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#46 4/7/10 #8

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. I’m gearing up to take on the First Annual Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo AKA C2E2 coming up this week. Professor Challenger and Sleazy G will be joining me for the event. Please let us know if you want us to check out your booth at the con. And be sure to check out my interview with the VP and Stage Director of C2E2 Lance Fensterman that was posted last Friday to find out all you need to know about the show.
And now…REVIEWS!!!!

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 INVINCIBLE RETURNS #1 Kirby Krackle: E FOR EVERYONE CD Review Camilla d'Errico's BURN OGN STAR WARS ADVENTURES: LUKE SKYWALKER AND THE TREASURE OF THE DRAGONSNAKES OGN CINDERELLA: FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE #6 DEAD AHEAD #1-3 JONAH HEX #54 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents GANTZ Vol.9 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

Writer: Jonathan Hickman Art: Dustin Weaver Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Humphrey Lee

SHIELD has been something I’ve long awaited since I saw it announced because I could tell it would be the Jonathan Hickman I know and love. Not to say that he’s gone anywhere, far from it, but I could tell by the description of this book this would be him more in the raw. A comic book that involves deep secrets about a secret organization that has existed for most of civilized time and has featured such prolific historical figures as Imhotep and Leonardo Da Vinci as members? Now that sounds like the guy who wrote THE NIGHTLY NEWS and PAX ROMANA. Now that sounds like…”Assassin’s Creed 2”??
Eh, kind of, sort of. Not that I’m making any sort of accusations here or whatever. I think I’m more trying to make the observation that, with so much media available these days, and so many stories being told, even a story concept like this, from a brilliant mind like Hickman’s you can find some sort of other work to point to and cry about mimicry. It’s just a sign of the times. Sixty years ago you could irradiate ants and make them giant, raging beasts and you had yourself some revolutionary filmmaking. Nowadays you can’t even have a secret organization spanning a handful of millennia without feeling like you’ve “been there” and “done that.” Though the Da Vinci connection, plus the weird golden orb that we observe him holding in this issue, does not help the cause. Just sayin’.
Anyway, enough of that tangent, lets talk about the book itself and less the cultural diatribe about elements surrounding it. The fact of the matter here is that if there is anything you can say about Hickman, it’s that the man has a crafting style like no other. And that is what makes SHIELD so captivating. The ease with which Hickman introduces the secret society and weaves it into human and Marvel comic’s history is praiseworthy in its own right. From Imhotep fighting off the Brood to Galileo combating Galactus and of course to the prince of the Renaissance himself, already Hickman has presented a very colorful tapestry for his tale. It’s exhilarating storytelling ripe with geek fan service. It’s everything I could have wanted from this book and more.
Adding to the “and more” section, I don’t know where Dustin Weaver came from, but I’m a fan. The amount of detail that he injects into this book is absolutely staggering. Virtually every page is a visual feast that will stick with you after viewing. It’s highly expressive, it’s dynamic, and it’s everything I would want art on a book of this scale to be. If Weaver is not a superstar after this effort, then I do not know what it takes to get recognized in the comic book industry anymore.
Needless to say, I was pretty jazzed by this issue. It’s everything I would want from a Hickman project of this nature. It has a grand scale, a great sci-fi feel with some very playful historical liberties, and it just has a rush to it; a very kinetic movement. I know Marvel is making a big hullabaloo about their “reinvigoration” of their line, and that’s all well and fine, but if there is anything that I have read from their publishing line that has made me hopeful for the future of their comic output, it was this first issue of SHIELD.
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a Blogger Account where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


Writer: Robert Kirkman Artist: Mike Ottley Publisher: Image Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

