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Review Crew: August 20, 2014

The Fade Out #1

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Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Reviewer: Oz Longworth Jr., the 73,369th Smartest Man on Earth

Good comic book noir is difficult to come by. Granted, there ARE good titles out there if you look hard enough, but usually slavish imitations of what’s come before. To quote a fellow reviewer, comics are nothing if not a derivative art form. But if you’re going to read good noir, you can usually count on Ed Brubaker to deliver. Such is still the case in The Fade Out.

Taking place in 1948 Los Angeles, the story is a stylish depiction of Old Hollywoodland but from a Black Dahlia perspective. A young starlet is found dead and so the gears of the great celebrity machine get to turning from the washed up writers to the shady execs. Brubaker wastes no time in taking whatever familiarity you have with the noir genre and painting around it to create a very distinctive world despite some of the usual tropes (which is unavoidable….I mean, it’s noir). Brubaker is a wordsmith with a penchant for prose that rivals the likes of Dashiell Hammet and Elmore Leonard. Visually, Sean Phillips totally gets it. He’s basically THE name in noir style, delivering a unique brand of quiet-as-kept cool to give this book the feel of Mad Men but with more murder. His strengths come across best in the story’s most silent moments when faces convey more tension and gravitas than any piece of Brubaker’s spot-on dialogue.

Bottom Line: Sex, murder and mystery in 1940s Hollywood as told by Ed Brubaker? What’s not to love? I’ll be back next month.

4.5 out of 5 stars.
The Multiversity #1 **

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Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Joe Prado, Ivan Reis
Reviewer: Ray Willis

I really don’t know what to make of this book but it’s a really interesting idea of visiting the multiverse of the DC universe. I’m not a big Grant Morrison reader but the story is really different and brings in some very different characters to tackle a foe that’s on the multiverse level. Let’s get this out of the way and say the art is really good and seeing the different characters from the multiverse was awesome.

The various look a likes to other characters is priceless and the colors are really amazing. Captain Carrot and Aquawoman maybe my new favorite characters.

The premise itself is simple with Nix Uotan the Super Judge was brought to a world where someone signaled a distress beacon after going through his stash of comics or worlds. The world itself is taken over by a cthulu and Shuma gorath type creature.

The person who sends the distress beacon is not who you would suspect and Nix gives life to save the last hero to find help to stop the foe that trapped him there. After President Superman is pulled in the House of Heroes, he meets a cadre of various characters that are from other comics and worlds themselves. Seeing characters interact with each other which is really interesting to see. I really enjoyed this issue and it was packed with a really well-crafted story that explores the various worlds in the multiverse. I can’t wait to see more this series.
5 out of 5

Judge Dredd #22

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Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Nelson Daniel & Steve B. Scott
Reviewer: Ray Willis

After using the ooze that saved his life in the Cursed Earth, to stop the Dark Judges from escaping, Judge Dredd is in a fight for his life to survive against the fiendish foes. On the outside Judge Cal wants to maintain order and set an all seeing surveillance system on the other sectors while the rest of the council of five are sent somewhere, by Dark Judge Space or Judge Anderson whose body was possessed. We get to see where they end up but Dredd is immediately in the fire when he runs across Judge Death.

An intense fight ensues with Judge Anderson in Dredds head,trying to back seat driving but he wants to keep control. It’s kind of funny how Anderson trying to help but it’s not really helping Dredd fight Death. After beating Death Mortis, Fire, and Fear appear with Dredd still on the defense against them. Also having Judge Death trying to get to Anderson in Dredds head isn’t helping either.

I really loved this issue and Duane Swierczynski is really killing it with this series. I can admit this story is going on pretty long with the Dark Judges. The art by Steve B.Scott and colors by Nelson Daniel are really amazing in this issue. I don’t really have any complaints about this issue besides it running a bit long with the Dark Judges story but I enjoyed it overall. I can’t wait to see what happens next issue.

5 out of 5

Sensational Comics #1

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Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Reviewer: Lee Gordon

I tried out SuperMan and Wonder Woman #1 for the possibility of DC producing a romance book in the world of super heroes. It’s been a long time since comic titles like Young Romance and Young Love have been around. Of course, it is 2014 and Image is producing a vast array of comic books in separate genres, so why not DC. Unfortunately, the chance I gave that title has been squandered.

Going though my LCS had me pick up a few goodies on an above average week, but not enough where I couldn’t try something new. I picked Sensation Comics #1, written by Gail Simone, who has proven herself in an industry still dominated by men; and this title by her was to be my latest #1. Her name alone will make me look at a book, and in this case, a second look. The original Sensation Comics ended in 1952 and was given a once-over in a one shot back in 1999. DC apparently thought it was time again.

Ethan Van Sciver created a cover that makes you wonder aloud, “How long is Wonder Woman’s lasso?”. His interiors are also appealing to the eye, but thrown off by page 12 alone, considering it’s by another artist, Marcelo Di Chiara.

Gail Simone pits Diana against Batman’s foes. Wonder Woman’s imagination may be the only true way to deal with Batman’s enemies and four panels on a single page halfway through the story had me thinking that a universe where dead means dead might be intriguing. The second half of the book was left unread, a separate story altogether. If Gail disappointed me, what chance did Amanda Deibert have?

The book was fun for just one moment, but it left me with a sense of distaste. The story takes place outside the “New 52”, which has me take pause, asking myself that if stories are still being told withdrawn from the current universe, then what was the point of starting over in the first place? Both stories state “The End” on their final page. I’m left wondering, will the stories continue or will it be a decade before another Sensation Comics is produced? And if a number two isn’t published, is that really a bad thing? If you want to try a new number one, skip this and pick up Grant Morrison’s Multiversity**.

One out of Five stars

**and Aitch is wondering how is it that these guys like Multiversity!

About Armand (1259 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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