Bullet Reviews #53: Raising Hell With Valen and Loki!
Every other week we here at Comic Booked like to take a quick look at a few comics that have graced out comic shelves. We call these little bits of awesome: Bullet Reviews! This week we take a look at Danger Girl: Revolver #3, Hellraiser Annual #1, Journey Into Mystery #636, Reset #1, Savage Dragon #179, Turning Tiger, and Valen The Outcast #5!
DANGER GIRL #3 (IDW)
When we last left our lovely Danger Girls, they had discovered the sun-worshiping village of the Hoichi Tribe in Peru, whose normally lush vegetation has died thanks to the poor sunlight. The now-gloomy Sun Valley could not stop thieves from taking their sacred Hoichi Sunburst, a giant medallion crafted in honor of the sun goddess. With it gone, the villagers believe the sun goddess is punishing them. With a little help from Abbey’s ex-fiance, Nathan Wilde, with whom Abbey had many dangerous exploits during their grave-digging days, the Danger Girls hope to recapture the Hoichi Sunburst and return it to the Sun Valley.
In this issue, we are introduced to the charming daredevil, Nathan Wilde; although Abbey is hesitant to discuss they’re failed relationship, there still seems to be some chemistry between the two ex-lovers. Nathan has also tagged-teamed with an unexpected arrival; Sonya Savage, sister to Sydney Savage (we find out later that Sonya was hired by Ms. Veronica Fox and Abbey accuses Fox of distrusting the Danger Girls, revealing some serious tension between the two blondes). Nathan and Sonya were after a Mr. Cross, the Sunburst thief when they ran into our Danger Girls. Although Mr. Cross managed to escape with the Sunburst (and not without taking a few hits from the ladies), Sonya implanted a tracking device that led the girls right to Cross and his proprietor, Malcolm. Although the girls failed to recapture the Hoichi medallion, Valerie figured out where it was headed; to the Super Bowl of black market auctions. However, the location of the auction is secret and disclosed only to individuals with an invite. This is when Nathan pops in and reminds Abbey that she knows someone with that information; can Abbey seduce the wealthy Donavin into revealing the auction’s location? Given such a skimpy, see-through night-gown (not to mention Donavin’s obvious affection for the spy), I think Abbey’s chances are pretty high. -Yenny Coll
HELLRAISER ANNUAL #1 (BOOM! Studios)
Over the past year a lot has changed in the universe of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. We started with Pinhead becoming human again in order to ascend to a higher plane, but in order to begin his quest he needed someone to take his place. His pick was Kirsty Cotton, the one human who beat him on more than one occasion. A deal was made and they switched places, each with unspoken motives that partially come full circle in this annual. While we learn that there may be more to Kirsty’s interactions with Hell than just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, we learn that Elliott Spencer, the former Pinhead, has broader plans than what he first claimed.
He seems to be on a quest to either destroy Hell or take it over. I’m not really sure which yet, but he’s playing with fire as he brings Frank back to the land of the living. Thing is, Frank isn’t to pleased with the torture Pinhead put him through back in the day and wants his pound of flesh. Elliott might be taking on more than even he can control, and it’s going to be very interesting to see where the next year of Hellraiser takes us!
I want to take this moment to thank BOOM! for giving us a series that respects and expands a great concept and makes it more than it was before! -Skott Jimenez
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #636 (Marvel)
The Terrorism Myth concludes! Another fine example of Loki planning five steps ahead! At last, the Fear Stuff is gathered and handed over to Nightmare, allowing him to make the ultimate source of Fear Power, making him the most powerful Fear Lord of them all.
The whole thing is, it was all a set up. Loki was allowing Nightmare to create the Fear Crown and letting him take it to the others, because bad guys gotta brag, and it all leads to Loki’s ultimate solution: The Fear Lords fighting over the Fear Crown for all eternity, or at least until something better comes along.
This is all Loki cleaning up messes made during Fear Itself. It’s too bad he can’t just clean up the event in general because that was a huge mess. Anyway, Kieron Gillen wraps up another fantastic story in what is arguably one of Marvel’s best titles on the racks today. I can’t say I miss reading Thor in this series at all, Loki has proven that, with the right creative team, even a villain as tired and worn as he is can become one of the most entertaining characters in all of the 616 universe!
