The Unread Canon #12: The Walking Dead: This Sorrowful Life

As a beginning note, this may be my last installment on The Walking Dead, at least for now.  While I do have “The Calm Before” and “Made to Suffer” (they’re the last volumes of my collection) and I am enjoying the series, it doesn’t lend itself terribly well to this sort of critique, or at least it doesn’t the way I’ve been doing it.  The flaws remain the same: the forced, stilted dialogue in particular is something I doubt Kirkman is going to get over after 36 issues, nor his tendency to overexplain character’s motives.  Meanwhile, the story has slowed down considerably and looks to be going in a slightly more traditional path.  I’ll make my final decision in the next two weeks, after reading “The Calm Before”, but rest assured – should The Walking Dead be removed from the roster, it won’t be forgotten.  I fully intend to keep reading, and may jump in should I notice a particularly large shift in tone, some interesting new themes, or anything along those lines, I might jump in with an Unread Canon Interlude sometime.  And in the meanwhile, I’ll be taking some suggestions for what to follow next: right now, front runners include Ultimate Spider-Man and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  Have any thoughts on the subject?  Chime in in the comments.

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The Unread Canon #9: The Walking Dead: The Best Defense

“The Best Defense” is the fifth volume of The Walking Dead, and it’s pretty different from what’s come before.  Previously, each volume was a solid stand-alone story.  Yes, each one built off of everything that came before, and did so VERY, very well… but they were nonetheless essentially standalone stories.  You could conceivably read, enjoy and understand “Safety Behind Bars” without having read “Days Gone Bye” or continuing on to “The Heart’s Desire”, and while you’d miss out on some interesting and important character development, I think you’d find each story enjoyable in its own right.  But while “The Best Defense” is an engaging, enjoyable read, it’s also almost purely wrap-up from the previous arc and set-up for the next one.

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The Unread Canon #6: The Walking Dead: The Heart’s Desire

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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The Unread Canon: The Walking Dead: Safety Behind Bars

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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The Unread Canon: The Walking Dead: Miles Behind Us

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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Top 5 Best Comics of November 2009

I read 19 comics in November, and these were the best.

5. Astonishing X-Men #32

Yeah, that’s a badass sentinel, a badass, brood-shooting-from-fingertips sentinel, the bastardization of Beast’s theoretical research. It’s Ellis being Ellis, writing pitch-perfect X-Men. Each issue is episodic, building a plot as it goes. This chapter involves the aforementioned sentinel, with lines like, “We don’t need weapons. We have science!” It’s glorious fun.

4. Fantastic Four #573

Hickman’s Fantastic Four is even better than his Secret Warriors? How’d that happen? But it’s true, even when Dale Eaglesham takes a break, and we’re left with a “filler” issue. Neil Edwards fills Dale’s shoes, and it’s a fine fit, with Edwards’ post-Bryan Hitch style and Paul Mounts’ colors, you’ll hardly notice the difference. But Hickman’s distinguished voice is the star here, penning a done-in-one adventure that could’ve easily sustained a four-issue arc. Hickman plays with, and adds to, Millar’s toys, exploring a black hole-ravaged Nu-World. This is a dense, grand adventure, and the new letters page, hosted by Franklin and Val? Absolutely adorable.

3. Invincible #68

The regular art team is back with a vengeance, allowed the opportunity to create Kirkman’s zany, new Dinosaur villain. This is about as playful and unique as villain dialogue gets. Kirkman then continues to show off his dialogue skills when he gives Atom Eve’s father the scariest monologue Mark could ever imagine, concluding with one hell of a funny sight gag. The issue concludes with a few classic Kirkman twists. All in all, this is one hell of an Invincible issue.

2. Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #8

Another Hellboy chapter concludes, and Alice sums it up best, “Well, I didn’t see that coming.” Mignola embraces Hellboy’s entire mythology here, Alice herself being the baby from the beloved “Hellboy: The Corpse.” What occurs within these pages has been a long time coming, and it unfolds unpredictably, yet resolves with the doomed conclusion we all knew was coming. Every major Hellboy player progresses, even poor Gruagach, who’s almost as tragic a character as “Big Red” himself. A stunning effort from Mignola and Fegredo.