While I wasn’t sure exactly where INVINCIBLE went that he needed to return, my sheer adoration for the most authentic superhero on the stands and one of the best universes in comics sucked me in immediately.
While I didn’t regret this choice, after several pages I realized this was not a title for long-time fans. The first few exposition heavy pages made me realize this was a hook to suck in those that have shunned INVINCIBLE for the past seven years or simply didn’t know it existed.
This is not to say that long-time readers won’t glean nuggets of goodness from this issue; in fact, you should read this issue solely for the parts of the story that set up the impending Viltrumite war in issue 71. However, get ready to slog through a deluge of material that has all been explored before – and in a better fashion.
There’s a lot of static talking in this issue. Cecil Steadman, INVINCIBLE’S one-time government handler and a guy so bent on order that he crosses lines of morality, spends about three pages simply walking down a hallway with Invincible by his side. During this gab fest new readers will discover that these guys were once friends, but currently don’t trust one another. From the long-time reader perspective, I love how Cecil correlated his own misdoings to Invincible’s new propensity for the “ultra violence.” Again, though, this revelation only required a few of the many word balloons that suffocated these opening pages. Likewise, Invincible spends a lot of time cuddling with Atom Eve, catching her up on parts of his life that happened before they were in a committed relationship. All of this was material that was already well known to those of us that have been around since the beginning. Take that, we know your man better than you do Eve!
OK, new readers that might be thinking of giving INVINCIBLE a whirl should stop reading right now. The rest of this review is for the long-time fans that have been addicted to this comic soap opera/reluctant hero exploration.
So what new things do we learn? Well. Invincible still doesn’t know he’s going to be a Daddy. Atom Eve laments this fact a lot in this issue; just when the time seems right to tell Invincible about this impending bundle of love, he is whisked away to one emergency after another. We finally get to meet the leader of the Viltrumites, but don’t expect to be overwhelmed; since looking like the same 1970s porn star is kind of their thing, the leader follows suit – big muscles and an even bigger moustache. I was probably most impressed with Invincible’s introspection on his “final solution” actions as of late. In a heart warming turn he decides to go back to his original costume in an attempt to regain some of the innocence he has lost over the years. I don’t think there’s one of us out there who when in our early twenties didn’t do the same pining for the simpler days of our youth. Everything finally culminates with the return of Omni-Man ready to battle his people with his son by his side.
Yes, this issue was talky, but make no mistake, there are some glorious splash pages provided by Mr. Ottley in this one-off.
I’ll fully admit I will be more forgiving than most on this issue. I simply love INVINCIBLE. It has always delivered great superhero action, coupled with deep (and real) character exploration and everlasting consequences. For those (like myself) that bitch about the fact no matter how many events the Big 2 deliver to change their universes, nothing ever changes – INVINCIBLE might be up your alley. Likewise for those (like myself) that could care less about big changes in indie books because we never get a chance to care about the characters (cough IRREDEEMABLE cough), again INVINCIBLE is just what the comic nerd ordered.
Will this book do what it set out to do by enticing new readers into the fold? Not sure. I think certain books hit a point where no matter how much back peddling is done by the writer, they simply becomes impenetrable to new readers after awhile--or at least impenetrable to the title’s full experience. Part of what made me love this book was the slow burn; the points in time where Kirkman would introduce a concept and then not revisit it again for twenty issues – providing readers with delicious “A-HA” revelations. I’m not sure if truncated exposition and many word balloons will provide the same adoration. It seems almost contrary to what has made this such a strong title for such a long time.
New readers, do yourselves a favor by picking up this title and every other INVINCIBLE trade since the beginning. Long time fans, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see how Kirkman tackles an epic space battle next issue.
Optimous is lonely and needs friends. Even virtual ones will fill the gaping hole, join him on Facebook or he will cry like a newborn kitten.

Kirby Krackle: E FOR EVERYONE CD

Produced by Don Gunn & Kirby Krackle Kyle Stevens (Vocals, guitar, bass) Nelson Estes (Drums) Bryce Francis (Keyboards) Find more info on Kirby Krackle here! Reviewer: Ambush Bug

A CD review in a comic book column?
When it’s Kirby Krackle, hellz yes!
I had the pleasure of meeting Kyle Stevens at last year’s SDCC and he tossed me a copy of his CD, simply called Kirby Krackle. I crammed it in my bag and told myself I’d listen to it on the plane ride back to Chicago. Kirby Krackle was playing in a small club during SDCC, but unfortunately I had another commitment and wasn’t able to make the show. So image the amount of kicking I did to my own @$$ when I got to actually hear the CD on the plane. The band simply rocked and I missed seeing them.
Flash forward to a few months later and it’s now. Imagine my surprise when I found that not only does Kirby Krackle have a new album, E FOR EVERYONE, but they’ll be in Chicago this weekend for C2E2!
Kirby Krackle’s second album is proudly self-dubbed as Nerd Rock. Their songs embrace comic-bookdom and give it a deep, low hug whilst making devil horns with their fingers. Now, singing songs about the Thing and Green Lantern may sound trite, but believe me, this band is anything but. Think of Bare Naked Ladies or They Might Be Giants with a much rockier edge here. Kirby Krackle are musicians through and through. Though it’s humorous hearing bluesy riffs in “Can I Watch You?” casting Uatu The Watcher as a funkified voyeur and rocking out with “Ring Capacity” KK’s anthem for Green Lantern, these songs are first and foremost are good and fun.
You can’t listen to this new album without smiling if you’re a comic book fan. And Kirby Krackle doesn’t go for the easy laugh. Apart from creative comedy, these songs are well produced with a wide range of musical talent behind them first and foremost. My favorite of this album is “Henchman”, which focuses on the woes of a nameless minion that is more than often looked at as fodder in comics. “Great Lakes Avengers” is full of energy and bounce talking about a hero trying to get into a super team, but having to settle for the GLA. The acoustic “Dusty Cartridges & Long Boxes” soulfully talks about love through the rose colored and polybagged eyes of a comic book geek. The album ends with “Going Home”, an amazing anthem that captures the excitement many have about heading to a comic convention and deserves to be played at the opening of many a con.
Though it doesn’t have a song like “Naked Wii” from their previous album (which for me is a personal favorite), E FOR EVERYONE is a solid sophomore effort from a band every comic fan should know about. Kirby Krackle is playing at Reggies, a bar just a few blocks away from the McCormick Center and a bar I know all too well, on Saturday night here in Chicago after C2E2 this weekend. Find more info about it here! After hearing this second album and having rocked to their previous album for the last year, you’d better believe I’m not going to miss them this time around. If you’re going to C2E2, do yourself a favor and check them out. If you can’t make it, pick up their new album so you can at least enjoy the fantastic music. It’s songs to read comic books to!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over eight years and one of the original @$$holes. Check out his comic book shorts from Cream City Comics’ MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 and MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1 on his ComicSpace page. Bug was interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics and here and here about his comic from Bluewater Comics, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER #1-2. Look for more comics from Bug in 2010, including ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS DEATHSPORT in July, and the just announced vampire miniseries NANNY & HANK in August (and check out Jazma Online’s new interview with Bug about NANNY & HANK here). Bug’s latest comic is VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #21: WITCHFINDER GENERAL on sale July 2010. Fanboy Radio recently interviewed Bug about it here.

