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The Review Brew – November 5, 2014

 

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

Chew #44
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillory
Reviewer: Aitch “I chew all of my food before swallowing” Cee

There was a time, when I remembered reading Chew on the metro in the mornings on the way to work and laugh out loud. Now, for the last 3 issues in which I have read Chew, I have had to stifle myself from saying holy s**t aloud on the train. This is where Chew has gotten and it’s gotten GOOD. In this particular issue, John Layman gives us a little bit of a Quentin Tarantino turn with a story that shows us how Colby, Savoy and co., got in on the wrong end of The Collector in a fist fight. If things haven’t been darker before, it’s surely gotten dark now. We also learn how possibly Tony and his family acquired their powers and we also get left on yet a second cliffhanger involving Olive and Savoy. It’s times like this I get really angry at John Layman because just as soon as you really get into what’s happening. It’s OVER. As always, Rob Guillory’s art orchestrates John’s writing and this is why I have hung on for each issue. I noticed also there was a little less of Rob’s signature mini scrawling and messages throughout but when crap hits the fan, it made me forget about those little hidden messages. However, there is a squirrel, a sailor and Poyo moment that made up for it. But to wrap up, let me also add that this issue has probably been one of the most violent issues of its entire run. I mean, it plays out like Mortal Kombat gone wrong and I loved every minute of it. And from what I heard…it gets worse.
4.5 out of 5 Fatalities

The Humans #1
Writer: Keenan Marshall Keller
Artist: Tom Neely
Colors: Kristina Collantes
Reviewer: Ray “”He is inhuman” Willis

What happens when you mix planet of the apes with 1970’s, motorcycles, and don’t give a crap attitude? You get “The Humans created by Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely. A gang of misfit bikers are going to lay one of their own to rest at the cemetery then have a good time right after that.
The Humans is surprisingly good first issue and gives us a story set back in the day where free love, drugs, and the Vietnam War still in effect. Also this new series is definitely not for kids. We are giving a variety of characters from the leader of The Humans Bobby, poetic Marra, Doc, Bricks, Nada, Crispin, and Karns who has a hound look from “Game of Thrones”. We don’t get to spend time hearing from the other members of the gang but after reading this issue they know how to have a good time. The dialogue from this issue is good and works well with the time period they are in. The dialogue is also a bit crude but there bikers. Almost every biker gang has to have rivals right? Well The Humans have the Skabbs for their rival gang which there is little dialogue with them but they did not come to have a good time.
The art from Tom Neely really set the tone for what happening in The Humans. The art really lends itself to establish the various members and really set them apart with their own unique style at the time. Even the rival gang is drawn with their own sense of style from the 70’s. Right after the ceremony for their fallen comrade, a fight takes place with the rival gang and its amazing. The colors from Kristina Collantes are amazing giving life to these characters from Tom Neely’s art. The fight with the gangs is amazing with each fight between The Humans and Skabbs taking place in various little bubbles and each color sticks with one of the fights that happens

This is a really good title that really presents itself a little different from the rest. This title is also mature with some very explicit scenes but not too much to throw off the story in anyway. There is also a three page column page in the back that has Karns answering questions and letters. I did not really find anything bad with this first issue. I enjoyed what was presented to me. I can’t wait to see wear this gang of misfits bikers go to next on their journey to wherever they’re going and also we get a tease on one of the returning members of The Humans returning from the Vietnam War.

4.5 out of 5 Humans

Green Lantern # 36

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Francis Portela
Breakdowns: Scott McDaniel
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Reviewer: Brett “Will work for power rings” Israel
Green Lantern was one of the first non-Batman DC books that drew me into comics heavily in 2008. To say that the title has gone sour on me in the past few years would be an understatement. I found myself getting cross-eyed with the constant GL title wide crossovers, as well as tired by the seeming same idea of multi colored lantern conflict. Due to this, I ended up dropping the book right around the relaunch of the New 52, and that went for all the Green Lantern titles. However, with this new story involving the New Gods, my favorite Kirby creation, I had to jump on. Also, as I’ve been looking to jump onto more DC books, I was going into this with high hopes.

I generally enjoyed the first Act (month) of the Godhead story in the Green Lantern titles. There were some titles I enjoyed more than others, but I had the highest hopes for the main Green Lantern title, and was fairly pleased with this month’s issue. In starting Act Two in this issue, we are finally getting into the meat of the story, and the New Gods and Lanterns are building to square off, after the New Gods stole Lantern Rings in an attempt to obtain the Life Equation. What makes this issue strong is Venditti’s character work, specifically interplay between Hal and others. The Guardians show up, basically to tell everyone what to do, like a Hipster telling you what beer to drink, and I was immediately fuming. The Guardian’s existence was basically another reason I dropped off the books a few years ago. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the scene immediately following, a one on one interaction between Sinestro and Hal. In this, we get our look at the most compelling version of Sinestro. The Sinestro that you know is evil, but he makes fantastic points of argument, and is clearly one of the smartest guys in the room. He tells Hal that not only are the Guardians completely full of it, but it’s the spontaneity of Hal Jordan that makes him the greatest Green Lantern; the “no plan” attitude which make Hal unbeatable, and therefore, Hal needs to follow his own path rather than what the Guardians tell him. At that moment, I realized, “this is Green Lantern and Sinestro, and Venditti is hitting it out of the park.” While the rest of the issue is so-so, with a decent cliffhanger involving Black Hand, this characterization shined through, as well as some great father-son interplay between The Highfather and Orion.