1. Detective Comics #859

Since Rucka & Williams’ run began, almost every issue of Detective Comics has made my “Best of the Month” list. This issue is the best of the run, so it’s only natural that Detective finally tops my list. We’re still taking a trip down Kate’s memory lane, this issue containing another episode of her life. We learn of Kate’s rise and fall at West Point, her utter loss of purpose, how that leads to trouble with the love of her life, and what finally makes Kate’s life whole again. And there, making it all epic poetry, is Williams and Stewart. And as you can see in the above scan, when Kate’s Mazzucchelli-styled life clashes with Batman’s rich, painted aura, it’s beautiful and profound.

-Bruce Castle

Review: Invincible #65

Writing: The Conquest commotion has calmed down. This is, as it says on the cover, an aftermath issue. There is absolutely no action to be found here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. Kirkman takes a minute to check in on the building threats, and remind us that Cecil is still a bit of a bastard. At its core, this issue is about Mark and Eve’s relationship. What are the ramifications of the event taking place on the cover? And what effect does the Conquest-inflicted trauma have?

Art: Ottley has been bringing us the gore and partial nudity in the last few issues. The former is absent, but there’s still a bit of the latter here. Ottley also gets to render some welcomed comedic moments. Just check out the preview. That bit of saliva flying from Mark and Eve’s mouths is classic.

Final Word: This is a transitional issue, for sure. It lays the groundwork for future events, and leaves us wanting more. It’ll be very interesting to see Mark’s actions after his epiphany on the last page.

Grade: B+

For more comic goodness, go here.

Top 5 Best Comics of July 2009!

June was a quick month, but July? July took forever, in a good way. Extremely eventful month for me. Hope you all had fun. Anyway, I read 22 comics in July, and these were the best. Oh, and, sorry, I haven’t written proper reviews for some of these because I was at Comic Con.


5. Secret Warriors #6

This ended a little more conventionally than I would’ve hoped, but it’s still a fitting conclusion to Hickman’s first arc. The characters are clearly defined, and, so, we actually care how this big battle plays out. Throughout this arc, this issue included, we’ve been treated to several twists & turns that really elevates this material. This is Hickman’s first foray into the world of super-heroics and he’s already delivered the Nick Fury series we’ve all been waiting for.

4. Detective Comics #855

Only two issues in and Rucka & Williams are collaborating brilliantly. The art services the story and vice versa. What we’re left with is one gorgeous, kick-ass comic! The only problem is that we still don’t have much connection with Kate, but, with this issue and the last, we’re getting glimpses of Kate’s origins. So, until that story is eventually told, we might as well enjoy the beautiful ride.

Seventh Soldier’s Review

3. Invincible #64

Well, essentially, this was just a gory, knock-down-drag-out fight to the death. However, since we’ve had over sixty issues with Mark & friends, there was a large amount of emotion in this fight, both for the characters and the reader. And, credit to Kirkman, this was a pretty fun fight.

2. Ultimatum #5

I probably have a “Why Ultimatum Works” article in me somewhere, but I won’t write it. There’s no point. People are extremely prejudiced when it comes to Loeb’s recent work, and if I were to write such an article, it would be met with outcries about how stupid I am. Ultimatum was a necessary evil. The Ultimate Universe had grown too dull, too watered down, too similar to 616. If you aren’t going to give the Universe a proper reboot, presenting an Ultimate Universe in the style of Morrison’s Marvel Boy, isn’t this the next best thing? Oh, sure, it reminds us of the issue of Radioactive Man when he and Fallout Boy get killed on every page, but have we ever seen anything like this before? The tragedy is quick and brutal. The genuine shocks are plentiful. And, really, this comic is packed with the imaginative stunts that couldn’t be seen in a movie. Whether you love it or hate it, Ultimatum #5 one of the most memorable comics in years.

1. Batman and Robin #2

In two issues, Morrison has established a new Batman, a new Robin, new villains, even a new, more colorful Gotham, and he’s done so with professional ease. You’ll find no lengthy exposition here, just fresh and exciting adventure. And, of course, Morrison’s longtime collaborator, Frank Quitely, has helped tremendously in breathing new life into this franchise. His style is already radically different from what you saw in All Star Superman. It’s looser and more energetic, which has helped in rendering some incredible fight scenes in this second issue. This is one of the most likable comics on the stands, and the best comic in July.