Camilla d'Errico's BURN

Written by: Camilla d'Errico and Scott Sanders Illustrated by: Camilla d'Errico Published by: Simon Pulse Reviewed by: superhero

Anyone who’s seen Camilla d’Errico’s artwork at a convention or at her website would probably think they’d know what to expect from any kind of comic work she’d produce. And with her previous effort, MAKE 5 WISHES, co-produced or produced for Avril Levigne, they’d be just about right in their assumptions. d’Errico’s art consists of sweet looking anime/manga nymphettes in gorgeous and sublime settings. It’s very much what you’d see in a lot of anime artbooks out there but d’Errico’s art goes beyond much of what the typical anime artist provides. Yes, much of it is very derivative of much of what we’ve all seen in the scores of art that’s come from the shores of Japan but there’s an artistry and an originality there that makes her more than just an average Ameri-manga artist. d’Errico’s art is just that…art. Not to say that anime/manga artwork isn’t, but there does come a point after being subjected to pages of pages of manga and hours and hours of anime that it does start to come across as a bit…I dunno…factory farmed. One look at d’Errico’s work and you can see it’s anything but made with an assembly line mentality.
There is, however, a decidedly feminine aspect to her art. It seems skewed much toward the sensibilities of the average teenage girl interested in, what else, Japanese manga. Despite their obvious beauty her paintings may not be something that, say, your average teenage fanboy might be interested in. Not that I would know for sure, I stopped being an average teenage fanboy a long time ago…but I know that when I was one that I may not have been interested in the sort of thing that d’Errico was offering. At first glance, anyway. Which is why BURN is such a nice surprise.
BURN is a bittersweet tale combining children and cyborgs…which isn’t something you see every day. d’Errico and Sanders weave a tale of technology gone awry and the serious consequences it brings to a small village. To be honest, there’s nothing really all that original in BURN. It’s very derivative of other manga such as BATTLE ANGEL ALITA or anime like LAST EXILE. Despite its familiarity it does have a voice of its own and is a very compelling tale in its own right. While not as wholly mature as the previously aforementioned ALITA, BURN offers a slightly softer take on a manga apocalypse but doesn’t dumb down its story for the younger audience it’s obviously aiming for. BURN may not be as nihilistic and gritty as some manga but it is a compelling read nonetheless. BURN would possibly be a perfect introductory book for a teen who had never really been exposed to comics or manga in one form or another. It’s a great jumping off point for pre-teens or teens and will hopefully inspire young readers to look further into other manga books…maybe even possibly the ones that were the inspiration for BURN itself. And if you’re a younger (or older) reader who’s already been exposed to those manga then you’ll find BURN to be familiar yet entertaining territory and well worth a read.
Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. He's been an @$$hole for three years. Some of his work can be seen at and check out his blog at


Writer: Tom Taylor Artist: Daxiong Publisher: Dark Horse Reviewer: William

I had picked up this title after seeing a preview about it in PREVIEWS. A chance to see more interaction between Luke and Master Yoda from within EMPIRE STRIKES BACK? Count me in. Anything that involves more “deleted scenes” from the Holy Trinity of movies, especially pivotal moments such as these, and I’m sold.
What’s surprising at first is that the comic’s in a digest sized format, kind of like those Archie comics are known for. I had not realized it would be this way, so it took a little bit of getting use to. I for one would much rather have preferred for it to be a more conventional size, especially at a $7.95 price tag, but oh well.
First off you do get more “deleted scenes” from Luke’s time on Dagobah. The main villain here (if you can call it that) is the King Dragonsnake. Apparently he’s that large lump of slimy flesh that at first tried to eat Artoo from within the swamp, but then spat him out after he had realized there was nothing to eat. The story mainly deals with him as he next tries to hunt down Luke, while Luke (on a mission from Yoda) simultaneously tries to find the hidden treasure from within the King’s nest.
Mixed in with these scenes is more of the training Master Yoda gives to Luke. This by far remains the best aspect of the comic, as we get to see Yoda place Luke through more of his trials. Writer Tom Taylor was able to expand upon this key moment from the film, while still keeping it within the known ESB universe--i.e. Yoda is not suddenly twirling his lightsaber as he hops in between trees and so forth. Instead Taylor has him do his usual fireside chat about the Force, while still mixing in some of the quirky anecdotes that Yoda is best known for. About the farthest Taylor gives as to a hint of Prequel Yoda, is to have Yoda suddenly take on Luke in a mock fighting session. Using nothing but his walking stick against Luke’s lightsaber, it was interesting to see how Luke actually beat Yoda on this. Taylor references a classic Darth Vader attack here, the saber throw, which was a great touch in my opinion. Seeing the surprise on Yoda’s face was a pretty funny touch.
About the only thing that I must criticize though is the poor artwork by Daxiong. I realize that STAR WARS ADVENTURES remains primarily geared towards to the younger market, but Daxiong could’ve at least put some effort into making Luke actually look like Luke. It’s not like Daxiong couldn’t, as his Yoda remained pretty spot on. Seeing Luke instead as some no-name actor from the CW made things really distracting, which remains my only gripe about this comic.
In any case, I still recommend this good digest-sized comic for any Star Wars fan out there, particularly any ESB ones. A chance to see more of Yoda and Luke on Dagobah is definitely something any Star Wars fan should enjoy. The $7.95 price tag is a little steep though, but at least Dark Horse was able to make the thing 80 pages in order to bring in more value.


