Pilgrimage”
East of West, number seven
By Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta
With Frank Martin & Rus Wooton
Image Comics, November 2013

Review: I like the comic book series “East of West” and I liked the seventh issue more than some of the prior issues. Frank Martin is one of my favorite comic book colorists and Nick Dragotta structures his spatial compositions in a way that appeals to my particular interests in comic book drawing. I mostly enjoyed reading issues one through six and as time goes by I feel that the writing has gotten stronger whereas most serials settle into a groove and begin to deteriorate as their central mysteries are revealed to the audience.

When I set down the previous issue of “East of West,” I thought to myself “that was really good.” Upon completion of the current issue (number seven), I thought to myself “that was better than the last one.”

End “East of West” review.

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No slouch

10 Oct

By Ayo

The Shaolin Cowboy, no. 1
By Geof Darrow with Dave Stewart
October, 2013
Dark Horse Comics

To the best of my recollection, I’ve never read a Geof Darrow comic book. I’ve seen his art a thousand times, I’ve read comics where he had contributed a single illustration (cover, pinup) but I’m not certain if I have ever seen Darrow’s pages. Until the Year of Our Lord, 2013, mid-October.

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The Wheel Turns…

7 Oct

By Darryl Ayo

“Once Upon A Time…” Chapter One
Hinterkind, no. 1
By Ian Edginton & Francesco Trifogli
With: Dezi Sienty & Cris Peter
And: Greg Tocchini

The first thing of note to occur in Hinterkind number one is on the second page when the protagonist Prosper Monday jumps out of the brush and shoots a zebra. Artist Francesco Trifogli uses a repeating-image of the hunter Prosper superimposed over a still environment to indicate not only her precise movements through space but also to imply the speed and clarity of her action. It’s an old comics trick but it’s a trick that I like. It requires more work and it telegraphs to the audience that the artist isn’t shy to put extra effort in when the situation warrants. That was on page two. Got my attention.

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Secret Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

18 Sep

By Darryl Ayo

“Lexington”
Secret Avengers, no. 09
Nick Spencer, Butch Guice with Matthew Wilson & Clayton Cowles
Marvel, September, 2013

There’s only two real characters in this comic, Daisy Johnson and Maria Hill, and they both look the same. In other installments of the series, they nearly act the same. Daisy Johnson is essentially Maria Hill but younger. We know that she is younger because the dialogue indicates this to be the case. Who in their right mind would put a nineteen-year-old in charge of the most powerful international police and espionage organization in the world? That is asinine. I’m not really complaining, just lobbing a truth grenade in your direction. That’s how I do, homie.

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The Black Avengers

17 Sep

By Darryl Ayo

Mighty Avengers, no. 1
Al Ewing, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata, Cory Petit.
Marvel Worldwide, INC.
September, 2013
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Uncanny X-Force Part Two, Uncanny Avengers

30 Aug

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By Ayo

“Torment at the hands of the Four Horsemen!”
Uncanny Avengers, no. 11
Rick Remender & Daniel Acuña
August, 2013

One day it’ll all make sense.

If you read Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña during their storyline “The Dark Angel Saga,” then it is obvious that the current Uncanny Avengers storyline (The Apocalypse Twins) is the sequel to that. The irony of Uncanny X-Force was that the titular team was formed to permanently end major threats by assassination and yet all of their actions created larger and worse counteractions. While that group of characters disbanded, the problems that the have caused are still spiraling into larger and more complex threats.

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Eight is Enough

10 Aug

Read comics every day! Let’s go!

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Experiencing Vertigo

2 Aug

By Ayo

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“The Paradigm Shift, part one”
Collider, no. 1
Vertigo Books, July 2013
Simon Oliver & Robbi Rodriguez
With: Rico Renzi & Steve Wands
Featuring: Nathan Fox

Months ago, when Karen Berger stepped down from DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, I believed that the imprint was essentially done-for. My suspicion was that Vertigo would move more into DC-proper publishing and eventually dissolve. Instead, the house seems to have run in the opposite direction, away from Swamp Thing and John Constantine and closer to the spirit of autonomy that the imprint made itself famous for.
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Talk like sex

1 Aug

By Ayo

This rap shit is like reality TV, it’s totally different from what it’s marketed as.”
-Joe Budden

“Quivers ‘n’ Shakes”
Sex, no. 5
Joe Casey & Piotr Kowalski
With Brad Simpson, Rus Wooton and Sonia Harris

This is less about the comic and more about marketing.

When Joe Casey, co-creator of Sex, was making the rounds to publicize this series, he described to readers a story wherein sex would be a driving and integral factor. Instead, five issues in, it appears to be a fairly standard post-superhero crime-comic. With one sex scene neatly packed into each issue, tucked into the story to justify the series title.
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Bastard

25 Jul

By Ayo

“Family, part 2″
Lazarus, number 2
By Greg Rucka & Michael Lark
with Santi Arcas
Image Comics, July 2013

Meeting the Carlyle Family during the Carlyle Family Meeting, this is kind of a stressful issue. Trying to keep all of the siblings straight was an exercise in futility. They’re all bad guys, so frown at all of them. Papa Carlyle is the only character here who appears to be somewhat reasonable. I’m interested more in his perspective, he’s clever enough to know that his kids are wilding out.

Eve, or Forever Carlyle is your basic tough guy, killing machine, Terminator/Robocop, invincible, heartless human murder factory. In this issue, she hints at having something like a conscience but it’s probably just tactical doubt about her siblings’ war schemes. I bet the next batch that this story arc ends with Forever screaming “I’M NOT LIKE YOU” with tears streaming down her face as she sends one of her siblings to the hereafter.

Spoiler: there is no hereafter after here. So don’t fuck around and yet murdered by a vat-grown super soldier.

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I’ve never been to Los Angeles so I can’t feel much about how post-earthquake-dystopia L.A. Is depicted. Based on the size of the shacks, the “Hollywood” sign seems smaller than I imagined that it is. In general the destruction is beautifully rendered as old and settled-in. Eve goes into what looks like a shantytown village or an open-air market (or likely, both) and those are the two pages that feel the most alive to me. For one obvious reason, there are people of all ages wandering around, doing whatever it is that the poor do in the world of Lazarus. For another thing, we are shown the figure, the ground, the background and the sky. Those pages feel airy and open because they are depicting airiness and openness.

The next scene is in the Mexican desert but it is too open for me to enjoy. Like…desert. Deserted. When the machine-gun-men show up, it actually feels more comfortable for me as a reader, even though the protagonist is in “danger.” (Not really, she’s the protagonist and invincible)

Everything is really grey and dingy looking which is fine for a post-apocalyptic shantytown but becomes a drawback when looking at the Carlyle Family home which feels like it should be brighter and more opulent. I know that resources are scarce but these people are royalty. It just looks like the lights are physically off in these scenes. This is where Michael Lark’s heavy-black, jagged-ink style works against the scene depicted. This isn’t some back alley at night, this is during the daytime in the living room of one of the most wealthy people in the world. Turn on a lightbulb.

Don’t get me wrong, the harsh figures, the rough-hewn shadows–it’s all beautiful on the page. It just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.

~~~~~~

Two of the siblings are doing incest. Probably “twincest.” I know that I’m meant to be repulsed and disgusted and horrified but I’m just glad that somebody lightened up in this piece.

Smile or somethin!

@darrylayo

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