My Review

That’s my list. What’s yours? Oh, and let’s keep that Ultimatum feedback to a minimum, shall we?

For more comic goodness, go here.

My Comic Con 2009!!!

Wow! It’s already come and gone. I thought I’d just give my report on my experience. But don’t expect to see any pictures of fat, sweaty guys, dressed in 300 “costumes.” No, my Comic Con involved laughter, love, and chatting with the talent.


Aaron Lopresti’s Wonder Woman!

Alvin Lee’s Sagat!

Amanda Conner’s Power Girl!

Cliff Chiang’s Black Canary!

Cliff Rathburn’s Reaper!

Dean Yeagle’s Mandy!

Dustin Nguyen’s Batman!

Francis Manupal’s Cassie Sandsmark!

Jamal Igle’s Silver Banshee!

Jamal Igle’s Supergirl!

Joe Linsner’s Batman!

Jonboy’s Meyers’ Wonder Woman!

Micah Gunnell’s Wolverine!

Nicola Scott’s Scandal Savage! Hey, it’s signed by Gail Simone too!

Patrick Gleason’s Arisia!

Patrick Gleason’s Soranik Natu!

Philip Tan’s Red Hood!

Sanford Greene’s Supergirl!

Terry Dodson’s Emma Frost!

19 sketches in two days, for a total of 80 dollars. Not too bad, right? I think I did good.

And you have to get stuff signed!

Now, the only signature I need on my Sinestro Corps War hardcovers is Ivan Reis.

I’m gunnin’ for ya, Reis!

Green Lantern symbols provided by Geoff Johns.

Aww, Gail Simone loves me!

And she put a Wonder Woman star over her “i”. How precious! Terry Dodson and Bernard Chang have pretty signatures too.

Terry Dodson calls Frank Cho a perv!

The war is on. Which artist will win?

Greg Rucka gave me a free copy of Detective Comics #854!

So, I was standing in line for Jamal Igle at the DC Booth, when Greg Rucka shows up next to me! We talked. I said I was sad since I didn’t have anything for him to sign. He went into his magic bag and pulled that out. Sweet, huh?

So, there you have it, friends. I had a hell of a time, and you got to see my reward for fighting through the unkempt masses. Thanks for reading!

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: The Walking Dead #63/Chew #1


Writing: We’re knee-deep in “Fear the Hunters” now. Kirkman continues to twist the knife, but, thankfully, my delicate stomach remains intact. Kirkman suffered some criticism for pitting his survivors up against man, so soon after the horrific events of issue #48. That hasn’t bothered me at all. It’s part of the transition between prison life and the harsh, new world. Yes, prison life was good in The Walking Dead.

Art: Don’t think that just because this arc is human-centered that Adlard won’t get a chance to draw some cool zombies. Expect one in here, and it looks good. I also enjoyed seeing a lighter side to Adlard’s art when he gets the chance to render some eye-rolling. And, as always, Adlard provides an unsettling last page.

Final Word: I must stress this again, these new enemies differ from the Woodbury folk. Besides a different approach in attacking, we get a peak at the hunter’s motives in this issue. They’re much more basic and understandable than Phillip’s lunacy. Another solid installment, for sure.

Grade: B+

Writing: Layman puts a unique spin on a tired genre, one that I’m not too fond of, actually. The main character, Tony Chu, is Cibopathic, which means that when he eats something, he can sense its origins. Oh, and Chu is a cop, so you can see how his ability could be useful, and unusual. Layman exploits the possibilities nicely.

Art: Judging Guillory’s art is a bit unfair, since this reprint is lacking the colors it should have. I once owned a black & white TV that I used to watch “The Simpsons,” so I know the flaws that come with material that should be colored but isn’t. However, since this is a review, I have to say that I’m not impressed with Guillory’s work here. It looks so bland, like an Image house style. You’ve seen this art before, but you don’t remember it. Of course, as I said, I’m looking at incomplete visuals here.

