Bullet Reviews: A Comic Booked Exclusive where our contributors offer quick shot reviews of recent comic book releases. This week we take shots at: Hellraiser Masterpieces #12, No PLace Like Home #3, Reset #1, Resident Alien #0, Super Dinosaur #10, TMNT Micro-Series: Leonardo, Walking Dead #96 and Wolverine & the X-Men #10!
HELLRAISER MASTERPIECES #12 (BOOM! Studios)
As a fan of Clive Barker, I am familiar with the Hellraiser series, but haven’t picked up any related comic series until now and I am glad I have. This edition features a reprint of the original Devil’s Brigade Part 13 and 14 which will be released later this month.
Without having picked up the prior releases, I was concerned that the stories would require some foreknowledge. I was mistaken. Aside from a few character references, they can stand alone as separate, independent cohesive stories. In Clive Barker-fashion, they tackle questions of morality and conscience, sin and consequences, religion and fate. In one panel in Devil’s Brigade 14 asks “Do you know why people believe in predictions and dreams? Because certain doom is less terrifying than uncertainty.”
The artwork in each release complements the style of the story. Devil’s Brigade 13 tackles the consequences of wishing for that which is unattainable. Brooding dim colors and rough dark shades underscore the foreboding doom looming over Leo Shabel. Devil’s Brigade 14 has a dream-like quality both in the story-telling and in the artwork which opens with an impression of stained glass and an allegory, then moves on to bold color choices and hard lines and heady topics.
I can see why the Devil’s Brigade series was selected for reprinting. At a comic panel I attended someone had said that the best comics cannot be translated into film and while Hellraiser did make it to the big screen, Devil’s Brigade is another beast entirely that defies translation into any medium other than comics. Art and story complement each other in a way I have rarely seen. –John Iwasz
NO PLACE LIKE HOME #3 (Image)
I’m gonna be completely honest and let you know that I had not previously read or heard anything about No Place Like Home, but after even looking at the first page I’m a little shocked by that. I would’ve bought this comic on the strength of the artwork alone (Richard Jordan) which is outstanding. Bleak, dark, ominous, with very intricately drawn characters. One thing I look for in comics is how different each human looks, it’s one thing to make sure your core characters look different, but to have a person look different in every scene, even when they are just a background character is mind-blowing. Well, from what I could grasp, there is a small town in Kansas is being visited by the Devil, and he is out for blood. Monkey creatures with wings and red eyes attack civilians, causing people to turn up dead. Our story follows the town Sheriff (Go Figure) as he has slowly been starting to see more and more signs that the Devil has come to Kansas. He obviously knows a lot more than he is willing to share, including what really happened when the tornado hit, if it even was a tornado. Thomas, a drunk crazy man, explains to the Dee and her friend that the Devil has returned and things are about to get bad. The girls don’t listen to the crazy drunk and wind up getting attacked, as does the Sheriff, though they both get away. Thomas doesn’t make it, but he does share a big secret that changes everything. The Sheriff promises to explain things once he stops bleeding. It felt like Walking Dead with crazy monkey things. I can’t tell you how sick I am of all these comics trying to be like Walking Dead. -Nick Furious
RESET #1 (Dark Horse)
For all the comics I read, it was nice getting to read one that made me laugh. It truly makes the comic read that much more enjoyable. Indeed, it’s half the reason Spidey fans love him so much. Reset is about this guy named… Guy. Guy has hit the very bottom of the barrel, so much so that he is practically looking down the barrel of a shogun. But Guy has principles. He won’t do reality TV, which is the only real way has-been celebrities can make a come back. Well, now Guy has a chance to redo his life. Enter Reset, where Guy lives his life over via virtual reality. I found myself feeling very sorry for Guy as he is a very sad mess of a man, but his hilarious a-hole remarks were spot on and laugh out loud funny. I don’t know why, but I kept imagining Dick Vitale’s voice as I was reading it, which made it even funnier. It’s pretty clever that his life starts off at the point that truly effected his life, high school graduation. Some girl calls him a name and it just completely changed everything. And this is the moment in which the reset starts every time, so it shows all sorts of interesting responses, especially when he just flat-out asks for sex and gets punched in the face, which made me laugh pretty hardcore. The thing that really has me intrigued is the question of what the reset process actually is and who is funding it? And why does it have to be Guy? I can tell that this is going to be one of those series that has the ability to last forever but it just has too much swearing to make it in a newspaper. The concept is nothing short of genius, and I hope to see the brilliance continue in the following issues. -Nick Furious
(Check out the full review of Reset #1 by Rob The Wrecker!)