Writer: Chris Roberson Art: Shawn McManus Publisher: DC Vertigo Reviewer: Optimous Douche

With the speed, cleverness and action of the best James Bond flicks; the elegance and passionate “play" of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn tête-à-têtes, and a twist of such genius simplicity I thought I was once again reading the reveal of Gepetto in FABLES proper, CINDERELLA sadly draws to a close.
I’ve always been an unabashed voracious consumer of all things FABLES. This is one of the rare books that I got into late in the game, but actually went back and collected all of the issues from number one on forward (and paid a hefty price for those early issues even though I already had them in trade). I have the James Jean cover art book and, yes, a few posters. Despite this adoration, I will admit my interest in the title has been waning since the close of the GREAT FABLES CROSSOVER. Perhaps it’s the fact a perpetual state of danger feels like no danger at all after awhile, or perhaps the heavy focus on Toad’s cock, excuse me his Highness Toad’s Royal Cock, the past few issues has made my own interest flaccid. Whatever the reason, where FABLES has fallen short for me as of late, CINDERELLA has more than picked up the slack and reignited my initial passion for the FABLES universe.
For the uninitiated to CINDERELLA (if you don’t know FABLES already…sorry, but I would like to keep this review under a thousand words), Cindy serves as the black-ops spy operative of Fabletown, performing missions of skullduggery and deceit to ensure the safety of all Fables that now call the mundy world their home. Since this concept was first introduced way back in the early days of FABLES I was hooked. Cindy not only embodies how I view the modern woman (strong, while still being able to embrace their femininity), the twist of infusing spy elements into her rich lore was simply so surprising, now that she’s had her own mini-series I might have found my favorite comic character of 2010.
The series started simply enough with Cindy tracking down mundy munitions being exchanged for magic goodies from the Fable’s homelands. With a few magical items from her very own Q, Frau Totenkinder, and a swarthy middle-eastern counterpart Aladdin, the series had every element of James Bond’s finest adventures, but the genius that made this title worthy of baring the moniker FABLES did not come to light until this issue (well, technically it was the last panel of last issue, but allow me poetic license for the purpose of the review).
For FABLES, it all boils down to the villains. By infusing these characters’ deep histories with modern sensibilities and logic, the creators of these series not only surprise, they simply astound. CINDERELLA follows right in suit. Just as Gepetto was keeping the Blue Fairy “Gimp” style in his closet to siphon her magical energy to maintain order, CINDERELLA’S big villain also believes she’s on the side of angels even if her means might not justify the end. I’ve said it time and time again, from Lex Luthor to Gepetto, villains are always best portrayed when they believe their evil deeds are actually for the greater good, as opposed to just being mwahahahaah hand-wringing evil.
The big villain in this mini-series that I pray turns into a regular series is…wait for it…Fairy Godmother. Yes that sweet old lady that turned a coach into a pumpkin is behind all of the munitions exchanges in an effort to build a land where being sad is a crime. As we all know, though, Fairy Godmother’s powers only run from sun up to midnight. It’s hard to maintain “forced happiness” in any magical kingdom, when your powers crap out for six to seven hours at a pop — hence the need for mundy arms. In an effort to not spoil every reveal, I will save the whys and hows behind Fairy Godmother’s reasons for turning to this life of imposing happiness. Suffice to say, where she chooses to rule maximizes her limitations and Roberson’s justification for why she’s turned out this way makes you feel almost a little sorry for a woman you really shouldn’t feel sorry for.
Two more points I have to address before signing off. Chrissie Zullo, you have made me fall in love with cover art again. I have missed the pencils of James Jean for some time now and while Zullo’s style is less “horrific,” it still makes you stop…look…and reflect on its sheer beauty and how it ties to the overarching theme of the title. I wish I could say the same painstaking level of detail and love was given to the interior panels. Probably 70% of the panel work was spot-on and I tried desperately to not do a compare/contrast on Buckingham vs. McManus. However, there were some panels in this issue, where it seems as though McManus just got tired – rendering faces like they were plucked off of the meat grinder conveyor belt in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” Seriously man, two circles and a squiggly line do not a face make.
One flaw in what is now up there with one of my favorite mini-series of all time.