Final Word: Image was very generous by offering a reprint of this sold-out issue for free, and it’s attached to an even better comic. Layman’s writing is impressive. He manages to execute some twists & turns and adds a dash of political commentary to the background. This comic is worth checking out.

Grade: B-

For more comic goodness, go here.

Top 5 Best Comics of June 2009!

It’s that time again! Boy, June went quick. We’re halfway through 2009? Wow. Anyway, I read 19 comics in June, and these were the best.

5. Invincible #63

I hate putting this at number five, but this comic is hindered in a monthly format. There is no good jumping-on point. You have to read the whole thing, and rating one issue is like judging twenty minutes of a movie. That said, this is an emotional issue. I’m sure it’s no secret by now that a major character dies. Hell, it was already pretty obvious if you looked at the cover of Invincible #64, but even so, this is one of the best Invincible issues. And that’s saying something.

My Review


4. Detective Comics #854

Even if this issue would’ve been terrible, I would’ve forced my brain to like it. Thankfully, to preserve what little respect I have as a comic critic, this actually is a great issue. Greg Rucka finally gets a chance to define his Batwoman, and he doesn’t waste a panel. We’re not going to get the official origin until the next arc, but even after one issue, I know a good deal about what makes Kate tic. But what really makes this comic special is the pure brilliance of Williams’ art. The co-feature is the icing on the cake.

Seventh Soldier’s Review



3. Batman and Robin #1

June was a great month for comics. Want proof? The new Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely comic wasn’t the best of the month. How the hell did that happen? Ok, I do wish this comic had more depth and weight, like Morrison’s earlier Batman work, but other than that, this issue is near-flawless.

Group Review


2. Astonishing X-Men #30

Ellis’ first Astonishing X-Men arc finally concludes. Was it good? You bet your ass it was. I can almost guarantee you I’ll think of it in January, when I post the best stories of the year list. Ellis, in just one arc, has already done a few things. First and foremost, he’s provided possibly the greatest characterization of the X-Men ever. They’re all real characters. They all have their own unique voice. Second, Ellis has taken the X-Men to the perfect genre, sci-fi. I want my X-Men to occupy the realm of science, instead of the done-to-death, political commentary genre. And this first arc was not only sci-fi, it was a mystery too!

DC Lebeau’s Review


1. Uncanny X-Men #512

This issue is a done-in-one. So, yes, it does have an advantage in this format, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t deserve this spot.  This issue is a done-in-one, time-travel adventure, filled with science, mutant history, originality, and humor. It’s also wonderfully rendered by the great Yanick Paquette. Is that not enough? Well, then I’ll also mention that this is one of the few comics that nearly brought me to tears. It’s good readin’.

My Review

So there it is! Agree? Disagree? Please, let me know!

May’s List

April’s List

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Invincible #62

Invincible #62

Last issue, we found out what Conquest is. And what he is, is the badass Viltrumite of badass Viltrumite’s. The entirety of this issue is spent watching Mark and Conquest beat on each other. It was a good issue. I can’t really comment on the plot much, because there wasn’t much plot to comment on. All I know is that I love Mark, and Conquest is a hell of a villain. I still want to know how he lost his eye and arm.

What I can comment on, is Ottely’s art. I neglect to do so at times because I think he’s so consistently good. I read an interview with Ottley where he said that his work on early issues was bad. I was stunned. I don’t remember Ottely’s art looking poor. Sure enough, I looked back on earlier issues, and I have to say, the man has really improved. Want proof? Go read or reread Invincible #60. The man had to pack so much action, characters, and emotion into a small space, and he succeeded.

Kirkman, in his usual afterword, expressed his dislike of comic fans who cry “It only took five minutes to read.” I agree. I know several fans that do this, and it bugs me. Why would you just read the words and glance at the art? THIS IS COMICS! Gaze at that art. You’re paying for it, and you deserve it. So, this issue didn’t contain much dialogue, no doubt pleasing the fans who complain that Kirkman is “too wordy,” but it was still good. And Ryan Ottely is the reason why.

Grade: B-

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: The Walking Dead #61

Walking Dead #61

I’ve read everything Kirkman has ever written. I’m serious. Space Ace, Jubilee, Magdalena/Vampirella, you name it, I’ve read it. Because of that, I’ve seen the ups and downs of Kirkman’s career. I know that now, Kirkman is skilled enough to tell an issue like this. This issue of The Walking Dead is very compressed without missing an emotional beat. Yeah, this is a hell of an issue.

