The Fade Out Act One by Ed Brubaker

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Ed Brubaker | 4 comments

The Fade Out Act One by Ed Brubaker
The Fade Out, Act One by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: The Fade Out #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 120
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 1-4 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

The Fade Out is an epic noir set in the world of noir itself, the backlots and bars of Hollywood at the end of its Golden Era. A movie stuck in endless reshoots, a writer damaged from the war and lost in the bottle, a dead movie star and the lookalike hired to replace her. Nothing is what it seems in the place where only lies are true.

My Thoughts:
I love old detective and mystery movies and this is like read in a noir book about the making of a noir movie so it was a hit for me. It’s set in 1948 Hollywood with WWII in recent memories, McCarthy Communist hunting in full force and the Hollywood studio system in flux after Paramount lost an antitrust suit.

It opens with screenwriter Charlie Parish waking up after a night of wild partying in the bathtub of a house that isn’t his. Then he discovers the lead actress of the movie he’s working on strangled in her living room. He leaves and doesn’t call the police. The plot thickens several times before this volume is over but I can’t say anything more without giving away things but there is an appearance by Clark Gable.

The art is wonderful. Sean Phillips has created an environment that looks just like the old movies and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s color work is fabulous. The panels are just as moody and atmospheric as you could want for a story like this but never too monochromatic or hard to figure out what was going on.

This is a three-volume story and I plan on getting the other two very soon.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read More

Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan, Comics | 4 comments

Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Cliff Chiang

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: Paper Girls #2
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 125
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 6-10 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

After surviving the strangest night of their lives in the Cleveland suburb of Stony Stream, intrepid young newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac, and Tiffany find themselves launched from 1988 to a distant and terrifying future… the year 2016. What would you do if you were confronted by your 12-year-old self? 40-year-old newspaper reporter Erin Tieng is about to find out in this action-packed story about identity, mortality, and growing older in the 21st century

My Thoughts:
I started the first volume of this series not really knowing what to expect but positive that almost anything by Brian K. Vaughan would be good. It was a little bit of science fiction, a little bit of paranormal, a little bit of nostalgia for the late 1980’s and just a whole lot of fun. Four paper delivery girls stumbled into the middle of strange events that weren’t totally explained in volume one but it was so good I’ve been waiting for Volume 2.

Apparently so were a lot of other people. I finally got to the top of the hold list at the library. I read this in one sitting and I’m already getting annoyed about having to wait for volume 3. I have a feeling that this a comic series I’ll subscribe to the digital editions of the individual issues.

Three of the original girls land in 2016 right in front of the present day adult version of one of them. It’s time travel with plenty of twists.

There’s a lot of action and adventure but there is also a lot of humor. Landing 3 twelve year old girls from 1988 in 2016 makes for some pretty funny moments.

1988 meets 2016

Click on the image for s larger version

The art is wonderful. It’s colorful and even though some of the creatures are kind of gross it’s not disgusting.

This is a comic series you should be reading either in the collected volumes or the individual issues.

Brian K. Vaughan does it again.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read More

Fables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 2 comments

Fables, Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill WillinghamFables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham with art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #17 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 17 is a compilation of issues 108-113 of the comic series
From the back cover:

And a child shall lead them

The fearsome Mister Dark is dead, killed in a kamikaze attack by the only entity even colder than himself: The North Wind, King of the Frozen Wastes, Ruler of the Cardinal Winds — and Bigby Wolf’s deadbeat dad.

Now, with Bigby having renounced any claim to the throne, one of his cubs must take up the crown — and he and his wife Snow White must watch as the North Wind’s servants subject their children to a series of trials to determine who will reign supreme.

Meanwhile, winds of change are blowing in other lands as well: the once-winged monkey Bufkin’s impromptu revolution against the new ruler of the Pan Ozian Empire is gaining unexpected allies; Rose Red’s reconnaissance team finds good tidings at the Farm, just in time for Christmas; and in Castle Dark the former Nurse Spratt waits for the return of the Fables with bated breath — and sharpened blade.

My Thoughts:
I’m glad to move on from Mr. Dark. This volume has a couple of major story lines. I really enjoyed the one that focused on Bigby Wolf and Snow White’s children. One of them will take over in their grandfather’s place as the king of the North Wind. The children are subjected to a series of tests to determine which of them is the rightful heir. It’s a bit odd and fun but also a tad bit dangerous.

The second major story involved Bufkin and his crew traveling through Oz. I usually enjoy Bufkins adventures but this time around it just didn’t click with me for some reason. It was okay but I didn’t enjoy those parts of the book as much as I did the rest.

In addition, there are a couple of shorter stories. I really enjoyed Rose Red’s version of A Christmas Carol.

The artwork throughout was wonderful. The majority is by Mark Buckingham. He’s done most of the Fables series and I always enjoy his work The final issue is done by several artists and the variety of styles works well with the series of short tales that are not part of the main ongoing story line.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read More

Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Chris Roberson, Comics | 0 comments

Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus
Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #2 in the Fables Cinderella spinoff series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume is a compilation of issues 1-6 of the comic series and Fables #51
From the back cover:

Fashionsita, socialite—spy?

