Technically, this is second printing of the first issue. But, when it originally came out, I wanted to read it, and chose something else. So when I saw this on the wall, I took it as a sign that this was my second chance. And, as they say, you shouldn’t waste a second chance.
When I saw the title and look of this book, I assumed it would simply be about some small southern town. Really, I kind of thought that it was going to be in the same vein as Southern Bastards (which I only read a few issues of, anyway). But then it gets interesting. This title focuses on a family of vampires. The main character opens the book drunkenly reflecting on his long life. As I started reading I kind of thought, “Oh, great, another vampire story.” But as I went on, I found myself more and more engrossed in the narrative. It wasn’t just a simple vampire story. It had enough layers to make it different than your average tale about blood suckers. The characters all seemed quite real, and you really felt sympathy for them.
This I attribute to writer Donny Cates. I’ve never read anything by him before, so this was a strong first entry. The book had a growing sense of tension that I really enjoyed. You got the feeling that bad things were going to happen, then they were avoided, then you got that feeling, and they kept building until something bad finally did happen. I’ll also compliment the artists and co-creator of the series Lisandro Estherren. This art fit perfectly to the tone. It isn’t super polished, it gives you the feel of southern setting of the story. The main character looks a little shabby and worn, while the bad guy looks smug. I hated that guy from the moment I saw his face.
If you enjoyed the first issue of this, they also released the second issue this week. But, I didn’t want to read that without checking the first one out. If you’ve liked Images stuff over the last couple of years, I’d say it’s a safe bet to pick up both of them this week.
I Am Groot #1
Continuing the trend of Guardians of the Galaxy titles, I picked up the first issue of the new Groot series this week. Mostly because Groot is my favorite member of the team. But also, I wanted to see how they would handle the whole him only being able to say, “I am Groot.” Thing.
This book starts off with the whole team together, but through Groot’s childish antics (he acts very much like he does in Volume 2), he gets stranded on a strange planet. And man, is this planet weird. There’s definitely some sort of space pug, and some kind of monster…thing. I’m not really sure what’s going on just yet, but it’s only the first issue, I’m not supposed to.
Christopher Hastings did a solid job with the writing here. As I said, his main character can only say three words. However, he does a good job balancing that with the characters around him. Through them, we almost always know what he’s saying. And even if we don’t, we’re sort of used to it now, so it doesn’t matter too much. And the action was so clear, it spoke for the lack of words. The most interesting part for me was all the different ways that he was able to use those three words. It was stylized several different times throughout the story, giving a real sense of meaning. Sometimes it would be “I am. Groot.” Or it might be “I am Grooooot.” While Hastings wrote these, the success of this tactic
was all letterer’s VC’s Joe Caramagna’s doing. In a book where the character can only say three words, it’s very important to mix up the lettering, and this book did it well.
When I opened the book up, I thought that Scottie Young was the artist. The little Groot looks like his. But it’s actually Flaviano. Not sure who that is, though. But, once you read the story, the art separates itself from Scottie Young quite well. This is another one of Marvel’s books that, to me, succeeds because it doesn’t have that cookie cutter super hero artwork. The characters look unique. I could open this book up, and hold it against another super hero book, and they wouldn’t look too similar. It’s a stylized art, and that is what I like. I think in part the colors by Marcio Menyz helps this art succeed. The art and colors mesh well, and you always want that in comics.
If you like the Guardians movies (which, c’mon, who doesn’t?) then this book is for you. It’s definitely in the spirit of the movies. I mean look at little Groot. Look at him.
Scooby-Doo Team Up #26
OK, hear me out on this one. I never read the Scooby-Doo books. But do you know who he’s teaming up with here? HONG KONG PHOOEY! And boy, do I love Hong Kong Phooey. He’s the number one super guy! So, even though this is a children’s title (which there is nothing wrong with, anyway) I had to read it. I saw the preview for this book months ago, and have literally been checking the new wall ever since to read it.
Sure, it is not going to have the same depth as Rednecks, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself when reading this. It had the nostalgia of childhood all over it. Granted, I wasn’t even alive when Hong Kong Phooey came out, but I watched it all through syndication. So believe me when I say that they nailed the kung fu hero. I’m inclined to believe that writer Sholly Fisch is in fact a Hong Kong Phooey fan.
The story revolves around the gang being chased by some, and I quote, “ninja kung fu dragons.” And this causes Velma to call the only guy who can help: Hong Kong Phooey. It’s great to see the Phooeymobile, the Hong Kong book of Kung Fu, and of course, Spot. Most of the story is spent watching Hong Kong Phooey not really pulling of the kung fu he’s so famous for. So, in that regard, it’s pretty much exactly like watching his old cartoon. And, as I said, I did enjoy myself. There were a couple times where I laughed out loud. But I guess Mr. Phooey has that effect on me. Although, there really were some very clever jokes and set ups.
I should also stop to mention Scott Jerald’s art. It’s simple and cartoonish, in the best way. I mean, it is meant to look like the cartoon anyway. So if it was anything different, I couldn’t get into the story. He draws the Scooby gang like the classic show, and nails the look of everyone in Hong Kong Phooey. I even thought the Sarge’s hands looked weird like they did in the show. But that might just be me.
OK, I’ve gushed enough about this. If you are a Hong Kong Phooey fan, you’ll love this. It was a nice dose of nostalgia, but at the same time, it moved the character to the present. In the end, I’ll say this: it’s fan-riffic!
Review by Jordan Kirian