On the cover, you see a new character. There was a time when the whole issue would be devoted to this guy. Father Gabriel Stokes’ arrival is one of four big events. Again, I’m serious. I never really think about the harshness of The Walking Dead. That’s probably because I love it, and I’m happy when I read comics I love, but this issue is a kick in the teeth.

Charlie Adlard doesn’t get enough praise on this book. Yeah, the biggest part of The Walking Dead is the characters, and Kirkman puts words in their mouths, but Adlard brings these survivors to life. Not only can he handle the usual last-page-splash with ease, he has to make all the talking heads scenes work. With those talking heads is emotion, and this issue is packed with it. Well done, Adlard.

I’m often asked “What’s a good jumping-on point for The Walking Dead?” There aren’t any. Now, that’s usually taken as a bad thing, but it shouldn’t. The reason why there aren’t any jumping-on points, is because that would be like getting to the movie an hour late. You’re missing out on some of the journey, and I love these characters. Kirkman makes it rewarding. There’s a call-back to something that happens in the first trade, in this issue. So, please, jump on the zombie train, the trade is only ten bucks. For the rest of you, go read this great issue.

Grade: A

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Invincible #61 – Spoilers!

Invincible #61


This is Invincible War: Aftermath. So, of course, after all the craziness, things slllloooowwww dooowwwnnn. Mark is depressed, understandably so. How would the world feel if a bunch of versions of you destroyed everything? Powerplex shows up again (Wow. That was quick. Is this guy the new Mauler Twins?). Eve is hurt, so Mark meets her parents. The Starro-like-things subplot is mentioned again. A new Guardians of the Globe team is discussed. Oh, and Conquest shows up. Who is Conquest? A badass Viltrumite, complete with a scarred eye. I loved Mark’s reaction: “The only thing I’ve wanted since all of this happened was something to hit as hard as I can.” I have a friend who grieved recently, and he felt the same thing. It’s a good time to be an Invincible fan. Jump on the trolley, now!

That kind of scares me, though. That’s also the cover to Invincible #64. Ever since that Walking Dead cover with Tyreese, all of Kirkman’s covers seem accurate to me. PLEASE DON”T KILL EVE, KIRKMAN!

Review: The Walking Dead #60 – Spoilers!

Walking Dead #60


Let’s Get The Plot Out Of The Way: As we saw last issue, a huge horde has surrounded Rick, Carl, Morgan, and Abraham. They’ve been running on the road, but then Rick realizes that he doesn’t want his pals getting eaten. So they try to ditch the horde in a house.

The Good Stuff: Inside the house, they try to search for things to make noise to keep the horde occupied. Morgan searches upstairs and finds something terrible. Oh, what the hell, this is a spoiler review: The kids were poisoned and drilled in the head. The wife was shot and the husband blew his head off. Morgan’s humanity is already in a horrible state, what the hell will this do to him? Will this push him over the edge? Maggie gives Glen a heartfelt explanation for her earlier suicide attempt (Which pretty much lets us know that there is no God). Also, Dale really wanted to stay at this barn. He couldn’t; so he blames Rick. It’s been sixty issues, and Dale is finally starting to turn against Rick.

Final Word: Once again, I’m more worried about the humans than the zombies. Well played, Kirkman.

At the end of the issue are some teasers for the new story starting in #62. They’re in black & white, but you can see them here in color!

The Walking Dead Picture

The Walking Dead Picture

The Walking Dead Picture

The Walking Dead Picture

Looks like characters might start dying again.

Review: The Walking Dead #58

Walking Dead #58


Wow! I can actually do a Walking Dead review without spoilers! Why? Because this issue is mostly a series of depressing conversations and there’s no need to spoil things. In this issue, the “unthinkable” was promised. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but there are definitely some unthinkable acts discussed. Seriously, this will bring you down. If you’re feeling too happy, read this issue.

