REVIEW: Image United #3

Writer: Robert Kirkman | Artist: Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Partacio, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino | Publisher: Image Comics

What Is It About?

The Image Universe is under attack by all of its villains under the leadership of the Omega Spawn.  Image’s newest character, Fortress, has seen the conclusion of this epic battle in his own visions, but has no understanding of how to stop Omega Spawn and his army.

Thoughts?

This book is late – yes.  I know.  Now that we’ve got that obvious statement out of the way, let’s look at the actual comic book and not its shipping schedule.

The overall story continues to get pushed in this issue as Shaft can’t accept the apocalyptic visions that Fortress is explaining to him and feels that there is something that can be done to stop Omega Spawn from defeating all of the Image Universe heroes and ruling the world.  As the issue moves forward those hopes seem to be dashed as heroes fall one by one and Omega Spawn makes his presence known on the battle field.

Believe me, there’s nothing I would like to say more than that this issue was incredible and well worth the wait, but I can’t.  This issue deals with the beginnings of this huge battle and there are not a lot of character moments – it’s a huge battle.  For me, as a long time Image fan, this is a decent issue, but not one I’m yelling from the rooftops about.  I think it’s a part of a larger story that needs to be told to really decide if I like the story or not.  It’s hard to say “this is where it gets real” because its not.  It’s just that middle part where the characters need to have their battle to move the story forward.

The art in this issue is what I was more curious about than anything going in to this issue.  I wanted to be blown away like I have been in the previous two issues of the series, but I can’t say that I was.  McFarlane worked his butt off inking this issue and I can completely understand his complaints about so many characters in this book, but I don’t know if it’s the inking that disappointed me, or just the fact the whole book looked weaker than the last two issues.  Believe me, the art is not bad, it’s just not at that level I thought it was going to be due to the time delays.

The Verdict?

I can’t say that this issue was worth the wait, because its not.  What I will say is that in the overall story, this issue did its job and provided fans with a big battle with heroes battling villains that they would not normally be battling.  I think when we read the whole miniseries this issue won’t bother me as much as it has in its single issue format, and I’m okay with that.

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By Chris Partin Posted in Reviews

REVIEW: Syndrome OGN

Writers: Daniel Quantz and R.J. Ryan | Artist: David Marquez | Cover: Michael Dahan | Publisher: Archaia

Created by Blake Leibel

What Is It About?

Neuropathologist, Dr. Wolfe Brunswick makes a breakthrough and has discovered how to isolate the root of all evil within the human mind and now will stop at nothing to advance his theory, no matter the cost.

Thoughts?

If there was ever a creepier cover in comics – I don’t know what it is than the cover art for Archaia’s Syndrome.  I like the simple, yet disturbing cover art created by Michael Dahan because it definitely sets up a mood for what you are about to read.  Syndrome is a book I’ve heard a little bit of buzz about, but only enough to make me remember the name and that it was something I should probably keep an eye out for.

The book opens up with an execution of Thomas Kane, a serial killer known as ‘the Bible Killer’.  Kane is a horrible person with no remorse for the murders that he has committed.  The story you find in this issue is can a man with such evil tendencies be “cured” of his evil ways?  Can you take a man who looks at his actions as entertainment and cause him to just realize those actions are indeed evil, but that he would never make those decisions again because he did not have those impulses again.  This premise is a fascinating one, and Daniel Quantz and R.J. Ryan do an incredible job at putting together a story that poses a great deal of questions and provides some very intriguing answers.

I think the best parts of this book are the characters themselves that Quantz and Ryan have written for this book.  While they all come with their own eccentric characteristics, none of them seem too over the top.  The ones that seem as if they might be need to be written that way because they are incredibly dynamic.  The production designer, Alexi Conta, is probably my favorite in the book because he may be rude and egotistical at times, but there’s something about him that made me laugh when he spoke to the other characters.

The art in this book is pretty good.  There are some panels and pages that artist, David Marquez really knocked it out of the park, and there are others that are just pretty good.  I don’t say that to say the art is not good throughout the whole book – it is.  But there are some areas I like more than others.  I love that you can really get inside of Marquez’s art with the slightly oversized pages.  Marquez has a great eye for the facial expressions of the characters in this book.  Each one is so expressive; you sometimes do not need the dialogue to know what they are saying, which for me is a sign of a solid storyteller.

The Verdict?

Overall, this is a great graphic novel from the writing to the artwork to the packaging.  I do realize this is a book that is for mature readers only.  There is a good deal of graphic violence, adult language, and a bit of nudity.  I think there’s a balance to what is in this book and its subject matter.  It’s not for everyone, but it is a well done book and worth checking out and I will recommend it for sure.


This is an advance review of a book that is solicited to be released on September 1, 2010. The Syndrome graphic novel was provided to Comic Addiction by the publisher for review purposes.

REVIEW: Witchblade #137

“The Demon Within”

Writer: Ron Marz | Artist: Stjepan Sejic | Letterer: Troy Peteri | Publisher: Top Cow

What Is It About?

Abigal “Abby” Van Alstine, the Necromancer, makes her debut in the Top Cow Universe proper with this issue as she is introduced to Sara Pezzini, the Witchblade.