In terms of the art, I didn’t find too much too much to delve into. By no means did I find the art bad; in fact, I thought it was pretty solid. I just find myself not finding a huge amount to comment on. The style from Portela is very clean, and each character maintains a distinct look. I never once felt myself confused on what was happening, nor did anything really seem out of place. That specific style of cartooning doesn’t always do it for me. The Black Hand part, however, I thought was rendered beautifully. The style quickly became very Chris Burnham like, which is always a good thing, and the comedy from the art actually made me laugh out loud, specifically a part involving a zombie version of Harry Houdini performing an escape. Other than that, however, I don’t have much to comment on the art. It wouldn’t keep me from buying the book, but it isn’t making me rush out to grab it.

This book isn’t breaking new ground, but the story is solid enough to get enjoyment from. As long as New Gods are in the books, I’ll be buying, but it remains to be seen if I’ll continue on Green Lantern after the Godhead storyline.

3.5 Motherboxes out of 5

Birthright #2
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Andrei Bressan
Reviewer: Alex “I play Conan on TV” Krefetz

The first issue of Birthright seemed to have some good ideas, but mostly worked to lay the groundwork. The story of a lost boy turned badass fantasy warrior returning home was interesting, but I found myself most interested in the family’s fallout after losing a son. The last-page reveal from the first issue wasn’t nearly as interesting to me as the family, and I hoped to get more of their story in issue two. While there was more here, it wasn’t enough to keep me captivated.

Issue 2 picks up right where the first left off in the police station. The story moves between the current time and Micky Rhodes time in the fantasy world. Using two different time periods in a single issue is a technique we’ve seen work well in the past, but here it feels like you’re not getting enough of either story. It’s hard to care about the characters when you aren’t as connected to them, and though its still early on in the story, plenty of books are able to create compelling characters in the first issue or two. It seems there’s a more interesting story somewhere in this world, but I haven’t seen it yet.

One thing I can get behind is Andrei Bressan’s art. Mixing contemporary and fantasy scenes is no easy feat, but Bressan’s striking art is easily the highlight of this book. He’s able to take fantasy tropes like Orcs and swordplay and make exciting, kinetic scenes play out. While there isn’t much story to tell, his work from page to page continues to be excellent.

Birthright is still young, and can probably be forgiven for some of its stumbling points. However, at two issues in I still haven’t seen anything besides Bressan’s art that makes it worth sticking around for.

2 enormous battle axes out of 5

The Mercenary Sea #7
Writer: Kel Symons
Artist: Mathew Reynolds
Reviewer: Oz Longworth Jr., Second of His Name

Image has really been on a roll revamping their brand as a safe haven for comic readers looking for stories off the beaten path. It’s really allowed some notable writers to take the kid gloves off and really create new worlds for audiences to bask in. Titles like Saga and Lazarus have become their claim to fame but period books like the Mercenary Sea have also seen some real attention as of late. And now Kel Symons and Mathew Reynolds are back with more high seas adventure as they go into their second volume.

Issue 7 starts us off two months after the crew of the Venture’s dust-up with the Japanese army. The crew has been taking somewhat dangerous courier work as Jack Harper has his sight set on making headway with a long term project of his that involves legendary treasure. As usual, Mercenary Sea hits all the right notes for old school espionage noir. The language feels authentic but not so thick that you can’t follow it. The action beats are low key but strong and purposeful, indicative of a band of protagonists that never fire a single round unless they have to. Kel Symons creates a constant atmosphere of danger and deception, a world where the major players speak in all hushed tones in dark corners through drags of their cigarettes. But I can’t hand out credit for the book’s shadowy smokey feel without mentioning artist, Mathew Reynolds. His dynamic style based around deliberate edges and silhouettes ends up being the star of the show. The nostalgia factor really gives the book a unique edge over the very few books of its genre out there, leaving the reader reminiscent of Johnny Quest, Archer and even concept art from the Sean Connery era of the Bond franchise (the cover is a blatant Connery Bond tribute).

Bottom Line: A well drawn start to a brand new arc with lots of intrigue and wheels moving into place to stop our heroes.

3.5 out of 5 stars
About Armand (1269 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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