RESIDENT ALIEN #0 (Dark Horse)
For the first time ever we have two, count ’em TWO Bullets for this one!
*When you jump into a brand new comic series, it is very hard to “like” the characters right off the bat. I’m not quite sure why or how, but Resident Alien did a great job with that. I mean in the first issue I was already thinking how well written each character was, especially our doctor, Resident Alien. The minute the story starts, his dialogue does nothing but carry the story, as well as mold a very interesting and sophisticated likeable hero. I look forward to more Resident Alien, as it most certainly intrigued me and I have to know what is happening to this small, quiet town that has the mayor on edge. Great read, very impressed Dark Horse, keep them coming! -Nick Furious
*Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse have come together to create Resident Alien, a creative murder mystery based in a small town. In Resident Alien, Harry Vanderspeigle, the displaced alien, is called to help investigate the murder of the only doctor in the small town of Patience. Harry does an amazing job of investigating the murder, telling the murder almost exactly as it happened. Shortly after this, the Mayor of Patience, Bert Hawthorne, recruits Harry as the town’s doctor until a new doctor can be found. It’s soon revealed that there have been other murders, the police are hiding secrets and of course, Harry has to hide his identity while helping the citizens of Patience, which lays out the beginnings of a good murder mystery. I thought the storyline of Resident Alien was a captivating mystery with some occasional humor mixed in. The story also mixed in well with the art. There were some vague references to the crash landing of Harry’s ship and how he got to Earth, a storyline I hope will get more attention, along with details of Harry’s home planet. Like any murder mystery, there are also the suspects. So far, anyone that could be considered a suspect has been shown or mentioned. Each person has either a motive or a secret. My inner English scholar liked the creative use of “watch your head” references in Resident Alien, in the beginning it caught my attention and tied in very well at the end. The end of the comic left me with several questions that will keep me reading to find out the answers in future issues. –Jenna D
SUPER DINOSAUR #10 (Image)
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Super Dinosaur, let me give you a slight refresher course. *Clears Throat* Scientists discover a hole in the Earth, this hole leads to a world full of dinosaurs. Yes, living, breathing dinosaurs. This place is called Inner Earth, and the scientists start experimenting. In a series of completely predictable events, the scientists realize they both have very different agendas. Doctor Dynamo fights on the side of the good and teams up with a Super Dinosaur against the greedy Max Maximus. The series is a lot of fun, but most certainly not Kirkman’s finest work. The artwork definitely sets the tone for a very fun and energetic environment… with dinosaurs. Derek Dynamo continues to be a borderline punk for whom I have absolutely no fan love, so I found it highly entertaining that he ended up looking so stupid by the end of the issue, as the prisoner was not only using him, but had fully planned on taking him to, well wherever he came from. Dynamo and Maximus are slightly “allied” to some extent in this issue, and the dialogue between the two of them really gives me hope that at some point Max Maximus will slowly become a hero character, very similar to Magneto or Ben Linus from LOST. I’m not sure why I can’t seem to stop laughing anytime SD talks, but its one liners like this that make him a pretty awesome character: “I hope you saved room for desert. We’re having lasers!” Haha! Cheesy yet amazing all at once, this is most certainly one of the most promising series Image is offering right now, don’t miss it. –Nick Furious
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES MICRO SERIES: LEONARDO (IDW)
Picking up right where the regular series leaves off with #8, covered in Bullet Reviews #52, the MUTANT Turtles split up to find their kidnapped master, Splinter. This issue follows Leonardo’s part of the search as he runs head on into a group of ninjas, possibly Foot, that seemingly attack him for no reason. They fight for most of the issue, with Leo trying to figure out who they are and who they might work for and eventually having to fight to protect a woman who, while being taken away by the ninjas, brings back memories of his own mother from a previous life. There seems to be something to these flashbacks that began when Splinter explained they were human in a previous life.