You know, I don’t praise Charlie Adlard enough in these reviews. It’s probably because he’s so consistent. Adlard does a great job on this book. He draws terrifying zombies and handles the facial expressions wonderfully. This issue is packed with emotionality, so Adlard gets to show off.

Though it may rip your heart out and leave you in a puddle of tears, and blood from that gaping hole in your chest, this is another terrific chapter of The Walking Dead.

Review: The Walking Dead #57 – Spoilers!

Walking Dead #57


I’m sorry that I have to make this a spoiler review, people. The fact is, I’ve already talked about how much I love this series so much. I’d just be repeating myself if I had to fill up a non-spoiler review. This book is great. Go read it please. The first trade is only ten dollars. There, does that cover whether this issue is worth reading or not?

We find out that Rosita and Abraham are a couple. That doesn’t completely ruin my Andrea & Abraham prediction, but it does look doubtful. The group is making traveling plans. We get some happy news as Rick wants to make a detour back to his house and the police station. They can get some guns and ammo, but that also means we may have Morgan and Duane Jones with us soon. Yay!

But as we often see in The Walking Dead and even in life, something bad usually comes after good news. The detour team consists of Rick, Abraham and Carl. Out of the blue, something really awful occurs. Carl almost gets raped. My God that’s creepy. Thankfully, nothing actually happens, but it was pretty scary and it leads to Rick fighting back. He does something terrible, but he had to right? The last page promises the story of Abraham’s family and the preview for next issue reads “The unthinkable”. What do you think will happen? I remember when I first read that, I thought Carl might die. Kirkman wouldn’t kill Carl after almost having him raped, would he? As always, like a fool, I can’t wait for the next horrifying issue.

Bruce Castle Presents: Do You Like Your Zombies Mild Or Etreme? – Spoilers!

Crossed #2 (of 9)

Crossed #2 (****)

What do you want in a zombie story? Memorable characters and/or memorable “Holy shit!” moments. This book still lacks the former, but makes it up in spades with the latter. Last issue’s review I wrote about how this isn’t a zombie story, it’s an Ennis zombie-esque story. These characters are very different from your traditional zombies. Do zombie tales contain bodies crashing down on Earth from a flying plane? Nope. What about zombies talking, planning, and eating each other? Didn’t think so. Again, this book will challenge you. There is another moment in here that will stop you for a moment before you can continue. It is very disgusting, but the world can be too, right? I’m still waiting for the character stuff and more of the “Ennis touch”, but there was a concept in here that just caught me off guard. So, a guy gets shot by the Crossed. He’s getting patched up by the token medical survivor. Our two main characters are studying the Crossed’s movements hoping to stop an attack. What do they see? A bunch of them circle jerking (Pardon my French) onto something. What is it? Bullets! The survivor that was shot turns. How fucking crazy and cool is that?

Walking Dead #55

Walking Dead #55 (****)

It’s always hard to review this book because Walking Dead is one big epic story. I can never really say “nothing happened” or “the story sucks” or whatever. I just have to report on things, which is the reason for the spoilers, and express what I liked and what I disliked. Ok? So this issue has a lot of mind fuck stuff that has been present since Lori died. Remember the phone issue that broke your heart? Well, Rick still has the phone and he still talks to Lori. So we get the sad crazy stuff, the survivors sleep, and they also get some supplies. And then of course there’s the WTF ending. Kirkman is a master of these and they mostly occur in Walking Dead. So since this review is spoilerific, Maggie is (Hanging? Hung?) dead. Well, I guess she could be alive. She could have been up there for five seconds I guess. See? This series used to be realistic, but ever since the fucking Governor came back I never know! Anyway, Kirkman did say at the beginning of Letter Hacks, “it’s time to start killing characters again! Yay!” Too bad. And that’s it, that’s the issue. See? Not much happened, but it was all great and I can’t wait for the next issue. Oh and did anyone notice that the last issue only came out two weeks ago? Yay! Keep it up Kirkman!

