The Reading Pile – Week 2

Hillbilly 11, Albatross Funny Books, 7/4/2018
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Eric Powell

This is one of my favorite titles. Eric Powell’s art is detailed, yet accessible and he is telling a great little Appalachian yarn of the blind protagonist, Rondel, who wields the “Devil’s Cleaver.” Rondel, along with his gang of misfits, is trying to fend off a gang of witches that seeks to do humanity harm. 

Unfortunately, Rondel tries to warn surrounding villagers about their impending doom; they view him as nothing more than a crazed drifter, and soon meet their demise. Rondel is finally able to confront a witch and prove his claims to an audience. His story parallels the legend of the Iron Child and many now view him as a savior.

Ok, so it’s tough to provide a brief summation that captures all the wonderful nuances and history of Rondel and his supporting cast. Suffice it to say this is a book for you if you like old timey tales of Appalachia with doses of battlefields, horror and witchcraft mixed together.

I’ve mentioned the art and I love how Eric mixes pencils with the more traditional inks of most comics. Here’s a sample:

4 out of 5 stars.

The Immortal Hulk 2, Marvel Comics, 7/4/2018
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Joe Bennett

Really stoked Banner is back in a Hulk title. Really nice pacing, peeling away layers of mystery that eventually reveals itself as “The Walking Ghost.” I won’t say too much here, I think most folks know if they like Hulk books or not, but this has been one of my favorite Marvel reads in recent weeks. Lastly, while issue 1 of The Immortal Hulk came out like gang busters, issue 2 is a way more subtle build that was fairly impressive for a story that I think is going to be contained to one issue.

4 out of 5 stars.

Justice League 3, DC Comics, 7/4/2018
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jorge Jimenez

Ya gots to pay attention here ‘cause a lot is going on.

Our tale begins in a flashback with young Thaal Sinestro discovering something called Umbrax, and this seems to parallel the origins of the original Green Lantern.

In present day, Green Lantern, John Stewart, is under some kind of mind control and is fighting Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman. Cyborg eventually joins the fray and is able to subdue him.

Then we move to Martian Manhunter and Superman battling monster creatures inside “The Totality.” While this is happening, Batman and Hawkgirl are fighting cosmic mutagens inside the brains of Superman and Martian Manhunter. Lex Luthor and the Joker make cameos in some of these panels.

Now we move to the Hall of Justice, where John Stewart is trying to make sense of things as he regains consciousness and Flash discovers the Legion of Doom’s headquarters on a monitor inside. Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman go check it out and the panels are very cool.

We move to the conclusion of the book and Sinestro now has the power of Umbrax and is assaulting Cyborg and the recovering John Stewart. Cue credits.

Whew, you get all that? What is Umbrax and The Totality? I often use the word “accessible” when describing comics and, well, um, this isn’t immediately accessible. Having said that, I enjoyed the hell out of this upon a second reading and it made me want to reread the 1st and 2nd issues. The art from Jorge Jimenez deserves a mention here as it is a great looking book. This was an excellent read, but you really have to pay attention to the journey Scott Snyder is bringing us on. Lastly, I loved The Legion of Doom as a kid on Super Friends, so I’m stoked to see where this goes.

4 out of 5 stars.

Death or Glory 3, Image Comics, 7/24/2018
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Bengal

I disliked the art in the 2nd issue so much I was certain I was going to drop this title. However, the Bullit, Steve McQueen homage cover sucked me back in for another issue. I liked the panels much better for this issue; so I had to check and see if it’s the same artist, Bengal, and it is. He has done all 3 issues.

This Rick Remender title is a heist/cars/guns type of story with the heroine, Glory, in search of $300,000  for her father, who is in need of an operation. I liked this issue much better than issue 2, so much so, that I’m going back to read issue 2 again and see what it was I didn’t like. It’s a Remender title so you know it’s well crafted, but I’m a bit on the fence for this one.

3 of 5 stars.

Death of the Inhumans 1, Marvel Comics, 7/4/2018
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ariel Olivetti

I just wasn’t terribly impressed with this. The interior art kind of annoyed me as did the Vox character. Apologies for being curmudgeonly. I do think the A cover was sweet.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

The Walking Dead 181, Image Comics, 7/24/2018
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

At 181 issues in, you are either a fan of this title or you aren’t. I still get a lot of enjoyment out of the book and think the Princess and Mercer characters are the best he’s created in many issues. I do think having another antagonist named “governor” seems awfully lazy. Seriously, Kirkman had to realize this, right? Anyways, this book deserves a longer review at some point, but for now check out these awesome Charlie Adlard zombies from the issue:

4 out of 5 stars.

Sword Daughter 2, Dark Horse Comics, 7/24/2018
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Mack Chater

Brian Wood is so good with viking and villager tales like this and Mack Chater’s art is so excellent and familiar that I need to see what else he’s done. 

Our story takes place in 991 AD, Elsbeth, a mute young girl, who is a bit of a savage, has been reunited with her absent (he was in a coma) father after 12 years. They are seeking vengeance on a clan that burned down their village.

I really liked the 1st issue, I didn’t like this one as much. $4.99 cover price, too. This is looking to be the common price point in 2018.

3.5 of 5 stars.


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