Sunday, January 27, 2008

Guest Reviews by Shawn

Shawn is the official reviewer of Cosmic Comics. Due to a revamping of the website Shawn has been forced to keep his opinions to himself. So we let him borrow this site for some guest reviews .
EVERY ONCE IN WHILE…I like to Bogart someone else’s website and infect it with the things in my head.

So before we begin, you’re very welcome.

Thank you Jim for allowing me to guest post here and thereby not release those risqué pictures of you onto the internet.

Very brave of you, my good man.

Without further adieu, let’s review some mo’ fracking comics.


Vertigo Comics
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Davide Gianfelice

The second issue of the new Vertigo book draws the reader into it even deeper and at least for this little freak right here, succeeded in finalizing that connection that guarantees me to stick around for the long haul. Rather than have more antics with Sven and his evil uncle, this issue finds our anti-hero meeting with some various locals as he decides how to proceed reclaiming his birthright from his villainous kin. There is an old man who knew Sven in his youth who fills him in on some information Sven had missed out on, while in his own self-imposed exile. There is the ‘Hunter’s Daughter’ who mistakes Sven for a Saxon and wounds him with bow and arrow. There is a battle with a man who loses his head, and Sven gets a visit from his Uncle’s woman, who offers more than a firm handshake to the rightful leader of the land.

I must say that the characterization really made the story breathe to me. I finally connect to Sven in a way that makes me want to see him better his Uncle. (I was not quite cheering him on in the first issue.)His standoff with the Hunter’s Daughter was well done and revealed an honorable side to Sven who had seemed like a murderous heathen up until now. And of course we get another head on a pike. Comics need more heads on pikes.

Gianfelice is a wonderful artist and his talent is even more apparent here. You can see growth in his storytelling from the first issue to the second. He clicks with the writer perfectly here as opposed to finding his way in the premiere issue. And of course there is that fabulous last page…

FINAL WORD: Dark Viking drama done right. What the hell are you waiting for? BUY IT.

76 #1(of 8)
Image Comics
By B. Clay Moore & Ed Tadem AND Seth Peck & Tigh Walker

Two different stories begin here. The first by Moore and Tadem finds us in 1976 New York City where the arrival of a criminal from the street’s past prompts Mr. Carmichael Attorney At Law to adopt his street Kung-Fu personality, JACKIE KARMA once again.

The second story finds us in L.A. circa 1976 with Pete and Leon who work for a Bail Bondsman and stumble onto a gig tracking a girl who witnessed a murder but is wanted by the mob for other reasons, all in a story called COOL.

I’m not one for seventies stories. Seems I’m getting enough of that in my Amazing Spider-Man nowadays. This book right here though I enjoyed quite a bit.

JACKIE KARMA seems like an interesting take on the 70’s Kung Fu stories like IRON FIST and POWERMAN though without a doubt being its own animal. It definitely speaks to the stories of the retired hero making a triumphant return, you dig? Karma was all set up though, so we’ll see where it goes from here.

COOL interested me a little more than Karma did, but that might just be because the opening sequence with Pete and Leon collecting on a Bail was perhaps the best introduction of a duo I’ve read in quite some time. Pete had me laughing falling out that window and Leon owned the scene. Plus in Cool we’re thrown into the deep end of the story as I can see some of the twists and turns the tale may take but we’re too busy staying afloat to have it register yet.

All in all a good first issue that shows a lot of promise.

FINAL WORD: Don’t be no Jive Turkey, its better than Disco.

Dark Horse Comics
Written by Gerald Way
Illustrated by Gabriel Ba

This book the progressive way I want superhero comics written for the 21st Century. It’s kooky, genuine, well written, well drawn, unique, and really feels like a step forward and not backward.

Here we find Number 5 (an adult man trapped inside the body of a child) revealing he may have stepped on some toes returning to his normal world and time. The opening scene with the waitress at the Diner is ridiculously cool as her description is better than seeing the scene unfold completely. Way knows exactly what to show and what to let our own little imaginations come up with. I also particularly liked how he worked in the title of this issue.

