REVIEW: Artifacts #2

Writer: Ron MarzPenciler: Michael BrossardInker: Rick Basaldua & Sal ReglaColorist: Sunny Gho of IFSLetterer: Troy PeteriPublisher: Image Comics/Top Cow

What is it About?

Sara finds out who was murdered at the end of last issue and has a strong lead on who pulled the trigger, and the kidnapping of Hope brings in the big guns to begin searching for her.

Thoughts?

I will make no apologies that I’m a big fan of Top Cow and to these characters.  I think it is safe to say that I have certain expectations that may be a slight bit higher than someone who is reading this series without having a lot of experience with the Top Cow Universe.  In the end, I want a entertaining story that will engage me as a reader and leave me wanting more by the time I get to the end of the issue, and I think that’s exactly what I got out of this issue of Artifacts.

Ron Marz continues to craft a huge story that shot out of the gate with the first issue with such shock and amazement that readers probably wondered if this issue could keep up the pace.  While I don’t think this issue had quiet the same pace, I do think the slowing down of the story after last issue’s events is a good decision on Marz’s part.  Without spoiling too much for people who are waiting for the trade, last issue’s death and the kidnapping of Hope really surprised a lot of readers because we thought we would get something like that in this issue or the next because we are sort of conditioned for a build up in event stories.  The funny thing is no one told Ron Marz that and I’m glad for it.  I think the slower pace in this issue gives readers a chance to collect themselves and to see how the characters within the story react.

Michael Broussard’s art in this issue continues to be strong, but I feel its not to the same caliber as it was in the first issue.  I didn’t get some of those ‘wow’ moments with the art and the page layouts as I did in the first issue.  Sure, there’s no promises you’re going to get that in every issue, but when you see what Broussard can do – your expectations are always notched up a little every time you see his art.  Despite that nitpick, there are still some solid pages in this issue that really compliment Marz’s storytelling.  Sunny Gho’s colors in this series continue to be really amazing.  This is such a dark and tense story, even in just two issues, and Gho’s colors just pop off the page without causing a stark contrasts to the tone of the book.  The art all around is a solid package.

The Verdict?

This issue is another great addition to this series. The character interactions are great to read, and it just makes me want more after reading it, and at the end of it all – isn’t that what you want from a comic book? Wanting the next issue?

REVIEW: Lady Mechanika #0

“The Demon of Satan’s Alley”

Writer: Joe Benitez | Artist: Joe Benitez | Colorist: Peter Steigerwald | Letterer: Josh Reed | Editors: Vince Hernandez and Frank Mastromauro | Editorial Assistant: Josh Reed | Design and Production: Mark Roslan and Peter Steigerwald | Creator: Joe Benitez | Publisher: Aspen MLT

What Is It About?

The year is 1878 and the hunter known as “Lady Mechanika” hunts down the creature known as the “Demon of Satan’s Alley” only to make a shocking discovery about the creature and her ties to the creature.

Thoughts?

While attending Dragon*Con this year I really got a renewed interest in the steampunk genre.  The costumes were amazing!  The number of people I saw in full steampunk costume was quiet surprising.  I was reminded of Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo’s Steampunk series from Wildstorm.  I got it in my mind that I really wanted to read a comic book series about this genre and I had been hearing a bit about Joe Benitez’s new series Lady Mechanika and I just knew I had to try it out.

The last time I had read a series that Joe Benitez had worked on was Wraithborn at Wildstorm back in 2006.  I remember enjoying that series from an artistic point of view more than the story, but thinking back to Benitez’s art – it’s hard to remember anything about the story when he’s knocking it out of the park with his art.  Benitez has a very distinct art style that really has been fine tuned over the last few years since Wraithborn.  That’s not to say his style wasn’t amazing back then, but the pages inside this issue are the best I have ever seen from Benitez.

I could easily talk about the art in this book for this entire review because there are so many things to point out from the character design, to the costume designs, to the technology, to the panel layouts, and everything else – but what I really want to point out to all of you is the writing.  Benitez has really put together a solid piece of storytelling within this issue that engages the reader the moment you open the book and begins setting up the world where Lady Mechanika lives.  There is a great economy of words within this book.  While there is a decent amount of dialogue within the issue, I think the times it is there its necessary and providers the reader with more information about the characters as well as the world around them.  I feel after reading this issue that I have a good understanding about where these characters live and now I want to see more of it.

The Verdict?

This zero issue is a great done-in-one story that provides all of the necessary elements to show readers what they can expect from this series.  I think Joe Benitez has created an amazingly vibrant new world that has an enormous amount of potential.  Lady Mechanika could easily become one of my favorite characters of this year.  She’s strong. Smart. Cunning. And someone you definitely don’t want to be hunting you down. This book is definitely one you should be checking out and is sure to be the a book on everyone’s must-read list!