Written by: Mel Smith and Clark Castillo Art by Alex Nino and Moose Baumann Published by: Image Comics Reviewed by: superhero

The first thing I have to say about DEAD AHEAD is that it sports some of the best comic book artwork I’ve ever seen. Alex Nino’s art along with the colors by Moose Baumann have produced some of the best horror comic book pages I’ve ever seen. Seriously, the art in this book is that good. I mean for chrissake just look at that cover! It was that cover that caught my eye at WonderCon and when I opened the book to look through the pages I knew that I had to buy the book. For the art alone, in and of itself, DEAD AHEAD is a must buy. The closest thing I can compare it to is Bernie Wrightson’s work on the old Batman mini-series THE CULT…except on acid. Each page in this book just blew my mind away and I can’t rave about Nino and Baumann’s work here enough. Aces, aces, aces!!!
But, and there’s always a but isn’t there, for all of the talent of the artist and colorist it unfortunately seems like somewhere within these glorious pages one thing got lost…and that was storytelling ability. As mindblowingly fantastic as I thought the actual art was I feel that much of the story’s pacing and intensity got lost in Alex Nino’s self indulgence as a completely madly talented artist. I know, it seems odd for me to say that Nino’s art is gorgeous and at the same time admonish it for not being able to follow it clearly but it’s how I feel. I think somewhere along the way Nino got lost in his own fantastically interesting page layouts and forgot to remember that he was supposed to be telling a story. Honestly, there were times when I was looking at the page and was thinking, “Oh, my Lord, that’s gorgeous but what the frak is going on here?” Looking at DEAD AHEAD reminded me of an old David Cross routine about living in New York City and trying to figure out what to look at…the hottest woman in the world or the craziest looking homeless guy in the world. If it wasn’t for the text I would not have even known what the hell was going on in this book…especially as I got toward book three. As the books progressed Nino’s mad genius seems to take over and the art gets more and more interesting but I got more and more lost as to what was happening on the page. Thank god for the text.
Which brings me to the writing. I’d like to say that the writing was great in this book but I can’t. It’s capable to be sure, but a lot of it just seems to be trying to keep up with informing us as to what’s happening in the art of the page. Look, not every zombie book can be THE WALKING DEAD and DEAD AHEAD certainly isn’t. There’s little to no character development and the plot just sort of seems to meander without any real focus. The writer seems to be more interested in telling us what’s happening than showing us. You only really get to know about three characters in the book and what you do learn isn’t very much. I know there’s a captain of the boat, a hardass sexpot, and a dude who speaks Spanish. That’s pretty much all you find out about anyone so that by the time anyone gets it in DEAD AHEAD you’re asking yourself two questions: 1) Who just got eaten and 2) Why do I care that they just got eaten? If I were going to make a comparison to WALKING DEAD I’d say that Kirkman would be the Romero of zombie comics and Smith and Castillo could be the Fulci of zombie books. A lot of beautiful gore without any real substance.
But here’s the thing…I cannot say don’t buy this book. Because…hell the art is just fantastic! It really is. Especially if you have any serious interest in comic book art. This book may not show you the best way to tell a story but it will show you how to make a visceral impact and for that alone it’s worth the buying. Hell, I know a trade is coming of this book but I might’ve plunked down extra money for a slightly oversized hardcover of this book. That’s how much I loved the art. So I guess that’s my review: if you’re gonna buy it…buy it for the art!


Writer: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti Art: Jordi Bernet Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: KletusCasady