Hey, if the shoe fits…

She poses as a haughty socialite in glass stilettos by day—and okay, sometimes by night. But Cinderella is actually Fabletown’s master spy. Tasked with doing jobs too dirty and deadly for the average Fable, Cindy’s faced down dangers from a dozen worlds and lived to tell the tales (over cocktails in a hot tub, if you’re lucky).

But every secret agent has one annoyingly ruthless archnemesis, and Cindy is no exception. Back in the Big ’80s, Cindy encountered her dark mirror, a rogue American Fable, who was in league with the mysterious Shadow Fabletown. Cindy thought she’d destroyed her rival years ago. But when a powerful magician turns up dead and another seeks her help, Cindy’s hunt for her old enemy begins anew.

From the frigid back alleys of Russia to the steaming desert, Cindy will follow the clues down the blood-flecked yellow brick road and risk everything she’s got—including her secret identity—to solve the crime and finally get revenge on Sliver Slipper.

My Thoughts:
Cinderella and her secret work as a spy has long been one of my favorite parts of the Fables series. I’m glad she got her own spinoff series even though it’s only two trade paperback volumes worth.

As with the first Cinderella volume the title is a play on a James Bond movie title. Some of Cindy’s adventures are much like the Bond stories. I think Cindy could take James Bond though.

The current case finds Cindy taking on an old nemesis she thought was dead. Through flashbacks the history of their meeting and confrontations over the years.

It’s a fun spy story with lots of winks and nods to the spy movie genre.

The final volume is a repeat of a previous issue in the Fables series featuring one of Cinderella’s spy missions. It was fun to revisit.

Roberson does a good job of adding to the fables world created by Bill Willingham.

The art by Shawn McManus is bold and interesting and conveys the actions well. The flashbacks have a bit of a sepia tone to them to distinguish them from the bolder colors of the current story.

If you haven’t explored the world of Fables you should.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read More

Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Nov 11, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham
Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham with art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #16 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 16 is a compilation of issues 101-107 of the comic series
From the back cover:

This Looks Like A Job For… The Super Fables!

Evil stalks the borders of Haven! Fed by fear and driven by darkness, Mister Dark has risen, more powerful than ever! Soon, the Fables’ defense will fall, and the day of doom will be upon them!

But lo, there shall come… the F-Men!

Assembled by the great and powerful Ozma and the wise and wheelchair-bound Pinoccho (don’t worry, his legs work fine — he just wants to look the part), these fabulous Fables will combine their powers to form a team-up to end all team-ups!

Every super-heroic personality will be represented: Big strong guys! Guys in cool armor! Miniature people who can bounce around inside the bad guy’s ear canal! That one girl who can fly! Even a roguish, hairy anti-hero with claws: Bigby Wolf himself! Together, they will overcome their fear and defeat Mister Dark once and for all!

Or maybe they’ll all die horribly within seconds. What do you think this is, a super-hero comic.

My Thoughts:
I’ll confess. I have been ready for the Mr. Dark story to be over for a couple of volumes. This time the Fables are making their last stand. Again.

The difference this time is that they’re approaching it a little differently. Avengers style before Marvel made the movie. Whether they’re successful or not I won’t say but it was an adventure. There were scary parts and there were funny parts and there were plenty of riffs on the superhero comic genre.

Bigby Wolf and his father The North Wind are forced to face their past and their fractured relationship. It was tense but again, I’m not spilling the outcome.

The first issue was unrelated to the main story but might be setting up some new places and characters for a future storyline. I always enjoy stories with Bufkin the formerly flying monkey.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read More

Chew Vol. 6: Space Cakes by John Layman

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, John Layman | 0 comments

Chew Vol. 6: Space Cakes by John LaymanChew Vol. 5: Major League Chew by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #6 in the Chew series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 156
Source: Library

*Note – this is volume 6 so spoilers for previous volumes are inevitable

The Book:
This volume 6 is a compilation of issues 23-30 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

While Tony Chu – the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats – clings to life in a hospital ICU, his twin sister Toni steps up to take center stage. Toni is cibovoyant, able to see the future of anything she eats, and, lately, she’s seeing some pretty terrible things.

My Thoughts:
This series is weird, disturbing, violent and absolutely hilarious. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about without sounding completely off my rocker. But then again, several characters in this series may be completely off their rockers.

The focus in this new storyline shift from Tony to his sister Toni. Her ability to see the future of anything she eats makes for some interesting dates. One way to find out if the relationship has a future is to take a bite out of your date.

See. I told you this was weird. And funny. A little bit gross. But still funny.

The artwork by Rob Guillory is colorful and fun and manages to present some pretty bizarre and violent stuff in a way that isn’t completely gross. There is plenty of funny stuff in the background of the main action.

The final issue is a one shot featuring the cyborg, martial artist . . . chicken, Secret Agent Poyo.

I know it sounds a bit disgusting but I definitely encourage you to give this series a try.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

Read More