Meanwhile we have an unexpected Romance and a last minute visit from Vanya to showcase her new destructive powers, robbing the team and us readers of a very cool character, and proving as we enter the last issue of this mini-series, that no one is safe and it is all up for grabs.

Ba once again (as always) proves he is the king of style, storytelling, character expression, and action.

FINAL WORD: They need to make this an ongoing. Stat.

Vertigo Comics
Written by Andy Diggle
Illustrated by Leonardo Manco

They call this issue “Part One” by really it is a continuation of the story begun in issue #239. So I am not sure where they get that. The Hunter Magician was introduced in the last issue and that introduction (not the story in this issue) is what sets the character up as a horrific enemy for John Constantine to have to face off against.

Tying into some of Constantine’s history, John learns about the Hunter who is coming after him based on the memory imprinted on a stick brought all the way from Africa to Constantine’s doorstep.

The issue definitely gives us, at least thus far, a wonderful set-up befit a story of the Constantine Alan Moore used to write. For some reason this reminds me of the first time I ever read about the character, in an issue of SWAMP THING where John is conning Swamp Thing into going against vampires living in a flooded underground town that are eating the locals.

Diggle even works in one of the greatest Constantine quotes that was ever uttered. “I’ll tell you the ultimate secret of Magic. Any **** can do it.”

What you may not know is that it isn’t a quote from a story, but a quote from Alan Moore who claimed to have met the real John Constantine twice in his life. Moore claimed the second time Constantine approached him and said the above quote before disappearing.

The fact that Diggle used it made it that much more compelling, because this Constantine is the hardcore getting-it-done-no-matter-what bastard Moore introduced us to, plus it is a little love letter to longtime readers and crazy folks who knew throwaway information like I do.

Manco illustrates a grisly world full of real nightmares perfectly and together with Diggle they’re tearing Hellblazer up.

FINAL WORD: If you can’t tell already, I love it.

Image Comics (Shadowline)
By Ryan Rubio and Thomas Boatwright

Mortimer and Falstaff are just following Lear’s handbook, so we cannot hold them too accountable. Going from cemetery to cemetery and killing the undead takes a kind of toll on a fellow after all. Mr. Lear still tries to handle them though, even from the great beyond, and together the trio goes about doing their job.

Mortimer and Falstaff might get it wrong on occasion (stake the wrong corpse as one example or letting a vampire almost get away as another) but it’s nothing an apology or a hammer and a little elbow grease won’t cure.

After stumbling into a town to do some more hunting, Mortimer is able to get them some lodgings and alcohol (the only true payment these men of action need), and together with some locals go on a hunting expedition.

Unbeknownst to them however, the forces they are up against are a rather cheerless man who controls the animal spirits in the forest. Possessed animals, eh? No good can come of that I tell you.

Equal parts measured in humor and fun, this book had a unique soul to it. The art by Boatwright proves a perfect design for the tale and makes it the first black and white comic I’ve read in ages that NEEDS to be in Black and White.

I was not expecting much and it turned out we got a wonderful first issue for a series I will now be looking forward to all the time.

FINAL WORD: Lots of fun and worth a try.

And I leave you fine Heathens with the place much messier than I found it.

I swear I didn’t have sex in any of your beds.


Thanks Shawn for the reviews. Feel free to send more on if you feel the need. I would also like to add my two cents that each book Shawn reviewed I have also read and each one is worth checking out.


  1. My word is LAW on the interwub.

    I'm like the BORG. I will assimilate you.

    Or at least take pictures of you sleeping.

    Thanks for letting me play in the sandbox.



  2. Thanks for the review! We set out to make a fun comic, and that seems to be the word that comes up most when people talk about our little spook book.

    Thanks for giving us a chance aand I hope you'll stick around for the next two issues.

    Thomas Boatwright

  3. You are very welcome.

    And it is we who should thank you. Good comics can be a rare commodity. Anyone who can bring them us deserves our gratitude and our money.

    Cheers. And you best believe I'll read the next two issues.