Hey Jonah, it’s Kletus and I reckon I like the cut of your jib and don’t let any lily livered slack jawed flat foot yella belly tell you otherwise! Jonah Hex is to DC as {blank} is to Marvel. If you guessed Sentry…go cut off one of your fingers…I’ll wait…but if you guessed Punisher…still cut off a finger just for shits and giggles. Now these characters aren’t exactly the same but they share a lot of the same qualities such as kicking ass and taking names with pretty much no remorse in doing so. The difference is that no one really gives a shit about Jonah Hex, the person or the comic book. I don’t mean that people don’t read and enjoy it but I don’t think there would be an up rise if they decided to do anything out of the ordinary with our cap peeling ex-confederate comrade. This is not a bad thing as there is no pressure to “deliver” some expected thing that he would or wouldn’t do. I think Jonah Hex is one of those characters that would be loads of fun to write. He’s a bounty hunter in the old west; I mean, I could come up with ten story ideas in like two minutes for this guy. This doesn’t mean Gray and Palmiotti aren’t writing well crafted tales of western folklore (because they are…every damn issue!), it’s just that having a set up like that leaves a lot of open possibilities for cool things to do with this character.
Most of Jonah Hex’s stories start out with a very simple premise; in this case, the meat of the story begins with Jonah’s horse being stolen. Simple enough, right? Then, it escalates into some other shit and Jonah finds himself at the center of an elaborate scheme to which he has become the fall guy (loved that show as a kid). The beauty of this book, much like “Friday the 13th”, “Halloween” or “Nightmare on Elm Street”, is that even though Jonah Hex is the “star” of this book, he’s really never the focus of the story. In all of these horror movies, the movie is really more about the people going against these “monsters” rather than the “monsters” themselves. What I mean by this (and this applies to Punisher books as well) is that we know what these guys do, they kill people and move on. So, the challenge is to surround these killers with people who you either feel need to be offed in fun violent ways or with people you really don’t mind seeing get stabbed to death in a porto-potty with a large iron rod (I’m looking at you Juwanna Man-Friday the 13th circa 1980s…if you get that joke much props). So really, we’re just in it to see the kind of brutal justice these guys bring to the table. Jonah Hex is cool because anything could happen in this book and it will never be bogged down by multiple earths (shit I probably cursed it didn’t I…damn it) or Final Crises or any other shit DC wants to cram down your throat. Last week someone (Optimus) spoke to the effect of DC continuity being so overwhelming that they need some sort of reset button. I partially agree with this statement as anyone who’s into Marvel that I try to talk to about DC is pretty much terrified to open a DC book because of how much shit you have to know to pick one up, read it, and know who most of the people are. I even read all of the profiles of the Heroes and Villains (I was bored) DC has on their homepage just so I wasn’t lost when I started getting into more DC shit. I would argue that DC (both companies really) needs more books like JONAH HEX because you don’t have to bother with all that complicated hogwash. I mean if they can make about 5-10 books like this that are GOOD and don’t have more baggage than your new girlfriend with 3 kids from three different daddies, then people wouldn’t be so afraid to open a comic book without having some nerd like me tell you who everybody is.
JONAH HEX is good every issue and this one is no different. The stories are simple (not an insult), solid and very entertaining. My favorite issue had JH Williams III on art, and Jonah Hex was drugged by this guy that wanted him to impregnate his wife so he would have a badass bounty-hunting son one day…then Jonah sobered up and killed him. Simple, yellow, effective. The best quality of books like PUNISHER or JONAH HEX is you know where these guys stand, you know what they consider right and what they consider wrong…there is no gray area and anyone could end up dead by crossing to that grayish abyss.
Handling the art chores for this issue is the legendary Jordi Bernet (I say legend because I heard some else say it…so I guess it’s true); his artwork is similar to Joe Kubert in that he uses a lot of line work to depict movement and depth. I’d say he’s kind of a mix between Joe and Goran Parlov (drew the Barracuda and the Bayou issues of PUNISHER), probably not everyone’s cup of tea but I like it. As a side note, he drew a Spanish crime comic called TORPEDO which looks pretty cool.
I urge you to pick up an issue of JONAH HEX; even if you wait for some artwork to grab you, it’s totally worth it. If you like PUNISHER comics there’s a good chance you’ll like this too. Now, get off your dust suckin’ no horse having slow draw being yella neck club foot kiester and get yer self a dadgum JONAH HEX comic before I put a space between your eyes that I’ll use to hold my smokes in…I reckon my western talk needs work but I did just rent Western World so we’ll see if that helps.
p.s. (a letter to god)
Why god is Megan Fox in the JONAH HEX movie? Yes I know she’s hot lord but her acting talent, much like my western speak, is…hollow and forced. Literally, any fairly attractive woman could have played that part but I guess she’s the hype now so I’ll deal with it. But lord, seeing her in a movie immediately takes me out of the story…but if Jonah shoots her by the movie’s end I will be very happy.
Thanks for listening lord, Kletus

GANTZ Vol. 9

By Hiroya Oku Released by Dark Horse Manga Reviewer: Scott Green

GANTZ is the zenith of block buster manga. NARUTO with its giant frogs and lightning punches is fine, but this is the real business. Aliens getting brained by a deftly wielded school desk. Roof top mortal combat. Tears and blood and a lot of other bodily fluids. I may be done trying to read meta commentary into GANTZ. If this series wants to come back at a later point and present evidence that it's an intelligent manga, fine. For now, I'm satisfied and willing to take it for what it is, and not what it initially appeared to have promoted.
I enjoy and enthusiastically evangelize smart manga, and sensitive manga and important manga. I'm not really convinced that GANTZ is any of these. I'll also put in a good word for entertaining, brutally violent manga, qualities that GANTZ exhibits in spades.
Recently BIOMEGA has been getting a lot of positive buzz. Many of its proponents are pulling images of its sniper rifle wielding bear and selling its inspired wackiness. Half facetiously, I've been calling these people out as interlopers in the genre. What's great about BIOMEGA is not the bear on the grassy knoll. That's garnish. The appeal of BIOMEGA is a motorcycle riding, black clad gunslinger dispassionately facing down an evil of mind shattering enormity. GANTZ is similarly full-bore guy-catnip: people playing out desperate, first person shooter scenarios on streets, rooftops and school buildings.
As might be expected from that sort of bombastic promise, there are plenty of people who hate GANTZ. There are people who refuse or dread to read it. Even among those with an affinity for its brand of narrative, it's divisive. And, if you skip the manga, you aren't missing anything life changing. For better or worse, it's simply excessive violence and violation the likes of which isn't even approached by Kick Ass and the like.
I can't remember the last time I hit a volume of manga the plot of which was more difficult to touch upon without spoiling it such that the revelations would affect the enjoyment of reading the manga. I could point out some highlights, but, really, plot doesn't really matter too much to GANTZ. This isn't manga that is driven by its character or its plot. It defies prediction. It's not cheating around expectations, but when it's not shuffling the deck, it's spiking the cards on the floor. The engine moving the manga is momentum itself. It's always either in the midst of a huge spectacle or preparing for the next.
GANTZ is full of human and alien bodies being destroyed at high speed. People leap tall buildings, their limbs shattering at impact. It's all fast and out of control. And, it works in manga. Time in comics/manga is based on an agreement between the writer and reader. The writer makes suggestions based on the transition between panels and pages. In contrast to video, there's a native mechanism for breaking the flow. You get to a panel in which a character is on his heels, dodging a punch. It's natural to slow down, look at the panel and appreciate what is being conveyed. If constructed well, and GANTZ is, in this medium, stopping to feed on the impact of one moment does not diminish the sense of speed in which the next one occurs. That next punch still seems a split second after the first. The spectacle of GANTZ is rendered in such a way that the nature of the medium complements its intentions to present images meant to leave the reader taken aback.
Hiroya Oku has referenced DIE HARD as an inspiration for GANTZ, and in seeing how physically vulnerable its action heroes can be, that comparison is arguably apt. Yet, I think a better point of reference occurs in the first act of classic X-Men story, “The Dark Phoenix Saga”. The heroes are all captured by their adversaries, the Hellfire Club. Team maverick Wolverine is presumed to be out of commission, but from the sewers, the comic iconically shows him hanging on, preparing to go in alone in a counter attack.
It's been argued that that was a watershed moment in what had been called "superhero decadence:" in which, among other excesses, comics became too involved with their own iconography while trying to blow previous iconic moments out of the water.
GANTZ goes in that direction, with the violence restrictor plates pried off. The hugely sexualized chapter illustrations are one marker of Oku's ability to create attention commanding and divisive images. For a while, I thought Oku was discussing teenage male wish fulfillment in GANTZ. Now, I believe he's wiring a series of "oh *expletive*!" moments. In theory, that sort of combustible shock approach should eventually exhaust its creators capacity for tweaking the audience. Nine volumes in, Oku's ability to put together those iconic Wolverine the skewer scenes, only more affrontary, is only growing more potent.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for over eight years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column every week on AICN.