Bruce Castle Presents: Post-Apocalyptic Comics

Wolverine #69

Wolverine #69 (****)

Ok, so I absolutely love this arc. But I was a little disenchanted this time. Why? Probably because it was about two months late. I have the urge to play the “not much happened” card, but I believe my disappointment was because of the wait and this installment certainly wasn’t packed with much info. This is the traveling issue. Millar speeds Wolverine and Hawkeye’s journey so that we can get a proper finale. But that haste comes with a price. There are several interesting visuals including Loki’s skull, the Venom Symbiote attached to some rock, and the Red Skull’s visage added to Mount Rushmore. I’d like to know the story behind those wouldn’t you? I wish there was some mini to accompany this story but I highly doubt that will happen. So what did I like about this issue? Millar made Moloids scary as hell! The conclusion promises that we’ll find out what changed Wolverine next issue (I’m guessing he let the animal out and killed a hell of a lot of people including possibly someone he loves) so I certainly want more. And of course the best thing about Old Man Logan is the art. Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines and even Morry Hollowel have created one of the most beautiful post-apocalyptic worlds ever!

Walking Dead #54

Walking Dead #54 (****1/2)

Sweet fucking Christmas there was a lot of F words in here! That doesn’t bother me but I think it will bother some. I believe the extra swears were due to the new character, Abraham. Honest Abe is one of three new survivors. There aren’t any big events in this issue, but there is a lot of zombie killing! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen much of that in WD. Our heroes haven’t had to rough it out in the open thanks to their cozy prison (Prisons are cozy right?) so they got soft. Abraham and Andrea have an interesting exchange here. I hope Andrea doesn’t cheat on Dale, who appears to have a peg leg in this issue. Did he have that before? I believe this was the end of an arc, but Kirkman manages to stay away from his usual shocking conclusion. It’s refreshing.

Bruce Castle Presents: It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

Final Crisis Revelations #3 (of 5) (Cover A)

Final Crisis: Revelations #3 (*****)

Do you know what the last Final Crisis tie-in was before Revelations #3? Revelations #2! But you know what? It doesn’t matter because all of the FC books (except Requiem) have been fantastic! This issue continues that. This book is biblical both in its literary tone and scope. This is so much more than a “street” book. A friend of mine recently complained about how weak Spectre was and why isn’t God doing anything to help. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed the absence of God in most works of fiction. Satan is always aiding his cronies but God rarely helps out his. I always think about the finale of the original Omen. When Gregory Peck’s character is about to kill the Antichrist and says “God help me”, he is then shot dead. The Devil seems to be running rampant all over the DCU. Hopefully God will get off his cloud and help out. Anyway, this book is phenomenal and I highly recommend it even if you’re not reading Final Crisis.

Crossed #1 (of 9)

Crossed #1 (****)

Whew, this book is tough. I’ll start the review with a warning; this book is not for the squeamish. I’m way too desensitized for my own good but this stuff is hard even for me. I have to praise Jacen Burrows for his brutal and memorable art. There are two pages in this issue that I guarantee you will have to pause for a moment before continuing. There have been a few zombie stories that weren’t with zombies like 28 Days Later, but it was always hard to tell the difference. In this issue alone, Ennis has already made these creatures unique. They aren’t mindless beasts, they think, they plan, they work together, and they use weapons. They’ll do anything they can to inflict as much harm as possible. I have two complaints about this book but I have good excuses for them. Why does this book have to cost 4 bucks? Because there aren’t any advertisements and hey, you got an issue 0 for one dollar. It doesn’t seem like much happened in this issue. That’s true, but the characters were fleshed out and we know exactly what’s happened since issue 0. As with all great horror stories, this has to have great characters, we still have eight issues to get that. Hopefully we’ll get more character stuff and I know we’ll be informed about those cross rashes. So please, if you like Ennis, if you like horror, or if you want to challenge yourself, pick this book up.

Walking Dead #53

Walking Dead #53 (****1/2)

Slow down Kirkman! Things have been moving very quickly with this book. It would have been nice to get a little more Rick and Carl alone time. There are a lot of goods packed in this issue alone. Mysteries established 30 issues ago were dealt with, a lot of reunions, and something else at the end that is pretty intriguing and slightly frustrating. This was a fantastic issue, but I wish Kirkman would spread things out a bit more. I guess he’s just pleasing all the fans who complained about all the time spent in the prison. Oh and it will be interesting to see how long Kirkman will stay on this “everything is on time” schedule. Hopefully it will last but I doubt it.