Bruce Castle’s Mini-Reviews

I’m down, but not out!

Blackest Night #2

I was right there with Lebeau on the first issue, and you can find a bigger, better review of this issue from him. Johns definitely decreased the needless exposition this time around, but it’s not enough. This event is still moving at a dead snail’s pace. He spends too much time relishing in ghastly, deceased heroes terrorizing live ones. However, you can still find scenes to enjoy here, especially if you’re already fond of Johns’ particular brand of fun. Nightmarish sharks devouring Atlanteans here, a two-page, vertical splash of a resurrected Spectre there. The most impressive element of Blackest Night so far has been the images rendered by Ivan Reis. He’s officially a superstar.

Grade: C+

The Boys #33

Why is John McCrea drawing this? Shouldn’t he be drawing Herogasm? I’m not complaining. Carlos Ezquerra’s art has been sloppy the last few issues, and while McCrea is no Darick Robertson, his work here, and especially on Herogasm, is more than satisfying. Although, he’s still not the right artist for the job. This is a dark, violent arc of The Boys, and McCrea’s images are too cartoony. Ennis’ writing, however, is still top-notch. This issue was a blast. Watching Butcher systematically take down the Boys-filtered Avengers was very entertaining. The fact that this arc is so action-heavy makes it all the more upsetting that Robertson is absent.

Grade: B-

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #5

It’s nice to have Hellboy back. The reason for the delay was Duncan Fegredo’s, and the wait paid off. I re-read the previous four installments before this one, and Fegredo’s work is simply stunning. The Wild Hunt has featured a fight in just about every issue. It makes each chapter stand on its own as an episodic action series. Fegredo draws the hell out of the battle scenes, while Mignola crafts a menacing threat for Hellboy in the background.

Grade: B+

Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1

Off the heels of the biggest event in the Ultimate Universe’s history, at the start of a brand new status quo, is this issue exposition-heavy? @*&# NO!!! In true, Millar style, he kicks this series off in summer blockbuster fashion, featuring an extended fight scene, and a last-page shock to punch you in the face! As I mentioned with The Boys, if a comic is action-heavy, you have to provide pretty pictures. Well, Carlos Pacheco, in his glorious return to Marvel interiors, is just the man to provide such pictures. He handles all of the action, including some tricky helicopter scenes, with professional ease. Looking for pure, pop bliss? You got it!

Grade: A-

The Walking Dead #64

Dale’s situation provides a wickedly funny beginning. Then we get a typical and sentimental revelation from Dale’s lover, Andrea. I say typical because we’ve seen a lot of it in The Walking Dead, but it is a natural reaction to grief, and we’ve sure seen plenty of that in this series. The rest of the issue is mostly spent planting seeds for future events that culminate in a tremendously badass moment for Rick. Another enjoyable issue, for sure, but this is mid-arc. So, it does suffer from the necessary plot-building.

Grade: B

Uncanny X-Men #514

We’re two issues away from this crossover’s conclusion, and I don’t think it’s the event anyone was really expecting. This isn’t mindless Dark Avenger-on-X-Men action. No, with Matt Fraction at the helm, we’re getting a highly developed and well thought-out story that presents realistic situations for these characters to deal with. The downside to all that is that we’ve had more set-up than payoff, but with an oversized, Mike Deodato-drawn conclusion in the near future, I’m sure we’ll get the carnage that we crave soon enough.

Grade: B

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Review: The Boys: Herogasm #2

Comic book nudity! Sex! Orgies! Heroin, cut with Wonder Wom-I mean Queen Maeve’s vaginal mucus! Are you excited?! You should be!

This comic is so filthy! All of the issues actually got bagged at my local shop! I’ve only seen that once before. Anyway, this is Ennis’ first The Boys spin-off, Herogasm. Last issue, Ennis poked fun at all of the comic mega-events coming out, and there sure have been a lot of them lately, but the irony seemed to be that this series itself was useless. Oh, sure. I appreciate Zatanna jokes, “ELDARC EHT SLLAB. EKORTS EHT TFAHS,” as much as the next man, but that, plus a whole lot of nudity, was all the first issue really was. Well, this issue, Ennis managed to do the impossible. He added even more nudity AND more plot. Amazing!

That’s right. Herogasm appears to take place before issue #31 does, and so we’re seeing the explanation for some of the events already occurring in the main title. In addition to that, Ennis provides foreshadowing galore. There might soon be some internal strife in The Seven. Heck, we may even see some major Vought American plots unfold in this series. So, in addition to making your genitals happy (There’s some male nudity in here too, girls), Herogasm is indeed necessary reading.

Grade: B+

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Review: The Boys: Herogasm #1

Boys Herogasm #1 (of 6)

Ah, look at that Robertson cover. I love it, but apparently a lot of people don’t. I wonder if any poor comic owners will be attacked? Anyway, the supes in this book, if you haven’t heard, are absolutely deplorable, or are they? There’s certainly a case to be made that they’re just normal humans, given infinite powers. Sorry, I’ve been reading too much Thomas Hobbes, lately.

Well, pretty much everything you can expect from that cover happens in this issue. There’s a new crossover event! “The Battelite of the Marith’rai is now confirmed as having entered our solar system.” Ennis even ties the recent G-Men business into this in a brilliant move. So, all of the heroes, villains, and loners get together to fight the alien threat! Only, there is no threat. All of the supes just go to an island to…um…have a party. Expect splash-pages of orgies, a lot of comic book nudity, and plenty of coke!

John McCrea, a longtime Ennis collaborator, is a perfect fit on this series. Like John Higgins, he captures a similar style and tone to Robertson’s work. His style is a lot more cartoony than Robertson’s, so he handles the sex and comedy a little better. But don’t worry, I have a feeling he’ll handle the gore well, too.

Ennis, as he usually does in his opening chapters, takes a moment to set things up. He puts his jokes and commentary right up front for all to enjoy. However, I highly doubt that this series will be useless. That is, after all, what Ennis is parodying. Especially with the last page, we are already starting to see the tensions build. I have no doubt that by the end of this spin-off, something big will occur. Untin then, enjoy the Herogasm!

Grade: B

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