Some truly original indie books lie just a tiny scroll down. Sure, you could whiz past it to read about Batman this or Wolverine that, but why not tarry a while and see something out of the ordinary. I’m Ambush Bug. This is Indie Jones. Check out these fringe books. You can thank me later.

DAY OF THE DEAD: DESERTION Book can be found included in Arrow Films’ new release of the DAY OF THE DEAD Blu Ray

This book written by HALLOWEEN comic writer Stefan Hutchinson and Barry Keating is an impressive prequel to the DAY OF THE DEAD film. Hutchinson focuses on the movie’s most famous zombie Bub through his life, death and undead rebirth. The book strikes some pretty powerful emotional chords as Bub tries to save his family from the zombie outbreak, all the while holding on to the little things that distinguish the humans from the zombies. The book is illustrated by Jeff Zornow in a gritty Tony Moore/Steve Dillon-esque style which is somewhat cartoony, but still resonates when the tone gets dire. And dire the tone does get here in this issue that occasionally reads like an issue of Ennis’ CROSSED, but fleshes out the tone Romero sets in the original DAY OF THE DEAD movie. This is a great complimentary piece that comes packaged with the DAY OF THE DEAD Blu Ray, and another highlight of how the realm of comics and film can compliment and elaborate on each other, making the story experience that much richer.

CORNBOY OGN Periscope Entertainment

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say that as long as the audience can suspend their disbelief for one thing and as long as you make things make some sort of sense for the rest of the story, the audience is bound to follow. So yes, this story is about a bored housewife who uses a cob of corn as a sexual object and yes the product of that unholy union comes out nine months later as a corn/human hybrid. And yes, that corn/human hybrid grows up to be Cornboy who is able to masturbate seed that grow magical vegetables that heal all forms of sickness and he soon finds himself the prize in a game of ownership between the government and privately run pharmaceutical corporations. But once you get past those fantastical ideas, this is a pretty amazing story of a naïve boy in a twisted world. I loved this story, which is completely twisted, but surprisingly sweet and resonates with a message that may be a bit environmentalist, but it also has enough acerbic wit to make fun of that Go Green message. One things for sure, this story by Joshua Dysart from a screenplay by Panela Corkey with impressive art by Edison George is unlike anything you’re likely to ever read and for that, I whole heartedly recommend CORNBOY for those seeking something truly original in their comic book reads.


I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I understand everything that’s going on in this book, but I can say it’s a trippy fun read about a superhero in a super suit and a cult and a demon and maybe a vampire and werewolf or three. Mainstream art folks aren’t going to dig this one since the panels here are a bit less defined and developed than what regular Marvel & DC readers are used to. But nevertheless, I admire this type of book, which has indie written all over it, but it also has a lot of moxie and promise since it has just about everything and anything cool crammed into it.