Question now is… what’s next? That’s an easy one: Exiled begins next month as Journey Into Mystery crosses over with The New Mutants! -Skott Jimenez
SAVAGE DRAGON #179 (Image)
At 179 issues, Savage Dragon is one of the longest running Image titles, and one of the only ones left from the early days of the publisher’s creation. Erik Larsen is still writing and drawing this book, showing a great dedication to the character he created. There’s something just inherently cool about his appearance and even in the name Savage Dragon. Not to mention that the concept of a superhero who legitimately joins a police force is notable as well. The style and stories are unabashedly comic booky, and issue #179 was no exception. Larsen uses the scope of a full-scale alien invasion to feature guest stars galore, with battles being fought on multiple fronts. This was a fast paced and action packed book, full of gnashing teeth, fangs, armor, characters on the run, characters attacking, characters attacking and being attacked while on the run, viscous violence and all out mayhem! The art is colorful, and a little cartoonish at times, but it fits the book perfectly. Even if you’re not reading Savage Dragon regularly, it’s written in a way that lets you jump right into the middle of the story and easily follow what’s going on. I found myself engaged and bought right in to the sense of peril they created. Issue #179 of Savage Dragon was a lot of fun, and a nice addition to my collection. Before I wrap this up, I also want to make sure to credit letterer Tom Orzechowski and colorists Nikos Koutsis and Mike Toris. -Scorpio Moon (Check out Scorpio’s review of Smallville Season 11 #1!)
TURNING TIGER #1 (Arcana Studios)
This book sucked. A lot. I found the artwork on the robots very cliche, and I found the humans looked like, well poorly drawn pictures of humans. Things I loved included the diversity in the family. Not very often are there intermixed families in comics, but this comic did it and made it work. It didn’t play off racial stereotypes or have that be the emphasis. No, it worked towards how important family is. The story is about a little girl who died but becomes telepathically linked with her twin sister. Only the little girl who died is actually a huge robot. See the concept is there, the heart is there, but the fight isn’t. The villains are lame government employees who are both women which is bizarre, but I give them credit for originality. The only problem is that they seem to pose no real threat to the family. They appear to want to stop this robot before it hurts someone, and to me that seems completely logical. The artwork is from a current college student named Alex who (no doubt in my mind) has a big future, but she will need something a little more “out there” to fit her style of illustration. So when I say this book isn’t good, it’s not. But that doesn’t mean the writers and illustrators don’t have a good team on their hands. They are just doing the wrong project, with the right people. -Nick Furious
VALEN THE OUTCAST #5 (BOOM! Studios)
Valen the Outcast from BOOM! Studios has a lot going for it. The main character is an undead tyrant king, making the title something of a mash-up between The Walking Dead and Conan The Barbarian. But despite that lackluster analogy, the title itself is very well done. Already in its fifth issue, the progression of the story has been entertaining and exciting.
In the start of a new arc, Valen, Zjanna and Cordovan are out on the Silent Sea when their ship is attacked by Furies. They destroy the boat and leave everyone to perish. But Valen is swept to the bottom of the sea, where he is confronted by the spirit of his dead wife, now under the control of Korrus Null.
Michael Alan Nelson uses this issue to expand on the backstories of the characters. We learn a little more about Cordovan and his history with Valen. But we also get to see a little more about Valen and the kind of man he was. Readers get to see a personal side to his story and the tragedy that he has had to deal with. We also learn that his history with Zjanna goes much further back then we realize, and Nelson even alludes to something much more intimate between the two of them.
Once again, Matteo Scalera does wonders with the book’s art. His style seems to shift with the intensity of the scenes. The earlier scenes are much more calm and serene. But when the trouble starts, his pencils begin to get wild, with lots of lines of movement and harsh shading. The change in style makes the book much more interesting and adds to the drama of the plot.
If you haven’t been reading Valen the Outcast, this issue is a good jumping on point. New readers get enough backstory to fill them in without it becoming unnecessary exposition for current readers. The new direction is also interesting in itself, and has a rather natural progression to it. I had my doubts about Valen at first, but now I really enjoy the title. –Michael Wirth
And that wraps up another week! Let us know what you think about these books. Do you agree with out Bullets? Disagree? Now’s your chance to speak up! We have that comment section below just for that reason, you know.
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