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The Review Brew – October 29, 2014

**AS ALWAYS BE MINDFUL THAT THERE WILL BE SLIGHT SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!**

Dredd Uprise #1 of 2
Writer: Arthur Wyatt
Artist: Paul Davidson
Color artist: Chris Blythe
Reviewer: Ray “At your Final Destination” Willis

You know the Dredd  movie that came out a few years ago with Karl Urban, if you do then this a continuation of that Dredd universe. Arthur Wyatt gives us a tale of an uprising that is taking place within “The Spit”, a habitable zone between the reclamation zone in the walls of Mega City One but when a public figure in the downtrodden community is assassinated, its up to Dredd to stop it. The dialogue is really good and the pacing is good as well. This issue is over thirty pages but gives you enough information to really get into the story. There is a twist in this issue that you may guess or not but the plot is convincing enough to get you invested. The art from Paul Davidson is phenomenal, capturing the feel of the movie version of Mega City One and I love the character designs as well. Seeing this version of Mega City One is a delight. Seeing the S.W.A.T. like uniforms of the street judges is really nice to look at. The urban modernized landscape of Mega City One looks like it could happen in real life if everyone lived in Mega Blocks. The colors from Chris Blythe are astounding, matching the tone of the city.

I did not find anything wrong with this issue maybe except the plot twist at the end of the issue will have you asking questions on the motive but that’s minor. I really enjoyed this issue overall and had fun reading it. Seeing this version of Dredd and seeing more of this Mega City One is great to see. The writing, art, and colors really make this a good read overall and I can’t wait to pick up the next issue of this two-part issue.

5 out of 5 Spits

Saga #24
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Reviewer: Alex “He knows what you did last summer” Krefetz

It’s probably not a surprise that this was a good issue of Saga. After 23 issues of consistent quality, it can sometimes be difficult to touch on exactly what one likes in a book. We’ve grown so attached to the characters and plot that readers just want their next fix in the ongoing story. Issue 24 takes the breakneck pace of the last few issues and makes the strange decision to slow down and take the story elsewhere rather than continue escalating, but I think it’s a decision that pays off well.

Saga continues its exciting first page spread by showing an extremely minor but fan favorite character. Issue 24 primarily follows a new character who appears on the front cover, a new bounty hunter paired with a red and black bloodhound. We also get our first look at Gwendolyn and Sophie since the time skip taken earlier in this arc. With all the excitement following Alana, Marko and Price Robot it was refreshing to see these characters again. Any disappointment I had about not following last issue’s events and characters quickly disappeared when seeing back to these characters as well as the new bounty hunter. Vaughn has a knack for introducing an enormous cast of characters that readers find endearing.

Fiona Staples continues creating beautiful worlds and characters that bring life to Vaughn’s story. As much as I compliment his writing in context of this story, Staples is just as important in setting scenes and creating a consistent and engaging vision of this world. Saga is known for its first and last page full-page spreads, but this time the formula gains another full-pager in the middle of the book. Each of these pages is equal mix of exciting and heartwarming.

Instead of simply following the next step in the story, Vaughn and Staples slowed down to remind us the scale of the entire story. This issue acts to decompress what we’ve been reading for months and get us excited for what’s to come next. You could easily describe it as “another issue of Saga” and know full well that you’re getting one hell of a book.

5 out of 5 blood-red bloodhounds

Rasputin #1
Writer: Alexander Grecian
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Ivan Plascenia
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Reviewer: Brett “He will make you scream” Israel

Recent history has shown comic book fan; if an Image number one issue is coming out, we’re more than likely going to get something unique, inspired, and a solid. Rasputin 1 was no different. Grecian, Rossmo, and company spin together a first issue which can lead in multiple directions, leading me to question where the next turn will lead, in a good way.

When it comes to Rasputin, there’s only one place to begin, the end, and I would normally call spoilers here, but this is history folks. The book opens to Grigori sitting down to what will be his infamous final meal. What’s curious about this book is that after the initial bit of internal dialogue from Rasputin, we get thrust to his childhood in Siberia, and the text gets sparse to say the least. The issue becomes a showcase for Riley Rossmo to prove his chops, and he goes above and beyond, but more on that later. The upbringing of an abusive father and battered, but strong mother give indication as to how Rasputin ended up the way we know he did. Mixed into these scenes, we get some sprinkling of magic, as to be expected with a story with this subject matter. The one point of contention is that lack of dialogue or much of any text in this flashback sequence, which made the issue feel like it flew by. With a first issue, I usually look for a little more to sink my teeth into, possibly a tidbit of story which spawns backstory of it’s own. The direction at the end, where we are thrust back to the present day dinner, does give me incentive to pick up the next issue, just out of sheer curiosity.