THE THREE PRINCES OGN Caper Away Productions

This is a different type of comic, reminiscent of earlier scenes of GOODFELLAS and other coming of age in the mob movies. I really enjoyed this thorough and elaborate take on Prohibition Era crime by Chad Boudreau following three kids who are trying to make their mark in big time mob crime. Boudreau takes his time to set the stage in the early pages, allowing us to care for these characters and really get to know them before putting them in situations most dire. The real star here, though, is Manoel Magalhaes, who I had the honor and pleasure of working with on my upcoming WITCHFINDER GENERAL story in VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #21 (due out this July!). Magalhaes is a true talent and an artist to watch. I knew that from the pages he turned in on my comic, but he really shines in THREE PRINCES. His facial expressions and variation of characters are absolutely astounding. I don’t know when THE THREE PRINCES is due out, but it is definitely going to be a break out book for Magalhaes and one fans of gripping crime drama need to keep their eyes peeled for. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when and where this book can be purchased in a future Indie Jones column.


Time for the obligatory Deadpool appearance. Not that this issue wasn’t good (it was), but somehow the appearance of the Merc with a Mouth just made me grit my teeth a little. Moon Knight’s trouble sensor computers detect something amiss at a hospital. Moonie goes to investigate and finds Deadpool about to kill an elderly man. Mighty Marvel Manner ensues as the two anti-heroes battle it out for a while until they are forced to unite against a common foe. With the wide screen action provided in the last few issues, I guess this book deserved to have a bit of a breather issue in the epically good department. This issue is just ok, with a pretty nicely choreographed fight scene and a stupendously cool “slide down the bat-pole” moment at the beginning of the book. Still rooting for this to be the Moon Knight title that finally sticks, though. - Bug


This looks to be the beginning of a pretty expansive and impressive mega-crossover for Top Cow. ARTIFACTS’ appeal is in both the comic-booky premise (13 artifacts of immense power are spread throughout the world and are being brought together for something insidious) and the delicious art work that Top Cow has become famous for. Not knowing a lot about the WITCHBLADE/DARKNESS Universe, this issue was especially useful in catching me up on not only how Witchblade and The Darkness fit into the grand scheme of things, but introduced me to new characters in this massive battle between light and dark with Magdalena, the Angelus, and other creatures and warriors that inhabit the Top Cow world. Those who have always been curious about Top Cow’s bread and butter (sorry, bad pun) titles but haven’t been able to find a good jumping on point may want to check out this zero issue and see what all of the hubbub is all about. This issue, which introduces a new character into play (I think) called Aphrodite, is the perfect catch-up offering each major player a page explaining their purpose, their power, and how they fit into the grand scheme of things. ARTIFACTS #0 will be available for folks on Free Comic Book Day on May 1st. It’s definitely worth checking out. - Bug


OK, Geoff. You’ve had your fun in space with Hal. Now it’s time to dazzle us with some speed and time with Barry. I have to admit, FLASH REBORN was a pretty tepid read for me compared to Johns’ daring and epic take on Green Lantern. But now that BLACKEST NIGHT is all over and done with, maybe Johns can inject some Speed Force into the Flash and his team of speedsters. Returning to the title that made him famous, we’ve got a new FLASH book coming round the bend. And if this book is any indication, it looks to be a lot of fun. All of the stuff that made Johns’ first run on FLASH are in place; there’s a mystery surrounding Barry’s mother’s death, there’s a gaggle of speedsters Johns can play with, and of course, we’ve got the Rogues rougue-ing it up and up to no good. Though the bulk of this four dollar book is WHO’S WHO profiles of all of the speedsters and the Rogues, the intro story serves as a nice teaser for those of us who remember how awesome the Flash was under Johns’ pen and hope for more stories like those to come. One thing though, I hate Wally West’s costume with the Batman-esque nose. Just doesn’t seem right for some reason. - Bug

TURF #1 Image Comics

Not to weigh this debut comic down with snark right off the bat, but after reading TURF #1 by Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards, all I really have to say is: “Wordy comic is wordy.” And I feel bad, because I know there is a lot of effort going into this book to really establish its setting of a “Roaring 20’s” gangster book with some scifi tropes; vampires, a crashed space ship, etc. But, goddamn, I think it took me a half hour to read this issue, and half of that was wading through pretty daunting exposition trying to flesh out some of the history of this version of that era. Now, overall, I do like the gist of this book; I like the elements being implemented here and some of the characters are endearing in their own right. But, fuck, every bit of momentum this builds up, especially with some stunning visuals from Tommy Lee Edwards (the reason I put this down for order in the first place), gets absolutely killed with a brick wall of text. I think that overall there’s some very solid aspects to this book, especially the gorgeous art, but if this is a trend that continues, I’m not sure if this is territory I’ll find myself investing in for long. - Humphrey


And so, the “Return of Bruce Wayne” begins. I don’t know about you guys, but I get the same feeling about this title as I did a few months ago when they brought back Steve Rogers and revealed he was bounding through time. I feel that Bucky never really had a fair shake as Cap and now that Bruce is coming back, I’m already feeling a bit melancholy knowing that once Bruce returns, Dick will be less effective in the cape and cowl. I wish this storyline would have come together next year and we had more time enjoying Dick and Damian, especially in this title. Bruce isn’t back yet (or is he? Damian believes he already is in this issue), but already the tone of the Bat-titles have shifted and Dick’s days as the Caped Crusader seem numbered. All in all, though, this was another pretty fine issue with Damian being controlled like a first person shooter game and Dick uncovering new mysteries under Stately Wayne Manor. Fun stuff, but this return of Bruce, man. Too soon… - Bug

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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