Thoughts?

I will admit up front that I come in to this issue with more bias than with my usual Top Cow reviews.  Abby Van Alstine is one of those small characters that I got interested in when she first appeared in her own miniseries back in 2005.  Upon hearing that Ron Marz had plans to bring her in to the proper Top Cow Universe I was curious to see what he planned for her.  The Top Cow Universe has a lot of mystical elements to it, so bringing in Abby, a necromancer – someone who can talk to the dead – didn’t seem to farfetched and actually makes a lot of sense.

This issue is a nice “one and done” type issue where people who have never read or even heard of Abby can easily get caught up with her and know where she’s going with her story.  I think with everything going on with ‘Artifacts’ it as crucial for Marz to bring new readers up to date with the characters he’s using, and he does a great job with this issue in doing just that.  The story is tight and focused, and then very open at the end for what’s to come and, hopefully, makes readers curious for more of Abby’s story.

The art in this issue by Stjepan Sejic remains pure joy for the eye to behold. This issue was a little late due to some serious health issues that hit Sejic, but despite those health issues, and even being in the hospital – this issue is beautiful. Sejic’s vivid images jump off the page every issue and draws in the readers to pay more attention to what’s going on, a sign of a great storyteller.

The Verdict?

Again, I am bias toward this series and saying that this is a great issue and perfect for new readers would sound as if I’m being paid to say that (and I’m not – honest!). Marz continues to build the Top Cow Universe in a direction that remains true to the characters involved while evolving them. I can’t say enough great things about this book. Go pick it up!

REVIEW: Red Robin #15

“The Hit List” – Part Three: Secret Identity Crisis

Writer: Fabian Nicieza | Penciler: Marcus To | Inker: Ray McCarthy | Colorist: Guy Major | Letterer: Sal Cipriano | Publisher: DC Comics

Batman created by Bob Kane

What Is It About?

With the threat that his existence as Red Robin could be exposed by reporter Vikki Vale, Tim Drake decides to make a move to throw her off the trail, but how far will Tim go to ensure he and the rest of the Bat Family’s identities are safe?

Thoughts?

After reading the first two issues of this series I decided that this was not the direction I wanted to see, or read, Tim Drake.  I felt his move in to being Red Robin would be temporary and he would eventually return to being Robin.  That seems to not be the case, and while I have acknowledged that to be the case – I’m still not entirely satisfied with the cards that have been dealt to Tim.  Despite all of that, Fabian Nicieza and Marcus To have really been doing a decent job with this current story arc and have made me remember why I enjoy reading comics with Tim in them.

The story is interesting enough with the worry that someone will possibly figure out the secret identities of the member Bat Family.  The problem I have is that it’s Vikki Vale doing all of the investigation. I thought, at one time, she at least knew that Batman was Bruce Wayne, but I could be getting confused with the movie.  I like the idea of it all, but it seems like Tim is the only one worried about this and that part doesn’t sit well with me. Dick, Damian, and even Alfred don’t seem nearly as worried, or are willing to take some of the risks that Tim is willing to take in order to throw Vikki off the trail.

The art by Marcus To in this issue is really strong and such a great addition to the overall storytelling for this book. To’s work only seems to get better every time I see it.  I feel To’s Tim Drake is perfect and he really gets the facial expressions and body movements down so well its really enjoyable to see what he does each page you turn to.

The Verdict?

I like this issue as a whole.  I think there are some parts of it that don’t come across I would expect them to, but it doesn’t ruin the enjoyment – just causes me to question how the whole story will play out.  If you’ve been on the fence about reading this series, I would give this arc a shot and then come to your own conclusions.

REVIEW: Amazing Spider-Man #639

“One Moment in Time” – Part Two

Writer: Joe Quesada | Artist: Paolo Rivera, Joe Quesada, Danny Miki, and Richard Isanove | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Publisher: Marvel Comics

What Is It About?

This second part of the “One Moment in Time” story arc continues the conversation between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson about why they never got married and how their lives played out because of it.

Thoughts?

I gave the last issue a lot of grief because of how it ended.  I felt that if Peter being knocked unconscious and missing his wedding was the reason he and Mary Jane never got married was a pretty bad move.  But after reading this issue it seems that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.  What ever my feelings about the end of the marriage back in “One More Day” I feel that the creators on board this series have really put out some great stories.  This issue is no different.  Quesada provides a lot of narration in some areas of this issue while others rely more on the art to express the emotions of both Peter and Mary Jane and I really like seeing that.

The moment that Peter and Mary Jane decide that marriage just isn’t in the cards for them, I felt that should have been it.  Yes, they should always remain friends, but it seems as if the two of them continued being together well after that.  I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that until I read the rest of this story arc.  After my irritations with last issue being somewhat washed away by this issue, I think I need to hold off until I get the whole story.

The Verdict?

There’s more to this issue than I’m telling you because I think you need to read it for yourself.  I don’t completely understand the last few pages and how they all fit in to “Brand New Day”, but like I said before I’m willing to wait and see how everything plays out in this arc.  I want to enjoy this story, and I’m leaning that way for now, but I could easily sway to the other direction seeing what may happen in the next issue.