The long and the short of it is that they eventually get the better of him and he returns to their headquarters to tell the others about the attack.
I have to say, of the micro-series they have done so far (this one is the fourth), this issue is the one I’ve enjoyed the least. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s got a throwaway story. One thing I’ve learned about this series is that nothing is throwaway; everything is part of the story and the pay off will happened eventually.
What is worth the cost, however, is the cover. David Peterson of Mouse Guard fame does the honors, and along with the covers of the first three issues, it’s fantastic! -Skott Jimenez
THE WALKING DEAD #96 (Image)
A Larger World concludes as Rick deals with the aftermath of killing one of the Hilltop Community’s citizens. He begins to learn that while the Hilltop is a very nice set-up, it also apparently has enemies. A man named Negan is essentially blackmailing them into giving up half of their supplies in order to not be attacked by him and his crew.
Rick decides he can help and enters into an agreement with the heads of the Hilltop. In exchange for some of their supplies, Rick and his people will locate and deal with Negan.
This leads to a few questions, and I’m still not certain the Hilltop is all it appears to be. Some light is shed on them when Michonne and Andrea both make the comparison between how these people behave and a cult, something that does make sense. They don’t know how to act on their own and aren’t willing to stand up for themselves if their leader, Gregory, is attacked. Rick is still willing to help because his people need the supplies.
This is the final part of A Larger World, and now Rick and company know they aren’t the only community in the area. This all leads to the next story, Something To Fear, in which Rick sees the darker side of these other communities. Naturally, because the solicitations for these books are so very vague, only assumptions can be made. Perhaps the Hilltop was on the up and up and this Negan is really a sadistic monster. Could he be as bad as, or worse than, The Governor? Who knows, but I think we’ll be learning very soon because as we quickly approach The Walking Dead #100 (which is described as containing “one of the darkest moments in Rick Grimes’ life, and one of the most violent and brutal things to happen within the pages of this series”), the series is now coming out every three weeks. –Skott Jimenez
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #9 (Marvel)
Can’t even begin to describe how much I love how each Avengers vs. X-Men comic or tie in. It starts off with the Phoenix Force absolutely decimating every planet in its path. Yet in this case, we see that Planet Sin is actually taking bets on planets surviving. And just like that, Andromeda 9 crackles and is destroyed. Well, that is about as awesome as it gets, as the comic is pretty lame other than that. It pretty much just fills in the blanks of Issues 0 and 1 of Avengers vs. X-Men. Wolverine and Beast pretty much talk shop, mostly about the Phoenix. Cap comes to visit, Idie and Broo continue to come off as annoying “new Jubilee” characters, and we find out that Beast is part of the space mission attempting to stop the Phoenix Force before it hits Earth. Something tells me this will not be a successful attempt. By the end we find out Gladiator is making a special trip to Earth, not to save the X-Men, but to save his son. Jason Aaron continues to be one of the top writers in my opinion as even in a pretty boring issue some fun things happen. Some interesting love stories may be in the works, and I sure hope Toad winds up getting some! That poor guy never gets anything good! All in all a dull issue, but they answered some of my questions so I am content. And remember, if Beast does die in space, the last thing Wolverine said to him was that “He has fleas”. If he dies in space I’m probably going to laugh. -Nick Furious
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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