The strongpoint of this issue is Riley Rossmo, and that is undeniable. When looking at his previous Image work, i.e. Bedlam, I would constantly feel lost in the art. I knew the work was brilliant and complex, but it was a little too murky in terms of the panel to panel storytelling. Here, however, Rossmo nails it, and he carries much of the storytelling in a nearly silent issue. He renders characters in quiet moments wonderfully; a son recognizing the pain, but determination in his mothers eyes. He also hits the opposite well, where we see Rasputin’s father fight a bear in a kinetic and wonderfully paced double page spread and fight sequence. If I could relate him to any previous artist’s work, it’s like Frank Miller with a little bit of Bill Sienkiewicz mixed in. Rossmo comes from the same school of thought to that of the incomparable artists today of Chris Mooneyham and Matteo Scalara, fantastic character rendering with an incredibly high paced energy to it. On top of that, the colors by Ivan Plascenia compliment Rossmo’s rendering style perfectly. The palette gives this book a spooky and old time feel that completes it, and dictates the flashback vs. present.

All in all, this book was a fun read, regardless of being a little fast. At $2.99, I will definitely be back next month for issue two. It looks like I’ll be adding yet another Image book long term.

4 Scraggly Beards out of 5

Swamp Thing Annual #3
Writer: Charles Soule
Artists: Javier Pina, Carmen Carnero, Ryan Browne, Dave Bullock and Yanick Paquette
Review by John “He is the Tormented” Amenta

Charles Soule stops killing Wolverine for long enough to give us another chapter in this quite excellent run of Swamp Thing in the New 52.

This story revolves around life and death, as do so many ST stories, due to the characters obvious ties to nature, which is the definition of cyclical. Capucine, Alec’s dedicated friend and protector lies dying, the spell that granted her a thousand year lifespan is ending. Alec offers to ease her pain, and finds that just telling her a story is the best medicine. The tale he tells relays his own problems with fitting in with humanity, and features one of the cleverest bodies ST has ever grown for himself. You’ll never look at popcorn the same.

The second half of the story brings Etrigan the Demon to the swamp, seeking to claim something owed him. He also brings a healthy dose of doubt to Alec’s views on Capucine and why exactly she really got involved with him. These scenes are played out wonderfully, as Etrigan tries to convince Alec, using his rhyming cadence, of Capucine’s true nature.

This issue ends with a beautiful two page spread by the first artist on New 52 ST, Yanick Paquette. This is one of those pages that need to be stared at, and taken in bit by bit. All the artists on this issue deliver grade A work, which has become expected of this book. Pina does the heavy lifting on the main story but Browne and Bullock add their style to a few interludes (the previously mentioned Popcorn Swampy, and Etrigan’s origin). The only thing repeatedly more impressive is Soule’s storytelling abilities. He has taken an old character in ST, and created a new status quo for him, replete with a new and very cool supporting cast. If you haven’t given this book a shot yet, you really should, it has consistently been top notch for a few years now.

5 swamp rats out of 5

Deathlok #1
Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Artist: Mike Perkins
Reviewer: Ray “He struck again…”Willis

Nathan Edmondson brings us this tale of Henry Hayes, who he thinks is an ordinary medic that helps people but is a “Deathlok” in disguise. The one guy you wouldn’t suspect would be an unstoppable machine of destruction, when given a simple code word or word phrases to begin his missions and not realize it. This was a good set up issue for whats to come from Nathan Edmonson, introducing a new Deathlok and showing that he is still human trying to help people even if he’s not in the end. I really enjoyed the action sequences that are present in the book with him infiltrating and ex-filtrating a train even though it was shown as a preview before the book was released. Edmonson is amazing at doing military and espionage genre with the other titles he has been on such as “Punisher” and “Black Widow”. There are even references to one of the other Deathloks such as ”Michael Collins”. We do get a scene of him not knowing what happened to this item but answers will probably be given with the next few issues of how he came to be and who is doing this to him. The art in this issue is really good as well, with Mike Perkins giving Henry Hayes a very different look to what kind of Deathlok he is. Perkins makes Hayes seen more technologically forward with his gear but does not overdo it. Also he’s not decrepit looking like how the others are.

I did not find anything bad with this new number one at all except there may be more questions than answers but I will give it a few issues to establish what’s going on. The writing and art was very good in this issue. I enjoyed this issue of Deathlok and I cannot wait to see what comes next from the team of Nathan Edmondson and Mike Perkins on this title. I definitely want to know more about Henry Hayes.

4.5 out of 5 Deathloks

About Armand (1268 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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